Acts 13:8
But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.
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(8) But Elymas the sorcerer.—See Note on Acts 13:6. The charlatan feared the loss of the influence which he had previously exercised over the mind of the proconsul. His victim was emancipating himself from his bondage and was passing from credulity to faith, and that progress Bar-jesus sought to check.

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.}}But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) - Elymas the magician. Elymas is the interpretation, not of the name Bar-jesus, but of the word rendered "the sorcerer." It is an Arabic word, and means the same as Magus. It seems that he was better known by this foreign name than by his own.

Withstood them - Resisted them. He was sensible that if the influence of Saul and Barnabas should be extended over the proconsul, that he would be seen to be an impostor, and his power be at an end. His interest, therefore, led him to oppose the gospel. His own popularity was at stake; and being governed by this, he opposed the gospel of God. The love of popularity and power, the desire of retaining some political influence, is often a strong reason why people oppose the gospel.

To turn away the deputy from the faith - To prevent the influence of the truth on his mind; or to prevent his be coming the friend and patron of the Christians.

8-12. But Elymas—or "the wise."

for so is his name by interpretation—the word is from the Arabic.

withstood them—perceiving, probably, how eagerly the proconsul was drinking in the word, and fearing a dismissal. (Compare 2Ti 3:8).

Elymas; this is another name of him that was called Bar-jesus, which was not unusual, as Simon Bar-jona, Matthew 16:17. This Elymas may be taken appellatively, and signifies the magician or sorcerer; but being it was a proper name unto others we read of, it may be so here.

But Elymas the sorcerer, for so is his name by interpretation,.... Not that Magus a sorcerer is by interpretation Elymas; as if Luke was interpreting the Persic word "Magus", which is sometimes used in a good sense, for a wise man, as in Matthew 2:1 by an Arabic word "Elim", which signifies knowing; but "Elymas" is the interpretation of his name "Bar-jesus"; which as that signifies the son of salvation, or of healing, so this, as De Dieu observes, may be derived from "Chalam", which signifies "to heal", or to be sound and in health. Junius thinks the name comes from the Arabic word which signifies "to mutter", as wizards and sorcerers, and such sort of men used to do; and though he rejects the opinion of Tremellius, taking it for an Hebrew name, and to be the same with "Elimaatz", which signifies "divine counsel"; yet this, or what is near to it, is embraced by a late learned man (m) who observes, that Elymas is in Hebrew, "Elmahatz"; the interpretation of which is, God's counsel, or the counsel of God; the name of a man, Maaz, is read in 1 Chronicles 2:27 and that it is the same with Elymoteros, as Olympas is the same with Olympiodorus; and he further observes, that Barjeus, as Jerom or Origen say it was anciently read, and not Bar-jesus, is the same with , "Barjeutz", or Barjeus, the "son of counsel", and so agrees with Elymas: now he

withstood them: Saul and Barnabas, just as Jannes and Jambres, the magicians of Egypt, withstood Moses: he did all he could to prevent their coming into the governor's house, and them from preaching to him, and him from hearing of them; and especially from giving heed to, and embracing the doctrines preached by them; which he opposed and argued against, with all the cunning and sophistry he was master of:

seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith; the doctrine of faith, from hearing and receiving it; and when he had received it, he endeavoured to set him against it, and cause him to deny and reject it with abhorrence; the Ethiopic version calls him "the king", as in the former verse "the prince".

(m) Hilleri Onomasticum Sacrum, p. 803.

{4} But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.

(4) The devil makes Christ's victory more glorious in that he sets himself against him.

Acts 13:8. Ἐλύμας] The Arabic name (عَليمٌ sapiens, κατ ̓ ἐξοχήν: magus; comp. Hyde, de relig. vet. Pers. p. 372 f.) by which Barjesus chose to be designated, and which he probably adopted with a view to glorify himself as the channel of Arabian wisdom by the corresponding Arabic name.

ὁ μάγος] Interpretation of Ἐλύμας, added in order to call attention to the significance of the name. Comp. Bornemann, Schol. in Luc. p. lviii.

διαστρέψαι ἀπό] a well-known pregnant construction, which Valckenaer destroys arbitrarily, and in such a way as to weaken the sense, by the conjecture ἀποστρέψαι: to pervert (and turn aside) from the faith. Comp. LXX. Exodus 5:4.

Acts 13:8. ἀνθίστατο: because he saw that his hope of gain was gone, cf. Acts 16:19, Acts 19:27, and the hope of retaining influence with the proconsul; see reading in , cf. 2 Timothy 3:8, where St. Paul uses the same verb of the magicians withstanding Moses.—Ἐλύμας, see critical notes in answer to Klostermann, who finds in . a translation of Bar-Jesus; Wendt points out (1899) that in this case οὔτω γὰρ μεθ. would follow immediately after ., but as οὕτω κ.τ.λ. follows immediately upon ὁ μάγος, . can only be a translation of that word; see also MS. authority, so Blass in [256], where he adds to βαρϊησοῦς the words ὃ μεθ. Ἑτοιμᾶς. In Ἐλύμας we have the Greek form either of Aramaic Alîmâ, strong, or more probably of an Arab word ‘alim, wise; we cannot arrive at any derivation closer than this, cf. “Bar—Jesus,” Hastings’ B.D., and for a similar explanation Zöckler, in loco; and Wendt (1899), Grimm-Thayer, sub v., Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 74, and so Blass, in loco, read Ἑτοιμᾶς, and render “Son of the Ready”.—διαστρέψαι, Exodus 5:4, same construction with ἀπό; 1 Kings 18:17-18, Matthew 17:17, Luke 9:41, Php 2:15; see also critical notes.

[256] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

8. seeking to turn away [aside] the deputy [proconsul] from the faith] Sergius had not yet accepted the doctrine of the Apostles, though we may presume that both he and Elymas had heard much about their teaching since their landing at Salamis. Report going before had roused the proconsul’s curiosity and the magician’s fear, and the wish of the latter was to divert the attention of Sergius, that he might not send for the new teachers.

Acts 13:8. Ὄνομα, name) Barjehu and Elymas [akin to Elohim, as Jehu to Jehovah?] are in some way synonymous. See L. de Dieu, Hiller. et al.—διαστρέψαι, to turn away) The same verb occurs, Acts 13:10.

Verse 8. - Turn aside for turn away, A.V.; proconsul for deputy, A.V. Elymas, from the Arabic elite, plural oulema, a wise man, a wizard, a magician. But Renan thinks this derivation doubtful. Elymas withstood Barnabas and Saul just as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses (2 Timothy 3:8, ἀντέστησαν). Acts 13:8Elymas

An Arabic word, meaning the wise, and equivalent to Magus. See on Acts 13:6.


"The position of soothsayer to a Roman proconsul, even though it could only last a year, was too distinguished and too lucrative to abandon without a struggle" (Farrar, "Life and Work of Paul").

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