The light on the way to Damascus (Acts 22:6)

“While I was on my way,

Approaching Damascus,

About noon,

A great light

From heaven

Suddenly shone

About me.”

Ἐγένετο δέ μοι πορευομένῳ καὶ ἐγγίζοντι τῇ Δαμασκῷ περὶ μεσημβρίαν ἐξαίφνης ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ περιαστράψαι φῶς ἱκανὸν περὶ ἐμέ,

The author of Acts indicated that Paul said that he was on his way (Ἐγένετο δέ μοι πορευομένῳ), approaching Damascus (καὶ ἐγγίζοντι τῇ Δαμασκῷ), about noon (περὶ μεσημβρίαν), then a great light (φῶς ἱκανὸν) from heaven (ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ) suddenly (ἐξαίφνης) shone (περιαστράψαι) about him (περὶ ἐμέ).  Acts was the only Greek biblical writing that used these words μεσημβρίαν, that means noon or the south, and περιαστράψαι, that means to tie around or flash around like lightning.  This was also similar to chapter 9:3.  “Saul was going along (Ἐν δὲ τῷ πορεύεσθαι), approaching near (ἐγένετο αὐτὸν ἐγγίζειν) to Damascus (τῇ Δαμασκῷ).  Suddenly (ἐξαίφνης), a light (φῶς) from heaven (ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ) flashed around him (τε αὐτὸν περιήστραψεν).”  Here Paul mentioned that the time was about noon and that the light was great, that was not in the original description.  Later in Acts, chapter 26:13, Paul said that is was at midday (ἡμέρας μέσης).  In all three versions of this story, Saul was persecuting the early Christian community.  He was on his way to Damascus when he saw a great light.  It probably was midday according to two of the versions.  Damascus was a Syrian city north of Israel, about 170 miles from Jerusalem.  There must have been Jewish people living there, as well as some followers of Jesus.  This event took place in the early 30s CE, within a few years after the death and resurrection of Jesus.  That brings up the question of whether Saul was in Jerusalem when they crucified Jesus.  Have you ever seen a bright light that confused you?

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