Acts 19:21-40 - A Major Riot In Ephesus

21 After these events had been brought to a close, Paul under the guidance of the Spirit decided to pass through Macedonia and Greece on his way to Jerusalem, saying, "After I have gone there I must see Rome too." 22 So he sent off to Macedonia two of his assistants, Timothy and Erastus, while he stayed on for a while in Asia.

23 Now just about that time a great commotion arose about The Way. 24 A silversmith named Demetrius, by manufacturing silver shrines of Artemis, was bringing in great profits to his workmen. 25 He called together his workmen, and others engaged in similar trades, and said to them: "Men, you well know that our prosperity depends on this business of ours, 26 and you see and hear that, not only in Ephesus but all over the province of Asia, this man Paul has led away a vast number of people by persuading them, telling them that gods made by human hands are not gods at all. 27 Now the danger facing us is, not only that our business will lose its reputation but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be brought into contempt and that she whom all Asia and all the world now worship will soon be dethroned from her majestic glory!"

28 When they heard this, they became furious and kept on shouting, "Great Artemis of Ephesus!" 29 So the whole city was thrown into confusion and with one impulse the people rushed into the theatre and dragged with them two Macedonians, Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul's traveling companions. 30 Paul wanted to go into the assembly and address the people, but the disciples would not let him. 31 Some of the public officials in Asia, who were friendly to him, also sent word to him, begging him not to risk himself in the theatre. 32 So they kept on shouting, some one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and the majority of them did not know why they had met. 33 Some of the crowd concluded that it was Alexander, since the Jews had pushed him to the front, and since Alexander had made a gesture of the hand as though he would make a defense before the people. 34 But as soon as they saw that he was a Jew, a shout went up from them all as the shout of one man, lasting for two hours: "Great Artemis of Ephesus!"

35 At last the city recorder quieted the mob and said: "Men of Ephesus, who in the world does not know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of the image that fell down from heaven? 36 So, as this cannot be denied, you must be quiet and do nothing rash. 37 For you have brought these men here, although they are not guilty of sacrilege or of abusive speech against our goddess. 38 So then, if Demetrius and his fellow-workmen have a charge against anybody, there are the courts and the judges; let them go to law. 39 But if you require anything beyond this, it must be settled in the regular assembly. 40 For we are in danger of being charged with rioting for today's assembly, as there is not a single reason we can give for it."