|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 34. - Other for other man, A.V. The eunuch's intelligent question gave Philip exactly the opening he required for preaching to him Jesus, the Messiah of whom all the prophets spake by the Holy Ghost (1 Peter 1:10, 11).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the eunuch answered Philip, and said,.... After he had read the passage out, and Philip had put the question to him, whether he understood it; and after he had taken him up into his chariot to sit with him, and instruct him:
I pray thee, of whom speakest the prophet this? being desirous of knowing who was the subject of this famous prophecy: which to know was very useful and edifying, and was not a matter of mere indifference and speculation, but of great moment and concern. A like way of speaking, in order to know the sense of a passage, is used by the Jews (w): thus upon reading Proverbs 31:2, it is asked,
"of whom does Solomon say this Scripture? he does not say it but of his father David.''
Does he speak
of himself or of some other man? which is very properly and pertinently put; since there might be some appearance of its application to Isaiah, who suffered under Manasseh; and it might be applied to different persons, as it has been since by the Jews; as to Josiah, Jeremiah in particular, and to the people of Israel in general, though very wrongly: Josiah could never be intended, as one of their noted commentators (x) expounds the paragraph; since it was not the sins of the people that were the cause of his death, but his own, and his vanity in meddling with what he had nothing to do with, and had no real call unto; nor can it be said of him that he did no violence, or that he bore the sins of others, and died for them, and made his soul an offering for sin; nor were his days prolonged; nor did the pleasure of the Lord prosper in his hand: nor is the passage applicable to Jeremiah, as another of their writers (y) would have it; he was not free from sin; nor was he wounded for the sins of his people; nor did he undergo his sufferings with patience; nor had he a large number of disciples; nor was he extolled and exalted, as this person is said to be: much less, as others (z) say, is the whole body of the people of Israel in captivity intended; since one single individual as spoken of throughout the whole; and is manifestly distinguished from the people of Israel, whose sins and sorrows he was to bear, and for whose transgressions he was to be stricken and wounded. In all which they go contrary to their Targum (a), Talmud (b), and other ancient writings (c), which interpret many things in this section or paragraph of the Messiah (d): however, as it might be differently understood, or difficult to be understood, the eunuch very appropriately puts this question.
(w) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 10. 1.((x) Abarbinel in Isaiah 53.(y) Sandiah Gaon in Aben Ezra in ib. (z) Jarchi, Aben Ezra, & Kimchi in ib. (a) In Isaiah 52.13. and liii. 10. (b) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 98. 2.((c) Zohar in Exod. fol. 85. 2. Midrash Ruth, fol. 33. 2.((d) See my Book of the Prophecies of the Messiah, p. 161. &c.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
34-38. And the eunuch answered, I pray thee, &c.—The respect with which he here addresses Philip was prompted by his reverence for one whom he perceived to be his superior in divine things; his own worldly position sinking before this.
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