Acts 13:16-20
Acts 13:16 (KJB)
Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience.
Audience - Hearing with understanding
Paul had begun to speak and he had made a sign with his hands for them to quiet down. He addressed them as Men of Israel which would have been the Jews in the synagogue. Then in the synagogue there was a place for the Gentiles to attend services. These he addressed as “ye that fear God” for many of the Gentiles, like Cornelius had come to know that Jehovah was the true and only God, but they lacked fuller understanding of the complete Gospel concerning Jesus and this is what Paul was going to address. He asked them to hear, but only to physically hear, but to hear with the desire to understand what he was going to tell them.
Acts 13:17 (KJB)
The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it.
High arm - A figure of speech for the display of God’s power through Moses
Paul starts out with Israel in Egypt. Knowing that the Jews were always concerned about genealogies and history, he uses a wise method by beginning at their time in Egypt and then progress through time which would keep their attention as he continued. He tells them that the great miracles that the power of God worked through His prophet Moses had exalted the people even though they still lived in Egypt until the day of the Exodus. The ten miracles which were performed were done over about a 9 month period. The Egyptians had feared God and Israel as they saw what was happening to Egypt by means of the plagues. The fear reached a crescendo when the first born of all Egypt was killed in the final plague. After this they knew they were no match for the God of Israel and let the people go.
Acts 13:18 (KJB)
And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness.
Suffered - Endured or put up with
Paul then goes into the fact that God had put up with their unbelief and disobedience for the full time they were wandering in the desert. It showed the longsuffering of God but it also showed that His longsuffering had an end as those who came out from Egypt from age 20 years and up perished in the wilderness except Joshua and Caleb. Paul reminded his hearers about the 40 years of murmuring and other rebellious acts which they did in the presence of God.
Acts 13:19 (KJB)
And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot.
Next Paul goes on to tell them that when they came into the land of Canaan, God had destroyed seven nations and then divided the land for them by lot. The names of them were the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, Jebusites, and Girgashites. These seven nations were not completely wiped out but were so decimated by Israel that they did not pose any type of military threat to them. (Deu 7:1 KJV) When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
Acts 13:20 (KJB)
And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.
Paul then goes into the period of the Judges but not individually. Instead he speaks about Samuel who was a prophet and was the last of the Judges and under him was a spiritual revival (1 Samuel 7:3-9). The 450 years covered not only the period of the Judges, but from the time they entered the land to the reign of King David. He did not dwell on the negative aspects of the times of the Judges but the fact that God was the one who gave the Judges.