Acts 5:40–42 (NA28)
40καὶ προσκαλεσάμενοι τοὺς ἀποστόλους δείραντες παρήγγειλαν μὴ λαλεῖν ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ Ἰησοῦ καὶ ἀπέλυσαν.
And they summoned the apostles, beat them, (and) commanded them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them.
- Not to speak (μη λαλειν [mē lalein]). The Sanhedrin repeated the prohibition of 4:18 which the apostles had steadily refused to obey. The Sanhedrin stood by their guns, but refused to shoot. It was a “draw” with Gamaliel as tactical victor over the Sadducees. Clearly now the disciples were set free b88ecause only the Sadducees had become enraged while the Pharisees held aloof.
- The Sanhedrin concurred with Gamaliel’s advice. Again they released the apostles, but this time with a flogging. The flogging referred to was the customary punishment used as a warning not to persist in an offense. It consisted of thirty-nine lashes, often referred to as the forty less one (cf. 2 Cor 11:24). Based on the provision for forty stripes given in Deut 25:3, the practice had developed of only giving thirty-nine in the event of miscounting, preferring to err on the side of clemency rather than severity. It was still a cruel punishment. With bared chest and in a kneeling position, one was beaten with a tripled strap of calf hide across both chest and back, two on the back for each stripe across the chest. Men were known to have died from the ordeal. As before, the apostles were warned not to continue their witness in Jesus’ name. This time the warning was reinforced with somewhat stronger persuasion.
- This was the Jewish punishment of ‘forty lashes less one’ which could be inflicted by the Sanhedrin or the officials of a synagogue for offences against the Jewish law (22:19; 2 Cor. 11:24; Mark 13:9). It was no soft option; people were known to die from it, even if this was exceptional. It was meant to be a serious lesson to offenders.
41Οἱ μὲν οὖν ἐπορεύοντο χαίροντες ἀπὸ προσώπου τοῦ συνεδρίου, ὅτι κατηξιώθησαν ὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόματος ἀτιμασθῆναι,
So they went out rejoicing from the presence of the Sanhedrin because they had been considered worthy for the sake of the name to be dishonored
- The apostles felt honoured by dishonour. Note the same use of “the Name” as in James 2:7; 3 John 7. With the Jews this absolute use of “the Name” meant Jehovah. The Christians now apply it to Jesus.
- The apostles were not persuaded. They would continue to obey God rather than men. In fact, they rejoiced at having suffered for the name, very much in accord with the beatitude of their Lord (Luke 6:22f.).
- Here we have a concrete example of that ‘rejoicing in suffering’ which should be the hallmark of the Christian under persecution (1 Pet. 4:13; cf. Matt. 5:11f.; Rom. 5:3f.; 2 Cor. 6:10; 1 Pet. 1:6f).
42πᾶσάν τε ἡμέραν ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ καὶ κατʼ οἶκον οὐκ ἐπαύοντο διδάσκοντες καὶ εὐαγγελιζόμενοι τὸν χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν.
Both every day in the temple and from house (to house) they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the good news (that)the Christ was Jesus
- Every day (πασαν ἡμεραν [pāsan hēmeran]). Accusative of extent of time, all through every day. In the temple and at home (ἐν τῳ ἱερῳ και κατʼ οἰκον [en tōi hierōi kai kat’ oikon]). This was a distinct triumph to go back to the temple where they had been arrested (verse 25) and at home or from house to house, as it probably means (cf. 2:46). It was a great day for the disciples in Jerusalem. 
- Luke seems to have used a common Greek rhetorical construction in v. 42 called a chiasm, which is most easily pictured as an A-B-B-A pattern. In the temple (A) and in homes (B), the apostles taught (B) and preached the gospel (A). Teaching was the task within the Christian fellowship, preaching the public task in the temple grounds. If there is any significance to his using such a device, it would be to give emphasis to the beginning and concluding elements. Their witness, their preaching of the gospel, was their primary task and occupation.
- as might be expected, the experience did nothing to diminish the ardour of the apostles’ witness to Jesus as the Messiah. The Sanhedrin could probably do little to stop them evangelizing in their homes. But they also continued their activities in the temple, apparently without molestation for the time being.