Acts 23-25 Revised Standard Version

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23 1  And Paul, looking intently at the council, said, "Brethren, I have lived before God in all good conscience up to this day." 2  And the high priest Anani'as commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. 3  Then Paul said to him, "God shall strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?" 4  Those who stood by said, "Would you revile God's high priest? 5  And Paul said, "I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, 'You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.'"

6  But when Paul perceived that one part were Sad'ducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, "Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead I am on trial." 7  And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sad'ducees; and the assembly was divided. 8  For the Sad'ducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit; but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. 9  Then a great clamor arose; and some of the scribes of the Pharisees' party stood up and contended, "We find nothing wrong in this man. What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?" 10  And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn in pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them and bring him into the barracks. 11  The following night the Lord stood by him and said, "Take courage, for as you have testified about me at Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also at Rome."

The Plot against Paul's Life

12  When it was day, the Jews made a plot and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. 13  There were more than forty who made this conspiracy. 14  And they went to the chief priests and elders, and said, "We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food till we have killed Paul 15  You therefore, along with the council, give notice now to the tribune to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case more exactly. And we are ready to kill him before he comes near." 16  Now the son of Paul's sister heard of their ambush; so he went and entered the barracks and told Paul. 17  And Paul called one of the centurions and said, "Take this young man to the tribune; for he has something to tell him." 18  So he took him and brought him to the tribune and said, "Paul the prisoner called me and asked me to bring this young man to you, as he has something to say to you." 19  The tribune took him by the hand, and going aside asked him privately, "What is it that you have to tell me? 20  And he said, "The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more closely about him. 21  But do not yield to them; for more than forty of their men lie in ambush for him, having bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they have killed him; and now they are ready, waiting for the promise from you. 22  So the tribune dismissed the young man, charging him, "Tell no one that you have informed me of this."

Paul Sent to Felix the Governor

23  Then he called two of the centurions and said, "At the third hour of the night get ready two hundred soldiers with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go as far as Caesare'a. 24  Also provide mounts for Paul to ride, and bring him safely to Felix the governor." 25  And he wrote a letter to this effect: 26  "Claudius Lys'ias to his Excellency the governor Felix, greeting. 27  This man was seized by the Jews, and was about to be killed by them, when I came upon them with the soldiers and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman citizen. 28  And desiring to know the charge on which they accused him, I brought him down to their council. 29  I found that he was accused about questions of their law, but charged with nothing deserving death or imprisonment. 30  And when it was disclosed to me that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, ordering his accusers also to state before you what they have against him." 31  So the soldiers, according to their instructions, took Paul and brought him by night to Antip'atris. 32  And on the morrow they returned to the barracks, leaving the horsemen to go on with him. 33  When they came to Caesare'a and delivered the letter to the governor, they presented Paul also before him. 34  On reading the letter, he asked to what province he belonged. When he learned that he was from Cili'cia 35  he said, "I will hear you when your accusers arrive." And he commanded him to be guarded in Herod's praetorium.

Paul's Defense before Felix

24 1  And after five days the high priest Anani'as came down with some elders and a spokesman, one Tertul'lus. They laid before the governor their case against Paul; 2  and when he was called, Tertul'lus began to accuse him, saying: "Since through you we enjoy much peace, and since by your provision, most excellent Felix, reforms are introduced on behalf of this nation, 3  in every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude. 4  But, to detain you no further, I beg you in your kindness to hear us briefly. 5  For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, an agitator among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. 6  He even tried to profane the temple, but we seized him. 7  * [No text] 8  By examining him yourself you will be able to learn from him about everything of which we accuse him." 9  The Jews also joined in the charge, affirming that all this was so.

10  And when the governor had motioned to him to speak, Paul replied: "Realizing that for many years you have been judge over this nation, I cheerfully make my defense. 11  As you may ascertain, it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship at Jerusalem; 12  and they did not find me disputing with any one or stirring up a crowd, either in the temple or in the synagogues, or in the city. 13  Neither can they prove to you what they now bring up against me. 14  But this I admit to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the law or written in the prophets, 15  having a hope in God which these themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. 16  So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward God and toward men. 17  Now after some years I came to bring to my nation alms and offerings. 18  As I was doing this, they found me purified in the temple, without any crowd or tumult. But some Jews from Asia-- 19  they ought to be here before you and to make an accusation, if they have anything against me. 20  Or else let these men themselves say what wrongdoing they found when I stood before the council, 21  except this one thing which I cried out while standing among them, 'With respect to the resurrection of the dead I am on trial before you this day.'"

22  But Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, "When Lys'ias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case." 23  Then he gave orders to the centurion that he should be kept in custody but should have some liberty, and that none of his friends should be prevented from attending to his needs. 24  After some days Felix came with his wife Drusil'la, who was a Jewess; and he sent for Paul and heard him speak upon faith in Christ Jesus. 25  And as he argued about justice and self-control and future judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, "Go away for the present; when I have an opportunity I will summon you." 26  At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul. So he sent for him often and conversed with him. 27  But when two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus; and desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.

Paul Appeals to Caesar

25 1  Now when Festus had come into his province, after three days he went up to Jerusalem from Caesare'a. 2  And the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews informed him against Paul; and they urged him, 3  asking as a favor to have the man sent to Jerusalem, planning an ambush to kill him on the way. 4  Festus replied that Paul was being kept at Caesare'a, and that he himself intended to go there shortly. 5  "So," said he, "let the men of authority among you go down with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them accuse him." 6  When he had stayed among them not more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesare'a; and the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought. 7  And when he had come, the Jews who had gone down from Jerusalem stood about him, bringing against him many serious charges which they could not prove. 8  Paul said in his defense, "Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended at all." 9  But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, "Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem, and there be tried on these charges before me?" 10  But Paul said, "I am standing before Caesar's tribunal, where I ought to be tried; to the Jews I have done no wrong, as you know very well. 11  If then I am a wrongdoer, and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death; but if there is nothing in their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar." 12  Then Festus, when he had conferred with his council, answered, "You have appealed to Caesar; to Caesar you shall go."

Paul Brought before Agrippa and Bernice

13  Now when some days had passed, Agrippa the king and Berni'ce arrived at Caesare'a to welcome Festus. 14  And as they stayed there many days, Festus laid Paul's case before the king, saying, "There is a man left prisoner by Felix; 15  and when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews gave information about him, asking for sentence against him. 16  I answered them that it was not the custom of the Romans to give up any one before the accused met the accusers face to face, and had opportunity to make his defense concerning the charge laid against him. 17  When therefore they came together here, I made no delay, but on the next day took my seat on the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought in. 18  When the accusers stood up, they brought no charge in his case of such evils as I supposed; 19  but they had certain points of dispute with him about their own superstition and about one Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive. 20  Being at a loss how to investigate these questions, I asked whether he wished to go to Jerusalem and be tried there regarding them. 21  But when Paul had appealed to be kept in custody for the decision of the emperor, I commanded him to be held until I could send him to Caesar." 22  And Agrippa said to Festus, "I should like to hear the man myself." "Tomorrow," said he, "you shall hear him." 23  So on the morrow Agrippa and Berni'ce came with great pomp, and they entered the audience hall with the military tribunes and the prominent men of the city. Then by command of Festus Paul was brought in. 24  And Festus said, "King Agrippa and all who are present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Jewish people petitioned me, both at Jerusalem and here, shouting that he ought not to live any longer. 25  But I found that he had done nothing deserving death; and as he himself appealed to the emperor, I decided to send him. 26  But I have nothing definite to write to my lord about him. Therefore I have brought him before you, and, especially before you, King Agrippa, that, after we have examined him, I may have something to write. 27  For it seems to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not to indicate the charges against him."

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