|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:5-13 As far as the gospel prevails, evil spirits are dislodged, particularly unclean spirits. All inclinations to the lusts of the flesh which war against the soul are such. Distempers are here named, the most difficult to be cured by the course of nature, and most expressive of the disease of sin. Pride, ambition, and desire after grandeur have always caused abundance of mischief, both to the world and to the church. The people said of Simon, This man is the great power of God. See how ignorant and thoughtless people mistake. But how strong is the power of Divine grace, by which they were brought to Christ, who is Truth itself! The people not only gave heed to what Philip said, but were fully convinced that it was of God, and not of men, and gave up themselves to be directed thereby. Even bad men, and those whose hearts still go after covetousness, may come before God as his people come, and for a time continue with them. And many wonder at the proofs of Divine truths, who never experience their power. The gospel preached may have a common operation upon a soul, where it never produced inward holiness. All are not savingly converted who profess to believe the gospel.
Verse 5. - And for then, A.V. ; proclaimed unto them the Christ for preached Christ unto them, A.V. Philip; the deacon and evangelist (Acts 6:7; Acts 21:8), not the apostle. As regards Samaria, it is always used in the New Testament of the country, not of the city, which at this time was called Sebaste, from Σεβαστός, i.e. Augustus Caesar (see Acts 25:21, 26, etc.; John 4:5; and Josephus, 'Ant. Jud.,' 15. 7:9). Whether, therefore, we read with the T.R. πόλιν, or with the R.T. τὴν πόλιν, we must understand Samaria to mean the country, and probably the city to be the capital, Sebaste. Alford, however, with many others, thinks that Sychem is meant, as in John 4:5.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria,.... The city which was formerly called Samaria, but now Sebaste; it had been destroyed by Hyrcanus, and was rebuilt by Herod; and called by him, in honour of Augustus, by the name of Sebaste (d); and so R. Benjamin says (e), that
"from Luz he came in a day to Sebaste, , "this is Samaria"; where yet may be discerned the palace of Ahab king of Israel-----and from thence are two "parsas" to Neapolis, this is Sichem.''
Which last place, Sichem, is by Josephus said to be the "metropolis" of Samaria; and is thought by Dr. Lightfoot to be the city Philip went to, and where our Lord had before been, and preached to the conversion of many persons: this place lay lower than Jerusalem, and therefore Philip is said to go down to it; and who was not Philip the apostle, but Philip the deacon, for the apostles abode at Jerusalem; and beside, though this Philip preached the Gospel, and baptized, and wrought miracles, yet did not lay on hands, in order that persons might receive the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost; this was peculiar to the apostles, and therefore Peter and John came down for this purpose, when they heard of the success of Philip's ministry: the subject matter of which follows:
and preached Christ unto them; that Christ was come in the flesh, that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, and that he was the Son of God, and the alone Saviour of men; who by his obedience, sufferings, and death, had wrought righteousness, procured peace and pardon, and obtained eternal redemption for his people; and was risen again, and ascended into heaven, and was set down at the right hand of God, where he ever lived to make intercession, and would come again a second time to judge both quick and dead.
(d) Joseph de Bello Jud. l. 1. c. 2. sect. 7. & c. 21. sect. 2. Plin. l. 5. c. 13. (e) Itinerar. p. 38.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ac 8:5-25. Success of Philip's Preaching in Samaria—Case of Simon Magus.
5. Then Philip—not the apostle of that name, as was by some of the Fathers supposed; for besides that the apostles remained at Jerusalem, they would in that case have had no occasion to send a deputation of their own number to lay their hands on the baptized disciples [Grotius]. It was the deacon of that name, who comes next after Stephen in the catalogue of the seven, probably as being the next most prominent. The persecution may have been directed especially against Stephen's colleagues [Meyer].
the city of Samaria—or "a city of Samaria"; but the former seems more likely. "It furnished the bridge between Jerusalem and the world" [Baumgarten].
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