Acts 1:15

15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers [a] (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said,

Acts 1:15 Meaning and Commentary

Acts 1:15

And in those days Peter stood up
That is, in one of the days after Christ's ascension, and before the day of Pentecost, whilst the disciples were waiting for the promise of the Spirit. The Ethiopic version reads, "on that day"; as if it was the same day they came first into Jerusalem, and went into the upper room; and which is likely enough; for no time was to be lost in choosing one in the room of Judas; when Peter, not only as a forward person, and who had been used to be the first mover and actor in any affair; but as willing to show his zeal for Christ, whom he had so lately denied, and as being the senior man in company, as well as the minister of the circumcision, rises, and stands up, as persons used to do, when about to make an oration, and in respect and reverence to the persons addressed:

in the midst of the disciples;
not only the other ten, but the whole hundred and twenty. The Alexandrian copy, and some others, read, "in the midst of the brethren", and so reads the Vulgate Latin version; and the Ethiopic version, "in the midst of his own brethren";

and he said
what is expressed in the following verses, which before the historian relates, he inserts in a parenthesis this clause,

the number of the names;
that is, of persons; see ( Revelation 11:13 ) . Some copies read, "of the men", and so the Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions; who

all put together in one sum, or as meeting together in one and the same place, or as agreeing in the same faith and judgment, so the Arabic version, "and there was there a company whose names and wills agreed in this same opinion"; they were all in one place, and of the same mind; and the sum of them

were about an hundred and twenty;
among whom were the eleven apostles, and seventy disciples, which made eighty one; so that there were thirty nine persons more in this company: not that it is to be thought that these were all that were in Jerusalem that believed in Christ; but these were the number of the persons that met and embodied together in a church state, and who not only gave themselves to the Lord, but to one another, by the will of God; and their names being taken and registered, the historian calls the account of them, the number of the names, and not persons; though he means persons. This was a number pretty famous among the Jews; the sanhedrim of Ezra, called the men of the great synagogue, consisted of an "hundred and twenty elders"; the last of which was Simeon the just, and he comprehended the hundred and twenty F8. And such a number was requisite for a sanhedrim in any place; it is asked,

``how many must there be in a city, that it may be fit for a sanhedrim? "an hundred and twenty"; R. Nehemiah says two hundred and thirty F9:''

but the decision is according to the former: hence they say F11, that

``they fix in every city in Israel, where there is an "hundred and twenty", or more, a lesser sanhedrim.---A city in which there is not an hundred and twenty, they place three judges, for there is no sanhedrim less than three.''


F8 Juchasin, fol. 13. 2. Bartenora in Pirke Abot, c. 1. sect. 1. Elias Levit. prefat. 3. ad Sepher Masoret.
F9 Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 1. sect. 6. Vid. Maimon. & Bartenora in. ib. & T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 17. 2.
F11 Maimon. Hilchot Sanhedrin, c. 1. sect. 3, 4.

Acts 1:15 In-Context

13 When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.
14 All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.
15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said,
16 "Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus—
17 for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry."

Footnotes 1

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.