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Bible Commentaries
Acts 9

The Expositor's Greek TestamentExpositor's Greek Testament

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Verse 1

Acts 9:1 . Ὁ δὲ Σαῦλος : takes up and continues the narrative from Acts 8:3 ; the resumptive use of δέ . ἔτι : “Sic in summo fervore peccandi ereptus et conversus est” Bengel. ἐμπνέων : only here in N.T., not “breathing out,” A.V., but rather “breathing of,” lit [221] , “in” (R.V. simply “breathing”), cf. LXX, Joshua 10:40 ; πᾶν ἐμπνέον ζωῆς ( cf. Psalms 17:15 ) threatening and murdering were as it were the atmosphere which he breathed, and in and by which he lived, cf. Stobæus, Flor. , 85, 19, ὀδμῆς ἐμπνέοντα , L. and S. and Blass, in loco ( cf. also Aristoph., Eq. , 437 οὗτος ἤδη κακίας καὶ συκοφαντίας πνεῖ , and Winer-Moulton, xxx., 9). τῷ ἀρχιερεῖ : probably Joseph Caiaphas, who continues thus to persecute the Church, see on Acts 4:6 (Acts 5:17 ); he held office until 36 A.D., see Zödder’s note, in loco , and “Caiaphas,” B.D. 2 , and Hastings’ B.D. “Saul as a Pharisee makes request of a Sadducee!” says Felten.

[221] literal, literally.

Verse 2

Acts 9:2 . ᾐτήσατο , see on Acts 3:2 , with παρά , in Acts 3:3 , we have the imperfect, but “inest in aoristo quod etiam accepit,” Blass; on the use of the verb in N.T., see also Blass, Gram. , p. 182, and Grimm-Thayer, sub v. ἐπιστολὰς , cf. Acts 22:5 , Acts 26:12 ; on the jurisdiction of the Sanhedrim, see above on Acts 4:5 ; Weber, Jüdische Theol. , p. 141 (1897); O. Holtzmann, Neutest. Zeitgeschichte , pp. 174, 175; and Schürer, Jewish People , div. ii., vol. i., p. 185, E.T.: only within the limits of Judæa had the Sanhedrim any direct authority, although its orders were regarded as binding over every Jewish community. But the extent to which this obligation prevailed depended on the disposition of the Jewish communities towards the Sanhedrim. Δαμασκὸν : “In the history of religion,” writes Dr. G. A. Smith, “Damascus was the stage of two great crises. She was the scene of the conversion of the first Apostle of Christianity to the Gentiles; she was the first Christian city to be taken by Islam. It was fit that Paul’s conversion, with his first sense of a mission to the Gentiles, should not take place till his journey had brought him to Jewish soil.” If Damascus was not the oldest, it may at all events be called the most enduring city in the world. According to Josephus, Ant. , i., 6, 4, it was founded by Uz, the grandson of Shem, whilst a Moslem tradition makes Eliezer its founder, and Abraham its king (see also Jos., Ant. , i., 7, 2). Here, too, was the traditional scene of the murder of Abel (Shakespeare, 1 King Henry VI. , i., 3). Damascus was situated some seventy miles from the seaboard (about six or eight days’ journey from Jerusalem), to the east of Anti-Lebanon in a great plain, watered by the river Abana with her seven streams, to which the city owes her beauty and her charm. Travellers of every age and of every nationality have celebrated the gardens and orchards, the running waters and the fountains of Damascus, and as the Arab passes from the burning desert to its cooling streams and rich verdure, it is not surprising that he hails it as an earthly paradise. From a commercial point of view Damascus has been called the meeting-place and mart of the nations, and whilst the armies of the ancient world passed through her streets, she was also the great avenue of communication for the wealth of north and south, east and west ( cf. the significant passage, Ezekiel 27:16 ; Ezekiel 27:18 , and Amos 3:12 , R.V., from which it seems that the city was known at an early date for her own manufactures, although the passing trade of the caravans would be its chief source of income). For its political position at the period of Acts, see below on Acts 9:24 , and for its history in the O.T., its after struggles, and its present position as still the chief city of Syria, see G. A. Smith, Hist. Geog. , p. 641 ff.; Hamburger, Real-Encyclopädie des Judentums , i., 2, p. 220, B.D. 2 ; and Hastings’ B.D., Conybeare and Howson (smaller edition, p. 67 ff.); Schürer, Jewish People , div. ii., vol. i., p. 96, E.T. πρὸς τὰς συναγωγάς , cf. Acts 6:9 , as at Jerusalem the number of Jews dwelling in Damascus was so numerous that in a tumult under Nero ten thousand were put to death, Jos., B. J. , vii., 8, 7; ii., 20, 2; as at Jerusalem, the Christians of Damascus may not as yet have formally separated from their Jewish brethren; cf. the description of Ananias in Acts 22:12 ; but as communication between Damascus and the capital was very frequent, refugees from Jerusalem would no doubt have fled to Damascus, and it is difficult to believe that the views advocated by Stephen had in him their sole representative. There is no reason to question with Overbeck the existence in Damascus of a community of believers in the claims of Jesus at this early date; but whilst those Christians who devoutly observed the law would not have aroused hostility hitherto, Saul came armed with a commission against all who called on the name of Christ, and so probably his object was not only to bring back the refugees to Jerusalem, but also to stir up the synagogue at Damascus against their own fellow-worshippers who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ. ἐάν τινας εὕρῃ : the phrase does not mean that the existence of Christians was doubtful, but whether Saul would succeed in finding them out (Weiss). ὄντες τῆς ὁδοῦ : the genitive with εἶναι or γίγνεσθαι , very common in N.T. (as in classical Greek); may be explained as the genitive of the class to which a man belongs, or as the genitive of the property in which any one participates, expessed by the genitive singular of an abstract noun, and also, as here, of a concrete noun, Winer-Moulton, xxx., 5, c. (and Winer-Schmiedel, pp. 269, 270). “The Way,” R.V., all E.V [222] , “this way,” except Wycliff, who has “of this life,” apparently reading vitæ instead of viæ in the Vulgate; see Humphry on the R.V., in loco . (In Acts 18:25 we have τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ Κ . of the instruction given to Apollos, cf. the common metaphorical use of the word in LXX.) In the text (as in Acts 19:9 , Acts 22:4 , Acts 24:14 ; Acts 24:22 ) the noun is used absolutely, and this use is peculiar to St. Luke ( cf. ὁ λόγος , sc. , τοῦ θ ., Acts 10:44 , Acts 14:25 , etc., and τὸ ὄνομα , Acts 5:41 ). The term may have originated amongst the Jews who saw in the Christians those who adopted a special way or mode of life, or a special form of their own national belief, but if so, the Christians would see in it nomen et omen in Christ they had found the Way, the Truth, the Life, John 14:6 (so Holtzmann points out the parallel in St. John, and thus accounts for the article τῆς ὁδοῦ there is only one way of salvation, viz. , Christ). Chrysostom (so Theophylact) thinks that the believers were probably so called because of their taking the direct way that leads to heaven ( Hom. , xix.): see also Dean Plumptre’s interesting note. The expression seems to point to the early date of Acts. As it is used thus, absolutely, and with no explanation in the context, Hilgenfeld sees in chap. 9 the commencement of a third source (see Introd. , p. 29). γυναῖκας , see above on Acts 8:3 . Although no doubt the women referred to were Jewesses, yet it is of interest to note the remark of Josephus, B. J. , ii., 20, 2, viz. , that the women of Damascus were addicted to the Jewish religion. Their mention also indicates the violence of Saui. “quod nullum sexus respectum habuit, cui etiam armati hostes in medio belli ardore parcere solent” Calvin.

[222] English Version.

Verse 3

Acts 9:3 . ἐν δὲ τῷ πορεύεσθαι , ἐγένετο : on the frequency of the infinitive as here, and of ἐγένετο in St. Luke, see Friedrich, Das Lucasevangelium , p. 13, but whilst St. Luke, even more than the other Evangelists, connects his narratives by more or less Hebraistic formulae, so he often tones down the Hebraism by changes of order or other modifications, cf. Luke 1:8-9 ; Luke 5:17 ; Luke 6:1 , Acts 4:5 ; Acts 9:3 , etc., see especially Simcox, Writers of the N. T. , p. 19, cf. also Blass, Gram. , pp. 232, 234. ἐγγίζειν τῇ Δ .: for a recent description of the three roads which lead from Jerusalem to Damascus, see Luckock, Footprints of the Apostles as traced by St. Luke , i., pp. 223, 224. We may well believe that Saul in his haste and passion would choose the quickest and best frequented route which ran straight to Shechem, and after inclining to the east, by the shores of the lake of Galilee, leads straight to Damascus, with an entrance on the south; possibly he may have been stirred to “exceeding madness” by seeing in the Samaritan villages indications of the spread of the faith which it was his purpose to destroy (Plumptre, Expositor , p. 28 (1878)). Ramsay, Expositor , p. 199, note (1898), follows the old tradition as to the locality (following Sir C. Wilson). But, as he points out, this locality fixed at Kaukab (so Luckock, also u. s. ), some ten or twelve miles from Damascus, was changed in modern times for a site nearer the city (so the Romanist commentator Felten, p. 185, laying stress on ἐγγίζειν ); but the spot so chosen seems an impossible one from the fact that it is on the east side of the city, not on the south; see also “Damascus” Hastings’ B.D., i., 548. Moreover the tradition for this site (one out of four selected at different times) does not appear to have existed for more than some two hundred years, and although we can well understand the action of the Christians in Damascus. who. on St. Paul’s Day, walk in procession to this traditional site, and read the narrative of the Apostle’s wonderful conversion, it seems that there is no adequate evidence in support of the spot selected. “It was a true instinct that led the Church to take the Conversion as the day of St. Paul. For other saints and martyrs their day of celebration was their dies natalis , the day on which they entered their real life, their day of martyrdom. But the dies natalis of St. Paul, the day on which his true life began, was the day of his Conversion,” Ramsay, Expositor , p. 28 (1898). ἐξαίφνης : the word is used by St. Luke twice in his Gospel and twice in the Acts only once elsewhere, Mark 13:36 . Hobart and Zahn claim it as a medical term, and it was no doubt frequent amongst medical writers, as in Hippocrates and Galen (Hobart, Medical Language of St. Luke , pp. 19, 20), but the word is also used in LXX several times in same sense as here. περιήστραψεν : only twice in N.T. not found at all in classical Greek, but see 4Ma 4:10 . The simple verb occurs in Luke 17:24 ; Luke 24:4 . The word is used in St. Paul’s own account of the event (Acts 22:6 ), (and περιλάμψαν in his second account Acts 26:13 ); noun in classical Greek of flashing like lightning. In Acts 22:6 the time is fixed “about noon,” and in Acts 26:13 it is said that the light was “above the brightness of the sun,” and shone round about those who journeyed with Paul. But St. Luke states the general fact, and St. Paul, as was natural, is more explicit in his own account. But St. Paul’s mention of the time of day, when an Eastern sun was at its brightest, and of the exceeding glory of the light, evidently indicates that no natural phenomenon was implied.

Verse 4

Acts 9:4 . καὶ πεσὼν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν , cf. Acts 22:7 , both expressions show the over-whelming impression made by the sudden bright light. In Acts 26:14 all fall to the ground, but there is no contradiction with Acts 9:7 , see below on Acts 9:7 . Lewin, Farrar (so Hackett, and some early interpreters) have held that Saul and some at least of his companions were mounted, since Saul was the emissary of the high priest, and the journey would occupy some days. On the other hand Felten (following Corn, à Lapide) holds that the text makes no suggestion of this, and that the expression “they led him by the hand” and the command “rise and enter into the city” are against it; but the near neighbourhood of Damascus might easily account for the fact that his companions led Saul by the hand for the remaining distance, which could not have been long, although the immediate proximity of the traditional site cannot be maintained (see above on Acts 9:3 ). As the strict Jews, like the Pharisees, seldom used horses, Felten may be right in conjecturing that Saul rode upon an ass or a mule (p. 186, note). ἤκουσε φωνὴν λέγουσαν : in St. Paul’s own account we have ἤκουσα φωνῆς λεγούσης , Acts 22:7 , and ἤκουσα φωνὴν λέγ ., as here, in Acts 26:14 . It would seem therefore that the distinction between ἀκούειν with (1) accusative, and (2) genitive; (1) to hear and understand, (2) to hear, merely, cannot be pressed (so Alford, in loco , and Simcox, Language of N. T. , p. 90, and Weiss on Acts 22:7 ; but see on the other hand Rendall on 9 Acts 9:7 ). Thus in the passage before us it has been usual to explain ἀκούειν with φωνήν Acts 9:4 , as indicating that Saul not only heard but understood the voice, cf. Acts 22:14 , whilst ἀκούειν with φωνῆς Acts 9:7 , has been taken to show that his comrades heard, but did not understand (so Weiss, in loco , and also on Acts 22:9 ). But there is (1) no contradiction with Acts 22:9 , for there it is said of Paul’s companions: τὴν δὲ φωνὴν οὐκ ἤκουσαν τοῦ λαλοῦτός μοι they heard the utterance, Acts 9:7 , Acts 22:7 , but did not hear definitely, or understand who it was that spoke, μηδένα δὲ θεωροῦντες . But (2) on comparing the passages together, it appears that in Acts 9:4 ; Acts 9:7 a distinction is drawn between the contents of the utterance and the mere sound of the voice, a distinction drawn by the accusative and genitive; in Acts 22:7 the same distinction is really maintained, and by the same cases, since in Acts 22:7 Paul, in speaking of himself, says that he heard a voice, i.e. , was conscious of a voice speaking to him (genitive, φωνῆς ), (Simcox, u. s. , p. 85), whilst in Acts 9:9 (accusative φωνήν ) the contents of the utterance are referred to, cf. Acts 9:14 in the same chapter; in Acts 26:14 the accusative is rightly used for the contents of the utterance which are given there more fully than elsewhere. Σαούλ , Σαούλ : in each of the three narratives of the Conversion it is significant that the Hebrew form is thus given, and it is also found in the address of Ananias, probably himself a Hebrew, Acts 9:17 , to the new convert. On the emphatic and solemn repetition of the name cf. Genesis 22:11 , and in the N.T., Luke 10:41 ; Luke 22:31 , Matthew 23:37 , and on the frequency of this repetition of a name as characteristic of Luke in Gospel and Acts see Friedrich, pp. 75, 76, cf. Luke 8:24 ; Luke 10:41 ; Luke 22:31 ; cf. Luke 23:21 (see also Deissmann’s note Bibelstudien , p. 184, on the introduction of the Hebrew name). τί με διώκεις ; cf. Acts 7:52 , and 1 Corinthians 15:9 , Galatians 1:13 . “Saul’s first lesson was the mystical union between Christ and His Church” cf. Matthew 10:40 ; Matthew 25:40 ; Matthew 25:45 , John 10:16 , etc. No wonder that Felten sees “an ineffable pathos” in the words; Wendt quotes St. Augustine: “caput pro membris damabat,” cf. also Corn. à Lapide: “corpus enim mystcum Christi est ecclesia, membra sunt fideles”.

Verse 5

Acts 9:5 . Τίς εἶ , Κύριε ; the title is here used in reverent and awestruck response to the question of a speaker, in whose voice, accompanied as it was by the supernatural light, Saul recognised a divine utterance it is therefore more than a mere word of respect, as in Acts 16:30 , Acts 25:26 ; it indicates, as St. Chrysostum noted, a purpose to follow the voice, whether it was that of an angel or of God Himself (Felten), “Jam parat se ad obediendum, qui prius insaniebat ad persequendum,” Augustine. Ἐγὼ … σὺ : both pronouns are emphatic, and contrasted: Ἰησοῦς , cf. Acts 20:8 , and note. For rest of verse see critical notes.

Verse 6

Acts 9:6 . For this verse see critical notes and also Acts 22:10 . Ἀνάστηθι : verb characteristic of St. Luke, see on Acts 5:7 . Here, if we compare Acts 26:16 (Acts 14:10 ), it is evidently used in a literal sense. καὶ λαληθήσεταί σοι , see note on Acts 26:15 .

Verse 7

Acts 9:7 . οἱ συνοδεύοντες : probably riding in company with him; not found in classical Greek, but used in the same sense as here in Plutarch not elsewhere in N. T; but see Wis 6:23 , and Tob 5:16 ( [223] [224] al. ), so according to in Zechariah 8:21 ( [225] [226] S al. ), cf. also Symm. in Genesis 33:12 . εἱστήκεισαν ἐννεοί . The form ἐννεός is incorrect, see critical notes: in LXX, cf. Proverbs 17:28 , Isaiah 56:10 , Epist. of Jeremiah 41:0 (Symm. in Hosea 9:7 ); see critical notes. It is frivolous to find a contradiction here with Acts 26:14 . No stress is laid upon εἱστήκ ., which may be used like εἶναι , and even if there is, it does not preclude a previous falling. We have merely to suppose that the sight and sound had affected Saul’s companions in a less degree than Saul, and that they rose from the ground before him, to make the narratives quite consistent (see Felten, p. 193, Hackett, in loco; B.D. 1 , iv., “Paul” p. 733). Or it is quite possible, as Weiss points out on Acts 26:14 , that here the narrative emphasises the impression made by the hearing of the voice, and in Acts 26:14 the immediate result produced by the light, and that the narrator is quite unconscious of any contradiction in his recital (see notes below on 22, 26). μηδένα δὲ θεωροῦντες : there is no contradiction between this statement and Acts 26:9 , where it is said that they saw the light here it is not denied that they saw a light, but only that they saw no person. Holtzmann apparently forgets this, and says that whilst in Acts 22:9 they see the light, in Acts 9:7 they see nothing; but the pronoun is not neuter, but masculine; μηδένα (see critical notes and reading in [227] ). The inference is that Saul saw Jesus, but although this is not stated in so many words here, it is also to be inferred from the words of Ananias in Acts 9:17 , and Acts 22:14 , and from St. Paul’s own statement in 1 Corinthians 15:8 ; 1 Corinthians 9:1 . St. Chrysostom refers ἀκούοντες μὲν τῆς φ . to the words of Saul, but this is certainly not natural, for τῆς φ . evidently refers back to ἤκουσα φωνήν in Acts 9:4 .

[223] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[224] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[225] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[226] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[227] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

Verse 8

Acts 9:8 . ἀνεῳγμένων ; see critical notes. οὐδένα ἔβλεπε : his eyes, which he had closed mechanically, as he fell overwhelmed with the dazzling brightness of the light, and of the appearance of Jesus, he now opens, but only to find that he saw nothing ( οὐδέν ) (see critical note) he had become blind (so Weiss and Wendt, cf. Acts 22:11 ). This blindness was the clearest proof that the appearances vouchsafed to him had been a reality (Felten), see also Acts 9:18 . χειραγωγοῦντες : the necessary result of his blindness, cf. Judges 16:26 and Tob 11:16 , but in each case the reading is varied (see H. and R.); in N.T. only in Acts, cf. Acts 22:11 (and see Acts 13:11 ); it is also found in the Apocryphal Gospel of Peter , x. (ver. 40 in Harnack’s edition). “He who would strike others was himself struck, and the proud Pharisee became a deeply humbled penitent a guide of the blind” he was himself to be guided by others (Felten).

Verse 9

Acts 9:9 . ἦν … μὴ βλέπων : on ἦν with participle, characteristic, see above on chap. Acts 1:10 . Wendt (in seventh edition, not in eighth), and so Felten, Alford, Hackett, distinguish between μή and οὐ with ἔφαγεν and ἔπιεν , and see especially Winer-Moulton, Leviticus , 5. οὐ β . would have simply meant blind; μὴ β . is not seeing ( not able to see ) said of one who had been, and might appear to be again, possessed of sight; the not eating and not drinking are related simply as matters of fact; see the whole section. Blass regards μή with participle as simply = οὐ , so in Acts 9:7 μηδένα with participle = οὐδένα , ut alias (see also Lumby’s note). οὐκ ἔφαγ . κ . τ . λ .: there is no reason why the words should not be taken literally, in spite of Wendt’s objection as against Meyer in loco , as an expression of penitential sorrow and contrition for his perversity (so Weiss and Holtzmann, no less than Felten): “with what fervour must he then have prayed for ‘more light’ ” (Felten). On Saul’s blindness and its possibly lasting effects, see Plumptre, in loco , Felten, p. 196, and on the other hand Lightfoot on Galatians 6:11 , and Ramsay, St. Paul the Traveller , etc., pp. 38, 39.

Verse 10

Acts 9:10 . Ἀνανίας : nomen et omen , “Jehovah is gracious” ( cf. Acts 22:12 ). No doubt a Jewish Christian (he is supposed by some, as by St. Augustine, to have been the presbyter to whose care the Church at Damascus was committed). For more details and traditions concerning him, see Dr. James, “Ananias,” Hastings’ B.D., and Felten, in loco. The objections raised against the historical character of the meeting between Ananias and Saul, by Baur, Zeller, Over-beck, are considered by Wendt as quite insufficient. Weizsäcker regards the narrative of the blindness and its cure by Ananias as transparently symbolical, and adds that in any case it is suggestive that Paul, Galatians 4:15 , seems, at least in later days, to have had a severe ailment in his eyes (see however on this point Acts 9:9 above). But the weakness, if it existed, might have been caused by the previous blindness at Damascus, and this suggestion, if it is needed, has at all events more probability than the supposition that the narrative in the text was due to the fact that in after years Saul’s eyes were affected! (so Weizsäcker, Apostolic Age , i., 72). Zeller indeed admits, Acts , i., 289, E.T., that the connection of Saul with Ananias, “irrespective of the visions and miracles,” may have been historical, and he falls back upon Schneckenburger’s theory that the author of Acts had a special aim in view in introducing a man so avowedly pious in the law (Acts 22:12 ) to introduce Paul to Christianity. But Schneckenburger does not seem to deny the main fact of the meeting between the two men ( Ueber den Zweck der Apostelgeschichte , pp. 168, 169), and St. Paul would scarcely have spoken as he did later (Acts 22:12 ) before a Jewish crowd, in a speech delivered when the capital was full of pilgrims from all parts, and at a time when the constant communication between Damascus and Jerusalem would have exposed him to instant refutation, had his statements with regard to Ananias been incorrect. It is evident that the supernatural element in the narrative is what really lay at the root of Zeller’s objections. ὁ Κύριος , i.e. , Jesus, as is evident from a comparison of Acts 9:13-14 ; Acts 9:17 . ἐν ὁράματι : critical objections have been raised by Baur and others against the double vision narrated here of Saul and Ananias, as against the double vision of Cornelius and St. Peter in Acts 10:3 ; Acts 10:11 , but see Lumby’s note, in loco , and reference to Conybeare and Howson, quoted also by Felten. The idea of the older rationalists that Saul and Ananias had previously been friends, and that thus the coincidence of their visions may be accounted for, is justly regarded by Wendt as entirely arbitrary. The vision, as narrated by Luke, is evidently regarded as something objective, cf. Acts 9:10 ; Acts 9:13 .

Verse 11

Acts 9:11 . ἀναστὰς : the word as has been previously remarked is characteristic of Luke ( cf. its use in O.T.), and does not in the least support the idea that the vision was a dream of the night, cf. Acts 8:26 . ἐπὶ τὴν ῥύμην τ . κ . Εὐθεῖαν : ῥύμη , cf. Acts 12:10 , Matthew 6:2 . In Luke 14:21 it seems to be used in contrast to πλατεῖα , but in LXX at least in one passage it is used as its equivalent, Isaiah 15:3 , cf. R.V., “broad places,” רְחֹב . It is found also in Sir 9:7 (perhaps twice) and in Tob 13:18 , where in the previous ver., 17, we have πλατεῖαι , although it is very doubtful whether we can press a contrast here, and ὁύμη , Acts 9:18 , might perhaps be taken as meaning a city-quarter, Latin vicus , see Speaker’s Commentary, in loco . On the stages in the history of the word, and its occurrence in Attic Greek, e.g. , in the comic writers Antiphanes (380 B.C.) and Philippides (323 B.C.), see Kennedy, Sources of N. T. Greek , pp. 15, 16; Rutherford, New Phrynichus , p. 488. Εὐθεῖαν : “the street called Straight” may be traced from the eastern to the western gate, and it still bears the name, Derb el-Mustakîm , Schneller, Apostelfahrten , pp. 254, 255, “Damascus,” Hastings’ B.D. The “house of Judas,” also that of Ananias, are still pointed out, but considerable uncertainty attaches to the attempts at identification, see “Damascus,” u. s. , also Felten, in loco. Ταρσέα : Tarsus was the capital of the Roman Province of Cilicia. Curtius has called it the Athens of Asia Minor, and Strabo emphasises its celebrity for the production of men famous in all branches of science and art. As a celebrated university town it may have ranked amongst its students not only St. Paul but his companion St. Luke, attracted it may be by the renown of its medical school; and if this be so, the acquaintance of the two men may date from their student days. To Tarsus, moreover, and to a country where Stoicism was cradled, St. Paul may have been indebted for his evident familiarity with the ideas and tenets of the Stoic philosophy. From Cyprus came Zeno and Persæus, from Soli, Chrysippus and Aratus, whilst Anazarba in Cilicia was the birthplace of the physician Dioscorides, contemporary of St. Luke as of St. Paul. It is indeed possible to enumerate at least six Stoic teachers whose home was Tarsus. See notes on St. Paul at Athens and at Ephesus, and see J. Lightfoot, Hor. Heb. , on Acts 6:9 ; Curtius, Gesammelte Abhandlungen , ii., p. 538 ff.; Zahn, Einleitung i., pp. 37, 50; Lightfoot, Philippians , p. 303 ff.; Salmon, Introd. , p. 317. ἰδοὺ γὰρ προσεύχεται : “orantes yidet Jesus” Bengel; present tense, continuous prayer, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 .

Verse 12

Acts 9:12 . ἐν ὁράματι , see critical notes. ἄνδρα Ἀ . ὀνόμ .: the words would certainly indicate, as Wendt points out (seventh edition, not eighth), that Saul was previously unacquainted with Ananias. Jesus communicates the contents of the vision, and speaks as it were from the standpoint of Saul (see Felten’s note, p. 190). ἐπιθέντα κ . τ . λ ., see above on Acts 8:17 .

Verse 13

Acts 9:13 . Ananias naturally hesitates to go to a man who had undoubtedly inflicted harm upon the Christians, and had come to Damascus with the same intent. But there is nothing inconsistent in the fact that Ananias should not be acquainted with Saul personally, whilst he knew of his persecuting zeal. τοῖς ἁγίοις σου : used here for the first time as a name for the Christians; cf. Acts 9:32 ; Acts 9:41 , Acts 26:10 . Every Israelite was ἅγιος by the mere fact of his membership in the holy Ecclesia of Israel, and Ananias, himself a Jew, does not hesitate to employ the same term of the members of the Christian Ecclesia (see Hort, Ecclesia , pp. 56, 57, and Grimm, sub v. , 2). Its use has therefore a deep significance: “Christus habet sanctos, ut suos: ergo est Deus,” says Bengel. The force of the words can be more fully appreciated in connection with the significance of the phrase in Acts 9:14 , τοῖς ἐπικ . τὸ ὄνομά σου . In Acts 26:10 it is noticeable that the word occurs on St. Paul’s own lips as he stood before Agrippa “in the bitterness of his self-accusation for his acts of persecution, probably in intentional repetition of Ananias’s language respecting those same acts of his. It was a phrase that was likely to burn itself into his memory on that occasion.” And so we find St. Paul addressing at least six of his Epistles to those who were “called to be Saints,” indicating that every Christian as such had this high calling. If Christians individually had realised it, the prophetic vision of the Psalms of Solomon (17:36) would have been fulfilled in the early Church of Christ: ὅτι πάντες ἅγιοι , καὶ βασιλεὺς ἀυτῶν Χριστὸς Κύριος (see Ryle and James’ edition, p. 141). ἐν Ἱερ . belongs to ἐποίησε , and so points back to Acts 8:3 , and to Saul as the soul of the persecution which broke out in Jerusalem, cf. Paul’s own language before Agrippa, Acts 26:10 .

Verse 14

Acts 9:14 . ὧδε hic et huc (Blass), Acts 9:21 τοὺς ἐπικ . τὸ ὄνομά σου note the repeated pronoun and compare 1 Corinthians 1:2 s where ἐπικ . is closely joined with ἄγιοι . and on the whole phrase see above Acts 2:21

Verse 15

Acts 9:15 . σκεῦος ἐκλογῆς , cf. St. Paul’s own language in Galatians 1:15 , genitive of quality; common Hebraistic mode of expression ( cf. Acts 8:23 ) = ἐκλεκτόν , see Blass, Gram. , p. 96; cf. Luke 16:8 ; Luke 18:6 , etc. For σκεῦος similarly used see Jeremiah 22:28 , Hosea 8:8 , and Schöttgen, Horæ Hebraicæ, in loco; and in N.T. Romans 9:22-23 , 1 Thessalonians 4:4 . Grimm and Blass both compare σκ . de homine in Polyb., xiii., 5, 7; xv., 25, 1. Vas electionis: the words are written over what is said to be St. Paul’s tomb in the church dedicated to him near the city of Rome. τοῦ βαστάσαι , genitive of purpose; verb as used here continues the metaphor of σκεῦος ; may mean simply to bear, to carry, or it may denote to bear as a burden; cf. 2 Kings 18:14 , Sir 6:25 ; cf. Luke 14:27 , Acts 15:10 , Romans 15:1 , etc. ἐθνῶν καὶ βασιλέων ἐθν ., placed first because Saul’s special mission is thus indicated. βασιλ ., cf. Acts 26:12 , 2 Timothy 1:16 ; also before the governors of Cyprus, Achaia, Judæa. υἱῶν τε Ἰ ., see critical notes above, again the closely connecting τε , all three nouns being comprehended under the one article τῶν the Apostle’s work was to include, not to exclude, his brethren according to the flesh, whilst mission to the Gentiles is always emphasised; cf. Acts 22:15 ; Acts 22:21 , Acts 26:17 ; cf. Romans 1:13-14 .

Verse 16

Acts 9:16 . ἐγὼ γὰρ : he is a chosen vessel unto me, and therefore ὑποδ . Wendt disagrees with Meyer, who finds the showing in the experiences of the sufferings (so Hackett and Felten), and refers the word with De Wette, Over-beck, to a revelation or to some directing counsel of Christ, cf. Acts 13:2 , Acts 16:6 ; Acts 16:9 , Acts 20:20 , so too Blass cf. 2 Corinthians 11:25-28 . Either interpretation seems better than that of Weiss, who refers the γάρ back to πορεύου , as if Christ were assuring Ananias that Saul would not inflict suffering upon others, but I will show him how much he ( αὐτόν , with emphasis) must suffer, etc., cf. also Bengel’s comment.

Verse 17

Acts 9:17 . ἐπιθεὶς ἐπʼ ἀ . τὰς χ .: not as bestowing the Holy Ghost (for see context), but as recovering from his blindness, cf. Mark 16:18 . Σαούλ , see on Acts 9:4 , perhaps too the word used by Jesus would reassure Saul. ἀδελφέ : as a Christian brother, and not merely as a brother in nationality, Acts 2:29 , Acts 22:1 , Acts 28:17 for the word see further, Kennedy, p. 95, and see on Acts 1:15 . ὁ Κ .… Ἰησοῦς : the words must have further reassured Saul the title by which he had himself addressed Jesus is more than justified.

Verse 18

Acts 9:18 . καὶ εὐθέως : as the immediate result of the laying on of hands the recovery of sight is given, but the baptism follows for the reception of the Holy Ghost, cf. Acts 22:13 ff. ἀπέπεσον … ὡσεὶ λ .: the words cannot be taken as merely figurative with Weiss or Zöckler, or with Blass as merely indicating the speediness of the cure some scaly substance had formed over the eyes, probably as the result of the dazzling brightness which had struck upon them, cf. Tob 3:17 ; Tob 11:13 ; Tob 2:10 ( cf. Acts 6:8 ), λευκώματα = white films (see H. and R., sub v ., λεύκωμα ). St. Chrysostom’s comment is also to be noted: καὶ ἵνα μὴ νομίσῃ φαντασίαν τις εἶναι τὴν πήρωσιν , δια τοῦτο αἱ λεπίδες . Here, as elsewhere, we may see traces of St. Luke’s accuracy as a physician. Both ἀποπίπτειν and λεπίς are used only by St. Luke in N.T. ( λεπίς , although found six times in LXX, does not occur in the sense before us), and both words are found conjoined in medical writers, the former for the falling off of scales from the cuticle and particles from the diseased parts of the body or bones, etc., and λεπίς as the regular medical term for the particles or scaly substances thrown off from the body (see instances in Hobart, p. 39, and Felten, in loco ), and cf. also Zahn, Einleitung in das N. T. , ii., p. 436 (1899). ἂναστὰς , see above on Acts 8:26 ; the word may here be taken literally (although not necessarily so), as of Saul rising from a sitting or reclining position (so Weiss). ἐβαπτίσθη : no doubt by Ananias there was no reception into the Church without this. λαβὼν τροφὴν , see on Acts 9:9 . ἐνίσχυσεν : here used intransitively ( 1Ma 7:25 , 3Ma 2:32 ), if we adopt reading of T.R. which is retained by Weiss. We have the verb, in the N.T. peculiar to St. Luke, used in the transitive sense ( cf. Luke 22:43-44 , W. H., App. , 67, and Plummer, in loco ), and in this sense its use outside the LXX is confined to Hippocrates and St. Luke, Hobart, p. 80 ( cf. 2 Samuel 22:40 , Sir 1:4 ); but cf. Psalms of Solomon , Acts 16:12 . The reading here to which Wendt apparently inclines is ἐνισχύθη (see critical notes), as this would be in accordance with the transitive use of the verb in Luke 22:43 , and other instances.

Verse 19

Acts 9:19 . ἡμέρας τινάς : used here apparently, as in Acts 10:48 , Acts 16:12 , Acts 24:24 , etc., of a short period; see note on Acts 9:23 , and cf. critical notes, Blass in [228] , and see Acts 9:23 .

[228] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

Verse 20

Acts 9:20 . ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς publicly in the Jewish Assemblies: οὐκ ᾐσχύνετο (Chrys.). ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ : only here in Acts. As the preaching was in the synagogue the term would be used in its Messianic sense ( cf. John 1:49 ), according to the early Messianic interpretation of Psalms 2:7 ; cf. Acts 13:33 and St. Paul’s reference to the Psalm in another address to Jews, in the Pisidian Antioch. For the use of the term as applied to the Messiah by the Jews see further Book of Enoch , cv., 2, and Dr. Charles’ note.

Verse 21

Acts 9:21 . παρθήσας : same word used by St. Paul of himself in Galatians 1:13 ; Galatians 1:23 ; nowhere else in N.T., but see 4Ma 4:23 ; 4Ma 11:4 ; used often in classical Greek. Blass draws attention to the coincidence between this passage and the use of the word in Gal., and adds: “ut a Paulo hoc ipsum verbum scriptorem accepisse dicas”. Wendt (1899) dismisses the point of connection in the use of the word by the two authors Luke and Paul as accidental. He bases his objection, p. 35, upon the view that St. Paul’s Epistles and Acts are independent of each other; but this would not prevent St. Luke from receiving the narrative of the events at Damascus from the lips of Paul himself. τοὺς ἐπικ ., see above on Acts 9:14 . ἐληλύθει , pluperfect: “inestindicatio voluntatis mulctæ,” Blass, cf. also Burton, N. T. Moods and Tenses , p. 44, and Blass, Gramm. , p. 197. On the jurisdiction of the Sanhedrim and their commissions to their officers see Acts 4:5 , and Lewin, St. Paul , i., 52 (smaller edition). For ἵνα followed by the conjunctive after a past tense in preference to the optative cf. Acts 5:26 , Acts 25:26 , in Winer-Moulton, xli. b 1 a .

Verse 22

Acts 9:22 . ἐνεδυναμοῦτο : only used here by St. Luke, and elsewhere only by St. Paul (five or six times), and always of religious and spiritual strength; used also three times in the LXX; twice with reference to the power of the Spirit, Jdg 6:34 , 1 Chronicles 12:18 ; in Psalms 51:7 , perhaps the simple verb δυναμόω . συνέχυνε : “confounded,” so A. and R.V., or rather, “continued to confound,” imperfect active, cf. Acts 2:6 , “were confounded.” passive, see also Acts 19:32 , Acts 21:31 (critical notes above): from συνχύννω ( συνχύνω ), nowhere used except in Acts, as above (see Moulton and Geden). συνχύννω : not found in classical Greek nor in LXX, a later form of συγχέω , συνχέω T. W. H. ( cf. ἐκχύννομαι from ἐκχέω , three times in Acts, also two or three times in Luke’s Gospel; in Matthew twice, in Mark once, also Romans 5:5 , Jude 1:11 ; not found in LXX, but see Theod., 2 Samuel 14:14 ); in Acts, Acts 21:27 . συνέχεον from συνχέω (but see in loco ), Moulton and Geden. According to the best MS., Tisch., W.H [229] , read the double v , but elsewhere we have only one v , Winer-Schmiedel, p. 132, Blass, Gram. , p. 41. συμβιβάζων : only used by St. Luke and St. Paul, cf. Acts 16:10 , Acts 19:33 , see especially for this last passage, Grimm-Thayer, sub v., cf. 1 Corinthians 2:16 . In the LXX the word is used in the sense of teaching, instructing, Exodus 4:12 ; Exodus 4:15 ; Exodus 18:16 , Isaiah 40:13 , etc., this usage is purely Biblical (in Attic Greek rather προσβ . in this sense): lit [230] , (1) to bring together; (2) then like συμβάλλω , to put together, to compare, to examine closely; (3) so to deduce, to prove; thus here the word may well imply that Saul compared Messianic passages of the O.T. with the events of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, and hence deduced the proof that He was the Christ, cf. παρατιθέμενος in Acts 17:3 . So Theophylact explains διδάσκων καὶ ἑρμηνεύων out of the Scriptures which the Jews themselves knew.

[229] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

[230] literal, literally.

Verse 23

Acts 9:23 . ἡμέρας ἱκανάς : whether the period thus described was meant to cover the definite period in Galatians 1:16 , i.e. , as including St. Paul’s visit to Arabia, it is difficult to decide. Lightfoot holds that ἱκανός in St. Luke’s language is connected rather with largeness than with smallness, Luke 7:12 , Acts 20:37 , and that the Hebrew phrase ימים which St. Luke is copying admits of almost any extension of time ( Galatians , p. 89, note). Paley, Horæ Paulinæ , v., 2, pointed out in the Hebrew of 1 Kings 2:38-39 , an instance of the use of the phrase “many days” = a period of three years (so Lewin, Felten). It is therefore possible that St. Luke might employ an indefinite, vague expression, an expression which at all events is characteristic of him. On the other hand, Wendt (1899), whilst seeing here a longer period than in Acts 9:19 , compares Acts 9:43 , Acts 18:18 , Acts 27:7 , and decides that the phrase cannot denote time measured by years (so Blass). A reason for St. Luke’s indefiniteness may perhaps be that St. Paul’s visit to Arabia was not within the scope and purpose of his narrative; or Belser, Beiträge (p. 55), and others may be right in maintaining that the visit may lie between Acts 9:22-23 , and that, as such intervals are not wanting in Luke’s Gospel, it is not strange that they should occur in Acts, but that it does not at all follow that the historian was unacquainted with St. Luke’s Arabian journey, as Wendt maintains: “sed aliquid omittere non est idem atque illud negare” Knabenbauer, in loco . But if we take the expression, Acts 9:19 , certain days to indicate the first visit to Damascus, and the expression, Acts 9:23 , many days to indicate a second visit, the visit to Arabia, Galatians 1:19 , may lie between these two (Knabenbauer), and if we accept the reading Ἰησοῦν in Acts 9:20 , it may be that Saul first preached that Jesus was the Son of God, and then after his first retirement in Arabia he was prepared to prove on his return to Damascus that He was also the Christ , Acts 9:22 (see Mr. Barnard’s article, Expositor , April, 1899).

Verse 24

Acts 9:24 . ἐπιβουλὴ : “plot”; N.T. only used in Acts; in three other passages, Acts 20:3 ; Acts 20:19 , Acts 23:30 . It is used in the same sense in LXX, Esther 2:22 (for other instances of the word see H. and R.), and frequently in classical Greek. παρετήρουν : if we follow R.V., see critical notes, we have the middle for the active, cf. Luke 14:1 ; Luke 6:7 , Galatians 4:10 . There is no contradiction involved with 2 Corinthians 11:32 . The ethnarch acted as the instrument of the Jews, at their instigation, or they acted by his permission, or possibly as the Jews were the actual originators of the persecution of Saul, St. Luke for brevity speaks of them as carrying it out, cf. Acts 2:23 , Acts 28:27 . See to this effect, Blass, Zöckler, Felten, Wendt. τε : if we add καὶ R.V., see critical notes, the two words τε καὶ signify that they not only laid wait for him, but also watched the city gates day and night, to secure the success of their design; “and they watched the gates also,” R.V. In 2 Corinthians 11:32 , according to Paul’s own statement, the ethnarch under Aretas the king guarded the walls to prevent his escape. But this seems strange, as Damascus was part of the Roman province of Syria. The difficulty is met by a large number of modern writers by the assumption that Caligula, whose reign began in 37 A.D., gave Damascus to Aretas, to whose predecessors it had belonged (Jos., Ant. , xiii., 5, 2). On the accession of Caligula a great change of policy occurred Antipas, the old foe of Aretas, who was indignant with him for the divorce of his daughter, was shortly after deposed, and his kingdom was added to that of Herod Agrippa, who had already received from the emperor the tetrarchy of Philip and Lysanias (Jos., Ant. , xviii., 6, 10). But this latter grant was one of the first acts of Caligula’s reign, and there is nothing improbable in the supposition that the new ruler should also bestow some gift of territory on the great foe of the Herodian house, who apparently reigned until 40 A.D. Added to this there is the fact that we have no coins of Damascus with the imperial superscription from 34 62 A.D. In 62 63 the image of Nero begins, but there are no coins marked with that of Caligula or Claudius. The latter emperor died in 54 A.D., and in a few years Damascus must have passed again into Roman hands, if the above theory is correct. Certainly this theory is more feasible than that which supposes that Aretas had actually seized Damascus himself in 37 A.D., when upon the death of Tiberius (who had supported Antipas), Vitellius, the governor of Syria, had withdrawn his troops and the expedition which the emperor had despatched against Aretas. But whether this forcible taking possession of the city is placed before, during, or after the expedition of Vitellius, we should expect that it would have met with energetic punishment at the hands of the governor of Syria, but of this there is nontion or trace (P. Ewald), McGiffert, who favours an earlier chronology, and dates Paul’s conversion in 31 or 32 A.D., contends that the flight from Damascus may have occurred as well in the year 35, i.e. , in the reign of Tiberius, as in 38, when no change had taken place in the status of Damascus; the city was subject to Rome, but Aretas may have had control over it, just as Herod had control over Jerusalem. There is at all events no ground for supposing that the term ethnarch denotes that Aretas was only head of the Arabian colony in Damascus (so O. Holtzmann, following Keim, Nösgen, etc.), or that he was only a chance visitor who exercised his authority to the detriment of Paul (Anger); any such suggestion utterly fails to account for the fact that he is represented as guarding Damascus. It has been suggested that the wife of Aretas may well have been a proselyte, but the fact that the Jews of Damascus were both numerous and powerful is quite sufficient to explain the attitude of the governor, Jos., B. J. , ii., 20, 2; vii., 8, 7. See “Aretas” in Hastings’ B.D., and B.D. 2 . McGiffert, Apostolic Age , pp. 164, 165; G. A. Smith, Hist. Geog. , pp. 619, 620; O. Holtzmann, Neutest. Zeitgeschichte , p. 97; Schürer, Jewish People , div. i., vol. ii., p. 356, and div. ii., vol. i., p. 98, E.T.; Real-Encyclopädie für protestant. Theol. (Hauck), i., pp. 795 797, by P. Ewald. See further on the title ἐθνάρχης Schürer, Studien und Kritiken , 1899 (1), which he explains by the conditions of the Nabatean kingdom, in which tribes not cities were concerned the head of such a tribe being actually so called in more than one inscription.

Verse 25

Acts 9:25 . οἱ μαθηταὶ if we add αὐτοῦ , see critical notes, the words would apparently refer to Jews converted by Saul, so Chrysostom: “but his disciples” R.V. Alford, who reads αὐτοῦ , supposes that we have here an unusual government of the genitive by λαβόντες , and compares Luke 8:54 and classical instances, see in loco. διὰ τοῦ τείχους : “through the wall,” R.V., cf. 2 Corinthians 11:33 , where we read διὰ θυρίδος … διὰ τοῦ τεὶχους , perhaps a window in the external face of the wall opening into the house on the inside, rather than simply a window of a house overhanging the wall; cf. Jos 2:16 , 1 Samuel 19:12 . Blass takes it of a window made “in ipso muro scil. ad tormenta mittenda,” but there is no need for this explantion; see Hackett’s note on his own observations at Damascus of two or three windows built in the wall as above. χαλάσαντες ἐν σπυρίδι .: “lowering him,” R.V., not expressed in A.V.; on spelling of σπυρ . see critical note. In 2 Corinthians 11:33 Paul uses the word σαργάνη , a basket of wickerwork, σπυρ . a basket larger than the κόφινος , the small hand-basket of the Jew, Juv. , iii., 14; vi., 541, probably a provision basket of considerable size, used as by the Paeonians for fishing, Herod. , v., 16. σαργάνη too is used of a fish basket by Timokles, Ληθ ., i., see further, “Basket,” Hastings’ B.D., and Plummer on Luke 9:17 . Neither word is met with in the LXX or Apocrypha. For the naturalness of the incident according to the present customs of the country see Hackett, in loco. The traditional spot of its occurrence is still shown, but we can only say of it as of the “house of Judas,” see above on Acts 9:2 . Wendt, p. 35 (1899), thinks that here we have a coincidence with the account in 2 Cor., which cannot be accounted for except by the acquaintance of the author of Acts with the Epistle.

Verse 26

Acts 9:26 . παραγενόμενος : on its frequency in St. Luke’s Gospel and Acts see Acts 5:21 ; apparently presupposes that Saul betook himself immediately to Jerusalem, so that the stay in Arabia cannot be inserted here (Weiss. in loco ), a stay which Weiss holds was unknown to the author of Acts, see his note on Acts 9:19 . παραγ . is found four times in Acts with εἰς , c. acc [231] loci , elsewhere only in Matthew 2:1 ( cf. John 8:2 ). ἐπειρᾶτο : the verb πειράομαι only found once in N.T., viz. , Acts 26:21 , and the true reading here is ἐπείραζε , which is used in a similar sense in Acts 16:7 , Acts 24:6 , only in the active in this sense = Attic πειρῶμαι , according to Blass, in loco , and Gram. , 56, 221; “he assayed,” R.V. = to essay, attempt, try, Deuteronomy 4:34 , 2Ma 2:23 . κολλᾶσθαι , cf. Acts 5:13 , Acts 10:28 , and also Matthew 19:5 , Luke 15:5 , 1 Corinthians 6:16 evidently means that he sought to join himself to them intimately. καὶ πάντες ἐφοβ . αὐτόν καὶ “and,” R.V., not “but,” A.V.; it is not adversative, but simply introduces the unfavourable result of Saul’s endeavour. This does not necessarily require that the conversion should have been recent, as Weiss maintains. If three years had elapsed, Galatians 1:16 , during a portion of which at all events Saul had been in retirement, the Christians in Jerusalem might very naturally still feel apprehensive when their former persecutor was thus for the first time since his conversion actually present amongst them, and the memory of his former fierce hatred could not have been effaced. If it seems unlikely that this should have been their attitude had they known of Saul’s profession of faith at Damascus, there are critics who would have expressed great surprise if the Apostle had been received with open arms, and without any credentials: “credo si contrarium exstaret, hoc rursus mirarentur” (Blass).

[231] accusative case.

Verse 27

Acts 9:27 . Βαρνάβας , cf. Acts 4:36 . Saul and Barnabas may have been previously acquainted, see J. Lightfoot, Hor. Heb. , and note on Acts 4:36 . St. Chrysostom, Hom. , xxi. (so Theophylact and Oecumenius), sees here a proof of the kindly nature of Barnabas, so truly called “Son of Consolation”. For an appreciative notice of the goodness and generosity of Barnabas, from a very different standpoint, see Renan, Apostles , p. 191 E.T. ἐπιλ ., cf. Acts 23:19 ; so as to disarm fear: on the force of this characteristic word of St. Luke see Ramsay, St. Paul , p. 245, Friedrich, p. 27, and below Acts 17:19 ; generally constructed with genitive, but here αὐτὸν is probably governed by ἤγαγε ; cf. Acts 16:19 , and Acts 18:17 , where also the accusative is found in cases of a finite transitive verb following the participle, ἐπιλ . Blass, Gram. , p. 100, note 2, refers αὐτόν to ἤγαγε , and understands αὐτοῦ with ἐπιλ . πρὸς τοὺς ἀποστόλους , cf. Galatians 1:19 ; there is no contradiction, although St. Paul’s own narrative confines Saul’s introduction to Peter and James: “though most of the Apostles were absent, yet the two real leaders were present” (Ramsay), and this was the point which St. Luke would emphasise. Wendt (1899) rejects the narrative of Acts as indistinct when compared with Galatians 1:0 , but see Lightfoot, Galatians , p. 91, and Drummond, Galatians , p. 67; see below on Acts 9:30 also. διηγήσατο , exposuit, i.e. , Barnabas (but Beza and Meyer make Saul the subject, although unlikely from construction and context); verb twice in Luke’s Gospel, Luke 8:39 ; Luke 9:10 , and three times in Acts, Acts 8:33 (quotation), Acts 12:17 ; cf. Hebrews 11:32 , and Mark 5:16 ; Mark 9:9 ; and nowhere else in N.T.; frequent in LXX to recount, narrate, declare, cf. 1Ma 5:25 ; 1Ma 8:2 ; 1Ma 10:15 ; 1Ma 11:5 , and several times in Ecclesiasticus. Similarly used in classical Greek; Grimm compares figurative use of German durchführen . πῶς εἶδε Κ .: while it is not said in any part of the three accounts of the Conversion that Saul saw Jesus, it is distinctly asserted here in a statement which Barnabas may well have received from Saul himself, and also in the two expressions of Ananias, cf. Acts 9:17 , Acts 22:14 ; cf. also the Apostle’s own words, 1Co 9:1 ; 1 Corinthians 15:8 . ἐπαῤῥησιάσατο , cf. the verb with the expression μετὰ παρρησίας λαλεῖν , see above on Acts 4:13 , and of the preaching of the other Apostles and of the Church, cf. Acts 28:31 (of Paul). Verb only used by Luke and Paul, and always of speaking boldly the truths of the Gospel; so seven times in Acts, and also in 1 Thessalonians 2:2 , Ephesians 6:20 .

Verse 28

Acts 9:28 . ἦν … εἰσπ .: for characteristic construction see Acts 1:10 , etc. εἰς καὶ ἐκπ ., cf. Acts 1:21 . Hebraistic formula to express the daily confidential intercourse with the Apostles; cf. 1 Samuel 18:13 , 2 Chronicles 23:7 ( 1Ma 13:49 ; 1Ma 15:14 ; 1Ma 15:25 , for somewhat similar expressions, but see H. and R.). ἐν : if we read εἰς , see critical note. Weiss connects closely with ἐκπ . and takes it to signify that Saul was not only associated with the Apostles privately, but openly in the town, so Wendt and Holtzmann, privatim and publice . Page connects ἦν εἰς together, and thinks εἰς probably due to the intervention of the verbs expressing motion. Zöckler compares Acts 26:20 , and takes εἰς as referring to Jerusalem and its neighbourhood (but see critical notes).

Verse 29

Acts 9:29 . συνεζήτει , cf. Acts 6:9 . πρὸς τοὺς Ἑλλην ., of whom Saul himself was one; see critical notes. Saul’s visit was a short one (Galatians 1:18 ), and although we must not limit his opportunities of disputation to the two Sabbaths with Blass (note the two imperfects), yet it is evident that the Hellenists were at once enraged against the deserter from their ranks. There is no contradiction with Acts 22:17 , as Zeller and Overbeck maintained it is rather a mark of truth that Luke gives the outward impulse, and Paul the inner ground (Hackett, Lightfoot, Lumby); but see on the other hand Ramsay, St. Paul , p. 62, against the identification of Acts 22:17 with Paul’s first visit; according to Ramsay, Acts 22:17-18 refer to the close of the Apostle’s second visit. Wendt (1899) still identifies Acts 22:18 with the passage before us, Acts 9:29 ; in seventh edition he speaks more fully of the fulfilment of the negative prophecy in Acts 22:18 , by the positive fact here narrated. ἐπεχείρουν : only used by St. Luke; St. Luke 1:1 , Acts 19:13 ; it is used in same sense in classical Greek; and it also occurs in Esther 9:25 , 1Es 1:28 , 2Ma 2:29 ; 2Ma 7:19 ; 2Ma 9:2 , etc., and 3Ma 7:5 , where it occurs as here with ἀνελεῖν (see also below), and for other instances cf. Hatch and Redpath. The word was frequently employed in medical language, sometimes in its literal sense “to apply the hand to,” but generally as in N.T. Both Hippocrates and Galen use the verb as St. Luke does, with γράφειν ἐπειχείρησαν γράφειν . Hobart, pp. 87 and 210, points out that Galen also employs the verb with ἀνελεῖν , as here. It is true that the word is also used in the same sense by Josephus, c. Apion , ii., with συγγράφειν , but the medical use of the term is so striking in Hippocrates that its use here is noted by J. Weiss, Evangelium des Lukas , p. i., as a probable reminiscence by the writer, and still more positively so by Zahn, Einleitung in das N. T. , ii., p. 384 (1899).

Verse 30

Acts 9:30 . ἐπιγνόντες : the preposition may signify here as elsewhere accurate and certain knowledge or information a favourite word with St. Luke, in the Gospel seven times, in Acts thirteen times; it was also a favourite word with St. Paul, cf., e.g. , 1Co 13:12 , 2 Corinthians 6:9 ; frequent in LXX, or it may simply mean to find out, to ascertain (Grimm); see Blass in loco on its force in LXX. 5. οἱ ἀδελφοὶ : the expression seems expressly used to imply that the disciples at Jerusalem recognised Saul as a brother. Wendt (1899) rejects all the narrative in Acts as unhistorical, and compares with the statement here Galatians 1:22 ; but there mention is only made of the “Churches of Judæa,” whilst the inference that Paul could scarcely fail to have been known to the members of the Church in Jerusalem seems quite justifiable, Lightfoot, Galatians , p. 86. κατήγαγον , i.e. , brought him down to the sea coast, ad mare deduxerunt , word used only by Luke and Paul; but by St. Luke only as a nautical expression, cf. Acts 27:3 , Acts 28:12 (Acts 21:3 ), and Luke 5:11 ; so in classical writers. εἰς Κ . as in Acts 8:40 (not Cæsarea Philippi which is always so called); if he found Philip there (Acts 21:8 ), the friend and the accuser of the proto-martyr would meet face to face as brethren (Plumptre). ἐξαπέστειλαν : the word might mean by sea or by land, but the former is supported amongst recent commentators by Blass, so too Page ( cf. Lightfoot on Galatians 1:21 , p. 85), Knabenbauer, p. 174. But if so, there is no contradiction with Galatians 1:21 , where Paul speaks of coming into the regions of Syria and Cilicia, as if hwent to the latter through the former. The expressions in Galatians have sometimes been explained on the supposition that the two countries, Syria and Cilicia, are named there as elsewhere in that order, Acts 15:23 ; Acts 15:41 , as a kind of general geographical expression (Felten), the most important country being mentioned first, so Lightfoot, Nösgen, Conybeare and Howson; or that as Paul would remain at Syrian ports on the way to Cilicia, he might fairly speak as he does, or that he went first to Tarsus, and thence made missionary excursions into Syria. If neither of these or similar explanations are satisfactory, we can scarcely conclude with Blass that Galatians 1:21 is accounted for “inverso per incuriam ordine”. Ramsay has lately argued with much force that here as elsewhere Paul thinks and speaks of the Roman divisions of the empire ( cf. Zahn, Einleitung in das N. T. , i., p. 124 (1897)), and that here the two great divisions, Syria and Cilicia, of the Roman province are spoken of; and he accordingly reads, with the original text of [232] , τὰ κλίματα τῆς Σ . καὶ Κ ., the article used once, and thus embracing the two parts of the one province (sometimes three parts are enumerated, Phœnicia being distinguished from Syria). There is apparently no example of the expression Prov. Syria et Cilicia , but Ramsay points to the analogy of Bithynia-Pontus; see Expositor , p. 29 ff., 1898, and “Cilicia” and “Bithynia” (Ramsay) in Hastings’ B.D. Ramsay therefore concludes that Galatians 1:21 simply implies that Paul spent the following period of his life in various parts of the province Syria-Cilicia. Ταρσόν , see above, Acts 9:11 ; on the years of quiet work at Tarsus and in its neighbourhood, see Ramsay, St. Paul , pp. 46, 47, and below on Acts 11:25 .

[232] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

Verse 31

Acts 9:31 . αἱ ἐκκλησίαι if we read the singular ἡ ἐκκλ . with the great MS. the word shows us that the Church, though manifestly assuming a wider range, is still one: Hort, Ecclesia , p. 55, thinks that here the term in the singular corresponds by the three modern representative districts named, viz. , Judæa, Galilee, Samaria, to the ancient Ecclesia, which had its home in the whole land of Israel; but however this may be, the term is used here markedly of the unified Church, and in accordance with St. Paul’s own later usage of the word; see especially Ramsay, St. Paul , pp. 126, 127, and also p. 124. καθʼ ὅλης : the genitive in this sense is peculiar to St. Luke, and always with the adjective ὅλος ; Luke 4:14 ; Luke 23:5 , Acts 9:42 ; Acts 10:37 , the phrase, although not the best classically, seeming to “sound right,” because καθόλου , only in Acts 4:18 in N.T., had come into common use since Aristotle (Simcox, Language of the N. T. , p. 148; Vogel, p. 45). οὖν connects with the preceding narrative; so Bengel, Weiss, Wendt, Blass, Zöckler; the Church had rest because the persecutors had become converted; but see also Rendall, Appendix, on μὲν οὖν , p. 164, and Hackett, Felten. οἰκοδομούμεσαι : “being edified,” R.V. (see critical notes) (not “and were edified,” A.V.) as an accompaniment of the peace from persecutors. The term may refer primarily to the organisation of the Church as a visible institution, but would also indicate the spiritual edification which is so often expressed by the word in St. Paul’s Epistles, where both the verb and its cognate noun are so frequent; cf. Acts 20:32 , and note. The fact that the verb is employed only once in the Gospels, Matthew 16:18 , of the Church, as here in a non-literal sense, as compared with its constant use by St. Paul as above, is a striking indication of the early date of the Synoptic Gospels or their source (see Page, in loco ). For the metaphorical use of the word in the O.T. of good fortune and prosperity, cf. LXX, Psalms 27:5 (Psalms 28:5 ), Jeremiah 12:16 ; Jeremiah 40:7 (Jeremiah 33:7 ); Jeremiah 38:4 (Jeremiah 31:4 ), Jeremiah 49:10 (Jeremiah 42:10 ). (Hilgenfeld refers the whole section Acts 9:32-42 to the same source A from which his “author to Theophilus” derived the founding, and the first incidents in the history, of the early Church, 1:15 4:42, although the “author to Theophilus” may have added the words καὶ τῇ παρακ .… ἐπληθύνοντο . But if we desire a good illustration of the labyrinth (as Hilgenfeld calls it) through which we have to tread, if we would see our way to any coherent meaning in Acts 9:31 to Acts 12:25 , it is sufficient to note the analysis of the sources of the modern critics given us by Hilgenfeld himself, Zeitschrift für wissenschaft. Theol. , pp. 481, 482; 1895.) οἰκοδ .: may refer to the inward spiritual growth, ἐπληθ . to the outward growth in numbers; a growth attributed not to human agency but to the power of the Holy Ghost. παράκλησις only here in Acts of the Holy Ghost. Hort renders “and walking by the fear of the Lord and by the invocation [ παρακ .] of the Holy Spirit [probably invoking His guidance as Paraclete to the Ecclesia] was multiplied” ( Ecclesia , p. 55), and it is not strange that the working of the Παράκλητος should be so described; while others connect the word with the divine counsel or exhortation of the prophets in opening hearts and minds; others again attach παρακ . to ἐπληθ . as expressing increase of spiritual strength and comfort (see Blass, Rendall, Felten, and cf. Colossians 1:11 , 1 Peter 1:2 ). On the verb and its frequency in Acts see p. 73.

Verse 32

Acts 9:32 . ἐγένετο δὲ Π . διερχ .: on the formula and its frequency in Luke see Friedrich, p. 13, and above on p. 124. We have here a note of what may fairly be taken as a specimen of many similar missionary journeys, or rather journeys of progress and inspection, mentioned here perhaps more in detail because of the development which followed upon it, cf. with chap. 10. New congregations had been formed, and just as Peter and John had gone down to Samaria to the Christians converted by Philip, so it became necessary that the congregations which had grown up in many towns (Acts 8:14 ; Acts 8:25 ; Acts 8:40 ) should be visited and kept in touch with the centre at Jerusalem (see Ramsay, St. Paul , pp. 41, 42; Felten and Plumptre, in loco ). διερχ . διὰ πάντων , see note on Acts 13:6 , and for the construction Luke 9:6 ; Luke 11:24 . κατελθεῖν , i.e. , probably from Jerusalem, cf. Acts 8:5 , Luke 4:31 devenire, cf. Plummer’s note on Luke 4:31 . On the frequent use of διέρχομαι and κατέρχομαι in Luke, see Friedrich, p. 7. διὰ πάντων , sc. , ἁγίων , so Meyer-Wendt, Weiss, Bengel, Alford, Hackett, De Wette, Holtzmann; cf. for similar construction 2 Corinthians 1:16 , and cf. Acts 20:25 , Romans 15:28 , or it may mean “through all parts,” R.V., so Belser, Beiträge , p. 58 (see critical notes). Hort seems to take it of the whole land ( Ecclesia , p. 56). ἁγίους , see on Acts 9:13 . Λύδδαν , Hebrew לד , Lod, perpetuated in the modern Ludd; on the word see critical notes, cf. 1 Chronicles 8:2 , Ezra 2:23 , Nehemiah 7:37 ; Nehemiah 11:35 , 1Ma 11:34 ; “a village not less than a city” Jos., Ant. , xx., 6, 2; three hours from Joppa in the plain of Sharon: its frontier position often involved it in battle, and rendered it a subject of treaty between Jews and Syrians, and Jews and Romans. At this period not only Jerusalem but Joppa and Lydda were centres of Jewish national feeling, and were singled out by Cestius Gallus as the centres of the national revolt. On its importance as a place of refuge and a seat of learning after the destruction of Jerusalem, see Hamburger, Real-Encyclopädie des Judentums , i., 5, p. 721; Edersheim, History of the Jewish People , pp. 155, 215, 479, 512, and also Jewish Social Life , pp. 75 78; G. A. Smith, Hist. Geog. of the Holy Land , pp. 141, 160 (and his interesting remarks on the connection of St. George of England with Lydda); Schürer, Jewish People , div. ii., vol. i., p. 159, E.T. As the place lay on the route from Azotus to Cæsarea the planting or at any rate the strengthening of its Christianity may be referred to Philip the Evangelist, Acts 8:40 . But on the other hand the close proximity to Jerusalem, within an easy day’s journey, may induce us to believe that Lydda had its congregation of “saints” almost from the first, Edersheim, Jewish Social Life , p. 75. On the curious Talmudical notices with reference to our Lord and the Virgin Mother, e.g. , that He was condemned at Lydda, see Edersheim, u. s. , p. 76. Such passages perhaps indicate a close connection between Lydda and the founding of Christianity.

Verses 32-35

Acts 9:32-35 . Healing of Aeneas .

Verse 33

Acts 9:33 . Αἰνέαν : the name in this form is found in Thuc, Xen., Pindar. and is not to be identified with that of the Trojan Αἰνείας , although in a fragment of Sophocles we have for the sake of the verse Αἰνέας instead of Αἰνείας ; see Wendt, seventh edition, and Wetstein, in loco . The name is also used of a Jew, Jos., Ant. , xiv., 10, 22. Probably a Hellenistic Jew; but although he is not expressly named a disciple (as in the case of Tabitha), yet as Peter visited him, and he knew the name of Jesus Christ, he may have become a Christian (so Blass); the fact that Peter went to the “saints” may imply this; but see Alford’s note, and so too Hilgenfeld. ἐξ ἐτων ὀκτώ : characteristic of Luke as a medical man; in the cases of disease which he alone mentions, St. Luke frequently gives their duration, e.g. , Acts 13:11 , Acts 3:2 ; Acts 4:22 ; Acts 14:8 , see Hobart, p. 40, Zahn, Einleitung in das N.T. , ii., p. 427. κραββάτῳ , see above on Acts 5:15 , and spelling. παραλελυμένος , see above on Acts 8:7 , and cf. also Zahn, Einleitung in das N. T. , ii., p. 436 (1899).

Verse 34

Acts 9:34 . ἰᾶται σε Ἰ .: perhaps a paronomasia , Acts 4:30 (see Page, in loco ); present tense, indicating that the healing was immediately effected, Burton, N. T. Moods and Tenses , p. 9; Blass, Gram. , p. 183; verb much more frequent in St. Luke than in the other N.T. writers; in Gospel eleven times, in Acts three times, and one quotation; in St. Matthew three times, and same quotation; in St. John twice, and same quotation; in St. Mark only once; in Epistles three times, but perhaps only figuratively; so in Deuteronomy 30:3 , of the diseases of the soul. The term is used by St Luke in a passage where a similar statement is made by St. Matthew and St. Mark, in which they employ another verb, less precise, σώζειν , διασώζειν , and not so strictly medical, cf. Matthew 14:36 , Mark 6:56 , Luke 6:19 , Hobart, p. 9. ἴασις : the cognate noun, only in St. Luke, Luke 13:32 , Acts 4:32 , and see further also Hobart, pp. 23, 24. Both noun and verb are also frequent in LXX, and cf. Plummer on Luke 5:19 , who points out that ἰᾶσθαι in its active significance is peculiar to St. Luke, except in the quotations from LXX (Matthew 13:15 , John 12:40 , both figurative), and in John 4:47 . στρῶσον σεαυτῷ , cf. Acts 22:12 , where, as here, the context must be supplied. The aorist denotes performance without delay now and at once make thy bed for thyself an act which hitherto others have done for thee. καὶ εὐθ , ἀνέστη corresponds to ἀνάστηθι and indicates the completeness of the healing.

Verse 35

Acts 9:35 . τὸν Σάρωνα , on accentuation see critical notes: “at Lydda and in Sharon,” R.V. In Sharon, because it was not a town as Lydda, but rather a level tract, the maritime plain between Carmel and Joppa, so called in Hebrew (with article), meaning “the Level”; in Greek, the Forest, δρυμός , LXX, because it was once covered by a great oak forest; full of quiet but rich beauty; cf. 1 Chronicles 27:29 , Isaiah 33:9 ; Isaiah 35:2 ; Isaiah 37:24 ; Isaiah 65:10 , celebrated for its pasturage, Song of Solomon 2:1 . “The masculine article doth show that it is not named of a city, and so doth the LXX article in Isaiah 33:9 ,” J. Lightfoot, Hor. Heb. There is no ground for supposing that it meant a village in the neighbourhood, as no place bearing the name Saron can be satisfactorily cited, but cf. Nösgen, in loco; see G. A. Smith, Hist. Geog. of the Holy Land , pp. 52, 147, 148; Edersheim, Jewish Social Life , p. 74; Hamburger, Real-Encyclopädie des Judentums , i., 6, p. 897. πάντες : the expression may be taken to mean that a general conversion of the inhabitants followed. Rendall renders “and all that dwelt, etc., who had turned to the Lord, saw Him,” i.e. , attested the reality of the miracle, Acts , pp. 72 and 232. But it might fairly be urged that many would see the man besides those who had become Christians. It helps us to understand the passage if we remember with Nösgen (so Bengel) that the expression ἐπὶ τὸν Κ . applies not to God the Father, but to Jesus Christ, so that we learn that a conversion of the Jewish population at Lydda to the claims of Jesus as the Messiah was the result of the miracle (see also Hackett’s useful note). On the use of οἵτινες see Alford’s note on Acts 7:53 , quoted by Page (Winer-Schmiedel, p. 235). For the phrase ἐπισ . ἐπὶ τὸν Κ . cf. Acts 14:15 .

Verse 36

Acts 9:36 . Ἰόππη , on the spelling, Winer-Schmiedel, p. 56; and below on Acts 9:43 . μαθήτρια : only here in N.T.: the word occurs in the Apocryphal Gospel of Peter : Mary Magdalene is described as μ . τοῦ Κυρίου : it is also used by Diod., ii., 52; Diog. Laert., iv., 2; viii., 2. The form μαθητρίς is found in Philo. Ταβιθά , see critical notes. טְבִיתָא , Aramaic, = צְבִי , Hebrew (1) splendour, beauty; (2) Greek Δορκάς , specially prized by the Orientals for its elegance, Song of Solomon 2:9 , so called from the large bright eyes of the animal ( δέρκομαι ). The name was found as a feminine name amongst both Greek and Jews, see instances in Wetstein ( e.g. , Jos., B. J. , iv., 3, 5), Plumptre, Wendt, seventh edition, sub v. , and more recently Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien , p. 17. This Greek equivalent (found several times in LXX) may not have been actually borne by Tabitha as a name, for St. Luke may only mean to interpret the Aramaic word for his Gentile readers; but she may have been known by both names. Like Æneas, she may have been an Hellenist. There is nothing to indicate that she should be called a deaconess, nor can we tell from the narrative what was the state of this true Sister of Charity, whether she was a widow, whether married or unmarried (Weiss); see further, “Dorcas,” Hastings’ B.D., and Edersheim, Jewish Social Life , p. 78. On the phrase here see Winer-Schmiedel, p. 232. ἐλεημοσυνῶν in singular, Acts 3:2 ; in plural Acts 10:2 , as here; “species post genus ut, 41,” Blass, but by the former term also ἀγαθ . ἔργων works of charity may be more especially intended; see Weber, Jüdische Theol. , p. 284 (1897); cf. Sir 20:16 , τὰ ἀγαθά μου (and Acts 18:15 ; Tob 12:13 ); “Dorcas” and “Almsgiving,” Hastings’ B.D. ὧν , see on Acts 1:1 .

Verses 36-43

Acts 9:36-43 . Tabitha raised from the dead .

Verse 37

Acts 9:37 . ἐγέν . δὲ : on the frequency of the formula in Luke see above p. 124, and Plummer, St. Luke , p. 45, on the use of ἐγένετο . ἀσθενήσασαν : aorist, marking the time when she fell sick (Weiss). λούσαντες : after the manner of the Jews as well as of the Greeks, cf. instances in Wetstein and Hamburger, Real-Encyclopädie des Judentums , i., 2, 162, “Beerdigung” Outside Jerusalem three days might elapse between the death and burial, but in Jerusalem no corpse lay over night, see Hamburger, u. s. , p. 161; in the case of Ananias and Sapphira we may note the accuracy of this distinction. ἔθηκαν : burial did not take place until the danger of an apparent death was considered past; in uncertain cases a delay as above might be allowed, or for other special reasons, and children were forbidden to hasten the burial of their parents, Hamburger, u. s. , p. 161; and further for burial and mourning customs, Edersheim, Jewish Social Life , p. 168, and History of the Jewish Nation , p. 311. ἐν ὑπερῴῳ : the body was usually laid in an upper chamber when burial was delayed; see Hackett’s note and also on Acts 9:39 , and Alford on the article.

Verse 38

Acts 9:38 . Λύδδης , on the form see above on Acts 9:35 ; nine miles from Joppa. παρακαλοῦντες ; the only passage in which the oratio recta follows if we read μὴ ὀκνήσῃς , see critical notes; this also best represents the urgency of the message ( cf. John 11:3 ), as in R.V. μἠ ὀκν .: “fides non tollit civilitatem verborum,” Bengel. Verb only here in N.T., cf. LXX, Numbers 22:16 , of Balak to Balaam, a phrase almost identically similar. διελθεῖν , cf. Luke 2:15 , and Acts 9:32 above, and below Acts 11:19 . Like other compounds of ἔρχομαι very frequent in Luke, as compared with other writers (Friedrich, p. 7). ἕως αὐτῶν : use of ἕως locally, common in St. Luke (Friedrich, p. 20); ἕως with genitive of the person as here, cf. Luke 4:42 , 1Ma 3:26 ; not so used in classical writers (Plummer).

Verse 39

Acts 9:39 . It is not said that they sent for St. Peter to work a miracle, but his near presence at Lydda would naturally make them turn to him in a time of sorrow. παραγενόμενον : a characteristic Lucan expression (Weiss), see above Acts 5:21 . τὸ ὑπερ .: here the article would naturally be used on referring to the chamber, cf. Acts 9:37 , in which the body lay. αἱχῆραι : they may have been the poor of the Church, Acts 6:1 , whom Dorcas had befriended, or those who had been associated with her in good works (see also Plumptre’s suggestive note). In connection with St. Luke’s marked sympathy with women, we may note that the word χήρα is used by him no less than nine times in his Gospel, three in Acts. κλαίουσαι , cf. Luke 7:13 ; Luke 8:52 , Hamburger, u. s. (Acts 9:37 ). ἐπιδεικ .: only here in middle voice, perhaps as pointing to the garments which they were themselves wearing (so Blass, Wendt, Felten, Grimm-Thayer), which Dorcas had given them. χιτῶνας : “coats,” close-fitting undergarments; the word was used in classical Greek of men and women, more perhaps like a dressing-gown or cassock; “Coat,” “Dress,” Hastings’ B.D. ἱμάτια , the long flowing outer robes. ὅσα : “all which,” i.e. , so many (Blass, Page, Hackett, Knabenbauer); see reading in [233] (Blass), critical notes. ἐποίει : imperfect as denoting her customary mode of action.

[233] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

Verse 40

Acts 9:40 . ἐκβαλὼν δὲ ἔξω πάντας : nothing could be more natural than this action of St. Peter as a reminiscence of his Master’s action, when He was about to perform a similar miracle, cf. Matthew 9:25 , Mark 5:40 ( cf. 2 Kings 4:33 , and 2 Kings 4:4-5 in same chapter), but in Luke 8:54 it is noteworthy that the similar words are omitted by W.H [234] and the revisers, see above. In St. Matthew the multitude ὁ ὄχλος is put out, but in St. Mark (and St. Luke), whilst all are described as put out (the same verb), Peter, James and John, with the parents, are allowed to be present at the miracle. Weiss points out the reminiscence of Mark 5:40 , but this we might expect if St. Mark’s Gospel comes to us through St. Peter. St. Chrysostom marks the action of St. Peter as showing how entirely free he was from any attempt at display. θεὶς τὰ γόνατα , see note on Acts 7:60 , “hoc Dominus ipse non fecerat” Blass. St. Peter had been present on each of the three occasions recorded in the Gospels when his Master had raised the dead, but he does not venture at once to speak the word of power, but like Elijah or Elisha kneels down in prayer (see Rendall’s note). Τ . ἀνάστηθι , cf. Mark 5:41 . Here again we note the close agreement with St. Mark’s narrative the words to the damsel are not given at all by Matthew 9:25 , and by St. Luke in Greek, Luke 8:54 , not in Aramaic as by Mark. On the absurdity of identifying the Ταβιθά here with the Ταλιθά of Mark 5:41 see Nösgen and Zöckler, in loco . It may suffice to note with Lumby that in each case an interpretation of the word used is given. ἀνεκάθισε : not found in LXX, and used only by St. Luke in this passage and in his Gospel, Acts 7:15 (but [235] has ἐκάθισεν , which W.H [236] reads only in margin), in both cases of a person restored to life and sitting up. In this intransitive sense it is almost entirely confined to medical writers, to describe patients sitting up in bed. It occurs in Plato, Phædo , 60 B, but in the middle voice, and with the words ἐπὶ τὴν κλίνην expressed: in Xen., Cvr. , v., 7, it is also used, but in a different sense (to sit down again), cf. Hobart, pp. 11, 40, 41, who also notices that the circumstantial details of the gradual recovery of Tabitha are quite in the style of medical description. τὸ σῶμα , Luke 17:37 , the word is quite classical for a dead body, so too in LXX, cf. Deuteronomy 21:23 , 1 Kings 13:24 , 1Ma 11:4 , 2Ma 9:29 . Everything, as Wendt admits (1888), points to the fact that no apparent death, or a raising by natural means, is thought of by the narrator. Holtzmann and Pfleiderer can only find a parallel here with Acts 20:9-12 , but none can read the two narratives without seeing their independence, except in the main fact that both narrate a similar miracle. ἤνοιξε τοὺς ὀφθ .: to this there is nothing corresponding in the details given by the Gospel narratives, as Blass points out.

[234] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

[235] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[236] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

Verse 41

Acts 9:41 . δοὺς δὲ αὐτῇ χ .: here for help to her to rise, after she had been restored to life, but in the Gospels Christ takes the damsel by the hand before she is restored, Mark 5:41 , Luke 8:54 . Thus, while retaining a close resemblance, as we might surely expect, to our Lord’s action in St. Mark’s narrative, there is yet sufficient independence of detail to show that one description is not a slavish imitation of the other. τὰς χήρας : Rendall sees in the words reference to an organised body, 1 Timothy 5:11-16 , engaged in the service of the Church, but the context only points to the widows who had been previously mentioned, species post genus , as in Acts 9:36 (Blass).

Verse 42

Acts 9:42 . καθʼ ὅλης , see above on Acts 9:31 .

Verse 43

Acts 9:43 . ἐγένετο δὲ , see on Acts 9:37 , Plummer, St. Luke , p. 45, on the use of ἐγένετο . The phrase also marks (as often in Luke) a transition to the following narrative (Nösgen). ἡμέρας ἱκανὰς , see on Acts 8:11 , and Acts 27:7 . Kennedy speaks of the adjective as used in the vernacular sense of “long,” “many,” Aristoph., Pax. , 354. βυρσεῖ , in classics βυρσοδέψης : it is difficult to suppose that the common estimate of the work of a tanner amongst the Jews as unclean, on account of their constant contact with dead animals, has here no significance. At least the mention of the trade seems to show that St. Peter was already in a state of mind which would fit him for the further revelation of the next chapter, and for the instructions to go and baptise the Gentile Cornelius. On the detestation in which this trade was held by the Jews, see Wetstein, in loco ; Edersheim, Jewish Social Life , p. 158; cf. Mishna, Khethuboth , vii., 10. It does not in any way militate against the historical character of the narrative, as Overbeck maintains, to admit that the description is meant to introduce the “universalism” of the following incident. Both Chrysostom and Theophylact (so too Erasmus) dwell upon this incident in St. Peter’s life as illustrating his unassuming conduct. Ἰόππῃ , see on Acts 9:36 . Heb. יָפוֹ , “beauty,” Jaffa ; see for references Joshua 19:46 , 2 Chronicles 2:16 , Jonah 1:3 , Ezra 3:7 ; the port of Jerusalem from the days of Solomon (from which it was distant some thirty-five miles), situated on a hill so high that people affirmed, as Strabo mentions, that the capital was visible from its summit. It was comparatively (Schürer) the best harbour on the coast of Palestine (although Josephus, B. J. , iii., 9, correctly describes it as dangerous), and in this lay its chief importance. The Maccabees were well aware of this, and it is of Simon that the historian writes: “With all his glory he took Joppa for an haven, and made an entrance to the isles of the sea” 1Ma 14:5 (about 144 B.C.). The Judaising of the city was the natural result of the Maccabean occupation, although the Syrians twice retook Joppa, and twice Hyrcanus regained it for the Jews. Taken by Pompey B.C. 63, restored to the Jews by Cæsar 47, Jos., Ant. , xiv., 4, 4; B. J. , i., 7, 7, and Ant. , xiv., 10, 6, and at length added to the kingdom of Herod the Great, Ant. , xv., 7, 3; B. J. , i., 20, 3, Joppa remained Jewish, imbued with all the fanatic patriotism of the mother-city, and in the fierce revolt of 66 A.D. Joppa still remained alone in her undivided allegiance to Judaism, and against Joppa the first assault of Cestius Gallus was directed. On the Joppa which St. Peter entered, Acts 10:0 , and its contrast to the neighbouring Cæsarea, see Acts 8:40 and G. A. Smith, Hist. Geog. , p. 136 ff.; see also Schürer, Jewish People , div. ii., vol. i., p. 79 ff. E.T.; Hamburger, Real-Encyclopädie des Judentums , i., 4, 601; B.D. 2 , “Joppa”.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Acts 9". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/egt/acts-9.html. 1897-1910.
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