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Now there were JEWS housing

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in JERUSALEM, men who receive or take well,

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from every nation of those under heaven.


At that time there were many additional people characterized by PRAISE AND CELEBRATION who were being housed in THE PLACE OF PEACEFUL FOUNDATIONS; these were cautious and pious men who had come from every nation known under heaven.


1: "housing"

This participle is usually translated “dwelling,” but I wanted to show that it comes from the word “house.” “To house” means “to dwell.”


This verb is a compound word, coming from “well, good,” and “to receive or take” (one verb is used for both “receive” and “take;” it is context that indicates which meaning is intended). The primary idea of “receive well” or “take well” is that of “being cautious,” and from that grows the concept of “being pious, God-fearing.”


The events of Acts chapter 2 probably took place in the court of Gentiles because it was the largest area and could accommodate large crowds much better than the court of women or the court of the priests, where the sacrifices took place. Most of those who had come from a long distance were men, but some of the locals present would have been women. Everyone in the crowd was either a Jew by birth, a half-Jew, or a convert to Judaism. Those who had travelled long distances to be there were probably somewhat wealthy, at least wealthy enough to leave the work back home in the hands of others, be gone for several weeks, and have enough money to pay their expenses and those of the servants traveling with them for that period of time.

These people most likely understood koine Greek quite well and possibly Aramaic also, but if they had any servants with them, those are the people that could have been left out because very few of them would understand Aramaic and not all of them could grasp koine Greek. These servants could have included bodyguards, camel drivers, cooks, personal servants, etc. Why were the servants present at the temple? If they too had converted to Judaism, they would have wanted to be a part of this once-a-year event. If these servants were the first audience God had in mind when He spoke through the disciples in various languages, it shows that God cares about the little people, the insignificant people. The wealthy and semi-wealthy travelers would have been impressed by the tongues they heard, and they were probably the ones making the comments recorded in Acts 2. So the wealthy travelers were the second target group that God had in mind.

The third target group was local Jews. I will talk about them a bit later.