|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 8. - Turn aside for turn away, A.V.; proconsul for deputy, A.V. Elymas, from the Arabic elite, plural oulema, a wise man, a wizard, a magician. But Renan thinks this derivation doubtful. Elymas withstood Barnabas and Saul just as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses (2 Timothy 3:8, ἀντέστησαν).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But Elymas the sorcerer, for so is his name by interpretation,.... Not that Magus a sorcerer is by interpretation Elymas; as if Luke was interpreting the Persic word "Magus", which is sometimes used in a good sense, for a wise man, as in Matthew 2:1 by an Arabic word "Elim", which signifies knowing; but "Elymas" is the interpretation of his name "Bar-jesus"; which as that signifies the son of salvation, or of healing, so this, as De Dieu observes, may be derived from "Chalam", which signifies "to heal", or to be sound and in health. Junius thinks the name comes from the Arabic word which signifies "to mutter", as wizards and sorcerers, and such sort of men used to do; and though he rejects the opinion of Tremellius, taking it for an Hebrew name, and to be the same with "Elimaatz", which signifies "divine counsel"; yet this, or what is near to it, is embraced by a late learned man (m) who observes, that Elymas is in Hebrew, "Elmahatz"; the interpretation of which is, God's counsel, or the counsel of God; the name of a man, Maaz, is read in 1 Chronicles 2:27 and that it is the same with Elymoteros, as Olympas is the same with Olympiodorus; and he further observes, that Barjeus, as Jerom or Origen say it was anciently read, and not Bar-jesus, is the same with , "Barjeutz", or Barjeus, the "son of counsel", and so agrees with Elymas: now he
withstood them: Saul and Barnabas, just as Jannes and Jambres, the magicians of Egypt, withstood Moses: he did all he could to prevent their coming into the governor's house, and them from preaching to him, and him from hearing of them; and especially from giving heed to, and embracing the doctrines preached by them; which he opposed and argued against, with all the cunning and sophistry he was master of:
seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith; the doctrine of faith, from hearing and receiving it; and when he had received it, he endeavoured to set him against it, and cause him to deny and reject it with abhorrence; the Ethiopic version calls him "the king", as in the former verse "the prince".
(m) Hilleri Onomasticum Sacrum, p. 803.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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).
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