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Acts 8:39

    Acts 8:39 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more, for he went on his way rejoicing.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took Philip away; and the Ethiopian saw him no more, for he went on his way full of joy.

    Webster's Revision

    And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more, for he went on his way rejoicing.

    World English Bible

    When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, and the eunuch didn't see him any more, for he went on his way rejoicing.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more, for he went on his way rejoicing.

    Clarke's Commentary on Acts 8:39

    The Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip - Perhaps this means no more than that the Holy Spirit suggested to the mind of Philip that he should withdraw abruptly from the eunuch, and thus leave him to pursue his journey, reflecting on the important incidents which had taken place. Some suppose that the angel of the Lord, and the Spirit of the Lord, are the same person throughout this chapter. There is a remarkable reading in the Codex Alexandrinus which exists thus in two lines: -

    ΠΝΑΑΓΙΟΝΕΠΕΠΕΞΕΝΕΠΙΤΟΝΕΥΝΟΥΧΟΝ

    The Spirit of the Lord fell upon the eunuch:

    ΑΓΓΕΛΟΞΔΕΚΥΗΡΠΑΞΕΝΤΟΝΦΙΛΙΠΠΟΝ.

    But the angel of the Lord snatched away Philip.

    This reading is found in several other MSS. and in some versions. Many think that the Spirit or angel of God carried off Philip in some such manner as the Apocrypha represents the transportation of Habakkuk, who was taken up by the hair of the head, and carried from Judea to Babylon! For such an interposition there was no need. When Philip had baptized the eunuch, the Spirit of God showed him that it was not the will of God that he should accompany the eunuch to Meroe, but, on the contrary, that he should hasten away to Ashdod; as God had in that, and the neighboring places, work sufficient to employ him in.

    Barnes' Notes on Acts 8:39

    Out of the water - ἐκ ek. This preposition stands opposed to εἰς eis, "into"; and as that may mean to, so this may mean From; if that means into, this means here out of.

    The Spirit of the Lord - See Acts 8:29. The Spirit had suggested to Philip to go to meet the eunuch, and the same Spirit, now that he had fulfilled the design of his going there, directed his departure.

    Caught away - This phrase has been usually understood of a forcible or miraculous removal of Philip to some other place. Some have even supposed that he was borne through the air by an angel (see even Doddridge). To such foolish interpretations have many expositors been led. The meaning is, clearly, that the Spirit, who had directed Philip to go near the eunuch, now removed him in a similar manner. That this is the meaning is clear:

    (1) Because it accounts for all that occurred. It is not wise to suppose the existence of a miracle except where the effect cannot otherwise be accounted for, and except where there is a plain statement that there was a miracle.

    (2) the word "caught away" ἥρπασεν hērpasen does not imply that there was a miracle. The word properly means "to seize and bear away anything violently, without the consent of the owner," as robbers and plunderers do. Then it signifies to remove anything in a forcible manner; to make use of strength or power to remove it, Acts 23:10; Matthew 13:19; John 10:28; 2 Corinthians 12:2, 2 Corinthians 12:4, etc. In no case does it ever denote that a miracle is performed. And all that can be signified here is, that the Spirit strongly admonished Philip to go to some other place; that he so forcibly or vividly suggested the duty to his mind as to tear him away, as it were, from the society of the eunuch. He had been deeply interested in the case. He would have found pleasure in continuing the journey with him. But the strong convictions of duty urged by the Holy Spirit impelled him, as it were, to break off this new and interesting acquaintanceship, and to go to some other place. The purpose for which he was sent, to instruct and baptize the eunuch, was accomplished, and now he was called to some other field of labor. A similar instance of interpretation has been considered in the notes on Matthew 4:5.

    And he went on his way rejoicing - His mind was enlightened on a perplexing passage of Scripture. He was satisfied respecting the Messiah. He was baptized; and he experienced what all feel who embrace the Saviour and are baptized - joy. It was joy resulting from the fact that he was reconciled to God; and a joy the natural effect of having done his duty promptly in making a profession of religion. If we wish happiness if we would avoid clouds and gloom, we should do our duty at once. If we delay until tomorrow what we ought to do today, we may expect to be troubled with melancholy thoughts. If we find peace, it will be in doing promptly just what God requires at our hands. This is the last that we hear of this man. Some have supposed that he carried the gospel to Ethiopia, and preached it there. But there is strong evidence to believe that the gospel was not preached there successfully until about the year 330 a.d., when it was introduced by Frumentius, sent to Abyssinia for that purpose by Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria. From this narrative we may learn:

    (1) That God often prepares the mind to receive the truth.

    (2) that this takes place sometimes with the great and the noble, as well as the poor and obscure.

    (3) that we should study the Scriptures. This is the way in which God usually directs the mind in the truths of religion.

    (4) that they who read the Bible with candor and care may expect that God will, in some mode, guide them into the truth. It will often be in a way which they least expect; but they need not be afraid of being left to darkness or error.

    (5) that we should be ready at all times to speak to sinners. God often prepares their minds, as he did that of the eunuch, to receive the truth.

    (6) that we should not be afraid of the great, he rich, or of strangers. God often prepares their minds to receive the truth; and we may find a man willing to hear of the Saviour where we least expected it.

    (7) that we should do our duty in this respect, as Philip did, promptly. We should not delay or hesitate, but should at once do that which we believe to be in accordance with the will of God. See Psalm 119:60.

    Wesley's Notes on Acts 8:39

    8:39 The Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip - Carried him away with a miraculous swiftness, without any action or labour of his own. This had befallen several of the prophets.