Acts 5:7

7 Not more than three hours later, his wife, knowing nothing of what had happened, came in.

Acts 5:7 Meaning and Commentary

Acts 5:7

And it was about the space of three hours after
The death of Ananias. So much time was taken up in burying of him; and in less time it could not well be, since the burying places of the Jews were without the city, as before observed: and if they were as distant from other cities, as they were from the cities of the Levites, they were, as Dr. Lightfoot shows from Maimonides F7, above a mile and half off: though there is a Jewish canon which runs thus F8;

``they put carcasses, graves, and tanners, fifty cubits from a city.''

So that to go thither, open the grave, inter the dead, and return, must take up so much time; and so much time his wife had to reflect upon what she and her husband had done, but seems not to have had any thought about it, at least not any remorse of conscience for it:

when his wife, not knowing what was done;
she knew that her husband kept back part of the price of the land, and how much it was, and what he brought to the apostles; but she did not know that the fraud was detected, nor what followed; as that her husband was immediately struck dead, and was carried out and buried; which it is pretty much she should not in this time, when the thing was awful and shocking, the news of which must fly apace all over the city: but it looks as if the company of the saints was not broke up all this while, and that no one went out to carry it abroad, but the young men that went to bury him. Sapphira therefore, being ignorant of the whole affair,

came in;
to the temple or house where the apostles were, expecting to see her husband among the apostles, and chief men, in great honour and esteem for what he had done; and that he would be on equal foot with Barnabas and others, who had sold all they had, and brought the whole price of their possessions into the common stock.


F7 Shemitta Veyobel, c. 13. sect. 2.
F8 Misn. Bava Bathra, c. 2. sect. 9.

Acts 5:7 In-Context

5 Ananias, when he heard those words, fell down dead. That put the fear of God into everyone who heard of it.
6 The younger men went right to work and wrapped him up, then carried him out and buried him.
7 Not more than three hours later, his wife, knowing nothing of what had happened, came in.
8 Peter said, "Tell me, were you given this price for your field?" "Yes," she said, "that price."
9 Peter responded, "What's going on here that you connived to conspire against the Spirit of the Master? The men who buried your husband are at the door, and you're next."
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.