Acts 9:18
(18) There fell from his eyes as it had been scales.--The description suggests the thought that the blindness was caused by an incrustation, caused by acute inflammation, covering the pupil of the eye, or closing up the eye-lids, analogous to the "whiteness," that peeled (or scaled) off from the eyes of Tobit (Tobit 11:13). Like phenomena are mentioned by Hippocrates, and the care with which St. Luke records the fact in this instance, may be noted, with Acts 3:7; Acts 28:8, as one of the examples of the technical precision of his calling as a physician.

Arose, and was baptised.--It is clear that both Saul and Ananias looked on this as the indispensable condition for admission into the visible society of the kingdom of God. No visions and revelations of the Lord, no intensity of personal conversion, exempted him from it. For him, too, that was the "washing of regeneration" (Titus 3:5), the moment of the new birth, of being buried with Christ (Romans 6:3-4). It may be inferred almost as a matter of certainty that it was at the hands of Ananias that he received baptism. The baptism would probably be administered in one or other of the rivers which the history of Naaman had made famous, and so the waters of "Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus" (2Kings 5:12), were now sanctified no less than those of Jordan for the "mystical washing away of sin."

Verse 18. - Straightway for immediately, A.V.; as it were for as it had been, A.V.; received his sight for received sight forthwith, A.V. and T.R.; he arose for arose, A.V. As it were scales (λεπίδες); scales, or flakes; any thin substance which peals off; a frequent term in Greek medical writers. And was baptized. It is a curious difference between St. Paul and the other apostles that, if they were baptized at all, which is doubtful, they must have been baptized by Christ himself; whereas St. Paul received his baptism at the hands of Ananias. This is one mark of his being "born out of due time." And yet he was not behind the very chiefest apostles.

9:10-22 A good work was begun in Saul, when he was brought to Christ's feet with those words, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And never did Christ leave any who were brought to that. Behold, the proud Pharisee, the unmerciful oppressor, the daring blasphemer, prayeth! And thus it is even now, and with the proud infidel, or the abandoned sinner. What happy tidings are these to all who understand the nature and power of prayer, of such prayer as the humbled sinner presents for the blessings of free salvation! Now he began to pray after another manner than he had done; before, he said his prayers, now, he prayed them. Regenerating grace sets people on praying; you may as well find a living man without breath, as a living Christian without prayer. Yet even eminent disciples, like Ananias, sometimes stagger at the commands of the Lord. But it is the Lord's glory to surpass our scanty expectations, and show that those are vessels of his mercy whom we are apt to consider as objects of his vengeance. The teaching of the Holy Spirit takes away the scales of ignorance and pride from the understanding; then the sinner becomes a new creature, and endeavours to recommend the anointed Saviour, the Son of God, to his former companions.And immediately there fell from his eyes, as it had been scales,.... Which were little thin skins or films, like the scales of fishes, which were formed from the defluxions that fell from his brain, through the excessive light that shone around him, and the surprise he was thrown into by it: these, as soon as Ananias put his hands upon him, dropped off; which were an emblem and representation of the scales of ignorance, of himself, of sin, of righteousness, of the law, of the Gospel, and of Jesus as the Messiah; and of unbelief in him, and of pride, malice, and envy, and of superstition and bigotry, and of error and false doctrine, which, upon his being enlightened by the Spirit of God, fell from him:

and he received sight forthwith; his corporeal sight, which was an emblem of that spiritual sight he had also received: the word "forthwith", or "immediately", is not in the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, but seems necessary; and indeed, if it was not expressed, it would be understood; for as soon as the scales fell from his eyes, he must receive his sight: the Ethiopic version places it after the word "baptized", in the next clause:

and arose, and was baptized; that is, after Ananias had appointed it to him, as his duty, had pressed him to it, and called upon him to submit to it without delay, Acts 22:16 And this shows that baptism was performed by immersion; for had it been done in any other way, either by pouring or sprinkling a little water, Saul might have kept his seat, and water might have been brought to him, and so the ordinance might have been performed; but he arose and went, either to a bath that might be in Judas's house, fit for such a purpose; for the Jews had their baths to bathe their whole bodies in on certain occasions; or he went to some certain place of water without doors, convenient for the administration of baptism, where it was administered by Ananias unto him. And this also may suggest to us, that only enlightened persons are the proper objects of this ordinance; such as have the scales of darkness, ignorance, and unbelief removed from them, and have a spiritual sight and sense of divine things: hence the ancients used to call baptism by the name of "illumination", and baptized persons "enlightened" ones.

Acts 9:17
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