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But PETER, having stood up with the eleven,

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lifted up his voice and declared to them, “Men of JUDEA

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and all those who reside

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in JERUSALEM, let this be known to you, and take my words into your ears.


In response to their jab, SOLID AS A ROCK, who had been standing in an advantageous place like the other eleven disciples of Jesus, made a concerted effort to make his voice heard by even more people, and he said to them, “Men from THE PLACE OF PRAISE AND CELEBRATION, and especially those who permanently reside in THE PLACE OF PEACEFUL FOUNDATIONS, I want to make something very clear to you because it is relevant to you more than others, therefore listen carefully and take this to heart.



Matthias was now part of the twelve disciples, having been chosen to replace Judas Iscariot.


Judea has one meaning for the Jews and a different meaning for the Romans; it is a matter of perspective. The name Judea comes from the name Judah, so I am using in my paraphrase the meaning of the name Judah.


This word is very specific and refers to permanent residence. In order for it to refer to all those Jews who were visiting Jerusalem from other places, we would have to twist its meaning considerably, which is exactly what was done in verse 5. I believe this word was intentionally used in both places to communicate something like this: “those other people with another language they call their own, are indeed ‘dwelling’ here (although for a short time) and claim this place as their place too (although only once or twice a year), but this group I’m talking to right now, who can understand me without any other language being needed, they are the ones that truly dwell here permanently and who belong here all the time.”


While other apostles were speaking in other languages and were moving away from their original position and toward people who seemed to be trying to get them to come in their direction, Peter was speaking in Aramaic, with a Galilean accent. At first he was not trying to speak any louder than his companions, but was addressing himself to those closest to him. But after some made comments about the apostles being drunk, Peter “lifted up his voice,” he purposefully got louder. The fact that Peter specifically addressed the local Jews indicates that they were the ones that made the mocking comment about the disciples being drunk. They had witnessed or heard about all the things that Jesus did and they still did not believe. Therefore, we should not be surprised that they did not believe this miracle either. Toward the end of his sermon, Peter said they, with the help of wicked men, had killed Jesus of Nazareth “by nailing him to a cross.” So the local Jews were his primary audience.


For those from foreign lands, the sound of the apostles speaking in foreign tongues was the interpretation, the light, the Urim. They heard the confusing sound of several people speaking in different languages, but they also heard their own language, thus they heard the message clearly. Remember that verse 4 calls their speaking both “unintelligible” and “dignified” at the same time. It was dignified and clear to those hearing their own language. But to the local Jews, those foreign languages were nothing more than strange utterances until after the accusation of drunkenness was made when Peter started speaking more loudly so the Aramaic version could be heard by the largest portion of the crowd, the Jews who lived in Judea or Galilee. It was Peter whom God used to provide the interpretation for the local Jews. While I doubt that all of the apostles were saying the exact same thing, I believe they were all giving a very similar message. Instead of communicating the same basic idea in many different ways, I believe that in this case, they were all guided by the Spirit to share a very similar message. Peter’s message would have mirrored theirs in many ways except that Peter added a few things that were specifically for the local Jews of Jerusalem who had participated in crucifying Jesus.

God preformed the miracle of tongues in part to demonstrate to the local Jews that He wanted the Gentiles to be part of His family. It was not enough for the disciples/apostles to say that Jesus had loved everyone; God used an obvious miracle to prove it.

Therefore, this set the precedent that interpretation was often intended for the Jews who did not think God wanted to accept Gentiles into His fold without them becoming proselytes.