D-R Bible Haydock Commentary:
Ver. 1. It is believed by many of the Fathers, that the resolution which the faithful made of selling their property, and laying the price at the feet of the apostles, implied a vow of reserving nothing for themselves, but giving all to the community; and that the crime of Ananias and Saphira consisted in the violation of this vow; on which account they regarded them as sacrilegious, and plunderers of sacred things. See St. Basil, Serm. i. de instit. Monac.; St. Cyprian, lib. i. ad Quir. &c. —For, without this supposition, we cannot, as Menochius justly remarks, account for the sudden and severe punishment inflicted on the offending parties.
Ver. 2. By fraud kept part. Ananias, and his wife Saphira, had make a promise or vow, to put into the common stock the price of what they had to sell. When they had sold the field, they resolved by mutual consent to keep for their private use part of the money, and to bring in the rest, as if they had received no more. The whole price being promised, and by that means consecrated to God, St. Augustine calls it a sacrilegious fraud, and St. Chrysostom, a theft of what was already made sacred to God. (Witham)
Ver. 3. Why hath Satan tempted thy heart? The present Greek copies, filled thy heart. (Witham)
Ver. 4. Did it not remain to thee? That is, no one forced thee to make such a promise. — And being sold, was it not in thy power, and at thy free disposal, before such a promise? but promises and vows must be kept. Thou hast not lied to men, but to God, by lying to the Holy Ghost. (Witham) — Thou hast not lied to men, only and principally, but to God also; for he had also lied to Peter, and the other apostles. (Menochius) — “If it displeased God,” says St. Augustine, “to withdraw part of the money they had vowed to God, how is he angry, when chastity is vowed and not performed! … let not such persons think to be condemned to corporal death, but to everlasting fire.” (Serm. x. de diversis.) — St. Gregory, on t his same subject, says: “Ananias had vowed money to God, which afterwards, overcome by diabolical persuasion, he withdrew; but with what death he was punished, thou knowest. See, then, what judgment thou art to expect, for withdrawing, not money, but thyself, from Almighty God.” (lib. i. ep. 33.)
Ver. 5. Ananias … fell down and gave up the ghost. St. Augustine says, this severe judgment was to strike a terror of such dissembling fraudulent dealings into the new Church. It was also to shew that St. Peter, and the apostles, had the gift of prophecy. (Witham) — Origen thinks his death was occasioned by the sudden fright and shame, with which he was seized. Pliny relates a similar accident in the sudden death of Diodorus Dialecticus, lib. vii. cap. 53. — Menochius and Cornelius a Lapide think, that God struck him interiorly, as Peter spoke. … There are likewise different opinions among the Fathers, respecting the salvation of Ananias and Saphira. Some are of opinion, that as their fault was great, they died, and perished in their sin. but the ideas we are fond to cherish of the infinite mercy of God, would rather incline us to say, with St. Augustine, “I can believe that God spared them after this life, for his mercy is great. … They were stricken with the scourge of death, that they might not be subject to eternal punishment.” (St. Augustine, Serm. cxlviii. olim. 10. et in Parmen.) — St. Benedict also, in the 57th chapter of his rule, insinuates, that their death was only corporal. (Haydock) — It is not unreasonable, that the first violators of laws, should be punished with severity. It was thus that the Almighty treated Adam, the adorers of the golden calf, the first who broke the sabbath-day, &c. to prevent the effects of bad example. (Calmet)
Ver. 7. Not knowing. Because no one durst tell her; so much did they honour, fear, and obey St. Peter. (St. Chrysostom, hom. xii.) — She came in; Peter did not call her, but waited, to afford her an opportunity of repenting. (Œcumenius)
Ver. 8. Yea, for so much. That is, for the same sum as Ananias mentioned. This the wife said, not knowing what had happened to her husband. (Witham)