Acts 17:1
Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
XVII.

(1) Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia.—The two cities were both on the great Roman roads known as the Via Egnatia. Amphipolis, formerly known as Ennea Hodoi, or the Nine Ways, was famous in the Peloponnesian War as the scene of the death of Brasidas, and had been made, under the Romans, the capital of Macedonia prima. It was thirty-three Roman miles from Philippi and thirty from Apollonia, the latter being thirty-seven from Thessalonica. The site of Apollonia is uncertain, but the name is, perhaps, traceable in the modern village of Polina, between the Strymonic and Thermaic Gulfs. A more famous city of the same name, also on the Via Egnatia, was situated near Dyrrhacium. It seems clear that the names indicated the stages at which the travellers rested, and that thirty miles a day a somewhat toilsome journey for those who had so recently been scourged) was, as with most men of ordinary strength, their average rate of travelling. It would seem that there was no Jewish population to present an opening for the gospel at either of these cities, and that St. Paul, therefore, passed on to Thessalonica.

Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews.—The city, which had previously borne the names of Emathia, Halia, and Therma, had been enlarged by Philip of Macedon, and named after his daughter. It was situated on the Thermaic Gulf, and had grown into a commercial port of considerable importance. As such, it had attracted Jews in large numbers. The MSS. differ as to the presence or absence of the Greek article before “synagogue,” but, on the whole, it is probable that we should read, “the synagogue,” that which served for the Jews of the neighbouring cities, who were not numerous enough to have one of their own. The old name survives in the modern Saloniki, and there is still a large Jewish population there.

Acts

THESSALONICA AND BEREA

Acts 17:1 - Acts 17:12
.

‘Shamefully entreated at Philippi,’ Paul tells the Thessalonians, he ‘waxed bold in our God to’ preach to them. His experience in the former city might well have daunted a feebler faith, but opposition affected Paul as little as a passing hailstorm dints a rock. To change the field was common sense; to abandon the work would have been sin. But Paul’s brave persistence was not due to his own courage; he drew it from God. Because he lived in communion with Him, his courage ‘waxed’ as dangers gathered. He knew that he was doing a daring thing, but he knew who was his helper. So he went steadily on, whatever might front him. His temper of mind and the source of it are wonderfully revealed in his simple words.

The transference to Thessalonica illustrates another principle of his action; namely, his preference of great centres of population as fields of work. He passes through two less important places to establish himself in the great city. It is wise to fly at the head. Conquer the cities, and the villages will fall of themselves. That was the policy which carried Christianity through the empire like a prairie fire. Would that later missions had adhered to it!

The methods adopted in Thessalonica were the usual ones. Luke bids us notice that Paul took the same course of action in each place: namely, to go to the synagogue first, when there was one, and there to prove that Jesus was the Christ. The three Macedonian towns already mentioned seem not to have had synagogues. Probably there were comparatively few Jews in them, and these were ecclesiastically dependent on Thessalonica. We can fancy the growing excitement in the synagogue, as for three successive Sabbaths the stranger urged his proofs of the two all-important but most unwelcome assertions, that their own scriptures foretold a suffering Messiah,-a side of Messianic prophecy which was ignored or passionately denied-and that Jesus was that Messiah. Many a vehement protest would be shrieked out, with flashing eyes and abundant gesticulation, as he ‘opened’ the sense of Scripture, and ‘quoted passages’-for that is the meaning here of the word rendered ‘alleging.’ He gives us a glimpse of the hot discussions when he says that he preached ‘in much conflict’ {1 Thessalonians 2:2}.

With whatever differences in manner of presentation, the true message of the Christian teacher is still the message that woke such opposition in the synagogue of Thessalonica,-the bold proclamation of the personal Christ, His death and resurrection. And with whatever differences, the instrument of conviction is still the Scriptures, ‘the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.’ The more closely we keep ourselves to that message and that weapon the better.

The effects of the faithful preaching of the gospel are as uniform as the method. It does one of two things to its hearers-either it melts their hearts and leads them to faith, or it stirs them to more violent enmity. It is either a stone of stumbling or a sure corner-stone. We either build on or fall over it, and at last are crushed by it. The converts included Jews and proselytes in larger numbers, as may be gathered from the distinction drawn by ‘some’-referring to the former, and ‘a great multitude’-referring to the latter. Besides these there were a good many ladies of rank and refinement, as was also the case presently at Beroea. Probably these, too, were proselytes.

The prominence of women among the converts, as soon as the gospel is brought into Europe, is interesting and prophetic. The fact of the social position of these ladies may suggest that the upper classes were freer from superstition than the lower, and may point a not favourable contrast with present social conditions, which do not result in a similar accession of women of ‘honourable estate’ to the Church.

Opposition follows as uniform a course as the preaching. The broad outlines are the same in each case, while the local colouring varies. If we compare Paul’s narrative in I Thessalonians, which throbs with emotion, and, as it were, pants with the stress of the conflict, with Luke’s calm account here, we see not only how Paul felt, but why the Jews got up a riot. Luke says that they ‘became jealous.’ Paul expands that into ‘they are contrary to all men; forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved.’ Then it was not so much dislike to the preaching of Jesus as Messiah as it was rage that their Jewish prerogative was infringed, and the children’s bread offered to the dogs, that stung them to violent opposition. Israel had been chosen, that it might be God’s witness, and diffuse the treasure it possessed through all the world. It had become, not the dispenser, but the would-be monopolist, of its gift. Have there been no Christian communities in later days animated by the same spirit?

There were plenty of loafers in the market-place ready for any mischief, and by no means particular about the pretext for a riot. Anything that would give an opportunity for hurting somebody, and for loot, would attract them as corruption does flesh-flies. So the Jewish ringleaders easily got a crowd together. To tell their real reasons would scarcely have done, but to say that there was a house to be attacked, and some foreigners to be dragged out, was enough for the present. Jason’s house was probably Paul’s temporary home, where, as he tells us in 1 Thessalonians 2:9, he had worked at his trade, that he might not be burdensome to any. Possibly he and Silas had been warned of the approach of the rioters and had got away elsewhere. At all events, the nest was empty, but the crowd must have its victims, and so, failing Paul, they laid hold of Jason. His offence was a very shadowy one. But since his day there have been many martyrs, whose only crime was ‘harbouring’ Christians, or heretics, or recusant priests, or Covenanters. If a bull cannot gore a man, it will toss his cloak.

The charge against Jason is that he receives the Apostle and his party, and constructively favours their designs. The charge against them is that they are revolutionists, rebels against the Emperor, and partisans of a rival. Now we may note three things about the charge. First, it comes with a very distinct taint of insincerity from Jews, who were, to say the least, not remarkable for loyalty or peaceful obedience. The Gracchi are complaining of sedition! A Jew zealous for Caeesar is an anomaly, which might excite the suspicions of the least suspicious ruler. The charge of breaking the peace comes with remarkable appropriateness from the leaders of a riot. They were the troublers of the city, not Paul, peacefully preaching in the synagogue. The wolf scolds the lamb for fouling the river.

Again, the charges are a violent distortion of the truth. Possibly the Jewish ringleaders believed what they said, but more probably they consciously twisted Paul’s teachings, because they knew that no other charges would excite so much hostility or be so damning as those which they made. The mere suggestion of treason was often fatal. The wild exaggeration that the Christians had ‘turned the whole civilised world upside down’ betrays passionate hatred and alarm, if it was genuine, or crafty determination to rouse the mob, if it was consciously trumped up. But whether the charges were believed or not by those who made them, here were Jews disclaiming their nation’s dearest hope, and, like the yelling crowd at the Crucifixion, declaring they had no king but Caesar. The degradation of Israel was completed by these fanatical upholders of its prerogatives.

But, again, the charges were true in a far other sense than their bringers meant. For Christianity is revolutionary, and its very aim is to turn the world upside down, since the wrong side is uppermost at present, and Jesus, not Caesar, or any king or emperor or czar, is the true Lord and ruler of men. But the revolution which He makes is the revolution of individuals, turning them from darkness to light; for He moulds single souls first and society afterwards. Violence is always a mistake, and the only way to change evil customs is to change men’s natures, and then the customs drop away of themselves. The true rule begins with the sway of hearts; then wills are submissive, and conduct is the expression of inward delight in a law which is sweet because the lawgiver is dear.

Missing Paul, the mob fell on Jason and the brethren. They were ‘bound over to keep the peace.’ Evidently the rulers had little fear of these alleged desperate revolutionaries, and did as little as they dared, without incurring the reproach of being tepid in their loyalty.

Probably the removal of Paul and his travelling companions from the neighbourhood was included in the terms to which Jason had to submit. Their hurried departure does not seem to have been caused by a renewal of disturbances. At all events, their Beroean experience repeated that of Philippi and of Thessalonica, with one great and welcome difference. The Beroean Jews did exactly what their compatriots elsewhere would not do-they looked into the subject with their own eyes, and tested Paul’s assertions by Scripture. ‘Therefore,’ says Luke, with grand confidence in the impregnable foundations of the faith, ‘many of them believed.’ True nobility of soul consists in willingness to receive the Word, combined with diligent testing of it. Christ asks for no blind adhesion. The true Christian teacher wishes for no renunciation, on the part of his hearers, of their own judgments. ‘Open your mouth and shut your eyes, and swallow what I give you,’ is not the language of Christianity, though it has sometimes been the demand of its professed missionaries, and not the teacher only, but the taught also, have been but too ready to exercise blind credulity instead of intelligent examination and clear-eyed faith. If professing Christians to-day were better acquainted with the Scriptures, and more in the habit of bringing every new doctrine to them as its touchstone, there would be less currency of errors and firmer grip of truth.Acts 17:1. Now when they, &c. — It appears by Luke’s phraseology here, that he was left at Philippi; for here he ceases to speak of himself as one of Paul’s company, saying, not when WE, but when they had passed, &c. Nor does he resume his former manner of writing until Acts 20:5-6. It is therefore more than probable, that when Paul, Silas, and Timothy departed from Philippi, after having gathered a church there, Luke remained with the new converts until the apostle, in his way from Corinth to Syria the second time, came to Philippi and took him with them. Had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia — The apostle having, as we have seen, successfully planted the gospel in Philippi, departed with his assistants, Silas and Timothy; and passing first through Amphipolis, a city built in an island formed by two branches of the river Strymon, (from whence it had its name,) and a colony of the Athenians, and then through Apollonia, a colony of the Corinthians and Corcyreans, near the sea-side; they came to Thessalonica — Now the metropolis of all the countries comprehended in the Roman province of Macedonia. For it was the residence both of the proconsul and questor; so that, being the seat of government, it was constantly filled with strangers, who attended the courts of judicature, or who solicited offices. And as most of the Greeks about this time were extremely addicted to philosophy, so great a city as Thessalonica could not be destitute of men of learning, who were well qualified to judge of the gospel and its evidences. Moreover, its situation, at the bottom of the Thermaic gulf, rendering it fit for commerce, many of its inhabitants were merchants, who carried on an extensive trade with foreign countries; and who, as the apostle observes, (1 Thessalonians 1:9,) published in these distant countries the conversion of the Thessalonians, and the miracles by which they had been converted. The Jews, likewise, resorted to this city in such numbers as to form a numerous congregation, and had, as we here read, a synagogue; whereas, it does not appear that they had one in any other city of Macedonia. And, probably, the reason why the apostle made no stay at the two fore-mentioned cities was, that there was no synagogue in either of them, and perhaps even no Jews, whom he was wont first to address wherever he came. It appears, therefore, from the above account of Thessalonica, that it was a very proper theatre whereon to display the light of the gospel. Through the advantages of its situation this city still subsists under the name of Salonichi, and is a place of great resort and trade, but it is in the possession of the Turks.17:1-9 The drift and scope of Paul's preaching and arguing, was to prove that Jesus is the Christ. He must needs suffer for us, because he could not otherwise purchase our redemption for us; and he must needs have risen again, because he could not otherwise apply the redemption to us. We are to preach concerning Jesus that he is Christ; therefore we may hope to be saved by him, and are bound to be ruled by him. The unbelieving Jews were angry, because the apostles preached to the Gentiles, that they might be saved. How strange it is, that men should grudge others the privileges they will not themselves accept! Neither rulers nor people need be troubled at the increase of real Christians, even though turbulent spirits should make religion the pretext for evil designs. Of such let us beware, from such let us withdraw, that we may show a desire to act aright in society, while we claim our right to worship God according to our consciences.Amphipolis - This was the capital of the eastern province of Macedonia. It was originally a colony of the Athenians, but under the Romans it was made the capital of that part of Macedonia. It was near to Thrace, and was situated not far from the mouth of the river Strymon, which flowed around the city, and thus occasioned its name, around the city. The distances laid down in the Itineraries in regard to these places are as follows: Philippi to Amphipolis, 33 miles; Amphipolis to Apollonia, 30 miles; Apollonia to Thessalonica, 37 miles. "These distances are evidently such as might have been traversed each in one day; and since nothing is said of any delay on the road, but everything to imply that the journey was rapid, we conclude (unless, indeed, their recent sufferings made rapid traveling impossible) that Paul and Silas rested one night at each of the intermediate places, and thus our notice of their journey is divided into three parts. The position of Amphipolis is one of the most important in Greece. It stands in a pass which Traverses the mountains bordering the Strymonic Gulf, and it commands the only easy communication from the coast of that gulf into the great Macedonian plains, which extend, for 60 miles, from beyond Meleniko to Philippi. The ancient name of the place was 'Nine Ways,' from the great number of Thracian and Macedonian roads which met at this point. The Athenians saw the importance of the position, and established a colony there, which they called Amphipolis, because the river surrounded it.

And Apollonia - This city was situated between Amphipolis and Thessalonica, and was formerly much celebrated for its trade.

They came to Thessalonica - This was a seaport of the second part of Macedonia. It is situated at the head of the Bay Thermaicus. It was made the capital of the second division of Macedonia by Aemilius Paulus, when he divided the country into four districts. It was formerly called Therma, but afterward received the name of Thessalonica, either from Cassander, in honor of his wife Thessalonica, the daughter of Philip, or in honor of a victory which Philip obtained over the armies of Thessaly. It was inhabited by Greeks, Romans, and Jews. It is now called Saloniki, and, from its situation, must always be a place of commercial importance. It is situated on the inner bend of the Thermaic Gulf, halfway between the Adriatic and the Hellespont, on the sea margin of a vast plain, watered by several rivers, and was evidently designed for a commercial emporium. It has a population at present of 60,000 or 70,000, about half of whom are Jews. They are said to have 36 synagogues, "none of them remarkable for their neatness or elegance of style." In this place a church was collected, to which Paul afterward addressed the two epistles to the Thessalonians.

Where was a synagogue - Greek: where was the synagogue (ἡ συναγωγὴ hē sunagōgē) of the Jews. It has been remarked by Grotius and Kuinoel that the article used here is emphatic, and denotes that there was probably no synagogue at Amphipolis and Apollonia. This was the reason why they passed through those places without making any delay.

CHAPTER 17

Ac 17:1-15. At Thessalonica the Success of Paul's Preaching Endangering His Life, He Is Despatched by Night to Berea, Where His Message Meets with Enlightened Acceptance—A Hostile Movement from Thessalonica Occasions His Sudden Departure from Berea—He Arrives at Athens.

1. when they had passed through Amphipolis—thirty-three miles southwest of Philippi, on the river Strymon, and at the head of the gulf of that name, on the northern coast of the Ægean Sea.

and Apollonia—about thirty miles southwest of Amphipolis; but the exact site is not known.

they came to Thessalonica—about thirty-seven miles due west from Apollonia, at the head of the Thermaic (or Thessalonian) Gulf, at the northwestern extremity of the Ægean Sea; the principal and most populous city in Macedonia. "We see at once how appropriate a place it was for one of the starting-points of the Gospel in Europe, and can appreciate the force of what Paul said to the Thessalonians within a few months of his departure from them: "From you, the word of the Lord sounded forth like a trumpet, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place,"" (1Th 1:8) [Howson].

where was a synagogue of the Jews—implying that (as at Philippi) there was none at Amphipolis and Apollonia.Acts 17:1-4 Paul preaching in the synagogue at Thessalonica, some

believe, both Jews and Greeks.

Acts 17:5-11 The unbelieving Jews raise an uproar.

Acts 17:10-12 Paul and Silas are sent to Berea: the Berean Jews are

commended for searching the Scriptures.

Acts 17:13-15 The Jews of Thessalonica follow and drive Paul from Berea.

Acts 17:16-21 At Athens Paul disputing is carried before the court

of Areopagus.

Acts 17:22-31 He preacheth the living God, to the Athenians

unknown: his general call to repentance; the

resurrection of Christ; and his coming to judgment.

Acts 17:32-34 Some mock, others believe.

Araphipolis, a city near to Philippi; so called, because the sea came up to it on both sides.

Apollonia, a city near to Thessalonica.

This

Thessalonica was one of the chiefest cities of Macedonia: unto the church in this place St. Paul wrote two of his Epistles. This city was built by Philip, in memory of a victory he obtained over the Thessali.

Where was a synagogue of the Jews: it seems that there was no synagogue in either of the other places, but that the Jews of the other cities resorted unto the synagogue in this, all these three cities being in Macedonia. The sending away of Paul and Silas, Acts 16:39, to gratify the mad multitude, was a means to bring the word of salvation to those places.

Now when they had passed through Amphipolls,.... A city of Macedonia, where it is placed by Pliny (q); according to Ptolomy (r), it was in that part of Macedonia, which is called Edonis, and was near Philippi, and lay in the way from thence to Thessalonica; Harpocratian (s) says, it was a city of Thrace, formerly called "the Nine Ways"; it was upon the borders of Thrace, and had its name Amphipolis from the river Strymon running on both sides of it, making it a peninsula; it was also called Crademna, and Anadraemum; it is now in the hands of the Turks, and by them called Empoli; this city was originally built by Cimon the Athenian, into which he sent ten thousand Athenians for a colony, as the writer of his life reports (t). The apostle only passed through this place; it does not appear that he at all preached in it, or at any other time, nor do we read of it in ecclesiastical history, nor of the following place:

and Apollonia; this is also placed by Pliny (u) in Macedonia, and is said by him to have been formerly a colony of the Corinthians, and about seven miles from the sea; and by Ptolomy (w), in that part of Macedonia called Mygdonia, and with him its name is Apollonia of Mygdonia; it was situated by the river Echedorus, and was famous for Augustus Caesar's learning Greek here, and is now called Ceres: there was another of this name in the region of Pentapolis, and was one of the five (x) cities in it; and another in Palestine mentioned by Pliny (y), along with Caesarea; and by Josephus (z), with Joppa, Jamnia, Azotus, &c. but this was near Thessalonica; it is said to be about twenty miles from it: here also the apostle did not stay to preach the Gospel, nor is there any mention made of it elsewhere in the Acts of the Apostles, and yet Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, is said to be bishop of Apollonia; See Gill on Luke 10:1, but whether the same place with this, or whether fact, is not certain;

they came to Thessalonica; a free city of Macedonia (a); it was formerly called Halis (b), and sometimes Therme; it had its name of Thessalonica from the victory which Philip king of Macedon obtained over the Thessalians; and not from his daughter Thessalonica, the wife of Cassander, who also had her name from the same victory: in this place a sedition being raised, and some magistrates killed, Theodosius the Roman emperor suffered seven thousand men to be slain; and when he came to Milain, Ambrose bishop of that place having heard of it, would not suffer him to enter into the church and receive the Lord's supper, until he repented of his sin, and made public confession of it (c). Thessalonica has been since the head of a new kingdom erected by Boniface marquis of Montferrat; it was for some time in the hands of the Venetians, but was taken from them by Amurath emperor of the Turks (d). The Italians call it now Saloniki; it has been since inhabited by Christians, Turks, and Jews, and chiefly by the latter, their number, according to their own account, is fourteen thousand, and their synagogues fourscore. There always were many Jews in this place, and so there were when the apostle was here, for it follows;

where was a synagogue of the Jews; it seems as if there was none, neither in Philippi, nor in Amphipolis, nor in Apollonia: why these two last places should be passed through by the apostle, without making any stay at them, cannot be said; it is very likely he had, as in some other instances before, some particular directions from the Spirit of God, there being none of the chosen vessels of salvation to be called there, at least, at this time, when there were many at Thessalonica.

(q) Nat. Hist. l. 4. c. 10. (r) Geograph. l. 3. c. 13. (s) Lexic. Decem. Orat. p. 20, 104. Vid. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 8. (t) Cornelius Nepos in Vita Cimon. c. 2.((u) Nat. Hist. l. 3. c. 23. (w) Geograph. l. 8. c. 13. Vid. Plin. l. 4. c. 10. (x) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 5. (y) Ib. c. 13. (z) Antiqu. l. 13. c. 15. sect. 4. & de Bello Jud. l. 1. c. 8, sect. 3.((a) Plin. l. 4. c. 10. (b) Ptolom. l. 3. c. 13. (c) Magdeburg. Hist. Eccles. cent. 4. c. 3. p. 82. (d) Petav. Rationar. Temp. par. 1. p. 462, 475.

Now {1} when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:

(1) The casting out of Silas and Paul was the saving of many others.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 17:1. Amphipolis, an Athenian colony, at that time the capital of Macedonia prima (comp. on Acts 16:12), around which on both sides flowed the Strymon. Apollonia, belonging to the Macedonian province Mygdonia, was situated 30 miles to the south-west. It is not to be confounded with Apollonia in Macedonian Illyria. Thessalonica lay 36 miles to the west of Apollonia—so called either (and this is the most probable opinion) by its rebuilder and embellisher, Cassander, in honour of his wife Thessalonica (Dionys. Hal., Strabo, Zonaras), or earlier by Philip, as a memorial of his subjection of Thessaly (Stephan. Byz., Tzetzes), at an earlier period Therme,—on the Thermaic gulf, the capital of the second district of Macedonia, the seat of the Roman governor, flourishing by its commerce, now the large and populous Saloniki, still inhabited by numerous Jews; see Lünemann on 1 Thess. Introd. § 1.

ἡ συναγωγή] Beza held the article to be without significance. The same error occasioned the omission (approved by Buttmann in the Stud. u. Krit. 1860, p. 360) of in A B D א, min. Lachm. But the article marks the synagogue in Thessalonica as the only one in all that neighbourhood. Paul and Silas halted at the seat of the synagogue of the district, according to their principle of attempting their work in the first instance among the Jews.Acts 17:1. διοδεύσαντες δὲ: “and they went along the Roman road” (Ramsay): verb only found in Luke, Luke 8:1, and here, but frequent in LXX, and used also by Polyb. and Plut., cf. Genesis 13:17, etc., so in 1 Macc. three times. The famous road, the Via Egnatia, Horace, Sat., i., 5, 97, extended for a distance of over five hundred miles from the Hellespont to Dyrrhachium; it was really the continuation through Macedonia of the Via Appia, and it might be truly said that when St. Paul was on the Roman road at Troas or Philippi, he was on a road which led to the gates of Rome; see some interesting details in C. and H., p. 244. The article “certam atque notam viam designat,” Blass, in loco, and Gram., p. 149, but see also Weiss, in loco.Ἀμφ., thirty-two or thirty-three miles from Philippi. The Via Egnatia passed through it (cf. C. and H., and Hackett, in loco). The import of its name may be contained in the term applied to it, Thuc., iv., 102, περιφανής, conspicuous towards sea and land, “the all around [visible] city”; or the name may simply refer to the fact that the Strymon flowed almost round the town, Thuc., u. s. Its earlier name, “Nine Ways,” Ἐννέα ὁδοί, Thuc., i., 100; Herod vii., 114, indicated its important position, and no doubt this occasioned its colonisation by the Athenians in B.C. 437. In the Peloponnesian War it was famous as the scene of the battle in which both Brasidas and Cleon fell, Thuc., v., 6–11, whilst for his previous failure to succour the place Thucydides had himself been exiled (Thuc., i., 26). From the Macedonians it passed eventually into the hands of the Romans, and in B.C. 167 Æmilius Paulus proclaimed the Macedonians free and Amphipolis the capital of the first of the four districts into which the Romans divided the province (Liv., xlv., 18, 29). In the Middle Ages Popolia, now Neochori: B.D.2 and Hastings’ B.D., C. and H. The route may well have been one of the most beautiful of any day’s journey in St. Paul’s many travels, Renan, St. Paul, pp. 154, 155.—Ἀπολλωνίαν: to be carefully distinguished from the more celebrated Apollonia in Illyria—apparently there were three places in Macedonia bearing this name. The Antonine Itinerary gives it as thirty miles from Amphipolis, and thirty-seven from Thessalonica, but the other authorities, for example, the Jerusalem Itinerary, differ a little. The Via Egnatia passed through it, and the name is probably retained in the modern Pollina. It is quite possible that the two places are mentioned as having formed St. Paul’s resting-place for a night, see references above.—Θεσσαλονίκην: Saloniki; formerly Therme; the name had been most probably changed by Cassander in honour of his wife Thessalonica, the sister of Alexander the Great, Polyb., xxiii., 4, 4. Under the Romans it became the capital of the second of the four districts of Macedonia Provincia (Liv., xlv., 29), and later it was made the metropolis of the whole when the four districts were united into one. It was the largest as well as the most populous city in Macedonia, and like Ephesus and Corinth it had its share in the commerce of the Ægean. From its geographical position it could not cease to be important; through the Middle Ages it may fairly be described as the bulwark of Christendom in the cast, and it still remains the second city in European Turkey. St. Paul, with his usual wisdom, selected it as marking a centre of civilisation and government in the district: “posita in gremio imperii Romani,” as Cicero says. C. and H., p. 247 ff.; Zahn, Einleitung, i., p. 151; Lightfoot, Biblical Essays, p. 253 ff.; Schaff—Herzog, Encycl., iv.—ὅπου ἦν ἡ συν.: implying that there was no synagogue at Amphipolis or Apollonia, the former being a purely Hellenic town, and the latter a small place. ὅπου may = οὗ simply, but if distinguished from it implies oppidum tale in quo esset (as in distinction to the other places named); see Wendt and Blass. In Agrippa’s letter to Caligula we have plain evidence of the existence of Jews in Macedonia, O. Holtzmann, Neutest. Zeitgeschichte, p. 180; Schürer, Jewish People, div. ii., vol. ii., E.T., pp. 222, 232. As the name remains in the modern Saloniki, manent Judaei quoque (Blass), C. and H., 250, see also in this connection, Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 236.Acts 17:1-9. Paul and Silas journey through Amphipolis and Apollonia to Thessalonica, where some of the Jews raise an uproar against them and Jason their host

1. they had passed through] The verb occurs in N. T. only here and in Luke 8:1. The use of the same expressions is a noticeable point in support of the identity of authorship of the two books.

Amphipolis and Apollonia] The journey is made to the south and west. Amphipolis was about 33 miles distant from Philippi, along the Egnatian road. It had been a famous place in the time of the Peloponnesian war, and was in St Paul’s time a great Roman military station. Its name was given to it because it was as nearly as possible enclosed by the winding stream of the river Strymon. Apollonia was about 30 miles farther on, in the district of Macedonia known as Mygdonia, and was about 37 miles from Thessalonica. The Apostle and his companions appear not to have made any stay in these towns.

Thessalonica] The modern Saloniki; to the Christians of which place St Paul afterwards addressed the two earliest of his extant epistles. From very early times Thessalonica had been a famous place. Its old name was Therma, and it was called Thessalonica after a sister of Alexander the Great. It is now one of the most important towns in European Turkey, and it played a great part in the history of the Middle Ages as the bulwark of Christendom in the East. It was captured by the Saracens a.d. 904, then by the Crusaders in 1184, and lastly by the Turks in 1430. Even now there is a large Christian element among its population, and a still larger number of Jews.

a synagogue] The Text. Rec. gives the definite article “the synagogue,” though it is overlooked in the A.V., and we cannot always be sure that we represent the force of the Greek article by the English one. (R. V. retains “a synagogue”). But there was apparently no synagogue at Philippi, and it may very well be that in Thessalonica dwelt the greatest number of Jews and therefore the facilities for their worship had there alone been advanced so far as to secure them a building for their meetings, which would be known therefore as “the synagogue.”Acts 17:1. Ἀμφίπολιν καὶ Ἀπολλωνίαν, Amphipolis and Apollonia) cities also of Macedonia.—ἡ συιαγωγὴ, the synagogue) in which there were not only Thessalonian Jews, but also Jews of other states. For the ὅπου, where, seems to refer to the city, not to the house [i.e. synagogue refers not to the building, but the men].—εἰωθὸς, custom) He sought good opportunities in ordinary places.—Σάββατα, Sabbaths) not excluding the intervening days.—τρία, three) A complete number.Verse 1. - Amphipolis. This was the ancient capital of that division of Macedonia (Macedonia Prima); see Acts 16:12, note. It was situated on the Via Egnatia, thirty-four miles southwest from Philippi, and three miles from the AEgean Sea. It lay in a peninsula, surrounded on three sides by the Strymon, whence its name, Amphipolis; its modern name is Neokhoria, now a village. Its original name was Ἐννέα  ῾οδοί, The Nine Ways. Originally a Thracian city, it was conquered by the Athenians, then by the Lacedaemonians, then fell under the dominion of Philip of Macedon, and finally, with the rest of Macedonia, became part of the Roman empire. Apollonia; now probably Polina, thirty miles due west of Amphipolis, on the Via Egnatia. The modern track from Amphipolis to Thessalonica does not pass through Polina, but beneath it. Thessalonica; on the Via Egnatia, now the important seaport of Saloniki, on the Aegean Sea or Archipelago, thirty-eight miles from Apollonia, and con-raining about sixty thousand inhabitants. Its ancient name was Therma (whence the Thermean Bay), but it took the name of Thessalonica under the Macedonian kings. It continued to grow in importance under the Romans, and was the most populous city of the whole of Macedonia. It was the capital of Macedonia Secunda under the division by AEmilius Paulus (Acts 16:12, note), and in the time of Theodosius the Younger, when Macedonia consisted of two provinces, it was the capital of Macedonia Prima. But from its situation and great commercial importance it was virtually the capital of "Greece, Macedonia, and Illyricum" (Howson, in ' Dict. of Geog.'). Its trade attracted a great colony of Jews from before the time of St. Paul, and through the Roman and Greek and Turkish empires, down to the present day, when "one-half of the population is said to be of Israelitish race "(Lewin). Thessalonica had a terrible celebrity from the massacre of its inhabitants by order of the Emperor Theodosius, in revenge for the murder of Botheric, his general, which led to the famous penance imposed upon the emperor by St. Ambrose (Gibbon,' Decline and Fall,' Acts 27.). It was also taken three times in the Middle Ages: by the Saracens, with fearful slaughter, A.D. 904; by the Normans, with scarcely less cruelty, A.D. 1185; and by the Turks, in 1430. Its ecclesiastical history under its archbishops is also of great interest (see 'Dict. of Greek and Roman Geog.'). Where was a synagogue. It is needless to point out the exact agreement of this brief statement with historical fact as pointed out above. There is said to have been twenty-two Jewish synagogues at Thessalonica after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in the fifteenth century, and the number at the present time is stated to be thirty-six. The existence of a synagogue at this time was the reason of St. Paul's visit and sojourn there.
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