Acts 13:11
And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.
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(11) The hand of the Lord is upon thee.—The anthromorphic phrase would convey to every Jew the thought of a chastisement which was the direct result of the will of God. (Comp. 1Kings 18:46; Ezekiel 1:3; Ezekiel 8:1.)

Thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season.—The form of the punishment may have been, in part, determined by the Apostle’s choice as manifested in prayer. If so, it suggests the thought that he had looked back on his own blindness, the exclusion of the outward light, as being that which had been to him the process by which he was led to the Sun of Righteousness and the Light that lighteth every man, and hoped that it might be so now. (See Note on Acts 9:8-9.) In any case, there was a moral fitness in blindness as the penalty of the sin the very essence of which was that the man was fighting against light. That the blindness was to be “for a season” only implies that it was designed to be remedial and not simply retributive.

There fell on him a mist and a darkness . . .—Here, as in the “scales” of Acts 9:13, we seem to trace something of the precision of the trained physician. The first effect of the loss of the power to see was, as in the case of St. Paul, that Elymas, who had selfishly used his knowledge to guide others to his own advantage, now had to seek for others to guide his own steps. The tense of the Greek verb (he was seeking) seems to imply that he sought and did not find. He had no friends to help him, and was left to his fate unpitied.

13:4-13 Satan is in a special manner busy with great men and men in power, to keep them from being religious, for their example will influence many. Saul is here for the first time called Paul, and never after Saul. Saul was his name as he was a Hebrew; Paul was his name as he was a citizen of Rome. Under the direct influence of the Holy Ghost, he gave Elymas his true character, but not in passion. A fulness of deceit and mischief together, make a man indeed a child of the devil. And those who are enemies to the doctrine of Jesus, are enemies to all righteousness; for in it all righteousness is fulfilled. The ways of the Lord Jesus are the only right ways to heaven and happiness. There are many who not only wander from these ways themselves, but set others against these ways. They commonly are so hardened, that they will not cease to do evil. The proconsul was astonished at the force of the doctrine upon his own heart and conscience, and at the power of God by which it was confirmed. The doctrine of Christ astonishes; and the more we know of it, the more reason we shall see to wonder at it. Those who put their hand to the plough and look back, are not fit for the kingdom of God. Those who are not prepared to face opposition, and to endure hardship, are not fitted for the work of the ministry.The hand of the Lord is upon thee - God shall punish thee. By this sudden and miraculous punishment he would be awed and humbled, and the proconsul and others would be convinced that he was an impostor, and that the gospel was true. His wickedness deserved such punishment; and at the same time that due punishment was inflicted, it was designed that the gospel should be extended by this means. In all this there was the highest evidence that Paul was under the inspiration of God. He was full of the Holy Spirit; he detected the secret feelings and desires of the heart of Elymas; and he inflicted on him a punishment that could have proceeded from none but God. That the apostles had the power of inflicting punishment is apparent from various places in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:20. The punishment inflicted on Elymas, also, would be highly emblematic of the darkness and perverseness of his conduct.

Not seeing the sun for a season - For how long a time this blindness was to continue is nowhere specified. It was, however, in mercy ordained that the blindness should not be permanent and final; and though it was a punishment, it was at the same time benevolent, for nothing would be more likely to lead him to reflection and repentance than such a state of blindness. It was such a manifest proof that God was opposed to him it was such a sudden divine judgment; it so completely cut him off from all possibility of practicing his arts of deception, that it was adapted to bring him to repentance. Accordingly there is a tradition in the early church that he became a Christian. Origen says that "Paul, by a word striking him blind, by anguish converted him to godliness" (Clark).

A mist - The word used here properly denotes "a darkness or obscurity of the air; a cloud," etc. But it also denotes "an extinction of sight by the drying up or disturbance of the tumors of the eye" (Hippocrates, as quoted by Schleusner).

And a darkness - Blindness, night. What was the precise cause or character of this miracle is not specified.

And he went about ... - This is a striking account of the effect of the miracle. The change was so sudden that he knew not where to go. He sought someone to guide him in the paths with which he had before been familiar. How soon can God bring down the pride of man, and make him as helpless as an infant! How easily can He touch our senses, the organs of our most exquisite pleasures, and wither away all our enjoyments! How dependent are we upon Him for the inestimable blessing of sight! And how easily can He annihilate all the sinner's pleasures, break up all his plans, and humble him in the dust! Sight is his gift; and it is a mercy unspeakably great that He does not overwhelm us in thick darkness, and destroy forever all the pleasure that through this organ is conveyed to the soul.

11. the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind for a season—the judgment being mercifully designed to lead him to repentance. The tradition that it did is hardly to be depended on.

there fell on him a mist, &c.—This is in Luke's medical style.

The hand of the Lord is put for any powerful action of God, whether in mercy or judgment: here it is put for the Divine power wherewith God strikes his enemies. God did in judgment remember mercy, inflicting this blindness only for a season, that it might be rather a medicine than a punishment.

And now behold the hand of the Lord is upon thee,.... That is, the power of God was just ready to be exerted on him in a way of punishment, by striking him with blindness:

and thou shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a season: so blind as not to see the sun, when it shined ever so brightly: this punishment seems to be but for a time; and some say that Elymas repented, and had his sight restored to him; and after that he returned to his sorcery, and again greatly opposed Barnabas in the island of Cyprus:

and immediately there fell on him a mist and darkness; as soon as ever the apostle had said the above words, a dark mist fell upon his eyes, which began the blindness, and issued in a total one:

and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand; he groped about the room, if he could find, and lay hold on some person to lead him: for he was quickly stone blind, so that he could not guide himself, as the men of Sodom were, when smitten with blindness by the angel; wherefore, though they groped about for the door of the house till they were weary, they could not find it, Genesis 19:11 of which the Jews say, as here, that it was , "a stroke from God" (u). Blind men need one to hold them by the hand, and lead them, as Samson, Judges 16:26 and Saul, Acts 9:8. The striking this man with blindness is an instance of the power the apostles were endued with, for the punishing of offenders: so Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead for telling a lie: and the incestuous person was delivered to Satan to undergo a corporeal punishment for his incest; as Hymenaeus and Alexander were for their blasphemy, Acts 5:5.

(u) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 20. 3.

And now, behold, the {f} hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.

(f) His power which he shows in striking and beating down his enemies.

Acts 13:11. Χεὶρ Κυρίου] a designation, borrowed according to constant usage from the O.T. (LXX. Jdg 2:15; Job 19:21; 2Ma 6:26; Sir 33:2), of “God’s hand,” Luke 1:66, Acts 11:21, and here, indeed, of the punitive hand of God, Hebrews 10:31.

ἐπὶ σέ] sc. ἐστι, is directed against thee.

ἔσῃ] The future is not imperative, but decided prediction; comp. Acts 5:9.

μὴ βλέπων τ. ἥλιον] self-evident, but “auget manifestam sententiam,” Quinctil. ix. 3. 45. To the blind the sun is φῶς ἀφεγγές, Soph. O. C. 1546.

ἄχρι καιροῦ] for a season. Comp. Luke 4:13. His blindness was not to be permanent; the date of its termination is not given, but it must have been in so far known by Paul, seeing that this penal consequence would cease with the cause, namely, with the withstanding, Acts 13:8. Comp. on Acts 13:12. With the announcement of the divine punishment is combined, by ἄχρι καιροῦ, the hint of future possible forgiveness. Chrysostom well remarks: τὸ ἄχρι καιροῦ δὲ οὐ κολάζοντος ἦν τὸ ῥῆμα, ἀλλʼ ἐπιστρέφοντος· εἰ γὰρ κολάζοντος ἦν, διαπαντὸς ἂν αὐτὸν ἐποίησε τυφλόν. Comp. Oecumenius.

παραχρῆμα δὲ ἐπέπεσεν κ.τ.λ] We are as little to inquire what kind of blindness occurred, as to suppose (with Heinrichs) that with the sorcerer there was already a tendency to blindness, and that this blindness actually now set in through fright. The text represents the blindness as a punishment of God without any other cause, announced by Paul as directly cognizant of its occurrence.

ἀχλὺς καὶ σκότος] dimness and darkness, in the form of a climax. See on ἀχλύς (only here in the N.T.), Duncan, Lex. Hom., ed. Rost, p. 193.

The text assigns no reason why the sorcerer was punished with blindness (as, for instance, that he might be humbled under the consciousness of his spiritual blindness; comp. Baumgarten). We must abstain from any such assertion all the more, that this punishment did not befall the similar sorcerer Simon. Romans 11:34.

Acts 13:11. καὶ νῦν ἰδοὺ, cf. Hort, Ecclesia, p. 179.—μὴ βλέπων τὸν ἥλιον: emphasising the punishment, as it would imply that he should be stone-blind (Weiss).—ἄχρι καιροῦ: “until a season,” R.V. margin, “until the time” (Rendall), i.e., the duly appointed time when it should please God to restore his sight, cf. Luke 4:13; Luke 21:24 (Acts 24:25). The exact expression is only found here and in Luke 4:13. Wendt (1899) asks if the ceasing of the punishment is conceived of as ceasing with the opposition in Acts 13:8. See his earlier edition, 1888, and the comment of Chrys., so Oecumenius: οῦκ ἄρα τιμωρία ἦν ἀλλʼ ἴασις: so too Theophylact.—παραχρῆμα, see above on p. 106.—ἐπέπεσεν, see critical notes. If we retain T.R. with Weiss, the word may be called characteristic of St. Luke, see above on p. 216 its use as denoting an attack of disease is quite medical, Hobart, p. 44.—ἀχλὺς: only here in N.T., not in LXX. Galen in describing diseases of the eye mentions ἀχλύς amongst them. So Dioscorides uses the word of a cataract, and Hippocrates also employs it, Hobart, p. 44. The word is no doubt frequent in Homer, sometimes of one deprived of sight by divine power, and it also occurs in Polyb. and Josephus. But here it is used in conjunction with other words which may also be classed as medical, παραχ., σκότος, to say nothing of (ἐπ)έπεσεν.—σκότος: marks the final stage of blindness—the word is no doubt a common one, but it is used, as also some of its derivatives, by medical writers in a technical sense, and Dioscorides in one place connects σκοτώματα and ἀχλύς together.—περιάγων: only absolutely here in N.T., so sometimes in classical Greek, and sometimes with acc[259] loci, as also in N.T. (cf. Matthew 4:23; Matthew 9:35, etc.).—ἐζήτει, imperf., he sought but did not find.—χειραγωγούς: only here in N.T., not in LXX, cf. the verb in Acts 9:8, Acts 22:11, and in LXX, Jdg 16:26 A, Tob 11:16 (but not A, ); used by Plutarch, etc.

[259] accusative case.

11. the hand of the Lord] Of the Jehovah whose ways he had perverted, for it could only have been after the Jewish faith that Sergius Paulus had made his enquiries of Elymas, who instead of teaching him to know the Lord, seduced him by his own pretensions. For the expression cp. Exodus 9:3 and Jdg 2:15, “The hand of the Lord was against them for evil.”

for a season] The punishment inflicted on Elymas is lighter than that of Ananias and Sapphira, because in their case the hypocrisy of their conduct would have brought ruin on the Church, if it had not been severely punished, and their sin was against greater light and gifts of grace than had been bestowed on the magician of Cyprus.

a mist and a darkness] There is a gradation in the words which implies that the withdrawal of his sight was somewhat gradual. At first the eyes began to cloud over, and as the film increased upon them he became quite blind.

and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand] As he perceives the darkness closing in upon him he turns in the direction where he had last noticed some friend, and endeavours to get a guide. For such a man would wish to shew as little as possible how exactly the Apostle’s words had come to pass.

Acts 13:11. Τὸν ἥλιον) the sun, and light. It is probable, that the sorcery of Elymas was much directed to observations of the sun.—ἄχρι καιροῦ, for a season) There was no need that the time should be definitely indicated by Luke. A double miracle: blindness was inflicted, and there was a limiting of its duration (of the time).—ἀχλὺς, a mist) internally.—σκότος, darkness) externally.—ἐζήτει, he was seeking) A criterion of blindness.

Verse 11. - Is upon thee; or rather, against thee (Matthew 10:21; Matthew 26:55; Luke 11:17; and ver. 50 of this chapter). For a season. It has been well observed that this limitation in time is an indication that there was place for repentance. It was a remedial chastisement. A mist (ἀχλύς); only here in the New Testament; but it is a medical term, very common in Hippocrates, to express a darkening and dimming of the eyes by cataract or other disease. As regards the reason why the particular punishment of blindness was inflicted upon Elymas, it might be to put a forcible interruption upon those observations of the stars and clouds by which the magician pretended to foresee the future. It would exhibit, too, to Sergius, Paulus the utter helplessness of the great necromancer. Some to lead him by the hand (χειραγωγούς), as Saul had needed χειραγωγοῦντας when he was struck blind by the vision of the Savior's glory (Acts 9:8). Acts 13:11Mist (ἀχλὺς)

Only here in New Testament. The word is used by medical writers as a name for a disease of the eyes. The mention of the successive stages, first dimness, then total darkness, are characteristic of the physician. "The first miracle which Paul performed was the infliction of a judgment; and that judgment the same which befell himself when arrested on his way to Damascus" (Gloag).

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