Acts 5:3

3 "Ananias," Peter asked, "why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land?

Acts 5:3 Meaning and Commentary

Acts 5:3

But Peter said, Ananias
Peter, by divine revelation, or by a spirit of discerning, such as Elisha had, who knew what his servant Gehazi had done, knowing what a reserve Ananias had made, calls him by his name, and says to him,

why hath Satan filled thine heart?
or emboldened thee, given thee so much spirit and courage to act in such an impudent and audacious manner; so the phrase is used in ( Esther 7:5 ) ( Ecclesiastes 8:11 ) see the Septuagint there, and often in Talmudic writings.

``Says R. Joshua, I never (ybl ynalm) , "filled my heart"; or my heart never filled me to say to a man, go and take the change of these three things F4.''

And says another Rabbi F5,

``though I say so, (ybl ynalm al) , "I never filled my heart", or my heart never filled me to transgress the words of the companions;''

that is, I never durst do so. And again F6, it being observed, that Isaiah should say, "hear, O heavens!" it is said,

``who, or what is this, who (wbl walm) , "hath filled his heart", or whose heart has filled him to call to the heavens to hear.''

But this instance of Ananias was such, that none but Satan could have put him upon, or emboldened him to have done; who from hence appeared to have the power over him, and to have possessed him, to have great access to him, even to his heart, and great influence upon it, so as to prompt him

to lie to the Holy Ghost;
who was in the apostles, and by whom they were acted, and to whom he had given a discerning of spirits; so that it was a daring action, and downright madness, to go about to deceive them: or he pretended he had an impulse from the Spirit of God to sell his estate, and give the whole price of it to the apostles, and yet kept back part of it; which was acting contrary to that Spirit he pretended to be influenced by.

And to keep back part of the price of the land:
that is, he lied against the Holy Ghost, by keeping back part of the price the land was sold for; when he had declared he sold it with this view, to give the whole for charitable uses, and affirmed that what he brought was the whole.


FOOTNOTES:

F4 T. Hieros. Maaserot, fol. 48. 4.
F5 Sabbat, fol. 14. 3.
F6 Tzeror Hammor, fol. 160. 1. Vid. Shaare ora, fol. 2. 1.

Acts 5:3 In-Context

1 But a man named Ananias, with the consent of his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property;
2 with his wife's knowledge, he kept back some of the proceeds, and brought only a part and laid it at the apostles' feet.
3 "Ananias," Peter asked, "why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land?
4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, were not the proceeds at your disposal? How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You did not lie to us but to God!"
5 Now when Ananias heard these words, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard of it.