The Acts of the Apostles

Chapter 21

Paul arrives at the house of Philip, whose daughters prophesy, 1-9. Agabus foretells what should happen to him at Jerusalem, he will not be dissuaded from going there, 10-16. He comes to Jerusalem, 17-26; where he is apprehended and in great danger, but by the chief captain is rescued, 27-36; and requests and is permitted to speak to the people, 37-40.

1 And it came to pass, that after we were separated from them and had launched, we came with a straight course to Coos, and the day following to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. 2 And finding a ship sailing over to Phenicia, we went aboard and set forth. 3 Now when we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left hand, we sailed into Syria and landed at Tyre, for there the ship was to unload her burden. 4 And finding disciples, we stayed there seven days. And through the Spirit they said to Paul that he should not go up to Jerusalem. 5 And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and proceeded on our way. And they all conducted us with wives and children until we were out of the city. And we kneeled down on the shore and prayed. 6 And when we had taken our leave of one another, we went on board the ship and they returned home again.

7 And when we had finished our course from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, where we saluted the brothers and stayed with them one day. 8 And the next day, we who were of Paul's company departed and came to Caesarea. And we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, who prophesied. 10 And as we remained there many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 And when he had come to us, he took Paul's girdle and bound his own hands and feet, and said, "Thus says the Holy Spirit: 'Thus the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this girdle and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'" 12 And when we heard these things, both we and those of that place implored him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, "What are you doing weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." 14 And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, "May the will of the Lord be done."

15 And after those days, we took up our baggage and went up to Jerusalem. 16 Some of the disciples of Caesarea also went with us and brought with them Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple, with whom we should lodge.

17 And when we had come to Jerusalem, the brothers received us gladly. 18 And the day following Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19 And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord and said to him, "You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are who believe, and they are all zealous of the law. 21 And they are informed concerning you, that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. 22 What is it therefore? It is necessary for the multitude to come together, for they will hear that you have come. 23 Therefore, do what we say to you. We have four men who have a vow on them. 24 Take them, purify yourself with them, and pay their expenses for them so that they may shave their heads. And all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law. 25 As concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, except only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from lewdness." 26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day he purified himself with them and entered into the temple, declaring the accomplishment of the days of purification until an offering should be offered for each of them.

27 And when the seven days were almost completed, the Jews who were from Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people and laid hands on him, 28 Crying out, "Men of Israel, help. This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, the law, and this place. And further, he has also brought Greeks into the temple and has polluted this holy place"— 29 For they had seen Trophimus, an Ephesian, with him before in the city, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple. 30 And all the city was moved and the people ran together. And they took Paul and drew him out of the temple. And immediately the doors were shut. 31 And as they were seeking to kill him, tidings came to the chief captain of the band that all Jerusalem was in an uproar, 32 Who immediately took soldiers and centurions and ran down to them. And when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 Then the chief captain came near, took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains. Then he inquired who he was and what he had done. 34 And among the multitude some cried one thing, some another. And when he could not know the certainty because of the tumult, he commanded him to be carried into the castle. 35 And when he came upon the stairs, it was so, that he was borne by the soldiers because of the violence of the people. 36 For the multitude of the people followed, crying, "Away with him."

37 And as Paul was to be led into the castle, he said to the chief captain, "May I speak to you?" He said, "Can you speak Greek? 38 Are you not that Egyptian, who, before these days, made an uproar and led out into the wilderness four thousand men who were murderers?" 39 But Paul said, "I am a Jew of Tarsus, a city of Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city, and I implore you to allow me to speak to the people." 40 And when he had given him license, Paul stood on the stairs and beckoned with the hand to the people. And when entire silence was made, he addressed them, speaking in the Hebrew language.


Matthew Henry Commentary - Acts, Chapter 21[➚]