Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Verse 5 (Acts 8:5)

Then Philip - One of the seven deacons, Acts 6:5 , called afterwards, Philip the Evangelist, Acts 21:8 .

The city of Samaria - At this time there was no city of Samaria existing: according to Josephus, Ant. lib. xiii. cap. 10, sect. 3, Hyrcanus had so utterly demolished it as to leave no vestige of it remaining. Herod the Great did afterwards build a city on the same spot of ground; but he called it ΣεβαϚη i.e. Augusta, in compliment to the Emperor Augustus, as Josephus tells us, Ant. lib. xv. cap. 8, sect. 5; War, lib. i. cap. 2. sect. 7; and by this name of Sebasté, or Augusta, that city, if meant here, would in all probability have been called, in the same manner as the town called Strato's Tower, (which Herod built on the sea coasts, and to which he gave the name of Caesarea, in compliment to Augustus Caesar), is always called Caesarea, wherever it is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. Bp. Pearce.

As Sychem was the very heart and seat of the Samaritan religion, and Mount Gerizim the cathedral church of that sect, it is more likely that it should be intended than any other. See Lightfoot. As the Samaritans received the same law with the Jews, as they also expected the Messiah, as Christ had preached to and converted many of that people, John 4:39-42 , it was very reasonable that the earliest offers of salvation should be made to them, before any attempt was made to evangelize the Gentiles. The Samaritans, indeed, formed the connecting link between the Jews and the Gentiles; for they were a mongrel people, made up of both sorts, and holding both Jewish and Pagan rites. See the account of them on Matthew 10:5 ; (note).

- Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible