Difficult Texts

"And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man."


Saul had been furnished not only with authority for his persecuting work but also with a number of assistants. Apparently it was the plan to root out Christianity completely from the city of Damascus.

They were stricken down (ch. 26:14). Probably they had risen before Saul. Although the experience was less intense for them than for their leader, it had left them mute.

Hearing a voice. Gr. akouontes . teµs phoµneµs. On first sight this statement seems to contradict what is said in ch. 22:9, where Paul declares that his companions "heard not the voice" (teµn . phoµneµn ouk eµkousan). However, a careful study of the two accounts helps to explain this seeming discrepancy. The verb akouoµ, "to hear," may refer either to the ability of the ears to hear sound (see Matt. 11:15; 13:15) or to the ability of the mind to understand what is heard (see Mark 4:33; 1 Cor. 14:2). In the present passage, the word translated "voice" (phoµneµs) is in the genitive case. In the Greek, this indicates that Saul's companions heard only the sound of the voice but could not understand what was said. In ch. 22:9 the word translated "voice" (phoµneµn) is in the accusative, and this, with the negative "not," signifies that they did not hear the voice distinctly enough to understand what was said (cf. ch. 9:4, where in speaking of Saul, who understood, Luke uses the accusative in saying that he "heard a voice" [eµkousen phoµneµn]). This explanation may be further supported by the fact that ch. 22:9 also declares that the men "saw indeed the light," while the present verse says that they "stood speechless . seeing no man." They saw the dazzling light, but their sight was not distinct enough to discern the One revealed to Saul in the light. Similarly, it is reasonable to understand that they heard the sound of the voice, but not distinctly enough to comprehend the words that were spoken.

Seeing no man. They saw the heavenly light (ch. 22:9) but did not perceive the divine form that Saul saw enshrouded in that light -- SDA Bible Commentary.