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se'-va (Skeua): A Jew, a chief priest, resident in Ephesus, whose seven sons were exorcists (Acts 19:14 ff). Ewald regards the name as being Hebrew shekhabhyah. He was not an officiating priest, as there were only synagogues in Asia Minor. He may have belonged to a high-priestly family, or perhaps at one time he had been at the head of one of the 24 courses in the temple.
In the narrative the construction is loose. There were seven sons (Acts 19:14), and it would appear (Acts 19:16) that in this particular case all were present. But (Acts 19:16) the demon-possessed man over-powered "both of them." Textus Receptus of the New Testament gets over the difficulty by omitting "both," but Codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, Bezae, so Tischendorf, Westcott and Hort, von Soden, and the best critics, retain the difficult reading. The explanation is that Acts 19:14 states the custom: "who did this" being hoi touto poiountes, "who used to do this." Acts 19:15 and 16 state a particular case in which two took part, but the incident is introduced in a careless manner.
Ewald would translate amphoteron as "in both sides," but this is impossible. Baur understood "disciples" for "sons." Codex Bezae and Syriac have an interesting expansion which Blass considers original (Acts 19:14): "Among whom also the sons (Syriac `seven') of a certain Sceva, a priest, wished to do the same, (who) were in the custom of exorcising such. And entering into the demon-possessed man they began to call upon the Name, saying, `We charge you by Jesus whom Paul preaches to come out.' "
S. F. Hunter
Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Definition for 'sceva'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". - ISBE; 1915.

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