on Acts 24 :5
For we have found this man, etc. - Here the proposition of the orator commences. He accuses Paul, ant his accusation includes four particulars: -
1. He is a pest, λοιμος; an exceedingly bad and wicked man.
2. He excites disturbances and seditions against the Jews.
3. He is the chief of the sect of the Nazarenes, who are a very bad people, and should not be tolerated.
4. He has endeavored to pollute and profane the temple, and we took him in the fact.
A pestilent fellow - The word λοιμος, pestis - the plague or pestilence, is used by both Greek and Roman authors to signify a very bad and profligate man; we have weakened the force of the word by translating the substantive adjectively. Tertullus did not say that Paul was a pestilent fellow, but he said that he was the very pestilence itself. As in that of Martial, xi. 92: -
Non vitiosus homo es, Zoile, sed vitium.
"Thou art not a vicious man, O Zoilus, but thou art vice itself."
The words λοιμος, and pestis, are thus frequently used. - See Wetstein, Bp. Pearce, and Kypke.
A mover of sedition - Instead of Ϛασιν, sedition, ABE, several others, with the Coptic, Vulgate, Chrysostom, Theophylact, and Oecumenius, read Ϛασεις, commotions, which is probably the true reading.
Among all the Jews - Bp. Pearce contends that the words should be understood thus - one that stirreth up tumults Against all the Jews; for, if they be understood otherwise, Tertullus may be considered as accusing his countrymen, as if they, at Paul's instigation, were forward to make insurrections every where. On the contrary, he wishes to represent them as a persecuted and distressed people, by means of Paul and his Nazarenes.
A ringleader - Πρωτοστατην. This is a military phrase, and signifies the officer who stands on the right of the first rank; the captain of the front rank of the sect of the Nazarenes; της των ναζωραιων αἱρεσεως, of the heresy of the Nazarenes. This word is used six times by St. Luke; viz. in this verse, and in Acts 24:14, and in Acts 5:17; Acts 15:5; Acts 26:5; Acts 28:22; but in none of them does it appear necessarily to include that bad sense which we generally assign to the word heresy. - See the note on Acts 5:17, where the subject is largely considered; and see farther on Acts 24:14 (note).
on Acts 24 :5
We have found this man a pestilent fellow - λοιμὸν loimon This word is commonly applied to a plague or pestilence, and then to a man who corrupts the morals of others, or who is turbulent, and an exciter of sedition. Our translation somewhat weakens the force of the original expression. Tertullus did not say that he was a pestilent fellow, but that he was the very pestilence itself. In this he referred to their belief that he had been the cause of extensive disturbances everywhere among the Jews.
And a mover of sedition - An exciter of tumult. This they pretended he did by preaching doctrines contrary to the laws and customs of Moses, and exciting the Jews to tumult and disorder.
Throughout the world - Throughout the Roman empire, and thus leading the Jews to violate the laws, and to produce tumults, riots, and disorder.
And a ringleader - πρωτοστάτην prōtostatēn. This word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It is properly a military word, and denotes "one who stands first in an army, a standard-bearer, a leader, a commander." The meaning is, that Paul had been so active, and so prominent in preaching the gospel, that he had been a leader, or the principal person in extending the sect of the Nazarenes.
Of the sect - The original word here αἱρέσεως haireseōs is the word from which we have derived the term "heresy." It is, however, properly translated "sect, or party," and should have been so translated in Acts 24:14. See the notes on Acts 5:17.
Of the Nazarenes - This was the name usually given to Christians by way of contempt. They were so called because Jesus was of Nazareth.
on Acts 24 :5