Acts 23

1Paul looked at the members of the court and said, ‘My brothers, I have done what I thought God wanted me to do, right up to this day.’ 2Ananias, the high priest, said to those who were standing near Paul, ‘Hit his mouth!’ 3Paul said, ‘God will hit you down, you dirty wall painted white! You sit there to judge me by the law and you break the law by telling them to hit me.’ 4The people who stood near Paul said, ‘Do you say a wrong thing like that to God’s high priest?’ 5Paul said, ‘I did not know that he is a high priest. The holy writings say, "You shall not say anything wrong about a ruler of your people." ‘

6Paul knew that some of the men were from the Sadducee group and some of them were from the Pharisee group. So he called out in the court, ‘My brothers, I am a Pharisee. My fathers were Pharisees. I am being judged because I believe that the dead will be raised to life again.’ 7When he had said that, the Pharisees and the Sadducees began to talk back and forth. The men in the court were divided. 8The Sadducees say the dead will not be raised again. They say there is no angel or spirit. But the Pharisees believe in all these three things. 9There was much shouting. Some of the clever men who were Pharisees got up. They said, ‘We do not think this man has done wrong. Perhaps some angel or spirit really did speak to him.’ 10The people started fighting. The commanding officer was afraid they would tear Paul into pieces. So he told the soldiers to take Paul and bring him into the army house. 11The next night the Lord stood beside Paul. He said, ‘Be glad, Paul. You have told people about me in Jerusalem. You must also talk about me in Rome.’

12In the morning, some of the Jewish leaders planned together. They made a promise that they would not eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13There were more than forty Jews who made this secret plan together. 14They came to the chief priests and leaders and said, ‘We have made a promise for ourselves. We will not eat anything until we have killed Paul. 15So now, you and the members of the court send word to the commanding officer. Tell him to bring Paul down to you. Make him think you want to find out more about Paul. We will be ready to kill him before he gets there.’ 16The son of Paul’s sister heard about their secret plan. So he went into the army house and told Paul. 17Paul called one of the officers and said to him, ‘Take this young man to the commanding officer. He has something to tell him!’ 18So the officer took him to the commanding officer. He said, ‘Paul, the prisoner, called me. He asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.’ 19The officer took the young man by the arm. He went to one side so they could be alone. He asked, ‘What do you want to tell me?’ 20The young man said, ‘The leaders of the Jews have made a plan. They will ask you to bring Paul down to court tomorrow. They will say that they wish to find out more about him. 21But you must not do this. More than forty Jews are waiting for him. They have made a promise to themselves. They will not eat or drink until they have killed him. They are ready now and waiting for your agreement.’ 22So the commanding officer sent the young man away. He said, ‘You must not tell anyone that you have told me about these things.’ 23The commanding officer called two officers to him. He said, ‘Get two hundred soldiers ready by nine o’clock tonight to go to Caesarea. Send seventy men with them who will ride on horses and two hundred men who will carry spears. 24Also have horses ready for Paul to ride. Take him safely to Felix, the ruler.’ 25The officer wrote a letter to Felix like this: 26‘Claudius Lysias sends greetings to you, great ruler Felix. 27This man was caught by the Jews. They were ready to kill him. But I came with my soldiers and took him away, because I found out that he is a Roman. 28I wanted to find out what complaint they had against him, so I brought him into their court. 29I found out that their complaints were to do with their law. But he had not done anything wrong enough to die or to be put into prison. 30When I heard that the Jewish leaders were planning to catch him, I sent him to you at once. I told those who are making complaints against him that they must bring the matter to you.’ 31So the soldiers took Paul as they had been told to do. They went with him that night as far as the town of Antipatris. 32The next day the soldiers went back to the barracks. Only the men who were riding horses went with Paul. 33When they reached Caesarea, they gave the letter to the ruler and brought Paul to him. 34He read the letter. Then he asked Paul what country he came from. He heard that Paul was from Cilicia. Then he said, ‘I will hear all you have to say when the men who have made the complaint come here.’ He ordered Paul to be kept in the house which is called Herod’s palace. 35

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