The Berean Expositor
Volume 30 - Page 10 of 179
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some other calamity. To look back to Acts 18: and endeavour to find this deliverance
at the judgment-seat of Gallio, is to limit our interpretation unduly. The Acts does not
record a tithe of the sufferings and the deliverances that Paul experienced. We have only
to turn to his epistles, Galatians, Thessalonians and Corinthians, to meet with such a list
of afflictions, that it would seem almost impossible for any one man to have endured
them all, and to have been brought through alive and able to serve. We may take as an
example the list given in II Cor. 11:, remembering at the same time that we should have
had no knowledge of most of these troubles, had not the Apostle "become a fool" in his
"In labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in
death oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten
with rods, once I was stoned, thrice I have suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have
been in the deep" (II Cor. 11: 23-25).
Added to this almost unprecedented suffering, is a list of "perils" that beset the
Apostle in his ministry, and the passage concludes:
"Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all
the churches" (II Cor. 11: 26-28).
Coming back to Acts 18:, it would appear that the Apostle, who was still an
Israelite, still looking for the hope of Israel, and yearning for the salvation of his own
kinsmen, could find no means of expressing his thankfulness for so great a deliverance
more appropriate than the taking upon him of the Nazarite vow. Paul was not "under the
law" so far as salvation was concerned, but at the same time he was not standing in the
full light of the Mystery, as made known in his prison epistles. Christianity was still a
movement among the Jews. It destroyed no legitimate Jewish aspirations, but rather
pointed to the Lord Jesus as the true Messiah and the fulfillment of all their hopes. It is
this fact that colours the whole of the Acts up to 28: 28, and all the epistles written
before that period (namely, Galatians, Thessalonians, Hebrews, Corinthians and
Lightfoot, referring to Rabbinical teaching, writes as follows:
"Nazarism was, most ordinarily, for thirty days; though sometimes it was for years,
and sometimes for term of life. He whose vow was expired, was to bring three beasts,
one for a burnt offering, another for a sin offering, and a third for a peace offering. If he
polled his head in the country, as Paul did at Cenchrea, he was to bring his hair, and burn
it under the caldron" (Lightfoot, Vol. 9: 307).
Josephus, also, in speaking of Berenice who sacrificed her hair as part of a vow, gives
the period as thirty days (B.J. 2: 15.1).
Coming back to the Acts, let us next notice the accuracy of Luke's language. In
Acts 18: 18 the word translated "shorn" is keiramenos, while in 21: 24 we have the
word xuresontai, "shave". Keiro refers to the cutting or cropping of the hair (as, for
example, the polling of the head of Absalom) and we find that the Mishna (1: 100: vol. 2:
page 167) permitted this to be done by a temporary Nazarite in foreign lands.