on Acts 2 :23
Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel - Bp. Pearce paraphrases the words thus: Him having been given forth; i.e. sent into the world, and manifested by being made flesh, and dwelling among you, as it is said in John 1:14; see also Acts 4:28.
Kypke contends that εκδοτον, delivered, does not refer to God, but to Judas the traitor "the Jews received Jesus, delivered up to them by Judas; the immutable counsel of God so permitting."
By the determinate counsel, ὡρισμενῃ βουλῃ; that counsel of God which defined the time, place, and circumstance, according (προγνωσει) to his foreknowledge, which always saw what was the most proper time and place for the manifestation and crucifixion of his Son; so that there was nothing casual in these things, God having determined that the salvation of a lost world should be brought about in this way; and neither the Jews nor Romans had any power here, but what was given to them from above. It was necessary to show the Jews that it was not through Christ's weakness or inability to defend himself that he was taken; nor was it through their malice merely that he was slain; for God had determined long before, from the foundation of the world, Revelation 13:8, to give his Son a sacrifice for sin; and the treachery of Judas, and the malice of the Jews were only the incidental means by which the great counsel of God was fulfilled: the counsel of God intending the sacrifice, but never ordering that it should be brought about by such wretched means. This was permitted; the other was decreed. See the observations at the end of this chapter.
By wicked hands have crucified and slain - I think this refers to the Romans, and not to the Jews; the former being the agents, to execute the evil purposes of the latter. It is well known that the Jews acknowledged that they had no power to put our Lord to death, John 18:31, and it is as well known that the punishment of the cross was not a Jewish, but a Roman, punishment: hence we may infer that by δια χειρων ανομων, by the hands of the wicked, the Romans are meant, being called ανομοι, without law, because they had no revelation from God; whereas the others had what was emphatically termed ὁ νομος του Θεου, the law of God, by which they professed to regulate their worship and their conduct. It was the Jews, therefore, who caused our Lord to be crucified by the hands of the heathen Romans.
on Acts 2 :23
Him, being delivered - ἔκδοτον ekdoton. This word, delivered, is used commonly of those who are surrendered or delivered into the hands of enemies or adversaries. It means that Jesus was surrendered, or given up to his enemies by those who should have been his protectors. Thus, he was delivered to the chief priests, Mark 10:33. Pilate released Barabbas, and delivered Jesus to their will, Mark 15:15; Luke 23:25. He was delivered unto the Gentiles, Luke 18:32; the chief priests delivered him to Pilate, Matthew 27:2; and Pilate delivered him to be crucified, Matthew 27:26; John 19:16. In this manner was the death of Jesus accomplished, by being surrendered from one tribunal to another, and one demand of his countrymen to another, until they succeeded in procuring his death. It may also be implied here that he was given or surrendered by God Himself to the hands of people. Thus, he is represented to have been given by God, John 3:16; 1 John 4:9-10. The Syriac translates this, "Him, who was destined to this by the foreknowledge and will of God, you delivered into the hands of wicked men," etc. The Arabic, "Him, delivered to you by the hands of the wicked, you received, and after you had mocked him you slew him."
By the determinate counsel - The word translated "determinate" - τῇ ὡρίσμένῃ tē hōrismenē - mean, properly, "what is defined, marked out, or bounded; as, to mark out or define the boundary of a field," etc. See Romans 1:1, Romans 1:4. In Acts 10:42, it is translated "ordained of God"; denoting His purpose that it should be so, that is, that Jesus should be the Judge of quick and dead; Luke 22:22, "The Son of man goeth as it is determined of him," that is, as God has purposed or determined beforehand that he should go; Acts 11:29, "The disciples ...determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judea," that is, they resolved or purposed beforehand to do it; Acts 17:26, "God ...'hath determined' the times before appointed and fixed," etc. In all these places there is the idea of a purpose, intention, or plan implying intention, and marking out or fixing the boundaries to some future action or evens. The word implies that the death of Jesus was resolved by God before it took place. And this truth is established by all the predictions made in the Old Testament, and by the Saviour himself. God was not compelled to give up his Son. There was no claim on him for it. He had a right, therefore, to determine when and how it should be done. The fact, moreover, that this was predicted, shows that it was fixed or resolved on. No event can be foretold, evidently, unless it be certain that it will take place. The event, therefore, must in some way be fixed or resolved on beforehand,
Counsel - βουλή boulē. This word properly denotes "purpose, decree, will." It expresses the act of the mind in willing, or the purpose or design which is formed. Here it means the purpose or will of God; it was his plan or decree that Jesus should be delivered: Acts 4:28, "For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel ἡ βουλή σου hē boulē sou determined before to be done"; Ephesians 1:11, "Who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will"; Hebrews 6:17, "God willing ...to show ...the immutability of his counsel." See Acts 20:27; 1 Corinthians 4:5; Luke 23:51. The word here, therefore, proves that Jesus was delivered by the deliberate purpose of God; that it was according to his previous intention and design. The reason why this was insisted on by Peter was that he might convince the Jews that Jesus was not delivered by weakness, or because he was unable to rescue himself. Such an opinion would have been inconsistent with the belief that he was the Messiah. It was important, then, to assert the dignity of Jesus, and to show that his death was in accordance with the fixed design of God, and therefore that it did not interfere in the least with his claims to be the Messiah. The same thing our Saviour has himself expressly affirmed, John 19:10-11; John 10:18; Matthew 26:53.
Foreknowledge - This word denotes "the seeing beforehand of an event yet to take place." It implies:
1. Omniscience; and,
2. That the event is fixed and certain.
To foresee a contingent event, that is, to foresee that an event will take place when it may or may not take place, is an absurdity. Foreknowledge, therefore, implies that for some reason the event will certainly take place. What that reason As, however, God is represented in the Scriptures as purposing or determining future events; as they could not be foreseen by him unless he had so determined, so the word sometimes is used in the sense of determining beforehand, or as synonymous with decreeing, Romans 8:29; Romans 11:2. In this place the word is used to denote that the delivering up of Jesus was something more than a bare or naked decree. It implies that God did it according to his foresight of what would be the best time, place, and manner of its being done. It was not the result merely of will; it was will directed by a wise foreknowledge of what would be best. And this is the case with all the decrees of God. It follows from this that the conduct of the Jews was foreknown. God was not disappointed in anything respecting their treatment of his Son, nor will he be disappointed in any of the actions of people. Notwithstanding the wickedness of the world, his counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure, Isaiah 46:10.
Ye have taken - See Matthew 26:57. Ye Jews have taken. It is possible that some were present on this occasion who had been personally concerned in taking Jesus, and many who had joined in the cry, "Crucify him, Luke 23:18-21. It was, at any rate, the act of the Jewish people by which this had been done. This was a striking instance of the fidelity of that preaching which says, as Nathan did to David, "Thou art the man!" Peter, once so timid that he denied his Lord, now charged this atrocious crime to his countrymen, regardless of their anger and his own danger. He did not deal in general accusations, but brought the charges home, and declared that they were the people who had been concerned in this amazing crime. No preaching can be successful that does not charge to people their personal guilt, and that does not fearlessly proclaim their ruin and danger.
By wicked hands - Greek: "through or by the hands of the lawless or wicked." This refers, doubtless, to Pilate and the Roman soldiers, through whose instrumentality this had been done. The reasons for supposing that this is the true interpretation of the passage are these:
(1) The Jews had not the power of inflicting death themselves.
(2) the term used here, "wicked," ἀνόμων anomōn, is not applicable to the Jews, but to the Romans. It properly means lawless, or those who had not the Law, and is often applied to the pagan, Romans 2:12, Romans 2:14; 1 Corinthians 9:21.
(3) the punishment which was inflicted was a Roman punishment.
(4) it was a matter of fact that the Jews, though they had condemned him, yet had not put him to death themselves, but had demanded it of the Romans. But, though they had employed the Romans to do it, still they were the prime movers in the deed; they had plotted, and compassed, and demanded his death, and they were, therefore, not the less guilty. The maxim of the common law and of common sense is, "He who does a deed by the instrumentality of another is responsible for it." It was from no merit of the Jews that they had not put him to death themselves. It was simply because the power was taken away from them.
Have crucified - Greek: "Having affixed him to the cross, ye have put him to death." Peter here charges the crime fully on them. Their guilt was not diminished because they had employed others to do it. From this we may remark:
on Acts 2 :23
2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God - The apostle here anticipates an objection, Why did God suffer such a person to be so treated? Did he not know what wicked men intended to do? And had he not power to prevent it? Yea. He knew all that those wicked men intended to do. And he had power to blast all their designs in a moment. But he did not exert that power, because he so loved the world! Because it was the determined counsel of his love, to redeem mankind from eternal death, by the death of his only - begotten Son.