Gevurot 20

1 0 And after the uproar had ended, Rav Sha’ul summoned the Moshiach’s talmidim and, having exhorted them, and having taken his leave, he departed to go to Macedonia.
2 And having traveled through those regions and having exhorted the Moshiach’s talmidim there with many words, Rav Sha’ul came to Greece.
3 And after he had spent shloshah chodashim there, Rav Sha’ul was about to set sail for Syria when a kesher (conspiracy) was plotted against him by the [unbelieving] Yehudim, and so Rav Sha’ul decided to return through Macedonia.
4 And accompanying Rav Sha’ul from Berea was Sopater the son of Pyrrhus; from Thessalonica was Aristarchus and Secundus; from Derbe, Gaius; and from Asia, Timotiyos, Tychicus and Trophimus.
5 And these, having gone ahead, were waiting for us in Troas.
6 And we sailed away after the Yamim HaMatzot [i.e., Pesach] from Philippi, and within chamash yamim we came to them in Troas, where we stayed shivah yamim.
7 And on Yom Rishon, when we met for tish (it was Motzoei Shabbos when there was a Melaveh Malkeh communal meal), Rav Sha’ul was saying a shiur to them, since he would have to depart early the next day and was having to extend the message until chatzot halailah.
8 And there were a number of menorot in the upper story, where we had assembled.
9 And a certain bocher, by the name of Eutychus, was sitting on the window sill and began to succumb to a deep sleep while Rav Sha’ul was saying a shiur that went on and on. Overcome by this sleep, Eutychus fell from the third story downwards, and was picked up dead.
10 And having come down, Rav Sha’ul fell upon him, and, having embraced him, Rav Sha’ul said, "Do not be troubled, for his neshamah is in him." [MELACHIM ALEF 17:21; MELACHIM BAIS 4:34]
11 And having gone up and, at the Betzi’at HaLechem, having partaken of it, and having spoken until Shacharis, thus Rav Sha’ul departed.
12 And they led away the bochur chai! And they were not a little comforted.
13 And we went ahead to the oniyah (sailing vessel) and set sail for Assos, where we were intending to take Rav Sha’ul on board, for he had arranged it so, intending to travel himself there by land.
14 When Rav Sha’ul met us in Assos, we took him on board and came to Mitylene.
15 And from there, having sailed away, we arrived on the next day opposite Chios. And then the day following we crossed over to Samos, and, on the following day, we came to Miletus.
16 For Rav Sha’ul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so he would not have to spend time in [the Province of] Asia, for he was hurrying in order that, if possible, he might by Shavu’os go up to Yerushalayim.
17 And from Miletus, having sent to Ephesus, Rav Sha’ul summoned the Ziknei HaKehillah.
18 And when they came to him, he said to them, "You have da’as from the yom harishon in which I set foot in Asia how I was with you the entire time,
19 "My avodas kodesh service to Hashem with all anavah (humility) and tears and tzoros, and all that happened to me by the kesharim of the [unbelieving] Yehudim;
20 "How I kept back nothing profitable from you, but kept giving you messianic drashot and shiurim publicly and from bais to bais, [TEHILLIM 40:10; YIRMEYAH 26:2; 42:2]
21 "Bearing solemn edut both to Yehudim and Yevanim about teshuva toward Hashem and emunah in Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach Adoneinu Yehoshua.
22 "And now, hinei, having been bound by the Ruach Hakodesh, I am going to Yerushalayim, not having da’as of the things that are going to happen to me there,
23 "Except that the Ruach Hakodesh, in every city, testifies to me, saying that the beis hasohar and tzoros are awaiting me.
24 "But I gufa (myself) do not account my existence in the Olam Hazeh of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the avodas kodesh sherut which I received from the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach Adoneinu Yehoshua to bear witness to the Besuras HaGeulah of the Chen v’Chesed Hashem.
25 "And now, hinei, I have da’as that no longer will you see my face, all of you among whom I went about preaching the Malchut Hashem.
26 "Therefore I bear solemn edut (testimony) to you on this very day today, that I am innocent of the blood of any of you.
27 "For I did not shrink back from preaching and disclosing to all of you the whole etzat Hashem (counsel, plan of G-d).
28 "Pay attention to yourselves and to all the Eder Hashem (flock of G-d) in which the Ruach Hakodesh has placed you as mashgichim ruchaniyim (spiritual overseers) to do the work of ro’im (shepherds) over the Kehillah of Hashem which Adoneinu purchased for the Geulah with his own dahm [kapporah].
29 "I have da’as that after my departure savage ze’evim (wolves) will come in among you, not sparing the eder (flock). [YECHEZKEL 34:5]
30 "And from you yourselves will rise up anashim speaking perverted doctrines in order to draw away talmidim after themselves.
31 "Therefore, be shomer, remembering that for shloshah shanim, yomam v’lailah, I did not stop admonishing each one of you with tears.
32 "And now I commend you to Hashem and to the Dvar HaChen v’Chesed Hashem which is able to build you up and give you a nachalah (inheritance) among all the kadoshim.
33 "I coveted no one’s silver or gold or shtreimel. [SHMUEL ALEF 12:3]
34 "You yourselves have da’as that these hands of mine supported all my needs as well as the needs of those with me.
35 "In all this I was showing you a mofet (example) that thus working hard it is necessary to help the weak and to have zikaron of the dvarim of Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach Adoneinu Yehoshua, that he himself said, ‘Beser (better) to geben (give) than to nemen (take).’"
36 And having said these things, Rav Sha’ul fell down and, with them all, began davening.
37 And there was much weeping among them, and, having fallen upon the neck of Rav Sha’ul, they were kissing him,
38 with agmat nefesh above all at the dvar in which Rav Sha’ul had said that no longer would they see his face again. And they were accompanying him to the oniyah.

Gevurot 20 Commentary

Chapter 20

Paul's journeys. (1-6) Eutychus restored to life. (7-12) Paul travels towards Jerusalem. (13-16) Paul's discourse to the elders of Ephesus. (17-27) Their farewell. (28-38)

Verses 1-6 Tumults or opposition may constrain a Christian to remove from his station or alter his purpose, but his work and his pleasure will be the same, wherever he goes. Paul thought it worth while to bestow five days in going to Troas, though it was but for seven days' stay there; but he knew, and so should we, how to redeem even journeying time, and to make it turn to some good account.

Verses 7-12 Though the disciples read, and meditated, and prayed, and sung apart, and thereby kept up communion with God, yet they came together to worship God, and so kept up their communion with one another. They came together on the first day of the week, the Lord's day. It is to be religiously observed by all disciples of Christ. In the breaking of the bread, not only the breaking of Christ's body for us, to be a sacrifice for our sins, is remembered, but the breaking of Christ's body to us, to be food and a feast for our souls, is signified. In the early times it was the custom to receive the Lord's supper every Lord's day, thus celebrating the memorial of Christ's death. In this assembly Paul preached. The preaching of the gospel ought to go with the sacraments. They were willing to hear, he saw they were so, and continued his speech till midnight. Sleeping when hearing the word, is an evil thing, a sign of low esteem of the word of God. We must do what we can to prevent being sleepy; not put ourselves to sleep, but get our hearts affected with the word we hear, so as to drive sleep far away. Infirmity requires tenderness; but contempt requires severity. It interrupted the apostle's preaching; but was made to confirm his preaching. Eutychus was brought to life again. And as they knew not when they should have Paul's company again, they made the best use of it they could, and reckoned a night's sleep well lost for that purpose. How seldom are hours of repose broken for the purposes of devotion! but how often for mere amusement or sinful revelry! So hard is it for spiritual life to thrive in the heart of man! so naturally do carnal practices flourish there!

Verses 13-16 Paul hastened to Jerusalem, but tried to do good by the way, when going from place to place, as every good man should do. In doing God's work, our own wills and those of our friends must often be crossed; we must not spend time with them when duty calls us another way.

Verses 17-27 The elders knew that Paul was no designing, self-seeking man. Those who would in any office serve the Lord acceptably, and profitably to others, must do it with humility. He was a plain preacher, one that spoke his message so as to be understood. He was a powerful preacher; he preached the gospel as a testimony to them if they received it; but as a testimony against them if they rejected it. He was a profitable preacher; one that aimed to inform their judgments, and reform their hearts and lives. He was a painful preacher, very industrious in his work. He was a faithful preacher; he did not keep back reproofs when necessary, nor keep back the preaching of the cross. He was a truly Christian, evangelical preacher; he did not preach notions or doubtful matters; nor affairs of state or the civil government; but he preached faith and repentance. A better summary of these things, without which there is no salvation, cannot be given: even repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, with their fruits and effects. Without these no sinner can escape, and with these none will come short of eternal life. Let them not think that Paul left Asia for fear of persecution; he was in full expectation of trouble, yet resolved to go on, well assured that it was by Divine direction. Thanks be to God that we know not the things which shall befall us during the year, the week, the day which has begun. It is enough for the child of God to know that his strength shall be equal to his day. He knows not, he would not know, what the day before him shall bring forth. The powerful influences of the Holy Spirit bind the true Christian to his duty. Even when he expects persecution and affliction, the love of Christ constrains him to proceed. None of these things moved Paul from his work; they did not deprive him of his comfort. It is the business of our life to provide for a joyful death. Believing that this was the last time they should see him, he appeals concerning his integrity. He had preached to them the whole counsel of God. As he had preached to them the gospel purely, so he had preached it to them entire; he faithfully did his work, whether men would bear or forbear.

Verses 28-38 If the Holy Ghost has made ministers overseers of the flock, that is, shepherds, they must be true to their trust. Let them consider their Master's concern for the flock committed to their charge. It is the church He has purchased with his own blood. The blood was his as Man; yet so close is the union between the Divine and human nature, that it is there called the blood of God, for it was the blood of Him who is God. This put such dignity and worth into it, as to ransom believers from all evil, and purchase all good. Paul spake about their souls with affection and concern. They were full of care what would become of them. Paul directs them to look up to God with faith, and commends them to the word of God's grace, not only as the foundation of their hope and the fountain of their joy, but as the rule of their walking. The most advanced Christians are capable of growing, and will find the word of grace help their growth. As those cannot be welcome guests to the holy God who are unsanctified; so heaven would be no heaven to them; but to all who are born again, and on whom the image of God is renewed, it is sure, as almighty power and eternal truth make it so. He recommends himself to them as an example of not caring as to things of the present world; this they would find help forward their comfortable passage through it. It might seem a hard saying, therefore Paul adds to it a saying of their Master's, which he would have them always remember; "It is more blessed to give than to receive:" it seems they were words often used to his disciples. The opinion of the children of this world, is contrary to this; they are afraid of giving, unless in hope of getting. Clear gain, is with them the most blessed thing that can be; but Christ tell us what is more blessed, more excellent. It makes us more like to God, who gives to all, and receives from none; and to the Lord Jesus, who went about doing good. This mind was in Christ Jesus, may it be in us also. It is good for friends, when they part, to part with prayer. Those who exhort and pray for one another, may have many weeping seasons and painful separations, but they will meet before the throne of God, to part no more. It was a comfort to all, that the presence of Christ both went with him and stayed with them.

Gevurot 20 Commentaries

The Orthodox Jewish Bible fourth edition, OJB. Copyright 2002,2003,2008,2010, 2011 by Artists for Israel International. All rights reserved.