Acts 8:34

Acts 8:34

And the eunuch answered Philip, and said
After he had read the passage out, and Philip had put the question to him, whether he understood it; and after he had taken him up into his chariot to sit with him, and instruct him:

I pray thee, of whom speakest the prophet this?
being desirous of knowing who was the subject of this famous prophecy: which to know was very useful and edifying, and was not a matter of mere indifference and speculation, but of great moment and concern. A like way of speaking, in order to know the sense of a passage, is used by the Jews F23: thus upon reading ( Proverbs 31:2 ) , it is asked,

``of whom does Solomon say this Scripture? he does not say it but of his father David.''

Does he speak

of himself or of some other man?
which is very properly and pertinently put; since there might be some appearance of its application to Isaiah, who suffered under Manasseh; and it might be applied to different persons, as it has been since by the Jews; as to Josiah, Jeremiah in particular, and to the people of Israel in general, though very wrongly: Josiah could never be intended, as one of their noted commentators F24 expounds the paragraph; since it was not the sins of the people that were the cause of his death, but his own, and his vanity in meddling with what he had nothing to do with, and had no real call unto; nor can it be said of him that he did no violence, or that he bore the sins of others, and died for them, and made his soul an offering for sin; nor were his days prolonged; nor did the pleasure of the Lord prosper in his hand: nor is the passage applicable to Jeremiah, as another of their writers F25 would have it; he was not free from sin; nor was he wounded for the sins of his people; nor did he undergo his sufferings with patience; nor had he a large number of disciples; nor was he extolled and exalted, as this person is said to be: much less, as others F26 say, is the whole body of the people of Israel in captivity intended; since one single individual as spoken of throughout the whole; and is manifestly distinguished from the people of Israel, whose sins and sorrows he was to bear, and for whose transgressions he was to be stricken and wounded. In all which they go contrary to their Targum {a}, Talmud F2, and other ancient writings F3, which interpret many things in this section or paragraph of the Messiah F4: however, as it might be differently understood, or difficult to be understood, the eunuch very appropriately puts this question.


FOOTNOTES:

F23 T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 10. 1.
F24 Abarbinel in Isa. liii.
F25 Sandiah Gaon in Aben Ezra in ib.
F26 Jarchi, Aben Ezra, & Kimchi in ib.
F1 In Isa. lii. 13. and liii. 10.
F2 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 98. 2.
F3 Zohar in Exod. fol. 85. 2. Midrash Ruth, fol. 33. 2.
F4 See my Book of the Prophecies of the Messiah, p. 161. &c.
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