New American Standard Bible
But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, "Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza." (This is a desert road.)
King James Bible
And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
Darby Bible Translation
But the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, Rise up and go southward on the way which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza: the same is desert.
World English Bible
But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, "Arise, and go toward the south to the way that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. This is a desert."
Young's Literal Translation
And a messenger of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, 'Arise, and go on toward the south, on the way that is going down from Jerusalem to Gaza,' -- this is desert.
Acts 8:26 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
And the angel of the Lord - The word "angel" is used in the Scriptures in a great variety of significations. See the notes on Matthew 1:20. Here it has been supposed by some to mean literally a celestial messenger sent from God; others have supposed that it means a "dream"; others a "vision," etc. The word properly means a "messenger"; and all that it can be shown to signify here is, that the Lord sent a "message" to Philip of this kind. It is most probable, I think, that the passage means that God communicated the message by his Spirit; for in Acts 8:29, Acts 8:39, it is expressly said that "the Spirit" spake to Philip, etc. Thus, in Acts 16:7, the "Spirit" is said to have forbidden Paul to preach in Bithynia; and in Acts 8:9, the message on the subject is said to have been conveyed in "a vision." There is no absurdity, however, in supposing that an "angel" literally was employed to communicate this message to Phil See Hebrews 1:14; Genesis 19:1; Genesis 22:11; Judges 6:12.
Spake unto Philip - Compare Matthew 2:13.
Arise - See the notes on Luke 15:18.
And go ... - Philip had been employed in Samaria. As God now intended to send the gospel to another place, he gave a special direction to him to go and convey it. It is evident that God designed the "conversion" of this eunuch, and the direction to Philip shows how he accomplishes his designs. It is not by miracle, but by the use of means. It is not by direct power without "truth," but it is by a message suited to the end. The salvation of a single sinner is an object worthy the attention of God. When such a sinner is converted, it is because God forms a plan or "purpose" to do it. when it is done, he inclines his servants to labor; he directs their labors; he leads his ministers; and he prepares the way Acts 8:28) for the reception of the truth.
Toward the south - That is, south of Samaria, where Philip was then laboring.
Unto Gaza - Gaza, or Azzah Genesis 10:19, was a city of the Philistines, given by Joshua to Judah Joshua 15:47; 1 Samuel 6:17. It was one of the five principal cities of the Philistines. It was formerly a large place; was situated on an eminence, and commanded a beautiful prospect. It was in this place that Samson took away the gates of the city, and bore them off, Judges 16:2-3. It was near Askelon, about 60 miles southwest from Jerusalem.
Which is desert - This may refer either to the "way" or to the "place." The natural construction is the latter. In explanation of this, it is to be observed that there were "two" towns of that name, Old and New Gaza. The prophet Zephaniah ZEphesians 2:4 said that "Gaza" should be "forsaken," that is, destroyed. "This was partly accomplished by Alexander the Great (Josephus, Antiq., book 11, chapter 8, sections 3 and 4; book 13, chapter 13, section 3). Another town was afterward built of the same name, but at some distance from the former, and Old Gaza was abandoned to desolation. Strabo mentions 'Gaza the desert,' and Diodorus Siculus speaks of 'Old Gaza'" (Robinson's Calmet). Some have supposed, however, that Luke refers here to the "road" leading to Gaza, as being desolate and uninhabited. Dr. Robinson (Biblical Res., 2:640) remarks: "There were several ways leading from Jerusalem to Gaza. The most frequented at the present day, although the longest, is the way by Ramleh. Anciently there appear to have been two more direct roads. Both these roads exist at the present day, and the one actually passes through the desert, that is, through a tract of country without villages, inhabited only by nomadic tribes." "In this place, in 1823, the American missionaries, Messrs. Fisk and King, found Gaza, a town built of stone, making a very mean appearance, and confining about five thousand inhabitants" (Hall on the Acts ).
LibrarySeed Scattered and Taking Root
'And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. 3. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. 4. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere …
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The territory of the Canaanite extended from Sidon as you go toward Gerar, as far as Gaza; as you go toward Sodom and Gomorrah and Admah and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha.
But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said,
Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them.
Then the Spirit said to Philip, "Go up and join this chariot."
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