|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
10:1-8 Hitherto none had been baptized into the Christian church but Jews, Samaritans, and those converts who had been circumcised and observed the ceremonial law; but now the Gentiles were to be called to partake all the privileges of God's people, without first becoming Jews. Pure and undefiled religion is sometimes found where we least expect it. Wherever the fear of God rules in the heart, it will appear both in works of charity and of piety, neither will excuse from the other. Doubtless Cornelius had true faith in God's word, as far as he understood it, though not as yet clear faith in Christ. This was the work of the Spirit of God, through the mediation of Jesus, even before Cornelius knew him, as is the case with us all when we, who before were dead in sin, are made alive. Through Christ also his prayers and alms were accepted, which otherwise would have been rejected. Without dispute or delay Cornelius was obedient to the heavenly vision. In the affairs of our souls, let us not lose time.
Verse 6. - The last clause in the A.V. and T.R., "he shall tell thee," etc., is omitted in the R.V.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, &c. Simon the tanner was his host; this man very probably was a good man, and one that lodged strangers; of his trade; see Gill on Acts 9:43.
whose house is by the sea side; Joppa was a sea port, 2 Chronicles 2:16 Jonah 1:3 hence we read of , "the sea of Joppa" (x); and also of , "the port of Joppa" (y); now Simon's house was in the outer part of the city, and by the sea side, as well for convenience for his business, as because such trades might not be exercised within a city; being nauseous and disagreeable, because of their skins and manner of dressing them, and the dead carcasses from whence they often took them off; hence that rule of the Jews (z),
"they place dead carcasses, graves, , "and a tanner's workshop", (in which he dresses his skins,) fifty cubits from the city; nor do they make a tanner's workshop, but at the eastern part of the city. R. Abika says, it may be made at every part excepting the west.''
The reason of that, as given by the (a) commentators, is, because prayer was made towards the west, where the temple stood, and the divine presence was. The Ethiopic version very wrongly renders it, "and the house of Cornelius is near the sea"; for not his, but Simon's is meant:
he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do; he was to tell him words, or to deliver doctrines to him, by which he and his family would be better instructed in the way of salvation, and arrive to a greater degree of knowledge of Christ, and faith in him, and be brought to a submission to his commands and ordinances; see Acts 10:22, this clause is left out in the Alexandrian copy, and in some others, and in the Syriac and Arabic versions.
(x) Ezra 3.7. Targum in 2 Chron. 16. (y) T. Hieros. Yoma, fol. 41. 1. Joseph. Antiqu. l. 11. c. 4. sect. 1. & 13. 9. 1 Maccab. xiv. 5. 1. Esdr. v. 55. (z) Misn. Bava Bathra, c. 2. sect. 9. (a) Maimou. & Bartenora in ib.
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