|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:4-13 Satan is in a special manner busy with great men and men in power, to keep them from being religious, for their example will influence many. Saul is here for the first time called Paul, and never after Saul. Saul was his name as he was a Hebrew; Paul was his name as he was a citizen of Rome. Under the direct influence of the Holy Ghost, he gave Elymas his true character, but not in passion. A fulness of deceit and mischief together, make a man indeed a child of the devil. And those who are enemies to the doctrine of Jesus, are enemies to all righteousness; for in it all righteousness is fulfilled. The ways of the Lord Jesus are the only right ways to heaven and happiness. There are many who not only wander from these ways themselves, but set others against these ways. They commonly are so hardened, that they will not cease to do evil. The proconsul was astonished at the force of the doctrine upon his own heart and conscience, and at the power of God by which it was confirmed. The doctrine of Christ astonishes; and the more we know of it, the more reason we shall see to wonder at it. Those who put their hand to the plough and look back, are not fit for the kingdom of God. Those who are not prepared to face opposition, and to endure hardship, are not fitted for the work of the ministry.
Verse 5. - Proclaimed for preached, A.V.; as their attendant for to their minister, A.V. (ὑπηρέτην). It is a word taken from the synagogue, where it denotes an inferior minister (see Luke 4:20). In Acts 5:22 the ὑπηρέται are the apparitors of the high priest. Here it is synonymous with διάκονος, a deacon. John was to Barnabas and Saul what Joshua was to Moses, Elisha to Elijah, etc. Peter, when he went to Caesarea, was accompanied by six brethren (Acts 11:12).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And when they were at Salamis,.... A chief city of Cyprus; and so Herodotus (f) calls it Salamis of Cyprus; and in this island it is placed by Pliny (g) and Ptolomy (h): it was built by Teucer, the son of Telamon, after his return from the Trojan war; and so called by him, from his native country Salamine, in Greece, as is generally agreed by historians (i): it was the birth place of the famous philosopher Solon, who is from thence called Salaminius; he died in the island of Cyprus, in the eightieth year of his age; and before he died, gave orders to carry his bones to Salamis, and being reduced to ashes, to scatter them throughout the province (k): it was also claimed by the Cyprians, as the birth place of Homer, and is said (l) to be prophesied of that it should be; it was afterwards called Constantia, and now Famagusta, and is in the hands of the Turks; of it Jerom (m) thus writes:
"Salamis, a city in the island of Cyprus, now called Constantia, which, in the time of the Emperor Trajan, the Jews destroyed, having killed all the inhabitants of it:''
which shows what a multitude of Jews dwelt in this island, and even in this place; hence, in this verse, mention is afterwards made of synagogues of Jews in it, where the apostles preached, and which was the reason of their coming hither. This place, with the whole island, was taken from the Venetians by Mustapha, general to Selimus the Second, emperor of the Turks, in the year 1571, after a siege of eleven months; which, when he was possessed of, contrary to the agreement made, he put all the Christians to death; and having cut off the ears and nose of Bragadinus, the governor of it, took off his skin alive (n). Epiphanius, an ancient writer of the fourth century, famous for his books against heresies, was bishop of this place (o), when it was called Constantia, from Constantins Augustus, the emperor; and before him, we read of Gelasius, bishop of this place, who was in the council of Nice; there was a church here in the fifth century; and mention is made of a presbyter of it, in the sixth century, present at the fifth council at Constantinople; and in the seventh century, a bishop of this church was in the sixth council of Constantinople; and in the Nicene synod, in the "eighth" century, John, bishop of this place, assisted (p):
they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews; the Jews being in great numbers in these parts, to them the apostles first preached, though they were sent unto the Gentiles; and this they continued to do, till the Jews put away the Gospel, which made their way more clear and open to the Gentiles:
and they had also John to their minister: this was John Mark, whom they brought with them from Jerusalem, Acts 12:12 who waited upon them, and provided for them the necessaries of life; for this is not to be understood of the ministry of the word, which is peculiarly ascribed to them, or of his being an assistant to them in it; nor can it be understood of his being the minister in any of the synagogues for them, to bring out the book of the law, and direct public service, where it cannot be thought he should have any such office and authority; but of his ministering in civil and secular things to the apostles, or to the poor by their orders.
(f) L. 4. c. 162. (g) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 31. (h) Geograph. l. 5. c. 14. (i) Vellei Patercul. Hist. l. 1. in initio, Isocratis Evagoras, p. 375. Vid. Horat. Carmin. l. 1. ode 7. (k) Laert. Vit. Philosoph. l. 1. p. 30, 41. (l) Pausanias, l. 10. p. 656. (m) De locis Hebraicis, fol. 96. I.((n) Petav. Rational. Temp. par. 1. l. 9. c. 12. p. 507. (o) Epitaph. Paulae, fol. 58. K & Vita Hilarion. fol 82. M. (p) Magdeburg. Hist. Eccles. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 5. cent. 5. c. 2. p. 6. cent. 6. c. 2. p. 5. cent. 7. c. 2. p. 4. cent. 8. c. 2. p. 6.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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).
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