|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 40. - He preached the gospel to all the cities for he preached in all the cities, A.V. The sudden rapture of Philip by the Spirit, and his transportation to Azotus, or Ashdod, reminds us forcibly of 1 Kings 18:12, and of the successive journeys of Elijah just prior to his translation. In Philip's case we may suppose a kind of trance, which was not ended till he found himself at Azotus. Passing through. For διέρχομαι (there rendered "went about"), see ver. 4, note. To Caesarea; where we find him domiciled (Acts 21:8). Such coincidences, appearing in the narrative without any explanation, are strong marks of truth. "He journeyed northward from Ashdod, perhaps through Ekron, Ramah, Joppa, and the plain of Sharon" (Meyer).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But Philip was found at Azotus,.... The same with the Ashdod of the Philistines, famous for the temple of Dagon, 1 Samuel 5:1 where the Septuagint call it Azotus, as here: and so it is called in the Apocrypha:
"Howbeit all the hindmost of them were slain with the sword: for they pursued them unto Gazera, and unto the plains of Idumea, and
Azotus, and Jamnia, so that there were slain of them upon a three thousand men.'' (1Mac 4:15)
"Whereof when Apollonius heard, he took three thousand horsemen, with a great host of footmen, and went to
Azotus as one that journeyed, and therewithal drew him forth into the plain. because he had a great number of horsemen, in whom he put his trust.'' (1Mac 10:77)
"But Jonathan set fire on
Azotus, and the cities round about it, and took their spoils; and the temple of Dagon, with them that were fled into it, he burned with fire.'' (1Mac 10:84)
"And when he came near to
Azotus, they shewed him the temple of Dagon that was burnt, and
Azotus and the suburbs thereof that were destroyed, and the bodies that were cast abroad and them that he had burnt in the battle; for they had made heaps of them by the way where he should pass.'' (1Mac 11:4)
where mention is made of Beth Dagon, and the idol's temple in it; and by Herodotus (p), Pliny (q), and Ptolomy (r); and it is now called Palmis, according to R. Benjamin (s); it was about fifty four miles from Jerusalem, and two hundred and seventy furlongs, Or four and thirty miles (t) from Gaza:
and passing through; or, as he passed along through that and other places:
he preached in all the cities; that lay in his way; which shows his zeal and diligence:
till he came to Caesarea; not Caesarea Philippi, Matthew 16:13 but that which was before called Strato's tower, and was rebuilt by Herod, and called Caesarea, in honour of Augustus Caesar (u); and not by Caesar himself, as R. Benjamin says (w): it was six hundred furlongs, or seventy five miles from Jerusalem (x), This place was famous for Jewish Rabbins, and their schools of learning; frequent mention is made of , "the Rabbins of Caesarea" (y); here Philip seems to have stopped, and stayed awhile.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
40. Philip was found—that is, "found himself," "made his appearance": an expression confirming the miraculous manner of his transportation.
at Azotus—the ancient Ashdod.
preached in all the cities—along the coast, proceeding northward.
till he came to Cæsarea—fifty-five miles northwest of Jerusalem, on the Mediterranean, just south of Mount Carmel; and so named by Herod, who rebuilt it, in honor of Cæsar Augustus. Henceforth we lose sight of zealous and honored Philip, as by and by we shall lose sight even of Peter. As the chariot of the Gospel rolls on, other agents are raised up, each suited to his work. But "he that soweth and he that reapeth shall rejoice together." (See on Joh 4:31-38).
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