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Acts 16:16

    Acts 16:16 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    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:

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    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:

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    And it came to pass, as we were going to the place of prayer, that a certain maid having a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much gain by soothsaying.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And when we were going to the place of prayer, we came across a girl with a spirit which gave knowledge of the future, whose masters made great profit from her power.

    Webster's Revision

    And it came to pass, as we were going to the place of prayer, that a certain maid having a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much gain by soothsaying.

    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.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    And it came to pass, as we were going to the place of prayer, that a certain maid having a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying.

    Definitions for Acts 16:16

    Soothsaying - Foretune-telling

    Clarke's Commentary on Acts 16:16

    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.

    Barnes' Notes on Acts 16:16

    As we went to prayer - Greek: as we were going to the proseuche, 'the place of prayer, Acts 16:13. Whether this was on the same day in which the conversion of Lydia occurred, or at another time, is not mentioned by the historian.

    A certain damsel - A maid, a young woman.

    Possessed with a spirit of divination - Greek: Python. See the margin. Python, or Pythios, was one of the names of Apollo, the Grecian god of the fine arts, of music, poetry, medicine, and eloquence. Of these he was esteemed to have been the inventor. He was reputed to be the third son of Jupiter and Latona. He had a celebrated temple and oracle at Delphi, which was resorted to from all parts of the world, and which was perhaps the only oracle that was in universal repute. The name Python is said to have been given him because, as soon as he was born, he destroyed with arrows a serpent of that name, that had been sent by Juno to persecute Latona; hence, his common name was the Pythian Apollo. He had temples on Mount Parnassus, at Delphi, Delos, Claros, Tenedos, etc., and his worship was almost universal. In the celebrated oracle at Delphi, the priestess of Apollo pretended to be inspired; became violently agitated during the periods of pretended inspiration; and during those periods gave such responses to inquirers as were regarded as the oracles of the god. Others, it is probable, would also make pretensions to such inspiration; and the art of fortune-telling, or of jugglery, was extensively practiced, and was the source of much gain. See the notes on Acts 8:8-10. What was the cause of this extensive delusion in regard to the oracle at Delphi it is not necessary now to inquire. It is plain that Paul regarded this as a case of demoniacal possession, and treated it accordingly.

    Her masters - Those in whose employ she was.

    By soothsaying - Pretending to foretell future events.