Bruce, F.F. The Book of Acts Revised. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988. Kindle Electronic Edition. “VI. Paul Plans to Visit Rome and Gets there by an Unforseen Route (19:21-28:31).” “A. He Prepares to Leave Ephesus for Macedonia and Achaia (19:21-20:6)” pp. 370-379.
Bruce observes that Paul’s stay in Ephesus established a solid and mature Christian presence in the area (Bruce 1988, 370). Paul’s plan was to visit Rome but then go to Spain to engage in ministry where there was no Christian presence. Before going to Rome, Paul wished to visit other cities including Jerusalem, where he would deliver an offering (Bruce 1988, 371).
Before leaving Ephesus, there was a disturbance recorded in Acts 19:23-41. Here, the silversmiths who made images of Artemis felt their business declining. They retaliated against the Christians (Bruce 1988, 373). Bruce briefly reviews the character of Artemis and her veneration in Ephesus. Because the Christians rejected the religion in Ephesus, a demonstration proclaiming Artemis’ greatness was staged (Bruce 1988, 375). The demonstration moved rather quickly into the amphitheater, taking two of Paul’s companions hostage (Bruce 1988, 376). Against the advice of city leaders, Paul went to the theater, where the riot continued. Bruce notes that the Jews would be at risk due to their rejection of Artemis. This was the case even though the Jewish community had distanced itself from the Christians (Bruce 1988, 377).
After some time, the town clerk of Ephesus was able to quiet and dismiss the crowd. Bruce notes that this clerk would serve as the liaison between the city and the empire. If the town was known for riots he would be held responsible (Bruce 1988, 378). He pointed the crowd to the supernatural history of the image of Artemis. He also gave them a peaceful and legal course of action (Bruce 1988, 379).
Paul left Ephesus very shortly after the riot. Bruce places this not long before Pentecost, Paul’s goal for arrival at Jerusalem. He made some stops but not many and not for long (Bruce 1988, 381). Bruce gathers details of Paul’s journey, some from Romans. He reminds the reader what Luke says little about - a gift for the poor in Jerusalem (Bruce 1988, 382).