Acts 19:31

Certain also of the chief officers of Asia (tine de kai twn Asiarcwn). These "Asiarchs" were ten officers elected by cities in the province who celebrated at their own cost public games and festivals (Page). Each province had such a group of men chosen, as we now know from inscriptions, to supervise the funds connected with the worship of the emperor, to preside at games and festivals even when the temple services were to gods like Artemis. Only rich men could act, but the position was eagerly sought. Being his friends (onte autwi piloi). Evidently the Asiarchs had a high opinion of Paul and were unwilling for him to expose his life to a wild mob during the festival of Artemis. They were at least tolerant toward Paul and his preaching. "It was an Asiarch who at Smyrna resisted the cry of the populace to throw Polycarp to the lions" (Furneaux). Besought him (parekaloun auton). Imperfect active, showing that the messengers sent had to insist over Paul's protest. "Not to adventure himself" (mh dounai eauton). It was a hazard, a rash adventure "to give himself" (second aorist active infinitive of didwmi). Just this sense of "adventure" with the idiom occurs only here in the N.T., though in Polybius V., 14, 9. But the phrase itself Paul uses of Jesus who gave himself for our sins ( Galatians 1:4 ; 1 Timothy 2:6 ; Titus 2:14 ). It is not the first time that friends had rescued Paul from peril ( Acts 9:25 Acts 9:30 ; Acts 17:10 Acts 17:14 ). The theatre was no place for Paul. It meant certain death.