left side: Or “port side.” Apparently, the ship was passing the SW end of the island of Cyprus as it sailed eastward toward Tyre. On his first missionary journey about nine years earlier, Paul, along with Barnabas and John Mark, had encountered on Cyprus the sorcerer Elymas, who opposed their preaching. (Ac 13:4-12) Seeing Cyprus again and reflecting on what had occurred there may have encouraged Paul and strengthened him for what lay ahead.
evangelizer: The basic meaning of the Greek term eu·ag·ge·li·stesʹ, rendered “evangelizer,” is “a proclaimer of good news.” (See study note on Mt 4:23.) While all Christians are commissioned to proclaim the good news (Mt 24:14; 28:19, 20; Ac 5:42; 8:4; Ro 10:9, 10), the context of the three scriptures where this Greek term occurs shows that “evangelizer” can be used in a special sense (Ac 21:8; Eph 4:11; ftn.; 2Ti 4:5; ftn.). For example, when it is used of a person opening up new fields where the good news had never been preached, the Greek term could also be rendered “missionary.” After Pentecost, Philip pioneered the work in the city of Samaria with great success. He was also directed by an angel to preach the good news about Christ to the Ethiopian eunuch, whom he baptized. Then Philip was led away by the spirit to preach in Ashdod and all the cities on the way to Caesarea. (Ac 8:5, 12, 14, 26-40) Some 20 years later, when the events recorded at Ac 21:8 occurred, Philip is still referred to as “the evangelizer.”
unmarried daughters: Lit., “daughters, virgins.” In the Bible, the Greek term par·theʹnos, often rendered “virgin,” refers to “one who has never engaged in sexual intercourse” and can apply both to single men and to single women. (Mt 25:1-12; Lu 1:27; 1Co 7:25, 36-38) In this context, the Greek term emphasizes the idea that Philip’s four daughters had never been married.
prophesied: The prophet Joel foretold that both men and women would prophesy. (Joe 2:28, 29) The original-language words rendered “to prophesy” have the basic meaning of making known messages from a divine source; they do not necessarily include the thought of foretelling the future. (See study note on Ac 2:17.) While all in the Christian congregation may speak about the fulfillment of the prophecies recorded in God’s Word, the “prophesying” mentioned at 1Co 12:4, 10 was among the miraculous gifts of the spirit granted to some of those in the newly formed Christian congregation. Some who had the miraculous gift of prophesying were able to foretell future events, as did Agabus. (Ac 11:27, 28) The women who were chosen by Jehovah to receive this gift no doubt demonstrated their deep respect for him by remaining subject to the headship of the male members of the congregation.—1Co 11:3-5.
trying to weaken my resolve: Or “making me weak at heart.” The Greek verb used here literally means “to crush together; to break to pieces.” It is here used figuratively with the Greek word for “heart.”
the will of Jehovah: The Greek term for “will” (theʹle·ma), as used in the Christian Greek Scriptures, is most often connected with God’s will. (Mt 7:21; 12:50; Mr 3:35; Ro 12:2; 1Co 1:1; Heb 10:36; 1Pe 2:15; 4:2; 1Jo 2:17) In the Septuagint, the Greek term theʹle·ma is often used to translate Hebrew expressions for God’s will, or delight, and can be found in passages where the divine name occurs. (Ps 40:8, 9 [39:9, 10, LXX]; 103:21 [102:21, LXX]; 143:9-11 [142:9-11, LXX]; Isa 44:24, 28; Jer 9:24 [9:23, LXX]; Mal 1:10) Jesus expressed a similar thought when he, according to Mt 26:42, prayed to his Father: “Let your will take place.”—See App. C3 introduction; Ac 21:14.
and all the elders: See study notes on Ac 15:2; 16:4. None of the apostles are mentioned in connection with this meeting that took place in 56 C.E. The Bible does not explain why. However, regarding that time leading up to Jerusalem’s destruction, the historian Eusebius (born about 260 C.E.) said: “The remaining apostles, in constant danger from murderous plots, were driven out of Judea. But to teach their message they travelled into every land in the power of Christ.” (Eusebius, Book III, V, v. 2) Although Eusebius’ words are not part of the inspired record, they do harmonize with what the Bible says. For example, by 62 C.E., Peter was in Babylon—far from Jerusalem. (1Pe 5:13) However, James the brother of Jesus was still in Jerusalem, likely presiding at this meeting when “all the elders were present” with Paul.
thousands: Lit., “myriads; tens of thousands.” The Greek word literally refers to a group of 10,000, a myriad, but it can also be used of a very large, unspecified number.
an apostasy: The Greek noun a·po·sta·siʹa, used here, comes from the verb a·phiʹste·mi, which literally means “to stand away from” and can be rendered, depending on the context, “to withdraw; to renounce.” (Ac 19:9; 2Ti 2:19) The noun has the sense of “desertion; abandonment; rebellion.” It appears twice in the Christian Greek Scriptures, here and at 2Th 2:3. In classical Greek, the noun was used to refer to political defection, and the verb is apparently employed in this sense at Ac 5:37 concerning Judas the Galilean, who “drew [a form of a·phiʹste·mi] followers after himself.” The Septuagint uses the verb at Ge 14:4 with reference to such a political rebellion, and the noun a·po·sta·siʹa is used at Jos 22:22; 2Ch 29:19; and Jer 2:19 to translate Hebrew expressions for “rebellion” and “unfaithfulness.” In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the noun a·po·sta·siʹa is used primarily with regard to religious defection, a withdrawal from or abandonment of the true worship and service of God, an abandonment of what one has previously professed, a total desertion of principles or faith.
what is strangled: See study note on Ac 15:20.
sexual immorality: See study note on Ac 15:20.
the commander: The Greek term khi·liʹar·khos (chiliarch) literally means “ruler of a thousand,” that is, soldiers. It refers to a Roman military commander called a tribune. (See study note on Joh 18:12.) In about 56 C.E., Claudius Lysias was the military commander of the Jerusalem garrison. (Ac 23:22, 26) As recounted in Acts chapters 21 through 24, he was the one who rescued Paul both from the street mob and from the rioting Sanhedrin and who wrote a letter of explanation to Governor Felix when Paul was secretly taken to Caesarea.
army officers: Or “centurions.” A centurion was in command of about 100 soldiers in the Roman army.
the soldiers’ quarters: That is, a barracks for Roman troops, located in the Tower, or Fortress, of Antonia in Jerusalem. This fortress was situated at the NW corner of the temple court, overlooking the whole temple area. It apparently occupied the site where Nehemiah earlier had constructed “the Fortress of the House,” mentioned at Ne 2:8. Herod the Great did extensive and costly repair work on it and increased its fortifications. Herod named it Antonia in honor of the Roman military commander Mark Antony. Prior to Herod’s time, the fortress primarily served to guard against incursions from the N. Later, it mainly served as a point of control over the Jews and as a means of policing activities in the temple area. It was connected with that location by means of a passageway. (Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, XV, 424 [xi, 7]) The Roman garrison could thus gain quick access to the area around the temple, which is likely what happened when soldiers rescued Paul from a mob.—Ac 21:31, 32; see App. B11 for the location of the Fortress of Antonia.
in the Hebrew language: See study note on Joh 5:2.