Acts 23

23:1 Paul looked directly1 at the council2 and said, “Brothers, I have lived my life with a clear conscience3 before God to this day.” 23:2 At that4 the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near5 Paul6 to strike7 him on the mouth. 23:3 Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall!8 Do9 you sit there judging me according to the law,10 and in violation of the law11 you order me to be struck?” 23:4 Those standing near him12 said, “Do you dare insult13 God’s high priest?” 23:5 Paul replied,14 “I did not realize,15 brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, ‘You must not speak evil about a ruler of your people.’”16

23:6 Then when Paul noticed17 that part of them were Sadducees18 and the others Pharisees,19 he shouted out in the council,20 “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection21 of the dead!” 23:7 When he said this,22 an argument23 began24 between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 23:8 (For the Sadducees say there is no resurrection, or angel, or spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.)25 23:9 There was a great commotion,26 and some experts in the law27 from the party of the Pharisees stood up28 and protested strongly,29 “We find nothing wrong30 with this man. What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 23:10 When the argument became31 so great the commanding officer32 feared that they would tear Paul to pieces,33 he ordered the detachment34 to go down, take him away from them by force,35 and bring him into the barracks.36

23:11 The following night the Lord37 stood near38 Paul39 and said, “Have courage,40 for just as you have testified about me in Jerusalem,41 so you must also testify in Rome.”42

The Plot to Kill Paul

23:12 When morning came,43 the Jews formed44 a conspiracy45 and bound themselves with an oath46 not to eat or drink anything47 until they had killed Paul. 23:13 There were more than forty of them who formed this conspiracy.48 23:14 They49 went50 to the chief priests51 and the elders and said, “We have bound ourselves with a solemn oath52 not to partake53 of anything until we have killed Paul. 23:15 So now you and the council54 request the commanding officer55 to bring him down to you, as if you were going to determine56 his case57 by conducting a more thorough inquiry.58 We are ready to kill him59 before he comes near this place.”60

23:16 But when the son of Paul’s sister heard about the ambush,61 he came and entered62 the barracks63 and told Paul. 23:17 Paul called64 one of the centurions65 and said, “Take this young man to the commanding officer,66 for he has something to report to him.” 23:18 So the centurion67 took him and brought him to the commanding officer68 and said, “The prisoner Paul called69 me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.” 23:19 The commanding officer70 took him by the hand, withdrew privately, and asked, “What is it that you want71 to report to me?” 23:20 He replied,72 “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council73 tomorrow, as if they were going to inquire more thoroughly about him. 23:21 So do not let them persuade you to do this,74 because more than forty of them75 are lying in ambush76 for him. They77 have bound themselves with an oath78 not to eat or drink anything79 until they have killed him, and now they are ready, waiting for you to agree to their request.”80 23:22 Then the commanding officer81 sent the young man away, directing him,82 “Tell no one that you have reported83 these things to me.” 23:23 Then84 he summoned85 two of the centurions86 and said, “Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea87 along with seventy horsemen88 and two hundred spearmen89 by90 nine o’clock tonight,91 23:24 and provide mounts for Paul to ride92 so that he may be brought safely to Felix93 the governor.”94 23:25 He wrote95 a letter that went like this:96

23:26 Claudius Lysias to His Excellency Governor97 Felix,98 greetings. 23:27 This man was seized99 by the Jews and they were about to kill him,100 when I came up101 with the detachment102 and rescued him, because I had learned that he was103 a Roman citizen.104 23:28 Since I wanted to know105 what charge they were accusing him of,106 I brought him down to their council.107 23:29 I found he108 was accused with reference to controversial questions109 about their law, but no charge against him deserved death or imprisonment.110 23:30 When I was informed111 there would be a plot112 against this man, I sent him to you at once, also ordering his accusers to state their charges113 against him before you.

23:31 So the soldiers, in accordance with their orders,114 took115 Paul and brought him to Antipatris116 during the night. 23:32 The next day they let117 the horsemen118 go on with him, and they returned to the barracks.119 23:33 When the horsemen120 came to Caesarea121 and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented122 Paul to him. 23:34 When the governor123 had read124 the letter,125 he asked126 what province he was from.127 When he learned128 that he was from Cilicia,129 23:35 he said, “I will give you a hearing130 when your accusers arrive too.” Then131 he ordered that Paul132 be kept under guard in Herod’s palace.133

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