v9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and those dwelling in Mesopotamia, both in Judea and Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia,
v10 Both in Phrygia and Pamphylia, in Egypt and the parts of Libya around Cyrene, and the sojourning of Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
v11a Cretans and Arabians,

Peoples - Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Cretans, Arabians
Regions - Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, Libya, Cyrene, Rome,

Here is a map of the places: Acts 2 map

  • 1
    There is a direct connection to Isaiah’s prophecy “and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors (saved people are survivors, Christians are said to be saved) to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭66:19‬ Jan 21 at 14:00

Roman Latin would have been the primary language alongside Greek and Hebrew/aramaic.

Parthian kingdom (central Asia) spoke Parthian a north western Iranian language.

Medes (Armenia) spoke according to http://farsibg.com/library/languageofmedians.pdf median, an indo-European language.

Elamites spoke Elamite according to https://www.historytoday.com/archive/puzzle-proto-elamite. Here's a excerpt which is rather interesting:

"Some linguists believe Elamite to be related to the Dravidian languages of South India, which include Tamil, and an Elamo-Dravidian family stretching from the Gulf to India could include the language of the Harappan civilisation in the Indus Valley. Interestingly enough, proto-Elamite tablets have been discovered at sites far eastwards towards Baluchistan, though a few hundred tablets and fragments have recently been unearthed near Tehran, so it seems the language was probably spoken over a wide area of Iran. Could the tablets represent an early version of Elamite? If so why did the writing rapidly die out? These tablets date to the period around 3200 to 2900 BC, but Dahl believes that those discovered to date represent only a very short period, possibly no more than a few scribal generations. Precise dating is difficult because of uncertainty in carbon dates at around that time, due to a plateau in the carbon curve for that period."

Cretans spoke a Greek dialect known as Cretan.

Arabians would have spoken Persian.

I think generally there would have been a lot of languages spoken at the time as it was the feast of Pentecost and Jews from the diaspora would have been there.

Where Babel was the dividing of one language into many, Pentecost was the bringing together of one language heard as many.


Good questioin. Indeed, the order of this list is not accidental. It's related to Luke's unique writing style from a historian's overview.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(9-11) Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites. . . .--The list that follows is characteristic of the trained historian--trained, it may be, as in the school of Strabo (see Introduction to St. Luke)--who had carefully inquired what nations were represented at that great Pentecost, who had himself been present, at least, at one later Pentecost (Acts 21:15), and knew the kind of crowd that gathered to it. There is a kind of order, as of one taking a mental bird's-eye view of the Roman empire, beginning with the great Parthian kingdom, which was still, as it had been in the days of Crassus, the most formidable of its foes; then the old territory of the Medes which had once been so closely connected with the history of their fathers; then, the name of the Persians having been thrown into the background, the kindred people of Elam (commonly rendered Persia in the LXX.) whom Strabo speaks of as driven to the mountains (xi. 13, ? 6); then the great cities of the Tigris and Euphrates, where the "princes of the captivity" still ruled over a large Jewish population; then passing southward and westward to Judaea; then to Cappadocia, in the interior of Asia Minor; then to Pontus, on the northern shore washed by the Euxine; then westward to the Proconsular Province of Asia, of which Ephesus was the capital. From Ephesus the eye travels eastward to the neighbouring province of Phrygia; thence southward to Pamphylia; thence across the Mediterranean to Egypt; westward to Cyrene; northward, re-crossing the Mediterranean, to the great capital of the empire; then, as by an after-thought, to the two regions of Crete and Arabia that had been previously omitted. The absence of some countries that we should have expected to find in the list--Syria, Cilicia, Cyprus, Bithynia, Macedonia, Achaia, Spain--is not easy to explain, but it is, at any rate, an indication that what we have is not an artificial list made up at a later date, but an actual record of those whose presence at the Feast had been ascertained by the historian. Possibly they may have been omitted because Jews and converts coming from them would naturally speak Greek, and there would be no marvel to them in hearing Galileans speaking in that language. The presence of Judaea in the list is almost as unexpected as the absence of the others. That, we think, might have been taken for granted. Some critics have accordingly conjectured that "India" must be the true reading, but without any MS. authority. Possibly, the men of Judaea are named as sharing in the wonder that the Galileans were no longer distinguished by their provincial patois. (Comp. Note on Matthew 26:73.)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.