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The Jews Of Alexandria

Alexandria, from the Greek word pronounced al-ex-an-droos, was a major city of Lower Egypt (a term based on the flow of The Nile River from south to north; Alexandria was geographically located in northern Egypt; see The Nile Delta). Alexandria was named after the Greek king Alexander who founded the city about 333 BC (see Alexander The Great In Prophecy, Ancient Empires - Greece and The Ptolemies).

Alexandria was one of the greatest ancient cities, partly because of the time that the city existed - after the fall of the Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian empires (see Ancient Empires - Assyria, Ancient Empires - Babylon and Ancient Empires - Persia), but before the rise of the Roman empire (see Ancient Empires - Rome). Greek learning, language and culture flourished from Alexandria - which was embraced by the thousands of Jews who lived in the city (which, ironically, was in the Goshen region of Egypt from which the Exodus took place centuries before). The "Septuagint," the famous translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, was done by Jews at Alexandria.

"A certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures"

The famous "birthday of the Church" Pentecost in Jerusalem was attended mostly by Jews, many of whom were born in foreign countries - and were native speakers of those foreign languages. Jews of Alexandria were among them.


"2:5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 2:6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language [see The Origin Of Speaking In Tongues]. 2:7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 2:8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 2:9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 2:10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 2:11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God." (Acts 2:5-11 KJV)

As was the case for everywhere else, Alexandria had people who were believers, and people who were unbelievers. Unbelievers from Alexandria were among those who stoned Stephen to death.

"6:8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. 6:9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. 6:10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake." (Acts 6:8-10 KJV)

Among those who did the killing was a Jerusalem Pharisee named Saul (see Was Paul Among Them?) - who later became, after his conversion (see Paul's Blindness Lesson), the apostle Paul.

"7:57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 7:58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.

7:59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 7:60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep" [see The Sleep Of Death] (Acts 7:57-60 KJV)

8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles." (Acts 8:1 KJV)

Ironically, Paul later became subject to the same sort of persecutions that he had inflicted upon others while he was yet unenlightened. But throughout his travels, wherever he went (see Paul's First Missionary Journey, Paul's Second Missionary Journey and Paul's Third Missionary Journey), Paul encountered those who could see, along with those who couldn't, yet. One of those who could see was a man from Alexandria, "a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures."

"18:18 And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow. 18:19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. 18:20 When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not; 18:21 But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus. 18:22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.

18:23 And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.

18:24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. 18:25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John [see also The Rebaptism Controversy]. 18:26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly." (Acts 18:18-26 KJV)

Later, when Paul was sent to Rome as a prisoner, his journey began on "a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy." It was on that vessel that Paul was shipwrecked on Malta (see Paul's Crash Landing).

"27:1 And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus' band. 27:2 And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us.

27:3 And the next day we touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself. 27:4 And when we had launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary. 27:5 And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia. 27:6 And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein. 27:7 And when we had sailed slowly many days, and scarce were come over against Cnidus, the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone; 27:8 And, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea." (Acts 27:1-8 KJV)

After recovering on Malta, Paul resumed his voyage to Rome on another ship of Alexandria "which had wintered in the isle."

"28:11 And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux. 28:12 And landing at Syracuse, we tarried there three days. 28:13 And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rhegium: and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli: 28:14 Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome. 28:15 And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage. 28:16 And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him." (Acts 28:11-16 KJV)

Fact Finder: What Greek queen was ruling Alexandria when it fell to Rome?
See Cleopatra

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