Paul’s Journey to Jerusalem, 1-40
21:1 After we tore ourselves away from them, we put out to sea, and sailing a straight course, we came to Cos, on the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. 21:2 We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, went aboard, and put out to sea. 21:3 After we sighted Cyprus and left it behind on our port side, we sailed on to Syria and put in at Tyre, because the ship was to unload its cargo there.
21:4 After we located the disciples, we stayed there seven days. They repeatedly told Paul through the Spirit not to set foot in Jerusalem. 21:5 When our time was over, we left and went on our way. All of them, with their wives and children, accompanied us outside of the city. After kneeling down on the beach and praying, 21:6 we said farewell to one another.
Then we went aboard the ship, and they returned to their own homes. 21:7 We continued the voyage from Tyre and arrived at Ptolemais, and when we had greeted the brothers, we stayed with them for one day.
21:8 On the next day we left and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 21:9 (He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.)
This may be by way of explaining that even low-status people (unmarried females) had significant roles within the church (NBC).
There may also be an echo of the four female prophets of the OT: Miriam (Exod. 15:20); Deborah (Judg. 4:4); Huldah (2 Kgs. 22:14); and Noadiah (Neh. 6:14).
‘Perhaps these prophesying maidens and their father gave Luke source material Luke and Acts, for example, on Philip’s mission in Samaria and to the Ethiopian eunuch.’ (EBC)
We are not told what these maidens prophesied about. Marshall points out that that do not (apparently) prophesy about Paul’s fate.
21:10 While we remained there for a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 21:11 He came to us, took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it, and said, “The Holy Spirit says this: ‘This is the way the Jews in Jerusalem will tie up the man whose belt this is, and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’ ”
Agabus – He is introduced here as if we had not already met him in Acts 11:28. ‘This suggests that Luke is recording material from the we-source in which he had not yet been mentioned.’ (Marshall)
Marshall comments: ‘The prophecy was not fulfilled in so many words: although the Jews seized Paul, they did not hand him over to the Romans, but rather the Romans rescued him from them, while keeping him in custody. The form of Agabus’s wording is no doubt meant to bring out more clearly the parallelism between the fates of Jesus and Paul. In any case, the Jews could be regarded as responsible for the fact that Paul fell into the hands of the Romans and remained in custody (cf. Acts 28:17) although the latter had no particular reason of their own to charge him with any crime.’
21:12 When we heard this, both we and the local people begged him not to go up to Jerusalem. 21:13 Then Paul replied, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be tied up, but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 21:14 Because he could not be persuaded, we said no more except, “The Lord’s will be done.”
21:15 After these days we got ready and started up to Jerusalem. 21:16 Some of the disciples from Caesarea came along with us too, and brought us to the house of Mnason of Cyprus, a disciple from the earliest times, with whom we were to stay.
21:17 When we arrived in Jerusalem, the brothers welcomed us gladly. 21:18 The next day Paul went in with us to see James, and all the elders were there. 21:19 When Paul had greeted them, he began to explain in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.
v18 This verse teaches us that Luke (included of course in the ‘us’) was in contact with a younger brother of Jesus (James) and therefore a very direct source of material for the life of Jesus and his family (including Mary).
21:20 When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all ardent observers of the law. 21:21 They have been informed about you—that you teach all the Jews now living among the Gentiles to abandon Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs.
21:22 What then should we do? They will no doubt hear that you have come. 21:23 So do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow; 21:24 take them and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself live in conformity with the law.
21:25 But regarding the Gentiles who have believed, we have written a letter, having decided that they should avoid meat that has been sacrificed to idols and blood and what has been strangled and sexual immorality.” 21:26 Then Paul took the men the next day, and after he had purified himself along with them, he went to the temple and gave notice of the completion of the days of purification, when the sacrifice would be offered for each of them.
21:27 When the seven days were almost over, the Jews from the province of Asia who had seen him in the temple area stirred up the whole crowd and seized him, 21:28 shouting, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people, our law, and this sanctuary! Furthermore he has brought Greeks into the inner courts of the temple and made this holy place ritually unclean!” 21:29 (For they had seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him previously, and they assumed Paul had brought him into the inner temple courts.)
“He has brought Greeks into the temple area and defiled this holy place” – Cf. Eph 2:14.
21:30 The whole city was stirred up, and the people rushed together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple courts, and immediately the doors were shut.
21:31 While they were trying to kill him, a report was sent up to the commanding officer of the cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion. 21:32 He immediately took soldiers and centurions and ran down to the crowd. When they saw the commanding officer and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 21:33 Then the commanding officer came up and arrested him and ordered him to be tied up with two chains; he then asked who he was and what he had done. 21:34 But some in the crowd shouted one thing, and others something else, and when the commanding officer was unable to find out the truth because of the disturbance, he ordered Paul to be brought into the barracks. 21:35 When he came to the steps, Paul had to be carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the mob, 21:36 for a crowd of people followed them, screaming, “Away with him!”
21:37 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the commanding officer, “May I say something to you?” The officer replied, “Do you know Greek? 21:38 Then you’re not that Egyptian who started a rebellion and led the four thousand men of the ‘Assassins’ into the wilderness some time ago?” 21:39 Paul answered, “I am a Jew from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of an important city. Please allow me to speak to the people.” 21:40 When the commanding officer had given him permission, Paul stood on the steps and gestured to the people with his hand. When they had become silent, he addressed them in Aramaic,