|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 39. - Came up for were come up, A.V.; and the eunuch for that the eunuch, A.V.; for he went for and he went, A.V. The eunuch made no attempt to follow Philip, but went on his road to Egypt, his whole heart filled with the new joy of Christ's salvation.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And when they were come up out of the water,.... Which is another circumstance, showing that baptism was then performed by immersion; with this compare Matthew 3:16 and so it is said of the high priest, when he washed himself on the day of atonement, , "he went down and dipped, and came up" (m); and so any other person that was obliged to dipping on any account, , "went down and dipped, and came up" (n). And again it is said (o), it happened to a servant maid of Rabbi, , "that she dipped herself and came up".
The Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip; as soon as the ordinance was over; so that the eunuch had no opportunity of rewarding him for his instructions and labour; and this might be done on purpose to show that he had no mercenary end in joining himself to his chariot; and this sudden rapture and disappearance might be a confirmation to the eunuch that this whole affair was of God. The Spirit of the Lord took up Philip, just as he is said to lift up Ezekiel, between earth and heaven, Ezekiel 8:3 and carried him above the earth as far as Azotus. The Alexandrian copy, and one of Beza's, and some others, read the words thus, "the holy Spirit fall upon the eunuch, but the angel of the Lord caught away Philip"; the same angel, it may be, that bid him go toward the south:
that the eunuch saw him no more; neither at that time, nor perhaps ever after; for one went one way, and another way:
and he went on his way; towards Ethiopia; and, as the Ethiopic version reads, "into his own country"; which is one reason why he saw Philip no more: however, he went thither
rejoicing, as he had great reason to do; being blessed with the saving knowledge of Christ, and true faith in the Son of God, and admitted to the holy ordinance of baptism; having first received the baptism of the Spirit, or having the grace of the Spirit bestowed on him, and implanted in him: and, according to some copies just now mentioned, after his baptism the Spirit fell on him in an extraordinary manner, and that without imposition of hands; so that, upon the whole, he had great reason to rejoice.
(m) Misna Yoma, c. 3. sect. 4. 6. & 7. sect. 3. 4. (n) T. Bab. Ceritot, fol. 13. 1.((o) T. Bab. Nidda, fol. 66. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
39, 40. the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip—To deny [as Meyer, Olshausen, Bloomfield] the miraculous nature of Philip's disappearance, is vain. It stands out on the face of the words, as just a repetition of what we read of the ancient prophets, in 1Ki 18:12; 2Ki 2:16. And the same word (as Bengel remarks) is employed to express a similar idea in 2Co 12:2, 4; 1Th 4:17.
the eunuch saw him no more—nor, perhaps, for very joy, cared to see him [Bengel].
and he went on his way rejoicing—He had found Christ, and the key to the Scriptures; his soul was set free, and his discipleship sealed; he had lost his teacher, but gained what was infinitely better: He felt himself a new man, and "his joy was full." Tradition says he was the first preacher of the Gospel in Ethiopia; and how, indeed, could he choose but "tell what the Lord had done for his soul?" Yet there is no certainty as to any historical connection between his labors and the introduction of Christianity into that country.
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