23 1 As Paul pleadeth his cause, 2 Ananias commandeth them to smite him. 7 Dissension among his accusers. 11 God encourageth him. 14 The Jews laying wait for Paul, 17 is declared unto the chief captain. 24 He sendeth him to Felix the Governor.

And [a]Paul beheld earnestly the Council, and said, Men and brethren, I have in all good conscience served God until this day.

[b]Then the high Priest Ananias commanded them that stood by, to smite him on the mouth.

[c]Then said Paul to him, God [d]will smite thee, thou [e]whited wall: for thou sittest to judge me according to the Law, and [f]transgressing the Law, commandest thou me to be smitten?

And they that stood by, said, Revilest thou God’s high Priest?

[g]Then said Paul, I knew not brethren, that he was the high Priest: for it is written, (A)Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.

[h]But when Paul perceived that the one part were of the Sadducees, and the other of the Pharisees, he cried in the Council, Men and brethren, (B)I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: I am accused of the hope and resurrection of the dead.

[i]And when he had said this, there was a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, so that the multitude was divided.

(C)[j]For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither [k]Angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.

[l]Then there was a great cry: and the [m]Scribes of the Pharisees’ part rose up, and strove, saying, We find none evil in this man: but if a spirit or an Angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God.

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

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

12 [o]And when the day was come, certain of the Jews made an assembly, and bound themselves [p]with 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 with a solemn curse, that we will eat nothing, until we have slain Paul.

15 Now therefore, [q]ye and the Council, signify to the chief captain, that he bring him forth unto you tomorrow, as though you would know something more perfectly of him, and we, or ever he come near will be ready to kill him.

16 But when Paul’s sister’s son heard of their laying await, he went, and entered into the castle, and told Paul.

17 [r]And Paul called one of the Centurions unto him, and said, Take this young man hence unto the chief captain: for he hath a certain thing to show 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, which hath something to say unto thee.

19 Then the chief captain took him by the hand, and went apart with him alone, and asked him, What hast thou to show me?

20 And he said, The Jews have conspired to desire thee, that thou wouldest bring forth Paul tomorrow into the Council, as though they would inquire somewhat of him more perfectly:

21 But let them not persuade thee: for there lie in wait for him of them, more than forty men, which have bound themselves with a curse, that they will neither eat nor drink, till they have killed him: and now are they ready, and wait for thy promise.

22 [s]The chief captain then let the young man depart, after he had charged him to utter it to no man, that he had [t]showed him these things.

23 And he called unto him two certain Centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers, that they may go to Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and two hundred with darts, at the third hour of the night:

24 And let them make ready an horse, that Paul being set on, may be brought safe unto Felix the governor.

25 And he wrote an Epistle in this manner:

26 [u]Claudius Lysias unto the most noble governor Felix sendeth greeting.

27 As this man was taken of the Jews, and should have been killed of them, I came upon them with a garrison, and rescued him, perceiving 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 There I perceived that he was accused of questions of their Law, but had no crime worthy of death, or of bonds.

30 And when it was showed me, how that the Jews laid wait for the man, I sent him straightway to thee, and commanded his accusers to speak before thee the things that they had against him. Farewell.

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

32 And the next day, they left the horsemen to go with him, and returned into the Castle.

33 Now when they came to Caesarea, they delivered the Epistle to the governor, and presented Paul also unto him.

34 So when the Governor had read it, 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 also are come, and commanded him to be kept in Herod’s judgment hall.

Footnotes

  1. Acts 23:1 Paul against the false accusations of his enemies, setteth a good conscience, for proof whereof, he repeateth the whole course of his life.
  2. Acts 23:2 Hypocrites are constrained at length to betray themselves by their intemperance.
  3. Acts 23:3 It is lawful for us to complain of injuries, and to summon the wicked to the judgment seat of God, so that we do it without hatred, and with a quiet and peaceable mind.
  4. Acts 23:3 It appeareth plainly by the Greek plural, that Paul did not curse the high Priest, but only pronounce the punishment of God against him.
  5. Acts 23:3 This is a vehement and sharp speech, but yet not reproachful: For the godly may speak roundly, and yet be void of the bitter affection of a sharp and angry mind.
  6. Acts 23:3 For the Law commandeth the judge to hear the person that is accused patiently, and to pronounce the sentence advisedly.
  7. Acts 23:5 We must willingly and from the heart give honor to Magistrates, although they be tyrants.
  8. Acts 23:6 We may lawfully sometimes set the wicked together by the ears, that they may leave off to assault us, so that it be with no hindrance of the truth.
  9. Acts 23:7 The concord of the wicked is weak although they conspire together to oppress the truth.
  10. Acts 23:8 It is an old heresy of the Sadducees, to deny the substance of Angels and souls, and therewithall the resurrection of the dead.
  11. Acts 23:8 Natures that want bodies.
  12. Acts 23:9 The Lord when it pleaseth him, findeth defenders of his cause, even amongst his enemies.
  13. Acts 23:9 The Scribes’ office was a public office, and the name of the Pharisees was the name of a sect.
  14. Acts 23:10 God will not forsake his to the end.
  15. Acts 23:12 Such as are carried away with a foolish zeal, think that they may lie and murder, and do whatsoever mischief they list.
  16. Acts 23:12 They cursing and banning themselves, promised.
  17. Acts 23:15 Ye and the Senate requiring the same to be done, lest that the Tribune should think that it was demanded of him at some private man’s suit.
  18. Acts 23:17 The wisdom of the Spirit must be joined with simplicity.
  19. Acts 23:22 There is no counsel against the Lord and his servants.
  20. Acts 23:22 Greek, that thou hast showed these things to me.
  21. Acts 23:26 Lysias is suddenly made by the Lord Paul’s patron.

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