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Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Cyprus

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The Chittim of Ezekiel 27:6. Citium, one of its towns, is a kindred name. This island in easternmost part of the Mediterranean runs from N.E. to S.W., 148 miles long, about 40 broad for the most part, facing Phoenicia and Lebanon on the E., and Cilicia with the Taurus range on the N.; containing the mountain range of Olympus. Notorious for its licentious worship of Venus, or the Assyrian Astarte. Yet in this unpromising soil Christianity took early root, the Jews having prepared the way. Its copper mines in the mountains were once farmed to Herod the Great; hence, the number of Jews on the island was natural. Barnabas was born there, and "being a good man and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith" was keen to impart to his countrymen that gospel which he so much loved (Acts 4:36).

Moreover those scattered abroad in the persecution whereby Stephen suffered "traveled as far as Cyprus, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only." Some of the men of Cyprus too preached the Lord Jesus to the Greeks effectually at Antioch (Acts 11:19-20). Moreover, when Barnabas and Paul were there "separated for the Lord's work" by the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:1-13), Cyprus was their first destination. With John Mark as their minister they preached in the Jews' synagogue at Salamis; and then passing by the Roman road to Paphos, the proconsular residence in the W., at his request they preached before Sergius Paulus the "proconsul," KJV "deputy." A delicate mark of truth. Cyprus had been an imperial province, and governed by the emperor's "lieutenants"; but the emperor transferred it to the senate, and so Luke accurately designates its governor, as under the senate, "proconsul," anthupatos (Dion Cassius, 53:12; 54:4).

Coins and inscriptions confirm this (one on the lintel of a doorway with the name of the very officer referred to by Luke, confuting Beza's doubt). Elymas or Barjesus, a sorcerer and false prophet, a Jew, withstood Paul and Barnabas, "seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith"; but on his being struck with blindness at Paul's word the deputy was astonished and believed. Barnabas visited his native island again, with his nephew Mark, when Paul had refused to allow Mark's attendance because of his former departure from them from Pamphylia, instead of going forward with them to the work (Acts 15:36-39). Mnason, "an old disciple" of Cyprus, is mentioned in Acts 21:16 as the appointed entertainer of Paul at Jerusalem. In sailing from Rhodes and Patara Paul's ship "sighted" Cyprus, leaving it on the left in going to Phoenicia (Acts 21:3). In sailing from Sidon on their way to Rome they went N. of it, to be under lee of land, and to take advantage of the current, which flows northward along Phoenicia and westward along Cilicia (Acts 27:4).


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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Cyprus'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/fbd/c/cyprus.html. 1949.

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