28 When they heard this they were enraged and were crying out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 So the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul's companions in travel. 30 But when Paul wished to go in among the crowd, the disciples would not let him. 31 And even some of the Asiarchs,  who were friends of his, sent to him and were urging him not to venture into the theater. 32 Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. 33 Some of the crowd prompted Alexander, whom the Jews had put forward. And Alexander, motioning with his hand, wanted to make a defense to the crowd. 34 But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours they all cried out with one voice, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” (Acts 19:28-34 (ESV)
“But when Paul wished to go in among the crowd, the disciples would not let him.” Paul would like to spare his friends, and doesn’t want to back down in the face of danger, but his friends, the disciples won’t let him. It is very likely that the crowd would have killed him if he did enter. But the Lord has more for him to do. Paul would not have been able to accomplish anything with the crowd. Their emotions were too high to hear what he had to say.
I often wonder about this sort of thing today. We can often be a little obtuse about when we decide to challenge someone’s thinking on a particular nuance. Probably be better to challenge when emotions aren’t high, at least if you want rational discussion.
Here the crowd doesn’t die down until they have chanted their slogan for two hours.