From the Book of Acts we read:

Acts 9:8-9: "Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus. 9And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank" (emphasis added).

What is the significance of Paul's blindness? Is there precedent for this elsewhere in Scripture?

  • Precedent for what ? Divine punishment ?
    – Lucian
    Jul 30 at 2:51

The only precedent for Paul's blindness (Acts 9) that comes to my mind is the Jesus' pointed remarks following His conversation with the man cured of blindness as recorded in John 9:

39 Then Jesus declared, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind may see and those who see may become blind.”c

40 Some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard this, and they asked Him, “Are we blind too?”

41 “If you were blind,” Jesus replied, “you would not be guilty of sin. But since you claim you can see, your guilt remains.”

Here, physical blindness is used as a metaphor for spiritual blindness - an apt description of Paul before his conversion. A further evidence for this was also suggested by Xeno in 2 Cor 4:3, 4 -

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

The Cambridge commentary has this for Acts 9:8 -

  1. and [but] when his eyes were opened, he saw no man [nothing] The vision had struck him blind. He opened his eyes, but their power had been taken away. Thus his physical condition becomes a fit representation of the mental blindness which he afterwards (Acts 26:9) deplores: “I verily thought with myself that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.”
  • Good point. Along the lines of spiritual blindness, there's also 1 Cor. 4:3-4: "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."
    – Xeno
    Jul 30 at 7:47
  • @Xeno - great reference - for completeness I will include that as well giving you credit of course.
    – Dottard
    Jul 30 at 8:23

Besides showing spiritual blindness as Dottard answered, it showed Paul when he received the truth by when he regained his sight.

So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 19 and taking food, he was strengthened. (Acts 9:17–19, ESV)

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