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    CHAPTER 13

    In Company with Barnabas.

    Ac 13:1-14:28.


    The first seven chapters of this book might be entitled, The Church among the Jews; the next five (chapters eight through twelve), The Church in Transition from Jews to Gentiles; and the last sixteen (chapters thirteen through twenty-eight), The Church among the Gentiles [BAUMGARTEN]. "Though Christianity had already spread beyond the limits of Palestine, still the Church continued a stranger to formal missionary effort. Casual occurrences, particularly the persecution at Jerusalem (Ac 8:2), had hitherto brought about the diffusion of the Gospel. It was from Antioch that teachers were first sent forth with the definite purpose of spreading Christianity, and organizing churches, with regular institutions (Ac 14:23)" [OLSHAUSEN].

    1. there were . . . certain prophets--(See on Ac 11:27).
    - and teachers; as Barnabas, &c.--implying that there were others there, besides; but, according to what appears the true reading, the meaning is simply that those here mentioned were in the Church at Antioch as prophets and teachers.
    - Simeon . . . Niger--of whom nothing is known.
    - Lucius of Cyrene-- (Ac 2:20). He is mentioned, in Ro 16:21, as one of Paul's kinsmen.
    - Manaen--or Menahem, the name of one of the kings of Israel (2Ki 15:14).
    - which had been brought up with--or, the foster brother of.
    - Herod the tetrarch--that is, Antipas, who was himself "brought up with a certain private person at Rome" [JOSEPHUS, Antiquities, 17.1,3]. How differently did these two foster brothers turn out--the one, abandoned to a licentious life and stained with the blood of the most distinguished of God's prophets, though not without his fits of reformation and seasons of remorse; the other, a devoted disciple of the Lord Jesus and prophet of the Church at Antioch! But this is only what may be seen in every age: "Even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in Thy sight.' If the courtier, whose son, at the point of death, was healed by our Lord (Joh 4:46) was of Herod's establishment, while Susanna's husband was his steward (Lu 8:3), his foster brother's becoming a Christian and a prophet is something remarkable.
    - and Saul--last of all, but soon to become first. Henceforward this book is almost exclusively occupied with him; and his impress on the New Testament, on Christendom, and on the world is paramount.

    2. As they ministered to the Lord--The word denotes the performance of official duties of any kind, and was used to express the priestly functions under the Old Testament. Here it signifies the corresponding ministrations of the Christian Church.
    - and fasted--As this was done in other cases on special occasions (Ac 13:3, 14, 23), it is not improbable that they had been led to expect some such prophetic announcement at this time.
    - the Holy Ghost said--through some of the prophets mentioned in Ac 13:1.
    - Separate me--So Ro 1:1.
    - for the work whereunto I have called them--by some communication, perhaps, to themselves: in the case of Saul at least, such a designation was indicated from the first (Ac 22:21). Note.--While the personality of the Holy Ghost is manifest from this language, His supreme divinity will appear equally so by comparing it with Heb 5:4.

    3. laid their hands on them--(See on Ac 6:6) --"recommending them to the grace of God for the work which they had to fulfil" (Ac 14:26).
    - sent them away--with the double call--of the Spirit first, and next of the Church. So clothed, their mission is thus described: "They being sent forth by the Holy Ghost." Have we not here for all time the true principle of appointment to sacred offices?


    4, 5. departed unto Seleucia--the seaport of Antioch, from which it lay nearly due west fifteen miles, and five from the Mediterranean shore, on the river Orontes.
    - thence sailed to Cyprus--whose high mountain summits are easily seen in clear weather from the coast [COLONEL CHESNEY in HOWSON]. "Four reasons may have induced them to turn in first to this island: (1) Its nearness to the mainland; (2) It was the native place of Barnabas, and since the time when Andrew found his brother Simon, and brought him to Jesus, and "Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus," family ties had not been without effect on the progress of the Gospel. (3) It could not be unnatural to suppose that the truth would be welcomed in Cyprus when brought by Barnabas and his kinsman Mark, to their own connections or friends. The Jews were numerous in Salamis. By sailing to that city, they were following the track of the synagogues; and though their mission was chiefly to the Gentiles, their surest course for reaching them was through the proselytes and Hellenizing Jews. (4) Some of the Cypriotes were already Christians. Indeed, no one place out of Palestine, except Antioch, had been so honorably associated with the work of successful evangelization" [HOWSON].

    5. and when they were at Salamis--the Grecian capital of the island, on the eastern side, and not many hours' sail from Seleucia. At this busy mercantile port immense numbers of Jews were settled, which accounts for what is here said, that they had more than one synagogue, in which Barnabas and Saul preached, while other cities had one only.
    - they had . . . John--Mark.
    - to their minister--"for their officer". (See on Lu 4:20). With what fruit they preached here is not said. Probably their feeling was what Paul afterwards expressed at Antioch in Pisidia (Ac 13:46).

    6. when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos--on the opposite or west side of the island, about one hundred miles by land, along the south coast; the Roman capital, where the governor resided.
    - they found a . . . sorcerer--one of a numerous class of impostors who, at this time of general unbelief, were encouraged even by cultivated Romans.

    7. Which was with the deputy--properly, "the proconsul." This name was reserved for the governors of settled provinces, which were placed under the Roman Senate, and is never given in the New Testament to Pilate, Felix, or Festus, who were but procurators, or subordinate administrators of unsettled, imperial, military provinces. Now as Augustus reserved Cyprus for himself, its governor would in that case have been not a proconsul, but simply a procurator, had not the emperor afterwards restored it to the Senate, as a Roman historian [DIO CASSIUS] expressly states. In most striking confirmation of this minute accuracy of the sacred historian, coins have actually been found in the island, stamped with the names of proconsuls, both in Greek and Latin [AKERMAN, Numismatic Illustrations of the New Testament]. (GROTIUS and BENGEL, not aware of this, have missed the mark here).
    - Sergius Paulus, a prudent man--an intelligent man, who thirsting for truth, sent for Barnabas and Saul, desiring ("earnestly desiring") to hear the Word of God.

    8-12. But Elymas--or "the wise."
    - for so is his name by interpretation--the word is from the Arabic.
    - withstood them--perceiving, probably, how eagerly the proconsul was drinking in the word, and fearing a dismissal. (Compare 2Ti 3:8).

    9. Then Saul . . . also . . . called Paul--and henceforward Paul only; a softening of his former name, in accommodation to Roman ears, and (as the word signifies "little") probably with allusion as elsewhere to his insignificance of stature and appearance (2Co 10:1, 10) [WEBSTER and WILKINSON].
    - filled with the Holy Ghost--the Spirit coming mightily upon him.
    - set his eyes on him and said--Henceforward Barnabas sinks into the background. The whole soul of his great colleague, now drawn out, as never before, shoots, by the lightning gaze of his eye, through the dark and tortuous spirit of the sorcerer. What a picture!

    10. full of all subtlety--referring to his magic arts.
    - and all malice--The word signifies "readiness for anything," knavish dexterity.
    - thou child of the devil . . . enemy of all righteousness--These were not words of passion, for immediately before uttering them, it is said he was "filled with the Holy Ghost" [CHRYSOSTOM].
    - wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord--referring to his having to that hour made a trade of leading his fellow creatures astray.

    11. the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind for a season--the judgment being mercifully designed to lead him to repentance. The tradition that it did is hardly to be depended on.
    - there fell on him a mist, &c.--This is in Luke's medical style.

    12. Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord--so marvellously attested; compare Mr 1:27. What fruit, if any, followed this remarkable conversion, or how long after it the missionaries remained at Paphos, we know not.


    13. they came to Perga in Pamphylia--The distance from Paphos to Attalia, on the Gulf of Pamphylia (see on Ac 14:25), sailing in a northwest direction, is not much greater than from Seleucia to Salamis on the east. Perga was the metropolis of Pamphylia, on the river Cestrus, and about seven miles inland from Attalia.
    - and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem--As Paul afterwards peremptorily refused to take Mark with him on his second missionary journey, because he "had departed [or 'fallen off'] from them and had not gone with them to the work" (Ac 15:38), there can be no doubt that he had either wearied of it or been deterred by the prospect of the dangers which lay before him. (But see on Ac 15:37, &c.).

    14. departed from Perga--apparently without making any stay or doing any work: compare the different language of Ac 14:25, and see immediately below.
    - came to Antioch in Pisidia--usually so called, to distinguish it from Antioch in Syria, from which they had started, though it actually lies in Phrygia, and almost due north from Perga. It was a long journey, and as it lay almost entirely through rugged mountain passes, while "rivers burst out at the base of huge cliffs, or dash down wildly through narrow ravines," it must have been a perilous one. The whole region was, and to this day is, infested by robbers, as ancient history and modern travels abundantly attest; and there can be but little doubt that to this very journey Paul many years after alludes, when he speaks amidst his "journeyings often," of his "perils of rivers" (as the word is), and his "perils of robbers" (2Co 11:26). If this journey were taken in May--and earlier than that the passes would have been blocked up with snow--it would account for their not staying at Perga, whose hot streets are then deserted; "men, women, and children, flocks, herds, camels, and asses, all ascending at the beginning of the hot season from the plains to the cool basin-like hollows on the mountains, moving in the same direction with our missionaries" [HOWSON].

    15-17. Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand--as was his manner on such occasions (Ac 21:40; and see Ac 26:1).
    - Men of Israel, and ye that fear God--by the latter expression meaning religious proselytes, who united with the Jews in all acts of ordinary worship.
    - and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in Egypt--by marvellous interpositions for them in their deepest depression.

    18-22. forty years suffered he their manners--rather, according to what appears the true reading, "cherished he them" (as a nurse the infant in her bosom).

    20. after that he gave . . . judges . . . about the space of four hundred and fifty years--As this appears to contradict 1Ki 6:1, various solutions have been proposed. Taking the words as t


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