|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 7. - That journeyed for which journeyed, A.V. ; the voice for a voice, A.V. ; beholding for seeing, A.V. Speechless; ἐννεοί (or rather ἐνεοί) is found nowhere else in the New Testament, but is not uncommon in the LXX. (e.g. Isaiah 56:10) and in classical Greek. Here it means speechless from terror, struck dumb. The description here given by St. Luke seems to be contradictory in two particulars to St. Paul's own account in Acts 22:9 and Acts 26:14. For St. Paul's companions are said here to have "stood speechless;" but in Acts 26:14 they were "all fallen to the earth." Here they "hear the voice," but in Acts 22:9 they "heard not the voice of him that spake." It is obvious, however, that in such descriptions all depends upon the particular moment of the transaction described which happens to be uppermost in the mind of the speaker or writer at the time, and the particular purpose in relation to which he is giving the description. Thus at one moment the spectators might be standing dumfounded, and at the next they might be prostrate on the ground, or vice versa. Either description of their attitude would be a true one, though not true with regard to the same moment. Again, if the purpose of the speaker was to affirm that the whole company were conscious of both the vision and the sound of a voice speaking, but that only Saul saw the Divine Speaker, the description "hearing the voice, but beholding no man" would be the natural one. Whereas, if the purpose was to express that Saul alone heard the words spoken to him by the Lord, the description of his companions," They saw indeed the light... but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me," would be equally natural.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the men which journeyed with him,.... Out of respect to him, to keep him company; or rather to assist him in his designs:
stood speechless: astonished and amazed, they had not power to speak one word, nor to rise from the ground, and move one step forward; they were as if they were thunderstruck, and fastened to the earth; for this standing is not opposed to their being fallen to the earth, but to their going forward, and only expresses the surprise and stupidity that had seized them:
hearing a voice, but seeing no man; that is, they heard the voice of Saul, saying, who art thou? and what wilt thou have me to do? but saw nobody that he spoke to, which surprised them; for it is certain they did not hear the voice of Christ, that spake to him, Acts 22:9 or if they heard the voice of Christ, it was only the sound of his voice, but did not understand what he said; but the former seems rather to be the sense, and the best way of reconciling the two passages.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. the men … stood speechless—This may mean merely that they remained so; but if the standing posture be intended, we have only to suppose that though at first they "all fell to the earth" (Ac 26:14), they arose of their own accord while Saul yet lay prostrate.
hearing a—rather "the"
voice—Paul himself says, "they heard not the voice of Him that spake to me" (Ac 22:9). But just as "the people that stood by heard" the voice that saluted our Lord with recorded words of consolation and assurance, and yet heard not the articulate words, but thought "it thundered" or that some "angel spake to Him" (Joh 12:28, 29)—so these men heard the voice that spake to Saul, but heard not the articulate words. Apparent discrepancies like these, in the different narratives of the same scene in one and the same book of Acts, furnish the strongest confirmation both of the facts themselves and of the book which records them.
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