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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 8 - Verse 27

Verse 27. A Man of Ethiopia. Gaza was near the confines between Palestine and Egypt. It was in the direct road from Jerusalem to Egypt. Ethiopia was one of the great kingdoms of Africa, part of which is now called Abyssinia. It is frequently mentioned in Scriptare under the name of Cush. But Cush comprehended a much larger region, including the southern part of Arabia, and even sometimes the countries adjacent to the Tigris and Euphrates. Ethiopia Proper lay south of Egypt, on the Nile, and was bounded north by Egypt, that is, by the cataracts near Syene; east by the Red Sea, and perhaps part by the Indian Ocean; south by unknown regions in the interior of Africa; and west by Lybia and the deserts. It comprehended the modern kingdoms of Nubia or Sennaar, and Abyssinia. The chief city in it was the ancient Meroe, situated on the island or tract of the same name, between the Nile and Ashtaborus, not far from the modern Shendi. (Robinson's Calmet,)

An eunuch, etc. See Barnes "Mt 19:12".

Eunuchs were commonly employed in attendance on the females of the harem; but the word is often used to denote any confidential officer, or counsellor of state. It is evidently so used here.

Of great authority. Of high rank; an officer of the court. It is clear, from what follows, that this man was a Jew. But it is known that Jews were often raised to posts of high honour and distinction in foreign courts, as in the case of Joseph in Egypt, and of Daniel in Babylon.

Under Candace, etc. Candace is said to have been the common name of the queens of Ethiopia, as Pharaoh was of the sovereigns of Egypt. This is expressly stated by Pliny. (Nat. Hist. vii. 29.) His words are, "The edifices of the city were few; a woman reigned there of the name of CANDACE, which name had been transmitted to these queens for many years." Strabo mentions also a queen of Ethiopia of the name of Candace. Speaking of an insurrection against the Romans, he says, "Among these were the officers of queen CANDANCE, who in our days reigned over the Ethiopians." As this could not have been the Candace mentioned here, it is plain that the name was common to these queens—a sort of royal title. She was probably queen of Meroe, an important part of Ethiopia. (Bruce's Travels, vol. ii. p. 431—Clarke.)

Who had the charge, etc. The treasurer was an officer of high trust and responsibility.

And had come, etc. This proves that he was a Jew, or at least a Jewish proselyte. It was customary for the Jews in foreign lands, as far as practicable, to attend the great feasts at Jerusalem. He had gone up to attend the Passover, etc. See Barnes "Ac 2:5".

 

{e} "man of Ethiopia" Zep 3:10 {f} "an eunuch of high" Isa 56:3-5

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