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Acts 17:19

    Acts 17:19 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    And they took him, and brought him to Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof you speak, is?

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    And they took hold of him, and brought him unto the Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new teaching is, which is spoken by thee?

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And they took him to Mars' Hill, saying, Will you make clear to us what is this new teaching of yours?

    Webster's Revision

    And they took hold of him, and brought him unto the Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new teaching is, which is spoken by thee?

    World English Bible

    They took hold of him, and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is, which is spoken by you?

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    And they took hold of him, and brought him unto the Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new teaching is, which is spoken by thee?

    Definitions for Acts 17:19

    Doctrine - The act or result of teaching.

    Clarke's Commentary on Acts 17:19

    They took him, and brought him unto Areopagus - The Areopagus was a hill not far from the Acropolis, already described, where the supreme court of justice was held; one of the most sacred and reputable courts that had ever existed in the Gentile world. It had its name, Αρειος παγος, Areopagus, or the Hill of Mars, or Ares, from the circumstance, according to poetic fiction, of Mars being tried there, by a court of twelve gods, for the murder of Halirrhothius, son of Neptune: the meaning of which is, that Ares, a Thessalian prince, having slain Halirrhothius, the son of a neighboring prince, for having violated his daughter Alcippe, was here tried by twelve judges, by whom he was honourably acquitted: in the Athenian laws the death of the ravisher was the regular forfeiture for his crime. The justice administered in this court was so strict and impartial, that, it was generally allowed, both the plaintiff and defendant departed satisfied with the decision. "Innocence, when summoned before it, appeared without apprehension; and the guilty, convicted and condemned, retired without daring to murmur." The place in which the judges sat was uncovered; and they held their sittings by night, to the end that nothing might distract their minds from the great business on which they were to decide; and that the sight of the accused might not affect them either with pity or aversion. In reference to this, all pleaders were strictly forbidden to use any means whatever to excite either pity or aversion, or to affect the passions; every thing being confined to simple relation, or statement of facts. When the two parties were produced before the court, they were placed between the bleeding members of victims slain on the occasion, and were obliged to take an oath, accompanied by horrible imprecations on themselves and families, that they would testify nothing but truth. These parties called to witness the eumenides, or furies, the punishers of the perjured in the infernal world; and, to make the greater impression on the mind of the party swearing, the temple dedicated to these infernal deities was contiguous to the court, so that they appeared as if witnessing the oaths and recording the appeal made to themselves. When the case was fully heard, the judges gave their decision by throwing down their flint pebbles, on two boards or tables, one of which was for the condemnation, the other for the acquittal, of the person in question.

    Barnes' Notes on Acts 17:19

    And brought him unto Areopagus - Margin, or "Mars' hill." This was the place or court in which the Areopagites, the celebrated supreme judges of Athens, assembled. It was on a hill almost in the middle of the city; but nothing now remains by which we can determine the form or construction of the tribunal. The hill is almost entirely a mass of stone, and is not easily accessible, its sides being steep and abrupt. On many accounts this was the most celebrated tribunal in the world. Its decisions were distinguished for justice and correctness; nor was there any court in Greece in which so much confidence was placed. This court took cognizance of murders, impieties, and immoralities; they punished vices of all kinds, including idleness; they rewarded the virtuous; they were especially attentive to blasphemies against the gods, and to the performance of the sacred mysteries of religion. It was, therefore, with the greatest propriety that Paul was brought before this tribunal, as being regarded as a setter forth of strange gods, and as being supposed to wish to Introduce a new mode of worship. See Potter's "Antiquities of Greece," book 1, chapter 19; and Travels of Anacharsis, vol. i. 136, 185; ii.-292-295.

    May we know - We would know. This seems to have been a respectful inquiry; and it does not appear that Paul was brought there for the sake of trial. There are no accusations; no witnesses; none of the forms of trial. They seem to have resorted thither because it was the place where the subject of religion was usually discussed, and because it was a place of confluence for the citizens, and judges, and wise men of Athens, and of foreigners. The design seems to have been, not to try him, but fairly to canvass the claims of his doctrines. See Acts 17:21. It was just an instance of the inquisitive spirit of the people of Athens, willing to hear before they condemned, and to examine before they approved.

    Wesley's Notes on Acts 17:19

    17:19 The Areopagus, or hill of Mars, (dedicated to Mars, the heathen god of war,) was the place where the Athenians held their supreme court of judicature. But it does not appear he was carried thither as a criminal. The original number of its judges was twelve; but afterward it increased to three hundred. These were generally men of the greatest families in Athens, and were famed for justice and integrity.