23 Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin(A) and said, “My brothers,(B) I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience(C) to this day.” At this the high priest Ananias(D) ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth.(E) Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall!(F) You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!”(G)

Those who were standing near Paul said, “How dare you insult God’s high priest!”

Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.’[a](H)

Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees(I) and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers,(J) I am a Pharisee,(K) descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.”(L) When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection,(M) and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees believe all these things.)

There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees(N) stood up and argued vigorously. “We find nothing wrong with this man,”(O) they said. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?”(P) 10 The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.(Q)

11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage!(R) As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”(S)

The Plot to Kill Paul

12 The next morning some Jews formed a conspiracy(T) and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul.(U) 13 More than forty men were involved in this plot. 14 They went to the chief priests and the elders and said, “We have taken a solemn oath not to eat anything until we have killed Paul.(V) 15 Now then, you and the Sanhedrin(W) petition the commander to bring him before you on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about his case. We are ready to kill him before he gets here.”

16 But when the son of Paul’s sister heard of this plot, he went into the barracks(X) and told Paul.

17 Then Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him.” 18 So he took him to the commander.

The centurion said, “Paul, the prisoner,(Y) sent for me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.”

19 The commander took the young man by the hand, drew him aside and asked, “What is it you want to tell me?”

20 He said: “Some Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul before the Sanhedrin(Z) tomorrow on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about him.(AA) 21 Don’t give in to them, because more than forty(AB) of them are waiting in ambush for him. They have taken an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him.(AC) They are ready now, waiting for your consent to their request.”

22 The commander dismissed the young man with this warning: “Don’t tell anyone that you have reported this to me.”

Paul Transferred to Caesarea

23 Then he called two of his centurions and ordered them, “Get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen[b] to go to Caesarea(AD) at nine tonight.(AE) 24 Provide horses for Paul so that he may be taken safely to Governor Felix.”(AF)

25 He wrote a letter as follows:

26 Claudius Lysias,

To His Excellency,(AG) Governor Felix:

Greetings.(AH)

27 This man was seized by the Jews and they were about to kill him,(AI) but I came with my troops and rescued him,(AJ) for I had learned that he is a Roman citizen.(AK) 28 I wanted to know why they were accusing him, so I brought him to their Sanhedrin.(AL) 29 I found that the accusation had to do with questions about their law,(AM) but there was no charge against him(AN) that deserved death or imprisonment. 30 When I was informed(AO) of a plot(AP) to be carried out against the man, I sent him to you at once. I also ordered his accusers(AQ) to present to you their case against him.

31 So the soldiers, carrying out their orders, took Paul with them during the night and brought him as far as Antipatris. 32 The next day they let the cavalry(AR) go on with him, while they returned to the barracks.(AS) 33 When the cavalry(AT) arrived in Caesarea,(AU) they delivered the letter to the governor(AV) and handed Paul over to him. 34 The governor read the letter and asked what province he was from. Learning that he was from Cilicia,(AW) 35 he said, “I will hear your case when your accusers(AX) get here.” Then he ordered that Paul be kept under guard(AY) in Herod’s palace.

Footnotes

  1. Acts 23:5 Exodus 22:28
  2. Acts 23:23 The meaning of the Greek for this word is uncertain.

23 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.

And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth.

Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?

And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God's high priest?

Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.

But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.

And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided.

For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.

And there arose a great cry: and the scribes that were of the Pharisees' part arose, and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man: but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God.

10 And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle.

11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

12 And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.

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, that we will eat nothing until we have slain Paul.

15 Now therefore ye with the council signify to the chief captain that he bring him down unto you to morrow, as though ye would enquire something more perfectly concerning him: and we, or ever he come near, are ready to kill him.

16 And when Paul's sister's son heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul.

17 Then Paul called one of the centurions unto him, and said, Bring this young man unto the chief captain: for he hath a certain thing to tell him.

18 So he took him, and brought him to the chief captain, and said, Paul the prisoner called me unto him, and prayed me to bring this young man unto thee, who hath something to say unto thee.

19 Then the chief captain took him by the hand, and went with him aside privately, and asked him, What is that thou hast to tell me?

20 And he said, The Jews have agreed to desire thee that thou wouldest bring down Paul to morrow into the council, as though they would enquire somewhat of him more perfectly.

21 But do not thou yield unto 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 are they ready, looking for a promise from thee.

22 So the chief captain then let the young man depart, and charged him, See thou tell no man that thou hast shewed these things to me.

23 And he called unto him two centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night;

24 And provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor.

25 And he wrote a letter after this manner:

26 Claudius Lysias unto the most excellent governor Felix sendeth greeting.

27 This man was taken of the Jews, and should have been killed of them: then came I with an army, and rescued him, having understood that he was a Roman.

28 And when I would have known the cause wherefore they accused him, I brought him forth into their council:

29 Whom I perceived to be accused of questions of their law, but to have nothing laid to his charge worthy of death or of bonds.

30 And when it was told me how that the Jews laid wait for the man, I sent straightway to thee, and gave commandment to his accusers also to say before thee what they had against him. Farewell.

31 Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them, took Paul, and brought him by night to Antipatris.

32 On the morrow they left the horsemen to go with him, and returned to the castle:

33 Who, when they came to Caesarea and delivered the epistle to the governor, presented Paul also before him.

34 And when the governor had read the letter, he asked of what province he was. And when he understood that he was of Cilicia;

35 I will hear thee, said he, when thine accusers are also come. And he commanded him to be kept in Herod's judgment hall.

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