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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 9 - Verse 5

Verse 5. And he said, Who art thou, Lord? The word Lord here, as is frequently the case in the New Testament, means no more than Sir, Joh 4:19. It is evident that Saul did not as yet know that this was the Lord Jesus. He heard the voice as of a man; he heard himself addressed; but by whom the words were spoken was to him unknown. In his amazement and confusion, he naturally asked who it was that was thus addressing him.

And the Lord said. In this place the word Lord is used, in a higher sense, to denote the Saviour. It is his usual appellation. See Barnes "Ac 1:24".


I am Jesus. It is clear from this, that there was a personal appearance of the Saviour; that he was present to Saul; but in what particular form whether seen as a man, or only appearing by the manifestation of his glory—is not affirmed. It was a personal appearance, however, of the Lord Jesus, designed to take the work of converting such a persecutor into his own hands, without the ordinary means. Yet he designed to convert him in a natural way. He arrested his attention; filled him with alarm at his guilt; and then presented the truth respecting himself. In Ac 22:8, the expression is thus recorded: "I am Jesus of Nazareth," etc. There is no contradiction, as Luke here records only a part of what was said; Paul afterwards stated the whole. This declaration was fitted peculiarly to humble and mortify Saul. There can be no doubt that he had often blasphemed his name, and profanely derided the notion that the Messiah could come out of Nazareth. Jesus here uses, however, that very designation: "I am Jesus the Nazarene, the object of your contempt and scorn." Yet Saul saw him now invested with peculiar glory.

It is hard, etc. This is evidently a proverbial expression. Kuinoel has quoted numerous places in which a similar mode of expression occurs in Greek writers. Thus Euripides, Bacch. 791: "I, who am a frail mortal, should rather sacrifice to him who is a God, than, by giving place to anger, kick against the goads." So Pindar, Pyth. ii. 173: "It is profitable to bear willingly the assumed yoke. To kick against the goad is pernicious conduct." So Terence, Phome. 1, 2, 27: "It is foolishness for thee to kick against a goad." Ovid has the same idea, (Trist. b. ii. 15.) The word translated "pricks" here—kentra—means, properly, any sharp point which will pierce or perforate, as the sting of a bee, etc. But it commonly means an ox-goad, a sharp piece of iron stuck into the end of a stick, with which the ox is urged on. These goads, among the Hebrews, were made very large. Thus Shamgar slew six hundred men with one of them, Jud 3:31: Comp. 1 Sa 13:21. The expression, "to kick against the prick," or the goad, is derived from the action of a stubborn and unyielding ox, kicking against the goad. And as the ox would injure no one by it but himself—as he would gain nothing—it comes to denote an obstinate and refractory disposition and course of conduct, opposing motives to good conduct; resisting the authority of Him who has a right to command; and opposing the leadings of Providence, to the injury of him who makes the resistance. It denotes rebellion against lawful authority, and thus getting into greater difficulty by attempting to oppose the commands to duty. This is the condition of every sinner. If men wish to be happy, they should cheerfully submit to the authority of God. They should not rebel against the dealings of Providence. They should not murmur against their Creator. They should not resist the claims of their consciences. By all this they would only injure themselves. No man can resist God, or his own conscience, and be happy. And nothing is more difficult than for a man to pursue a course of pleasure and sin against the admonitions of God and the reproofs of his own conscience. Men evince this temper in the following ways:

(1.) By violating plain laws of God.

(2.) By attempting to resist his claims.

(3.) By refusing to do what their conscience requires.

(4.) By grieving the Holy Spirit, by attempting to free themselves from serious impressions and alarms. They will return with redoubled frequency and power.

(5.) By pursuing a course of vice and wickedness against what they know to be right.

(6.) By refusing to submit to the dealings of Providence, And

(7.) in any way by opposing God, and refusing to submit to his authority, and to do what is right.

{b} "kick" Ac 5:39 {*} "pricks" "goads"

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