on Acts 16 :19
When her masters saw - It appears she was maintained by some men, who received a certain pay from every person whose fortune she told, or to whom she made any discovery of stolen goods, etc., etc.
The hope of their gains was gone - Ἡ ελπις, This hope; viz. the spirit. So completely was this spirit cast out that the girl could divine no more; and yet she continued a heathen still, for we do not hear a word of her conversion. Had she been converted, got baptized, and been associated with the apostles, the family of Lydia, etc., there would have been some show of reason to believe that there had been no possession in the case, and that the spirit of divination coming out of her meant no more than that, through scruple of conscience, she had left off her imposing arts, and would no longer continue to pretend to do what she knew she could not perform. But she still continued with her masters, though now utterly unable to disclose any thing relative to futurity!
Drew them into the market-place - This was the place of public resort, and, by bringing them here, they might hope to excite a general clamor against them; and probably those who are here called τους αρχοντας, the rulers, were civil magistrates, who kept offices in such public places, for the preservation of the peace of the city. But these words, the rulers, are suspected to be an interpolation by some critics: I think on no good ground.
on Acts 16 :19
The hope of their gains was gone - It was this that troubled and enraged them. Instead of regarding the act as proof of divine power, they were intent only on their profits. Their indignation furnishes a remarkable illustration of the fixedness with which people will regard wealth; of the fact that the love of it will blind them to all the truths of religion, and all the proofs of the power and presence of God; and of the fact that any interposition of divine power that destroys their hopes of gain, fills them with wrath, and hatred, and complaining. Many a man has been opposed to God and his gospel because, if religion should be extensively prevalent, his hopes of gain would be gone. Many a slave-dealer, and many a trafficker in ardent spirits, and many a man engaged in other unlawful modes of gain, has been unwilling to abandon his employments simply because his hopes of gain would be destroyed. No small part of the opposition to the gospel arises from the fact that, if embraced, it would strike at so much of the dishonorable employments of people, and make them honest and conscientious.
The market-place - The court or forum. The market-place was a place of concourse, and the courts were often held in or near those places.
The rulers - The term used here refers commonly to civil magistrates.
on Acts 16 :19
16:19 The magistrates - The supreme magistrates of the city. In the next verse they are called by a title which often signifies pretors. These officers exercised both the military and civil authority.