Gone through the isle - Ὁλην, The Whole isle, is added here by ABCDE, several others, both the Syrian, Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Vulgate, and Itala; and also by several of the Greek fathers; and this must be the true reading, for it is evident they ran through the whole island from east to west.
Unto Paphos - This town, next in importance to Salamis, was situated on the western part of the isle; and having gone from Salamis to this place is a proof that they had gone through the whole island from east to west, according to the reading noticed above. There was probably no town in the universe more dissolute than Papas. Here Venus had a superb temple: here she was worshipped with all her rites; and from this place she was named the Paphian Venus, the queen of Paphos, etc. This temple and whole city were destroyed by an earthquake; so that a vestige of either does not now remain. There are two islands which go by this name, both adjoining, and on the west side of the island of Cyprus. One is called Old Paphos, the other New Paphos; the latter is probably the island here mentioned, though they are often confounded. On this island there is a Christian Church, dedicated to St. George, in which service is performed by the Greek ministers. It is a bishop's see, suffragan to the Abp. of Nicosia.
A certain sorcerer - Τινα μαγον, A magician, one who used magical arts, and pretended to have commerce with supernatural agents. A person who dealt in sleight of hand, or leger-de-main. Such as I have supposed Simon Magus to be. See the note on Acts 8:9.
A false prophet - A deceiver, one who pretended to have a Divine commission, a fortune teller.
Bar-Jesus - That is, the son of Jesus or Joshua; as Bar-jona is the son of Jonah; Bar-tholomew, the son of Thalmi, etc.
And when they had gone through the isle - The length of the island, according to Strabo, was 1,400 stadia, or nearly 170 miles.
Unto Paphos - Paphos was a city at the western extremity of the island. It was the residence of the proconsul, and was distinguished for a splendid temple erected to Venus, who was worshipped throughout the island. Cyprus was fabled to be the place of the birth of this goddess. It had, besides Paphos and Salamis, several towns of note Citium, the birthplace of Zeno, Areathus, sacred to Venus, etc. Its present capital is Nicosia. Whether Paul preached at any of these places is not recorded. The island is formerly supposed to have had one million inhabitants.
A certain sorcerer - Greek: magus, or magician. See the notes on Acts 8:9.
A false prophet - Pretending to be endowed with the gift of prophecy; or a man, probably, who pretended to be inspired.
Bar-jesus - The word “Bar” is Syriac, and means “son.” Jesus (Joshua) was not an uncommon name among the Jews. The name was given from his father - son of Jesus, or Joshua; as Bar-Jonas, son of Jonas.