And the next day we touched at Sidon
This was a famous city in Phoenicia, upon the northern border of the land of Israel; it was a maritime place, and noted for trade and navigation; Mela
F17 calls it rich Sidon, and the chief of the maritime cities; Jerom
F18 calls it the ancient city Sidon; and Curtius says F19 it was renowned for the antiquity and fame of its founders; it is thought to be built by Sidon, the firstborn of Canaan, ( Genesis 10:15 ) from whom it took its name; so Josephus F20 affirms, that Sidonius, as he calls him, built a city in Phoenicia after his own name, and it is called by the Greeks Sidon; some say it was built by Sidus the son of Aegyptus, and named after him: according to R. Benjamin F21 it was a day's journey from hence to Tyre; and with others F23, it was not more than two hundred furlongs, about twelve or thirteen miles, which was another city of Phoenicia, as this was: Jerom's F24 account of Sidon is this,
``Sidon, a famous city of Phoenicia, formerly the border of the Canaanites, to the north, situated at the foot of Mount Libanus, and the artificer of glass:''and so Pliny F25 calls it, it being famous for the making of glass; and Herodotus F26 speaks of it as a city of Phoenicia: Justin the historian says F1 it was built by the Tyrians, who called it by this name from the plenty of fish in it; for the Phoenicians call a fish "Sidon": and indeed Sidon or Tzidon seems to be derived from (dwu) , "Tzud", which signifies "to fish"; and the place is to this day called Said or Salt; and so R. Benjamin calls it Tzaida F2: to this city they came from Caesarea, the day following that they set out on, and here they stopped awhile:
and Julius courteously treated Paul;
the centurion into whose hands the apostle was delivered, used him with great humanity and civility; he found grace in his sight, as Joseph did in the sight of Potiphar, and as he himself had done before with Lysias, Felix, Festus and Agrippa:
and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself;
for as there were disciples at Tyre, ( Acts 21:3 Acts 21:4 ) so it seems there were at Sidon, both which cities were in Phoenicia, and are often mentioned together; and the apostle was allowed to go ashore, and visit his friends, and be refreshed by them, both in body and spirit, and be provided for by them with things convenient for his voyage. It is highly probable that there was here a Gospel church, but by whom planted cannot be said; our Lord himself was at the borders of this place, ( Matthew 15:21 ) and the ministers of the word scattered at the death of Stephen, went as far as Phoenicia preaching the Gospel, ( Acts 11:19 ) and that there were brethren there, appears from note on: (See Gill on Acts 15:3), in which country Sidon was: in the "third" century there was a church in this place, and Zenobius was presbyter of it, who suffered martyrdom under Dioclesian F3; in the "fourth" century there was a bishop of the church here, at the synod held at Nice; in the "fifth" century the bishop of the Sidonians, in the council of Chalcedon, declared his opinion with others against Dioscorus, whose name was Damianus; in the "sixth" century, mention is made of a bishop of Sidon, in the acts of the council held at Rome and Constantinople, and in the same century a synod met at Sidon, in the 20th year of Anastasius the emperor F4: the account of the bishops of Sidon, as given by Reland F5, is as follows; Theodorus bishop of Sidon subscribed in the first Nicene council, in the year 325; Paulus subscribed in the first council at Constantinople, in the year 381; Damianus was in the council held at Chalcedon, in the year 451; Megas is mentioned in the acts and epistles subjoined to the Chalcedon council; Andreas, bishop of this place, is taken notice of in a letter of John of Jerusalem.
F17 De orbis Situ, l. 1. c. 12.
F18 Epitaph. Paulae, Tom. I. fol. 58.
F19 Hist. l. 4. c. 1.
F20 Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 2.
F21 Itinerar. p. 85.
F23 Reland. Palestina Illustrata, l. 2. p. 433, 510.
F24 De locis Hebraicis, fol. 96. I.
F25 Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 19. & l. 36. c. 26.
F26 Euterpe, c. 116. & Thalia, c. 136.
F1 Hist. ex Trogo, l. 18. c. 3.
F2 Itinerar. p. 34.
F3 Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 8. c. 13.
F4 Magdeburg. Hist. Eccl. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 2. cent. 5. c. 2. p. 2. c. 10. p. 551. cent. 6. c. 2. p. 3. c. 3. p. 17. c. 9. p. 243.
F5 Palestina Illustrata, l. 3. p. 1014.