But there was a certain man called Simon
Who, as Justin Martyr F6 says, was a Samaritan, and of a village called Gitton; and so a Jewish writer F7 calls him Simeon, (ynwrmvh) , "the Samaritan", a wizard: here is a
upon this new church, the success of the Gospel in this place, and the joy that was there; a man of great wickedness and sophistry plays the hypocrite, feigns himself a believer, and gets in among them; (See Gill on Acts 5:1),
which beforetime in the same city used sorcery;
who before Philip came thither, practised magic arts; wherefore he is commonly called "Simon Magus", for he was a magician, who had learned diabolical arts, and used enchantments and divinations, as Balaam and the magicians of Egypt did:
and bewitched the people of Samaria;
or rather astonished them, with the strange feats he performed; which were so unheard of and unaccountable, that they were thrown into an ecstasy and rapture; and were as it were out of themselves, through wonder and admiration, at the amazing things that were done by him:
giving out that himself was some great one;
a divine person, or an extraordinary prophet, and it may be the Messiah; since the Samaritans expected the Messiah, as appears from ( John 4:25 ) and which the Syriac version seems to incline to, which renders the words thus, "and he said, I am that great one"; that great person, whom Moses spake of as the seed of the "woman", under the name of Shiloh, and the character of a prophet.
F6 Apolog. 2. p. 69.
F7 Juchasin, fol. 242. 2.