Who are “They”?

Much to my wife’s chagrin, my dear mother-in-law tends to package her wisdom with the phrase “You know what they say…”

To which my wife, responds with “Who are ‘they’?” After adopting a defensive posture, my mother-in-law will say, “You know, they, people”.

I’ve seen this played out many a time, to the mild amusement of all observers. Well tonight I find myself asking my wife’s question, “Who are ‘they’? because of Acts 13:42,

So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. — King James Version

As Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people kept begging that these things might be spoken to them the next Sabbath. — New American Standard Bible

The NASB has a footnote (“they”) after Paul and Barnabas. This raised the question in my mind as I studied this text tonight. Who went out? The Jews or Paul and Barnabas?

I understand that Paul and Barnabas were Jews but I don’t think the King James Version is referring to them. I did a little digging into the Greek text (thanks to websites like Blue Letter Bible and Studylight) and came up with nothing, of course those who actually know the language might have more insight.

From what I understood from the Greek digging, was that the verb for going out does not have an explicit subject, though the subject is male. A sentence like “Take out the trash” has a subject that is implied, “You take out the trash”.

Does anyone know who ‘they’ are?


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