Acts 19:19

19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.a

Read Acts 19:19 Using Other Translations

Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.
And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver.
A number of them who had been practicing sorcery brought their incantation books and burned them at a public bonfire. The value of the books was several million dollars.

What does Acts 19:19 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Acts 19:19

Many also of them which used curious arts.
&c.] Magic arts, soothsaying, necromancy, conjuration, and the like, being convinced of the folly and wickedness of them:

brought their books together;
by which they had learned these arts; Ephesus was famous for this sort of learning; here Apollonius Tyaneus, in the beginning of Nero's reign, opened a school and taught magic, and such like things: frequent mention is made of the Ephesian letters, which were no other than enchantments; and even Diana, the goddess of the Ephesians, is said to be a magician F11:

and burned them before all men;
to show their detestation of them, and the truth and genuineness of their repentance for their former sins; and that these books might not be a snare to them for the future, nor be made use of by others:

and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand
pieces of silver;
which is thought to answer to one thousand five hundred sixty two pounds and ten shillings of our money; reckoning a piece of silver, an Attic drachma; for such might be the silver pieces at Ephesus, a city of Greece, and which was of the value of our money seven pence halfpenny; but if Luke meant by pieces of silver, shekels, according to the Jewish way, (See Gill on Matthew 26:15) then the sum is much larger, for a shekel was about two shillings and six pence of our money; so that fifty thousand pieces of silver, amount to six thousand two hundred and fifty pounds; a large sum indeed for magic books! some manuscripts read "gold" instead of "silver", which must greatly increase the value.


F11 Tatian. contr. Graecos, p. 147.
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