Acts 9Azotus; a city on the sea-coast, about thirty miles north of Gaza,—the Ashdod of the Old Testament.—Cesarea. Cesarea was then the capital of Judea, being the residence of the Roman governors. It was a large seaport on the Mediterranean, about sixty miles north of Azotus.
Damascus; a city of great power and splendor, more than a hundred miles from Jerusalem, and in another province. Saul's design of pursuing the Christians who had fled from Jerusalem, to such a distance, and into another jurisdiction, in order to strike a decisive blow against them in this great city, evinces the boldness and energy of his character.— To the synagogues; that is, to the Jewish authorities in Damascus, the officers of the synagogues.
Kick against the pricks; an image taken from the case of the ox, kicking against the goad by which he is driven.
Hearing, a voice. In some cases, where God is said to have spoken to men, the communication appears to have been made, not by audible words, but by inward suggestion; and hence it has sometimes been supposed that the dialogue here recorded represents the train of reflection which was awakened in Saul's mind by this event, and that the voice here spoken of was some sound, not articulate, which accompanied the light. The language, however, which Paul uses in Acts 22:9 where he says that his companions did not hear—that is, did not understand—the voice of him which spake to him, and in 26:14, where he says that the words which he heard were in the Hebrew tongue, seems to be utterly inconsistent with this interpretation. The accounts are plainly intended to convey the idea that this was actually a personal interview between the determined persecutor and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Tarsus; a large city of Cilicia, in Asia Minor, the birthplace of Saul.
This and many other cases show that the ceremony of laying on of hands was not a distinctive ceremony, exclusively peculiar to ordination. It would seem not to have been considered essential as a mode of induction to the ministerial office, as is evident from the cases of Matthias, Paul, and Apollos, who do not appear to have been thus ordained; and it was often used on other occasions.
In strength; in confidence and ability.
To Jerusalem. This was a long time afterwards; for it must have been during this interval that, Paul, went to Arabia, as he states in Gal. 1:17.
Grecians; Grecian Jews, that is, Jews from foreign cities, who spoke the Greek language, and who were, perhaps, more intellectual and more highly educated than the Hebrew Jews.
To Cesarea; in order that he might embark at that place, it being a noted seaport.
Lydda; a large village, between Jerusalem and Cesarea.
It is worthy of notice that, in this and in all similar cases, the power by which the miracle was performed, is ascribed directly to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Saron; a fertile and populous tract of country near to Lydda.
Joppa; a large seaport, south of Cesarea, and nearly opposite to Jerusalem. On account of this its situation in respect to Jerusalem, and other circumstances, the place has been much celebrated, in modern times, under the name of Jaffa. The name Tabitha is of Hebrew origin; Dorcas is Greek.—Alms-deeds; deeds of kindness to the poor.
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