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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 16 - Verse 16

Verse 16. As we went to prayer. Greek, As we were going to the proseuchae, the place of prayer, Ac 16:13. Whether this was on the same day in which the conversion of Lydia occurred, or at another time, is not mentioned by the historian.

A certain damsel. A maid; a young woman.

Possessed with a spirit of divination. Greek, Python. See the margin. Python, or Pythios, was one of the names of Apollo, the Grecian god of the fine arts, of music, poetry, medicine, and eloquence. Of these he was esteemed to have been the inventor. He was reputed to be the third son of Jupiter and Latona. He had a celebrated temple and oracle at Delphi, which was resorted to from all parts of the world, and which was perhaps the only oracle that was in universal repute. The name Python is said to have been given him, because, as soon as he was born, he destroyed with arrows a serpent of that name, that had been seen by Juno to persecute Latona; hence his common name was the Pythian Apollo. He had temples on Mount Parnassus, at Delphi, Delos, Claros, Tenedos, etc., and his worship was almost universal In the celebrated oracle at Delphi, the priestess of Apollo pretended to be inspired; became violently agitated during the periods of pretended inspiration; and during those periods gave such responses to inquirers as were regarded as the oracles of the god. Others would also make pretensions to such inspiration; and the art of fortune-telling, or of jugglery, was extensively practised, and was the source of much gain. See Barnes "Ac 8:8-10".

What was the cause of this extensive delusion in regard to the oracle at Delphi, it is not necessary now to inquire. It is plain that Paul regarded this as a case of demoniacal possession, and treated it accordingly.

Her masters. Those in whose employ she was.

By soothsaying. Pretending to foretell future events.

{c} "possessed with" 1 Sa 28:7 {1} "divination" "Python" {d} "gain by soothsaying" Ac 19:24 {*} "soothsaying" "Divining"

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