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Acts 13:4-13

Context
Paul and Barnabas Preach in Cyprus

13:4 So Barnabas and Saul, 1  sent out by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia, 2  and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 3  13:5 When 4  they arrived 5  in Salamis, 6  they began to proclaim 7  the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. 8  (Now they also had John 9  as their assistant.) 10  13:6 When they had crossed over 11  the whole island as far as Paphos, 12  they found a magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus, 13  13:7 who was with the proconsul 14  Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. The proconsul 15  summoned 16  Barnabas and Saul and wanted to hear 17  the word of God. 13:8 But the magician Elymas 18  (for that is the way his name is translated) 19  opposed them, trying to turn the proconsul 20  away from the faith. 13:9 But Saul (also known as Paul), 21  filled with the Holy Spirit, 22  stared straight 23  at him 13:10 and said, “You who are full of all deceit and all wrongdoing, 24  you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness – will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 25  13:11 Now 26  look, the hand of the Lord is against 27  you, and you will be blind, unable to see the sun for a time!” Immediately mistiness 28  and darkness came over 29  him, and he went around seeking people 30  to lead him by the hand. 13:12 Then when the proconsul 31  saw what had happened, he believed, 32  because he was greatly astounded 33  at the teaching about 34  the Lord.

Paul and Barnabas at Pisidian Antioch

13:13 Then Paul and his companions put out to sea 35  from Paphos 36  and came to Perga 37  in Pamphylia, 38  but John 39  left them and returned to Jerusalem. 40 

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

2 sn Seleucia was the port city of Antioch in Syria.

3 sn Cyprus was a large island in the Mediterranean off the south coast of Asia Minor.

4 tn Grk “And when.” 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.

5 tn The participle γενόμενοι (genomenoi) is taken temporally.

6 sn Salamis was a city on the southeastern coast of the island of Cyprus. This was a commercial center and a center of Judaism.

7 tn The imperfect verb κατήγγελλον (kathngellon) has been translated as an ingressive imperfect.

8 sn See the note on synagogue in 6:9.

9 sn John refers here to John Mark (see Acts 12:25).

10 tn The word ὑπηρέτης (Juphreth") usually has the meaning “servant,” but it is doubtful John Mark fulfilled that capacity for Barnabas and Saul. He was more likely an apprentice or assistant to them.

sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

11 tn Or “had passed through,” “had traveled through.”

12 sn Paphos. A city on the southwestern coast of the island of Cyprus. It was the seat of the Roman proconsul.

13 sn Named Bar-Jesus. “Jesus” is the Latin form of the name “Joshua.” The Aramaic “bar” means “son of,” so this man was surnamed “son of Joshua.” The scene depicts the conflict between Judaism and the emerging new faith at a cosmic level, much like the Simon Magus incident in Acts 8:9-24. Paul’s ministry looks like Philip’s and Peter’s here.

14 sn The proconsul was the Roman official who ruled over a province traditionally under the control of the Roman senate.

15 tn Grk “This one”; the referent (the proconsul) is specified in the translation for clarity.

16 tn Grk “summoning Barnabas and Saul, wanted to hear.” The participle προσκαλεσάμενος (proskalesameno") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

17 sn The proconsul…wanted to hear the word of God. This description of Sergius Paulus portrays him as a sensitive, secular Gentile leader.

18 tn On the debate over what the name “Elymas” means, see BDAG 320 s.v. ᾿Ελύμας. The magician’s behavior is more directly opposed to the faith than Simon Magus’ was.

19 sn A parenthetical note by the author.

20 sn The proconsul was the Roman official who ruled over a province traditionally under the control of the Roman senate.

21 sn A parenthetical note by the author.

22 sn This qualifying clause in the narrative indicates who represented God in the dispute.

23 tn Or “gazed intently.”

24 tn Or “unscrupulousness.”

25 sn “You who…paths of the Lord?” This rebuke is like ones from the OT prophets: Jer 5:27; Gen 32:11; Prov 10:7; Hos 14:9. Five separate remarks indicate the magician’s failings. The closing rhetorical question of v. 10 (“will you not stop…?”) shows how opposed he is to the way of God.

26 tn Grk “And now.” 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.

27 tn Grk “upon,” but in a negative sense.

28 sn The term translated mistiness here appears in the writings of the physician Galen as a medical technical description of a person who is blind. The picture of judgment to darkness is symbolic as well. Whatever power Elymas had, it represented darkness. Magic will again be an issue in Acts 19:18-19. This judgment is like that of Ananias and his wife in Acts 5:1-11.

29 tn Grk “fell on.”

30 tn The noun χειραγωγός (ceiragwgo") is plural, so “people” is used rather than singular “someone.”

31 sn See the note on proconsul in v. 8.

32 sn He believed. The faith of the proconsul in the face of Jewish opposition is a theme of the rest of Acts. Paul has indeed become “a light to the Gentiles” (Acts 13:47).

33 tn The translation “greatly astounded” for ἐκπλησσόμενος (ekplhssomeno") is given by L&N 25.219.

34 tn Grk “of,” but this could give the impression the Lord himself had done the teaching (a subjective genitive) when actually the Lord was the object of the teaching (an objective genitive).

35 tn BDAG 62 s.v. ἀνάγω 4, “as a nautical t.t. (. τὴν ναῦν put a ship to sea), mid. or pass. ἀνάγεσθαι to begin to go by boat, put out to sea.”

36 sn Paphos was a city on the southwestern coast of the island of Cyprus. See Acts 13:6.

37 sn Perga was a city in Pamphylia near the southern coast of Asia Minor. The journey from Paphos to Perga is about 105 mi (175 km).

38 sn Pamphylia was a province in the southern part of Asia Minor.

39 sn That is, John Mark.

40 sn Returned to Jerusalem. John Mark had originally accompanied them from Jerusalem (see Acts 12:25). John Mark’s decision to leave became an issue later for Barnabas and Paul (Acts 15:36-39).

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



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