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Bible Commentaries

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary
Acts 13



Other Authors
Verse 1

Manahen ... foster-brother to Herod, or nursed with the same milk. (Witham) --- It would appear from his having been brought up with Herod, that he was of noble parentage. He is likewise believed to have been one of the seventy-two disciples. The Latins keep his feast on the 24th of May. (Calmet)

Verse 2



Ministrantibus illus, Greek: leitourgounton de auton.

Verse 3

Fasting and prayer, imposing their hands upon them. By which is clearly expressed, the manner in which the ministers of God were, and are still ordained bishops, priests, deacons in the Church. (Witham) --- Interpreters are much divided in opinion, whether this imposition of hands be a mere deputation to a certain employment, or the sacramental ceremony, by which orders are conferred. Sts. Chrysostom, Leo, &c. are of the latter opinion; nor does it any where appear that St. Paul was bishop before this. Arator, sub-deacon of the Church of Rome, who dedicated in the year 544 his version of the Acts of the Apostles into heroic verse to Pope Virgilius, attributes this imposition of hands to St. Peter: ----------Quem mox sacravit euntem

Imposita Petrus ille manu, cui sermo magistri

Omnia posse dedit.----------

--- See his printed poems in 4to. Venice, an. 1502. Arator was sent in quality of ambassador from Athalaric to the emperor Justinian. --- Following the practice of the apostles, the Church of God ordains a solemn and general fast on the four public times for ordination, the ember days, as a necessary preparation for so great a work, and this St. Leo calls also an apostolical tradition. See St. Leo, serm. ix. de jejun. and ep. lxxxi. chap. 1. and serm. iii. and iv. de jejun. 7. mensis.--- Nor was this fasting a fasting from sin, as some ridiculously affirm, for such fasting was a universal obligatin: nor was it left to each one's discretion, as certain heretics maintained. See St. Augustine, hæres. iii.

Verse 5

In the synagogues of the Jews, preaching first the gospel ot them. (Witham)

Verse 6

A magician ... whose name was Bar-jesu, son of Jesus, or Josue. In Arabic, Elymas is the same as magician. This man did all he could to dissuade the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, from embracing the Christian faith. (Witham) --- Salamina was the capital of the island of Cyprus, and at the eastern extremity, as Paphos was at the western. A. D. 45. [the year A.D. 45.]

Verse 9

Then Saul, who also is Paul. This is the first time we find the apostle called Paul. Some, therefore, think it was given him when he converted this proconsul, Sergius Paulus. Others, that Saul being a Hebrew word, the Greeks, or rather the Romans, turned it into Paul. (Witham) --- This is the first place in which this apostle is called Paul. He took this name out of respect to the illustrious convert he had made in the person of the proconsul, the governor of the island. (Menochius) --- Or, more probably, his former name, by a small change, was modelled into Paulus, which was a sound more adapted to a Roman ear. He begins to bear this name only, when he enters on his mission to the Gentiles. (Calmet)

Verse 10

Son of the devil. Sharp language, when grounded on truth, may be used against those who hinder the conversion of others. St. John Chrysostom says, he was struck with this blindness only for a time, to make him enter into himself, and be converted. (Witham)

Verse 14

Antioch. Many cities in Asia Minor bore this name. It is related that Seleucus Nicanor built many, and called them by this name, in honour of his father Antiochus. (Tirinus) --- Pamphylia and Pisidia were two provinces in Asia Minor. --- The sabbath-day. Some not only understand, but even translate, the first day of the week: but here is rather meant the Jewish sabbath, as St. Paul went into their synagogues. And in this his first sermon to them, which St. Luke has set down, he speaks nothing that could offend or exasperate the Jews, but honourably of them, to gain them to the Christian faith; he commends in particular David, whose Son they knew the Messias was to be: and of whom he tells them, that God had given them their Saviour, Jesus. He mentions this high eulogium, which God gave of David, Psalm lxxxviii. 21. that he was a man according to God's heart, who in all things should fulfil his will, that is, as to the true worship of God; though he fell into some sins, of which he repented, and did penance. (Witham)

Verse 19

These seven nations are the Chanaanites, the Hethites, the Hevites, the Pherezites, the Gergesites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorrhites. (Josue iii. 10. and elsewhere)

Verse 20

only gives about 350 years from the entrance into the land of promise to the end of Samuel's judicial government, who was the last of the judges. (Bible de Vence)

Verse 24

then brings the testimony, which John the Baptist gave of Jesus, as it is likely many of them had heard of John, and of the great esteem that all the people had of his virtue and sanctity. He tells them that salvation was offered and sent them by Jesus, against whom the chief of the Jews at Jerusalem obtained of Pilate a sentence, that he should be crucified; but that God raised him up from the dead the third day. And we, says he, publish to you this promise, the Messias, promised to our forefathers.

Verse 33

then shews them that Jesus was their Messias, and the Son of God, begotten of his Father from eternity, who rose from the dead, and he applies these words, (Psalm ii. 7.) to prove Christ's resurrection, thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee. It is true, these words regard chiefly the eternal generation of Christ, as they are applied by St. Paul, (Hebrews v. 5.) but the resurrection was a necessary consequence of his divinity, since death could have no power over him. St. Paul here also proves Christ's resurrection by the following predictions. (Witham) --- Second psalm. The oldest copy reads, first psalm. The difference is merely in words; for the division of the psalter at present is very different from what it formerly was: sometimes a single psalm of ours being divided into many, and many of our divisions making only one, according to the Hebrews. The latter are not even now agreed among themselves on the same division of the psalms. (Calmet) --- Some suppose, that what we call the first psalm was originally looked upon as a preface to the psalter; others, that our first and second psalms united in one. (Mat. Polus.)

Verse 34

I will give you the holy things of David sure. These are the words of the prophet Isaias, lv. ver. 3. According to the Septuagint the sense is, I will faithfully fulfil the promises I made to David. (Challoner)

Verse 35

In another place also he saith, (Psalm xv. 10.) thou wilt not suffer thy holy one to see corruption. That is, Christ's body to be corrupted in the grave. See the words of St. Peter, Acts chap. ii. 27. (Witham)

Verse 36

After he had served in his generation. That is, in his life-time, saw corruption, or was corrupted in the grave. (Witham)

Verse 37


Justified. That your sins being forgiven by the merits of Christ, you may be truly just in the sight of God. (Witham)

Verse 37-38

Justified. That your sins being forgiven by the merits of Christ, you may be truly just in the sight of God. (Witham)

Verse 39

law of Moses was then imperfect. I shew you its completion, by preaching to you Christ, whom it foretold. You would violate the law of Moses by opposing the new law, to which he leads you. (Tirinus)

Verse 40

then that you reject not this divine Saviour, lest what has been denounced by the prophets fall upon your incredulous heads: I will abandon the holy place which I entrusted to you; I will cease to look upon you as my people; I will transfer my kingdom to the Gentiles. (Bible de Vence)

Verse 41



Habacuc i. 5. In the Latin text, and according to the Hebrew, aspicite in Gentibus: but in the Septuagint and Greek here, Greek: idete kataphronetai.

Verse 44

The whole city. Not only Jews, but a great many Gentiles, which exasperated the envious Jews. (Witham)

Verse 48



Præordinati, Greek: tetagmenoi, on which St. John Chrysostom says, Greek: toutesti aphorismenoi, prædefiniti.


Verse 51

Shaking off the dust, &c. See the Annotations, Matthew x. 14.


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Bibliography Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Acts 13:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, November 28th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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