Acts 23

Paul Before the Sanhedrin

Paul looked directly at the Sanhedrin [and] said, “Brothers, I have conducted myself before God in all good conscience to this day.” At this, the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near [Paul] to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God will strike [you] , you whitewashed wall! You sit [here] to judge me according to the Law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck.” But those standing nearby said, “How dare you insult the high priest of God!” “Brothers,” Paul replied, “vvv I was not aware that he was [the] high priest, for it is written: ‘vvv Do not speak evil [about the] ruler of your people.’”
Exodus 22:28
Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, [the] son of a Pharisee. [It is] because of [my] hope in the resurrection of [the] dead [that] I am on trial.” As soon as he had said [this] , a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. For [the] Sadducees say there is neither a resurrection, nor angels, nor spirits, but [the] Pharisees acknowledge them all. A great clamor arose, and some scribes from the party of the Pharisees got up [and] contended sharply, “We find nothing wrong with this man. What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10  [The] dispute grew so violent [that] the commander was afraid they would tear Paul to pieces. He ordered the soldiers to go down [and] remove him by force and bring [him] into the barracks. 11  The following night the Lord stood by [Paul] [and] said, “Take courage! As you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so also you must testify in Rome.”

The Plot to Kill Paul

12  When daylight came, the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat [or] drink until they had killed Paul. 13  More than forty [of them] were involved in this plot. 14  They went to the chief priests and elders [and] said, “We have bound ourselves with a solemn oath [not] to eat [anything] until we have killed Paul. 15  Now then, you and the Sanhedrin petition the commander to bring him down to you on the pretext of examining his case more carefully. We are ready to kill him on the way.” 16  But [when] the son of Paul’s sister heard about the ambush, he went into the barracks [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 [the centurion] took him to the commander and said, “Paul the prisoner sent [and] asked me to bring this young man to you. He has something to tell you.” 19  The commander took [the young man] by the hand, drew [him] aside, and asked, “What do you need to tell me?” 20  He answered, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul to the Sanhedrin tomorrow, on the pretext of acquiring more information about him. 21  {Do} not {let} them persuade you, because more than forty men are waiting to ambush him. [They] have bound themselves with an oath not to eat [or] drink until they have killed him; they are ready now, awaiting your consent.” 22  So the commander dismissed the young man and instructed [him] , “Do not tell [anyone] that you have reported this to me.”

Paul Sent to Felix

23  Then he called two of [his] centurions [and] said, “Prepare two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea in the third hour of the night. 24  Provide mounts [for] Paul to take [him] safely to Governor Felix.” 25  [And] he wrote the following letter: 26  “Claudius Lysias, To His Excellency, Governor Felix: Greetings. 27  This man was seized by the Jews, and they were about to kill [him] when I came with [my] troops to rescue [him] . For I had learned that he is a Roman citizen, 28  and since I wanted to understand [their] charges [against] him, I brought [him] down to their Sanhedrin. 29  I found that the accusation involved questions [about] their [own] Law, but there was no charge worthy of death or imprisonment. 30  [When] I was informed that there was a plot against the man, I sent [him] to you at once. I also instructed [his] accusers to present [their case] against him before you.” 31  So the soldiers followed their orders [and] brought Paul by night to Antipatris. 32  The next day they returned to the barracks [and] let the horsemen go on with him. 33  [When the horsemen] arrived in Caesarea, they delivered the letter to the governor and presented Paul to him. 34  [The governor] read [the letter] and asked what province [Paul] was from. Learning that [he was] from Cilicia, 35  he said, “I will hear your case when your accusers arrive.” Then he ordered that [Paul] be kept under guard in Herod’s Praetorium.
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