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Acts 8:25-27

Context

8:25 So after Peter and John 1  had solemnly testified 2  and spoken the word of the Lord, 3  they started back to Jerusalem, proclaiming 4  the good news to many Samaritan villages 5  as they went. 6 

Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch

8:26 Then an angel of the Lord 7  said to Philip, 8  “Get up and go south 9  on the road that goes down from Jerusalem 10  to Gaza.” (This is a desert 11  road.) 12  8:27 So 13  he got up 14  and went. There 15  he met 16  an Ethiopian eunuch, 17  a court official of Candace, 18  queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasury. He 19  had come to Jerusalem to worship, 20 

1 tn Grk “after they”; the referents (Peter and John) have been specified in the translation for clarity.

2 tn The verb διαμαρτύρομαι (diamarturomai) can mean “warn,” and could be taken to refer specifically to the warning given to Simon in the preceding verses. However, a more general reference is more likely, referring to parting exhortations from Peter and John to the entire group of believers.

3 sn The word of the Lord is a technical expression in OT literature, often referring to a divine prophetic utterance (e.g., Gen 15:1, Isa 1:10, Jonah 1:1). In the NT it occurs 15 times: 3 times as ῥῆμα τοῦ κυρίου (rJhma tou kuriou; Luke 22:61, Acts 11:16, 1 Pet 1:25) and 12 times as λόγος τοῦ κυρίου (logo" tou kuriou; here and in Acts 13:44, 48, 49; 15:35, 36; 16:32; 19:10, 20; 1 Thess 1:8, 4:15; 2 Thess 3:1). As in the OT, this phrase focuses on the prophetic nature and divine origin of what has been said.

4 tn Grk “they were returning to Jerusalem and were proclaiming.” The first imperfect is taken ingressively and the second is viewed iteratively (“proclaiming…as they went”).

5 sn By proclaiming the good news to many Samaritan villages, the apostles now actively share in the broader ministry the Hellenists had started.

6 tn “As they went” is not in the Greek text, but is implied by the imperfect tense (see tn above).

7 tn Or “the angel of the Lord.” See the note on the word “Lord” in 5:19.

8 tn Grk “Lord spoke to Philip, saying.” The redundant participle λέγων (legwn) has not been translated.

9 tn Or “Get up and go about noon.” The phrase κατὰ μεσημβρίαν (kata meshmbrian) can be translated either “about noon” (L&N 67.74) or “toward the south” (L&N 82.4). Since the angel’s command appears to call for immediate action (“Get up”) and would not therefore need a time indicator, a directional reference (“toward the south”) is more likely here.

10 map For the location of Jerusalem see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

11 tn Or “wilderness.”

12 tn The words “This is a desert road” are probably best understood as a comment by the author of Acts, but it is possible they form part of the angel’s speech to Philip, in which case the verse would read: “Get up and go south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza – the desert road.”

sn The concluding note about the road appears to be a parenthetical note by the author.

13 tn Grk “And,” but καί (kai) carries something of a resultative force in this context because what follows describes Philip’s response to the angel’s command.

14 tn Grk “So getting up he went.” The aorist participle ἀναστάς (anastas) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

15 tn Grk “And there.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

16 tn Grk “and behold.” This expression is used to portray Philip’s encounter with the Ethiopian in a vivid way. In the English translation this vividness is difficult to convey; it is necessary to supply the words “he met.”

17 sn The term eunuch normally referred to a man who had been castrated, but this was not always the case (see Gen 39:1 LXX, where Potiphar is called a eunuch). Such castrated individuals were preferred as court officials in the East, although Judaism opposed the practice. The Mosaic law excluded eunuchs from Israel (Deut 23:1), although God certainly accepted them (Isa 56:3-5; Wis 3:14). This individual was a high official, since he was said to be in charge of all her treasury. He may or may not have been a eunuch physically. He appears to be the first fully Gentile convert to Christianity, since the Samaritans mentioned previously (Acts 8:4-25) were regarded as half-breeds.

18 tn Or “the Candace” (the title of the queen of the Ethiopians). The term Κανδάκης (Kandakh") is much more likely a title rather than a proper name (like Pharaoh, which is a title); see L&N 37.77. A few, however, still take the word to be the name of the queen (L&N 93.209). BDAG 507 s.v. Κανδάκη, treats the term as a title and lists classical usage by Strabo (Geography 17.1.54) and others.

sn Candace was the title of the queen of the Ethiopians. Ethiopia refers to the kingdom of Nubia in the northern Sudan, whose capital was Meroe (not to be confused with Abyssinia, which was later called Ethiopia and converted to Christianity in the 4th century a.d.). Classical writers refer to several queens of Meroe in the 1st century b.c. and 1st century a.d. who had the title Candace (Kandake). The Candace referred to here was probably Amantitere, who ruled a.d. 25-41.

19 tn Grk “who was over all her treasury, who.” The two consecutive relative clauses make for awkward English style, so the second was begun as a new sentence with the pronoun “he” supplied in place of the Greek relative pronoun to make a complete sentence in English.

20 sn Since this man had come to Jerusalem to worship, he may have been a proselyte to Judaism. This event is a precursor to Acts 10.



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