51 Give now a cry for help; is there anyone who will give you an answer? and to which of the holy ones will you make your prayer? 2 For wrath is the cause of death to the foolish, and he who has no wisdom comes to his end through passion. 3 I have seen the foolish taking root, but suddenly the curse came on his house. 4 Now his children have no safe place, and they are crushed before the judges, for no one takes up their cause. 5 Their produce is taken by him who has no food, and their grain goes to the poor, and he who is in need of water gets it from their spring.

6 For evil does not come out of the dust, or trouble out of the earth; 7 But trouble is man's fate from birth, as the flames go up from the fire. 8 But as for me, I would make my prayer to God, and I would put my cause before him: 9 Who does great things outside our knowledge, wonders without number: 10 Who gives rain on the earth, and sends water on the fields: 11 Lifting up those who are low, and putting the sad in a safe place; 12 Who makes the designs of the wise go wrong, so that they are unable to give effect to their purposes. 13 He takes the wise in their secret designs, and the purposes of the twisted are cut off suddenly. 14 In the daytime it becomes dark for them, and in the sunlight they go feeling about as if it was night. 15 But he keeps safe from their sword those who have no father, and the poor from the power of the strong. 16 So the poor man has hope, and the mouth of the evil-doer is stopped.

17 Truly, that man is happy who has training from the hand of God: so do not let your heart be shut to the teaching of the Ruler of all. 18 For after his punishment he gives comfort, and after wounding, his hands make you well. 19 He will keep you safe from six troubles, and in seven no evil will come near you. 20 When there is need of food he will keep you from death, and in war from the power of the sword. 21 He will keep you safe from the evil tongue; and you will have no fear of wasting when it comes. 22 You will make sport of destruction and need, and will have no fear of the beasts of the earth. 23 For you will be in agreement with the stones of the earth, and the beasts of the field will be at peace with you. 24 And you will be certain that your tent is at peace, and after looking over your property you will see that nothing is gone. 25 You will be certain that your seed will be great, and your offspring like the plants of the earth. 26 You will come to your last resting-place in full strength, as the grain is taken up to the crushing-floor in its time. 27 See, we have made search with care, and it is so; it has come to our ears; see that you take note of it for yourself.

Job Reproaches His Friends

61 And Job made answer and said, 2 If only my passion might be measured, and put into the scales against my trouble! 3 For then its weight would be more than the sand of the seas: because of this my words have been uncontrolled. 4 For the arrows of the Ruler of all are present with me, and their poison goes deep into my spirit: his army of fears is put in order against me. 5 Does the ass of the fields give out his voice when he has grass? or does the ox make sounds over his food? 6 Will a man take food which has no taste without salt? or is there any taste in the soft substance of purslain? 7 My soul has no desire for such things, they are as disease in my food.

8 If only I might have an answer to my prayer, and God would give me my desire! 9 If only he would be pleased to put an end to me; and would let loose his hand, so that I might be cut off! 10 So I would still have comfort, and I would have joy in the pains of death, for I have not been false to the words of the Holy One. 11 Have I strength to go on waiting, or have I any end to be looking forward to? 12 Is my strength the strength of stones, or is my flesh brass? 13 I have no help in myself, and wisdom is completely gone from me.

14 He whose heart is shut against his friend has given up the fear of the Ruler of all. 15 My friends have been false like a stream, like streams in the valleys which come to an end: 16 Which are dark because of the ice, and the snow falling into them; 17 Under the burning sun they are cut off, and come to nothing because of the heat. 18 The camel-trains go out of their way; they go up into the waste and come to destruction. 19 The camel-trains of Tema were searching with care, the bands of Sheba were waiting for them: 20 They were put to shame because of their hope; they came and their hope was gone. 21 So have you now become to me; you see my sad condition and are in fear.

22 Did I say, Give me something? or, Make a payment for me out of your wealth? 23 Or, Get me out of the power of my hater? or, Give money so that I may be free from the power of the cruel ones? 24 Give me teaching and I will be quiet; and make me see my error. 25 How pleasing are upright words! but what force is there in your arguments? 26 My words may seem wrong to you, but the words of him who has no hope are for the wind. 27 Truly, you are such as would give up the child of a dead man to his creditors, and would make a profit out of your friend. 28 Now then, let your eyes be turned to me, for truly I will not say what is false to your face. 29 Let your minds be changed, and do not have an evil opinion of me; yes, be changed, for my righteousness is still in me. 30 Is there evil in my tongue? is not the cause of my trouble clear to me?

Job Remonstrates with God

71 Has not man his ordered time of trouble on the earth? and are not his days like the days of a servant working for payment? 2 As a servant desiring the shades of evening, and a workman looking for his payment: 3 So I have for my heritage months of pain to no purpose, and nights of weariness are given to me. 4 When I go to my bed, I say, When will it be time to get up? but the night is long, and I am turning from side to side till morning light. 5 My flesh is covered with worms and dust; my skin gets hard and then is cracked again. 6 My days go quicker than the cloth-worker's thread, and come to an end without hope.

7 O, keep in mind that my life is wind: my eye will never again see good. 8 The eye of him who sees me will see me no longer: your eyes will be looking for me, but I will be gone. 9 A cloud comes to an end and is gone; so he who goes down into the underworld comes not up again. 10 He will not come back to his house, and his place will have no more knowledge of him. 11 So I will not keep my mouth shut; I will let the words come from it in the pain of my spirit, my soul will make a bitter outcry. 12 Am I a sea, or a sea-beast, that you put a watch over me? 13 When I say, In my bed I will have comfort, there I will get rest from my disease; 14 Then you send dreams to me, and visions of fear; 15 So that a hard death seems better to my soul than my pains. 16 I have no desire for life, I would not be living for ever! Keep away from me, for my days are as a breath.

17 What is man, that you have made him great, and that your attention is fixed on him, 18 And that your hand is on him every morning, and that you are testing him every minute? 19 How long will it be before your eyes are turned away from me, so that I may have a minute's breathing-space? 20 If I have done wrong, what have I done to you, O keeper of men? why have you made me a mark for your blows, so that I am a weariness to myself? 21 And why do you not take away my sin, and let my wrongdoing be ended? for now I go down to the dust, and you will be searching for me with care, but I will be gone.

Saul Persecutes the Church

81 And Saul gave approval to his death. Now at that time a violent attack was started against the church in Jerusalem; and all but the Apostles went away into all parts of Judaea and Samaria. 2 And God-fearing men put Stephen's body in its last resting-place, making great weeping over him. 3 But Saul was burning with hate against the church, going into every house and taking men and women and putting them in prison.

The Gospel Preached in Samaria

4 But those who had gone in flight went everywhere preaching the word. 5 And Philip went down to Samaria and was teaching them about Christ. 6 And all the people gave attention to the words which Philip said, when they saw the signs which he did. 7 For unclean spirits came out from those who had them, crying with a loud voice; and a number of those who were ill and broken in body were made well. 8 And there was much joy in that town. 9 But there was a certain man named Simon, who in the past had been a wonder-worker and a cause of surprise to the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was a great man: 10 To whom they all gave attention, from the smallest to the greatest, saying, This man is that power of God which is named Great. 11 And they gave attention to him, because for a long time his wonder-working powers had kept them under his control. 12 But when they had faith in the good news given by Philip about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, a number of men and women had baptism. 13 And Simon himself had faith and, having had baptism, he went with Philip and, seeing the signs and the great wonders which he did, he was full of surprise.

14 Now when the Apostles at Jerusalem had news that the people of Samaria had taken the word of God into their hearts, they sent to them Peter and John; 15 Who, when they came there, made prayer for them, that the Holy Spirit might be given to them: 16 For up to that time he had not come on any of them; only baptism had been given to them in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they put their hands on them, and the Holy Spirit came on them. 18 Now when Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given through the touch of the Apostles' hands, he made them an offering of money, saying, 19 Give me this power, so that when I put my hands on anyone he may get the Holy Spirit. 20 But Peter said, May your money come to destruction with you, because you had the idea that what is freely given by God may be got for a price. 21 You have no part in this business, because your heart is not right before God. 22 Let your heart be changed, and make prayer to God that you may have forgiveness for your evil thoughts. 23 For I see that you are prisoned in bitter envy and the chains of sin. 24 And Simon, answering, said, Make prayer for me to the Lord, so that these things which you have said may not come on me. 25 So they, having given their witness and made clear the word of the Lord, went back to Jerusalem, giving the good news on their way in a number of the small towns of Samaria.

Matthew Henry's Commentary on Acts 8:1-25

Commentary on Acts 8:1-4

(Read Acts 8:1-4)

Though persecution must not drive us from our work, yet it may send us to work elsewhere. Wherever the established believer is driven, he carries the knowledge of the gospel, and makes known the preciousness of Christ in every place. Where a simple desire of doing good influences the heart, it will be found impossible to shut a man out from all opportunities of usefulness.

Commentary on Acts 8:5-13

(Read Acts 8:5-13)

As far as the gospel prevails, evil spirits are dislodged, particularly unclean spirits. All inclinations to the lusts of the flesh which war against the soul are such. Distempers are here named, the most difficult to be cured by the course of nature, and most expressive of the disease of sin. Pride, ambition, and desire after grandeur have always caused abundance of mischief, both to the world and to the church. The people said of Simon, This man is the great power of God. See how ignorant and thoughtless people mistake. But how strong is the power of Divine grace, by which they were brought to Christ, who is Truth itself! The people not only gave heed to what Philip said, but were fully convinced that it was of God, and not of men, and gave up themselves to be directed thereby. Even bad men, and those whose hearts still go after covetousness, may come before God as his people come, and for a time continue with them. And many wonder at the proofs of Divine truths, who never experience their power. The gospel preached may have a common operation upon a soul, where it never produced inward holiness. All are not savingly converted who profess to believe the gospel.

Commentary on Acts 8:14-25

(Read Acts 8:14-25)

The Holy Ghost was as yet fallen upon none of these coverts, in the extraordinary powers conveyed by the descent of the Spirit upon the day of Pentecost. We may take encouragement from this example, in praying to God to give the renewing graces of the Holy Ghost to all for whose spiritual welfare we are concerned; for that includes all blessings. No man can give the Holy Spirit by the laying on of his hands; but we should use our best endeavours to instruct those for whom we pray. Simon Magus was ambitious to have the honour of an apostle, but cared not at all to have the spirit and disposition of a Christian. He was more desirous to gain honour to himself, than to do good to others. Peter shows him his crime. He esteemed the wealth of this world, as if it would answer for things relating to the other life, and would purchase the pardon of sin, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and eternal life. This was such a condemning error as could by no means consist with a state of grace. Our hearts are what they are in the sight of God, who cannot be deceived. And if they are not right in his sight, our religion is vain, and will stand us in no stead. A proud and covetous heart cannot be right with God. It is possible for a man to continue under the power of sin, yet to put on a form of godliness. When tempted with money to do evil, see what a perishing thing money is, and scorn it. Think not that Christianity is a trade to live by in this world. There is much wickedness in the thought of the heart, its false notions, and corrupt affections, and wicked projects, which must be repented of, or we are undone. But it shall be forgiven, upon our repentance. The doubt here is of the sincerity of Simon's repentance, not of his pardon, if his repentance was sincere. Grant us, Lord, another sort of faith than that which made Simon wonder only, and did not sanctify his heart. May we abhor all thoughts of making religion serve the purposes of pride or ambition. And keep us from that subtle poison of spiritual pride, which seeks glory to itself even from humility. May we seek only the honour which cometh from God.