|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:10-22 A good work was begun in Saul, when he was brought to Christ's feet with those words, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And never did Christ leave any who were brought to that. Behold, the proud Pharisee, the unmerciful oppressor, the daring blasphemer, prayeth! And thus it is even now, and with the proud infidel, or the abandoned sinner. What happy tidings are these to all who understand the nature and power of prayer, of such prayer as the humbled sinner presents for the blessings of free salvation! Now he began to pray after another manner than he had done; before, he said his prayers, now, he prayed them. Regenerating grace sets people on praying; you may as well find a living man without breath, as a living Christian without prayer. Yet even eminent disciples, like Ananias, sometimes stagger at the commands of the Lord. But it is the Lord's glory to surpass our scanty expectations, and show that those are vessels of his mercy whom we are apt to consider as objects of his vengeance. The teaching of the Holy Spirit takes away the scales of ignorance and pride from the understanding; then the sinner becomes a new creature, and endeavours to recommend the anointed Saviour, the Son of God, to his former companions.
Verse 15. - A chosen vessel (comp. Galatians 2:15; Romans 9:21, 22). To bear my name before the Gentiles (see Acts 22:21; Acts 26:17, 18; Romans 15:16; Galatians 2:7-9, etc.) and kings (Acts 25; Acts 26; 2 Timothy 4:16, 17, with reference to Nero), and the children of Israel. The Gentiles are named before the children of Israel, because St. Paul's special call was to be the apostle of the Gentiles. But we know that even St. Paul's practice was to preach Christ to the Jews first, in every city where there were Jews.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But the Lord said unto him, go thy way,.... The Syriac version reads, "arise, go thy way"; make no delay, nor any excuse, there is no reason for it; nothing is to be feared from him:
for he is a chosen vessel unto me; a choice and excellent one, full of the heavenly treasure of the Gospel, full of the gifts and graces of the Spirit, and so very fit and richly qualified for the use and service of Christ; and was , "a vessel of desire", or a desirable one, as the Jews speak (n): or he was, to render the words literally, "a vessel of election"; both an instrument gathering in the election, or the elect of God, through the preaching of the Gospel; and was himself chosen of God, both to grace and glory, a vessel of mercy, and of honour prepared for glory; and was separated, predestinated, and appointed to the Gospel of God, to preach it among the Gentiles; which sense is confirmed by what follows:
to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel; by "the name" of Christ is meant his Gospel, which is a declaration of his person, perfections, glories, and excellencies, of his offices, grace, righteousness, and salvation; and to "bear" it, is to preach it, to carry it about, spread abroad, and propagate it; in allusion either to the prophets of old, whose prophecies are often called a "burden", which they bore and carried to the several nations to whom they were sent; or to the Levites bearing the tabernacle of the Lord, and its vessels, "be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord", Isaiah 52:11. Upon which Aben Ezra has this note,
"they are the Israelites, , "that bear the law";''
but Saul was a chosen vessel to bear the Gospel; or to the sower of seed, Psalm 126:6 "before the Gentiles", or nations of the world; and he was an apostle, and teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity; the Gospel of the uncircumcision was particularly committed to him: and before "kings", as he did before Agrippa, king of the Jews, and before Nero, emperor of Rome; and his bonds for the Gospel, and so the Gospel through his bonds became manifest in all the palace, or court of Caesar. And before
the children of Israel; the Jews, to whom he first preached it; but when they put it away he turned to the Gentiles, and afterwards, before the Jews, he bore a testimony for it.
(n) T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 6. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15. Go thy way—Do as thou art bidden, without gainsaying.
he is a chosen vessel—a word often used by Paul in illustrating God's sovereignty in election (Ro 9:21-23; 2Co 4:7; 2Ti 2:20, 21 [Alford]. Compare Zec 3:2).
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