Acts 14:1-5
Acts 14:1 (KJB)
And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.
Paul and Barnabas wasted no time as they were in Iconium they both went to the synagogue and had begun to teach the true Gospel. They had reaped a harvest of souls here because the text states that a great multitude of people became saved, both Jews and Greeks. The true Gospel can penetrate all types of people groups. The Jews were big on tradition and the Greeks were big on knowledge and the true Gospel is able to penetrate both worlds and bring the people together as one in the body of Christ. Paul was the one who spoke since he was the visiting Rabbi and the tradition in those days was to let visiting Rabbis speak. I can imagine they did not expect the outcome nor the message of Christ.
Acts 14:2 (KJB)
But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren.
Stirred up - Incite or arouse against
Just as in Pisidian Antioch, the unbelieving Jews had incited evil thoughts against Paul and Barnabas. This was not only against them but against all the other believers. The Jews had stirred up the Gentiles and no doubt these were probably reprobate Gentiles who were members of false religions or just plain troublemakers. The Scripture does not tell us if they tried to use the Government officials like they did in Pisidiam, which means they probably did not. They probably tried to use only intimidation techniques on them at this point by raising a crowd of people against them. As we will see in the next verse that it did not work.
Acts 14:3 (KJB)
Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
Here we read that Paul and Barnabas were not asked to leave Iconium like they were in Antioch. They had stayed for a long stretch of time and while they were there, they had spoken boldly or fearlessly in the Lord, and accompanying the bold sermons the Lord had given testimony of the message by giving signs and wonders which were done by the hands of Paul and Barnabas. They obviously had freedom of speech in the area they were in since they were preaching and teaching for a long time. The Jews could not move them out until all those whom the Lord wanted to reach, were reached. We are not given any specific details as to the type of miracles performed by the Lord but they must have been the same type as Peter performed on Pentecost.
Acts 14:4 (KJB)
But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles.
Here is the sword that Jesus spoke about. (Mat 10:34 KJV) Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. As the preaching of the Apostles continued, a sword was being lowered on the city, that is, a dividing line. Many no doubt came and heard the Apostles and believed and many heard the Apostles and remained in disbelief. This resulted in making the city a divided city as many sided with the unsaved Jews and many sided with the Apostles.
Acts 14:5 (KJB)
And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them,
Assault - Impulse or attack
Despitefully - Treat disgracefully, be insolent, or abuse
The Jews would normally have nothing to do with the Gentiles since they believe they are superior to them, unless they can use them to their own advantage. Here we have a situation like at the trial of Christ when Herod became friends with Pilate. The unsaved Gentiles and Jews became partners with the intent of treating the Apostles disgracefully and then to stone them to death. This time the unbelievers had the backing of the local officials who also wanted to see them stoned. There was no stoning done because maybe this was just a precursor to the actual event but if Paul and Barnabas stayed around longer, there would have been a stoning.