A Commentary, Critical, Practical, and Explanatory on the Old and New Testaments, by Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset and David Brown  at sacred-texts.com
act 5:2ANANIAS AND SAPPHIRA. (Act 5:1-11)
kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it--The coolness with which they planned the deception aggravated the guilt of this couple.
brought a certain part--pretending it to be the whole proceeds of the sale.
act 5:3why hath Satan filled--"why . . . fill--"why hast thou suffered him to fill"
thine heart--so criminally entertaining his suggestion? Compare Act 5:4, "why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart?" And see Joh 13:2, Joh 13:27.
to lie to the Holy Ghost--to men under His supernatural illumination.
act 5:4While it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power?--from which we see how purely voluntary were all these sacrifices for the support of the infant community.
not lied to men but God--to men so entirely the instruments of the directing Spirit that the lie was rather told to Him: language clearly implying both the distinct personality and the proper divinity of the Holy Ghost.
act 5:5Ananias . . . gave up the ghost . . . great fear came on all that heard these things--on those without the Christian circle; who, instead of disparaging the followers of the Lord Jesus, as they might otherwise have done on the discovery of such hypocrisy, were awed at the manifest presence of Divinity among them, and the mysterious power of throwing off such corrupt matter which rested upon the young Church.
act 5:6the young men--some of the younger and more active members of the church, not as office-bearers, nor coming forward now for the first time, but who probably had already volunteered their services in making subordinate arrangements. In every thriving Christian community such volunteers may be expected, and will be found eminently useful.
act 5:7Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much--naming the sum.
act 5:9How is it that ye have agreed together--(See on Act 5:2).
to tempt the Spirit--try whether they could escape detection by that omniscient Spirit of whose supernatural presence with the apostles they had had such full evidence.
feet of them that buried thy husband are at the door--How awfully graphic!
act 5:10buried her by her husband--The later Jews buried before sunset of the day of death.
act 5:11And great fear came upon all the church, &c.--This effect on the Christian community itself was the chief design of so startling a judgment; which had its counterpart, as the sin itself had, in Achan (Jos. 7:1-26), while the time--at the commencement of a new career--was similar.
act 5:12THE PROGRESS OF THE NEW CAUSE LEADS TO THE ARREST OF THE APOSTLES--THEY ARE MIRACULOUSLY DELIVERED FROM PRISON, RESUME THEIR TEACHING, BUT ALLOW THEMSELVES TO BE CONDUCTED BEFORE THE SAMHEDRIM. (Act 5:12-26)
Solomon's Porch--(See on Joh 10:23).
act 5:13of the rest durst no man join himself, &c.--Of the unconverted none ventured, after what had taken place, to profess discipleship; but yet their number continually increased.
act 5:15into the streets--"in every street."
on beds and couches--The words denote the softer couches of the rich and the meaner cribs of the poor [BENGEL].
shadow of Peter . . . might overshadow some of them--Compare Act 19:12; Luk 8:46. So Elisha. Now the predicted greatness of Peter (Mat 16:18), as the directing spirit of the early Church, was at its height.
act 5:17sect of the Sadducees--See on Act 4:1 for the reason why this is specified.
act 5:19by night--the same night.
act 5:20all the words of this life--beautiful expression for that Life in the Risen One which was the burden of their preaching!
act 5:21entered into the temple, &c.--How self-possessed! the indwelling Spirit raising them above fear.
called . . . all the senate, &c.--an unusually general convention, though hastily summoned.
act 5:23the prison . . . shut . . . keepers . . . before the doors, but . . . no man within--the reverse of the miracle in Act 16:26; a similar contrast to that of the nets at the miraculous draughts of fishes (Luk 5:6; Joh 21:11).
act 5:24they doubted--"were in perplexity."
act 5:26without violence, for they feared, &c.--hardened ecclesiastics, all unawed by the miraculous tokens of God's presence with the apostles, and the fear of the mob only before their eyes!
act 5:27SECOND APPEARANCE AND TESTIMONY BEFORE THE SAMHEDRIM--ITS RAGE CALMED BY GAMALIEL--BEING DISMISSED, THEY DEPART REJOICING, AND CONTINUE THEIR PREACHING. (Acts 5:27-42)
ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine--noble testimony to the success of their preaching, and (for the reason mentioned on Act 4:4) to the truth of their testimony, from reluctant lips!
act 5:28intend to bring this man's blood upon us--They avoid naming Him whom Peter gloried in holding up [BENGEL]. In speaking thus, they seem to betray a disagreeable recollection of their own recent imprecation, His blood be upon us," &c. (Mat 27:25), and of the traitor's words as he threw down the money, "I have sinned in that I have betrayed innocent blood" (Mat 27:4).
act 5:29Then Peter, &c.--(See on Act 2:22, and Act 3:13, &c.).
act 5:31Prince and a Saviour--the first word expressing that Royalty which all Israel looked for in Messiah, the second the Saving character of it which they had utterly lost sight of. Each of these features in our Lord's work enters into the other, and both make one glorious whole (compare Act 3:15; Heb 2:10).
to give--dispensing as a "Prince."
repentance and remission of sins--as a "Saviour"; "repentance" embracing all that change which issues in the faith which secures "forgiveness" (compare Act 2:38; Act 20:21). How gloriously is Christ here exhibited; not, as in other places, as the Medium, but as the Dispenser of all spiritual blessings!
act 5:32we are his witnesses . . . and the Holy Ghost--They as competent human witnesses to facts, and the Holy Ghost as attesting them by undeniable miracles.
act 5:33cut to the heart and took--"were taking."
counsel to slay them--How different this feeling and the effect of it from that "pricking of the heart" which drew from the first converts on the day of Pentecost the cry, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Act 2:37). The words used in the two places are strikingly different.
act 5:34Then stood up . . . Gamaliel--in all probability one of that name celebrated in the Jewish writings for his wisdom, the son of Simeon (possibly the same who took the infant Saviour in his arms, Luk 2:25-35), and grandson of HILLEL, another celebrated rabbi. He died eighteen years before the destruction of Jerusalem [LIGHTFOOT].
act 5:35Theudas--not the same with a deceiver of that name whom JOSEPHUS mentions as heading an insurrection some twelve years after this [Antiquities, 20.5.1], but some other of whom he makes no mention. Such insurrections were frequent.
act 5:37Judas of Galilee--(See on Luk 2:2, and Luk 13:1-3) [JOSEPHUS, Antiquities, 13.1.1].
act 5:38if . . . of men, it will come to naught--This neutral policy was true wisdom, in the then temper of the council. But individual neutrality is hostility to Christ, as He Himself teaches (Luk 11:23).
act 5:40beaten them--for disobeying their orders (compare Luk 23:16).
act 5:41departed . . . rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name--"thought worthy by God to be dishonored by man" (Mat 5:12; Pe1 4:14, Pe1 4:16) [WEBSTER and WILKINSON]. This was their first taste of persecution, and it felt sweet for His sake whose disciples they were.
act 5:42in every house--in private. (See on Act 2:46).
ceased not to preach Jesus Christ--that is, Jesus (to be the) Christ.