Acts 16:20

20 When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, "These men are disturbing our city; they are Jews

Acts 16:20 Meaning and Commentary

Acts 16:20

And brought them to the magistrates
The same as before; wherefore the Syriac version omits them there, and reads them both together here, calling them the magistrates and chief men of the city; though the word here used, properly signifies military captains, captains of the Roman militia: but that they were the same with the Decuriones, or ten men before mentioned, appears from what Harpocratian says F11, that every year were chosen "ten (strathgoi) , magistrates", the word here used: saying, these men being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city;
they call Paul and Silas Jews, either because they knew them to be so, or because they attended at the Jewish oratory, or place of worship; and it was common with the Romans to call the Christians Jews; they were generally included in the same name; and this name of the Jews was become very odious with the Romans; a little after this, Claudius commanded them, the Jews, to depart from Rome, ( Acts 18:2 ) they were commonly looked upon as a troublesome and seditious sort of people, and indeed this was the old charge that was fastened upon them, ( Ezra 4:15 ) ( Esther 3:8 ) . So that it was enough to say that Paul and Silas were Jews, to prove them to be disturbers of the public peace: and it is to be observed, that their accusers make no mention of the dispossessing of the maid, who was their private property, and which was a private affair; but pretend a concern for the public welfare, and bring a charge of public disturbance and detriment, to which their malice and revenge prompted them, hoping in this way the better to succeed: the Arabic version reads, "these two men trouble our city, and they are both Jews".


F11 Lexicon, p. 274.

Acts 16:20 In-Context

18 She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, "I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And it came out that very hour.
19 But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities.
20 When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, "These men are disturbing our city; they are Jews
21 and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe."
22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.