Acts 13


Of the prophets and teachers in the Church of Antioch, 1.

By command of the Holy Spirit the Church appoints Saul and

Barnabas to a particular work, 2, 3.

They depart, and travel to Seleucia, Cyprus, and Salamis,

preaching in the Jewish synagogues, 4, 5.

At Paphos they meet with Bar-Jesus or Elymas, a Jewish

sorcerer, who endeavoured to prevent the deputy of the island

from receiving the Christian faith, 6-8.

Saul, for the first time called Paul, denounces the judgments

of God upon him, and he is struck blind, 9-11.

The deputy, seeing this, is confirmed tn the faith, 12.

Paul and his company leave Paphos, and come to Pamphylia,

where John Mark leaves them, and returns to Jerusalem, 13.

Paul and Barnabas proceed to Antioch; and, coming into a

synagogue of the Jews, are requested by the rulers of it to

preach to the people, 14,15.

Paul preaches, and proves that Jesus is the Christ, 16-41.

The Gentiles desire the sermon to be preached to them the next

Sabbath, and many of the Jews and proselytes receive the

Christian faith, 42, 43.

The next Sabbath the whole city attend; and the Jews, filled

with envy, contradict and blaspheme, 44, 45.

Paul and Barnabas with great boldness show that, by the order

of God, the Gospel was to be preached first to them; but,

seeing they had rejected it, it should now be taken from them,

and sent to the Gentiles, 46, 47.

The Gentiles rejoice and receive the truth, 48, 49.

The Jews raise a persecution against the apostles, and expel

them, 50.

They come to Iconium, full of joy and the Holy Ghost, 51, 52.


Verse 1. Certain prophets and teachers] προφηταικαιδιδασκαλοι.

It is probable that these were not distinct offices; both might be

vested in the same persons. By prophets we are to understand, when

the word is taken simply, persons who were frequently inspired to

predict future events, and by teachers, persons whose ordinary

office was to instruct the people in the Christian doctrine. These

also, to be properly qualified for the office, must have been

endued with the influence of the Holy Spirit; for, as but a very

small portion of the Scriptures of the New Testament could have as

yet been given, it was necessary that the teachers should derive

much of their own teaching by immediate revelation from God. On

prophets and teachers, see the note on Ac 11:27.

Barnabas] Of whom see before, Ac 11:22-24.

Simeon-Niger] Or Simeon the Black, either because of his

complexion, or his hair. It was on reasons of this kind that

surnames, surnoms, name upon name were first imposed. Of this

Simeon nothing farther is known.

Lucius of Cyrene] See Ac 11:20.

Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod] Our margin has

given the proper meaning of the original word συντροφος, a

foster-brother; i.e. Manaen was the son of the woman who nursed

Herod Antipas; and the son, also, whose milk the young Herod

shared. Of a person whose name was Manaen or Menahem, and who was

in the court of Herod, we read several things in the Jewish

writers. They say that this man had the gift of prophecy, and that

he told Herod, when he was but a child, that he would be king.

When Herod became king he sent for him to his court, and held him

in great estimation. It might have been the son of this Menahem of

whom St. Luke here speaks. Dr. Lightfoot has shown this to be at

least possible.

Verse 2. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted] On Mondays

and Thursdays it was usual with the more pious Jews to attend the

public service in their synagogues, and to fast: the former is

what we are to understand by ministering to the Lord. On the

Sabbaths they attended the service in the synagogue, but did not

fast. The Greek word, λειτουργουντων, signifies performing the

office of praying, supplicating, rendering thanks, &c.: hence the

word λειτουργια, liturgy, the work of prayer, &c., from λιτη,

supplication, according to some; or rather from λειτος, common,

and εργον, work, the common or public work, in which all the

people were engaged.

The Holy Ghost said] A revelation of the Divine will was made to

some person then present; probably to either Simeon, or Lucius, or

Manaen, mentioned before.

Separate me Barnabas and Saul.] Consecrate, or set them apart,

for the particular work whereunto I have called them. How this was

done, we find in the next verse.

Verse 3. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their

hands on them] 1. They fasted: this was probably done by the

whole Church. 2. They prayed, that God would bless and prosper

them in their work. 3. They land hands upon them; thus solemnly

appointing them to that particular work. But was it by this

fasting, praying, and imposition of hands that these men were

qualified for this work? No. God had already called them to it,

Ac 13:2, and he who called them had qualified them. Both their

call and their qualification came from God; but he chose that they

should have also the sanction of that Church of which they had

been members; and therefore he said, Separate me, &c. The

ordination of elders among the Jews was by three persons; and here

we find three, Simeon, Lucius, and Manaen, ordaining two others,

Barnabas and Saul. But how did the Jews ordain? Not by

imposition of hands: this is strictly forbidden, see Maimon. Sanh.

chap. 4. "After what manner is the ordaining of elders for ever?

Not that they should lay their hands on the head of an elder; but

only that they should call him Rabbi, and say to him, Behold, thou

art ordained, and hast power of judging, &c." It is remarkable

that the imposition of hands in the ordaining of elders was not

used among the ancient Jews, probably never under the first

temple; and rarely, if ever, under the second. See Lightfoot on

this place. The Church at Antioch, however, did depart from this

custom: they put their hands on the heads of Barnabas and Saul;

thus designating them to be the persons whom they, under the

direction of the Holy Spirit, sent to preach the Gospel of Christ

to the heathen.

When the Holy Spirit said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the

work whereunto I have called them, and the elders of the Church,

in consequence, prayed, fasted, and laid their hands upon them,

they certainly understood that by acting thus they fulfilled the

mind of the Spirit. Hence, is it not evident that, when the elders

of the Church of God have good reason to believe that He has

called certain persons to the work of the ministry, and qualified

them for that work, they should proceed as the elders of the

Church of Antioch did; and by fasting, prayer, and imposition of

hands, separate those persons for the work whereunto God has

called them. Such persons will consider themselves accountable to

GOD and his Church, and should take care how they use the gift and

authority received from both. Is it not being wise above what is

written to say, "When God has called and given authority, there is

no need of ordination or appointment from man?" I would just ask

the objector, Why, then, when God had called Barnabas and Saul to

the work, did he command the Church to separate them to him for

that very work? And why did they, in obedience, fast, pray, and

lay hands upon them? I shall dispute with no man about the

superior excellence of the episcopal or presbyterian form in

ordination: if all the preliminaries be right, they may be both

equally good, for all that I have ever been able to learn to the

contrary; but that there should be some proper scriptural form

attended to, I am fully satisfied. Besides, if the plan of the

Church at Antioch were regularly and faithfully followed, in

sending forth the ministers of the Gospel, no man can prove that

God would not own them in an especial manner, and more

particularly prosper their work. But, O ye rulers of the Church!

be careful, as ye shall answer it to God, never to lay hands on

the head of a man whom ye have not just reason to believe God has

called to the work; and whose eye is single, and whose heart is

pure. Let none be sent to teach Christianity, who have not

experienced it to be the power of God to the salvation of their

own souls. If ye do, though they have your authority, they never

can have the blessing nor the approbation of God. "I sent them

not: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the

Lord." Jer 23:32.

Verse 4. Being sent forth by the Holy Ghost] By his influence,

authority, and under his continual direction. Without the first,

they were not qualified to go; without the second, they had no

authority to go; and without the third, they could not know

where to go.

Departed, unto Seleucia] This is generally understood to be

Seleucia of Pieria, the first city on the coast of Syria, coming

from Cilicia; near the place where the river Orontes pours itself

into the sea.

They sailed to Cyprus.] A well known island in the Mediterranean

Sea. See Clarke on Ac 4:36.

Verse 5. Salamis] The capital of the island of Cyprus;

afterwards called Constantia, and now Salina, situated on the

eastern part of the island.

They preached the word of God] τονλογον, The doctrine of God,

the Christian religion, emphatically so called.

They had also John to their minister.] This was John Mark, of

whom we heard, Ac 12:25;

for their minister, υπηρετην, to assist them in minor offices,

as deacon or servant, that they might give themselves wholly to

the doctrine of the Lord.

Verse 6. Gone through the isle] ολην, The WHOLE isle, is

added here by ABCDE, several others, both the Syrian, Coptic,

AEthiopic, Armenian, Vulgate, and Itala; and also by several of

the Greek fathers; and this must be the true reading, for it is

evident they ran through the whole island from east to west.

Unto Paphos] This town, next in importance to Salamis, was

situated on the western part of the isle; and having gone from

Salamis to this place is a proof that they had gone through the

whole island from east to west, according to the reading noticed

above. There was probably no town in the universe more dissolute

than Papas. Here Venus had a superb temple: here she was

worshipped with all her rites; and from this place she was named

the Paphian Venus, the queen of Paphos, &c. This temple and whole

city were destroyed by an earthquake; so that a vestige of either

does not now remain. There are two islands which go by this name,

both adjoining, and on the west side of the island of Cyprus. One

is called Old Paphos, the other New Paphos; the latter is probably

the island here mentioned, though they are often confounded. On

this island there is a Christian Church, dedicated to St. George,

in which service is performed by the Greek ministers. It is a

bishop's see, suffragan to the Abp. of Nicosia.

A certain sorcerer] τιναμαγον, A magician, one who used

magical arts, and pretended to have commerce with supernatural

agents. A person who dealt in sleight of hand, or leger-de-main.

Such as I have supposed Simon Magus to be.

See Clarke on Ac 8:9.

A false prophet]. A deceiver, one who pretended to have a Divine

commission, a fortune teller.

Bar-Jesus] That is, the son of Jesus or Joshua; as Bar-jona is

the son of Jonah; Bar-tholomew, the son of Thalmi, &c.

Verse 7. The deputy of the country] ανθυπατω, The proconsul.

Rosenmuller and others remark, that in those days the Romans sent

two different kinds of governors into the provinces. Some of the

provinces were Caesarean or imperial, and into those they sent

propretors; others belonged to the senate and people of Rome,

and into those they sent proconsuls. Cyprus had formerly been an

imperial province; but Augustus, who made the distinction, had

given it to the people, whence it was governed by a proconsul. See

Dion Cass. Hist. Rom. lib. iv. p. 523. [Edit. Leunclav.]

Sergius Paulus] This proconsul is not mentioned any where else:

he became a Christian, had his name written in the book of life,

and, probably on that very account, blotted out of the Fasti


A prudent man] ανδρισυνετω, A man of good sense, of a sound

understanding, and therefore wished to hear the doctrine taught by

these apostles; he did not persecute the men for their preaching,

but sent for them that he might hear for himself.

Verse 8. But Elymas, the sorcerer, (for so is his name by

interpretation)] That is, Elymas is the interpretation of the word

μαγος, or sorcerer; not of the word Bar-Jesus as some have

imagined; and to support which they have been led into strange

etymologies on the word βαριησους, Bar-Jesus. But how is Elymas,

ελυμας, the interpretation of the word μαγος, magician or

sorcerer? Ans. Both names are Asiatic; but neither Hebrew nor

Greek. I have already observed, in Clarke's note on "Mt 2:1", that

[Persic] mogh in Persian means an idolater, a worshipper of fire,

and sometimes what we term a magician. Elymas is from the Arabic

[Arabic] ilm, knowledge, science, doctrine, art; from alama, he

was wise, skilled, &c.; hence [Persic] aleem or alymon, a

doctor or learned man, and, with the Greek termination, ελυμας,

Elymas, the interpretation of [Persic] mogh, Greek μαγος, magos,

a magician, a wise man, doctor, &c.

Verse 9. Saul, who also is-Paul] This is the first time the name

Paul occurs, and the last time in which this apostle is called

Saul, as his common or general name.

Saul, Shaul, was the name of the first Israelitish king,

and signifies asked, sought; from shaal, he asked, inquired,


Paul, Paulus, if derived from the Latin, signifies little,

dwarfish: but if from the Hebrew, pala, it signifies

extraordinary, wonderful; and this appears to have been the

derivation assigned to it by St. Jerome, com. in Ep. Pauli ad

Philem., who translates it mirabilis, wonderful, and Hesychius

must have had the same in view, for he defines it thus, παυλος

θαυμαστοςηεκλεκτοςσυμβουλος, Paul, wonderful, or elect,

counsellor. The lexicographer had probably here in view, Isa 9:6:

his name shall be called ( pel� yo�ts) wonderful,

counsellor; which he might corrupt into paulus, and thus make his

θαυμαστοςσυμβουλος out of it by way of explanation. Triller,

however, supposes the συμβουλος of Hesychius to be corrupted from

συνδουλος fellow servant, which is a term not unfrequently

applied to apostles, &c., in the New Testament, who are called the

servants of God; and it is used by Paul himself, Col 1:7; 4:7.

The Latin original is the most probable. It is well known that the

Jews in the apostolic age had frequently two names, one Hebrew,

the other Greek or Roman. Saul was born of Jewish parents, a

Hebrew of the Hebrews; he had therefore his first name from that

language, Shaul, asked or begged; as it is possible he might

have been a child for whom his parents had addressed their fervent

petitions to God. The case of Samuel is one in point. See

1Sa 1:9-18. As he was born in Tarsus, in Cilicia, he was

consequently born a free Roman citizen; and hence his parents

would naturally give him, for cognomen, some name borrowed from

the Latin tongue, and Paulus, which signifies little, might

indicate that he was at his birth a small or diminutive child. And

it is very likely that he was low in stature all his days; and

that it is to this he refers himself, 2Co 10:10,

for his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible. If

he were small in stature, his voice would be naturally low and

feeble; and the Greeks. who were fond of a thundering eloquence,

would despise him on this very account.

Filled with the Holy Ghost] Therefore the sentence he pronounced

was not from himself, but from God. And indeed, had he not been

under a Divine influence, it is not likely he would have ventured

thus to accost this sorcerer in the presence of the governor, who,

no doubt, had greatly admired him.

Verse 10. O full of all subtilty] δολου, Deceit, pretending to

supernatural powers without possessing any, and having only

cunning and deceit as their substitutes.

And-mischief] ραδιουργιας, from ραδιος, easy, and εργον,

a work; one who is ready at his work; a word which excellently

well defines a juggler, one who is expert at sleight of hand;

though it is often employed to signify an abandoned and

accomplished villain.

Child of the devil] υιεδιαβολου, Son of the devil, possessing

his nature; filled with his cunning; and, in consequence,

practising deceit.

Enemy of all righteousness] εχθρεπασηςδικαιοσυνης; Opposed in

thy heart to all that is just, true, and good.

Wilt thou not cease to pervert, &c.] ουπαυσηδιαστρεφων. Wilt

thou not cease perverting? He had probably laboured in this bad

work from the beginning of Paul's ministry in the place; and God

in his mercy had borne with him; and no doubt the apostle had

warned him, for thus much seems implied in the reproof. What a

terrible character is given of this bad man! He no doubt passed

among the people for what we call a clever fellow; and he was so

clever as to hide himself under a pretty dense mask; but God, who

searches the heart, plucked it off, and tells him, and those who

were perverted by him, what an accomplished deceiver and knave he


The right ways of the Lord] ταςοδουςκυριουταςευθειας, The

ways of the Lord, the straight ways. This saying is very

emphatical. The ways of Elymas were crooked and perverse; the ways

of the Lord, the doctrine taught by him, plain and straight. What

is here said of the conduct and teaching of Elymas, for he was a

false prophet, is true of all false doctrine: it is complex,

devious, and tortuous: while the doctrine of God is simple, plain,

and straight; directing in the way, the sure way, that leads to

present peace and everlasting happiness. From the phraseology

which the apostle employs in this terrible address to Elymas, we

may learn, as well as from his name Bar-Jesus, that he was by

birth and education a Jew. On this account he was the greater

enemy to Christianity; and on this same account he was the less


Verse 11. The hand of the Lord is upon thee] The power of God

is now about to deal with thee in the way of justice.

Thou shalt be blind] Every word here proves the immediate

inspiration of Paul. He was full of the Holy Ghost when he began

this address: by the light of that Spirit he discerned the state

of Elymas, and exposed his real character; and, by the prophetic

influence of that same Spirit, he predicted the calamity that was

about to fall upon him, while as yet there was no sign of his

blindness! Mark this!

Not seeing the sun for a season.] In the midst of judgment God

remembers mercy. This blindness was not to be perpetual: it was

intended to be the means of awakening and softening the hard heart

of this poor sinner. There is an ancient tradition, and it is

mentioned both by Origen and Chrysostom, that Elymas, in

consequence of this became a sincere convert to the religion of

Christ. Origen says: "And Paul by a word striking him blind, who

was with the proconsul, Sergius Paul, διατωνπονωνεπιστρεφει

αυτονειςθεοσεβειαν, by anguish converted him to godliness." And,

commenting on-Thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun, αχρι

καιρου, for a season, asks, "And why for a season? That, being

smitten on account of his transgressions, and brought to

repentance, he might at last be deemed worthy to see the sun, not

only with his body, but with his mind; that the Divine virtue

might be proclaimed in restoring him to sight, and his soul,

believing, might receive godliness." Com. in Exod., vol. i. p.

117, edit. de la Rue, Par. 1733.

There fell on him a mist and darkness] αχλυς, achlus, is a

disordered state of the eye, in which the patient sees through a

thick mist. This thick mist, or perturbed state of the eye, took

place first: it increased, and σκοτος, thick, positive darkness,

was the issue.

He went about] πεπιαγων. Not knowing how to take a right step,

he groped about in great uncertainty; and, not being able to find

his way, he sought for some persons to lead him by the hand. This

state of Elymas is inimitably expressed in one of the cartoons of

Raphael, now at Hampton-court, (and lately engraved, in the true

spirit of the original, by Mr. Thomas Holloway,) in which his

whole figure expresses the depth of distress, concern,

uncertainty, and confusion; and, to use a word common in

exhibiting this matchless piece of painting, he is blind from head

to foot. In this manner the text authorizes the painter to express

the state of this miserable culprit.

Verse 12. The deputy-believed] This was a proof that the

doctrine was true; and that the power of God, from which nothing

could be concealed, and which nothing could resist, was with these


Being astonished] εκπλησσομενος, Being struck with astonishment,

as Elymas was struck with blindness. Thus the word of God is a

two-edged sword: it smites the sinner with judgment or

compunction; and the sincere inquirer after truth, with conviction

of its own worth and excellence.

Verse 13. Paul and his company loosed from Paphos] They sailed

away from this island, leaving, it may be presumed, Elymas a

sincere and deeply humbled penitent; and Sergius Paul, a thorough

and happy believer in the doctrine of Christ.

Previously to this time, St. Luke always mentions Barnabas

before Paul; but after this he mentions Paul always first;

probably after seeing how God had distinguished him in the late

proceedings at Cyprus; as much of the Holy Spirit now rested upon


They came to Perga in Pamphylia] As Perga was not a maritime

town, it is conjectured that the apostles sailed up the river

Cestrus, in order to come to this place, which, according to

Strabo, was situated about sixty leagues up this river, and near

to which was a famous temple dedicated to Diana. For Pamphylia,

see Ac 2:10.

And John departing from them] Why John Mark left his brethren at

this place we are not informed; probably he went to visit his

pious mother Mary at Jerusalem, and to see Peter, to whom he is

supposed to have been much attached. It certainly was not with the

approbation of Paul that he left them at this place, as we learn

from Ac 15:38; yet his departure does not seem to have merited

the displeasure of Barnabas; for John Mark having met these

apostles at Antioch, when Paul purposed to revisit the various

places where they had planted the word of God, Barnabas was

willing to take him with them; but Paul would not consent, because

he had departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them

to the work, Ac 15:35-39, and this occasioned a separation

between Barnabas and Paul. It does not appear that John Mark was

under any obligation to accompany them any longer or any farther

than he pleased. He seems to have been little else than their

servant, and certainly was not divinely appointed to this work,

as they were; and consequently might leave them innocently, though

not kindly, if they could not readily supply his place. In this

respect John Mark might be to blame; but Barnabas, whose nephew he

was, could look over this fault more easily than Paul, who could

not find those motives to pass by what was reprehensible in his

conduct which natural affection might furnish to his brother


Verse 14. They came to Antioch in Pisidia] This place is

mentioned thus to distinguish it from Antioch in Syria, with which

it had nothing in common but the name. There were several cities

and towns in various districts of these countries called Antioch:

some have reckoned up not less than twelve. Pisidia, in which this

was situated, was a province of Asia Minor, near to Pamphylia,

having Phrygia on the north, and Pamphylia on the south. The

position of all these places may be seen on the map.

Into the synagogue on the Sabbath day] Though Paul was now on a

special mission to the Gentiles, yet he availed himself of every

opportunity, in every place, of making the first offer of

salvation to the Jews.

Verse 15. After the reading of the law and the prophets] A

certain portion of the law and another of the prophets, was read

every Sabbath; and the law was so divided as to be read over once

every year. In the notes at the conclusion of Deuteronomy, I have

considered this subject at large, and given a complete table of

the Parashoth, sections of the law, and Haphtaroth, sections of

the prophets, which are read every Sabbath in the year in the

Jewish synagogues. To have an exact view of every part of the

Jewish ecclesiastical economy, the reader will do well to consult

the above mentioned table, and those which follow it: they have

been drawn up with great care, attention, and indescribable


It has been a question, in what language were the law and

prophets read in a synagogue of Pisidia, for in that district

Strabo informs us that four languages were spoken, viz. the

Pisidian, the Solyman, the Greek, and the Lydian. Dr.

Lightfoot conjectures, with great probability, that the Scriptures

were read in the original Hebrew; and that an interpreter tendered

the reading to the people in their mother tongue. There is no

doubt that the Jews and proselytes understood the Greek tongue

well; and they certainly had the Septuagint version among them.

The rulers of the synagogue] These were the persons whose

business it was to read the appointed sections, and to take care

of the synagogue and its concerns; and to see that all was done

decently and in order.

Sent unto them] Seeing them to be Jews, they wished them to give

some suitable address to the people, i.e. to the Jews who were

then engaged in Divine worship; for the whole of the following

discourse, which greatly resembles that of St. Stephen,

Ac 7:1-53, is directed to the

Jews alone; and this was probably spoken either in Hebrew or


Ye men and brethren] ανδρεςαδελφοι, Men brethren, a

Hebraism for, "Ye men who are our brethren," i.e. Jews, as we

ourselves are; but ανδρες is often an expletive, as we have

already seen. See Clarke on Ac 7:2.

If ye have any word of exhortation] ειεστιλογοςενυμιν

παρακλησεως. If ye have any subject of consolation, any word of

comfort to us, who are sojourners in this strange land, speak

it. The Consolation of Israel was an epithet of the Messiah among

the Jews; and it is probable that it was in reference to him that

the rulers of the synagogue spoke. That παρακλησις is to be

understood here as meaning consolation, and this in reference to

the Messiah, the whole of the following discourse will prove to

the attentive reader; in which Paul shows the care and protection

of God towards his people Israel, and the abundant provision he

had made for their salvation by Jesus Christ. They wished for

consolation, and he declared unto them glad tidings, and many

felt the power and comfort of the doctrine of the cross.

Verse 16. Men of Israel] Ye that are Jews by birth; and ye that

fear God-ye that are proselytes to the Jewish religion. In this

discourse Paul proves that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, sent from

God, not only for the salvation of the Jews, but of the whole

human race. And this he does, not with the rhetorician's arts, but

in a plain, simple detail of the history of Christ, and the most

remarkable transactions of the people of God, which referred to

his manifestation in the flesh. Rosenmuller.

Verse 17. The God of-our fathers] The apostle begins his

discourse with the Egyptian bondage, and their deliverance from

it, as points the most remarkable and striking in their history;

in which the providence and mighty power of God, exerted so

frequently in their behalf, were peculiarly conspicuous.

Exalted the people] Even when they were strangers in the land,

and greatly oppressed, God exalted them; made them a terror to

their enemies, and multiplied them greatly.

With a high arm] A literal translation of the Hebrew phrase,

bezeroa ramah, with a lifted-up arm, to protect them and

destroy their enemies. The meaning of the phrase is, a manifest

display of the Divine power.

Verse 18. About the time of forty years] The space of time

between their coming out of Egypt, and going into the promised


Suffered he their manners] ετροποφορησεναυτους; He dealt

indulgently with them: howsoever they behaved towards him, he

mercifully bore with, and kindly treated them. But instead of

ετροποφορησεν, ACE, some others, with the Syriac, Arabic,

Coptic, AEthiopic, and some of the fathers, read ετροφοφορησεν,

which signifies, he nourished and fed them, or bore them about in

his arms as a tender nurse does her child. This reading confirms

the marginal conjecture, and agrees excellently with the scope of

the place, and is a reading at least of equal value with that in

the commonly received text. Griesbach has admitted it, and

excluded the other. Both, when rightly understood, speak nearly

the same sense; but the latter is the most expressive, and agrees

best with Paul's discourse, and the history to which he alludes.

See the same form of expression, Nu 11:12; Ex 19:4;

Isa 46:3, 4; 63:9.

Verse 19. Destroyed seven nations] The Canaanites, Hittites,

Girgasites, Amorites, Hivites, Peresites, and Jebusites. The

rabbins frequently call them Shebaah Omoth, the Seven


Verse 20. And after that he gave unto them judges about the

space of four hundred and fifty years] This is a most difficult

passage, and has been termed by Scaliger, Crux Chronologorum. The

apostle seems here to contradict the account in 1Ki 6:1:

And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after

the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the

fourth year of Solomon's reign, he began to build the house of the


Sir Norton Knatchbull, in his annotations upon difficult texts,

has considered the various solutions proposed by learned men of

the difficulty before us; and concludes that the words of the

apostle should not be understood as meaning how long God gave them

judges, but when he gave them; and therefore proposes that the

first words of this verse, καιμεταταυταωςετεσιτετρακοσιοις

καιπεντηκοντα, should be referred to the words going before,

Ac 13:17, that is, to the

time WHEN the God of the children of Israel chose their fathers.

"Now this time wherein God may properly be said to have chosen

their fathers, about 450 years before he gave them judges, is to

be computed from the birth of Isaac, in whom God may properly be

said to have chosen their fathers; for God, who had chosen Abraham

out of all the people of the earth, chose Isaac at this time out

of the children of Abraham, in whose family the covenant was to

rest. To make this computation evident, let us observe that from

the birth of Isaac to the birth of Jacob are 60 years; from thence

to their going into Egypt, 130; from thence to the exodus, 210;

from thence to their entrance into Canaan, 40; from that to the

division of the land (about which time it is probable they began

to settle their government by judges) 7 years; which sums make

447: viz. 60 + 130 + 210 + 40 + 7 = 447. And should this be

reckoned from the year before the birth of Isaac, when God

established his covenant between himself and Abraham, and all his

seed after him, Ge 17:19, at which time God

properly chose their fathers, then there will be 448 years,

which brings it to within two years of the 450, which is

sufficiently exact to bring it within the apostle's ως, about, or


"Some have made the period 452 years; which, though two years

more than the apostle's round number, is still sufficiently

reconcilable with his qualifying particle ως, about. And it may be

added that the most correct writers often express a sum totally,

but not exactly: so, with Demosthenes and Plautus, we find that

called a talent where some drachms were either wanting or


The sacred writers often express themselves in the same way:

e.g. He made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the

other; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it about. Now we

know that the circumference of any circle is only in round numbers

to its diameter as three to one; but, correctly, is considerably

more, nearly as 22 to 7. But even the Spirit of God does not see

it necessary to enter into such niceties, which would only puzzle,

and not instruct the common reader.

Calmet has paraphrased these passages nearly to the same sense:

the text may be thus connected; Ac 13:19.

And having destroyed; seven nations in the land of Canaan, he

divided their land to them by lot, about one hundred and fifty

years after. And afterwards he gave them judges, to the time of

Samuel the prophet. The paraphrase of Calmet is the following:

"The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers in the

person of Abraham; he promised him the land of Canaan; and four

hundred and fifty years after this promise, and the birth of

Isaac, who was the son and heir of the promise, he put them in

possession of that land which he had promised so long before." As

this view of the subject removes all the principal difficulties, I

shall not trouble my reader with other modes of interpretation.

Verse 21. Saul the son of Cis] In all proper names quoted from

the Old Testament, we should undoubtedly follow, as nearly as

possible, the same orthography: Kish, was the name of this

king's father, and so we spell it in the Old Testament, and yet

have transformed it into Cis in the New, where the orthography is

almost entirely lost.

The space of forty years.] Reckoning from the time of his

anointing by Samuel to the time of his death, from A.M. 2909 to


Verse 22. David-a man after mine own heart] That is, a man who

would rule the kingdom according to God's will. Dr. Benson's

observation on this point is very judicious: "When it is said that

David was a man after God's own heart, it should be understood,

not of his private, but of his public, character. He was a man

after God's own heart, because he ruled the people according to

the Divine will. He did not allow of idolatry; he did not set up

for absolute power. He was guided in the government of the nation

by the law of Moses, as the standing rule of government, and by

the prophet, or the Divine oracle, whereby God gave directions

upon particular emergencies. Whatever Saul's private character

was, he was not a good king in Israel. He did not follow the law,

the oracle, and the prophet; but attempted to be absolute, and

thereby to subvert the constitution of the kingdom. That this was

the meaning of David's being a man after God's own heart will

easily appear by comparing 1Sa 15:28; 28:17, 18; 1Ch 10:13, 14;

Ps 78:70, &c.; Ps 89:20, &c."

Verse 23. Of this man's seed hath God-raised-a Saviour] That

Jesus Christ came in a direct and indisputable line from David,

according to both promise and prophecy, may be seen in the notes

on Mt 1:1, &c., and particularly in the notes at the end of Luke

3. And that the Messiah was promised to come from the family of

David, see Isa 11:1, 2, and Jer 23:5, 6.

Verse 24. John-preached-the baptism of repentance] On the nature

and effects of John's preaching, See Clarke on Mt 3:1, &c.,

and Lu 3:10-15.

Verse 25. As John fulfilled his course] As John was fulfilling

his race, he said, &c. It has been supposed that the word δρομον,

course, or race, is used here to point out the short duration of

the Baptist's ministry, and the fervent zeal with which he

performed it. It signifies properly his ministry, or life. A man's

work, employment, function, &c., is his race, course, or way of

life. John had a ministry from God; and he discharged the duties

of it with zeal and diligence; bore the fatigues of it with

patience and resignation; and was gloriously successful in it,

because the hand of the Lord was with him.

Verse 26. Men and brethren] This should have been translated

brethren simply. See Clarke on Ac 7:2.

Children of the stock of Abraham] All ye that are Jews.

And whosoever among you feared God] That is, all ye who are

Gentiles, and are now proselytes to the Jewish religion.

The word of this salvation] The doctrine that contains the

promise of deliverance from sin, and the means by which it is

brought about; all which is founded on Jesus, of the stock of

David, dying and rising again for the salvation of Jews and


Verse 27. Because they knew him not] A gentle excuse for the

persecuting high priests, &c. They did not know that Jesus was the

Christ, because they did not know the prophets: and why did they

not know the prophets, which were read every Sabbath day? Because

they did not desire to know his will; and therefore they knew not

the doctrine of God: nor did they know that, in condemning Christ,

they fulfilled those very Scriptures which were read every Sabbath

day in their synagogues.

Verse 28. They found no cause of death in him] No reason why he

should be condemned. Though they accused him of several things,

yet they could not substantiate the most trifling charge against

him; and yet, in opposition to all justice and equity, desired

Pilate to put him to death! This points their perfidy in the

strongest light.

Verse 29. They took him down from the tree] The apostle passes

rapidly over several circumstances of his death, that he might

establish the fact of his resurrection.

Verse 30. But God raised him from the dead] And thus gave the

fullest proof of his innocence. God alone can raise the dead; and

he would not work a miracle so very extraordinary, but on some

extraordinary occasion.

Verse 31. He was seen many days, &c.] The thing was done but a

very short time since; and many of the witnesses are still alive,

and ready to attest the fact of this resurrection in the most

unequivocal manner.

Verse 32. We declare unto you glad tidings] We proclaim that

Gospel to you which is the fulfilment of the promise made unto the


Verse 33. Written in the second Psalm] Instead of τωψαλμωτω

δευτερω the second Psalm, πρωτωψαλμω, the first Psalm, is

the reading of D, and its Itala version, and several of the

primitive fathers. Griesbach has received it into the text; but

not, in my opinion, on sufficient evidence. The reason of these

various readings is sufficiently evident to those who are

acquainted with Hebrew MSS. In many of these, two Psalms are often

written as one; and the first and second Psalms are written as

one in seven of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS. Those who

possessed such MSS. would say, as it is written in the FIRST

Psalm; those who referred to MSS. where the two Psalms were

separate, would say, in the SECOND Psalm, as they would find the

quotation in question in the first verse of the second Psalm.

There is, therefore, neither contradiction nor difficulty here;

and it is no matter which reading we prefer, as it depends on the

simple circumstance, whether we consider these two Psalms as

parts of one and the same, or whether we consider them as two

distinct Psalms.

Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.] It has been

disputed whether this text should be understood of the incarnation

or of the resurrection of our Lord. If understood of his

incarnation, it can mean no more than this, that the human

nature of our blessed Lord was begotten by the energy of the Holy

Spirit in the womb of the blessed virgin; for as to his Divine

nature, which is allotted to be God, it could neither be created

nor begotten. See some reasons offered for this on Lu 1:35; and,

if those be deemed insufficient, a thousand more may be added. But

in the above reasons it is demonstrated that the doctrine of the

eternal Sonship of Christ is absolutely irreconcilable to

reason, and contradictory to itself. ETERNITY is that which has

had no beginning, nor stands in any reference to time: SON

supposes time, generation, and father; and time also antecedent to

such generation: therefore the rational conjunction of these two

terms, Son and eternity, is absolutely impossible, as they imply

essentially different and opposite ideas.

If the passage in question be understood of the resurrection of

Christ, it points out that the human nature, which was produced by

the power of God in the womb of the virgin, and which was the Son

of God, could see no corruption; and therefore, though it died for

sin, must be raised from the dead before it saw corruption. Thus

God owned that human nature to be peculiarly his own; and

therefore Jesus Christ was declared to be the Son of God with

power, by the resurrection from the dead, Ro 1:4.

Verse 34. No more to return to corruption] To the grave, to

death, the place and state of corruption; for so we should

understand the word διαφθοραν in the text.

The sure mercies of David.] ταοσιαδαβιδταπιστα. These words

are quoted literatim from the Septuagint version of Isa 55:3;

where the Hebrew is chasdey David ha-neemanim, of

which the Greek is a faithful translation; and which sure mercies

of David St. Paul considers as being fulfilled in the resurrection

of Christ. From this application of the words, it is evident that

the apostle considered the word David as signifying the Messiah;

and then the sure or faithful mercies, being such as relate to the

new covenant, and the various blessings promised in it, are

evidently those which are sealed and confirmed to mankind by the

resurrection of Christ; and it is in this way that the apostle

applies them. Had there not been the fullest proof of the

resurrection of Christ, not one of the promises of the new

covenant could have been considered as sure or faithful. If he did

not rise from the dead, then, as said the apostle, your faith and

our preaching are vain, 1Co 15:14.

The following observations of Bp. Pearce are judicious: "For the

sense of these words, we must have recourse to what God said to

David in 2Sa 7:11, 12, &c., explained by what is said in

Ps 89:3, 4, 28, 29, 36, where frequent mention is made of a

covenant established by God with David, and sworn to by God, that

David's seed should endure for ever, and his throne as the days of

heaven, and as the sun, to all generations. This covenant and this

oath are the sure and sacred things of which Isaiah, Isa 55:3,

speaks; and Luke in this place. And Paul understood them as

relating to the kingdom of Jesus, (the Son of David,) which was to

be an everlasting kingdom; and if an everlasting one, then it was

necessary that Jesus should have been (as he was) raised from the

dead; and, to support this argument, Paul, in the next verse,

strengthens it with another, drawn from Ps 16:10." See also the

note among the marginal readings.

Verse 36. David-fell on sleep-and saw corruption] David died,

was buried, and never rose again; therefore, David cannot be the

person spoken of here: the words are true of some other person;

and they can be applied to Jesus Christ only; and in him they are

most exactly fulfilled. See the notes on Ac 2:29, 30, &c.

Verse 38. Be it known unto you, therefore] This is the

legitimate conclusion: seeing the word of God is true, and he has

promised an endless succession to the seed of David; seeing David

and all his family have failed in reference to the political

kingdom, a spiritual kingdom and a spiritual succession must be

intended, that the sure covenant and all its blessings may be

continued. Again: seeing the person by whom this is to be done is

to see no corruption;-seeing David has died, and has seen (fallen

under the power of) corruption;-seeing Jesus the Christ has

wrought all the miracles which the prophets said he should

work;-seeing he has suffered all the indignities which your

prophets said he must suffer;-seeing after his death he has most

incontestably risen again from the dead, and has not fallen under

the power of corruption,-then he must be the very person in whom

all the predictions are fulfilled, and the person through whom all

the blessings of the covenant must come.

Through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins]

See the notes on Ac 5:30, 31. Remission of sins, the removal of

the power, guilt, and pollution of sin comes alone through this

man, whom ye crucified, and who is risen from the dead.

Verse 39. And by him] On his account, and through him, all that

believe in his Divine mission, and the end for which he has been

manifested, namely, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself,

are justified from all things, from the guilt of all

transgressions committed against God; from which ye could not be

justified by the law of Moses; because it is impossible that the

blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the

unclean, or any other rite or service of this kind, could take

away sin from the soul, cancel its guilt in the conscience, or

make an atonement to the Divine justice; but this is the sacrifice

which God has required; this is every way suited to the end for

which it has been instituted; and this is the sacrifice alone

which God can accept. Your law says, "Do this, and ye shall live;"

and, "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that

are written in the book of the law to do them." Ye have not done

these things required; ye have not continued in any good thing; ye

have not only not done all things commanded, but ye have done

none, none as they ought to be done; and therefore ye are

under the curse. The Gospel says, Believe on the Lord Jesus;

credit his Divine mission; consider his death an atonement for

sin; believe in his resurrection, as a proof that the atonement is

made, believe that he suffered, died, and rose again for your

justification; and that for his sake God, though he be infinitely

just, can be the justifier of all who believe in him. By the law

of Moses there is neither justification nor salvation: in Jesus

Christ there are both, and all the sure mercies of David.

Therefore, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and ye shall be

justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified

by the law of Moses.

Verse 40. Beware-lest that come upon you, &c.] If you reject

these benefits, now freely offered to you in this preaching of

Christ crucified, you may expect such judgment from the hand of

God as your forefathers experienced, when, for their rebellion and

their contempt of his benefits, their city was taken, their

temple destroyed, and themselves either slain by the sword, or

carried into captivity. It is evident that St. Paul refers to

Hab 1:5-10; and in those verses the desolation by the

Chaldeans is foretold. Never was there a prophecy more correctly

and pointedly applied. These Jews did continue to slight the

benefits offered to them by the Lord; and they persevered in their

rebellion: what was the consequence? The Romans came, took their

city, burnt their temple, slew upwards of a million of them, and

either carried or sold the rest into captivity. How exactly was

the prophecy in both cases fulfilled!

Verse 41. Behold, ye despisers] There is a remarkable difference

here between the Hebrew text in Habakkuk, and that in the

Septuagint, which is a little abridged here by St. Paul. I shall

exhibit the three texts. Heb:-

Reu bagoyim vehabitu vehitammehu; temehu; ki poal poel bimeycem,

lo teaminu hi yesupar.

Behold, ye among the heathen, (nations,) and regard, and be

astonished; be astonished, for I am working a work in your days,

which; when it shall be told, ye will not credit. See Houbigant.

Sept. ιδετεοικαταφρονηταικαιεπιβλεψατεκαιθαυμασατε


ημεραιςυμωνοουμηπιστευσητεεαντιςεκδιηγηταιυμιν. See, ye

despisers, and look attentively, and be astonished, (or hide

yourselves,) for I work a work in your days, which, if any one

will tell to you, ye will not believe.

St. Luke. ιδετεοικαταφρονηταικαιεπιβλεψατεκαι



υμιν. Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and be astonished, (or

hide yourselves,) for I work a work in your days, which, if any

one will tell unto you, ye will not believe.

I have taken Luke's quotation from the best MSS., and I have

quoted the Septuagint according to the Codex Alerandrinus; and the

quotations are exactly the same, not only in words, but almost in

letters, with the exception of επιβλεψατε and θαυμασια which the

evangelist omits, and which I have included in crotchets in the

text of St. Luke, merely that the place of the omission may be the

better seen. It may now be necessary to inquire how St. Luke and

the Septuagint should substitute ye despisers, for ye among the

heathen, in the Hebrew text?

Without troubling myself or my readers with laborious criticisms

on these words, with which many learned men have loaded the text,

I will simply state my opinion, that the prophet, instead of

bagoyim, among the heathen, wrote bogadim, despisers, or

transgressors: a word which differs only in a single letter,

daleth, for vau; the latter of which might easily be mistaken

by a transcriber for the other, especially if the horizontal

stroke of the daleth happened to be a little faint towards the

left; as, in that case, it would wear the appearance of a vau;

and this is not unfrequently the case, not only in MSS., but even

in printed books. It seems as evident as it can well be that this

gives the word which the Septuagint found in the copy from which

they translated: their evidence, and that of the apostle, joined

to the consideration that the interchange of the two letters

mentioned above might have been easily made, is quite sufficient

to legitimate the reading for which I contend. Houbigant and

several others are of the same mind.

The word αφανισθητε, which we translate perish, signifies more

properly disappear, or hide yourselves; as people, astonished and

alarmed at some coming evil, betake themselves to flight, and hide

themselves in order to avoid it.

Verse 42. When the Jews were gone out] That part of them in whom

the words of the prophet were fulfilled, viz. those who, though

they had the clearest relation of so interesting a history, would

not believe it: they shut their eyes against the light, and

hardened their hearts against the truth. There were other Jews in

the assembly that did believe, and were saved.

The Gentiles besought] There is some doubt whether the original,

παρεκαλουνταεθνη, should be translated the Gentiles besought; or

they besought the Gentiles: for the words will bear either, but

the latter sense more naturally. When the Jews retired,

determining not to credit what was spoken, the apostle, seeing the

Gentiles of a better mind, requested them to come and hear those

words, or doctrines, the next Sabbath. But, the next, τομεταξυ,

as Hiesychius defines it, μετολιγοναναμεσον, shortly, or

betwixt, may mean the after part of the same Sabbath, or the

course of the ensuing week, between the two Sabbaths; for

Mondays and Thursdays, or the second and fifth days of the week,

were times in which those who feared God usually met together in

the synagogue; for it is a maxim with the rabbins, that no three

days should elapse without reading of the law.

On this verse there is a great number of various readings:

instead of, when the Jews were going out of the synagogue, ABCDE,

several others of great repute, with all the Syriac, the Coptic,

AEthiopic, Armenian, Vulgate, and Itala, read, As they were going

out, they entreated that these words should be preached unto them

in the course of the week, or the next Sabbath. So that, according

to this well accredited reading, the words, εκτηςσυναγωγηςτων

ιουδαιων, are left out in the first clause, αυτων being put in

their place; and ταεθνη, the Gentiles, is wholly omitted in the

second clause. The most eminent critics approve of this reading;

indeed it stands on such authority as to render it almost

indubitable. Of the αυτων, them, which is substituted for the

first clause, Professor White says, lectio indubie genuina: this

reading is undoubtedly genuine; and of the ταεθνηεις, he says,

certissime delenda: they should certainly be expunged. We are

therefore to understand the words thus: that, "as they were going

out on the breaking up of the assembly, some of them desired that

they might have these doctrines preached to them on the ensuing

week or Sabbath." And thus all the ambiguity of the verse


Verse 43. Many of the Jews] Direct descendants from some of the

twelve tribes; and religious proselytes, heathens who had been

converted to Judaism, and, having submitted to circumcision, had

become proselytes of the covenant: though some think that the

expression means proselytes of the gate-persons who believed in

one God, like the Jews, but who had not received circumcision.

Persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.] That is, that

they should continue to credit the Gospel; to receive the spirit

and influence of it; to bring forth the fruits of that spirit; and

thus continue under the favour and approbation of God.

Verse 44. The next Sabbath day] The good news had spread far and

wide, by means of the converted Jews and proselytes.

Almost the whole city] Jews, proselytes, and Gentiles, came

together to hear τονλογοντουθεου, this doctrine of God, this

Divine teaching, by which so many of their kindred and

acquaintance had become so wise and happy. It is not by public

discourses merely that people are converted to God; but by the

private teaching and godly conduct of those who have received

the truth; for, as these are scattered throughout society, they

are a leaven in every place.

Verse 45. The Jews-were filled with envy] See Clarke on Ac 5:17.

These could not bear the Gentiles, who believed in Christ, to be equal

with them; and yet; according to the Gospel, it was really the


Contradicting] The arguments and statements brought forward by

the disciples; and blaspheming, speaking impiously and injuriously

of Jesus Christ. This is probably what is meant.

Verse 46. Waxed bold] παρρησιασαμενοι; Having great liberty of

speech; a strong, persuasive, and overpowering eloquence. They had

eternal truth for the basis of this discourse; a multitude of

incontestable facts to support it; an all-persuading eloquence

to illustrate and maintain what they had asserted.

Should first have been spoken to you] When our Lord gave his

apostles their commission to go into all the world, and preach the

Gospel to every creature, he told them they must begin first at

Jerusalem, Mr 16:15; Lu 24:47. In obedience therefore to this

command, the apostles (in every place where they preached) made

their first offers of the Gospel to the Jews.

Ye put it from you] απωθεισθεαυτον, Ye disdain this doctrine,

and consider it contemptible: so the word is frequently used.

And judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life] Was this

meant as a strong irony? "Ye have such humbling thoughts of

yourselves, that ye think the blessings of the Gospel too good to

be bestowed on such worthless wretches as ye are." Or did the

apostle mean that, by their words and conduct on this occasion,

they had passed sentence on themselves, and, in effect, had

decided that they were unworthy of the grace of the Gospel; and

God now ratifies that judgment by removing those blessings from

them, and sending them to the Gentiles?

Verse 47. For so the Lord commanded us] The apostles could quote

a pertinent scripture for every thing they did; because the

outlines of the whole Gospel dispensation are founded in the law

and the prophets; and they were now building the Church of God

according to the pattern shown them in the Mount. In the things of

God, no man nor minister should go farther than he can say, Thus

it is written, and thus it behoves me to do; and let him see that

his quotations are fairly made, and not a detached passage or

member of a sentence produced, because it seems to look like the

system he wishes to establish.

I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles] This quotation is

from Isa 49:6, and was most fully in point. The Jews could not

resist the testimony of their own prophet; and the Gentiles

rejoiced to find that the offers of salvation were to be made so

specifically to them.

For salvation unto the ends of the earth.] The very name of the

Messiah, viz JESUS, announced the design and end of his mission.

He is the Saviour, and is to be proclaimed as such to the ends of

the earth; to all mankind; to every nation, and people, and

tongue; and, wherever the Gospel is preached, there is a free,

full, and sincere offer of salvation to every soul that hears it.

And the offer is proof sufficient, in itself, that there is a

power to receive its blessings given to those to whom the offer is

made; as it would be of no use to offer them a salvation which it

was designed they either should not or could not receive. A son of

Satan might be capable of such dissimulation and bad faith; but

the holy God cannot.

Verse 48. As many as were ordained to eternal life believed.]

This text has been most pitifully misunderstood. Many suppose that

it simply means that those in that assembly who were

fore-ordained; or predestinated by God's decree, to eternal

life, believed under the influence of that decree. Now, we should

be careful to examine what a word means, before we attempt to fix

its meaning. Whatever τεταγμενοι may mean, which is the word we

translate ordained, it is neither προτεταγμενοι nor προορισμενοι

which the apostle uses, but simply τεταγμενοι, which includes no

idea of pre-ordination or pre-destination of any kind. And if it

even did, it would be rather hazardous to say that all those who

believed at this time were such as actually persevered unto the

end, and were saved unto eternal life. But, leaving all these

precarious matters, what does the word τεταγμενος mean? The verb

ταττω or τασσω signifies to place, set, order, appoint, dispose;

hence it has been considered here as implying the disposition or

readiness of mind of several persons in the congregation, such

as the religious proselytes mentioned Ac 13:43, who possessed the

reverse of the disposition of those Jews who spake against those

things, contradicting and blaspheming, Ac 13:45. Though the word

in this place has been variously translated, yet, of all the

meanings ever put on it, none agrees worse with its nature and

known signification than that which represents it as intending

those who were predestinated to eternal life: this is no meaning

of the term, and should never be applied to it. Let us, without

prejudice, consider the scope of the place: the Jews contradicted

and blasphemed; the religious proselytes heard attentively, and

received the word of life: the one party were utterly indisposed,

through their own stubbornness, to receive the Gospel; the others,

destitute of prejudice and prepossession, were glad to hear that,

in the order of God, the Gentiles were included in the covenant of

salvation through Christ Jesus; they, therefore, in this good

state and order of mind, believed. Those who seek for the plain

meaning of the word will find it here: those who wish to make out

a sense, not from the Greek word, its use among the best Greek

writers, and the obvious sense of the evangelist, but from their

own creed, may continue to puzzle themselves and others; kindle

their own fire, compass themselves with sparks, and walk in the

light of their own fire, and of the sparks which they have

kindled; and, in consequence, lie down in sorrow, having bidden

adieu to the true meaning of a passage so very simple, taken in

its connection, that one must wonder how it ever came to be

misunderstood and misapplied. Those who wish to see more on this

verse may consult Hammond, Whitby, Schoettgen, Rosenmuller,

Pearce, Sir Norton Knatchbull, and Dodd.

Verse 49. The word of the Lord was published, &c.] Those who had

come from different parts, and were converted, carried the glad

tidings to their respective neighbourhoods; and thus the doctrine

was published throughout all the region of Pisidia, where they

then were. See Clarke on Ac 13:44.

Verse 50. Devout and honourable women] It is likely that these

were heathen matrons, who had become proselytes to the Jewish

religion; and, as they were persons of affluence and

respectability, they had considerable influence with the civil

magistracy of the place, and probably their husbands were of this

order; and it is likely that they used that influence, at the

instigation of the Jews, to get the apostles expelled from the


Verse 51. They shook off the dust of their feet against them]

This was a very significant rite; by it, they in effect said: Ye

are worse than the heathen: even your very land is accursed for

your opposition to God, and we dare not permit even its dust to

cleave to the soles of our feet; and we shake it off, in departing

from your country, according to our Lord's command, (Mt 10:14,)

for a testimony against you, that we offered you salvation, but ye

rejected it and persecuted us. The Jews, when travelling in

heathen countries, took care, when they came to the borders of

their own, to shake off the dust of their feet, lest any of the

unhallowed ground should defile the sacred land of Israel.

Came unto Iconium.] According to Strabo, Iconium was a small

fortified town, the capital of Lycaonia, at present called Cogni.

"Lycaonia was a province at the back of Pamphylia, higher up in

Asia Minor, and to the northeast of Pamphylia." Pearce.

Verse 52. The disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy

Ghost.] Though in the world they had tribulation, yet in Christ

they had peace; and, while engaged in their Master's work, they

always had their Master's wages. The happiness of a genuine

Christian lies far beyond the reach of earthly disturbances, and

is not affected by the changes and chances to which mortal things

are exposed. The martyrs were more happy in the flames than their

persecutors could be on their beds of down.

St. Paul's sermon at Antioch has been thus analyzed.

1. His prologue, Ac 13:16, addressed to those who fear God.

2. His narrative of God's goodness to Israel: 1. In their

deliverance from Egypt. 2. In their support in the wilderness. 3.

In his giving them the land of Canaan. 4. In the judges and kings

which he had given for their governors, Ac 13:7-22.

3. His proposition, that Jesus was the Christ, the Saviour of

the world, Ac 13:23.

4. The illustration of this proposition, proving its truth: 1.

From Christ's stock and family, Ac 13:23. 2. From the testimony

of his forerunner, Ac 13:24. 3. From the resurrection of Christ,

Ac 13:30; which was corroborated with the testimony of many

Galileans, Ac 13:31, and of the prophets, David, Ac 13:33, 35,

and Isaiah, Ac 13:34.

5. He anticipates objections, relative to the unjust

condemnation, death and burial of Christ, Ac 13:27-29.

6. His epilogue, in which he excites his audience to embrace the

Gospel on two considerations: 1. The benefits which they receive

who embrace the Gospel, Ac 13:38, 39. 2. The danger to which they

were exposed who should despise and reject it, Ac 13:40, 41.

Copyright information for Clarke