Nifty rock designs in the Utal hills.
Tuesday, 9 August 2022
Then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket. Acts 9:25
Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen).
Because of the plot to kill Paul, and because the gates were watched day and night, we now read, “Then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket.” The action of the verse is missing in this translation. Young’s gives a better sense –
“and the disciples having taken him, by night did let him down by the wall, letting down in a basket.”
Because of this, Young’s will be used to understand what is going on. The words, therefore, begin with, “and the disciples having taken him.”
It wasn’t just a sudden knee-jerk reaction, but a carefully planned event. They were able to secure what was needed, they were able to have an appropriate location for what they planned, and they had taken Paul and readied him. From there, it says, “by night did let him down by the wall.”
Rather than “by the wall,” as if they used the wall to sort of help the process of rappelling down, it says, “through the wall.” This is understood from 2 Corinthians 11:33 –
“but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands.”
During the night when no one would be able to see what was going on, the disciples were able to help Paul with his escape in this manner. The sense is that there was either a window directly in the wall of the city that could be barred up during a siege, or the sides of the house rose above the wall of the city and there was a window in the wall that would allow for this to take place. Both are seen in walled cities of antiquity. Luke then finishes the thought with, “letting down in a basket.”
The Greek word is spuris. It is a large basket such as was seen in Matthew 15:37 during the feeding of the four thousand by Jesus. It would have been plaited or braided, and it could have been made of rope or possibly wicker.
Because of its size, some translations add in a descriptor and say, “large basket.”
Life application: In 1 Corinthians 11, the whole paragraph concerning Paul’s adventure says –
“If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity. 31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 In Damascus the governor, under Aretas the king, was guarding the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desiring to arrest me; 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands.” 1 Corinthians 11:30-33
Paul ties in the lowering of him down in this manner with his “infirmity.” In other words, he was unlike the spies of Israel who went into Jericho. There it says –
“Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall; she dwelt on the wall. 16 And she said to them, ‘Get to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you. Hide there three days, until the pursuers have returned. Afterward you may go your way.’” Joshua 2:15, 16
These two spies were young (Joshua 6:23) and capable of rappelling down the wall by themselves. Paul was not. He was infirm and had to be let down in a basket, probably something that he was lovingly razzed about over the subsequent years. The tone of his words somewhat points to a state of ridicule over the event.
Despite the humor, the point is that Paul was assisted by others in his ministry in a way that seems unimportant to it, and yet it could not have continued without this happening. As such, the most seemingly innocuous assistance at one point in time may turn out to be something of the greatest importance later in time.
Therefore, we should not dismiss our seemingly small and relatively unimportant help in the church. What you do may not be noticed, it may not appear huge or grandiose, but consider the fact that if you don’t do the things you do, that may have the greatest impact on other things that are visibly great to people’s eyes. Well, if those things didn’t get done without you, then aren’t your efforts a critical part of what was finally realized?
Be content that you and your efforts, like the unnamed disciples that helped Paul because of his infirmities, are ultimately having the greatest impact in the lives of others.
Lord God, when we go out to a nice restaurant, it wouldn’t be a great experience if the dishes were to come out with food from someone’s previous meal still on them. The clean dishes had to get that way somehow. The things that seem unimportant actually have great value in the finished product. Help us to understand this concerning our own lives in the church. May our small contributions have a great and lasting effect. Amen!