Ver. 1. S. Paul having obtained liberty of speaking, stretches out his right hand, disengaged from his cloak. We must recollect that S. Paul still bore his chains about him, those chains in which he gloried; (v. 26.) it is therefore necessary to suppose that his left hand only was tied; or, what is less likely, that these chains were not so tight nor heavy as to hinder the easy motion of the right. It is observed by Apuleius, that orators in this action closed the two shorter fingers, and had the others extended. Calmet.
Ver. 5. According to the most sure sect.† In the Greek, the most exact or approved: for such was esteemed that of the Pharisees. Wi.
[†] V. 5. Certissimam, akribestathn, accuratissimam.
Ver. 6. For the hope of the promise. That is, of the promised Messias, and of salvation by him. Wi.
Ver. 8. He speaks now to the Sadducees, who denied the resurrection. Can you say it is impossible for Him, whom you all allow to be omnipotent, to raise any of the dead to life? Is it not easier to reanimate a body, whose parts are dissolved by death, than create what had no existence? "And why should He, who daily from the corrupted seed brings forth plants, leaves, wood, not be able to call back into their primitive state the flesh and bones from the dust into which they have been dissolved." S. Greg. hom. xxvi. in Evang.
Ver. 10. I brought the sentence.† That is, from those who in the great council were judges of life and death, to those officers who were to put the sentence in execution. This seems to be the sense of these words, rather than, I voted, or gave my voice in condemning them; for we have no grounds to think S. Paul was one of the council, or of the judges. Wi.
[†] V. 10. Ego sententiam detuli, kathnegka yhfon, calculum, suffragium. It was the custom for judges to give their votes either by taking up a white or a black stone: that it, a white stone, if the persons judged were found not guilty, and a black stone, if guilty: so Ovid,
Mos erat antiquis niveis, atrisque lapillis,
His damnare reos, illis absolvere culpa.
--- So that yhfoV was a lapillus, or a little stone made use of in giving sentence, and from thence taken for the sentence itself.
Ver. 14. It is generally supposed that S. Paul addresses king Agrippa in the Greek language, which was the common tongue of a great part of the East. V.
Ver. 16. Wherein I will appear to thee. From whence interpreters take notice, that Christ divers times appeared to S. Paul to reveal things to him. Wi.
Ver. 17. Delivering thee, &c. That is, from many attempts, both of the Jews and Gentiles, against thee. Wi.
Ver. 18. That they may be converted from the darkness of error to the light of the gospel, and from the power of Satan to the liberty of the children of God.
Ver. 23. That Christ should suffer, &c. Lit. if Christ be passible. If, here is expounded not as implying a condition, but as an affirmation; so that the sense is, that Christ, according to the predictions of the prophets, was to suffer, was to be the first that should rise from the dead, &c. Wi.
--- First, &c. Many had been raised from the dead before Jesus; the child of the widow of Sarepta, Lazarus, and others. How, then, is Jesus first? He is the first who rises not to die again; and as such the Messias is always represented by the prophets. Others were raised from the dead, but returned again to their graves. Jesus dies no more. He is the first too who raises himself. Calmet.
Ver. 24. It is not surprising that Festus should have taken S. Paul for a madman. The resurrection of the dead, remission of sins, receiving baptism, and faith, announcing light to the nations, &c. were subjects completely unintelligible to a Roman. To a Jew the terms were customary and common. The eloquence and manner in which he spoke on these subjects, might shew him to be a man of great learning.
Ver. 28. In a little thou persuadest me to become a Christian. According to the common exposition, Agrippa speaks in a jest, and ironically; and as for the words, they are the same as, thou almost persuadest me, &c. Wi.
Ver. 29. Except these chains. That is, I heartily wish all men in the same condition as myself, not only to be prisoners as I am, but to be Christians, as I am. Wi.