on Acts 17 :1
Passed through Amphipolis - This city was the metropolis of the first division of Macedonia, as made by Paulus Aemilius: see the note on Acts 16:10. It was builded by Cimon, the Athenian general, who sent 10,000 Athenians thither as a colony. It stood in an island in the river Strymon, and had its name of Amphipolis because included between the two grand branches of that river where they empty themselves into the sea, the river being on both sides of the city.
Apollonia - This was another city of Macedonia, between Amphipolis and Thessalonica. It does not appear that St. Paul stopped at any of these cities: and they are only mentioned by the historian as places through which the apostles passed on their way to Thessalonica. It is very likely that in these cities there were no Jews; and that might have been the reason why the apostles did not preach the Gospel there, for we find them almost constantly beginning with the Jews; and the Hellenist Jews, living among the Gentiles, became the medium through which the Gospel of Christ was conveyed to the heathen world.
Thessalonica - This was a celebrated city of Macedonia, situated on what was called the Thermaic Gulf. According to Stephanus Byzantinus, it was embellished and enlarged by Philip, king of Macedon, who called it Thessalonica, the victory of Thessalia, on account of the victory he obtained there over the Thessalians; but, prior to this, it was called Thermae. But Strabo, Tzetzes, and Zonaras, say that it was called Thessalonica, from Thessalonica, wife of Cassander, and daughter of Philip. It is now in possession of the Turks, and is called Salonichi, which is a mere corruption of the original name.
A synagogue of the Jews - Ἡ συναγωγη, The synagogue; for the article here must be considered as emphatic, there probably being no other synagogue in any other city in Macedonia. The Jews in different parts had other places of worship called proseuchas. as we have seen, Acts 16:13. At Thessalonica alone they appear to have had a synagogue.
on Acts 17 :1
Amphipolis - This was the capital of the eastern province of Macedonia. It was originally a colony of the Athenians, but under the Romans it was made the capital of that part of Macedonia. It was near to Thrace, and was situated not far from the mouth of the river Strymon, which flowed around the city, and thus occasioned its name, around the city. The distances laid down in the Itineraries in regard to these places are as follows: Philippi to Amphipolis, 33 miles; Amphipolis to Apollonia, 30 miles; Apollonia to Thessalonica, 37 miles. "These distances are evidently such as might have been traversed each in one day; and since nothing is said of any delay on the road, but everything to imply that the journey was rapid, we conclude (unless, indeed, their recent sufferings made rapid traveling impossible) that Paul and Silas rested one night at each of the intermediate places, and thus our notice of their journey is divided into three parts. The position of Amphipolis is one of the most important in Greece. It stands in a pass which Traverses the mountains bordering the Strymonic Gulf, and it commands the only easy communication from the coast of that gulf into the great Macedonian plains, which extend, for 60 miles, from beyond Meleniko to Philippi. The ancient name of the place was 'Nine Ways,' from the great number of Thracian and Macedonian roads which met at this point. The Athenians saw the importance of the position, and established a colony there, which they called Amphipolis, because the river surrounded it.
And Apollonia - This city was situated between Amphipolis and Thessalonica, and was formerly much celebrated for its trade.
They came to Thessalonica - This was a seaport of the second part of Macedonia. It is situated at the head of the Bay Thermaicus. It was made the capital of the second division of Macedonia by Aemilius Paulus, when he divided the country into four districts. It was formerly called Therma, but afterward received the name of Thessalonica, either from Cassander, in honor of his wife Thessalonica, the daughter of Philip, or in honor of a victory which Philip obtained over the armies of Thessaly. It was inhabited by Greeks, Romans, and Jews. It is now called Saloniki, and, from its situation, must always be a place of commercial importance. It is situated on the inner bend of the Thermaic Gulf, halfway between the Adriatic and the Hellespont, on the sea margin of a vast plain, watered by several rivers, and was evidently designed for a commercial emporium. It has a population at present of 60,000 or 70,000, about half of whom are Jews. They are said to have 36 synagogues, "none of them remarkable for their neatness or elegance of style." In this place a church was collected, to which Paul afterward addressed the two epistles to the Thessalonians.
Where was a synagogue - Greek: where was the synagogue (ἡ συναγωγὴ hē sunagōgē) of the Jews. It has been remarked by Grotius and Kuinoel that the article used here is emphatic, and denotes that there was probably no synagogue at Amphipolis and Apollonia. This was the reason why they passed through those places without making any delay.
on Acts 17 :1