Acts 1:20

20 “For,” said Peter, “it is written in the Book of Psalms: “ ‘May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,’[a]and, “ ‘May another take his place of leadership.’[b]

Acts 1:20 in Other Translations

20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.
20 "For it is written in the Book of Psalms, "'May his camp become desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it';and "'Let another take his office.'
20 Peter continued, “This was written in the book of Psalms, where it says, ‘Let his home become desolate, with no one living in it.’ It also says, ‘Let someone else take his position.’
20 It's exactly what we find written in the Psalms: Let his farm become haunted So no one can ever live there. "And also what was written later: Let someone else take over his post.
20 "For it is written in the Book of Psalms: Let his dwelling become desolate; let no one live in it; and Let someone else take his position.

Acts 1:20 Meaning and Commentary

Acts 1:20

For it is written in the book of Psalms
In ( Psalms 69:25 ) . These are the words of Peter, citing the Scripture he had said must be fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost, by David, had spoke concerning Judas:

let his habitation be desolate.
The Arabic and Ethiopic versions render it, "his city"; meaning, perhaps, the city of Jerusalem; and which afterwards did become desolate, and was utterly destroyed:

and let no man dwell therein;
in his habitation. The psalm, out of which these words are cited, is a psalm concerning the Messiah, and there are many passages cited out of it in the New Testament, and applied to him, or referred unto; see ( John 2:17 ) ( 15:25 ) ( 19:28 ) ( Romans 15:3 ) compared with ( Psalms 69:4 Psalms 69:9 Psalms 69:21 ) and what the psalmist says of the enemies of the Messiah in general, is applied by the apostle to Judas in particular. In the Hebrew text, in ( Psalms 69:25 ) the words are in the plural number, "let their habitation be desolate, and let none dwell in their tents"; and refer to all the enemies of Christ, the chief priests, elders of the people, Scribes and Pharisees, who covenanted with Judas to give him so much money to betray Christ into their hands; and who delivered him to the Roman governor, by whom, at their instigation, he was crucified; and particularly may well be thought to include Judas, who betrayed him to them; and therefore are very fitly interpreted of him: though not to be understood to the exclusion of the others, whose house was to be left desolate, and was left desolate, as our Lord predicted, ( Matthew 23:38 ) . The first word in the Hebrew text rendered "habitation", signifies a very magnificent dwelling; it is sometimes translated a "castle", ( Genesis 25:16 ) ( Numbers 31:10 ) ( 1 Chronicles 6:54 ) and sometimes a "palace", Cant. 8:9, ( Ezekiel 25:4 ) and it is interpreted by (Nwmra) , "a palace", here, by several Jewish writers F19; and so may intend the dwelling places of the richer sort of Christ's enemies, as the palaces of the high priest, and of the prince, or president of the sanhedrim, and the stately houses of the members of it, of the chief priests and elders of the people, and of the Scribes and Pharisees; all which became desolate at the destruction of Jerusalem: the other word, rendered "tents", may design the cottages of the meaner sort of people, who, with united voices, cried aloud for the crucifixion of Christ; and which also shared the same fate when Jerusalem was destroyed: now inasmuch as Judas was of the meaner sort, the apostle here makes use of a word which signifies but a poor and mean habitation, though it is sometimes used of grander ones, and which seems to answer to the latter; for as there are two words in the original text expressive of habitation, he might choose which he would, and did choose that which was most pertinent in the application of the passage to Judas. However, a Jew has no reason to find fault with this version, since the Targum renders both words by "habitation", thus;

let their habitation be desolate, and in their habitations let no
one dwell:
where Judas's habitation was is not certain; but that he might have one as well as the Apostle John, is not at all improbable, and from hence seems evident:

and his bishopric let another take;
which passage stands in ( Psalms 109:8 ) and is fitly applied to Judas, and was verified in him, who not only died a violent and infamous death, by which he was in consequence stripped of his office, as a bishop, or overseer; but another was to be put into it, invested with it, and exercise it; and therefore very pertinently does Peter produce it, his intention being to move the disciples to choose another in his room. These words are produced by the apostle, as if they were to be found in the same place with the preceding; whereas they stand in another psalm, as has been observed: and this is no unusual thing with the writers of the New Testament, to put several passages of Scripture together, as if they were in one place, when they are to be sought for in different places; an instance of this, among many, that might be mentioned, is in ( Romans 3:10-18 ) and this is a very common way of citing Scripture with the Jews. Surenhusius F20 has given a variety of instances, in proof of this, out of their writings, as in the margin F21, which the learned reader may consult and compare at leisure. The psalm, out of which this passage is cited, is not to be understood of David literally, and of what he met with from his enemies, and of his imprecations upon them, either Doeg the Edomite, as Kimchi interprets it, or Ahithophel, as others, but of the Messiah, with whom the whole agrees; against whom the mouth of the wicked Jews, and particularly of the deceitful Pharisees, were opened; and against whom the false witnesses spoke with lying tongues; and who, all of them, compassed him with words of hatred to take away his life, and acted a most ungenerous and ungrateful part; opposed him without a cause, and became his enemies for his love showed to them, both to soul and body, preaching the Gospel, and healing diseases, ( Psalms 109:2-5 ) . The poverty and distress he submitted to; the griefs and sorrows which he bore; the fatigues he underwent at his examination; and the weakness of body he was then reduced to, as well as the reproach cast upon him on the cross, when his enemies shook their heads at him, are in a very lively manner described, ( Psalms 109:22-25 ) and whereas one of his enemies particularly is singled out from the rest, what is said concerning him, by way of imprecation, suits with Judas, and had its accomplishment in him, ( Psalms 109:6-8 ) who had a wicked man set over him, as over the rest of the Jews, Pilate, the Roman governor, a very wicked man; and at whose right hand Satan stood, as one of his council, as Aben Ezra interprets it, and put it into his heart to betray his master, and prompted him to it, and then accused him of it, and brought him to black despair for it; and who, when this affair was brought home to his own conscience, and there arraigned for it, was convicted and self-condemned, as he also will be at the general judgment; and as he found no place of mercy then, whatever prayers or entreaties he might make, so neither will he hereafter: his days were but few, being cut off in the prime of them, as may be concluded from the many years which some of his fellow apostles lived after him; and his bishopric, or office, as an apostle, was taken by another, even by Matthias, who was chosen in his room, of which we have an account in the following part of this chapter; for this is to be understood neither of his money, nor of his wife, nor of his own soul committed to his trust, as some of the Jewish writers


F23 explain it; but of his apostleship, with which he was invested by Christ. The word signifies an oversight, care, or charge; and so the Hebrew word (hdwqp) is rendered in ( Numbers 3:32 Numbers 3:36 ) and designs any office, as the office of the priests and Levites in the house of God; see ( Numbers 4:16 ) . Jarchi interprets it here by (wtlwdg) , "his greatness", or "dignity"; and explains it by the Spanish word "provostia", an office of honour and authority, as this of being an apostle of Christ was; than which, a greater external dignity could not be enjoyed in the church of God, in which he has set first apostles, ( 1 Corinthians 12:28 ) . That this psalm refers to Judas Iscariot, and to his affair, was so clear a point with the ancients, that they used to call it the Iscariotic Psalm. I lay no stress upon the observation some have made, that thirty curses are contained in it, the number of the pieces of silver for which he betrayed his master, since this may be thought to be too curious.

F19 Kimchi & Sol. ben Melech in Psal. 69. 25. R. Nathan. Concordant.
F20 Biblos Katallages, p. 45, 46.
F21 T. Bab Roshhoshana, fol. 4. 2. Beracot, fol. 13. 1. Sabbat, fol. 20. 1. Maccot, fol. 13. 2. & 16. 1. Tanchuma, fol. 17. 1, 4. & 25. 1, 4.
F23 Aben Ezra, Kimchi, & Sol. ben Melech in loc.

Acts 1:20 In-Context

18 (With the payment he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out.
19 Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)
20 “For,” said Peter, “it is written in the Book of Psalms: “ ‘May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,’and, “ ‘May another take his place of leadership.’
21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us,
22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”

Cross References 2

Footnotes 2

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