Acts 14:6
They were ware of it, and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the region that lies round about:
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(6) And fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia.—Here again, as in Acts 13:51, we can scarcely fail to trace a literal obedience to our Lord’s commands. (See Note on Matthew 10:23.) The direction of the Apostles journey now took them into a wilder and less civilised region. The range of the Taurus cut it off from the more cultivated country of Cilicia and Pisidia. It is described as a dreary plain, bare of trees, destitute of fresh water, and with several salt lakes. So Ovid (Metaph. 8:621) speaks of it, as the result of personal observation:

“Where men once dwelt a marshy lake is seen,

And coots and bitterns haunt the waters green.”

The very name Lycaonia, interpreted traditionally as Wolf-land (the local legend derived it from Lycaon, who had been transformed into a wolf), represented but too faithfully the character of the inhabitants. The travellers were also losing the protection which a Roman citizen might claim in a Roman province, Lycaonia, which had been annexed in A.D. 17 to the Roman province of Galatia, having been assigned by Caligula to Antiochus, King of Commagene. So wild a country was hardly likely to attract Jewish settlers; and there is no trace in St. Luke’s narrative of the existence of a synagogue in either of the two cities. For the first time, so far as we know, St. Paul had to begin his work by preaching to the heathen. Even the child of a devout Jewish mother had grown up to manhood uncircumcised (see Note on Acts 16:3). Of the two towns named, Lystra was about forty miles to the south-east of Iconium, Derbe about twenty miles further to the east. The former, which lies to the north of a lofty conical mountain, the Kara-dagh (=Black Mountain) is now known as Bin-bir-Kilisseh, i.e., “the thousand and one churches,” from the ruins that abound there. The addition of “the region that lieth round about” suggests the thought that the cities were not large enough to supply a sufficient field of action. The work in the country villages must obviously—even more than in the cities—have been entirely among the Gentiles. Among the converts of this region, and probably of this time, we may note the names of Timotheus of Lystra (see Note on Acts 16:1), and Gaius, or Caius, of Derbe (Acts 20:4).

14:1-7 The apostles spake so plainly, with such evidence and proof of the Spirit, and with such power; so warmly, and with such concern for the souls of men; that those who heard them could not but say, God was with them of a truth. Yet the success was not to be reckoned to the manner of their preaching, but to the Spirit of God who used that means. Perseverance in doing good, amidst dangers and hardships, is a blessed evidence of grace. Wherever God's servants are driven, they should seek to declare the truth. When they went on in Christ's name and strength, he failed not to give testimony to the word of his grace. He has assured us it is the word of God, and that we may venture our souls upon it. The Gentiles and Jews were at enmity with one another, yet united against Christians. If the church's enemies join to destroy it, shall not its friends unite for its preservation? God has a shelter for his people in a storm; he is, and will be their Hiding-place. In times of persecution, believers may see cause to quit a spot, though they do not quit their Master's work.They were ware of it - They were in some way informed of the excitement and of their danger.

And fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia - Lycaonia was one of the provinces of Asia Minor. It had Galatia north, Pisidia south, Cappadocia east, and Phrygia west. It was formerly within the limits of Phrygia, but was erected into a separate province by Augustus. "The district of Lycaonia extends from the ridges of Mount Taurus and the borders of Cilicia on the south, to the Cappadocian hills on the north. It is a bare and dreary region, unwatered by streams, though in parts liable to occasional inundations. Strabo mentions one place where water was even sold for money. Across some portion of this plain Paul and Barnabas traveled both before and after their residence in Iconium. After leaving the high land to the northwest, during a journey of several hours before arriving at the city, the eye ranges freely over a vast expanse of level ground to the south and the east, The two most eminent objects in the view are the snowy summits of Mount Argaeus, rising high above all the intervening hills in the direction of Armenia, and the singular mountain mass called the 'Kara-Dagh,' or 'Black Mount,' southeastward in the direction of Cilicia. And still these features continue to be conspicuous after Iconium is left behind, and the traveler moves on over the plain toward Lystra and Derbe. Mount Argaeus still rises far to the northeast, at the distance of 150 miles.

The Black Mountain is gradually approached, and discovered to be an isolated mass, with reaches of the plain extending round it like channels of the sea. The cities of Lystra and Derbe were somewhere about the bases of the Black Mountain." The exact position of Lystra and Derbe is still subject to some uncertainty. In 1824, Col. Leake wrote thus: "Nothing can more strongly show the little progress that has hitherto been made in a knowledge of the ancient geography of Asia Minor, than that, of the cities which the journey of Paul has made so interesting to us, the site of one only (Iconium) is yet certainly known. Perga, Antioch of Pisidia, Lystra, and Derbe, remain to be discovered." The situation of the first two of these towns has been since that fully identified, and some ruins have been found which have been supposed to mark the place of Lystra and Derbe, though not with entire certainty.

And unto the region ... - The adjacent country. Though persecuted, they still preached; and though driven from one city, they fled into another. This was the direction of the Saviour, Matthew 10:23.

6. unto Lystra and Derbe—the one some twenty miles to the south, the other some sixty miles to the east of Iconium, somewhere near the bases of what are called the Black Mountains and the roots of Mount Taurus; but their exact position has not yet been discovered. And fled; the apostles did not flee so much to save their lives, as to husband their time best for the glory of God in other places; and this they were commanded to do, Matthew 10:23,

When they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another. Lystra and Derbe; these were cities further in the country of Lycaonia than Iconium was.

Lycaonia; a part of the Lesser Asia, nigh unto the mountain Taurus. They were ware of it,.... They understood it, were apprised of it, and well weighed it, and considered it in their minds, and what was best to be done at this juncture:

and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia; according to the orders and command of Christ, Matthew 10:23 not so much to save their lives, as to spread the Gospel in other parts. Lycaonia was a province in the lesser Asia, near Phrygia, separated from it by the mountains; on the east it bordered on Galatia, and had on the west Pamphylia and Pisidia, and on the south Cilicia, unto Mount Taurus. Some say it had its name from Lycaon, the son of Pelasgus; others, seeing it was not a Greek colony, chose to fetch the name of the country from the Syrians, who used to call their neighbour's country Leikonia, or in the Greek pronunciation Lycaonia; that is, the country of Iconium, which city was the metropolis of Lycaonia (i): Lystra is by Ptolomy (k) placed in Isauria, and so Derbe is said by Strabo (l) to be upon the coast of Isauria; wherefore the words may be read thus, as they are in the Syriac and Ethiopic versions, "and they fled to the cities of Lycaonia, and to Lystra, and to Derbe"; by which reading, they are not necessarily made the cities of Lycaoma: according to Jerom (m), they were both cities of Lycaonia. Lystra is the same with "Lehesthera"; which, in the Hebrew and Syriac languages, signifies "a flock of sheep", or "a city of flocks"; it being a place that abounded with sheep, as the country of Lycaonia in general did (n). Derbe was sometimes called "Delbia", which, in the language of the Lycaonians, signifies a "juniper tree"; and Delub, and Dulbe, with the Targumist (o) and Talmudists (p), signify a chesnut tree; and with the Arabians, "Dulb" is a plane tree, or poplar; it seems as if it had its name from one or other of those trees, which might grow in large quantities near it:

and unto the region that lieth round about; the said cities.

(i) Vid. Hiller. Onomasticum Sacrum, p. 870. (k) Geograph. l. 5. c. 4. (l) Ib. l. 12. (m) De locis Hebraicis, fol. 96. A. D. (n) Vid. Hiller. ib. p. 870, 871. (o) Targum Onkelos in Genesis 30.37. (p) T. Hieros. Cetubot, fol. 31. 4. T. Bab. Roshhashana, fol. 23. 1. & Succa, fol. 32. 2.

They were ware of it, and {c} fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about:

(c) It is sometimes proper to flee dangers, at the appropriate times.

Acts 14:6. συνιδόντες, cf. Acts 12:12, Acts 5:2, only in Luke and Paul, 1 Corinthians 4:4; 1Ma 4:21; 2Ma 4:41; 2Ma 14:26; 2Ma 14:30; 3Ma 5:50.—κατέφυγον, cf. Matthew 10:23 : “We ought not to run into danger, but to flee from it if needful, like these leaders of the Church wishing to extend their preaching, and to multiply by persecution” Oecumenius; only elsewhere in N.T., Hebrews 6:18; see Westcott, l.c., cf. Deuteronomy 4:42, Numbers 35:26; 1Ma 5:11, etc. So in classical Greek with εἰς, ἐπί, πρός.—εἰς τὰς πόλεις τῆς Λ. Λύστραν καὶ Δέρβην, καὶ τὴν περίχωρον: in these words Ramsay sees a notable indication of St. Luke’s habit of defining each new sphere of work according to the existing political divisions of the Roman Empire: “Lystra and Derbe and the surrounding Region”; in going from Antioch to Iconium the travellers entered no new Region (χώρα), but in Acts 14:6 another Region is referred to, comprising part of Lycaonia, consisting of two cities and a stretch of cityless territory; and if this is so, we see also in the words an indication of St. Paul’s constant aim in his missionary efforts, viz., the Roman world and its centres of life and commerce; when he reached the limit of Roman territory (Derbe) he retraced his steps. The position of Lystra, about six hours south-south-west from Iconium, near the village Khatyn Serai, is now considered as established by Professor Sterrett’s evidence based on an inscription; and from similar evidence of inscriptions it appears that Lystra had been a Roman colonia since Augustus, Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire, p. 47 ff., and Wendt (1899), p. 248; O. Holtzmann, Neutestamentliche Zeitgeschichte, p. 102. The site of Derbe cannot be quite so satisfactorily determined, but probably near the village Losta or Zosta; about three miles north-west of this place, a large mound, by name Gudelissin, is marked by evident traces of the remains of a city, “Derbe,” Hastings’ B.D.; Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire, p. 54 ff., and Wendt (1899), p. 249. From 41–72 A.D. Derbe was the frontier city of the Roman province on the south-east. But if St. Paul thus found in Lystra and Derbe centres of Roman commercial life, we must modify our view of the wild and uncivilised nature of the region into which the Apostles penetrated after leaving Antioch and Iconium, cf. C. and H., p. 147, with Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire, pp. 56, 57. If Paul had gone to the ruder parts of Lycaonia, it is very doubtful whether the inhabitants could have understood him, or any one addressing them in Greek (see also Rendall, Acts, p. 263).6. they were ware of it] Among the party which sided with the Apostles there would be some who would get information about any attack which was being planned against them. It is to be noticed that throughout the history there is no attempt to exaggerate the sufferings of the Christian teachers. Here was a narrow escape from stoning, and as such it is recorded with no more expansion than is absolutely unavoidable.

and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about] What the Apostles actually did is more truly represented if we preserve the Greek order, “fled unto the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra and Derbe, and the region round about.” From the violence of a mob excited by the Jews they fled into a wilder region where were few or no Jews, and the cities are enumerated in the order in which they were visited, while some to which they went are unnamed but included in the general term “the region round about.” The flight of the Apostles is exactly in accord with Christ’s injunction (Matthew 10:23).Acts 14:6. Κατέφυγον, they fled for refuge) There is most abundant refuge for the godly, viz. either earth or heaven.Verses 6, 7. Became aware for were ware, A.V. (συνιδόντες), see Acts 12:12; the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra, and Derbe, for Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, A.V.; the region for unto the region, A.V.; round about for that lieth round about, A.V. They preached; were preaching - not once or twice, but continuously. Lystra and Derbe were cities of southern Lycaonia, obscure and remote from civilization, situated north of Mount Taurus, in a cold arid country somewhere between Ak Ghieul on the north, and the volcanic region of Karadagh on the south. They seem to have been included at this time in the dominions of Antiochus, king of Commagene (Lewin). Lystra is thought to be now represented by Bin-bir Kilissete (the thousand and one churches) (Lewin and Renan), though this is doubtful; and Derbe distant about twenty miles from Lystra, and the capital of that part of Lycaonia called Isaurica, is thought to be the modern Dioli (Hamilton, Renan, etc.); others, however, place it nearer the White Lake, Ak Ghieul, where the ruins of an ancient town are found. Were ware (συνιδόντες)

Rev., became aware. See on considered, Acts 12:12.

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