And the Lord said unto him, arise
Quickly, directly, immediately, from off thy bed; the case required haste and dispatch:
and go into the street which is called Straight;
a street in the city of Damascus so called; the streets of cities were called by different names, to distinguish them as ours now are. So in Jerusalem there was the street of the house of God, which led to the temple, ( Ezra 10:9 ) and the upper street, in which idolatrous Gentiles, and such as were fullers by trade, dwelt F9; and the street of the butchers; and the street of the wool staplers F11: and this street in Damascus might be called "Straight"; because it might be a long straight street, without any windings and turnings, which might go through the city. Whether or no this was one of the streets which Benhadad allowed Ahab to make in Damascus, ( 1 Kings 20:34 ) cannot be said;
and inquire in the house of Judas;
which was in that street: who this Judas was is not certain, that he was a Jew appears by his name, but whether a believing, or an unbelieving Jew, is not known; however, he was Saul's host, and if this was the house he was recommended to from Jerusalem, or designed to go to when he set out from thence, it is very probable he was an unbeliever; but if it was an house he pitched on after his conversion, it is likely this Judas was a believer, and whether the same with Judas surnamed Barsabas may be considered, who is mentioned in ( Acts 15:22 Acts 15:32 ) however, at this man's house Ananias was to inquire
for one called Saul of Tarsus;
or Saul "by name the Tarsian". So it is said F12 of Bigthan and Teresh, ( Esther 6:2 ) that they were (Myyorj ynv) , "two Tarsians", perhaps citizens of Tarsus, as Saul was. Tarsus was a city in Cilicia, and which Solinus F13 calls the mother of cities, and is the same with the Tarshish of the Old Testament; here Saul was born, and of it he was a citizen; ( Acts 21:39 ) ( 22:3 ) and therefore is here called Saul of Tarsus, or Saul the Tarsian:
for behold he prayeth:
so as he had never prayed before; now he prayed with the Spirit, and with the understanding, from a feeling sense of his wants, for spiritual blessings, such as he had no knowledge of, nor desire after before. God has no stillborn children; as soon as any are quickened by his grace, they cry unto him; prayer is the breath of a regenerate man, and shows him to be alive. He who before was breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of Christ, now breathes after communion with Christ and them. This is said, no doubt, to encourage Ananias to go to him. The Syriac and Arabic versions place this clause at the beginning of the next verse, "for behold, whilst he prayed he saw", &c. the Ethiopic version has it not.
F9 Misn. Shekalim, c. 8. sect. 1. Maimon. & Bartenora in ib.
F11 Misn. Eruvim, c. 10. sect. 9.
F12 T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 7. 1. & 13. 2. & Targum in Esther ii. 21.
F13 Polyhistor, c. 51.