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Acts 5:36

    Acts 5:36 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nothing.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    For before these days rose up Theudas, giving himself out to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were dispersed, and came to nought.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    For before this there was Theudas, who said he was someone important, to whom about four hundred men gave their support: he was put to death, and his band was broken up and came to nothing.

    Webster's Revision

    For before these days rose up Theudas, giving himself out to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were dispersed, and came to nought.

    World English Bible

    For before these days Theudas rose up, making himself out to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were dispersed, and came to nothing.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    For before these days rose up Theudas, giving himself out to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were dispersed, and came to nought.

    Definitions for Acts 5:36

    Nought - Nothing.

    Clarke's Commentary on Acts 5:36

    Rose up Theudas - Josephus, Ant. lib. xx. cap. 4, sect. 1, mentions one named Theudas who was the author of an insurrection; about whom there has been much controversy whether he were the person spoken of here by Gamaliel. Every circumstance, as related by Josephus agrees well enough with what is referred to here, except the chronology; for the Theudas mentioned by Josephus made his insurrection when Fadus was governor of Judea; which was at least ten years after the time in which the apostles were brought before this council. Much labor has been thrown away in unsuccessful attempts to reconcile the historian and the evangelist, when it is very probable they speak of different transactions. Bp. Pearce thinks "the whole difficulty will disappear if we follow the opinion of Abp. Usher, who imagined that Luke's Theudas was the same with that Judas of whom Josephus gives this account, Ant. lib. xvii. cap. 12, sect. 5; and War, lib. ii. cap. 4, sect. 1: 'that a little after the death of Herod the Great, he raised an insurrection in Galilee, and aimed at getting the sovereignty of Judea,' and that he was defeated and put to death, as is implied in sect. 10, of the same chapter. That Theudas and Judas might be names for the same person, Bp. Pearce thinks probable from the consideration, that the same apostle who is called Judas in John 14:22, and Luke 6:16, and called Jude in Jde 1:1, is, in Mark 3:18, called Thaddeus; and, in Matthew 10:3, is also called Lebbeus. This apostle having the names Judas and Thaddeus and Lebbeus given to him, two of these must have been the same; because no Jew had more than two names, unless when a patronymic name was given to him, as when Joseph surnamed Justus was called Barsabas, i.e. the son of Saba. It is no unreasonable thing to suppose that Thaddeus and Theudas are the same name; and that therefore the person called Theudas in Luke is probably the same whom Josephus, in the places above quoted, calls Judas." Dr. Lightfoot thinks that "Josephus has made a slip in his chronology;" and rather concludes that the Theudas mentioned in the Ant. lib. xx. cap. 4, sect. 1, is the person referred to in the text. I confess the matter does not appear to me of so much consequence; it is mentioned by Gamaliel in a careless way, and St. Luke, as we have already seen, scrupulously gives the Lords of every speaker. The story was no doubt well known, and there were no doubts formed on it by the Jewish Council. We see plainly the end for which it was produced; and we see that it answered this end most amply; and certainly we have no farther concern with Gamaliel or his story.

    Boasting himself to be somebody - Λεγων ειναι τινα ἑαυτον, Saying that he was a great personage, i.e., according to the supposition of Bp. Pearce, setting himself up to be king of the Jews: see the preceding note. After ἑαυτον, himself, μεγαν, great one, is added by several very respectable MSS. and versions.

    Barnes' Notes on Acts 5:36

    For before those days - The "advice" of Gamaliel was to permit these men to go on. The "arguments" by which he enforced his advice were:

    (1) That there were cases or precedents in point Acts 5:36-37; and,

    (2) That if it should turn out to be truly of God, it would be a solemn affair to be involved in the consequences of opposing him. How long before "these days" this transaction occurred, cannot now be determined, as it is not certain to what case Gamaliel refers.

    Rose up - That is, commenced or excited an insurrection.

    Theudas - This was a name quite common among the Jews. Of this man nothing more is known than is here recorded. Josephus (Antiq., book 20, chapter 5) mentions one "Theudas," in the time of "Fadus," the procurator of Judea, in the reign of the Emperor Claudius (45 or 46 a.d.), who persuaded a great part of the people to take their effects with them and follow him to the river Jordan. He told them he was a prophet, and that he would divide the river and lead them over. Fadus, however, came suddenly upon them, and slew many of them. Theudas was taken alive and conveyed to Jerusalem, and there beheaded. But this occurred at least ten or fifteen years after this discourse of Gamaliel. Many efforts have been made to reconcile Luke and Josephus, on the supposition that they refer to the same man. Lightfoot supposed that Josephus had made an error in chronology. But there is no reason to suppose that there is reference to the same event; and the fact that Josephus has not recorded the insurrection referred to by Gamaliel does not militate at all against the account in the Acts . For:

    (1) Luke, for anything that appears to the contrary, is quite as credible an historian as Josephus.

    (2) the name "Theudas" was a common name among the Jews; and there is no improbability that there were "two" leaders of an insurrection of this name. If it "is" improbable, the improbability would affect Josephus' credit as much as that of Luke.

    (3) it is altogether improbable that "Gamaliel" should refer to a case which was not well authenticated, and that Luke should record a speech of this kind unless it was delivered, when it would be so easy to detect the error.

    (4) Josephus has recorded many instances of insurrection and revolt. He has represented the country as in an unsettled state, and by no means professes to give an account of "all" that occurred. Thus, he says (Antiq., xvii. 10, section 4) that there were "at this time ten thousand other disorders in Judea"; and (section 8) that "Judea was full of robberies." When this "Theudas" lived cannot be ascertained; but as Gamaliel mentions him before Judas of Galilee, it is probable that he lived not far from the time that our Saviour was born; at a time when many false prophets appeared, claiming to be the Messiah.

    Boasting himself to be somebody - Claiming to be an eminent prophet probably, or the Messiah.

    Obeyed him - The word used here is the one commonly used to denote "belief." As many as believed on him, or gave credit to his pretensions.

    Wesley's Notes on Acts 5:36

    5:36 Before these days - He prudently mentions the facts first, and then makes the inference.