Acts 19:41

ESV And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.
NIV After he had said this, he dismissed the assembly.
NASB After saying this he dismissed the assembly.
CSB After saying this, he dismissed the assembly.
NLT Then he dismissed them, and they dispersed.
KJV And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.

What does Acts 19:41 mean?

When Demetrius and the craftsmen of Ephesus realized Paul was drawing people away from their idol-making businesses, they probably didn't intend to cause a riot. They just wanted to rally the city to renew the people's devotion to Artemis (Acts 19:23–27). After all, Ephesus is the city of Artemis. It is the home of the great temple—one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World—as well as the "sacred stone that fell from the sky" that sits in the temple (Acts 19:35).

A mass of people joins their cry: "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" They grab two of Paul's companions, march to the theater, and chant for a full two hours, but the people don't know the entire thing is about money. They're just caught up in the excitement (Acts 19:28–32).

The city clerk, meanwhile, chooses his moment. He lets the crowd wear themselves out for a couple of hours before addressing them. He affirms their devotion to their goddess. He also points out the men they grabbed haven't disrespected the goddess in any way. He then addresses Demetrius and the craftsmen: if they have a legal charge against Paul, they should take it to the court. As it stands, the mob is an illegal assembly, on the verge of becoming a riot, and if they continue the Romans will have to intervene (Acts 19:34–40).

Gaius and Aristarchus survive the harrowing ordeal. Paul writes to the church in Corinth about the "deadly peril" from which God delivered them (2 Corinthians 1:8–10). Paul and his team leave soon after, traveling north to Troas before finding a ship for Macedonia (Acts 20:1).

Paul visits with the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:17–38), but never sees Ephesus again. Even so, the church in Ephesus stands strong until 1923. After the Turkish war, Greeks in Turkey resettle in Greece, taking their church with them. Paul walks into a city filled with witchcraft and demonic activity (Acts 19:11–20). He leaves having planted a church that remains there for almost 1900 years.
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