And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia…
How ready the world is to pay tribute to apparent success! If a physician works a startling cure; if a commander wins a great victory; if an author writes a popular book: if an inventor contrives a wonderful machine; if a financier rolls up a vast fortune — the world looks up to him and calls him great. There are, indeed, those who are ready to give him homage beyond what mere man ought ever to receive. It is rarely an intelligent tribute which is paid to such a man. The display of his power dazzles the eyes of those who observe him, and they are ready to worship him because he possesses what they lack and long for.
(H. C. Trumbull, D. D.)
And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius. — A well-known legend recounts how Jupiter and Mercury had once wandered through this region in quest of shelter and entertainment, which was everywhere refused until they came to the cottage of Philemon. When, then, the people saw the miracle, and heard the words of Paul and Barnabas, they thought that the gods of their old legend had again come down to them. In calling Barnabas Jupiter it is supposed that they were guided by the greater age, and probably the more dignified appearance of this apostle over his companion, whose bodily presence was weak, while the greater eloquence of Paul procured him the name of Mercury — the God of eloquence.
(W. Denton, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.
WEB: When the multitude saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voice, saying in the language of Lycaonia, "The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!"