Acts 8:26-30
Acts 8:26 (KJB)
And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
Desert - Abandoned, solitary, or desolate
Here we see that Philip is being guided by the Lord that he is to leave Samaria and is to head south past Jerusalem to Gaza. Gaza was the most southern of the five major cities of the Philistines in Old Testament times. It was approximately 60 miles (97 km) southwest of Jerusalem. Apparently at this time the area was abandoned and was very desolate making it a desert place. This verse teaches us that God is the one who guides where the Christian will bring the Gospel. It is not a question of I will go where I think I should go but is a question of where God will send us to evangelize. This is why we pray and ask the Lord where He would have us minister because the will of God is extremely active in evangelism and He knows exactly where to place each of us since He qualifies us for different ministries.
Acts 8:27 (KJB)
And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
As soon as Philip received his instructions from the Lord, he did not hesitate to go on his way in the direction the Lord had sent him. Oh that we Christians would follow that mindset when the Lord sets us up in a ministry that we would not hesitate to engage. This man was a very important man in the court of Candace, Queen of Ethiopia. He had charge of her treasury which meant that he would do disbursements as well as collections. You could probably compare him to a Chief Financial Officer in a business or a Treasurer for the government. Many of the highly placed officials in ancient courts were eunuchs. She had her seat of government on the Island of Meroe in the Nile River. This section would have been in the modern Sudan but would have also had part of modern day Ethiopia. The name “Candace” was a general name for the leaders of Ethiopia and it means “ Queen or ruler of children.” It was a name like “Pharaoh” which was generic. The actual name of this queen was not given by Luke just her royal designation. Apparently this man had come from the Feast of Pentecost in Jerusalem and was a Gentile convert to the religion of the Jews.
Acts 8:28 (KJB)
Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
The trip from the Island of Meroe to Jerusalem would have been approximately 1000 miles (1609 km) each way. He probably had purchased some Hebrew Scriptures from the Temple and was now reading the scroll of Isaiah. He may have been at a rest stop while he started to read Isaiah. In ancient times a trip of 1,000 miles could be about 50 days, if you do 20 miles per day, which would be about normal because the animals would have to be fed and rested. For the Queen to let him go this long, he must have been a trusted and valuable member of her court.
Acts 8:29 (KJB)
Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
Then the Holy Spirit had further given Philip instructions that he was to join himself to the chariot of this Ethiopian Dignitary. The early believers were very sensitive to the calling and direction of the Holy Spirit, so they were able to minister where God wanted them to. With Philip joining himself to the Ethiopian, he would be able to help him understand and then when the Treasurer got back to Ethiopia, he would then be able to start teaching others the truth and that means evangelism would begin in Ethiopia.
Acts 8:30 (KJB)
And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
The Holy Spirit had already set the stage for this meeting as Philip literally ran up to him. Now this man being a dignitary would have had guards around him so nothing would happen to him. For Philip to be able to run up to the Chariot, meant that the Ethiopian was ready to meet him without any hesitation or worries that he was a road bandit. Philip approached him and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah and had asked him if he understood what he read, thus setting the stage for a teaching session.