Acts 18:19
And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.
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(19) He came to Ephesus, and left them there.—The better MSS. give, “They came to Ephesus.” What follows seems to imply that he no longer continued to work with them, as at Corinth, but leaving them to establish themselves in their craft, began, under the pressure of his eagerness to reach Jerusalem, an independent course of teaching in the synagogues.

The first mention of Ephesus calls for a short account of its history. It had been one of the early Greek colonies on the western coast of Asia Minor. It fell under the power of Alyattes, King of Lydia, and his successor, Croesus. It had from the first been celebrated for the worship of Artemis (see Note on Acts 19:14); and her Temple, with its sacred image, and stately courts, and its hundreds of priests and priestesses of various grades, was visited by pilgrims of all nations. It was one of the cities in which East and West came into close contact with each other, and the religion of Greece assumed there a more Oriental character, and was fruitful in magic, and mysteries, and charms. The Jewish population was sufficiently numerous to have a synagogue, and St. Paul, as usual, appeared in it as a teacher.

Acts 18:19-23. And he came to Ephesus — The ship in which they sailed probably having occasion to touch there. And he entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews — Upon whom his discourse made such an impression, that they desired him to tarry longer with them — However, as his vow made it necessary that he should offer the appointed sacrifice in Jerusalem at the ensuing feast, which, according to the general opinion, was the passover, he consented not, but bade them farewell — Promising, however, if God permitted, to return again to them; and the rather, because there seemed to be a probability of preaching the gospel there with success, both to the Jews and Gentiles. And when — After a safe voyage; he had landed at Cesarea — In such good time as to be able to keep the feast in Jerusalem, according to his resolution; and had gone up and saluted the church there, and completed his vow, knowing that there was no need of his labours in that city, where there were so many apostles and chief brethren, he did not stay long there; but, after keeping the feast, went down to Antioch — In Syria, where formerly he and Barnabas had laboured so successfully in the work of the ministry. And after he had spent some time there — He set out upon another journey: for his concern for the salvation of lost mankind, and the enlargement of the kingdom of Christ, would not suffer him to rest when he could do any thing to promote these important ends; and went over the country of Galatia and Phrygia — Spending, it is supposed, about four years in these parts, including the time he stayed at Ephesus; since it is here said he went over all those countries; in order — It is probable he did so for the purpose of visiting every church, and receiving those contributions which, in his former journey, he requested them to make for the saints in Judea. See 1 Corinthians 16:1.

18:18-23 While Paul found he laboured not in vain, he continued labouring. Our times are in God's hand; we purpose, but he disposes; therefore we must make all promises with submission to the will of God; not only if providence permits, but if God does not otherwise direct our motions. A very good refreshment it is to a faithful minister, to have for awhile the society of his brethren. Disciples are compassed about with infirmity; ministers must do what they can to strengthen them, by directing them to Christ, who is their Strength. Let us earnestly seek, in our several places, to promote the cause of Christ, forming plans that appear to us most proper, but relying on the Lord to bring them to pass if he sees good.And he came to Ephesus - See the notes on Revelation 2:1-5. This was a celebrated city in Ionia, in Asia Minor, about 40 miles south of Smyrna. It was chiefly famous for the Temple of Diana, usually reckoned one of the seven wonders of the world. Pliny styles this city the ornament of Asia. In the times of the Romans it was the metropolis of the province of Asia. This city is now under the dominion of the Turks, and is almost in a state of ruin. Dr. Chandler, in his Travels in Asia Mirror, says: "The inhabitants are a few Greek peasants, living in extreme wretchedness, dependence, and insensibility; the representatives of an illustrious people, and inhabiting the wreck of their greatness; some in the substructions of the glorious edifices which they raised; some beneath the vaults of the stadium, once the crowded scene of their diversions; and some in the sepulchres which received their ashes" (Travels, p. 131, Oxford, 1775). The Jews, according to Josephus, were very numerous in Ephesus, and had obtained the privilege of citizenship.

Left them there - That is, Aquila and Priscilla, Acts 18:24-26.

Reasoned with the Jews - See the notes on Acts 17:2.

19. he came to Ephesus—the capital of the Roman province of Asia. (See [2049]Introduction to Ephesians). It was a sail, right across from the west to the east side of the Ægean Sea, of some eight or ten days, with a fair wind.

left them there—Aquila and Priscilla.

but he himself entered into the synagogue—merely taking advantage of the vessel putting in there.

and reasoned with the Jews—the tense here not being the usual one denoting continuous action (as in Ac 17:2; 18:4), but that expressing a transient act. He had been forbidden to preach the word in Asia (Ac 16:6), but he would not consider that as precluding this passing exercise of his ministry when Providence brought him to its capital; nor did it follow that the prohibition was still in force.

Ephesus; the metropolis of the Lesser Asia, where afterwards that famous church was, unto which St. Paul wrote an Epistle, as also St. John wrote another, Revelation 2:1.

Left them there; that is, Aquila and Priscilla at Ephesus, to confirm the believing Ephesians; whilst Paul

entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews; out of an extraordinary love for his nation, although he had suffered all those indignities from them, yet he would give them precept upon precept, and line upon line.

And he came to Ephesus,.... The metropolis of Asia; according to Pliny (c), it had been called by many names; at the time of the Trojan war, Alopes, then Ortygia and Morges, also Smyrna Trachea, Samornion and Prelea, and which he calls the work of the Amazons: some say (d) it was called Ephesus, because Hercules permitted the Amazons to dwell in it, Ephesus in the Greek language signifying "permission"; Pausanias (e) denies, that the famous temple in it was built by them, but by Ephesus the son of Caystrus, and says that from him the city had its name; though others say it was built by Androclus, the son of Codrus, king of Athens, in the time of David king of Israel; and that having suffered by the sea, it was rebuilt by Lysimachus king of Thrace, who called it after his wife's name Arsinoe; but he being dead, it was called by its ancient name Ephesus: it is now a poor village in the hands of the Turks, and with them goes by the name of Aiasalik; though with others it still has the name of Epheso; the Syriac version reads, "they came"; not only Paul, but Aquila and Priscilla; and certain it is that they came with him thither, since it follows,

and left them there; unless this is to be understood of Cenchrea: this clause is not here read in the Syriac version, but is placed at the end of Acts 18:21, where it reads much better; as that he should leave them at Ephesus, when he departed from thence, than when he first came thither; unless the sense is, that he left them in some part of the city, whilst he went to the Jewish synagogue; since it follows,

but he himself entered into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews; concerning Jesus being the Messiah, and the abrogation of the law; and the doctrine of justification by the righteousness of Christ, and not by the deeds of the law: which were the principal things in debate, between him and the Jews: Beza's ancient copy reads, "and the sabbath following he left them there".

(c) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 29. (d) Heraclides de politiis, p. 456. (e) Achaica sive, l. 7. p. 399.

And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.
Acts 18:19-20. Κατέλιπεν αὐτοῦ] he left them there, separated himself from them, so that he without them (αὐτός, he on his part) went to the synagogue, there discoursed with the Jews (Acts 18:4; Acts 17:2; Acts 17:17), and then, without longer stay, pursued his journey. The shift, to which Schneckenburger has recourse, that αὐτὸς δέ properly belongs to ἀπετάξ. αὐτοῖς, is impossible; and that of de Wette, that Luke has written κἀκείνους κατέλιπ. αὐτ. in anticipation, “in order, as it were, to get rid of these secondary figures,” is arbitrarily harsh.

We may remark, that within this short abode of the apostle at Ephesus occurred the first foundation of a church there, with which the visit to the synagogue and discussion with the Jews are appropriately in keeping as the commencement of his operations. So much the less, therefore, is an earlier presence there and foundation of the church to be assumed.[86]

ἐπὶ πλ. χρ.] for a longer time. It was to take place only at a later period, chap. 19.

[86] As Märker (Stellung d. Pastoralbriefe, 1861, p. 4 f.) places the same between Acts 9:30 and Acts 11:25.

Acts 18:19. κατήντησε, see critical note.—εἰς Ἔφεσον: a voyage of two or three days with unfavourable wind. Cicero mentions two occasions when the voyage from Ephesus to Athens took two weeks, Ad Attic., vi., 8, 9; iii., 9, but in both instances extraordinary delays were the cause of the lengthy voyage; on Ephesus see Acts 19:1.—κἀκείνους κατέλ. αὐτοῦ: Ephesus, famous for its commerce, where they might carry on their trade, although it is perhaps somewhat hazardous to regard the city as the centre of the particular trade in which they were engaged. Lewin quotes two passages in support of this, but they both refer to one event, the presentation of a tent by the Ephesians to Alcibiades, “Ephesus” B.D.2.—αὐτὸς δὲ: this does not mean that Paul for his part (in contradiction to Aquila and Priscilla) went into the synagogue; such an interpretation seems unnatural. Others explain that Aquila and Priscilla were left in the town, and that the synagogue was outside the town (so Alford), but this does not seem satisfactory as a full explanation, especially after Acts 16:13. It seems most probable that St. Luke uses the words in an anticipatory way, and passes on to the doings of the chief figure, Paul. In spite of all that he had suffered at the hands of his countrymen, St. Paul Is still an Israelite, yearning for the hope of Israel, and desirous that others should participate in his hope, see critical note on [325] and Wendt (1899), note, p. 305.—διελέχθη: aorist, not imperfect as in Acts 18:4; “delivered a discourse to the Jews,” so Ramsay, in contrast to the continued stay at Corinth marked by the imper ect; so Alford.

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

19. And he [they] came to Ephesus] The oldest authorities have the plural number here. Ephesus was the famous city, capital of Ionia, and afterwards the scene of a large period of St John’s labours. It stood not far from the sea on some hilly ground by a small river which flows into the sea in the district lying between the greater rivers, the Hermus and the Meander. In St Paul’s day it was by far the busiest and most populous city in Proconsular Asia. For a more complete account of its inhabitants and the special worship of Artemis (Diana) for which it was celebrated, a fitting place will be found in the notes on chap. 19.

and left them there] Aquila and Priscilla probably had business connexions with the large city of Ephesus, which caused them to end their journey here. These people though working at their trade appear to have been above the position which would be implied by Dr Farrar’s expression (St Paul i. 573) “his lodging in the squalid shop of Aquila and Priscilla.” They travelled about and lived now at Rome, now at Ephesus, and now in Corinth (1 Corinthians 16:19; Romans 16:3; 2 Timothy 4:19), and on their condition when in Ephesus, see above on Acts 18:2.

entered into the synagogue] He could not give up his own people, though he was constantly exposed to hard usage by them; so he seeks them out again here as soon as he arrives. In Ephesus however his message seems to have been received with less hostility, for those who heard him begged him to stay a longer time. The cosmopolitan character of the Ephesian population may have had something to do with this.

Verse 19. - They came for he came, A.V. and T.R.; he left for left, A.V. They came to Ephesus. "No voyage across the AEgean was more frequently made than that between Corinth and Ephesus. They were the capitals of the two flourishing and peaceful provinces of Achaia and Asia, and the two great mercantile towns on opposite sides of the sea" (Howson, vol. 1:454). The voyage would take from ten to fifteen days. Reasoned; διελέχθη, as in Acts 17:2, 17; ver. 4, 19:8,9; 20:7, 9; 24:25. As regards the expression, left them there, it probably arises from some actual detail which made it the natural one to use. If, for example, the synagogue was just outside the city, and Paul, parting with Aquila and Priscilla in the city, had gone off immediately to the synagogue, the phrase used would be the natural one; or the words, "he left them there," may be spoken with reference to the main narrative, which is momentarily interrupted by the mention of St. Paul's visit to the synagogue. Note the extreme importance of this brief visit to Ephesus, where the foundation of a vigorous and flourishing Church seems to have been laid. He who knows "the times and the seasons" sent St. Paul there now, though two years before he had forbidden him to go to Asia. Acts 18:19
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