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16. Ezek. iii. 12, 14.
a ch. viii. s.
Gal. i. 13.
God.] 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still : and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. 39 And when they
were come up out of the water, " the Spirit of the Lord 2 Kings ii. caught away Philip, 8 that the eunuch saw him no more :
t and he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he u preached in all the cities, till he came to Cæsarea.
IX. 1 And Saul, yet breathing [oul] threatenings 1 Tim. 1. 18. and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto
the high priest, 2 and desired of him letters to Damascus 8 render, and.
render, for. u literally, evangelized.
X omit : see note. in some of even our earliest MSS., few has been some strange inadvertence in this of which, however, have found their way verse on the part of the translators of the into the revised text. This insertion is found A. V. The Greek has plainly, and the as early as Irenæus (Century II.), who eunuch saw him no more, for he went quotes it. It appears to have been made on his way rejoicing: and there is no to suit the formularies of the baptismal variety of reading. 40.] The terin liturgies, it being considered strange that was found” again appears to refer to the eunuch should have been baptized with- 4 Kings ii. ver. 17.—AZOTUs or AsHDOD out some such confession.
38. he (viz. (Josh. xiii. 3; 1 Sam. v. 5 al.) was one of the eunuch) commanded] Some of our the five principal cities of the Philistines, MSS., whose text apparently Jerome fol- never, though nominally in Judah, tholowed, read here, “the Spirit fell on the roughly subjugated by the Jews: it was eunuch, and an angel of the Lord caught taken by Tartan the Assyrian general (Isa. away Philip. This is curious, and has xx. 1), -again by Psammetichus, Jer. xxv. probably arisen from a desire to conform 20,-again by Judas Maccabæus (1 Macc. the results of the eunuch’s baptism to the v. 68) and Jonathan (1 Macc. x. 81), and usual method of the divine procedure, and by the latter destroyed ;-rebuilt by Gathe snatching away of Philip to his com- binius, and belonged to the kingdom of mission, ver. 26. But the Spirit did not Herod, who left it in his will to his sister fall on the Samaritans after baptism by Salome. At present it is a small village, Philip.— The text clearly relates a super- retaining the name Esdud, but there are natural disappearance of Philip: compare no remains.
all the cities] viz. Ekron, 2 Kings ii. 16; no interpretation of his Jamnia, Joppa, Apollonia, on the direct being suddenly hurried away by the road :
: or, if he deviated somewhat for the prompting of the Spirit, will satisfy the purpose, Lydda also (which seems implied analogy of the above-cited passage, and of ch. ix. 32). Cæsarea] See note, ch. (see below) a parallel one in St. Luke's own x. 1. Gospel. 39. saw him no more Not CHAP. IX. 1–30.] CONVERSION OF
never saw him from that day,'though (see SAUL. 1.] The narrative is taken up below) that meaning may be indirectly from ch. viii. 3, but probably with some included :—but as in Luke xxiv. 31, “ He interval, sufficient perhaps to cover the vanished from their sight,” and as in the events of ch. viii.
We should per. strictly parallel words of 2 Kings ii. 12, haps hardly render the original word here, " he saw him no more,"— after the going as the A. V., " breathing out,” - but up of Elijah. These last words in my view breathing; his 'spirit,' inhaled or exhaled, decide the question, that the departure of being threatenings and slaughter. Philip was miraculous.
for he went on the high priest] See table in Introduction his way) This refers to what follows :- to Acts ;—it would be Theophilus,— brother Philip was found at Azotus: if the eunuch and successor to Jonathan, who succeeded had gone that way, he might have met Caiaphas. 2. letters] of authorizawith him again : but he did not, for he tion : written by the high priest (in this went from the fountain on his own way, case, but not always, president of the Sanwhich did not lead through Azotus. There hedrim) in the name of the whole estate of
to the synagogues, that if he found any of by this way, b see ch. xix. whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 3 And C as he journeyed, he came och. xxij.6: near Damascus : and suddenly there shined round about 1 Cor. xv. 8. him a light from heaven : 4 and he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, d why per- - Matt. IXV. secutest thou me ? 5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord ?
y render, the.
the elders, ch. xxii. 5. to Damascus] way] Not of this way,' A. V., which renDamascus is probably the oldest existing dering should be kept for the places where city in the world. We read of it in Abra- the pronoun is expressed, as ch. xxii. 4,ham's time (Gen. xiv. 15; xv. 2): then no but of the way, viz. of salvation,' ch. xvi. more till David subdued it (2 Sam. viii. 6); 17, or of the Lord, ch. xviii. 25. The it became independent again under Solomon expression ‘THE WAY' had evidently be(1 Kings xi. 24 ff.), and from that time come a well-known one among Christians was the residence of the kings of Syria (see in this edition ch. xix. 9, 23; xxii. 4; (1 Kings xv. 18; xx. 1 ff.), who were long xxiv. 14, 22); and it only was necessary to at war with Israel and Judah, and at last prefix the pronoun when strangers were were permitted to prevail considerably over addressed.— The special journey to DamasIsrael (2 Kings x. 32; Amos i. 3, 4) and to cus presupposes the existence of Christians exact tribute from Judah (2 Kings xii. 17, there, and in some numbers. This would 18, see also 2 Kings xiii. 3, 22, 25). Da. be accounted for by the return of many mascus was recovered to Israel by Jero- who may have been converted at the Penboam II. (about 825 A.C. 2 Kings xiv. 28). tecostal effusion of the Spirit, and perhaps Not long after we find Rezin, king of also by some of the fugitives from the perSyria, in league with Pekah, king of Israel, secution having settled there. This latter against Ahaz (2 Kings xv. 37). Ahaz in- is rendered probable by Ananias's words, vited to his assistance Tiglath-pileser, king “I have heard from many of this man,” ver. of Assyria, who took Damascus and slew 13. 3.] The journey from Jerusalem Rezin, and led the people captive (2 Kings was probably made on the Roman road, i.e. xvi. 5-9; Isa. viii. 4). From this time that of the Itineraries, by Neapolis (Sichem) we find it subject to Assyria (Isa. ix. 11; and Scythopolis, crossing the Jordan, south x. 9; xvii. 1), then to Babylon (2 Kings of the lake Tiberias,---Gadara, and so to xxiv. 2; Jer. xxxv. 11),– Persia, the Syrian Damascus. Or he might have joined, Seleucida (1 Macc. xi. 62; xii. 32),--and either the Petra road, by Jericho and Heshfrom the time of Pompey (64 A.c.), to the bon, and so by Botsrah to Damascus,-or the Romans, and attached to the province of Egyptian caravan-track, which passes to Syria. Many Jews were settled there, and the north of the lake of Tiberias, and near the majority of the wives of the citizens Cæsarea Philippi. In either case the jourwere proselytes. On its subjection to ney would occupy from five to six days, the Aretas, see below, ver. 24, note. It was distance being 130 to 150 miles. later the residence of the Ommiad Caliphs, there shined round about him ...] It was and the metropolis of the Mahommedan (ch. xxi. 6) about noonday; and from ch. world. At present it is a large city, with xxvi. 13, the light was above the bright250,000 inhabitants, nearly 70,000 of whom ness of the sun. These details at once cut are Christians.- It is situated most beau. away all ground from the absurd rationaltifully, in a large and well-watered plain, istic attempt to explain away the appear. on the river Chrysorrhoas (Barrada), which ance as having been lightning. Unquesdivides into many streams (see 2 Kings tionably, the inference is, that it was a v. 12), and fertilizes the plain :-and is bright noon, and the full splendour of the bounded on all sides by the desert. See a Oriental sun was shining. – His companions vivid description of Damascus in Cony beare saw the light, and were also cast to the and Howson's Life of St. Paul, vol. i. pp. ground, ch. xxvi. 13, 14; xxii. 9 : see below 101-108. to the synagogues] i. e. on ver. 7. 4. a voice saying unto to the presidents of the synagogues, who him] in the Hebrew language, ch. xxvi. would acknowledge the orders of the San
why persecutest thou me?] A hedrim, and could, under the authority of remarkable illustration of Matt. xxv. 45. the Ethnarch, carry them out. of the No stress should be laid on me; but the very Vol. I.
i Dan. x. 7.
see ch. xxii.
And 3 the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou perse
cutest [a : it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. e Luke it. 10. 6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, e what wilt
thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him]. b Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. 7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing ca voice, but seeing no man. 8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three
days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. Z read, he.
omit, with all our Greek MSS. It has been inserted here from ch. xxvi. 14 and xxii, 10. read, But arise.
C render, the.
lack of emphasis, assuming the awful fact, the light, but saw no person :-that they gives more solemnity to the question. stood (I should acknowledge the discre5.] That Saul saw, as well as heard, Him pancy here, and recognize the more accu. who spoke with him, is certain from Ana- rate detail of ch. xxvi. 14, that they fell to nias's speech, ver. 17, and ch. xxii. 14, — the ground) mute, hearing the sound of that of Barnabas, ver. 27,- from ch. xxvi. the voice, but not the words spoken and 16 (“I [have] appeared unto thee'), and their meaning. Compare John xii. 29, from the references by Paul himself to his note. Two classes of readers only will having seen the Lord, 1 Cor. ix. 1; xv. 8. stumble at this difference of the forms of These last I unhesitatingly refer to this narration; those who from enmity to the occasion, and not to any subsequent one, faith are striving to create or maguify dis. when he saw the Lord in a trance, ch. xxii. crepancies,-and those who, by the suicidal 17. Such appearances could hardly form theory of verbal inspiration, are effectually the subject of the testimony of an eye- doing the work of the former. The derout witness which should rank with that of and intelligent student of Scripture will the other apostles : this, on the contrary, see in such examples a convincing proof of was no trance, but the real bodily appear. the simple truth of the narrative,- the ance of the risen Jesus ; so that it might absence of all endeavour to pare aware apbe adduced as the ground of testimony to parent inconsistencies or revise them into His Resurrection.-On the words excluded conformity,--the bond fide work of holy from our text, as having been interpolated truthful men, bearing each his testimony from ch. xxvi. 14, and xxii. 10, see note at to things seen and heard under the guidxxvi. 14. It is natural that the account of ance, not of the spirit of bondage, but of the historian should be less precise than that Spirit of whom it is said, “ where the that of the person concerned, relating his Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”own history. In ch. xxvi. 15—18, very I should not too hastily determine that much more is related to have been said by this account has not come from Saul him. the Lord : but perhaps he there, as he self, on account of the above differences: omits the subsequent particulars, includes they are no more than might arise in narthe revelations made to him during the rations at different times by the same perthree days, and in the message of Ananias.
8.] When his eyes were opened 7.] In ch. xxii. 9, we read, “ They (it would seem that he had closed them on that were with me saw indeed the light, the first disappearance of the vision), he and were afraid: but they heard not the saw no one. He explains it, ch. xxii. 11, voice of him that spake to me.” Two ac- “when I could not see for the glory of that counts seemingly (and certainly, in the light.” He had seen, what those with him letter) discrepant; but exceedingly instruc- had not seen, the glorious Person of the tive when their spirit is compared,—the Lord Jesus. See below on ver. 18. fact being this: that the companions of 9. he neither did eat nor drink] There is Saul saw and were struck to the ground by no occasion to soften these words; the
there was a certain disciple at Damascus, & named Ananias ; 8 ch. xxii. 12. and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, h of h chiuxi. 30: Tarsus : for, behold, he prayeth, 12 and hath seen [d in a vision] a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard e by many of this man, i how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jeru- i ver. 1. salem: 14 and here he hath authority from the chief kvet. 33: nahi. priests to bind all k that call on thy name. 15 But the 1:2. 2 Tim.
16. 1 Cor.
d omitted by some ancient authorities.
e render, from.
effect produced on him by the heavenly true as this is, we have sometimes proofs vision (ch. xxvi. 19), aided by his own and illustrations unexpectedly appearing, deeply penitent and remorseful state of as research goes on, which identify as mind, rendered him indifferent to all sus- authentic, sites long pointed out by traditenance whatever. 10.] Paul adds, tion. So that our way seems to be, to seek ch. xxii. 12, with particularity, as defend. for all such elucidations, and meantime to ing himself before the Jews, that Ananias suspend our judgment: but never to lose was “a devout man according to the law, sight of, nor to treat contemptuously at having a good report of all the Jews which first sight, a local belief. of Tarsus] dwelt there :” saying nothing of the com- The first place where he is so specified. mand received by him, nor that he was a TARSUS wa the capital of the province of disciple. In ch. xxvi., speaking before the Cilicia, a large and populous city in a fruitRoman governor, he does not mention him. ful plain on the river Cydnus, which flowed
-Mr. Howson remarks on the close analogy through the midst of it, with a swift stream between the divine procedure by visions of remarkably cold water. Strabo speaks here, and in ch. x. Here, Ananias is pre- most highly of its eminence in schools of pared for his work, and Saul for the recep- philosophy; and says that they excelled tion of him as a messenger, each by a those even of Athens and Alexandria. He vision : and similarly Peter and Cornelius enumerates many learned men who had in ch. x.
I may add, that in ch. viii., sprung from it. It was a “free city," i.e. where the preparation of heart was already one which, though under Rome, lived found in the eunuch, Philip only was super- under its own laws and chose its own naturally prepared for the interview. magistrates. This freedom was granted to 11.] “We are allowed to bear in mind that it by Antony: and much later we find it a the thoroughfares of Eastern cities do not Roman colony. It is now a town with change, and to believe that the straight about 20,000 inhabitants, and is described street,' which still extends through Damas- as being a den of poverty, filth, and ruins. cus in long perspective from the eastern There are many remains of the old town. gate, is the street where Ananias spoke to
behold, he prayeth] This word Saul.” (Conybeare and Howson, p. 115.) would set before Ananias, more powerfully
the house of Judas] The houses of than any other, the state of Saul. Ananias and Judas are still shewn to tra- 12. a man named Ananias] A man, whose vellers. Doubtless they (or at least the name in the same vision he knew to be former) would long be remembered and Ananias. The sight of the man and the pointed out by Christians; but, in the long knowledge of his name were both granted degradation of Christianity in the East, him in his vision. 13. thy saints] most of such identities must have been lost; This is the first time that this afterwards and imposture is so easy, that it is hardly well-known appellation occurs as applied possible to cherish the thought that the to the believers in Christ. 14.] It spots now pointed out can be the true ones. could hardly fail to have been notified to And so of all cases, where we have not un- the Christians at Damascus by their brealterable or unaltered data to go on. Still, thren at Jerusalem, that Saul was on his
1 ch. xiii. 9:
m Rom. i. 5:
ii. 7, 8.
&c. och. xx. 23:
Lord said unto him, Go thy way: 'for f he is 8 a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before h the m Gentiles,
n and kings, and the children of Israel : 16 for I will 2 Tim. ii shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's xi. 13. Gal. sake. 17 P And Ananias went his way, and entered into nchsv.i; the house : and putting his hands on him said, Brother
Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the pe way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest qch. viii. 17. receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 31 vill. 17: 18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been
scales : and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was
baptized. 19 And when he had received meat, he was 8 ch. xxvi. 20. strengthened. si Then was Saul certain days with the
disciples which were at Damascus. 20 And straightway he t ch. viii. 37. preached $ Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son
f render, this man.
i read and render, And he was.
read, Jesus. way to persecute them. 15. a vessel yet the hateful word « Gentiles.” He of choice] i.e. a chosen vessel : as we say, there too gives, “ Arise, and be baptized, * the man of his choice. St. Paul often and wash away thy sins, calling upon uses this word vessel in a similar meaning, the name of the Lord,” as part of the exsee 2 Cor. iv. 7; 1 Thess. iv. 4; 2 Tim. ii. hortation of Ananias, 18. as it had 21; and especially Rom. ix. 22, 23, &c., been scales] The recovery of sight is where it is used in illustrating God's plainly related as miraculous, the consesovereign power in election. to bear, quence of the divinely-appointed laying on perhaps in reference to the metaphor in of the hands of Ananias. And this scaly vessel. nations] i.e. the Gentiles. substance which fell from his eyes was This would hardly be understood at the thrown off in the process of the instantatime : it was afterwards on a remarkable neous healing. was baptized] It has occasion repeated to Paul by the Lord in a been well remarked by Olshausen, that vision (see ch. xxii. 21), and was regarded great honour was here placed upon the by him as the specific command which gave sacrament of baptism, inasmuch as not the direction to his ministry, see Gal. ii. 7, even Saul, who had seen the Lord in spe8.
kings) Agrippa, and probably cial revelation and was an elect vessel, was Nero. 16. I will shew him...] The permitted to dispense with this, the Lord's fulfilment of this is testified by Paul him- appointed way of admission into His Church. self, ch. xx, 23, 25: see also xxi. 11.
19. certain days] A few days; of 17. and be filled with the Holy Ghost] I quiet, and becoming acquainted with those can hardly think that these words imply as brethren, whom he came to persecute that the Lord had said to Ananias more as infidels : but not to learn from them the than is above related : I would rather view gospel (for this he did not receive from them as a natural inference from what was man, neither was he taught it, Gal i. 12), said in ver. 15.-In ch. xxii. 14, where the nor was the time longer than to admit of command to Ananias is omitted, his speech straightway being used, ver. 20,-and incontains much of the reason given in the deed the same word is used of the whole command here. It is remarkable again space (including his preaching in our vv. how Paul, speaking there to an infuriated 20, 21) preceding the journey to Arabia, in Jewish mob, gives the words spoken just Gal. i. 16. See below. 20. he preached that form which would best gain him a Jesus] The alteration to “ Christ” has favourable hearing with them,- for ex- probably, as Meyer suggests, been made ample, “the God of our fathers,”-“to from doctrinal considerations, to fix on see that Just One,” « all men,” avoiding as “the Son of God” the theological sense,