Acts 21:7

Acts 21:7

And when we had finished our course from Tyre
Or sailed from thence,

we came to Ptolemais:
the Syriac version calls it "Aco" or "Acu": and the Arabic version, "Aco"; and Ptolemais, according to Pliny F24 and Harpocratian F25, was called Ace. Frequent mention is made of Aco in the Jewish writings, and which according to them was a sea port, for they speak of (wked hlmn) , "the port of Aco" F26, and of (wked ypyk) , "the banks of Aco" F1, or its rocks: it was upon the borders of the land of Israel, and in the tribe of Asher to the north of it; part of it they say was without the land, and part of it within {b}: according to R. Benjamin, it was one day's sail from Tyre, and who also says, it was upon the borders of Asher, and had a very spacious port F3; it is said to be about two and thirty miles from Tyre; between that and Tyre, the shore was full of heaps of sand, from whence the sand that glass is made of was fetched; it is mentioned with Tyre, Sidon, and Galilee, in:

``And said, They of Ptolemais, and of Tyrus, and Sidon, and all Galilee of the Gentiles, are assembled together against us to consume us.'' (1 Maccabees 5:15)

it had the mountainous part of Galilee on the east, the ladder of Tyre on the north, and Mount Carmel on the south, and thus it is described by Josephus F4:

``Ptolemais is a city of Galilee on the sea coast, built in a large champaign country, but is surrounded with mountains, on the east with the mountains of Galilee, sixty furlongs off; on the south with Carmel, distant a hundred and twenty furlongs; on the north with a very high mountain called the Climax, or ladder of the Tyrians, which is a hundred furlongs from it; two miles from the city runs a very small river called Beleus, near which is the sepulchre of Memnon, taking up the space of an hundred cubits, and is worthy of admiration; it is round and hollow (i.e. the river), casting up glassy sand, which ships in great numbers come and take up, and the place is filled up again.''

The account Jerom F5 gives of it is,

``Ptolemais, a maritime city in Judea, near Mount Carmel, which was formerly called so from one Ptolomy;''

from Ptolomy king of Egypt: it was called Ace or Aco, from its being a city of merchandise; though some say it was so called from Hercules being healed of the bite of a serpent, by an herb which grew near the river Beleus. It is now called St. John de Acra or Acri:

and saluted the brethren;
that were at Ptolemais or Aco; for the Gospel had been preached here with success; some had believed and professed it, and very likely were in a church state: for there was a church here in the "second" century, and Clarus was bishop of it; and in the beginning of the "fourth" century, there was a bishop present in the synod at Nice; and in the "fifth" century there was a church here; in the time of Arcadius, the Emperor Antiochus was bishop of Ptolemais, a very eloquent man, called therefore by some Chrysostom; in the "sixth" century there was a bishop of this church, who assisted at the synod held both at Rome and Constantinople F6. The bishops of this church are reckoned up, as Reland F7 says, as he found them thus; Clarus, who was in the council at Caesarea, held in the year 198; Aeneas, who was in the council at Nice, in the year 325, and in another at Antioch, in the year 341; Nectabus, who subscribed in the first council at Constantinople, held in the year 381; Paulus, who was present in the Chalcedon council in the year 451: and Joannes, who was in the council at Jerusalem, in the year 536: and perhaps these brethren might be Jews, since those who first preached the Gospel in Phoenicia preached only to Jews; and certain it is that there were many in this place; we often read of Jewish doctors here, as R. Tanchum the son of R. Chaja a man of Caphar Aco F8, and R. Simeon ben Judah a man of Caphar Aco F9, and R. Aba of Aco F11, and R. Judah ben Gamdah F12; and in R. Benjamin's time, there were about two hundred Jews in this place F13: these brethren Paul and his company visited, and saluted them;

and abode with them one day;
conferring together about spiritual things, and employing their time, no doubt, in religious exercises.


F24 Ad nationes, l. 5. c. 19.
F25 Lexic. Decem Orator. p. 12.
F26 T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 38. 1.
F1 T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 112. 1.
F2 T. Hieros. Gittin, fol. 43. 3. Sheviith, fol. 35. 3. & Challa, fol. 60. 2. & Juchasin, fol. 71. 1. Misna Gittin, c. 1. sect. 2.
F3 Itinerar. p. 36.
F4 De Bello Jud. l. 2. c. 10. sect. 2.
F5 De locis Hebraicis, fol. 96. 6.
F6 Magdeburg. Hist. Eccles. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 2. cent. 5. c. 2. p. 2. c. 10. p. 550. cent. 6. c. 2. p. 3.
F7 Palestina Illustrata, l. 3. p. 542.
F8 T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 7. 2. & Moed. Katon, fol. 16. 2. Yebamot, fol. 45. 1.
F9 Juchasin, fol. 68. 2. & T. Bab. Sota, fol. 37. 2.
F11 T. Bab. Sota, fol. 40. 1. Juchasin, fol. 71. 1.
F12 T. Bab. Sota, fol. 43. 2.
F13 Itinerar. p. 36.