Acts 23: 12-35

Jan 26, 2020 // By:dave cadieux // No Comment

12 When it was day, the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul.

13 There were more than forty who formed this plot.

14 They came to the chief priests and the elders and said, “We have bound ourselves under a solemn oath to taste nothing until we have killed Paul.

15 “Now therefore, you and the Council notify the commander to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case by a more thorough investigation; and we for our part are ready to slay him before he comes near the place.

16 But the son of Paul’s sister heard of their ambush, and he came and entered the barracks and told Paul.

17 Paul called one of the centurions to him and said, “Lead this young man to the commander, for he has something to report to him.”

18 So he took him and led him to the commander and said, “Paul the prisoner called me to him and asked me to lead this young man to you since he has something to tell you.”

19 The commander took him by the hand and stepping aside, began to inquire of him privately, “What is it that you have to report to me?”

20 And he said, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down tomorrow to the Council, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more thoroughly about him.

21 “So do not listen to them, for more than forty of them are lying in wait for him who have bound themselves under a curse not to eat or drink until they slay him; and now they are ready and waiting for the promise from you.”

22 So the commander let the young man go, instructing him, “Tell no one that you have notified me of these things.”

23 And he called to him two of the centurions and said, “Get two hundred soldiers ready by the third hour of the night to proceed to Caesarea, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen.”

24 They were also to provide mounts to put Paul on and bring him safely to Felix the governor.

25 And he wrote a letter having this form:

26 “Claudius Lysias, to the most excellent governor Felix, greetings.

27 “When this man was arrested by the Jews and was about to be slain by them, I came up to them with the troops and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman.

28 “And wanting to ascertain the charge for which they were accusing him, I brought him down to their Council;

29 and I found him to be accused over questions about their Law, but under no accusation deserving death or imprisonment.

30 “When I was informed that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, also instructing his accusers to bring charges against him before you.”

31 ¶ So the soldiers, in accordance with their orders, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris.

32 But the next day, leaving the horsemen to go on with him, they returned to the barracks.

33 When these had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him.

34 When he had read it, he asked from what province he was, and when he learned that he was from Cilicia,

35 he said, “I will give you a hearing after your accusers arrive also,” giving orders for him to be kept in Herod’s Praetorium.

Last week, we discussed how Paul used the tension between pharisees and sadducees to extricate himself from a bad trial outcome in the Antonio Fortress.

anyone know how the leaders of Israel became split this way?

during the babylonian captivity, jews are taken from their land, the temple has been destroyed.

Why is the destruction of the temple significant ?

(can’t worship or make sacrifices to atone for sin)

in their captivity, they met in small home groups called synagogue  (“sunagoge”)

to study the scriptures

  1. perusheem (separated ones)  pharisee
  2. saduccees (only accepted torah, and rejected any spiritual implications)
  3. essenes (similar to pharisees, but rejected any resurrection

we left off with the Lord appearing to Paul

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.”

it’s worth noting that this is the same prison that Peter was freed from earlier (Acts 12: 3-9)

I point this out to show that God could set Paul free from this prison if he chose to.  He does not. Sometimes, God delivers us from a trial quickly. Sometimes, He is using the trial to deliver us from something else.  In this case, God is using the Roman arrest to keep Paul safe from those who would kill him.

whether the door opens or closes, it’s God’s provision.
(God imprisoned Paul because he was obedient in going to Jerusalem)

Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ…

I have noticed that several of the commentaries try to change this and explain it away by teaching that Paul really meant that he was a prisoner because he was preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. But that is not what Paul said, and he had the ability of saying exactly what he had in mind. He was using the Greek language, which is a very flexible, versatile language. He said he was a prisoner of Jesus Christ.

If we had been there, we might have had a conversation with Paul like this:

“Poor Paul, it’s too bad these Romans put you in jail.”

“They didn’t put me in jail.”

“Oh, we know what you mean. Those hateful religious rulers brought a charge against you.”

“They didn’t put me in jail, either.”

“Who did, then?”

“Jesus Christ. I’m His prisoner.”

“You mean to tell me that you would serve someone who put you in prison?”

“Yes, when it’s His will for me to be in prison, I’m in prison. When it’s His will for me to be out of prison, I’ll be out of prison. When it’s His will for me to be sick, I’m going to be sick. I belong to Him. And since I belong to Him, I have learned to be content in whatsoever state I am in.”

—From J. Vernon McGee’s Edited Messages on Philemon ©1983

Phil. 1:12 ¶ Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel,

Phil. 1:13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else,

Phil. 1:14 and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.

12 When it was day, the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul.

13 There were more than forty who formed this plot.

14 They came to the chief priests and the elders and said, “We have bound ourselves under a solemn oath to taste nothing until we have killed Paul.

15 “Now therefore, you and the Council notify the commander to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case by a more thorough investigation; and we for our part are ready to slay him before he comes near the place.

these sworn assassins are telling the sanhedrin to lie to the commander about the investigation and purpose for requested Paul’s presence in order to ambush them.

16 But the son of Paul’s sister heard of their ambush, and he came and entered the barracks and told Paul.

Nephew happens to be in the courtroom ?? How ?

Is his nephew also studying to become a pharisee ?

Why isn’t his sister back in Tarsus ?
If Paul’s sister was in Jerusalem, why didn’t he stay with her?
Is she a follower of the way (since he spent seven years with her when he returned back to tarsus) ?

Acts 26:4 tells us that while Paul was born in Tarsus, he was raised in Jerusalem

  • logical since he could not have been trained by Gamaliel if he was a weeks journey north)
  • also logical to assume that the family would have moved with him to jerusalem to support his training)
  • it was common for prisoners to be fed by family members back then
  • verse 19, the commander took him by the hand (indicating he was young)

but God ensured that his nephew was there to overhear the plot.

17 Paul called one of the centurions to him and said, “Lead this young man to the commander, for he has something to report to him.”

Paul giving orders to a centurion ?
(roman citizens had this privilege)

18 So he took him and led him to the commander and said, “Paul the prisoner called me to him and asked me to lead this young man to you since he has something to tell you.”

19 The commander took him by the hand and stepping aside, began to inquire of him privately, “What is it that you have to report to me?”

20 And he said, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down tomorrow to the Council, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more thoroughly about him.

21 “So do not listen to them, for more than forty of them are lying in wait for him who have bound themselves under a curse not to eat or drink until they slay him; and now they are ready and waiting for the promise from you.”

22 So the commander let the young man go, instructing him, “Tell no one that you have notified me of these things.”

why does the commander tell boy to tell no one that he knows about the plot ?

(if word gets out that the commander knows, they may change their ambush plan)

23 And he called to him two of the centurions and said, “Get two hundred soldiers ready by the third hour of the night to proceed to Caesarea, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen.”

what is the third hour of the night ?

(9 PM)

Why does he move Paul at this time ?

(streets are clear, less chance of commotion)

24 They were also to provide mounts to put Paul on and bring him safely to Felix the governor.

the commander, not only does not move Paul to the council as requested,

  • He ramps up the protection
    • 2 centurions (on horseback) (as well as a mount for Paul)
    • 200 armed solders (presumably sword and shield)
    • 200 spearmen
    • seventy horsemen
    • = armed escort of 472 soldiers (who would be executed for failing in their duty to protect their charge and duty)
  • moves him to the provincial headquarters of the Roman Legion
    • estimated to have minimum of 4 cohorts (antonio fortress had 1 cohort)
      • each cohort had 360-800 soldiers (1440-3200 soldiers)
    • calvary as well
    • coastal areas could be replenished and reinforced faster than inland forts

25 And he wrote a letter having this form:

26 “Claudius Lysias, to the most excellent governor Felix, greetings.

27 “When this man was arrested by the Jews and was about to be slain by them, I came up to them with the troops and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman.

28 “And wanting to ascertain the charge for which they were accusing him, I brought him down to their Council;

29 and I found him to be accused over questions about their Law, but under no accusation deserving death or imprisonment.

30 “When I was informed that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, also instructing his accusers to bring charges against him before you.”

31 ¶ So the soldiers, in accordance with their orders, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris.

half way point to Caesarea.

32 But the next day, leaving the horsemen to go on with him, they returned to the barracks.

33 When these had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him.

34 When he had read it, he asked from what province he was, and when he learned that he was from Cilicia,

35 he said, “I will give you a hearing after your accusers arrive also,” giving orders for him to be kept in Herod’s Praetorium.

 

About dave cadieux

Browse Archived Articles by dave cadieux

Related

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.