Acts 19:14


King James Version (KJV)

And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.

American King James Version (AKJV)

And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.

American Standard Version (ASV)

And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, a chief priest, who did this.

Basic English Translation (BBE)

And there were seven sons of a man named Sceva, a Jew and a chief priest, who did this.

Webster's Revision

And there were seven sons of one Sceva a Jew, and chief of the priests, who did so.

World English Bible

There were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did this.

English Revised Version (ERV)

And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, a chief priest, which did this.

Clarke's Acts 19:14 Bible Commentary

Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests - The original Ιουδαιου αρχιερεως, dignifies a Jewish high priest; but it is not probable that any sons, much less seven sons of a Jewish high priest, should be strolling exorcists: it is therefore likely that υἱοι Σκευα τινος ἱερεως, the sons of Skeva, a certain priest, as it stands in the Codex Bezae, is the true reading. The whole verse in that MS. reads thus: Among them there also the sons of Skeva, a priest, who wished to do the same: for they were accustomed to exorcise such persons. And entering in to the demoniac, they began to invoke that Name, saying, We command thee by Jesus, whom Paul preacheth, to go out. And the evil spirit angered, and said unto them, Jesus I know, etc. It has been often remarked that in our Lord's time there were many of the Jews that professed to cast out demons; and perhaps to this our Lord alludes, Matthew 12:27. See the note there.

Josephus, in speaking of the wisdom of Solomon, says that he had that skill by which demons are expelled; and that he left behind him the manner of using exorcisms, by which they are cast out; and that those arts were known among his countrymen down to his own time; and then gives us the following relation: "I have seen a certain man of my own country whose name was Eleazar, releasing people that were demoniacs, in the presence of Vespasian, his sons, his captains, and the whole multitude of his soldiers. The manner of the cure was this: He put a ring, that had a root of one of those sorts mentioned by Solomon, to the nostrils of the demoniac, after which he drew out the demon through his nostrils; and, when the man fell down, immediately he adjured him to return into him no more, making still mention of Solomon, and reciting the incantations that he had composed. And when Eleazar would persuade the spectators that he had such power, he set at a little distance a cup of water, and commanded the demon, as he went out of the man, to overturn it; and, when this was done, the skill and wisdom of Solomon were showed very manifestly." Joseph. Antiq. book viii. cap. 2, sect. 5. Whiston's edition.

That there were such incantations among the Jews we know well, and that there are still such found, and that they are attributed to Solomon; but that they are his remains to be proved; and could this even be done, a point remains which can never be proved, viz. that those curious arts were a part of that wisdom which he received from God, as Josephus intimates. Indeed, the whole of the above account gives the strongest suspicion of its being a trick by the Jewish juggler, which neither Josephus nor the emperor could detect; but the ring, the root, the cup of water, the spell, etc.; all indicate imposture. Magicians among the Jews were termed בעלי שם baaley shem, Masters of the Name, that is, the name of Jehovah יהוה by a certain pronunciation of which they believed the most wonderful miracles could be wrought. There were several among them who pretended to this knowledge; and, when they could not deny the miracles of our Lord, they attributed them to his knowledge of the true pronunciation of this most sacred name.

Barnes's Acts 19:14 Bible Commentary

One Sceva - Sceva is a Greek name, but nothing more is known of him.

Chief of the priests - This cannot mean that he was high priest among the Jews, as it is wholly improbable that his sons would be wandering exorcists. But it denotes that he was of the sacerdotal order. He was a Jewish chief priest; a priest of distinction, and had held the office of a ruler. The word "chief priest," in the New Testament, usually refers to men of the sacerdotal order who were also rulers in the Sanhedrin.

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