Saul fell to the ground (Acts 9:4)

“Saul fell

To the ground.

He heard a voice

Saying to him.

‘Saul!

Saul!

Why do you persecute me?’”

καὶ πεσὼν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ἤκουσεν φωνὴν λέγουσαν αὐτῷ Σαοὺλ Σαούλ, τί με διώκεις;

The author of Acts indicated that Saul fell (καὶ πεσὼν) to the ground (καὶ πεσὼν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν).  He heard (ἤκουσεν) a voice (φωνὴν) saying to him (λέγουσαν αὐτῷ).  “Saul!  Saul (Σαοὺλ Σαούλ)!  Why do you persecute me? (τί με διώκεις).”  There was no mention of a horse or camel, so that Saul might have been walking, but he probably was riding since this was over 150 miles of traveling.  Acts, chapter 22:7 is almost exactly the same, “I fell (ἔπεσά) to the ground (τε εἰς τὸ ἔδαφος) and heard (ἤκουσα) a voice (φωνῆς) saying to me (λεγούσης μοι), ‘Saul!  Saul (Σαοὺλ Σαούλ)!  Why do you persecute me? (τί με διώκεις).’”  The only difference was that it was in the first person singular and there was a unique use of the word ἔπεσά that means ground, base, or bottom.  However, there was a more elaborate description in Acts, chapter 26:14.  Saul mentioned that all the people with him fell to the ground, not just himself.  Light and falling to the ground were typical of divine appearances.  However, he added that the voice was Hebrew and asked him why was he was resisting with a Greek proverb.  The meaning was about useless and harmful resistance, like the ox that kicks against the plowing farmer.  These oxen only hurt themselves when they went against the sharp stick or the goads on the plow.  Saul said.  “When we had all fallen (πάντων τε καταπεσόντων ἡμῶν) to the ground (εἰς τὴν γῆν), I heard (ἤκουσα) a voice (φωνὴν) saying to me (λέγουσαν πρός με) in the Hebrew language (τῇ Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ), ‘Saul!  Saul (Σαοὺλ Σαούλ)! Why do you persecute me (τί με διώκεις)?  It hurts you (σκληρόν σοι) to kick (λακτίζειν) against the goads (πρὸς κέντρα)!’”  Thus, God was speaking in Hebrew to Saul, but citing a Greek proverb to tell him to stop wasting his time persecuting him and his growing Christian community.  Saul’s name was repeated twice as to indicate God calling him. Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin, so that is probably why he was named for its great king and leader Saul.  Has anyone ever called your name out twice?

3 thoughts on “Saul fell to the ground (Acts 9:4)

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