Acts 21:39

I am (Egw men eimi). In contrast with the wild guess of Lysias Paul uses men and de. He tells briefly who he is: a Jew (Ioudaio) by race, of Tarsus in Cilicia (Tarseu th Kilikia) by country, belonging to Tarsus (this adjective Tarseu only here and Acts 9:11 ), and proud of it, one of the great cities of the empire with a great university. A citizen of no mean city (ouk ashmou polew polith). Litotes again, "no mean" (ashmo, old adjective, unmarked, a privative and shma, mark, insignificant, here only in the N.T.). This same litotes used by Euripides of Athens (Ion 8). But Paul calls himself a citizen (polith) of Tarsus. Note the "effective assonance" (Page) in polew polith. Paul now (de) makes his request (deomai) of Lysias. Give me leave (epitrepson moi). First aorist active imperative of epitrepw, old and common verb to turn to, to permit, to allow. It was a strange request and a daring one, to wish to speak to this mob howling for Paul's blood.

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