7 “When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais, and we greeted the brothers and stayed with them for one day. 8 On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 9 He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied.” (Acts 21:7–9)
As Paul and his companions continued their journey, they departed from Tyre and sailed to Ptolemais, an ancient Phoenician port city. Upon their arrival, they sought our fellow believers as they had at Tyre. They stayed with them for one day.
They then traveled to Caesarea. Caesarea was named in honor of Augustus Caesar. The city was built by Herod the Great from 22 to 10 bc. The 8,000-acre (3,240-hectare) site lies 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of modern Haifa, in the beautiful Plain of Sharon on Israel’s Mediterranean coast. Known as Caesarea Marittima, it became the administrative center of the country throughout the period of Roman occupation. Three Roman governors of Palestine lived there: Felix (Acts 24), Festus (25:1, 4–6, 13), and Pontius Pilate, who visited Jerusalem on special occasions (as in John 19). Archaeologists found Pilate’s name carved in stone in the theater at Caesarea.
Caesarea served as the major seaport of Judea in NT times. Since the southern Palestinian coastline lacked a good harbor, Herod created one by building two huge breakwaters that could shelter ships from Mediterranean storms.
It was while they were in Caesarea, that Paul and his companions lodged with Phillip the evangelist, one of the first deacons of the church (Acts 6; 8). Luke also noted that Phillip had four unmarried daughters. Each of them prophesied.
Dr. R. C. Sproul notes that Phillip was “one of the seven chosen to handle the food distribution (Acts 6:1-6). He has preached to the Samaritans, the Ethiopian eunuch, and the people along the Palestinian coast (Acts 8). Although originally ordained to perform mercy ministry within the church, the gospel witness in Samaria, the Ethiopian, and the coastal towns warrants the title evangelist, an office mentioned rarely in the NT (Ephesians 4:11; 2 Timothy 4:5).”
Dr. John Walvoord comments that, “He (Phillip) had four unmarried (parthenoi, lit., “virgins”) daughters who had the gift of prophecy. This spiritual gift, evident in the early church, was not limited to men (cf. 1 Cor. 11:5). Their apparent silence in view of all the other prophecies regarding Paul’s suffering in Jerusalem is surprising.”
It was while Paul was staying at Phillips’ home that he would receive a providential visitor. We will study this encounter when next we meet. Have a blessed day.
Soli deo Gloria!