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09-Aug-2017 04:00

Verse 2 gives us a clue concerning what Paul was dealing with.

At the very end of the verse it says, “and the evil spirits went out.” The mechanism that God used is interesting in that it did not require Paul to touch those who were healed or even be in their presence.

But Paul was still dealing with the unbelieving Jewish leadership, who were not only practicing their Hebrew religion but some leaders had also become involved in the practice of the black arts.

Ephesus apparently supported a large community of sorcery, which had crept its way into the practice of Judaism. While we understand from Paul’s later writings that such ”sign gifts” have been set aside today, such was not the case during Paul’s stay in Ephesus.

Luke identifies a Jewish chief priest by the name of Sceva, who had seven sons, all exorcists, who were trying to invoke Jesus’ name in their rituals.

It is curious that Sceva was not only a priest, but a “high priest,” and suggests the level of involvement in the black arts within the Jewish community in Ephesus.

Apparently small articles of cloth (the NASB refers to them as handkerchiefs and aprons) that had been carried by Paul on his person (“from his body”) were sent to those afflicted.

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The word translated “apron” appears only in this verse, but it suggests the same thing as a tea-towel wrapped around the waist of a short-order cook in a diner.If you guessed these are the verses referring to the cloths around the dead faces of Lazarus and Jesus, you were right.