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Acts 28:3-6 New English Translation (NET Bible)

When Paul had gathered a bundle of brushwood[a] and was putting it on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand. When the local people[b] saw the creature hanging from Paul’s[c] hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer! Although he has escaped from the sea, Justice herself[d] has not allowed him to live!”[e] However,[f] Paul[g] shook[h] the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm. But they were expecting that he was going to swell up[i] or suddenly drop dead. So after they had waited[j] a long time and had seen[k] nothing unusual happen[l] to him, they changed their minds[m] and said he was a god.[n]

Footnotes:

  1. Acts 28:3 tn Or “sticks.”
  2. Acts 28:4 tn Although this is literally βάρβαροι (barbaroi; “foreigners, barbarians”) used for non-Greek or non-Romans, as BDAG 166 s.v. βάρβαρος 2.b notes, “Of the inhabitants of Malta, who apparently spoke in their native language Ac 28:2, 4 (here β. certainly without derogatory tone…).”
  3. Acts 28:4 tn Grk “his”; the referent (Paul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  4. Acts 28:4 tn That is, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live. BDAG 250 s.v. δίκη 2 states, “Justice personified as a deity Ac 28:4”; L&N 12.27, “a goddess who personifies justice in seeking out and punishing the guilty—‘the goddess Justice.’ ἡ δίκη ζῆν οὐκ εἴασεν ‘the goddess Justice would not let him live’ Ac 28:4.” Although a number of modern English translations have rendered δίκη (dikē) “justice,” preferring to use an abstraction, in the original setting it is almost certainly a reference to a pagan deity. In the translation, the noun “justice” was capitalized and the reflexive pronoun “herself” was supplied to make the personification clear. This was considered preferable to supplying a word like ‘goddess’ in connection with δίκη.
  5. Acts 28:4 sn The entire scene is played out initially as a kind of oracle from the gods resulting in the judgment of a guilty person (Justice herself has not allowed him to live). Paul’s survival of this incident without ill effects thus spoke volumes about his innocence.
  6. Acts 28:5 tn BDAG 737 s.v. οὖν 4 indicates the particle has an adversative sense here: “but, however.”
  7. Acts 28:5 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Paul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  8. Acts 28:5 tn Grk “shaking the creature off…he suffered no harm.” The participle ἀποτινάξας (apotinaxas) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
  9. Acts 28:6 tn Or “going to burn with fever.” According to BDAG 814 s.v. πίμπρημι, either meaning (“swell up” or “burn with fever”) is possible for Acts 28:6.
  10. Acts 28:6 tn The participle προσδοκώντων (prosdokōntōn) has been taken temporally.
  11. Acts 28:6 tn The participle θεωρούντων (theōrountōn) has been taken temporally.
  12. Acts 28:6 tn Grk “happening.” The participle γινόμενον (ginomenon) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
  13. Acts 28:6 tn Grk “changing their minds.” The participle μεταβαλόμενοι (metabalomenoi) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
  14. Acts 28:6 sn And said he was a god. The reaction is like Acts 14:11-19 where the crowd wanted to make Paul and Barnabas into gods. The providence of God had protected Paul again.
New English Translation (NET)

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