Acts 9:5
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
"Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied.

New Living Translation
"Who are you, lord?" Saul asked. And the voice replied, "I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting!

English Standard Version
And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

Berean Study Bible
"Who are You, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," He replied.

Berean Literal Bible
And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" And He said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

New American Standard Bible
And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" And He said, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,

King James Bible
And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Who are You, Lord?" he said. "I am Jesus, the One you are persecuting," He replied.

International Standard Version
He asked, "Who are you, Lord?" The voice said, "I'm Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

NET Bible
So he said, "Who are you, Lord?" He replied, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting!

New Heart English Bible
He said, "Who are you, Lord?" The Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
He answered and said, “Who are you my lord?” And our Lord said, “I AM THE LIVING GOD, Yeshua the Nazarene, He whom you are persecuting.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Saul asked, "Who are you, sir?" The person replied, "I'm Jesus, the one you're persecuting.

New American Standard 1977
And he said, “Who art Thou, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,

Jubilee Bible 2000
And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I AM Jesus whom thou dost persecute; it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

King James 2000 Bible
And he said, Who are you, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom you persecute: it is hard for you to kick against the goads.

American King James Version
And he said, Who are you, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom you persecute: it is hard for you to kick against the pricks.

American Standard Version
And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And he'said , I am Jesus whom thou persecutest:

Douay-Rheims Bible
Who said: Who art thou, Lord? And he: I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. It is hard for thee to kick against the goad.

Darby Bible Translation
And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And he [said], I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest.

English Revised Version
And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest:

Webster's Bible Translation
And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. It is hard for thee to kick against the goads.

Weymouth New Testament
"Who art thou, Lord?" he asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," was the reply.

World English Bible
He said, "Who are you, Lord?" The Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

Young's Literal Translation
And he said, 'Who art thou, Lord?' and the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom thou dost persecute; hard for thee at the pricks to kick;'
Study Bible
The Road to Damascus
4He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” 5“Who are You, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” He replied. 6“Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”…
Cross References
Acts 9:4
He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?"

Acts 9:6
"Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."

Acts 10:14
"No, Lord!" Peter answered, "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean."

Acts 26:14
We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice say to me in Aramaic, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'

Philippians 3:12
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been perfected, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
Treasury of Scripture

And he said, Who are you, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom you persecute: it is hard for you to kick against the pricks.

Who.

1 Samuel 3:4-10 That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I…

1 Timothy 1:13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but …

I am.

Acts 26:9 I truly thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary …

it is.

Acts 5:39 But if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it; lest haply you be found …

Deuteronomy 32:15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: you are waxen fat, you are grown …

Job 9:4 He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who has hardened himself …

Job 40:9,10 Have you an arm like God? or can you thunder with a voice like him…

Psalm 2:12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish from the way, when …

Isaiah 45:9 Woe to him that strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with …

1 Corinthians 10:22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?

(5) Who art thou, Lord?--The word "Lord" could not as yet have been used in all the fulness of its meaning. As in many cases in the Gospels, it was the natural utterance of respect and awe (John 5:7; John 9:36; John 20:15), such as would be roused by what the persecutor saw and heard.

I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.--Some of the best MSS. give "Jesus of Nazareth"; or better, perhaps, Jesus the Nazarene. It is probable, however, that this was inserted from Acts 22:18, where it occurs in St. Paul's own narrative. Assuming the words to have been those which he actually heard, they reproduced the very Name which he himself, as the chief accuser of Stephen, had probably uttered in the tone of scorn and hatred (Acts 6:14)--the very Name which he had been compelling men and women to blaspheme. Now it was revealed to him, or to use his own suggestive mode of speech, "in him" (Galatians 1:16), that the Crucified One was in very deed, as the words of Stephen had attested, at the right hand of God, sharing in the glory of the Father. The pronouns are both emphatic, "I, in my Love and Might and Glory, I am the Jesus whom thou, now prostrate and full of dread, hast been bold enough to persecute." It was not the disciples and brethren alone whom Saul was persecuting. What was done to them the Lord counted as done unto Himself (Matthew 10:40).

It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.--There is a decisive preponderance of MS. authority against the appearance of these words here, and the conclusion of nearly all critics is that they have been inserted in the later MSS. from Acts 26:14. As they occur in the English text, however, and belong to this crisis in St. Paul's life, it will be well to deal with them now. In their outward form they were among the oldest and most familiar of Greek proverbs. The Jew who had been educated in the schools of Tarsus might have read them in Greek poets (schylus, Agam. 1633; Pindar, Pyth. ii. 173; Eurip. Bacch. 791), or heard them quoted in familiar speech, or written them in his boyhood. They do not occur in any collection of Hebrew proverbs, but the analogy which they presented was so obvious that the ploughmen of Israel could hardly have failed to draw the same lesson as those of Greece. What they taught was, of course, that to resist a power altogether superior to our own is a profitless and perilous experiment. The goad did but prick more sharply the more the ox struggled against it. Two of the passages cited apply the words directly to the suffering which man is sure to encounter when he resists God, as e.g.--

"With God we may not strive:

But to bow down the willing neck,

And bear the yoke, is wise;

To kick against the pricks will prove

A perilous emprise."

--Pind. Pyth. ii. 173.

We ask what lesson the words brought to the mind of Saul. What were the "pricks" against which he had been "kicking"? The answer is found in what we know of the facts of his life. There had been promptings, misgivings, warnings, which he had resisted and defied. Among the causes of these, we may well reckon the conversion of the friend and companion of his youth (see Note on Acts 4:36), and the warning counsel of Gamaliel (Acts 5:34-39), and the angel-face of Stephen (Acts 6:15), and the martyr's dying prayer (Acts 7:60), and the daily spectacle of those who were ready to go to prison and to death rather than to renounce the name of Jesus. In the frenzy of his zeal he had tried to crush these misgivings, and the effort to do so had brought with it discomfort and disquietude which made him more "exceedingly mad" against the disciples of the Lord. Now he learnt that he had all along, as his master had warned him, been "fighting against God," and that his only safety lay in the surrender of his own passionate resolve to the gracious and loving Will that was seeking to win him for itself. In his later retrospect of this stage of his life he was able, as by a subtle process of self-analysis, to distinguish between the element of ignorance, which made forgiveness possible, and that of a wilful resistance to light and knowledge which made that forgiveness an act of free and undeserved compassion (1Timothy 1:12-13).

Verse 5. - He for the Lord, A.V. and T.R. The rest of ver. 5 in the A.V., "It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks" and the first part of ver. 6, "And he trembling and astonished, said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him," are omitted in the R.T. They have, in fact, no manuscript authority (Meyer; Alford); and not much patristic authority, or from versions, and are omitted by all modern editors. They seem to be taken from the parallel narratives in Acts 22:8-10; Acts 26:14. The proverb, "It is hard," etc., is only found in Acts 26:14 (where see note). And he said, who art thou, Lord?.... For he knew not whether it was God, or an angel, or who it was that spake to him; he knew not Christ by his form or voice, as Stephen did, when he saw him standing at the right hand of God; he was in a state of ignorance, and knew neither the person, nor voice of Christ, and yet his heart was so far softened and wrought upon, that he was desirous of knowing who he was;

and the Lord said, I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest. The Alexandrian copy, and the Syriac and Ethiopic versions, "read Jesus of Nazareth"; and one of Beza's copies, and another of Stephens', as in Acts 22:8 whose name thou art doing many things against, and whose people thou art destroying:

it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks; or "to resist me", as the Arabic version renders it; and which is the sense of the phrase; it is a proverbial expression, taken from beasts that are goaded, who kick against the goads or pricks, and hurt themselves the more thereby; and Christ uses it, suggesting hereby, that should Saul go on to persecute him and his people, to oppose his Gospel, and the strong evidence of it, in doctrine and miracles, and notwithstanding the present remonstrances made in such an extraordinary manner; he would find himself in the issue greatly hurt by it, and could not rationally expect to succeed against so powerful a person. This clause in the Syriac version is placed at the end of the fourth verse. 5. Who art thou, Lord?—"Jesus knew Saul ere Saul knew Jesus" [Bengel]. The term "Lord" here is an indefinite term of respect for some unknown but august speaker. That Saul saw as well as heard this glorious Speaker, is expressly said by Ananias (Ac 9:17; 22:14), by Barnabas (Ac 9:27), and by himself (Ac 26:16); and in claiming apostleship, he explicitly states that he had "seen the Lord" (1Co 9:1; 15:8), which can refer only to this scene.

I am Jesus whom thou persecutest—The "I" and "thou" here are touchingly emphatic in the original; while the term "Jesus" is purposely chosen, to convey to him the thrilling information that the hated name which he sought to hunt down—"the Nazarene," as it is in Ac 22:8—was now speaking to him from the skies, "crowned with glory and honor" (see Ac 26:9).

It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks—The metaphor of an ox, only driving the goad deeper by kicking against it, is a classic one, and here forcibly expresses, not only the vanity of all his measures for crushing the Gospel, but the deeper wound which every such effort inflicted upon himself.9:1-9 So ill informed was Saul, that he thought he ought to do all he could against the name of Christ, and that he did God service thereby; he seemed to breathe in this as in his element. Let us not despair of renewing grace for the conversion of the greatest sinners, nor let such despair of the pardoning mercy of God for the greatest sin. It is a signal token of Divine favour, if God, by the inward working of his grace, or the outward events of his providence, stops us from prosecuting or executing sinful purposes. Saul saw that Just One, ch. 22:14; 26:13. How near to us is the unseen world! It is but for God to draw aside the veil, and objects are presented to the view, compared with which, whatever is most admired on earth is mean and contemptible. Saul submitted without reserve, desirous to know what the Lord Jesus would have him to do. Christ's discoveries of himself to poor souls are humbling; they lay them very low, in mean thoughts of themselves. For three days Saul took no food, and it pleased God to leave him for that time without relief. His sins were now set in order before him; he was in the dark concerning his own spiritual state, and wounded in spirit for sin. When a sinner is brought to a proper sense of his own state and conduct, he will cast himself wholly on the mercy of the Saviour, asking what he would have him to do. God will direct the humbled sinner, and though he does not often bring transgressors to joy and peace in believing, without sorrows and distress of conscience, under which the soul is deeply engaged as to eternal things, yet happy are those who sow in tears, for they shall reap in joy.
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