Sunday favorites

Acts 19:29-41

The city was filled with the confusion; and people rushed together to the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s travelling-companions. Paul wished to go into the crowd, but the disciples would not let him; even some officials of the province of Asia, who were friendly to him, sent him a message urging him not to venture into the theatre.

Meanwhile, some were shouting one thing, some another; for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. Some of the crowd gave instructions to Alexander, whom the Jews had pushed forward. And Alexander motioned for silence and tried to make a defense before the people. But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours all of them shouted in unison, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

But when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, “Citizens of Ephesus, who is there that does not know that the city of the Ephesians is the temple-keeper of the great Artemis and of the statue that fell from heaven? Since these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. You have brought these men here who are neither temple-robbers nor blasphemers of our goddess. If therefore Demetrius and the artisans with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls; let them bring charges there against one another. If there is anything further you want to know, it must be settled in the regular assembly. For we are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.”

When he had said this, he dismissed the assembly.


"My boss was telling me of her father who was stationed at one of the ..."

Unspoken testimony
"It's whataboutism taken to its logical and horrific extreme, Not merely justifying brutality by wrongly ..."

Unspoken testimony
"I'm fairly certain taht the Emperor in 40k would be vastly insulted by that.If nothing ..."

Sunday favorites
"While church discipline doesn't work this way, it's rewarding to imagine Sessions being physically barred ..."

Unspoken testimony

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • for about two hours all of them shouted in unison, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

    Two hours? Honestly?

    Holy sore throats, Batman!

    (Incidentally I suspect that this is a case of literary exaggeration for effect)

  • Beroli

    To be quite honest about it, when I read Atlas Shrugged, my main reaction to Galt’s chapter-long speech was, “Regardless of his views on the concept of anyone giving anyone anything, I hope someone gave him a glass of water at some point during that.”

  • My mental image was not of everyone actually literally shouting in unison for two hours, but that for the next two hours, every time Alexander opened his mouth to speak, members of the crowd would shout him down. 

    Or maybe their ability to shout for two hours was one of the Devil’s miracles.

  • Acts is not my specialty, I don’t even know if I’ve ever read it, but I’m liking nameless town clerk.  Unless it says otherwise elsewhere I assume him to be an Artemis worshiper.

    Crowd: “These jerks are not of our religion!”
    Town Clerk: “Is that against the law?  Let me check.  Nope.  Unless you’ve got some other complaint about them leave them be.  And if you do have some other complaint we have a perfectly valid legal system to deal with it.  So scatter.”

  • every time Alexander opened his mouth to speak, members of the crowd would shout him down.

    Kind of a dick move, unless Alexander was one of those crappy rulers who deserved getting needled during his speeches.

  •  Okay, that makes a lot more sense than what I was imagining; “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians” is kind of long for something to spontaneously chant in unison even when you assume that “of the Ephesians” is a translation of just one word.

  • Scott P.

    In fact, public acclamations of this type were a major element in civic and imperial ritual. We have literary accounts of the Roman Senate chanting repeated phrases such as “Long live the Emperor!” literally hundreds of times during proclamations and at the end of a speech. While I agree that the text doesn’t mean all the people of Ephesus chanted non-stop for two hours straight, I suspect that the chanting went on at length for much of that period, likely with individuals joining the general chant at intervals.

  • Imagine present-day States-of-the-Union speeches in which Congress repeatedly shouted “Yay Bush!” or “Yay Obama!” incessantly.

  • Launcifer

    That little scene with the crowd chanting makes me think of football matches. I’ve now got a mental image of a group of people waving matching togas – perhaps the Ephesians’ home kit or something (never mind cool band names, that’s an awesome nickname for a team) – over their heads and slipping extra syllables into Artemis (their 30 goals a season striker, naturally) just to make it fit the tune of That’s Amore.

    Joking aside, I sincerely hope that someone gave that town clerk a raise.

  • Deggjr

    This passage is a preview of Tea Party rallies.

  • Simongren

     I would agree, except a reasonable person got them to disperse .

  • Considering that they seem to applaud almost every paragraph, I’d say it gets close.

  • Deggjr

    So true!  I focused on Meanwhile, some were shouting one thing, some another; for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. but the presence and actions of the town clerk are also very remarkable.

  • SisterCoyote

     Oh man, Nameless Town Clerk is the best. Everyman heroes ftw.

  • Loquat

    If you click on the link you can read the whole chapter. 

    Interestingly, the crowd’s complaint isn’t simply that these people are following another religion, but that the spread of Christianity is hurting the business of idol manufacturers. “Demetrius and the artisans with him” apparently specialized in making personal shrines to Artemis, and Demetrius decided to try and nip this threat to his business in the bud by riling up the crowd with the specter of Christians taking over the world and nobody worshiping Artemis any more.

    It’s kind of a first-century equivalent of a bunch of guys who make American flags for a living rallying against internationalist hippies.