What does Acts 13:20 mean?
ESV: All this took about 450 years. And after that he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet.
NIV: All this took about 450 years. 'After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet.
NASB: After these things He gave them judges until Samuel the prophet.
CSB: This all took about 450 years. After this, he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet.
NLT: All this took about 450 years. 'After that, God gave them judges to rule until the time of Samuel the prophet.
KJV: And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.
Verse Commentary:
Paul has shown the Jews in Pisidian Antioch how God saved the Israelites of Moses and Joshua's time by rescuing them from Egypt, refraining from judging them during the forty years in the wilderness, and defeating their enemies in the Promised Land (Acts 13:17–19). Genesis 15:13 and Exodus 12:40–41 apparently include 30 years when the Israelites were not afflicted. Those 370 years, in Egypt (plus 40 years in the wilderness (Numbers 32:13) and roughly 10 years entering the Promised Land (Joshua 19:51) add up to 450 years.

Paul's short comment here about the judges has several hundred years of history behind it. His audience is composed of Jews and God-fearing Gentiles who listen to the Hebrew Scriptures every week. They know that for several hundred years God saved His people from enemy forces using people referred to as "judges." God commissioned Samson, Gideon, Deborah and the rest to defeat Amorites, Moabites, and especially the Philistines.

The synagogue members also know the rhythm of the era of the judges. The people would reject God and worship foreign idols. God would judge them by allowing other nations to subjugate them. The people would cry out for deliverance, and God would send a judge to save them. Samuel was the last of the judges; after him came the time of the kings.

The first part of Paul's message covers God's saving work in the nation of Israel (Acts 13:16–25). The next four speak about the offer of salvation God gives through Jesus (Acts 13:26–41). Like the Israelites of the time of the judges, we must recognize and repent of our false worship and look to God for rescue. Some of Paul's audience accept this salvation; many don't.
Verse Context:
Acts 13:16–41 gives the transcript of Paul's message in Pisidian Antioch. It is the only recording of Paul's many synagogue sermons. Paul's message can be broken into five parts, each identified with a call to heed Paul's words: 1. God's saving work in Israel's history and promise of a future Savior (Acts 13:16–25); 2. The Savior's story (Acts 13:26–31); 3. The prophecies of the Savior (Acts 13:32–37); 4. The nature of ''salvation'' (Acts 13:38–39); 5. A warning to accept the Savior (Acts 13:40–41). Some Jews and many Gentiles do accept the message, but the synagogue leaders drive Paul and Barnabas out of town (Acts 13:42–51).
Chapter Summary:
Acts 13 transitions Luke's account (Acts 1:1) fully into a record of Paul's ministry to spread the news about Jesus. The Holy Spirit calls Paul and Barnabas for their first missionary journey. They teach about Jesus' offer of forgiveness of sins on the island of Cyprus and in the district of Pisidia in modern-day south-central Asia Minor. Along the way, they face opposition, desertion, and persecution: themes that will follow Paul throughout his life. But they also experience the joy of watching the people they'd least expect come to a saving faith in Jesus.
Chapter Context:
The first chapters of Acts, save for a quick account of Paul's conversion (Acts 9:1–31), cover the ministry of the apostles, particularly Peter. Those passages also detail the spread of the news about Jesus from His followers. That message goes to the Jews of Jerusalem (Acts 2—7) and Judea (Acts 8:26–40; 9:32–43), the Samaritans (Acts 8:4–25), and God-fearing Gentiles (Acts 10—11). Now, Paul's contribution to the ''end of the earth'' portion of Jesus' commission in Acts 1:8 begins, as he and Barnabas start their first missionary journey. Luke will record two more of Paul's journeys (Acts 15:36—18:22 and 18:23—20:38) before settling in on his return to Jerusalem, arrest, and sea voyage to Rome (Acts 21—28).
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
Accessed 2/21/2024 6:52:19 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.