Acts 16:16
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.

King James Bible
And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:

Darby Bible Translation
And it came to pass as we were going to prayer that a certain female slave, having a spirit of Python, met us, who brought much profit to her masters by prophesying.

World English Bible
It happened, as we were going to prayer, that a certain girl having a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much gain by fortune telling.

Young's Literal Translation
And it came to pass in our going on to prayer, a certain maid, having a spirit of Python, did meet us, who brought much employment to her masters by soothsaying,

Acts 16:16 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

As we went to prayer - Εις προσευχην, Into the proseucha: see on Acts 16:13 (note), and on Luke 6:12 (note). The article, την, is added here by ABCE, several others, Origen and Theophylact: thus makes the place more emphatic, and seems to determine the above meaning of προσευχην to be right - not the act of prayer or praying to God, but the place, the oratory, in which these proselytes assembled for the purpose of praying, reading the law and the prophets, and such like exercises of devotion. It appears that the apostles spent dome time here; as it is evident, from this and the following verses, that they often resorted to this place to preach the Gospel.

Possessed with a spirit of divination - Εχουσαν πνευμα πυθωνος, Having a spirit of Python, or of Apollo. Pytho was, according to fable, a huge serpent, that had an oracle at Mount Parnassus, famous for predicting future events; Apollo slew this serpent, and hence he was called Pythius, and became celebrated as the foreteller of future events; and all those, who either could or pretended to predict future events, were influenced by the spirit of Apollo Pythius. As often-times the priestesses of this god became greatly agitated, and gave answers apparently from their bellies, when their mouths remained close, πυθων was applied to the εγγαϚριμυθοι, or ventriloquists. Hesychius defines πυθων, δαιμονιον μαντικον, a divining demon; and it was evidently such a one that possessed this young woman, and which Paul expelled, Acts 16:18. See on this subject the notes on Leviticus 19:31 (note), and Deuteronomy 18:11 (note).

Brought her masters much gain by soothsaying - Μαντευουενη, By divination, or what we call telling fortunes. Our term soothsaying coming from the Anglo-Saxon, truth, and to say, i.e. truth saying, or saying the truth. For, as it was supposed among the heathen that such persons spoke by the inspiration of their god, consequently what they said must be true. However, our translators might have used a term here that would not have been so creditable to this Pythoness; for, what she said concerning the apostles excepted, she certainly could not be supposed to tell the truth, while her inspiration came from him who is the father of lies. But Satan will sometimes conceal himself under the guise of truth, that he may the more effectually deceive. See below.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


Acts 16:13 And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down...


Acts 16:18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit...

Acts 8:9-11 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria...

Exodus 7:11,12 Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt...

Deuteronomy 13:1-3 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and gives you a sign or a wonder...

Deuteronomy 18:9-11 When you are come into the land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not learn to do after the abominations of those nations...

1 Samuel 28:7 Then said Saul to his servants, Seek me a woman that has a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her...

1 Chronicles 10:13 So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not...

Isaiah 8:19 And when they shall say to you, Seek to them that have familiar spirits, and to wizards that peep, and that mutter...

Galatians 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, jealousies, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

2 Timothy 3:8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

divination. or, Python. which.

Acts 19:24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain to the craftsmen;

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith...

2 Peter 2:3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingers not...

Revelation 18:11-13 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buys their merchandise any more...

Paul at Philippi
'And on the sabbath day we went forth without the gate, by a river side, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which were come together.' --ACTS xvi. 13 (R.V.). This is the first record of the preaching of the Gospel in Europe, and probably the first instance of it. The fact that the vision of the man of Macedonia was needed in order to draw the Apostle across the straits into Macedonia, and the great length at which the incidents at Philippi are
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

The Great Question and the Plain Answer
'He brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31. And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved.'--ACTS xvi. 30, 31. The keeper of a Macedonian jail was not likely to be a very nervous or susceptible person. And so the extraordinary state of agitation and panic into which this rough jailer was cast needs some kind of explanation. There had been, as you will all remember, an earthquake of a strange kind, for it not only opened the prison doors, but shook
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

Measures to Promote Revivals.
Text.--These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city and teach customs which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.--Acts xvi. 20, 21. "THESE men," here spoken of, were Paul and Silas, who went to Philippi to preach the Gospel, and very much disturbed the people of that city, because they supposed the preaching would interfere with their worldly gains. And so they arranged the preachers of the Gospel before the magistrates of the city, as culprits, and charged
Charles Grandison Finney—Lectures on Revivals of Religion

The Missionary on the Sea Shore.
"And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: There stood a man of Macedonia and prayed him saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us."--Acts 16:9. "Wei schaumt so feierlich zu unsern Fuessen." [65]F. de la Motte Fouque. transl., Jane Borthwick, 1858 Dark mighty Ocean, rolling to our feet! In thy low murmur many voices meet, The sound of distant lands brought strangely near To Fancy's ear. From shores unknown comes the sweet Sabbath bell, New languages the old glad tidings tell, We hear the
Jane Borthwick—Hymns from the Land of Luther

Cross References
Leviticus 19:31
"'Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 20:6
"'I will set my face against anyone who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute themselves by following them, and I will cut them off from their people.

Leviticus 20:27
"'A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.'"

Deuteronomy 18:11
or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.

1 Samuel 28:3
Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in his own town of Ramah. Saul had expelled the mediums and spiritists from the land.

1 Samuel 28:7
Saul then said to his attendants, "Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her." "There is one in Endor," they said.

2 Kings 21:6
He sacrificed his own son in the fire, practiced divination, sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, arousing his anger.

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