on Acts 5 :1
But a certain man named Ananias - Of these unhappy people we have no farther account than what is recorded here. In reference to birth, connections, etc., their names are written in the dust. The import of his name, חנניה chananiyah, the grace or mercy of the Lord, agrees very ill with his conduct.
on Acts 5 :1
But a certain man - In the previous chapter the historian had given an account of the eminent liberality and sincerity of the mass of early Christians, in being willing to give up their property to provide for the poor, and had mentioned the case of Barnabas as worthy of special attention. In this chapter he proceeds to mention a case, quite as striking, of insincerity, and hypocrisy, and of the just judgment of God on those who were guilty of it. The case is a remarkable instance of the nature of "hypocrisy," and goes to illustrate the art and cunning of the enemy of souls in attempting to corrupt the church, and to pervert the religion of the gospel. Hypocrisy consists in an attempt to "imitate" the people of God, or to assume the "appearance" of religion, in whatever form it may be manifested. In this case religion had been manifested by great self-denial and benevolence. The hypocrisy of Ananias consisted in "attempting" to imitate this in appearance, and to impose in this way on the early Christians and on God.
With Sapphira his wife - With her concurrence or consent. It was a matter of "agreement" between them, Acts 5:2, Acts 5:9.
Sold a possession - The word used here κτῆμα ktēma does not indicate whether this was "land" or some other property. In Acts 5:3, however, we learn that it was "land" that was sold; and the word here translated "possession" is translated in the Syriac, Arabic, and the Latin Vulgate as "land." The pretence for which this was sold was doubtless to have the appearance of religion. That it was "sold" could be easily known by the Christian society, but it might not be so easily known for "how much" it was sold. Hence, the attempt to impose on the apostles. It is clear that they were not under obligation to sell their property. But, "having" sold it for the purposes of religion, it became their duty, if they professed to devote the avails of it to God, to do it entirely, and without any reservation.
on Acts 5 :1
5:1 But a certain man named Ananias - It is certain, not a believer, for all that believed were of one heart and of one soul: probably not baptized; but intending now to offer himself for baptism.