Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me
Either personally appearing to him, as in ( Acts 23:11 ) or by the ministry of an angel, ( Acts 27:23 Acts 27:24 ) or else by granting him his gracious presence, which was what Christ had not when he was forsaken by his disciples: the presence of God or Christ is more than all friends whatever, and is often enjoyed by the believer, when they drop him; and is a bulwark against all enemies and fears of them; if God is with him, and on his side, though friends fail, and enemies rage, he has nothing to fear:
and strengthened me;
inwardly with strength in his soul, with might in his inward man, unto all longsuffering with joyfulness: he was weak in himself, and could do nothing without Christ; Christ was his strength, in him it lay, and to him he looked for it; of which he often had experience, and now afresh; he strengthened him to plead his own cause, to make his defence without fear; he gave him presence of mind, boldness, courage, and intrepidity, freedom of thought and expression; and put it into his heart what he should say, and gave him a mouth and wisdom, which his adversaries could not resist. All which he takes notice of with thankfulness, admiring the divine goodness to him, and taking nothing to himself: and the end of this was,
that by me the preaching might be fully known;
that is, that the doctrine of the Gospel, preached by him, might be made fully known by him; as to the author and original of it, to be of God, and not of men; and as to the matter of it, to be spiritual, and not concerning the things of the world; and as to the effects and consequences of it, to have no tendency to raise sedition and disturbances in commonwealths, but, on the contrary, promote peace and love:
and that all the Gentiles might hear;
in Caesar's palace, or in the courts of judicature at Rome, and all over Rome, and from thence in other parts of the empire, what a Gospel it was that was preached by the apostle; and if not by his personal ministry, at least by his epistles he afterwards wrote in prison: however, the effect of his defence, the Lord being with him, and strengthening him, was his deliverance:
and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion;
from death he was threatened with, which, like a lion, gaped upon him to devour him; or from Satan the roaring lion, who desired to have had him, and sought to have intimidated him, and brought him to have denied his Lord, to have deserted his cause, and blasphemed his name; or else from Nero the Roman emperor, so called from his power and fierceness. So Tiberius is called by Marsyas, Agrippa's freeman, when he brought the news of his death to his master F7; and Ahasuerus by Esther F8; and Nero himself is called a civil beast by Apollonius Tyanaeus F9; though some think that not Nero, but Helius, whom he had appointed governor in his room, he being at this time in Greece, is here meant, before whom Paul was tried, and out of whose hands he was delivered.
``Give me eloquent speech in my mouth before the lion: turn his heart to hate him that fighteth against us, that there may be an end of him, and of all that are likeminded to him:'' (Esther 14:13)
F9 Philostrat. Vit. Apollon. l. 4. c. 12.