on Acts 5 :34
A Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law - "This," says Dr. Lightfoot, "was Rabban Gamaliel the first; commonly, by way of distinction, called Rabban Gamaliel the elder. He was president of the council after the death of his own father, Rabban Simeon, who was the son of Hillel. He was St. Paul's master, and the 35th receiver of the traditions, and on this account might not be improperly termed νομοδιδασκαλος, a doctor of the law, because he was one that kept and handed down the Cabala received from Mount Sinai. He died eighteen years before the destruction of Jerusalem, his son Simeon succeeding him in the chair, who perished in the ruins of the city." Though probably no favourer of Christianity, yet, for a Pharisee, he seems to have possessed a more liberal mind than most of his brethren; the following advice was at once humane, sensible, candid, and enlightened.
on Acts 5 :34
Then stood there up one - He rose, as is usual in deliberative assemblies, to speak.
In the council - In the Sanhedrin, Acts 4:15.
A Pharisee - The high priest and those who had been most active in opposing the apostles were Sadducees. The Pharisees were opposed to them, particularly on the doctrine in regard to which the apostles were so strenuous, the resurrection of the dead. See the notes on Matthew 3:7. Compare Acts 23:6.
Gamaliel - This name was very common among the Jews. Dr. Lightfoot says that this man was the teacher of Paul Acts 22:3, the son of the "Simon" who took the Saviour in his arms Luke 2, and the grandson of the famous "Hillel," and was known among the Jews by the title of "Rabban Gamaliel the elder." There were other people of this name, who were also eminent among the Jews. This man is said to have died 18 years after the destruction of Jerusalem, and he died as he had lived, a Pharisee. There is not the least evidence that he was a friend of the Christian religion; but he was evidently a man of far more liberal views than the other members of the Sanhedrin.
A doctor of the law - That is, "a teacher" of the Jewish Law; one whose province it was to "interpret" the laws of Moses, and probably to preserve and transmit the "traditional" laws of the Jews. See the notes on Matthew 15:3. So celebrated was he, that Saul of Tarsus went to Jerusalem to receive the benefit of his instructions, Acts 22:3.
Had in reputation among all the people - "Honored" by all the people. His advice was likely, therefore, to be respected.
To put the apostles forth - This was done, doubtless, because, if the apostles had been suffered to remain, it was apprehended that they would take fresh courage, and be confirmed in their purposes. It was customary, besides, when they deliberated, to command those accused to retire, Acts 4:15.
A little space - A little "time," Luke 22:58.
on Acts 5 :34
5:34 But a certain Pharisee - And as such believing the resurrection of the dead; a doctor, or teacher of the law - That is, a scribe, and indeed one of the highest rank; had in honour by all the people - Except the Sadducees; rising up in the council - So God can raise defenders of his servants, whensoever and wheresoever he pleases.