And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.…
The list is characteristic of the trained historian and geographer — trained, it may be, in the school of Strabo — who had carefully inquired what nations were represented at that great Pentecost, who had himself been present, at least, at one later Pentecost (Acts 21:15), and knew the kind of crowd that gathered to it. There is a kind of order, as of one taking a bird's-eye view of the Roman Empire, beginning with the great Parthian kingdom, which was still, as it had been in the days of Crassus, the most formidable of its foes; then the old territory of the Medes, which had once been so closely connected with the history of their fathers; then, the name of the Persians having been thrown into the background, the kindred people of Elam (commonly rendered Persia in the LXX.), whom Strabo speaks of as driven to the mountains (11:13, § 6); then the great cities of the Tigris and Euphrates, where the "princes of the captivity" still ruled over a large Jewish population; then passing southward and westward to Judaea; then to Cappadocia, in the interior of Asia Minor; then to Pontus, on the northern shore washed by the Euxine; then westward to the Proconsular Province of Asia, of which Ephesus was the capital. From Ephesus the eye travels eastward to the neighbouring province of Phrygia; thence southward to Pamphylia; thence across the Mediterranean to Egypt; westward to Cyrene; northward, re-crossing the Mediterranean, to the great capital of the empire; then, as by an after-thought, to the two regions of Crete and Arabia that had been previously omitted. The absence of some countries that we should have expected to find in the list — Syria, Cilicia, Cyprus, Bithynia, Macedonia, Achaia, Spain — is not easy to explain, but it is, at any rate, an indication that what we have is not an artificial list made up at a later date, but an actual record of those whose presence at the feast had been ascertained by the historian. Possibly they may have been omitted, because Jews and converts coming from them would naturally speak Greek, and there would be no marvel to them in hearing Galileans speaking in that language. The presence of Judaea in the list is almost as unexpected as the absence of the others. That, we think, might have been taken for granted. Some critics have accordingly conjectured that "India" must be the true reading, but without any MS. authority. Possibly the men of Judaea are named as sharing in the wonder that the Galileans were no longer distinguished by their provincial patois (cf. Matthew 26:73).
Parallel VersesKJV: And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.