Ethiopian Eunuch

e-thi-o'-pi-an u'-nuk eunouchos): A man who occupied a leading position as treasurer at the court of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, and who was converted and baptized by Philip the deacon (Ac 8:27-39). Being a eunuch, he was not in the full Jewish communion (compare De 23:1), but had gone up to Jerusalem to worship, probably as a proselyte at the gate. During his return journey he spent the time in studying Isaiah, the text which he used being that of the Septuagint (compare Professor Margoliouth, article "Ethiopian Eunuch" inHDB ). On meeting with Philip the deacon, who was on his way to Gaza, he besought of him to shed light upon the difficulties of the Scripture he was reading, and through this was converted. The place of his baptism, according to Jerome and Eusebius, was Bethsura: by some modern authorities, e.g. G. A. Smith, it has been located at or near Gaza. The verse containing the confession of the eunuch, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God," is omitted either in whole or in part by some texts, but Hilgenfeld, Knowling, etc., regard it as quite in keeping with the context. Tischendorf, Westcott and Hort, Revised Version (British and American) text, etc., uphold the omission. The verse occurs in the body of the King James Version, but is given only as a footnote in the Revised Version (British and American) and the American Standard Revised Version. The diligence with which the eunuch pursued his reading, the earnestness with which he inquired of Philip, and the promptness with which he asked for baptism--all testify to the lofty nature of his character.

See also the McClintock and Strong Biblical Cyclopedia.

C. M. Kerr

 
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