The light from heaven (Acts 26:13)

“Your excellency!

At midday,

Along the road,

I saw a light

From heaven,

Brighter than the sun,

Shining around me

And my companions.”

ἡμέρας μέσης κατὰ τὴν ὁδὸν εἶδον, βασιλεῦ, οὐρανόθεν ὑπὲρ τὴν λαμπρότητα τοῦ ἡλίου περιλάμψαν με φῶς καὶ τοὺς σὺν ἐμοὶ πορευομένους·

The author of Acts indicated that Paul spoke directly to King Agrippa II (βασιλεῦ).  Paul said that at midday (ἡμέρας μέσης), on the way there (κατὰ τὴν ὁδὸν) he saw (εἶδον) a light (φῶς) from heaven above (οὐρανόθεν ὑπὲρ), with the brightness of the sun (τὴν λαμπρότητα τοῦ ἡλίου) shining around him (περιλάμψαν με) and on those who journeyed with him (καὶ τοὺς σὺν ἐμοὶ πορευομένους). Paul said that at midday, along the road, he saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around him and his companions.  Thus, there are three descriptions of the conversion of Saul in Acts, this one and the two earlier ones with some minor differences between them.  Besides the original description in Acts, chapter 9:2-8, Paul explained his conversion in an open-air discourse in Acts, chapter 22:1-21 before the Jews in Jerusalem, while here, he defended himself before King Agrippa II against the same accusations of the Jerusalem Jews.  This is the third story of Paul’s conversion to Christianity with slightly different details.  The author of Acts, chapter 9:3 indicated that as Paul was going along (Ἐν δὲ τῷ πορεύεσθαι), he was approaching near (ἐγένετο αὐτὸν ἐγγίζειν) Damascus (τῇ Δαμασκῷ).  Suddenly (ἐξαίφνης), a light (φῶς) from heaven (ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ) flashed around him (τε αὐτὸν περιήστραψεν).  In the second account, Acts, chapter 22:6, Saul said that as he was on his journey and drew near to Damascus, (Ἐγένετο δέ μοι πορευομένῳ καὶ ἐγγίζοντι τῇ Δαμασκῷ) about noon (περὶ μεσημβρίαν), suddenly (ἐξαίφνης) a great light (φῶς ἱκανὸν) from heaven (ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ) shone about him (περιαστράψαι περὶ ἐμέ).  It was almost the same except that he said it was about noon and the light was great.  The third conversion description is here, where he said that those with him saw the light that was like a bright sun.  In all three versions of this story, Saul 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, less than 200 miles from Jerusalem.  There must have been Jewish people living there, as well as some followers of Jesus.  Have you ever seen a great light in the middle of the day?

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