23:1-10. PAUL'S DEFENSE.
R  q  1. Paul's life.
    r  5. Dispute with High Priest.
   q  Paul's faith.
    r  7-10. Dispute between the sects.

Acts 23)

1 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, "Men and brethren, I have lived (as a citizen) in all good conscience to God until this day." (Paul declared he had done his best to the council.)
2 And the high priest Ananias (Son of Nedebaeus. He was murdered by the hand of the Sicarii some years later, after being caught in an aqueduct where he had concealed himself) commanded them that stood by him to smite his mouth.
3 Then said Paul to him, "God is about smite you, you white-washed wall: for do you sit judging me according to the law, and command me to be acting against law?" (Paul knew Scripture. He is making a point of Deuteronomy 25. The honest man was to be released, and the evil man was to be smitten according to the law.Remember, Ananais was appointed high priest by the Romans, not by God. Paul called Ananais a white-washed fake.)
4 And they that stood by said, "Do you revile God's high priest?"

5 Then said Paul, "I knew not, brethren, that he was high priest: for it has been written (see Ex. 22:28), 'You shall not speak evil of the ruler of your people.'" (Only God has the authority to appoint the high priest and ruler of the people. Be careful to follow the right leader; the one appointed by God. Man will most often disappoint you. God will never disappoint you.)

6 Now when Paul got to know (some made have heard Paul's address on the stairs [22:1-21], and were discussing his statement about the risen Lord, and might have put a question to him) that the one part were Sadducees (The word SADDUCEE is the Greek form of the Heb. zaddukim, which is derived form one Zadok, said to be the founder of the sect, who was a disciple of ANTIGONUS of SOCOH (200-170 B.C.). They were the aristocratic and conservative party politically; and, doctrinally (generally speaking) they negatived the teaching of the Pharisees, even denying the doctrine of the resurrection. Neither of these sects had any existence, as such, till the return from Babylon.), and the other Pharisees (see 15:5), he cried out in the council, "Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: concerning a resurrection-hope of the dead I am judged."

7 And when he had spoken this, there arose a dissension of the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided.
8 For Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both. (Paul drove a wedge between the two groups. He not only knew God's Word, he knew their religion, as well.)
9 And there arose a great cry: and the scribes that were of the Pharisees' part arose, and were earnestly contending, saying, "We find nothing evil in this man: but if a spirit or an angel spoke to him, let us not fight against God." (All the text omit. They suddenly broke off. Perhaps the Pharisees were afraid to express their thoughts. It is a figure of speech. The words in the A.V. were probably added by some copyist from 5:39, adapting Gamaliel's language. Mark this well in your mind. There will be trials in the future. This information might be of use to you. Not many are foolish enough to fight against God.)
10 And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been torn asunder by them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force out of the midst of them, and to bring him into the castle. (The chief captain of the Romain soldiers could see no fault in Paul and had him removed for his own protection. As a Romain citizen, Paul was entitled to this protection. Here is an important point. You must support the government that protects your right to worship as you wish. That is wisdom friends. Unfortunately, it seems many lack this wisdom today. How do we arm ourselves with the wisdom to see through the whitewash of an Ananaias and those like him? You arm yourselves with God's Word.)

S  s  11. Comfort from the Lord.
    t  12-16. Conspiracy formed.
   s  16-19. Consideration from the chief captain.
    t  20-22. Conspiracy revealed.

11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, "Take courage, Paul: for as you have testified of Me in Jerusalem, so must you bear witness also at Rome." (It is necessary, its bound, must be so, absolute. See 27:21-25.)

12 And when it was day, certain of the Jews (Kenites) having made a coalition (i.e of the 2 sects), and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. (Josephus records a vow taken by 10 men to kill Herod the Great. In a papyrus from Oxyrhynchus, in the Bodleian Library, threatening that, if his father will not take him to Alexandria, he would neither eat or drink.)
13 And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy.
14 And they came to the chief priests and elders, and said, "We have bound ourselves under a great curse, to taste nothing until we have slain Paul." (Lit. we have anathematized ourselves with an anathema. A Hebraism. See Mark 14:71)
15 Now therefore you with the council signify to the chief captain that he bring him down to you tomorrow, as being about to inquire the concerning him more accurately: and we, before he come near, are ready to kill him.

16 And when Paul's sister's son heard of their lying in wait, he having come upon [them] and entered into the castle (suggesting that he may have found them accidentally. But it was of God. Paul was not to be "cut off" at the will of the enemy, any more than the "seed".), and reported [it to] Paul.
17 Then Paul called one of the centurions to him, and said, "Bring this young man to the chief captain: for he has a certain thing to tell him."
18 So he therefore indeed having taken him, brought him to the chief captain, and said, "Paul the prisoner (this was a title the apostle cherished as one of honor. See Eph. 3:1, 4:1. 2 Tim. 1:8. Philem. 1:2) called me to him, and asked me to bring this young man to you, who has something to speak to you."
19 Then the chief captain took him by the hand, and having withdrawn with him privately, and inquired of him, "What is that you have to tell me?"

20 And he said, "The Jews agreed to desire you that you would bring down Paul tomorrow into the council, as though they would inquire something of him more accurately.
21 But do not be persuaded by them: for there lie in wait for him of them more than forty men, which have bound themselves with an oath, that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him: and now they are ready, looking for the promise from you. (This shows that some promise of a further trial of Paul had been given.)
22 The chief captain indeed sent the young man away, and commanded him, "See that you tell no one that you have showed these things to me."

P  u  23,24. Chief captain. Orders.
    v  25-30. Letter written.
     w  31,32. Journey.
    v  33,34. Letter received.
   u  35. Felix. Orders.

23 And having called to him two centurions, he said, "Make ready two hundred soldiers to go as far as Caesarea (about 70 miles), and horsemen threescore and ten, and spear-men two hundred (some light-armed troops are meant), from the third hour of the night; (9 p.m., and no one could pursue until the gates were open at 6 a.m.)
24 And provide them beasts, in order that they may set Paul on, and keep him safe and bring him to Felix (Claudius made him Procurator of Judea in 52 A.D. Josephus gives many details of the stirring times of his rule, and of his cruelty and treachery) the governor. (The general term for a subordinate ruler, Felix being a lieutenant of the Propraetor of Syria)

25 Having written a letter after this form:
26 "Claudius Lysias (as the Procurator's legate, he was responsible for order i Jerusalem. He had shown promptness and vigor, and, moreover, kindly consideration of his prisoner [v. 19], and in his letter puts Paul's case in a favorable light. He certainly claims some credit for himself to which he was not entitled [v. 27], and says nothing about his proposing to scourge a Roman citizen. But he stands far above Felix, or even Festus, and is entitled to rank with Julius [27:3,43]) to the most excellent (it was an official title, cp. "Excellency") governor Felix sends greeting.
27 This man having been seized of the Jews (Kenites), and being about to be killed of them: having come with the detachment, I delivered him, having learned that he was a Roman. (He did not learn it until he was about to have him scourged. It has been called "a dexterous falsehood".)
28 Wishing to know the cause on account of which they were accusing him, I brought him forth into their council:
29 Whom I found to be accused of questions of their law, as have no accusation laid to his charge worthy of death or of bonds.
30 And when it was revealed to me how that the Jews (Kenites) laid wait against the man (Lit. a plot was revealed to me as about to be laid against the man), I sent straightway to you, and having commanded to his accusers also to say before you against him."

31 So then the soldiers, according to that which was commanded them, took Paul, and brought him through night to Antipatris. (A small town in the plain of Sharon, about 40 miles from Jerusalem. Built by Herod the Great, and called after his father, Antipater.)
32 On the next day they permitted the horsemen to go with him, and returned to the castle:

33 Who, having entered to Caesarea and having delivered the epistle (same as letter, v. 25) to the governor, presented Paul also to him.
34 And when he read it, he questioned of what province he was. And when he learned by inquiry that he was from Cilicia; (Cilicia was included in the province of Syria, and therefore in the jurisdiction of Felix)

35 "I will fully hear you", said he, "when your accusers also shall have come." And he commanded him to be guarded in Herod's judgment hall (It here means the guard-room attached to Herod's palace. See Matt. 27:27. John 18:28.).

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