A Few Thoughts on Acts 9:7 and Acts 22
Acts 9:7 KJV and the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
Acts 22:9 KJV and they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.
Is this a contradiction?
B1 Hearing a voice
B2 Not hearing a voice
B1 Acts 9:7 …ἀκούοντες μὲν τῆς φωνῆς…
B2 Acts 22:9 …δὲ φωνὴν οὐκ ἤκουσαν τοῦ λαλοῦντός μοι…
Same words but Acts 9:7 they hear and in Acts 22:9 they do not hear
Acts 22:9 adds this part however…τοῦ λαλοῦντός μοι.
Acts 9:7 the words hearing the voice does not mention any speaking, just a voice, that is, sound. In Acts 22:9 they did not hear, that is understand, the voice speaking with me. That is in both verses they heard something, but they did not discern, that is, understand the speaker. They heard the speaker but did not understand what he was saying.
ἤκουσα φωνῆς, I heard a voice. As in chap. Acts 9:4; Acts 9:7, so here, and below in Acts 22:9, the case of the noun is varied, so as to mark that the hearing in St Paul’s case was different from the hearing of his companions. The verb can be connected with either a genitive or accusative case. In both the narratives a variation is made, and it was not without its significance (see notes on chap. 9). St Paul heard intelligible words, the others heard a sound, but it was not speech to them. Cf. the narrative in Daniel 10:6-9.
B2 Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers:(9) They heard not the voice . . .—i.e., they did not hear it as a voice uttering articulate words. It was for them as though it thundered. (See Notes on Acts 9:7, and John 12:29.)
But they heard not the voice (την δε πωνην ουκ ηκουσαν — tēn de phōnēn ouk ēkousan). The accusative here may be used rather than the genitive as in Acts 22:7 to indicate that those with Paul did not understand what they heard (Acts 9:7) just as they beheld the light (Acts 22:9) but did not see Jesus (Acts 9:7). The difference in cases allows this distinction, though it is not always observed as just noticed about Acts 22:14; Acts 26:14. The verb ακουω — akouō is used in the sense of understand (Mark 4:33; 1 Corinthians 14:2). It is one of the evidences of the genuineness of this report of Paul’s speech that Luke did not try to smooth out apparent discrepancies in details between the words of Paul and his own record already in ch. 9.
Acts 22:9. And they that were with me saw indeed the light and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. Much has been said as to the seeming discrepancy between the statement here that Paul’s companions ‘heard not the voice of Him that spoke to me,’ and the words in the narrative, chap. Acts 9:7, ‘hearing a voice.’ Dr. J. A. Alexander well explains this apparent difference: ‘There is a distinction between hearing a voice speak and hearing what it says, as nothing is more common in our public bodies than the complaint that the speaker is not heard, i.e., that his words are not distinguished, though his voice may be audible and even loud. It might be said with equal truth, that Paul’s companions heard the voice, i.e., knew that it was speaking, and that they did not hear it, i.e., did not know what it said. See St. John’s Gospel, John 12:29, where a similar confusion seems to have occurred in the listeners’ minds. Here as there, the Divine Voice to the ordinary bystander was a voice, but not one uttering articulate words.
Posted by Choco at 09:27 on 29 Jan 20
Labels: Bible discrepancy, Bible interpretation, Paul