The apostle concludes this chapter, containing a relation of his sufferings, with a remarkable deliverance which God gave him from danger and death, at the city of Damascus, soon after his conversion, of which mention is made, Act_9:24-25.
The Jews, whom he confuted and confounded with his arguments at Damascus, sought to kill him; to effect which, they had by some means or other, brought over Aretas, who was king, under the Roman emperor, at Damascus, and he engages with the Jews in persecuting the holy and innocent apostle. He shuts up the gates of the city, keeps his soldiers in arms, and uses all possible means to prevent the apostle's escape.
But what saith the Psalmist? Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain, Psa_127:1 either to keep out those whom he will have in, or to keep in those whom he will have out. All the wall shall be an open gate to those whom Divine Providence will have to escape; as here to St. Paul, being let down over the wall by a rope in a basket. Neither was it any evidence of cowardice that the apostle now fled, nor in the least degree sinful; our Lord having given us a particular license in the case, saying, When they persecute you in one city, fly to another. Besides, the persecution now raised was directly levelled against the apostle in particular.
It was therefore piously done in the disciples, and prudently done in himself, to attend the means of his own preservation. As the husbandman doth not commit all his corn to the oven, but saves some for seed; so doth God in persecution. All are not martyrs; and none shall be so presently: they must first finish their course of obedience before they finish their course with joy.
Happy soul, that can say with this great and good man, I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith, I am ready to be offered up: henceforth is laid up for me a crown of glory, which fadeth not away. Amen.