23 • 1 Paul looked directly at the Council and said, “Brothers, to this day I have lived my life with a clear conscience before God.” 2 At that the High Priest Ananias ordered his attendants to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said, “God is about to strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the Law, and you break the Law by ordering me to be struck!” 4 At this the attendants protested, “How dare you insult God’s High Priest?” 5 Paul answered, “Brothers, I did not know that he was the High Priest. For Scripture says: You shall not curse the ruler of your people.’’
6 Paul knew that part of the Council were Sadducees and others Pharisees; so he spoke out in the Council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, son of a Pharisee. It is for the hope in the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial here.”
7 At these words, an argument broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees and the whole assembly was divided. 8 For the Sadducees claim that there is neither resurrection, nor angels nor spirits, while the Pharisees acknowledge all these things.
9 Then the shouting grew louder, and some teachers of the Law of the Pharisee party protested, “We find nothing wrong with this man. Maybe a spirit or an angel has spoken to him.”
10 With this the argument became so violent that the commander feared that Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He therefore ordered the soldiers to go down and rescue him from their midst and take him back to the fortress.
11 That night the Lord stood by Paul and said, “Courage! As you have borne witness to me here in Jerusalem, so must you do in Rome.”
The plot to kill Paul
12 When it was day, certain Jews formed a conspiracy: they bound themselves by an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty of them who joined in this conspiracy.
14 They went to the high priests and the elders and said, “We have bound ourselves by oath not to taste food until we have killed Paul. 15 Now then, it is up to you and the Council together to convince the Roman commander to bring him down to you on the pretext that you want to investigate his case more thoroughly. We, for our part, are prepared to kill him before he gets there.”
16 But the son of Paul’s sister heard about the planned ambush, so he went to the headquarters and informed Paul. 17 Paul sent for one of the officers and said, “Take this young man to the commander for he has something to report to him.” 18 So the officer took him and brought him to the commander, saying, “The prisoner Paul called me and asked me to bring this boy to you because he has something to tell you.”
19 The commander took him by the hand and drawing him aside asked him privately, “What is it that you have to report to me?” 20 The boy replied, “The Jews have agreed among themselves to ask you tomorrow to have Paul brought down to the Council as if to inquire more thoroughly about him. 21 But do not be persuaded by them, for there are more than forty of them ready to ambush him, having bound themselves by an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are now ready to do it and are awaiting your decision.” 22 The commander let the boy go with this advice, “Do not tell anyone that you gave me this information.”
Paul is transferred to Caesarea
23 Then the commander summoned two of his officers and said to them, “Get ready to leave for Caesarea by nine o’clock tonight, with two hundred infantrymen, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen. 24 Provide horses also for Paul to ride, so that he may be brought safely to Felix the governor.”
25 He then wrote the governor a letter to this effect:
26 “Claudius Lysias greets the Most Excellent Governor Felix and communicates to him the following: 27 The Jews had arrested this man and were about to kill him when I intervened with my troops and took him out of their hands, since I knew he was a Roman citizen. 28 As I wanted to know what charge they had against him, I presented him before the Sanhedrin 29 and I discovered that the accusation related to matters of their Law, but there was nothing that deserved death or imprisonment. 30 When I was informed that the Jews had prepared a plot against this man, I decided to send him to you and told his accusers to present their complaints before you. Farewell.”
31 The soldiers acted in accordance with these instructions. They took Paul and brought him to Antipatris by night. 32 On the following day, they returned to the fortress but the horsemen continued journeying with him. 33 Upon entering Caesarea they handed the letter to the governor and presented Paul to him. 34 When Felix had read the letter, he asked Paul from which province he was, and when he learned that Paul was from Cilicia, 35 he said to him: “I shall hear your accusers when they come.” And he ordered that he be kept in custody in the palace of Herod.
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