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But a certain man named Ananias…
A name common among the Jews, the same with Hananiah, (Jeremiah 28:1) (Acts 9:10) (23:2) it signifies not the humility of the Lord, or the affliction of the Lord, or the answer of the Lord, as say some, as if it was derived from (hne) ; but the grace of the Lord, or the Lord's gracious one, coming from (Nnx) : there is no dependence on names; though this man's name signified one that was in the grace and favour of God; he was not so, but a graceless person, as appears by what follows. It is very likely he was a minister of the word, since the account of him follows upon that of Barnabas, and is opposed to it; it may be he was one of the hundred and twenty, on whom the Holy Ghost fell on the day of Pentecost; and yet, though he had great gifts, had no grace. This shows there are hypocrites among men of the greatest names and characters, and in the purest churches; this first and pure church, which, in the preceding chapter, has such large encomiums, was not free from them:
with Sapphira his wife;
whether this is the same name with "Shiphrah", (Exodus 1:15) or "Zipporah", (Exodus 2:21) both which are by the Septuagint called "Sephora", or whether another, and may signify "beautiful", is not very material. Jerom F3 says, in the Syriac language this name signifies "beautiful"; though he first gives other explanations of it, as "narrantem, literatam, sive librariam", as though it was derived from the Hebrew word (rpo) . The precious stone called sapphire seems to come from the same root as this, and to be so called because of its beautiful azure colour. The name "Sappho", which was the name of a famous poetess, the inventress of a kind of verse called "Sapphic" verse, is said to be the diminutive of this name "Sapphira". Drusius observes, it may be read (arypu) , "Tzephira"; which comes near to "Zipporah", and among other things signifies a "she goat"; and it was usual to give women names taken from such creatures. So "Rachel", a "sheep", and "Tabitha", or "Dorcas", a "doe". But whatever her name or person were, her actions were disagreeable:
sold a possession;
which was their own. So the Arabic and Syriac versions read, "their own field", or "farm"; find the Ethiopic version, "their own vineyard": it might be his wife's dowry or jointure, and so her consent was necessary; or they might be jointly concerned in this sale, to show not only their concord and harmony among themselves; but that they agreed in their devotion and religious actions, and that being both filled with zeal for God, and love to the brethren, sold their estate to support the common cause.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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