And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)A certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias.—In Acts 22:12 St. Paul speaks of him as a “devout man” (the same word as in Acts 2:5; Acts 8:2) “according to the law,” well reported of by all the Jews who dwelt at Damascus. The name was so common that any identification must be in some measure uncertain, but the account which Josephus gives (Ant. xx. 2, § 4) of the conversion of Izates, King of Adiabene, to the faith of Israel by a Jewish merchant who bore the name of Ananias, and who taught that it was enough for men to worship the God of Israel without being circumcised, suggests, as probable, the thought that he too was a preacher of the gospel of Christ as St. Paul preached it. The arrival of another teacher, Eleazar of Galilee, who worked on the young king’s fears and compelled him to be circumcised, presents a striking parallel to the manner in which the Judaisers followed on the track of St. Paul in Galatia and elsewhere (Galatians 2:4; Galatians 4:17). The narrative here leaves it uncertain whether this Ananias had been a disciple during our Lord’s ministry or had been converted since the Day of Pentecost. In relation to St. Paul the name had a two-fold significance. He had come from one Annas, or Ananias, the Sadducean high priest, he was to be received by another. The meaning of the name—identical with that of Jochanan, Joannes, John, “the Lord is gracious”—was itself an omen and prophecy of pardon.
To him said the Lord in a vision.—It is clear from Acts 9:16 that the writer is speaking of the Lord Jesus. The ready acceptance of the command seems to imply either personal discipleship or previous visions of the same nature.Acts 9:10-12. And there was a disciple named Ananias — This Ananias, before his conversion to Christianity, had lived so conformably to the law, that he was much esteemed by all the Jews who dwelt at Damascus, Acts 22:12. And after his conversion, his piety being still more conspicuous, he was a person of great note among the brethren also. To him Jesus appeared in a vision on the third day of Saul’s fast, and ordered him to go into the house of Judas, and inquire for Saul of Tarsus; of whom he needed no longer be afraid, because he was praying, not as he had done formerly, while a Pharisee, in self-confidence and pride, but in humiliation, contrition, and deep penitence, namely, for the pardon of his sin in persecuting the saints; and because Ananias himself had been shown to him in a vision, as sent to cure his sight. He hath seen in a vision, &c. — This vision which Saul had may be considered, 1st, As an immediate answer to his prayer, and the keeping up that communion with God which be had entered into by prayer. He had in prayer spread the misery of his case before God, and God presently manifests himself, and the kind intentions of his grace to him. 2d, As designed to raise his expectations, and make Ananias’s coming more welcome: he would readily receive him as a messenger from God, since he was told beforehand in vision, that such a one would come to him.Acts 9:13, and had heard of Saul, but was personally a stranger to him. In Acts 22:12, it is said that he was a devout man according to the Law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there. There was wisdom in sending such a Christian to Saul, as it might do much to conciliate the minds of the Jews there toward him.
Said the Lord - The Lord Jesus is alone mentioned in all this transaction. And as he had commenced the work of converting Saul, it is evident that he is intended here. See the notes on Acts 1:24.
In a vision - Perhaps by a dream. The main idea is, that he revealed his will to him in the case. The word "vision" is often used in speaking of the "communications" made to the prophets, and commonly means that future events were made to pass in review before the mind, as we look upon a landscape. See the notes on Isaiah 1:1; compare Genesis 15:1; Numbers 12:6; Ezekiel 11:24; Acts 10:3; Acts 11:5; Acts 16:9; Daniel 2:19; Daniel 7:2; Daniel 7:1-2, Daniel 7:26; Daniel 10:7. See the notes on Matthew 17:9.
to him said the Lord—that is, Jesus. (See Ac 9:13, 14, 17).Ananias; he was of good repute for zeal and holiness. as appears, Acts 22:12, but whether he was one of the seventy disciples which our Saviour sent out, Luke 10:1, as some will have, is not certain.
He said, Behold, I am here, Lord; thereby showing his willingness to be sent on God’s message, and to do as God should bid him, as Samuel to Eli, 1 Samuel 3:5. Acts 9:13 that he was more than a private or ordinary disciple of Christ seems manifest, from his being sent to Saul on such an, important affair; from his putting his hands upon him, upon which he was filled with the Holy Ghost; and from his baptizing him: some think he was one of the seventy disciples; some say he was a deacon; but it is certain he was not one of the first seven; others affirm he was a presbyter, and some report that he was afterwards bishop of Damascus, and died a martyr there; but these are things not to be depended on:
named Ananias; a Jewish name, the same with Hananiah, Daniel 1:6 there was an high priest of this name, Acts 23:2 and it was a name in much use among the Jews; frequent mention is made in the Misnic and Talmudic writings of R. Hananiah, or Ananias:
and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias; by "the Lord", is meant the Lord Jesus Christ, as is evident from Acts 9:17 who appeared to Ananias in a vision; the Arabic version adds, "by night"; perhaps in a dream, as the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph the husband of Mary, and called him by his name Ananias, to which he answered:
and he said, behold, I am here, Lord; in like manner as Samuel did, when a child, when the Lord called to him; showing his readiness to hearken to his voice, to do his will, and obey his orders, be they what they would.And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Acts 9:10. Ὁ κύριος] Christ. See Acts 9:13-14; Acts 9:17.
ἐν ὁράματι] in a vision (Acts 10:3, Acts 16:9, al.; differently Acts 7:31); whether awake or asleep, the context does not decide (not even by ἀναστάς, Acts 9:11). Eichhorn’s view, with which Kuinoel and partially also Heinrichs agree,—that Saul and Ananias had already been previously friends, and that the appearance in a dream as naturally resulted in the case of the former from the longing to speak with Ananias again and to get back sight by virtue of a healing power which was well known to him, as in the case of Ananias, who had heard of his friend’s fate on the way and of his arrival and dream,—is a fiction of exegetical romance manufactured without the slightest hint in the text, and indeed in opposition to Acts 9:11 f., 14. The course of the conversion, guided by Christ directly revealing Himself, is entirely in accordance with its commencement (Acts 9:3-9): “bat we know not the law according to which communications of a higher spiritual world to men living in the world of sense take place, so as to be able to determine anything concerning them” (Neander). According to Baur, the two corresponding visions of Ananias and (Acts 9:12) Saul are literary parallels to the history of the conversion of Cornelius. And that Ananias was a man of legal piety (Acts 22:12), is alleged by Schneckenburger, p. 168 f., and Baur, to be in keeping with the tendency of Luke, although he does not even mention it here; Zeller, p. 196, employs even the frequent occurrence of the name (chap. 5. and Acts 23:2, Acts 24:1) to call in question whether Ananias “played a part” in the conversion of the apostle at all.Acts 9:10. Ἀνανίας: nomen et omen, “Jehovah is gracious” (cf. Acts 22:12). No doubt a Jewish Christian (he is supposed by some, as by St. Augustine, to have been the presbyter to whose care the Church at Damascus was committed). For more details and traditions concerning him, see Dr. James, “Ananias,” Hastings’ B.D., and Felten, in loco. The objections raised against the historical character of the meeting between Ananias and Saul, by Baur, Zeller, Over-beck, are considered by Wendt as quite insufficient. Weizsäcker regards the narrative of the blindness and its cure by Ananias as transparently symbolical, and adds that in any case it is suggestive that Paul, Galatians 4:15, seems, at least in later days, to have had a severe ailment in his eyes (see however on this point Acts 9:9 above). But the weakness, if it existed, might have been caused by the previous blindness at Damascus, and this suggestion, if it is needed, has at all events more probability than the supposition that the narrative in the text was due to the fact that in after years Saul’s eyes were affected! (so Weizsäcker, Apostolic Age, i., 72). Zeller indeed admits, Acts, i., 289, E.T., that the connection of Saul with Ananias, “irrespective of the visions and miracles,” may have been historical, and he falls back upon Schneckenburger’s theory that the author of Acts had a special aim in view in introducing a man so avowedly pious in the law (Acts 22:12) to introduce Paul to Christianity. But Schneckenburger does not seem to deny the main fact of the meeting between the two men (Ueber den Zweck der Apostelgeschichte, pp. 168, 169), and St. Paul would scarcely have spoken as he did later (Acts 22:12) before a Jewish crowd, in a speech delivered when the capital was full of pilgrims from all parts, and at a time when the constant communication between Damascus and Jerusalem would have exposed him to instant refutation, had his statements with regard to Ananias been incorrect. It is evident that the supernatural element in the narrative is what really lay at the root of Zeller’s objections.—ὁ Κύριος, i.e., Jesus, as is evident from a comparison of Acts 9:13-14; Acts 9:17.—ἐν ὁράματι: critical objections have been raised by Baur and others against the double vision narrated here of Saul and Ananias, as against the double vision of Cornelius and St. Peter in Acts 10:3; Acts 10:11, but see Lumby’s note, in loco, and reference to Conybeare and Howson, quoted also by Felten. The idea of the older rationalists that Saul and Ananias had previously been friends, and that thus the coincidence of their visions may be accounted for, is justly regarded by Wendt as entirely arbitrary. The vision, as narrated by Luke, is evidently regarded as something objective, cf. Acts 9:10; Acts 9:13.10–22. Saul’s sight restored. He preaches in Damascus
10. And [Now] there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias] Of this disciple we have no further mention in Holy Writ except in chap. Acts 22:12, where St Paul describes him as “a devout man according to the Law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt” at Damascus. Whether he had become a Christian during the life of Jesus, or was among the Jewish converts on the day of Pentecost or at some subsequent time and had been forced to flee from Jerusalem by the persecution which followed on the death of Stephen, we are not told, but we can gather, from the words which he employs in expressing his reluctance to visit Saul, that he had much and trustworthy communication still with the Holy City, for he knows both of the havock which the persecutor has caused, and of the purpose of his mission to Damascus. On the name Ananias see Acts 5:1, note.
and to him said the Lord in a vision] As Saul had been prepared for the visit by a vision, so Ananias is by a vision instructed to go to him. Dean Howson’s remarks (Life and Epistles of St Paul, i. 101) on this preparation and its similarity to the preparation of Peter and Cornelius deserve to be dwelt on. “The simultaneous preparation of the hearts of Ananias and Saul, and the simultaneous preparation of those of Peter and Cornelius—the questioning and hesitation of Peter and the questioning and hesitation of Ananias—the one doubting whether he might make friendship with the Gentiles, the other doubting whether he might approach the enemy of the Church—the unhesitating obedience of each when the Divine will was made clearly known—the state of mind in which both the Pharisee and the Centurion were found—each waiting to see what the Lord would say unto them—this close analogy will not be forgotten by those who reverently read the two consecutive chapters, in which the baptism of Saul and the baptism of Cornelius are narrated in the Acts of the Apostles.” When so much criticism has been expended to shew that the Acts is a work of fiction written at a late period to minimize certain differences supposed to exist between the teaching of St Paul and that of St Peter, it is well to know that others have seen, in these undoubted analogies, proofs of the working of a God who is ever the same, and who would have all men to be saved through Jesus Christ.Acts 9:10. Ἦν δὲ, but [now] there was) Ananias and Saul do not seem previously to have been known to one another.—μαθητὴς, a disciple) not an apostle: lest Saul should seem to have been a disciple of the apostles; but an ordinary disciple, that Saul might be the more humbled, and that he might not however seem to have been taught by Ananias.—ὁ Κύριος, the Lord) Jesus.Verse 10. - Now for and, A.V.; and the Lord said unto him for and to him said the Lord, A.V. Behold, I am here. The regular Hebrew answer (Genesis 22:1; 1 Samuel 3:4, 6, 8, etc.).
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