Acts 22:21 – 23-11

Jan 19, 2020 // By:dave cadieux // No Comment

21 “And He said to me, ‘Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”

22 They listened to him up to this statement, and then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he should not be allowed to live!”

23 And as they were crying out and throwing off their cloaks and tossing dust into the air,

24 the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, stating that he should be examined by scourging so that he might find out the reason why they were shouting against him that way.

25 But when they stretched him out with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman and uncondemned?”

26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and told him, saying, “What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman.”

27 The commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?” And he said, “Yes.”

28 The commander answered, “I acquired this citizenship with a large sum of money.” And Paul said, “But I was actually born a citizen.

29 Therefore those who were about to examine him immediately let go of him; and the commander also was afraid when he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had put him in chains.

30 But on the next day, wishing to know for certain why he had been accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the Council to assemble, and brought Paul down and set him before them.

23:1 Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, “Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day.”

2 The high priest Ananias commanded those standing beside him to strike him on the mouth.

3 Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit to try me according to the Law, and in violation of the Law order me to be struck?”

4 But the bystanders said, “Do you revile God’s high priest?”

5 And Paul said, “I was not aware, brethren, that he was high priest; for it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT SPEAK EVIL OF A RULER OF YOUR PEOPLE.’”

6 But perceiving that one group were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, Paul began crying out in the Council, “Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!”

7 As he said this, there occurred a dissension between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was divided.

8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.

9 And there occurred a great uproar; and some of the scribes of the Pharisaic party stood up and began to argue heatedly, saying, “We find nothing wrong with this man; suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?”

10 And as a great dissension was developing, the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them and ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force, and bring him into the barracks.

11 But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, “Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.”

Let’s dive in.

21 “And He said to me, ‘Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”

22 They listened to him up to this statement, and then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he should not be allowed to live!”

This is not an appeal to remove him from the steps, not even from Jerusalem. This an appeal to remove him from the earth (kill him)

23 And as they were crying out and throwing off their cloaks and tossing dust into the air,

throwing off cloaks, tossing dust in the air = custom which seems to have originated in middle east culture. (sometimes accompanied by tearing off the clothes and putting on sackcloth)

  1. sign of tumultuous sorrow.
  2. also a sign of humility before God 

(I am but dust aside from God Gen 18:27, Jonah 3:5-9, Job 42:6)

in this case, I see expression of tumult and sorrow (apparently directed at Paul claiming that God is sending him to the gentiles)

is this genuine sorrow or hypocritical anger ?

24 the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, stating that he should be examined by scourging so that he might find out the reason why they were shouting against him that way.

a friendly commander now shows his true colors (interrogation by scourging !)

25 But when they stretched him out with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman and uncondemned?”

Why does Paul ask this ?

26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and told him, saying, “What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman.”

27 The commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?” And he said, “Yes.”

Penalty for claiming to be Roman falsely was beheading by axe.

by AD 4, Augustus established census, for reliable tracking of subjects as well as citizens of Rome

(30 days from birth, parents had to present the child to Roman official for citizenship and receive a wooden diptych … hinged wax tablets in wood 

url.jpg

28 The commander answered, “I acquired this citizenship with a large sum of money.” And Paul said, “But I was actually born a citizen.

citizenship was purchasable thing for a short window during the reign of Claudius (AD 41-54)

Acts 22 take place around 59 AD

usually acquired by two means:

  1. born citizen.
  2. earned by 15 years of military service.

some critics say that this Roman was referring to the price paid as serving in military but this is not supported in the greek (sum = κεφαλαίου = head, money     

we use the word capital the same way

  1. capital punishment meant beheading (cap meaning head)
  2. capital also means financial accumulation

most citizens did not carry such a valuable item with them, it took a lot of work to get a replacement tablet back then. More often than not, the idea was, “ok, we will take your word for it, but if you are found out to be lying, it will cost you your life.”

Roman law of columnia meant that falsely accusing someone risked suffering the same punishment that the accusation brought. (certainly false punishment would exact at least this same penalty)

29 Therefore those who were about to examine him immediately let go of him; and the commander also was afraid when he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had put him in chains.

Roman Citizen Privileges:

  • right to vote in assemblies
  • eligible to run for civil or public office.
  • right to make legal contracts
  • right to hold property,
  • immunity from some taxes and legal obligations.
  • right to sue (and be sued) in the courts
  • right to have a legal trial where they could appear before a proper court to defend themselves. 
  • ability to request Caesar himself hear their case.
  • could not be tortured or whipped (scourged)
  • could not receive the death penalty, unless they were guilty of treason.

30 But on the next day, wishing to know for certain why he had been accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the Council to assemble, and brought Paul down and set him before them.

23:1 Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, “Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day.”

2 The high priest Ananias commanded those standing beside him to strike him on the mouth.

3 Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit to try me according to the Law, and in violation of the Law order me to be struck?”

4 But the bystanders said, “Do you revile God’s high priest?”

5 And Paul said, “I was not aware, brethren, that he was high priest; for it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT SPEAK EVIL OF A RULER OF YOUR PEOPLE.’”

quoting Ex 22:28

I don’t think he was making an excuse here

several passages that suggest Paul may have had poor eyesight. 

  • Gal 4:15 says, “… for I testify to you that, if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me.”
  • Gal 6:11 Paul says, “See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand.” Normally, a scribe (a secretary) wrote Paul’s letters to the churches. This passage in Galatians 6, coupled with the fact that Paul nearly always used scribes, possibly suggests that he had sight difficulty.
  • Acts 28:1-3 we have an account of Paul gathering firewood. As he picked up various pieces, he saw what looked like a bit of firewood, but when he laid it on the fire it turned out to be a viper (serpent) that was stiff from the cold. We could easily conclude that his eyesight was poor here.

6 But perceiving that one group were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, Paul began crying out in the Council, “Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!”

why would he say “I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead” in response to perceiving that there were both sadducees and pharisees at this trial ?

7 As he said this, there occurred a dissension between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was divided.

8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.

for that is why they are “sad you see”  lol  🙂

9 And there occurred a great uproar; and some of the scribes of the Pharisaic party stood up and began to argue heatedly, saying, “We find nothing wrong with this man; suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?”

10 And as a great dissension was developing, the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them and ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force, and bring him into the barracks.

11 But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, “Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.”

yet another confirmation for Paul that he is in the will of the Lord, and going to Rome.

When I first reviewed Paul’s testimony, I was thinking, “why is he avoiding calling himself a christian, a follower of the way.  He is talking to these jews as if he is still one of them (a jew) and waits till the very end to drop the bomb regarding the gentiles.

This, I believe is a wrong assessment.

Paul is speaking sincerely from his beliefs regarding Judaism and Jesus Christ.

to Paul, Christianity was the natural development of Judaism”

Paul shows this in 

Gal 3

Rom 9-11 (among other contexts)

He clearly believes that the former was always meant to change into the latter.

Through Abraham, all nations would be blessed
(and  All who believe become sons of Abraham)

Jewish prophecy fulfilled in the Christ, the Messiah

Animal sacrifice pointing to the cross.

Law pointing to grace.

The entirety of scripture points to Christ (He has always been the focal point, the destination)

Eph 1:9-10

And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

1 Cor. 15:24-29; 

Phil. 2:10-11; 

Rev. 21:1-4

Everything is to be offered to Him, given to Him, done in His name (Col 3:17)

Does everything in your life point to Jesus Christ.

(or are there still diversions and wrong direction arrows?)

also to consider: God is in control, not us.

(even when we cannot see Him, He sees us)

Job 23:8 “Behold, I go forward but He is not there, 

And backward, but I cannot perceive Him;

Job 23:9 When He acts on the left, I cannot behold Him; 

He turns on the right, I cannot see Him.

Job 23:10 But He knows the way I take; 

When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

Have we learned to trust Him when we cannot see Him ?

Do we still direct everything in our lives toward Him when we cannot see the benefit ?

 

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