Acts 9:21
But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came here for that intent, that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?
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(21) That destroyed them which called on this name.—Better, made havock of them. It is noticeable that St. Paul uses the same verb as descriptive of his own conduct in Galatians 1:13, where the English version has “wasted.” On “them which called on this name,” see Note on Acts 9:16.

And came hither.—More accurately, had come hither, as implying that the purpose of his coming had been abandoned.

9:10-22 A good work was begun in Saul, when he was brought to Christ's feet with those words, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And never did Christ leave any who were brought to that. Behold, the proud Pharisee, the unmerciful oppressor, the daring blasphemer, prayeth! And thus it is even now, and with the proud infidel, or the abandoned sinner. What happy tidings are these to all who understand the nature and power of prayer, of such prayer as the humbled sinner presents for the blessings of free salvation! Now he began to pray after another manner than he had done; before, he said his prayers, now, he prayed them. Regenerating grace sets people on praying; you may as well find a living man without breath, as a living Christian without prayer. Yet even eminent disciples, like Ananias, sometimes stagger at the commands of the Lord. But it is the Lord's glory to surpass our scanty expectations, and show that those are vessels of his mercy whom we are apt to consider as objects of his vengeance. The teaching of the Holy Spirit takes away the scales of ignorance and pride from the understanding; then the sinner becomes a new creature, and endeavours to recommend the anointed Saviour, the Son of God, to his former companions.Were amazed - Amazed at his sudden and remarkable change.

That destroyed - That opposed; laid waste; persecuted. Compare Galatians 1:13.

For that intent - With that design, that he might destroy the church at Damascus.

20-22. preached Christ … that he is the Son of God—rather, "preached Jesus," according to all the most ancient manuscripts and versions of the New Testament (so Ac 9:21, "all that call on this name," that is, Jesus; and Ac 9:22, "proving that this Jesus is very Christ"). This great change is a most unaccountable thing, and might truly cause amazement; but ex quovis ligno fit Mercurius, cum digitus Dei sit statuarius. Nothing is too hard for that God in whose hand Saul’s heart was. But all that heard him were amazed,.... Not the disciples that believed in Christ, but the unbelievers, as appears from their words:

and said, is not this he that destroyed them that called on this name in Jerusalem? they do not express the name of Christ, out of malice and ill will; which shows who they were that said these words, and were astonished to hear Saul preaching in this name, and proving him to be the Son of God, and the true Messiah; when it was but a little while ago he consented to the death of Stephen, made havoc of the church, wasted and destroyed it as much as was in his power, and persecuted unto death such as called upon the name of Christ, or were called by his name, he could find in Jerusalem: nor did this satisfy him, for it follows,

and came hither, that is, to Damascus,

for that intent, that he might bring them bound to the chief priests: whom he should find professing or invocating the name of Christ, or bearing it; now to see and hear him preach this same name, was surprising to them.

But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?
Acts 9:21. παρθήσας: same word used by St. Paul of himself in Galatians 1:13; Galatians 1:23; nowhere else in N.T., but see 4Ma 4:23; 4Ma 11:4; used often in classical Greek. Blass draws attention to the coincidence between this passage and the use of the word in Gal., and adds: “ut a Paulo hoc ipsum verbum scriptorem accepisse dicas”. Wendt (1899) dismisses the point of connection in the use of the word by the two authors Luke and Paul as accidental. He bases his objection, p. 35, upon the view that St. Paul’s Epistles and Acts are independent of each other; but this would not prevent St. Luke from receiving the narrative of the events at Damascus from the lips of Paul himself.—τοὺς ἐπικ., see above on Acts 9:14.—ἐληλύθει, pluperfect: “inestindicatio voluntatis mulctæ,” Blass, cf. also Burton, N. T. Moods and Tenses, p. 44, and Blass, Gramm., p. 197. On the jurisdiction of the Sanhedrim and their commissions to their officers see Acts 4:5, and Lewin, St. Paul, i., 52 (smaller edition). For ἵνα followed by the conjunctive after a past tense in preference to the optative cf. Acts 5:26, Acts 25:26, in Winer-Moulton, xli. b 1 a.21. But all that heard him were amazed] Saul’s fame as a persecutor of Christians was well known to the Jews of Damascus, and the authorities of the synagogues may have been instructed beforehand to welcome him as a zealous agent. If so their amazement is easy to understand. It is clear from what follows in this verse that they knew of his mission and the intention thereof, though Saul did not bring them his “commission and authority.” We should gather also from the strong expression “destroyed,” used to describe Saul’s career in Jerusalem, that the slaughter of the Christians there had not been limited to the stoning of Stephen.Verse 21. - And for but, A.V.; that in Jerusalem made havoc of for that destroyed them (which called on this Name) in Jerusalem, A.V.; and he had come hither for this intent for and came hither for that intent, A.V., differently stopped; before for unto, A.V. The chief priests. The plural seems to mark how the high priesthood at this period was passed from one to another. Caiaphas, Annas, Jonathan, and Theophilus would all be included under the term. Destroyed (πορθήσας)

Rather, laid waste, made havoc of, as Rev. Compare Acts 8:3. Paul uses the same word in Galatians 1:13.

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