New Defender's Study Bible Notes
8:17 laid they their hands. This procedure—laying on hands to receive the Holy Ghost—is not normative for all believers. It is only mentioned twice (here and in Acts 19:6), and these were both special cases. In this case, it was vital for the new Samaritan believers to be integrated spiritually with the Jerusalem church, since the Jews and Samaritans had been enemies for centuries and this barrier urgently needed to be removed. Consequently, two leaders of the apostles, Peter and John, came to Samaria to confirm the Samaritan acceptance on the human level, and the Holy Spirit came on the divine level, evidently by supernatural phenomena, as He had done at Pentecost. There is no indication, however, that the Samaritan believers spoke in other tongues. Aafter all, there were only Samaritans present on this occasion, rather than men from many nations, as at Pentecost, so such tongues would have been unintelligible. Whatever the manifestation may have been, it was obvious that the Holy Spirit had fallen on the Samaritans, just as He had on the Jews at Pentecost.