Acts 19:31-35
Acts 19:31 (KJB)
And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre.
Paul had even made friends with some of the Asiarchs which were those who were connected with Roman worship in the Province of Asia, had sent word to him that he should not offer himself in the amphitheater. It would probably have been the death of Paul plus the Roman army would have to descend on the amphitheater and break up the mob. The Asiarchs were chosen from the most wealthiest and influential families, which they served for a period of one year and then re-elected. These people had management positions for the use of the amphitheater which was used for games and religious rites. The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California was patterned after the amphitheaters of ancient Greece.
Acts 19:32 (KJB)
Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.
Here is typical example of a mob mentality. Some people were yelling one thing and others something else. This made for them being a confused crowd. Even though they were now in the amphitheater, confusion had reigned to the point that the majority of the people didn’t even know why they were there. There was no focal point to this gathering because it was just a fragmented meeting orchestrated by a very few but it does not take very long before a crowd will form.
Acts 19:33 (KJB)
And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people.
The name, Alexander, was a very common Greek name. This Alexander was a Hellenistic Jew whom the Jews had taken out of the crowd and wanted him to speak to the crowd that the Jews have no association with Christianity and therefore, were not responsible for what the Christians were doing. These Jews are showing an amazing denial of their own Scriptures which expressly forbids idolatry and in their own history, the nations which their ancestors fought were fraught with idols like Moloch or Ashtarte. It seems like Alexander had motioned to the crowd to let him speak but it looks like he did not have the opportunity.
Acts 19:34 (KJB)
But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.
Alexander had tried to speak to the crowd but when they saw he was a Jew, they drowned him out by yelling for two hours that Great is Diana of the Ephesians. To the Greeks, the Jews were considered just another religion. The crowd had probably thought that the Jews were complicit with the Christians in this matter and they did not want to hear from either of these “religions.” Now the crowd had begun to cheer in unison making it impossible for anyone to be able to address this crowd.
Acts 19:35 (KJB)
And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter?
After the two hours of shouting, the town clerk, which was probably the secretary of the city was able to calm the crowd down. It is amazing that after 2 hours of screaming these people had any voice left in them. The town clerk would have been a citizen of Ephesus but he would have also been liaison with the Roman Government. He would have been the one responsible for keeping order in the town. Despite all the yelling this crowd did, the greatness of Diana had started to wane because of the preaching which was being done in the city. He then proceeds to speak about how Diana came to be among them. He claims the image fell from Jupiter which was the chief god of the Romans and the god of lightning and thunder. Some earlier Greek writers have stated that their gods fell from heaven. It is believed that a meteor had fallen from the sky and that the image of Diana was placed upon that meteor as a pedestal. This may be the meaning of why they believed the image fell from Jupiter. However, the meteor may have fallen from heaven, but the image on top of that meteor was fashioned by a man.