And when the town clerk had appeased the people
Caused them to cease their loud outcry, so as that he could be heard. This person seems to have been more than a "town clerk", as we render it; or a common "scribe", as the Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions render it; rather as the Syriac version, "a chief man of the city"; the Septuagint interpreters in ( Exodus 5:6 ) use the word for the Egyptian officers that were over the Israelites; and the Babylonians used to call the priest of F1 Isis by this name; and according to some learned men, this man's office was to register the conquerors' names, and their rewards in the theatre; and who was chosen into this office by the people, and was a man of some considerable authority, as it is very apparent by what follows that this man was:
he said, ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how
that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess
the word "Neocorus", translated "worshipper", signifies an officer in the temple, one that looked after it, beautified and adorned it; for "Neocorus" is from (korew) , which signifies to beautify F2; though some etymologists would have the word to signify to sweep and clean, as if this officer was a sexton; rather, he answered to a churchwarden, and to this agrees the Syriac version; though this office belonged not to a single person, but to a city. Now to be a worshipper of Diana, was not peculiar to the city of Ephesus, as appears from ( Acts 19:27 ) but to be Neocorus, a sacrist to the goddess, was a favour granted to some cities, and accounted a great honour; some had it twice, some thrice, some four times:
and of the image which fell down from Jupiter;
or "of Diopetes"; so the Palladium, or image of Pallas, was called, because it was supposed to fall down from heaven, which Diomedes and Ulysses are said to take away from Troy; and here it seems to be something distinct from the goddess Diana, and her image, and may design another deity worshipped along with her, and by them, since they make mention of more gods, ( Acts 19:26 ) . The Vulgate Latin version takes it to be the same with Diana, reading the words in connection with the preceding, "and the offspring of Jupiter"; she being said to be his daughter by Latona, as before observed; and the Ethiopic version understands it of her image, rendering them thus, "and of that molten image which was sent from Jupiter the great god"; and more expressly the Syriac version, which reads, "and of her image which fell from heaven"; and so was not made with the hands of men, and could not be objected to on that account, or denied to be a deity; and this the people might be the rather induced to believe, since it had been in the temple before the memory of any man. The Arabic version, reading these words in connection with the beginning of the next verse, gives a very different sense, "but neither indeed they that fell from heaven contradict the faith of this thing"; as if it was to be understood of the fallen angels, of which it can hardly be thought Demetrius had any knowledge. This image, Pliny says F3, it was doubted of what it was made; some said of the vine tree, others of ebony; but Athenagoras says, the old image of Diana of the Ephesians was made of olive F4.
F1 Alex. ab Alex. l. 2. c. 8.
F2 Scholiast. Aristoph ad Nubes, p. 125. col. 2.
F3 Nat. Hist. l. 16. c. 40.
F4 Legatis pro Christianis, p. 17.