Σαῦλος δὲ ἦν συνευδοκῶν τῇ ἀναιρέσει αὐτοῦ. Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ διωγμὸς μέγας ἐπὶ τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τὴν ἐν Ἱεροσολύμοις· πάντες δὲ διεσπάρησαν κατὰ τὰς χώρας τῆς Ἰουδαίας καὶ Σαμαρείας πλὴν τῶν ἀποστόλων.
Now Saul was approving of his murder. Then it was on that day a great persecution on the church, the church in Jerusalem. Then all scattered to the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
Paraphrase: Now remember that I had previously mentioned a young man named Saul. (Acts 7:58) He was a student of Gamaliel and was very zealous for the Jewish faith. This man began an immediate and vigorous persecution of all those who professed to be disciples of Jesus. This hardship caused many Christians to flee out of Jerusalem and to find safety in other villages in Judea. Some even found refuge in the country of the Samaritans. The apostles, however, stayed behind in Jerusalem and continued the work there.
συνεκόμισαν δὲ τὸν Στέφανον ἄνδρες εὐλαβεῖς καὶ ἐποίησαν κοπετὸν μέγαν ἐπ’ αὐτῷ.
But devout men took Stephen’s body for burial and made a great mourning for him.
Paraphrase: At this time, I should also mention that some of the believers came and gathered up Stephen’s body and buried him. There was a great deal of sorrow and tears at this funeral as people reflected on what God had done through this man.
Σαῦλος δὲ ἐλυμαίνετο τὴν ἐκκλησίαν κατὰ τοὺς οἴκους εἰσπορευόμενος, σύρων τε ἄνδρας καὶ γυναῖκας παρεδίδου εἰς φυλακήν.
But Saul was ruining the church entering each of the houses, arresting the men and women, he handed them over to the prison.
Paraphrase: But to return to this man, Saul. He was very zealous in his work. No house or family was spared. Wherever Saul found Christians, he arrested them. It didn’t matter if they were male or female, mothers or fathers. He put them behind bars where they were kept until a trial could be arranged.
Οἱ μὲν οὖν διασπαρέντες διῆλθον εὐαγγελιζόμενοι τὸν λόγον.
On the other hand, those who scattered, went about gospelizing the word.
Paraphrase: As these Christians fled from Saul’s persecuting hand, however, they ended up advancing the gospel more than if they had stayed in Jerusalem. Everywhere they went, they didn’t stop speaking about their new life in Jesus.
Φίλιππος δὲ κατελθὼν εἰς τὴν πόλιν τῆς Σαμαρείας ἐκήρυσσεν αὐτοῖς τὸν χριστόν.
Now Philip, going down to the city of Samaria, preached to them the Christ.
Paraphrase: Now Stephen had a colleague in the ministry whose name was Philip. (Acts 6:5) Don’t confuse this man with Philip the apostle. (John 1:43-44) This man also left the city of Jerusalem and ended up in the city of Samaria. Here, Philip did what all the believers did; he preached salvation in Christ to all who would hear.
The city of Samaria is now called Sebaste. The map shows Israel today and the route from Jerusalem, to Sebaste, to Nazareth. This city was the city founded by Omri (1 Kings 16:24) and was the capital of the ten tribes. Philip went down to the city not because he was travelling south but because Jerusalem was high and this city was lower in altitude.
προσεῖχον δὲ οἱ ὄχλοι τοῖς λεγομένοις ὑπὸ τοῦ Φιλίππου ὁμοθυμαδὸν ἐν τῷ ἀκούειν αὐτοὺς καὶ βλέπειν τὰ σημεῖα ἃ ἐποίει·
Now the crowds turned their attention to the things being spoken by Philip with their full attention when they heard and saw the signs which he did.
Paraphrase: When Philip did miracles and signs before their eyes, however, whole crowds of people gathered around and began to hang on his every word.
πολλοὶ γὰρ τῶν ἐχόντων πνεύματα ἀκάθαρτα βοῶντα φωνῇ μεγάλῃ ἐξήρχοντο, πολλοὶ δὲ παραλελυμένοι καὶ χωλοὶ ἐθεραπεύθησαν·
For many of those having unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, were cast out, and many paralyzed and lame were being healed.
Paraphrase: Many people who were possessed of demons were healed under Philip’s hand. It was astonishing to see these demons crying out in pain as they left their victims. They were completely helpless before the Spirit of God who was acting through Philip. Other people came to Philip as well and asked for healing including many who were completely paralyzed or crippled in some part of their body. Without exception, they were immediately set right at Philip’s healing word.
ἐγένετο δὲ πολλὴ χαρὰ ἐν τῇ πόλει ἐκείνῃ.
Then there was great joy in that city.
Paraphrase: In every house, there was great gladness and rejoicing. Mothers and fathers wept for joy to see their children and loved ones healed. All rejoiced to know that in the Name of Jesus, they had a complete forgiveness of all their sin and a good hope of entering into eternal life.
Ἀνὴρ δέ τις ὀνόματι Σίμων προϋπῆρχεν ἐν τῇ πόλει μαγεύων καὶ ἐξιστάνων τὸ ἔθνος τῆς Σαμαρείας, λέγων εἶναί τινα ἑαυτὸν μέγαν,
ᾧ προσεῖχον πάντες ἀπὸ μικροῦ ἕως μεγάλου λέγοντες· Οὗτός ἐστιν ἡ Δύναμις τοῦ θεοῦ ἡ καλουμένη Μεγάλη.
προσεῖχον δὲ αὐτῷ διὰ τὸ ἱκανῷ χρόνῳ ταῖς μαγείαις ἐξεστακέναι αὐτούς.
ὅτε δὲ ἐπίστευσαν τῷ Φιλίππῳ εὐαγγελιζομένῳ περὶ τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τοῦ ὀνόματος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἐβαπτίζοντο ἄνδρες τε καὶ γυναῖκες.
Acts 8:13 ὁ δὲ Σίμων καὶ αὐτὸς ἐπίστευσεν, καὶ βαπτισθεὶς ἦν προσκαρτερῶν τῷ Φιλίππῳ, θεωρῶν τε σημεῖα καὶ δυνάμεις μεγάλας γινομένας ἐξίστατο.
Acts 8:14 Ἀκούσαντες δὲ οἱ ἐν Ἱεροσολύμοις ἀπόστολοι ὅτι δέδεκται ἡ Σαμάρεια τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ, ἀπέστειλαν πρὸς αὐτοὺς Πέτρον καὶ Ἰωάννην,
Acts 8:15 οἵτινες καταβάντες προσηύξαντο περὶ αὐτῶν ὅπως λάβωσιν πνεῦμα ἅγιον·
Acts 8:16 οὐδέπω γὰρ ἦν ἐπ’ οὐδενὶ αὐτῶν ἐπιπεπτωκός, μόνον δὲ βεβαπτισμένοι ὑπῆρχον εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ.
Acts 8:17 τότε ἐπετίθεσαν τὰς χεῖρας ἐπ’ αὐτούς, καὶ ἐλάμβανον πνεῦμα ἅγιον.
Acts 8:18 ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ Σίμων ὅτι διὰ τῆς ἐπιθέσεως τῶν χειρῶν τῶν ἀποστόλων δίδοται τὸ πνεῦμα προσήνεγκεν αὐτοῖς χρήματα
Acts 8:19 λέγων· Δότε κἀμοὶ τὴν ἐξουσίαν ταύτην ἵνα ᾧ ἐὰν ἐπιθῶ τὰς χεῖρας λαμβάνῃ πνεῦμα ἅγιον.
Acts 8:20 Πέτρος δὲ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν· Τὸ ἀργύριόν σου σὺν σοὶ εἴη εἰς ἀπώλειαν ὅτι τὴν δωρεὰν τοῦ θεοῦ ἐνόμισας διὰ χρημάτων κτᾶσθαι.
Acts 8:21 οὐκ ἔστιν σοι μερὶς οὐδὲ κλῆρος ἐν τῷ λόγῳ τούτῳ, ἡ γὰρ καρδία σου οὐκ ἔστιν εὐθεῖα ἔναντι τοῦ θεοῦ.
Acts 8:22 μετανόησον οὖν ἀπὸ τῆς κακίας σου ταύτης, καὶ δεήθητι τοῦ κυρίου εἰ ἄρα ἀφεθήσεταί σοι ἡ ἐπίνοια τῆς καρδίας σου·
Acts 8:23 εἰς γὰρ χολὴν πικρίας καὶ σύνδεσμον ἀδικίας ὁρῶ σε ὄντα.
Acts 8:24 ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Σίμων εἶπεν· Δεήθητε ὑμεῖς ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ πρὸς τὸν κύριον ὅπως μηδὲν ἐπέλθῃ ἐπ’ ἐμὲ ὧν εἰρήκατε.
Acts 8:25 Οἱ μὲν οὖν διαμαρτυράμενοι καὶ λαλήσαντες τὸν λόγον τοῦ κυρίου ὑπέστρεφον εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα, πολλάς τε κώμας τῶν Σαμαριτῶν εὐηγγελίζοντο.
Ἄγγελος δὲ κυρίου ἐλάλησεν πρὸς Φίλιππον λέγων· Ἀνάστηθι καὶ πορεύου κατὰ μεσημβρίαν ἐπὶ τὴν ὁδὸν τὴν καταβαίνουσαν ἀπὸ Ἰερουσαλὴμ εἰς Γάζαν· αὕτη ἐστὶν ἔρημος.
Now the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, “Get up and go to the south on the way, the way going down from Jerusalem into Gaza; This is a desert road.
Paraphrase: When all this had taken place, God sent Philip on another mission. This time, an angel from God told Philip to leave Samaria and to take the road to Gaza. This road was usually used by those going from Jerusalem to Gaza, and it was not a pleasant road since it passed through a hot and dry desert and was not widely used.
For more on Gaza, see the bottom of the page here.
καὶ ἀναστὰς ἐπορεύθη, καὶ ἰδοὺ ἀνὴρ Αἰθίοψ εὐνοῦχος δυνάστης Κανδάκης βασιλίσσης Αἰθιόπων, ὃς ἦν ἐπὶ πάσης τῆς γάζης αὐτῆς, ὃς ἐληλύθει προσκυνήσων εἰς Ἰερουσαλήμ,
and getting up, he went and behold an Ethiopian man, a eunuch, a prince of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians who was over all her treasure who came worshipping to Jerusalem.
Paraphrase: So Philip left Samaria and started on his way down this long, desolate road. As he walked, he was surprised to see a caravan. Little did he know that this caravan belonged to one of the Eunuch’s of the Ethiopian queen Candace. This man was her treasurer and had been in Jerusalem worshipping at the feast of Tabernacles and was now on his return trip.
Was this eunuch an ethnic Jew? Olshausen says yes at the bottom of this page. Most others think he was Gentile. Some say he was a “proselyte of the gate.” See Schurer for much more on Jewish proselytes.
Isaiah 56:3, 8
ἦν τε ὑποστρέφων καὶ καθήμενος ἐπὶ τοῦ ἅρματος αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀνεγίνωσκεν τὸν προφήτην Ἠσαΐαν.
He was returning and sitting on his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah.
Paraphrase: As his chariot rumbled down the long road back to his home, the Eunuch was sitting and reading from the prophet Isaiah.
From the fact that he was reading from Isaiah, Lewin concludes that he would have been attending the Feast of Tabernacles; see §1546.
εἶπεν δὲ τὸ πνεῦμα τῷ Φιλίππῳ· Πρόσελθε καὶ κολλήθητι τῷ ἅρματι τούτῳ.
Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Approach and join to this chariot.”
Paraphrase: As Philip looked at this caravan, the Spirit of God spoke to him, “Catch up to them and get on board. I have work for you in this chariot.”
προσδραμὼν δὲ ὁ Φίλιππος ἤκουσεν αὐτοῦ ἀναγινώσκοντος Ἠσαΐαν τὸν προφήτην καὶ εἶπεν· Ἆρά γε γινώσκεις ἃ ἀναγινώσκεις;
Then Philip ran and heard him reading Isaiah, the prophet, and he said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
Paraphrase: Immediately Philip broke into a run and approached the chariot. He was shocked to hear a man reading the Greek version of the prophet Isaiah! Philip got the man’s attention and asked him, “Do you really understand what you’re reading? I would be happy to show you what the author is saying and help you get a better grasp of his meaning.”
Ἆρά γε expects a negative reply. source
ὁ δὲ εἶπεν· Πῶς γὰρ ἂν δυναίμην ἐὰν μή τις ὁδηγήσει με; παρεκάλεσέν τε τὸν Φίλιππον ἀναβάντα καθίσαι σὺν αὐτῷ.
Then he said, “For how am I able unless someone guide me? and he invited Philip coming up to sit with him.
Paraphrase: Then the Eunuch looked up from his reading and noticed Philip running alongside him. At the question, he replied, “I am afraid I am not understanding very much of what I read here. I picked this up in Jerusalem when I was there and have been reading in it ever since. I sure wish I had someone to show me what this all means. If you think you can help me, then by all means come up in this chariot and ride with me.”
ἡ δὲ περιοχὴ τῆς γραφῆς ἣν ἀνεγίνωσκεν ἦν αὕτη· Ὡς πρόβατον ἐπὶ σφαγὴν ἤχθη, καὶ ὡς ἀμνὸς ἐναντίον τοῦ κείραντος αὐτὸν ἄφωνος, οὕτως οὐκ ἀνοίγει τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ.
Now the section of Scripture which he was reading was this. “As a sheep to the butcher is led, even as a lamb before its shearer is silent, in this manner he does not open his mouth.
Paraphrase: Philip climbed into the chariot and immediately recognized the passage as the 53rd of Isaiah. The Eunuch read these verses for Philip, “Just like when a sheep is brought to the butcher and when a lamb is shorn of its wool, in the same way, the Servant of YHWH does not speak in His own defense.”
The αὐτὸν here is a mystery; perhaps because this is a quote from the OT?
ἐν τῇ ταπεινώσει ἡ κρίσις αὐτοῦ ἤρθη· τὴν γενεὰν αὐτοῦ τίς διηγήσεται; ὅτι αἴρεται ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς ἡ ζωὴ αὐτοῦ.
In his humiliation, his judgment was lifted off; who will describe his generation? because his life was lifted off from the earth.
Paraphrase: The servant of YHWH endured great shame and humiliation because of the terrible injustice done to Him. Who could possibly comprehend the wickedness and complete disregard for justice that existed in the society of Jesus’ day when they took the life of an innocent man?
ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ εὐνοῦχος τῷ Φιλίππῳ εἶπεν· Δέομαί σου, περὶ τίνος ὁ προφήτης λέγει τοῦτο; περὶ ἑαυτοῦ ἢ περὶ ἑτέρου τινός;
ἀνοίξας δὲ ὁ Φίλιππος τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀρξάμενος ἀπὸ τῆς γραφῆς ταύτης εὐηγγελίσατο αὐτῷ τὸν Ἰησοῦν.
ὡς δὲ ἐπορεύοντο κατὰ τὴν ὁδόν, ἦλθον ἐπί τι ὕδωρ, καί φησιν ὁ εὐνοῦχος· Ἰδοὺ ὕδωρ, τί κωλύει με βαπτισθῆναι;
Now as they were going down the road, they came to some water and the Eunuch said, “Behold water! What hinders me to be baptized?”
Paraphrase: As Philip spoke, the Eunuch’s eyes went open to see that he had run up a record in God’s court that ensured him a place in the lowest hell. The justice of God would surely demand that this sin, which had been committed against the most high majesty of the Great God, be punished with eternal punishment. Philip, however, went on to show the Eunuch that his only hope was if a sin offering could be found which God would accept as an atonement for his sin. Then, the Eunuch read Isaiah’s words, “As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied…” (Isaiah 53:11) His heart was filled with joy when he read that God was satisfied with the atoning work of Jesus. With this sacrifice in his hands, God’s justice no longer had anything against him. Even though he was no Jew and even though the law condemned Eunuchs (Deuteronomy 23:1), he could not be excluded any longer. In Jesus was the Righteous One, he found One who had taken his griefs and carried his sorrows. (Isaiah 53:4) Jesus had been smitten by God and afflicted and not for any sin of His own but for the transgressions of his people. (Isaiah 53:5) The chapter he was reading was suddenly full of meaning for him. He cried out, “It was for our iniquities that He was crushed; the punishment we deserved, fell on Him. (Isaiah 53:5) We are the sheep who went astray, but Jesus was the One who was punished for it.” (Isaiah 53:6) Then the Eunuch understood from Philip that by faith in this Man, Jesus, he could be completely healed. (Isaiah 53:5; Acts 3:16) As the Chariot rumbled on and he and Philip continued to speak of these things, the Eunuch spotted a body of water. He leaped up from his seat pointing to the water and said, “Look there is water! What possible reason could there be for me not being baptized right now?!”
καὶ ἐκέλευσεν στῆναι τὸ ἅρμα, καὶ κατέβησαν ἀμφότεροι εἰς τὸ ὕδωρ ὅ τε Φίλιππος καὶ ὁ εὐνοῦχος, καὶ ἐβάπτισεν αὐτόν.
and he commanded to stop the chariot, and both went down into the water, Philip and the Eunuch, and he baptized him.
Paraphrase: Philip assured him that all those who were trusting in Jesus were forgiven and were under the promise of God (Acts 2:39); and therefore, should receive baptism into the Name of Jesus. (Acts 10:48; 19:5) At this, the Eunuch ordered the chariot to be stopped. He and Philip got out of the chariot and went down to the water. Together they waded in until they were both standing in waist deep water. Philip gathered up water and poured it over the head of the Eunuch pronouncing with great solemnity, “I baptize you into the Name of Jesus Christ!” What a solemn moment this was, my dear Theophilus, when the first Gentile was received into the church. With water pouring down his head and many tears besides, the Eunuch could only stand and wonder at the God who had given him a name and a place in His house and within His walls, better than that of sons and daughters. Indeed, it was an everlasting name which would never be cut off. (Isaiah 56:5) A new name written on stone which no one knows but he who receives it. (Revelation 2:17)
ὅτε δὲ ἀνέβησαν ἐκ τοῦ ὕδατος, πνεῦμα κυρίου ἥρπασεν τὸν Φίλιππον, καὶ οὐκ εἶδεν αὐτὸν οὐκέτι ὁ εὐνοῦχος, ἐπορεύετο γὰρ τὴν ὁδὸν αὐτοῦ χαίρων.
Then when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord seized Philip and
Φίλιππος δὲ εὑρέθη εἰς Ἄζωτον, καὶ διερχόμενος εὐηγγελίζετο τὰς πόλεις πάσας ἕως τοῦ ἐλθεῖν αὐτὸν εἰς Καισάρειαν.