on Acts 9 :27
Barnabas - brought him to the apostles - That is, to Peter and James; for others of the apostles he saw none, Galatians 1:19. It appears that he went up at this time to Jerusalem merely to see Peter, with whom he abode fifteen days, Galatians 1:18. How it came that the apostles and Church at Jerusalem had not heard of Saul's conversion, which had taken place three years before, is not easy to be accounted for. The following considerations may help;
1. It is certain that intelligence did not travel speedily in those primitive times; there were few open roads, and no regular posts, except those between military stations.
2. Though there were many Jews in Damascus, and several Christians, yet the city was heathen, and under a heathen king, with whom the Jews at Jerusalem could have little commerce.
3. Though Herod had married the daughter of Aretas, yet, as he had put her away, there were great animosities between the two courts, which at last broke out into an open war; this must have prevented all social and commercial intercourse.
4. The Christians were at that time greatly persecuted by the Jews, and therefore the few that dwelt at Damascus could have little connection, if any, with their brethren at Jerusalem.
5. It might be the interest of the Jews at Jerusalem, supposing they had heard of it, to keep the fact of Saul's conversion as quiet as possible, that the Christian cause might not gain credit by it.
6. They might have heard of his conversion; but either did not fully credit what they had heard, or were not satisfied that the person who now presented himself was the man; for it is not likely that all the Christians at Jerusalem had been personally acquainted with Saul.
on Acts 9 :27
But Barnabas - See the notes on Acts 4:36. Barnabas was of Cyprus, not far from Tarsus, and it is not improbable that he had been before acquainted with Saul.
To the apostles - To Peter and James, Galatians 1:18-19. Probably the other apostles were at that time absent from Jerusalem.
And declared unto them ... - It may seem remarkable that the apostles at Jerusalem had not before heard of the conversion of Saul. The following considerations may serve in some degree to explain this:
(1) It is certain that contact between different countries was then much more difficult than it is now. There were no posts; no public conveyances; no mails; no telegraphs; nothing that corresponded with our modes of contact between one part of the world and another.
(2) there was at this time a state of animosity amounting to hostility subsisting between Herod and Aretas. Herod the tetrarch had married the daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia, and had put her away (Josephus, Antiq., book 18, chapter 5, section 1, 2). The result of this was a long misunderstanding between them, and a war; and the effects of that war might have been to interrupt the communication very much throughout all that country.
(3) though the Jews at Jerusalem might have heard of the conversion of Saul, yet it was for their interest to keep it a secret, and not to mention it to Christians. But,
(4) Though the Christians who were there had heard of it, yet it is probable that they were not fully informed on the subject; that they had not had all the evidence of his conversion which they desired; and that they looked with suspicion on him. It was therefore proper that they should have a full statement of the evidence of his conversion; and this was made by Barnabas.
on Acts 9 :27
9:27 To the apostles - Peter and James, Gal. i, 18, 19. Gal 1:18,19 And declared - He who has been an enemy to the truth ought not to be trusted till he gives proof that he is changed.