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Acts 28:4

    Acts 28:4 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffers not to live.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    And when the barbarians saw the venomous creature hanging from his hand, they said one to another, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped from the sea, yet Justice hath not suffered to live.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And when the people saw it hanging on his hand, they said to one another, Without doubt this man has put someone to death, and though he has got safely away from the sea, God will not let him go on living.

    Webster's Revision

    And when the barbarians saw the venomous creature hanging from his hand, they said one to another, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped from the sea, yet Justice hath not suffered to live.

    World English Bible

    When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said one to another, "No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped from the sea, yet Justice has not allowed to live."

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    And when the barbarians saw the beast hanging from his hand, they said one to another, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped from the sea, yet Justice hath not suffered to live.

    Definitions for Acts 28:4

    Sea - Large basin.

    Clarke's Commentary on Acts 28:4

    The venomous beast - Το θηριον, The venomous animal; for θηρια is a general name among the Greek writers for serpents, vipers, scorpions, wasps, and such like creatures. Though the viper fastened on Paul's hand, it does not appear that it really bit him; but the Maltese supposed that it had, because they saw it fasten on his hand.

    Vengeance suffereth not to live - These heathens had a general knowledge of retributive justice; and they thought that the stinging of the serpent was a proof that Paul was a murderer. There is a passage in Bamidbar Rabba, fol. 239, that casts some light on this place. "Although the Sanhedrin is ceased, yet are not the four deaths ceased. For he that deserves stoning either falls from his house, or a wild beast tears and devours him. He that deserves burning either falls into the fire, or a serpent bites him. He that deserves cutting of with the sword is either betrayed into the power of a heathen kingdom, or the robbers break in upon him. He that deserves strangling is either suffocated in the water, or dies of a quinsy." See Lightfoot.

    As these people were heathens, it is not likely that they had any correct notion of the justice of the true God; and therefore it is most probable that they used the word δικη, not to express the quality or attribute of any being, but the goddess Dik, or vindictive Justice, herself, who is represented as punishing the iniquities of men.

    Hesiod makes a goddess of what the Maltese called Δικη, or Justice: -

    Η δε τε παρθενος εϚι ΔΙΚΗ, Διος εκγεγαυια,

    Κυδνη τ' αιδοιη τε θεοις, οἱ Ολυμπον εχουσιν·

    Και ρ' ὁποτ' αν τις μιν βλαπτῃ σκολιως ονοταζων.

    Αυτικα παρ Διΐ πατρι καθεζομενη Κρονιωνι

    Γηρυετ' ανθρωπων αδικον νοον·

    Hesiod. Opera, ver. 254.

    Justice, unspotted maid, derived from Jove,

    Renown'd and reverenced by the gods above:

    When mortals violate her sacred laws,

    When judges hear the bribe and not the cause,

    continued...

    Barnes' Notes on Acts 28:4

    The venomous beast - The English word "beast" we usually apply to an animal of larger size than a viper. But the original θηρίον thērion is applicable to animals of any kind, and was especially applied by Greek writers to serpents. See Schleusner.

    No doubt - The fact that the viper had fastened on him; and that, as they supposed, he must now certainly die, was the proof from which they inferred his guilt.

    Is a murderer - Why they thought he was a murderer rather than guilty of some other crime is not known. It might have been:

    (1) Because they inferred that he must have been guilty of some very atrocious crime, and as murder was the highest crime that man could commit, they inferred that he had been guilty of this. Or,

    (2) More probably, they had an opinion that when divine vengeance overtook a man, he would be punished in a manner similar to the offence; and as murder is committed usually with the hand, and as the viper had fastened on the hand of Paul, they inferred that he had been guilty of taking life. It was supposed among the ancients that persons were often punished by divine vengeance in that part of the body which had been the instrument of the sin.

    Whom, though he hath escaped the sea - They supposed that vengeance and justice would still follow the guilty; that, though he might escape one form of punishment, yet he would be exposed to another. And this, to a certain extent, is true. These barbarians reasoned from great original principles, written on the hearts of all people by nature, that there is a God of justice, and that the guilty will be punished. They reasoned incorrectly, as many do, only because that they supposed that every calamity is a judgment for some particular sin. People often draw this conclusion, and suppose that suffering is to be traced to some particular crime, and to be regarded as a direct judgment from heaven. See the notes on John 9:1-3. The general proposition that all sin will be punished at some time is true, but we are not qualified to affirm of particular calamities always that they are direct judgments for sin. In some cases we may. In the case of the drunkard, the gambler, and the profligate, we cannot doubt that the loss of property, health, and reputation is the direct result of specific crime. In the ordinary calamities of life, however, it requires a more profound acquaintance with the principles of divine government than we possess to affirm of each instance of suffering that it is a particular judgment for some crime.

    Yet vengeance - ἡ δίκη hē dikē. "Justice" was represented by the pagan as a goddess, the daughter of Jupiter, whose office it was to take vengeance, or to inflict punishment for crimes.

    Suffereth not to live - They regarded him as already a dead man. They supposed the effect of the bite of the viper would be so certainly fatal that they might speak of him as already, in effect, dead (Beza).

    Wesley's Notes on Acts 28:4

    28:4 And when the barbarians saw - they said - Seeing also his chains, Doubtless this man is a murderer - Such rarely go unpunished even in this life; whom vengeance hath not suffered to live - They look upon him as a dead man already. It is with pleasure that we trace among these barbarians the force of conscience, and the belief of a particular providence: which some people of more learning have stupidly thought it philosophy to despise. But they erred in imagining, that calamities must always be interpreted as judgments. Let us guard against this, lest, like them, we condemn not only the innocent, but the excellent of the earth.