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Bible Commentaries
Acts 9

Haydock's Catholic Bible CommentaryHaydock's Catholic Commentary

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Verse 4

Why dost thou persecute me? My disciples, my brothers, and my friends. The head speaks for the members, and by a figure of speech, calls them itself. (St. Augustine, in Ps. xxx.) --- Here Jesus Christ identifies himself with his Church, as on a former occasion, when he said: he that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me. (Luke x. 16.)

Verse 5

To kick against the goad. Others translate against the pricks; others, against the sting. The metaphor is taken from oxen kicking, when pricked to go forward. (Witham)

Verse 7

There it shall be told thee, &c. The Almighty having established a Church, and ministry, the depositories of his doctrines, does not, even on this extraordinary occasion, transgress his own laws; but sends him to the ministers of religion, that instruction may be imparted through them, as through its proper channel. This observation is worthy the notice of the self-inspired of the present day, who pretend to receive their light direct from heaven. Nothing can be more opposite to the spirit of the gospel than such delusion. (Haydock) --- Hear the great St. Augustine: "Paul, though with the divine and heavenly voice prostrated and instructed, yet was sent to a man to receive the sacraments, and to be joined to the Church." (De Doct. Chris. lib. i. in prœm. --- Hearing, &c. This may be reconciled with what is said in the 22nd chapter by supposing they heard only St. Paul speak, or heard only a confused noise, which they could not understand. (Calmet)

Verse 8

And his eyes being open, either by himself, or by others, he saw nothing. See the circumstances related again, chap. xxii. and xxvi. (Witham)

Verse 9

Three days. During the time, he neither eat nor drank, to testify his sorrow for his past conduct. He likewise spent the time in prayer, to prepare himself for the reception of grace. (St. John Chrysostom, hom. xix.)

Verse 12

And he saw a man, &c. This verse, which is by way of a parenthesis, contains the words of the historian, St. Luke, telling us what St. Paul saw in a vision, and what the Spirit at the same time revealed to Ananias. (Witham) --- This verse is a parenthesis. It contains not the words of Christ to Ananias, but St. Luke here relates what was shewn to Paul, at the time Ananias entered. This vision was shewn to him, that he might know Ananias was sent by God. (Menochius)

Verse 15

A vessel of election. A chosen elect vessel, and minister of the gospel. (Witham) --- Greek: Skeous ekloges, an organ, or instrument. Thus Polybius uses the word, speaking of Damocles, Greek: ode en uperetikon skeuos, he was an excellent and choice character.

Verse 17

Laying his hands on him. This imposition of hands, made use of on different occasions, was to pray that he might receive his sight, as well as the grace of the Holy Ghost, which God sometimes gave to persons not yet baptized, as to Cornelius. (Acts x. 44.) (Witham) --- This imposition of hands, was not the same as that, by which the faithful were confirmed, or ordained ministers, but a ceremony commonly used by the apostles to restore health to the sick. If Saul, in consequence, receives the Holy Ghost, it was an extraordinary miraculous event, which was not an unfrequent circumstance in the infancy of Christianity. The Almighty, who establishes the laws of grace, can dispense with them himself whenever he pleases. (Calmet)

Verse 23

When many days were passed. By the account St. Paul gives of himself, (Galatians chap. i.) soon after his conversion he went into Arabia, and about three years after he might come to Damascus. Then it seems to have happened that they were for killing him, for becoming a Christian; and the brethren saved his life, by conveying him down the walls of the town in a basket. After this, he went to Jerusalem, where the disciples knew little of him, and were afraid of him, till St. Barnabas introduced him to the apostles, and gave an account of his conversion. (Witham) --- Many days. That is, three years. For Saul went for a time from Damascus to Arabia. (Galatians i. 17. and 18.) It was on his return from thence, that he Jews conspired against his life, as is here related. (Tirinus)

Verse 27

Brought him to the apostles Peter and James. See Galatians i. 18. and 19.

Verse 29

He spoke also to the Gentiles,[1] and disputed with the Grecians, or Hellenists. See chap. vi. ver. 1. By the Gentiles, many understand those who had been Gentiles, and were become proselytes or converts to the Jewish religion, and not those who still remained Gentiles. And by the Greeks, or Hellenists, they understand Jews, who had lived in places where they spoke Greek, or Hellenists, they understand Jews, who had lived in places where they spoke Greek, not Syriac, whom St. Paul endeavoured to convert to the Christian faith. (Witham)



Loquebatur quoque Gentibus, & disputabat cum Græcis. In almost all Greek copies, there is nothing for Gentibus, and we only read, he spoke and disputed with the Grecians, or Hellenists; Greek: pros tous Ellenistas. See chap. vi. ver. 1.


Verse 31

The Church visibly proceedeth still with much comfort and patience; she is perfected by persecution, and by means of the promised infallible protection, she has ever proved herself invulnerable to all the envenomed shafts of her adversaries.

Verse 35

Saron, or Assaron, is a mountain and city mentioned by Josue, xii. 18. From it all the plain from Cæsarea of Palestine to Joppe, is called Saron. It is a rich fertile country. (Tirinus)

Verse 36

Tabitha, in Syriac, means the same as Dorcas in Greek, that is, a wild goat. (Bible de Vence) --- See here the powerful effects of good works, and alms-deeds; they reach even to the next life. (Bristow) --- Hence that of the wise man, alms free from death.

Verse 37

Washed. This custom of washing the dead was observed among the Greeks, Romans, Hebrews, and most other nations. It is still practised in monasteries, and formerly was observed with much ceremony. St. John Chrysostom observes, that our Saviour’s body was washed and embalmed. The same custom is mentioned in Homer and Virgil: Corpusque lavant frigentis, et ungunt. --- And again,

Date, vulnera lymphis abluam. --- Æneid. iv.

--- Tertullian, in his Apology, testifies, that the Christians performed that office to the dead. It was a proof of their respect for the image of God impressed upon his creature, and for the character of Christian, which these persons have borne during their lives. It was likewise a sign of the confidence they had in a future resurrection.

Verse 39

Greek: Chiton was the under garment, Greek: Imation the upper.

Verse 40

And having put them all out, not to disturb him while he prayed. --- Sat up, raised herself a little: and Peter taking her by the hand, lifted her quite up, and calling in the company, presented her to them alive and well. (Witham)

Verse 41

Raising the dead to life can only be the work of God. This woman was raised to life for the comfort of the faithful, and the conversion of others. She herself might likewise have an opportunity of acquiring greater merit, otherwise the repose of another life is preferable to a return to the miseries of this world. (Denis the Carthusian)

Verse 43

In the Greek is added: instructing the new converts, and fortifying them in the faith they had just embraced.

Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Acts 9". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hcc/acts-9.html. 1859.
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