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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 caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: tand he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Cæsarea.

a ch. viii. 3.

Gal. i. 13.

IX. 1 Anda Saul, yet breathing [out] threatenings 1 Tim. 1. 13. and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2 and desired of him letters to Damascus render, and.

■ literally, evangelized.

c 1 Kings

xviii. 12.
2 Kings ii.
16. Ezek.

iii. 12, 14.

in some of even our earliest MSS., few
of which, however, have found their way
into the revised text. This insertion is found
as early as Irenæus (Century II.), who
quotes it. It appears to have been made
to suit the formularies of the baptismal
liturgies, it being considered strange that
the eunuch should have been baptized with-
out some such confession.
38. he (viz.
the eunuch) commanded] Some of our
MSS., whose text apparently Jerome fol-
lowed, read here, the Spirit fell on the
eunuch, and an angel of the Lord caught
away Philip.' This is curious, and has
probably arisen from a desire to conform
the results of the eunuch's baptism to the
usual method of the divine procedure, and
the snatching away of Philip to his com-
mission, ver. 26. But the Spirit did not
fall on the Samaritans after baptism by
Philip. The text clearly relates a super-
natural disappearance of Philip: compare
2 Kings ii. 16; no interpretation of his
being suddenly hurried away by the
prompting of the Spirit, will satisfy the
analogy of the above-cited passage, and of
(see below) a parallel one in St. Luke's own
Gospel. 39. saw him no more] Not
'never saw him from that day,' though (see
below) that meaning may be indirectly
included:-but as in Luke xxiv. 31, "He
vanished from their sight," and as in the
strictly parallel words of 2 Kings ii. 12,
"he saw him no more," after the going
up of Elijah. These last words in my view
decide the question, that the departure of
Philip was miraculous. for he went on
his way] This refers to what follows:-
Philip was found at Azotus: if the eunuch
had gone that way, he might have met
with him again: but he did not, for he
went from the fountain on his own way,
which did not lead through Azotus. There

trender, for.
Xomit: see note.

has been some strange inadvertence in this
verse on the part of the translators of the
A. V. The Greek has plainly, and the
eunuch saw him no more, for he went
on his way rejoicing: and there is no
variety of reading. 40.] The term
"was found" again appears to refer to
4 Kings ii. ver. 17.-Azorus or ASHDOD
(Josh. xiii. 3; 1 Sam. v. 5 al.) was one of
the five principal cities of the Philistines,
never, though nominally in Judah, tho-
roughly subjugated by the Jews: it was
taken by Tartan the Assyrian general (Isa.
xx. 1),-again by Psammetichus, Jer. xxv.
20,-again by Judas Maccabæus (1 Mace.
v. 68) and Jonathan (1 Macc. x. 81), and
by the latter destroyed;-rebuilt by Ga-
binius, and belonged to the kingdom of
Herod, who left it in his will to his sister
Salome. At present it is a small village,
retaining the name Esdud, but there are
no remains. all the cities] viz. Ekron,
Jamnia, Joppa, Apollonia, on the direct
road or, if he deviated somewhat for the
purpose, Lydda also (which seems implied
ch. ix. 32).
Cæsarea] See note, ch.

:

x. 1.

CHAP. IX. 1-30.] CONVERSION OF SAUL. 1.] The narrative is taken up from ch. viii. 3, but probably with some interval, sufficient perhaps to cover the events of ch. viii. We should per haps hardly render the original word here, as the A. V., "breathing out,". but breathing; his 'spirit,' inhaled or exhaled, being threatenings and slaughter. the high priest] See table in Introduction to Acts;-it would be Theophilus,-brother and successor to Jonathan, who succeeded Caiaphas. 2. letters] of authorization written by the high priest (in this case, but not always, president of the Sanhedrim) in the name of the whole estate of

9, 23.

xxvi. 12.

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 as he journeyed, he came cch. xxii. 6: near Damascus and suddenly there shined round about Cor. xv. 8. him a light from heaven: and he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why per- d Matt. xxv. secutest thou me? 5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord?

d

y render, the..

the elders, ch. xxii. 5. to Damascus] DAMASCUS is probably the oldest existing city in the world. We read of it in Abraham's time (Gen. xiv. 15; xv. 2): then no more till David subdued it (2 Sam. viii. 6); it became independent again under Solomon (1 Kings xi. 21 ff.), and from that time was the residence of the kings of Syria (1 Kings xv. 18; xx. 1 ff.), who were long at war with Israel and Judah, and at last were permitted to prevail considerably over Israel (2 Kings x. 32; Amos i. 3, 4) and to exact tribute from Judah (2 Kings xii. 17, 18, see also 2 Kings xiii. 3, 22, 25). Damascus was recovered to Israel by Jeroboam II. (about 825 A.c. 2 Kings xiv. 28). Not long after we find Rezin, king of Syria, in league with Pekah, king of Israel, against Ahaz (2 Kings xv. 37). Ahaz invited to his assistance Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, who took Damascus and slew Rezin, and led the people captive (2 Kings xvi. 5-9; Isa. viii. 4). From this time we find it subject to Assyria (Isa. ix. 11; x. 9; xvii. 1), then to Babylon (2 Kings xxiv. 2; Jer. xxxv. 11),-Persia, the Syrian Seleucida (1 Macc. xi. 62; xii. 32),—and from the time of Pompey (64 A.C.), to the Romans, and attached to the province of Syria. Many Jews were settled there, and the majority of the wives of the citizens were proselytes. On its subjection to Aretas, see below, ver. 24, note. It was later the residence of the Ommiad Caliphs, and the metropolis of the Mahommedan world. At present it is a large city, with 250,000 inhabitants, nearly 70,000 of whom are Christians.-It is situated most beautifully, in a large and well-watered plain, on the river Chrysorrhoas (Barrada), which divides into many streams (see 2 Kings v. 12), and fertilizes the plain :-and is bounded on all sides by the desert. See a vivid description of Damascus in Conybeare and Howson's Life of St. Paul, vol. i. pp. 104-108. to the synagogues] i. e. to the presidents of the synagogues, who would acknowledge the orders of the Sanhedrim, and could, under the authority of the Ethnarch, carry them out. of the

VOL. I.

way] Not of this way,' A. V., which rendering should be kept for the places where the pronoun is expressed, as ch. xxii. 4,but of the way, viz. of 'salvation,' ch. xvi. 17, or of the Lord,' ch. xviii. 25. The expression THE WAY' had evidently become a well-known one among Christians (see in this edition ch. xix. 9, 23; xxii. 4; xxiv. 14, 22); and it only was necessary to prefix the pronoun when strangers were addressed. The special journey to Damascus presupposes the existence of Christians there, and in some numbers. This would be accounted for by the return of many who may have been converted at the Pentecostal effusion of the Spirit, and perhaps also by some of the fugitives from the persecution having settled there. This latter is rendered probable by Ananias's words, "I have heard from many of this man,” ver. 13. 3.] The journey from Jerusalem was probably made on the Roman road, i. e. that of the Itineraries, by Neapolis (Sichem) and Scythopolis, crossing the Jordan, south of the lake Tiberias,-Gadara, and so to Damascus. Or he might have joined,either the Petra road, by Jericho and Heshbon, and so by Botsrah to Damascus,—or the Egyptian caravan-track, which passes to the north of the lake of Tiberias, and near Cæsarea Philippi. In either case the journey would occupy from five to six days, the distance being 130 to 150 miles. there shined round about him...] It was (ch. xxii. 6) about noonday; and from ch. xxvi. 13, the light was above the brightness of the sun. These details at once cut away all ground from the absurd rationalistic attempt to explain away the appearance as having been lightning. Unquestionably, the inference is, that it was a bright noon, and the full splendour of the Oriental sun was shining. His companions saw the light, and were also cast to the ground, ch. xxvi. 13, 14; xxii. 9: see below 4. a voice saying unto him] in the Hebrew language, ch. xxvi. why persecutest thou me?] A remarkable illustration of Matt. xxv. 45. No stress should be laid on me; but the very 3 A

on ver. 7.

14.

And
cutest

the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou perseit is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 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 9:xxvi. 13. stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.

f Dan. x. 7.
see ch. xxii.

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.
10 And

e Luke iii. 10. ch. ii. 37: xvi. 30.

I read, he.

a omit, with all our Greek MSS. It has been inserted here from ch. xxvi. 14 and

xxii. 10.

b

read, But arise.

lack of emphasis, assuming the awful fact,
gives more solemnity to the question.
5.] That Saul saw, as well as heard, Him
who spoke with him, is certain from Ana-
nias's speech, ver. 17, and ch. xxii. 14,-
that of Barnabas, ver. 27,-from ch. xxvi.
16 ("I [have] appeared unto thee"), and
from the references by Paul himself to his
having seen the Lord, 1 Cor. ix. 1; xv. 8.
These last I unhesitatingly refer to this
occasion, and not to any subsequent one,
when he saw the Lord in a trance, ch. xxii.
17. Such appearances could hardly form
the subject of the testimony of an eye-
witness which should rank with that of
the other apostles: this, on the contrary,
was no trance, but the real bodily appear-
ance of the risen Jesus; so that it might
be adduced as the ground of testimony to
His Resurrection.-On the words excluded
from our text, as having been interpolated
from ch. xxvi. 14, and xxii. 10, see note at
xxvi. 14. It is natural that the account of
the historian should be less precise than
that of the person concerned, relating his
own history. In ch. xxvi. 15-18, very
much more is related to have been said by
the Lord but perhaps he there, as he
omits the subsequent particulars, includes
the revelations made to him during the
three days, and in the message of Ananias.
7.] In ch. xxii. 9, we read, "They
that were with me saw indeed the light,
and were afraid: but they heard not the
voice of him that spake to me." Two ac-
counts seemingly (and certainly, in the
letter) discrepant; but exceedingly instruc-
tive when their spirit is compared, the
fact being this: that the companions of
Saul saw and were struck to the ground by

C render, the.

the light, but saw no person :-that they
stood (I should acknowledge the discre-
pancy here, and recognize the more accu-
rate detail of ch. xxvi. 14, that they fell to
the ground) mute, hearing the sound of
the voice, but not the words spoken and
their meaning. Compare John xii. 29,
note. Two classes of readers only will
stumble at this difference of the forms of
narration; those who from enmity to the
faith are striving to create or magnify dis-
crepancies, and those who, by the suicidal
theory of verbal inspiration, are effectually
doing the work of the former. The devout
and intelligent student of Scripture will
see in such examples a convincing proof of
the simple truth of the narrative,—the
absence of all endeavour to pare aware ap-
parent inconsistencies or revise them into
conformity, the bona fide work of holy
truthful men, bearing each his testimony
to things seen and heard under the guid-
ance, not of the spirit of bondage, but of
that Spirit of whom it is said, "where the
Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."-
I should not too hastily determine that
this account has not come from Saul him-
self, on account of the above differences:
they are no more than might arise in nar-
rations at different times by the same per-
8.] When his eyes were opened
(it would seem that he had closed them on
the first disappearance of the vision), he
saw no one. He explains it, ch. xxii. 11,
"when I could not see for the glory of that
light." He had seen, what those with him
had not seen, the glorious Person of the
Lord Jesus. See below on ver. 18.
9. he neither did eat nor drink] There is
no occasion to soften these words; the

son.

xxii. 3.

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 hch. xxi. 39: 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 by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jeru-i ver. 1. salem: 14 and here he hath authority from the chief, 31: xxii. priests to bind all that call on thy name. 15 But the 1.2. 2 Tim.

59

16. 1 Cor.

ii. 22.

₫ omitted by some ancient authorities.

• render, from.

effect produced on him by the heavenly vision (ch. xxvi. 19), aided by his own deeply penitent and remorseful state of mind, rendered him indifferent to all sustenance whatever. 10.] Paul adds, ch. xxii. 12, with particularity, as defending himself before the Jews, that Ananias was "a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there" saying nothing of the command received by him, nor that he was a disciple. In ch. xxvi., speaking before the Roman governor, he does not mention him. -Mr. Howson remarks on the close analogy between the divine procedure by visions here, and in ch. x. Here, Ananias is prepared for his work, and Saul for the reception of him as a messenger, each by a vision and similarly Peter and Cornelius in ch. x. I may add, that in ch. viii., where the preparation of heart was already found in the eunuch, Philip only was supernaturally prepared for the interview. 11.] "We are allowed to bear in mind that the thoroughfares of Eastern cities do not change, and to believe that the straight street,' which still extends through Damascus in long perspective from the eastern gate, is the street where Ananias spoke to Saul." (Conybeare and Howson, p. 115.)

the house of Judas] The houses of Ananias and Judas are still shewn to travellers. Doubtless they (or at least the former) would long be remembered and pointed out by Christians; but, in the long degradation of Christianity in the East, most of such identities must have been lost; and imposture is so easy, that it is hardly possible to cherish the thought that the spots now pointed out can be the true ones. And so of all cases, where we have not unalterable or unaltered data to go on. Still,

true as this is, we have sometimes proofs and illustrations unexpectedly appearing, as research goes on, which identify as authentic, sites long pointed out by tradition. So that our way seems to be, to seek for all such elucidations, aud meantime to suspend our judgment: but never to lose sight of, nor to treat contemptuously at first sight, a local belief. of Tarsus] The first place where he is so specified.TARSUS was the capital of the province of Cilicia, a large and populous city in a fruitful plain on the river Cydnus, which flowed through the midst of it, with a swift stream of remarkably cold water. Strabo speaks most highly of its eminence in schools of philosophy; and says that they excelled those even of Athens and Alexandria. He enumerates many learned men who had sprung from it. It was a "free city," i. e. one which, though under Rome, lived under its own laws and chose its own magistrates. This freedom was granted to it by Antony and much later we find it a Roman colony. It is now a town with about 20,000 inhabitants, and is described as being a den of poverty, filth, and ruins. There are many remains of the old town. behold, he prayeth] This word would set before Ananias, more powerfully than any other, the state of Saul.

12. a man named Ananias] A man, whose name in the same vision he knew to be Ananias. The sight of the man and the knowledge of his name were both granted him in his vision. 13. thy saints] This is the first time that this afterwards well-known appellation occurs as applied to the believers in Christ. 14.] It could hardly fail to have been notified to the Christians at Damascus by their brethren at Jerusalem, that Saul was on his

Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the m Gentiles, n and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 for I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. 17 P And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 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 tch. viii. 37. preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son

t

1 ch. xiii. 2: xxii. 21: xxvi. 17. Rom. i. 1.

1 Cor. xv. 10. Gal. i. 15. Eph. iii. 7, 8.

Tim

2 i. 11. m Rom. i. 5:

xi. 13. Gal.

ii. 7, 8.

nch. xxv, 22,

23: xxvi. 1, &c.

o ch. xx. 23: xxi. 11.

Cor. xi. 23. ach. viii. 17.

p ch. xxii. 12, 13.

rch. ii. 4: iv.

31: viii. 17:

xiii. 52.

f render, this man.

8 literally, a vessel of choice, or, of election.

h render, nations.

i

k

read, Jesus.

8.

way to persecute them. 15. a vessel
of choice] i. e. a chosen vessel: as we say,
the man of his choice.' St. Paul often
uses this word vessel in a similar meaning,
see 2 Cor. iv. 7; 1 Thess. iv. 4; 2 Tim. ii.
21; and especially Rom. ix. 22, 23, &c.,
where it is used in illustrating God's
sovereign power in election. to bear,
perhaps in reference to the metaphor in
vessel. nations] i. e. the Gentiles.
This would hardly be understood at the
time it was afterwards on a remarkable
occasion repeated to Paul by the Lord in a
vision (see ch. xxii. 21), and was regarded
by him as the specific command which gave
the direction to his ministry, see Gal. ii. 7,
kings] Agrippa, and probably
Nero. 16. I will shew him...] The
fulfilment of this is testified by Paul him-
self, ch. xx. 23, 25: see also xxi. 11.
17. and be filled with the Holy Ghost] I
can hardly think that these words imply
that the Lord had said to Ananias more
than is above related: I would rather view
them as a natural inference from what was
said in ver. 15.-In ch. xxii. 14, where the
command to Ananias is omitted, his speech
contains much of the reason given in the
command here. It is remarkable again
how Paul, speaking there to an infuriated
Jewish mob, gives the words spoken just
that form which would best gain him a
favourable hearing with them,--for ex-
ample, "the God of our fathers,"—" to
see that Just One," "all men," avoiding as

read and render, And he was.

yet the hateful word "Gentiles." He
there too gives, "Arise, and be baptized,
and wash away thy sins, calling upon
the name of the Lord," as part of the ex-
hortation of Ananias.
18. as it had
been scales] The recovery of sight is
plainly related as miraculous, the conse-
quence of the divinely-appointed laying on
of the hands of Ananias. And this scaly
substance which fell from his eyes was
thrown off in the process of the instanta-
neous healing. was baptized] It has
been well remarked by Olshausen, that
great honour was here placed upon the
sacrament of baptism, inasmuch as not
even Saul, who had seen the Lord in spe-
cial revelation and was an elect vessel, was
permitted to dispense with this, the Lord's
appointed way of admission into His Church.

19. certain days] A few days; of quiet, and becoming acquainted with those as brethren, whom he came to persecute as infidels: but not to learn from them the gospel (for this he did not receive from man, neither was he taught it, Gal i. 12), nor was the time longer than to admit of straightway being used, ver. 20,-and indeed the same word is used of the whole space (including his preaching in our vv. 20, 21) preceding the journey to Arabia, in Gal. i. 16. See below. 20. he preached Jesus] The alteration to "Christ" has probably, as Meyer suggests, been made from doctrinal considerations, to fix on "the Son of God" the theological sense,—

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