Acts 8:26
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Go south to the road--the desert road--that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza."

New Living Translation
As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, "Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza."

English Standard Version
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place.

Berean Study Bible
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Get up and go south to the desert road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza."

Berean Literal Bible
Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, "Rise up and go toward the south, to the road going down from Jerusalem to Gaza." (This is the desert road.)

New American Standard Bible
But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, "Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza." (This is a desert road.)

King James Bible
And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip: "Get up and go south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." (This is the desert road.)

International Standard Version
Now an angel of the Lord told Philip, "Get up and go south on the road that leads from Jerusalem to Gaza. This is a deserted road."

NET Bible
Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Get up and go south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." (This is a desert road.)

New Heart English Bible
But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, "Arise, and go toward the south to the way that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. This is a desert."

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And The Angel of THE LORD JEHOVAH spoke with Philippus and he said to him, “Arise, go to the south by the desert road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
An angel from the Lord said to Philip, "Get up, and take the desert road that goes south from Jerusalem to Gaza."

New American Standard 1977
But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, “Arise and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road.)

Jubilee Bible 2000
And the angel of the Lord spoke unto Philip, saying, Arise and go toward the south unto the way that goes down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.

King James 2000 Bible
And the angel of the Lord spoke unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goes down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.

American King James Version
And the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south to the way that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, which is desert.

American Standard Version
But an angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza: the same is desert.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying: Arise, go towards the south, to the way that goeth down from Jerusalem into Gaza: this is desert.

Darby Bible Translation
But [the] angel of [the] Lord spoke to Philip, saying, Rise up and go southward on the way which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza: the same is desert.

English Revised Version
But an angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza: the same is desert.

Webster's Bible Translation
And the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, Arise, and go towards the south, to the way that goeth down from Jerusalem to Gaza, which is desert.

Weymouth New Testament
And an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Rise and proceed south to the road that runs down from Jerusalem to Gaza, crossing the Desert."

World English Bible
But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, "Arise, and go toward the south to the way that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. This is a desert."

Young's Literal Translation
And a messenger of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, 'Arise, and go on toward the south, on the way that is going down from Jerusalem to Gaza,' -- this is desert.
Study Bible
Philip and the Ethiopian
25After Peter and John had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many of the Samaritan villages. 26Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go south to the desert road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official in charge of the entire treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. He had gone to Jerusalem to worship,…
Cross References
Genesis 10:19
The territory of the Canaanite extended from Sidon as you go toward Gerar, as far as Gaza; as you go toward Sodom and Gomorrah and Admah and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha.

Acts 5:19
But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out, saying,

Acts 8:5
Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ to them.

Acts 8:29
The Spirit said to Philip, "Go over to that chariot and stay by it."
Treasury of Scripture

And the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south to the way that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, which is desert.

The angel.

Acts 5:19 But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought …

Acts 10:7,22 And when the angel which spoke to Cornelius was departed, he called …

Acts 12:8-11,23 And the angel said to him, Gird yourself, and bind on your sandals. …

Acts 27:23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,

2 Kings 1:3 But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go …

Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for …

Arise.

1 Chronicles 22:16 Of the gold, the silver, and the brass, and the iron, there is no …

Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen on you.

Gaza.

Joshua 13:3 From Sihor, which is before Egypt, even to the borders of Ekron northward, …

Joshua 15:47 Ashdod with her towns and her villages, Gaza with her towns and her …

Zechariah 9:5 Ashkelon shall see it, and fear; Gaza also shall see it, and be very …

desert. It is probable, that we should refer [eremos,] desert, not to Gaza, but to [hodos,] the way; though Gaza was situated at the entrance of the desert, and the ancient city was in ruins, being destroyed by Alexander.

Matthew 3:1-3 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea…

Luke 3:2-4 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came to …

(26) And the angel of the Lord . . .--Better, an angel. The tense of the verbs in the preceding verse, in the better MSS., implies that the events that follow synchronised with the journey of Peter and John through Samaria. The journey which Philip was commanded to take led him by a quicker route across country into the main road from Jerusalem to Gaza. The history of the city so named (appearing at times in the English version--Deuteronomy 2:23; 1Kings 4:24; Jeremiah 25:20--as Azzah) goes even as far back as that of Damascus, in the early records of Israel. It was the southernmost or border-city of the early Canaanites (Genesis 10:19), and was occupied first by the Avim, and then by the Caphtorim (Deuteronomy 2:23). Joshua was unable to conquer it (Joshua 10:41; Joshua 11:22). The tribe of Judah held it for a short time (Judges 1:18), but it soon fell into the hands of the Philistines (Judges 3:3; Judges 13:1), and though attacked by Samson, was held by them during the times of Samuel, Saul, and David (1Samuel 6:17; 1Samuel 14:52; 2Samuel 21:15). Solomon (1Kings 4:24), and later on Hezekiah (2Kings 18:8), attacked it. It resisted Alexander the Great during a siege of five months, and was an important military position, the very key of the country, during the struggles between the Ptolemies and the Seleucid, and in the wars of the Maccabees (1 Maccabees 11:61). Its name, it may be noted, meant the "strong."

Which is desert.--Literally, as in a separate sentence, This (or It) is desert. There is nothing to show whether this was intended to appear as part of the angel's bidding, or as a parenthetical note added by St. Luke, nor whether the pronoun refers to the "way" or to the "city." If we assume the latter, we may think of it as written after the city had been laid waste during the Jewish war (A.D. 65). On the former hypothesis, it points to a less frequented route than that from Jerusalem through Ramleh to Gaza, which led through Hebron and then through the Southern or Negeb country. On the whole, the latter seems most to commend itself, and on this view we may see in it part of the instruction which Philip reported as coming, whether in dream or vision or voice we are not told, from the angel of the Lord. He was to go in faith to the less frequented, less promising route from Jerusalem to Gaza, apparently without passing himself through the Holy City, and so to intercept the traveller whose history was to become so memorable.

Verse 26. - But an angel for and the angel, A.V.; the same is for which is, A.V. An angel. "The angel," as in A.V., is right, just as ὄνομα Κυρίου (Matthew 21:9; Matthew 23:39; Luke 19:38, etc.) and שֵׁם יְהוָה in Hebrew mean "the Name of the Lord," not "a Name" (see Acts 5:19; Acts 7:31, notes). The south, meaning that part of Judaea which was called "the south country ;" Hebrew הַנֶּגֶב (Genesis 20:1; Genesis 24:62; etc.). This is generally rendered in the LXX. by πρὸς λίβα or πρὸς νότον. But in 1 Samuel 20:41, in Symraachus, μεσηνβρία stands as the rendering of חַנֶּגֶב. As regards the words, the same is desert, it is observable that in Numbers 31:1 and Deuteronomy 34:3 ἔρημος is the LXX. rendering of חַנֶבֶם, and that part of the country is called "the wilderness of Judaea." The words of the angel, therefore, mean, not that Gaza is desert, nor that the read itself is desert, but that the country to which he was directing Philip's journey was part of that known as the desert; αὕτη does not refer to ὁδός or to Γάζα, but to χώρα, understood as contained in ἔρημος. The meaning of the whole sentence I take to be as follows: - "Take thy journey in [or, 'by'] the south [comp. Luke 15:14; Acts 5:15; Acts 11:1; Acts 13. lids far as [ἐπί, 'notans locum vel terminum ad quem' (Schleusner)] the road that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza, where the country is desert." Philip was to proceed from Samaria along the south country till he came to where the Jerusalem road met his road. That district, he is reminded, was desert, part, i.e., or the desert of Judaea. The spot was probably selected for that very reason, as affording the privacy necessary for the eunuch to read in his chariot, and for Philip to join him and expound the Word of God to him. Chrysostom (followed by others) takes κατὰ μεσημβρίαν in the sense of "at noonday in the most violent heat," though he also renders it "southwards" (Hem., 19.). And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip,.... To inquire who this angel was, whether Michael or Gabriel, or the tutelar angel of Ethiopia, or of the eunuch, or of Philip, is too curious; it was one of the ministering spirits sent forth by Christ, to serve a gracious purpose of his, and for the good of one of the heirs of salvation:

saying, arise; at once, make haste and speed, and quick dispatch; the phrase denotes readiness, alacrity, and expedition:

and go toward the south; the southern point from the city of Samaria, where Philip now was; or to the south of Jerusalem: the parts of Gaza, Lydda, Jamnia, Joppa, &c. were called the "south": hence often mention is made of such a Rabbi and such a Rabbi, that he was "of the south" (k); so R. Joshua, who was of Lydda, is said to be of the south (l). The Ethiopic version renders it at "noon time", and so the Arabic of De Dieu; as if it respected not the place whither he was to go, but the time when he was to go; and that it might be about the middle of the day, the following narrative seems to confirm:

unto the way which goes down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert: this place is sometimes called Azzah, and sometimes Gaza, which is owing to the different pronunciation of the first letter of it; it was first inhabited by the Avim, or Hivites, who being destroyed by the Caphtorim, they dwelt in their stead, Deuteronomy 2:23. It fell to the lot of the tribe of Judah, but could not be held by it, because of the giants which remained in it; and was, as Jerom says (m), a famous city of Palestine in his day; and was formerly the border of the Canaanites towards Egypt; and the way to Egypt lay through it, in which the eunuch was travelling: the way from Jerusalem to this place lay through Bethlehem, as the above ancient writer observes, on Jeremiah 31:15 where he says

"some of the Jews interpret this place thus; that Jerusalem being taken by Vespasian, through this way (Bethlehem and Ephratah, of which he is speaking) to Gaza and Alexandria, a vast number of captives were led to Rome.''

And as the same writer elsewhere says (n), Bethlehem was six miles from Aella (or Jerusalem) to the south, in the way which leads to Hebron; and it is commonly believed that the way to Gaza was through Hebron, and is the way in which they go to it now; and to a hill near this place Samson, carried the gates of Gaza, Judges 16:1 And this also was to the south of Jerusalem, and two and twenty miles from it (o): and it is also said by the same author (p), that there is a village called Bethzur, and in his time Bethhoron, in the way from Jerusalem to Hebron, about twenty miles from the former, at which there was a fountain, where it was reported the eunuch was baptized by Philip. There was it seems another way from Jerusalem to Gaza, through Diospolis, or Eleutheropolis, and so to Ascalon, and from thence to Gaza (q): and this was the road the eunuch went, if their conjecture is right, that he was baptized in the river Eleutherus; but which way he went is not certain, nor where he was baptized. The situation of Gaza was, according to Arrianus (r), as follows:

"Gaza is distant from the sea at least twenty furlongs (two miles and a half), and the access unto it is sandy and deep, and the sea near the city is all muddy. Gaza was a great city, and was built on high ground, and encompassed with a strong wall: it was the last of those cities inhabited, as you go from Phoenicia into Egypt, "at the beginning of the desert".''

Which last words seem to furnish out a reason why it is here called Gaza, "which is desert"; because it was situated where the desert began: though this clause is differently understood; some apply it to Gaza; as if the sense was "Gaza the desert", to distinguish old Gaza which was destroyed by Alexander the great, and as Strabo says (s), "remained desert", from new Gaza, built at some distance from it: Jerom has (t) this distinction of old and new Gaza; there is scarce any appearance, he says, of the foundations of the ancient city; and that which is now seen is built in another place; and an unknown Greek writer makes express mention of new Gaza, which is the city itself; and speaks of another Gaza at some distance, which he calls Gaza, , "the desert" (u): but the haven, which was seven furlongs distant from Gaza, was not called new Gaza till Julian's time: it was first called Majuma, and afterwards Constantia, by Constantine; either from his son Constantius, or his sister Constantia, it having embraced the Christian religion (w): wherefore, as Beza observes, no regard could be had to this distinction in the times of Luke; and though it was besieged by Alexander and taken, yet it did not become a desolate place; it had its walls, gates, and fortifications afterwards; and was after this taken by Ptolomy, and then by Alexander Janneeus; it was repaired by Gabinius, and given to Herod by Augustus (x): so that it could not be said to be desert, in the times of Philip and the eunuch, with respect to its inhabitants and fortifications: it seems rather therefore to be so called, for the above reason, because situated at the beginning of the desert; and the whole space between the parts of Egypt next the Nile, and Palestina, is called "the desert", both by Arrianus (y) and Josephus (z): others apply this epithet to the way, and read it as do the Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, "to the way of the desert which goes from Jerusalem"; meaning the wilderness, which lay in the way from Jerusalem to Gaza. This place was distant from Jerusalem about seventy five miles; for from Jerusalem to Ascalon was, as Josephus (a) says, five hundred and twenty furlongs, which make sixty five miles; and from Ascalon to Gaza were ten miles, as our countryman Mr. Sandes Says (b); though according to the Itinerary of Antoninus (c), the distance was sixteen miles. The Talmudists make mention of this place, they represent it as a very pleasant place to dwell in; they say (d), Gaza is , "a beautiful habitation"; they speak of three famous markets, and one of them was the market of Gaza (e); and very near to this city there was a beast market (f); and to which may be added, though it may not serve to strengthen the reason of its name being called Gaza the desert, there was a place on the border of the city, which was named , "the desert of the leper" (g): there were also brooks about the parts of Gaza and Azotus (h); in one of which, if the eunuch was near Gaza, to which he was going, he might be baptized; since it is uncertain whereabout Philip met him, and where the place of water was, in which the ordinance of baptism was administered to him. This city is now called Gazera, or Gazara, and is inhabited by Greeks, Turks, and Arabians.

(k) T. Hieros. Succa, fol. 53. 4. (l) Ib. Challa, fol. 57. 2.((m) De locis Hebraicis, fol. 91. K. (n) Ib. fol. 89. E. (o) Ib. fol. 87. E. (p) Fol. 89. G. (q) Vid. Reland. Palestina Illustrata, l. 2. p. 407. & l. 3. p. 646, 659. (r) De Expeditione Alexandri, l. 2.((s) Geograph. l. 16. (t) De locis Hebraicis, fol. 91. K. (u) Apud Reland. ib. l. 2. p. 509. (w) Euseb. de Vita Constantin. l. 4. c. 38. Sozomen. Hist. l. 5. c. 3.((x) Joseph. Antiqu. l. 13. c. 13. sect. 3. & 14. 5. &. 15. 7. (y) Ut supra. (De Expeditione Alexandri, l. 2.) (z) De Bello Jud. l. 7. c. 5. sect. 3.((a) Ib. l. 3. c. 2. sect. 1.((b) Travels, p. 151. (c) Apud Reland. ib. l. 2. p. 419. (d) T. Hieros. Sheviith, fol. 37. 3.((e) Ib. Avoda Zara, fol. 39. 4. (f) T. Bab. Avoda Zara, fol. 11. 2.((g) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 71. 1.((h) Aristeas de 70 Interpret. p. 41. Ac 8:26-40. The Ethiopian Eunuch.

"With this narrative of the progress of the Gospel among the Samaritans is connected another which points to the diffusion of the doctrine of the Cross among the remotest nations. The simplicity of the chamberlain of Meroe forms a remarkable contrast with the craft of the magician just described" [Olshausen].

26-28. the angel of the Lord—rather, "an angel."

go … south, the way that goeth down from Jerusalem to Gaza—There was such a road, across Mount Hebron, which Philip might take without going to Jerusalem (as Von Raumer's'S Palæstina shows).

which is desert—that is, the way; not Gaza itself, which was the southernmost city of Palestine, in the territory of the ancient Philistines. To go from a city, where his hands had been full of work, so far away on a desert road, could not but be staggering to the faith of Philip, especially as he was kept in ignorance of the object of the journey. But like Paul, he "was not disobedient to the heavenly vision"; and like Abram, "he went out not knowing whither he went" (Ac 26:19; Heb 11:8).8:26-40 Philip was directed to go to a desert. Sometimes God opens a door of opportunity to his ministers in very unlikely places. We should study to do good to those we come into company with by travelling. We should not be so shy of all strangers as some affect to be. As to those of whom we know nothing else, we know this, that they have souls. It is wisdom for men of business to redeem time for holy duties; to fill up every minute with something which will turn to a good account. In reading the word of God, we should often pause, to inquire of whom and of what the sacred writers spake; but especially our thoughts should be employed about the Redeemer. The Ethiopian was convinced by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, of the exact fulfilment of the Scripture, was made to understand the nature of the Messiah's kingdom and salvation, and desired to be numbered among the disciples of Christ. Those who seek the truth, and employ their time in searching the Scriptures, will be sure to reap advantages. The avowal of the Ethiopian must be understood as expressing simple reliance on Christ for salvation, and unreserved devotion to Him. Let us not be satisfied till we get faith, as the Ethiopian did, by diligent study of the Holy Scriptures, and the teaching of the Spirit of God; let us not be satisfied till we get it fixed as a principle in our hearts. As soon as he was baptized, the Spirit of God took Philip from him, so that he saw him no more; but this tended to confirm his faith. When the inquirer after salvation becomes acquainted with Jesus and his gospel, he will go on his way rejoicing, and will fill up his station in society, and discharge his duties, from other motives, and in another manner than heretofore. Though baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, with water, it is not enough without the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Lord, grant this to every one of us; then shall we go on our way rejoicing.
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