Acts 13:51
But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.
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(51) They shook off the dust of their feet against them.—The act was one of literal obedience to our Lord’s commands (see Note on Matthew 10:14), and may fairly be regarded as evidence that that command had come to the knowledge of Paul and Barnabas as well as of the Twelve. It was in itself, however, the language of a natural symbolism which every Jew would understand, a declaration that not the heathen, but the unbelieving and malignant Jews, were those who made the very dust on which they trod common and unclean.

And came unto Iconium.—The journey to Iconium is passed over rapidly, and we may infer that it presented no opportunities for mission work. That city lay on the road between Antioch and Derbe at a distance of ninety miles south-east from the former city, and forty north-west from the latter. When the travellers arrived there they found what they probably had not met with on their route—a synagogue, which indicated the presence of a Jewish population, on whom they could begin to work. The city, which from its size and stateliness has been called the Damascus of Lycaonia, was famous in the early Apocryphal Christian writings as the scene of the intercourse between St. Paul and his convert Thekla. In the middle ages it rose to importance as the capital of the Seljukian sultans, and, under the slightly altered name of Konieh, is still a flourishing city. By some ancient writers it was assigned to Phrygia, by others to Lycaonia.

13:42-52 The Jews opposed the doctrine the apostles preached; and when they could find no objection, they blasphemed Christ and his gospel. Commonly those who begin with contradicting, end with blaspheming. But when adversaries of Christ's cause are daring, its advocates should be the bolder. And while many judge themselves unworthy of eternal life, others, who appear less likely, desire to hear more of the glad tidings of salvation. This is according to what was foretold in the Old Testament. What light, what power, what a treasure does this gospel bring with it! How excellent are its truths, its precepts, its promises! Those came to Christ whom the Father drew, and to whom the Spirit made the gospel call effectual, Ro 8:30. As many as were disposed to eternal life, as many as had concern about their eternal state, and aimed to make sure of eternal life, believed in Christ, in whom God has treasured up that life, and who is the only Way to it; and it was the grace of God that wrought it in them. It is good to see honourable women devout; the less they have to do in the world, the more they should do for their own souls, and the souls of others: but it is sad, when, under colour of devotion to God, they try to show hatred to Christ. And the more we relish the comforts and encouragements we meet with in the power of godliness, and the fuller our hearts are of them, the better prepared we are to face difficulties in the profession of godliness.But they shook off the dust ... - See the notes on Matthew 10:14.

And came unto Iconium - This was the capital of Lycaonia. It is now called Konieh, and is the capital of Caramania. "Konieh extends to the east and south over the plain far beyond the walls, which are about two miles in circumference ... Mountains covered with snow rise on every side, excepting toward the east, where a plain, as flat as the desert of Arabia, extends far beyond the reach of the eye" (Capt. Kinnear). "Little, if anything, remains of Greek or Roman Iconium, if we except the ancient inscriptions and the fragments of sculptures which are built into the Turkish walls." "The city wall is said to have been erected by the Seljukian sultans: it seems to have been built from the ruins of more ancient buildings, as broken columns, capitals, pedestals, bas-reliefs, and other pieces of sculpture contribute toward its construction. It has 80 gates, of a square form, each known by a separate name, and, as well as most of the towers, embellished with Arabic inscriptions ... I observed a few Greek characters on the walls, but they were in so elevated a situation that I could not decipher them" (Capt. Kinneir). See Colonel Leake's description; and also the work of Col. Chesney (1850) on the Euphrates Expedition, vol. i, p. 348, 349.

51. shook off the dust of their feet against them—as directed (Mt 10:14).

came unto Iconium—a populous city about forty-five miles southeast from Pisidian Antioch: at the foot of Mount Taurus; on the borders of Lycaonia, Phrygia, and Pisidia; and in later times largely contributing to the consolidation of the Turkish empire.

This was according to our Saviour’s command, Matthew 10:14 Mark 6:11 Luke 9:5, so often is it mentioned, and so considerable a matter it is for us to know, and dread the punishment appointed for such as refuse the gospel, and contemn the salvation offered by it. What this was symbolical of is not expressed. The Hebrew proverb says, The dust of an ethnic city or country doth pollute a man; and they might by this represent, that the inhabitants of such a city or place, who did not entertain the gospel, and the ministers thereof, they would repute as the vilest sinners, and they should by God be dealt with accordingly.

Iconium: see Acts 14:1.

But they shook off the dust of their feet against them,.... As Christ directed his apostles to do; See Gill on Matthew 10:14.

And came unto Iconium, a city in Lycaonia; here it is placed both by Ptolomy (c) and Strabo (d); Pliny says (e), that

"there was a tetrarchy granted out of Lycaonia, on that part which borders on Galatia, consisting of fourteen cities, the most celebrated city being Iconium.''

It was called by the Syrians , "Ik-ona", which signifies "the bosom of sheep"; the country round about it being famous for feeding great numbers of sheep; and here afterwards was a church of Christ, a bosom for his sheep; it is now in the hands of the Turks, and is called "Conia", or "Cogne".

(c) Geograph. l. 5. c. 6. (d) Ib. l. 12. (e) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 27.

{21} But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.

(21) The wickedness of the world cannot prevent God from gathering his Church together, and to foster and cherish it, when it is gathered together.

Acts 13:51. Ἐκτιναξ. τ. κονιορτ.] as a sign of the greatest contempt. Comp. Acts 18:6, and see on Matthew 10:14.

ἐπʼ αὐτούς] against them, is to be understood either as denoting the direction of the movement of the feet in shaking off the dust, or, more significantly, in the sense of the direction, frame of mind, in which the action took place. Comp. Luke 9:5.

Ἰκόνιον] belonging at an earlier period to Phrygia (Xen. Anab. i. 2. 19), but at this time the capital of Lycaonia (Strabo, xii. p. 568; Cic. ad Div. xv. 4; Plin. N. H. v. 25), and even yet (Konieh or Koniyah, see Ainsworth’s Travels in the track of the Ten Thousand Greeks) an important city. Ammian. Marc. xiv. 2, reckons it to belong to (the neighbouring) Pisidia, in opposition to the above witnesses,—an error easily committed. In Iconium the legend makes Thecla be converted by Paul.

From the Pisidian Antioch they did not move farther forward, but turned south-eastward, in order (Acts 14:26) at a later period to return by ship to the Syrian Antioch.

Acts 13:51. ἐκτιναξάμενοι, cf. Matthew 10:14, Luke 10:11, Mark 6:11. The symbolic act would be understood by the Jews as an intimation that all further intercourse was at an end. There is no reason to see in the words a late addition by the author of Acts to the source; the disciples mentioned in Acts 13:52 need not have been Jews at all, but Gentiles, and in Acts 14:21 nothing is said of any intercourse except with those who were already disciples.—Ἰκόνιον, see on Acts 14:1.

51. shook off the dust of their feet against them] This significant action, like that of the “shaking of the raiment” (Acts 18:6), implied that those against whom it was done were henceforth left to go their own way. Cp. Nehemiah 5:13, Matthew 10:14.

Iconium] a city in Pisidia to the east of Antioch. It is still a large town, and preserves the trace of its old name, being now called Konich. See Dictionary of the Bible.

Verse 51. - They shook off the dust, etc.; according to the Lord's injunction (Luke 9:5; comp. Acts 18:6). And came into Iconium; a distance of about sixty miles south-east, a five days' journey (Renan). Iconium lay on the high road from Antioch in Syria to Ephesus. It is now called Cogni, and has a population of nearly thirty thousand souls. Iconium is assigned by Xenophon to Phrygia; by others to Pisidia; and again by others (Cicero, Strabo, etc.) to Lyeaonia. At this time it was the capital of a separate tetrarchy (Lewin, 'Saint Paul'), but Renan calls it" the capital of Lycaonia" ('Saint Paul,' p. 41). Acts 13:51Shook off

See on Matthew 10:14.


See on Luke 10:11.

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