Gevurot 19

1 9 And it came about while Rav Apollos was in Corinth that Rav Sha’ul traveled through the upper regions and arrived at Ephesus, finding some of [Moshiach’s] talmidim there.
2 And Rav Sha’ul said to them, "Did you receive the Ruach Hakodesh when you came to emunah?" But they said to Rav Sha’ul, "But we never heard that there is a Ruach Hakodesh!"
3 And Rav Sha’ul said, "Into what then were you given tevilah?" And they said, "Into the tevilah of Yochanan."
4 And Rav Sha’ul said, "Yochanan gave a tevilah of teshuva to the people, saying that they should have emunah in Hu HaBah [Moshiach], the one coming after him, that is, in Yehoshua." [Lk 3:16]
5 And having heard this, they were given Moshiach’s tevilah of teshuva in haShem of the Moshiach Adoneinu Yehoshua.
6 And when Rav Sha’ul placed his hands upon them, the Ruach Hakodesh came upon them, and they were speaking in leshonot and they were speaking dvarim hanevu’ah.
7 And the anashim were about sheneym asar in number.
8 And having joined the minyan at the shul, Rav Sha’ul was speaking with ometz lev during the course of shloshah chodashim, debating and persuading concerning the things of the Malchut Hashem.
9 But when some unbelievers in the shul were being hardened and were disobeying, speaking Chillul Hashem of the Derech Hashem before the multitude, Rav Sha’ul withdrew from them. Rav Sha’ul took the Moshiach’s talmidim and yom yom was saying shiurim in the [Messianic] yeshiva of Tyrannus.
10 And this happened over a period of two years with the intended result that all the ones inhabiting [the Roman Province of] Asia heard the dvar Hashem, both Yehudim and Yevanim.
11 And gevaltike moftim and niflaot Hashem effected at the hands of Rav Sha’ul,
12 so that when a handkerchief or an apron touched the skin of Rav Sha’ul and was brought to the cholim, the machlot (sicknesses) and the shedim (demons) left them.
13 And some traveling Jewish exorcists attempted to use haShem of Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach Adoneinu Yehoshua over the ones possessed of ruchot ra’ot, saying, "I exorcize and cast you out by the Yehoshua whom Rav Sha’ul preaches!"
14 And there were doing this very thing shivat banim of a certain Skeva, a Jewish "Kohen Gadol."
15 And in reply the ruach hara’ah (the shed, demon) said to them, "I am acquainted with Yehoshua, I have da’as of Sha’ul, but, you, who are you?!"
16 And the ish in whom was the ruach hara’ah leaped upon them and subdued all [shivah] of them, and overpowered them, so that they fled, naked and wounded, from the bais.
17 And this became known to all the Yehudim and also the Yevanim inhabiting Ephesus, and pachad (terror) fell upon all of them, and they were exalting haShem of Adoneinu Yehoshua.
18 And many of the ones having come to emunah were making vidduy of their ma’asim, disclosing them.
19 And a number of the ones who had practiced kishshuf (magic, sorcery) brought together their occult sfarim and were burning them publicly; and they added up the price of these occult sfarim, and they found it to be fifty thousand silver pieces.
20 So the dvar Hashem, the Besuras HaGeulah, was growing with ko’ach and was prevailing.
21 And when these things were fulfilled, Rav Sha’ul resolved in his ruach to travel through Macedonia and Achaia and go to Yerushalayim, saying "After I have gone there, it is necessary for me also to see Rome."
22 So Rav Sha’ul sent to Macedonia two of the mesharetim (ministers, servants) with him?Timotiyos and Erastus, while he stayed a little while longer in [the Province of] Asia.
23 Now during that time there was no small disturbance concerning the Derech Hashem.
24 For a certain one, Demetrius by name, a silversmith and maker of silver idol shrines for Artemis, was providing no small revach (profit) for the craftsmen.
25 Demetrius also assembled the craftsmen occupied with that trade and he said, "Anashim, you have da’as that our prosperity is from this trade,
26 "And you see and hear that not only here in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Rav Sha’ul has persuaded and drawn away a large multitude saying, ‘Elilim made with human hands are not Elohim.’ [Dt 4:28; Ps 115:4; Isa 44:10-20; Jer 10:3-5]
27 "And this is not only a danger to us, that our part, our trade, will fall into disrepute, but also the temple of the elah hagedolah Artemis may be considered as nothing, and also may be about to suffer the loss of her majesty, which all Asia and the Olam Hazeh worship."
28 And having listened and having become full of ka’as, the idol makers were crying out, saying, "Gedolah is Artemis of the Ephesians!"
29 And the city was filled with tohu, and they rushed with one impulse into the theater, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, who were Macedonians and traveling fellow po’alim of Rav Sha’ul.
30 And Rav Sha’ul desired to enter into the crowd in the theater, but the talmidim were not allowing him.
31 And also some of the Asiarchs who were his chaverim, sent to him, begging him not to venture into the theater.
32 Then some began shouting one thing, some another, in the theater, for the kahal was in confusion, and most had no da’as of the purpose of the kahal (assembly).
33 And from the multitude Alexander was pushed forward by Yehudim and some prompted him with shouts, while Alexander waved his hand, wanting to defend himself to the kahal.
34 But having known what the man was, that he was a Yehudi, all in the theater shouted in unison for lav davka two hours crying out, "Gedolah is Artemis of the Ephesians."
35 And the town clerk, when he had restrained the crowd, said, "Anashim, citizens of Ephesus, who indeed is there among Bnei Adam who does not have da’as that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of the tzelem (image) that fell from Shomayim?
36 "Since these things are undeniable, it is necessary for you to calm down and to do nothing reckless.
37 "For you brought these anashim here who are neither temple robbers nor speakers of evil against our religion.
38 "Therefore, if Demetrius and the craftsmen with him have a tainah (grievance) against anyone, the civil courts are in session and there are proconsuls. Let it be there that they bring charges against one another.
39 "And if you seek anything further, let your settlement be obtained in the lawful assembly.
40 "For indeed we are in danger of being indicted for an intifadah (uprising) today, for there is no justification we can render to excuse this disorder and commotion."
41 And having said these things, the town clerk dismissed the kahal (assembly).

Gevurot 19 Commentary

Chapter 19

Paul instructs the disciples of John at Ephesus. (1-7) He teaches there. (8-12) The Jewish exorcists disgraced. Some Ephesians burn their evil books. (13-20) The tumult at Ephesus. (21-31) The tumult appeased. (32-41)

Verses 1-7 Paul, at Ephesus, found some religious persons, who looked to Jesus as the Messiah. They had not been led to expect the miraculous powers of the Holy Ghost, nor were they informed that the gospel was especially the ministration of the Spirit. But they spake as ready to welcome the notice of it. Paul shows them that John never design that those he baptized should rest there, but told them that they should believe on Him who should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. They thankfully accepted the discovery, and were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. The Holy Ghost came upon them in a surprising, overpowering manner; they spake with tongues, and prophesied, as the apostles and the first Gentile coverts did. Though we do not now expect miraculous powers, yet all who profess to be disciples of Christ, should be called on to examine whether they have received the seal of the Holy Ghost, in his sanctifying influences, to the sincerity of their faith. Many seem not to have heard that there is a Holy Ghost, and many deem all that is spoken concerning his graces and comforts, to be delusion. Of such it may properly be inquired, "Unto what, then, were ye baptized?" for they evidently know not the meaning of that outward sign on which they place great dependence.

Verses 8-12 When arguments and persuasions only harden men in unbelief and blasphemy, we must separate ourselves and others from such unholy company. God was pleased to confirm the teaching of these holy men of old, that if their hearers believed them not, they might believe the works.

Verses 13-20 It was common, especially among the Jews, for persons to profess or to try to cast out evil spirits. If we resist the devil by faith in Christ, he will flee from us; but if we think to resist him by the using of Christ's name, or his works, as a spell or charm, Satan will prevail against us. Where there is true sorrow for sin, there will be free confession of sin to God in every prayer and to man whom we have offended, when the case requires it. Surely if the word of God prevailed among us, many lewd, infidel, and wicked books would be burned by their possessors. Will not these Ephesian converts rise up in judgement against professors, who traffic in such works for the sake of gain, or allow themselves to possess them? If we desire to be in earnest in the great work of salvation, every pursuit and enjoyment must be given up which hinders the effect of the gospel upon the mind, or loosens its hold upon the heart.

Verses 21-31 Persons who came from afar to pay their devotions at the temple of Ephesus, bought little silver shrines, or models of the temple, to carry home with them. See how craftsmen make advantage to themselves of people's superstition, and serve their worldly ends by it. Men are jealous for that by which they get their wealth; and many set themselves against the gospel of Christ, because it calls men from all unlawful crafts, however much wealth is to be gotten by them. There are persons who will stickle for what is most grossly absurd, unreasonable, and false; as this, that those are gods which are made with hands, if it has but worldly interest on its side. The whole city was full of confusion, the common and natural effect of zeal for false religion. Zeal for the honour of Christ, and love to the brethren, encourage zealous believers to venture into danger. Friends will often be raised up among those who are strangers to true religion, but have observed the honest and consistent behaviour of Christians.

Verses 32-41 The Jews came forward in this tumult. Those who are thus careful to distinguish themselves from the servants of Christ now, and are afraid of being taken for them, shall have their doom accordingly in the great day. One, having authority, at length stilled the noise. It is a very good rule at all times, both in private and public affairs, not to be hasty and rash in our motions, but to take time to consider; and always to keep our passions under check. We ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly; to do nothing in haste, of which we may repent at leisure. The regular methods of the law ought always to stop popular tumults, and in well-governed nations will do so. Most people stand in awe of men's judgments more than of the judgement of God. How well it were if we would thus quiet our disorderly appetites and passions, by considering the account we must shortly give to the Judge of heaven and earth! And see how the overruling providence of God keeps the public peace, by an unaccountable power over the spirits of men. Thus the world is kept in some order, and men are held back from devouring each other. We can scarcely look around but we see men act like Demetrius and the workmen. It is as safe to contend with wild beasts as with men enraged by party zeal and disappointed covetousness, who think that all arguments are answered, when they have shown that they grow rich by the practices which are opposed. Whatever side in religious disputes, or whatever name this spirit assumes, it is worldly, and should be discountenanced by all who regard truth and piety. And let us not be dismayed; the Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters; he can still the rage of the people.

Gevurot 19 Commentaries