Acts 4:28

For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

For to do whatsoever thy hand,.... It was not the end of their gathering together against Christ, or it was not their intention and design, to fulfil the purposes and decrees of God, but to fulfil their own lusts, and satiate their rage and malice against him; but it was so in the event, according to the wise disposal of providence, that by their gathering together, by their consultations and conspiracies, they brought about what God in his everlasting council had decreed. By "the hand" of the Lord here is not meant, the grace and favour of God; or the power and providence of God; or his word of precept, his revealed will; but his secret will, the counsel of his will, the hidden purpose of his heart, the wise consultation of his mind, which is formed according to his infinite wisdom: so in 2 Samuel 14:19 it is said, "is not the hand of Joab with thee in all this?" that is, the head of Joab, the wise counsel of Joab; and so the Jewish writers interpret it, wtue, "his counsel" {o}: and so the word is explained here immediately; for it follows,

and thy counsel determined before to be done: God's decrees are from eternity; there is nothing comes to pass in time but what he has beforetime determined should be done, either by effecting it himself, or doing it by others, or suffering it to be done, as in the case here. Whatever was done to Christ, either by Jews or Gentiles, by Herod or Pontius Pilate, was according to the secret will of God, the covenant he made with Christ, and the council of peace that was between them both: what they wickedly did, God designed for good, and hereby brought about the redemption and salvation of his people: this neither makes God the author of sin, nor excuses the sinful actions of men, or infringes the liberty of their wills in acting.

{o} Kimchi in loc. & R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 36. 2.