23:1 And 1 Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men [and] brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.
(1) Paul, against the false accusations of his
enemies, displays a clear conscience, for proof of which he repeats the whole
course of his life.
23:2 2 And
the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the
(2) Hypocrites are forced at length to betray
themselves by their violence.
23:3 3 Then
said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, [thou] b
whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be
smitten c contrary to the law?
(3) It is lawful for us to complain of injuries,
and to summon the wicked to the judgment seat of God, but yet we must do it
without hatred, and with a quiet and peaceable mind.
(b) This is a vehement and severe speech, but yet
not reproachful: for the godly may speak severely, and yet be void of the
bitter affection of a severe and angry mind.
(c) For the Law commands the judge to hear the
person that is accused patiently, and to pronounce the sentence judiciously.
Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is
written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.
(4) We must willingly and from the heart give
honour to magistrates, although they are tyrants.
23:6 5 But
when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees,
he cried out in the council, Men [and] brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a
Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.
(5) We may sometimes lawfully set the wicked
against themselves, so that they stop assaulting us, in order that the truth
is not hindered.
23:7 6 And
when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the
Sadducees: and the multitude was divided.
(6) The agreement between the wicked is weak,
even though they conspire together to oppress the truth.
23:8 7 For
the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither d
angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.
(7) It is an old heresy of the Sadducees to deny
the existence of angels and souls, and in addition the resurrection of the
(d) Things that exist without a body.
23:9 8 And
there arose a great cry: and the e
scribes [that were] of the Pharisees' part arose, and strove, saying, We find
no evil in this man: but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not
fight against God.
(8) The Lord, when it pleases him, finds
defenders of his cause, even amongst his enemies.
(e) The scribe's office was a public office,
and the name of the Pharisees was the name of a sect.
23:10 9 And
when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should
have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to
take him by force from among them, and to bring [him] into the castle.
(9) God will not forsake his own, even to the
And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves f
under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed
(10) Those who are carried away with a foolish
zeal think that they may lie and murder, and do whatever mischief they wish.
(f) Cursing and prohibiting themselves, they
Now therefore ye with the g council
signify to the chief captain that he bring him down unto you to morrow, as
though ye would enquire something more perfectly concerning him: and we, or ever
he come near, are ready to kill him.
(g) You and the senate ask that the same thing
should be done, so that the tribune will not think that it was demanded of him
because of an individual's private interests.
Then Paul called one of the centurions unto [him], and said, Bring this young
man unto the chief captain: for he hath a certain thing to tell him.
(11) The wisdom of the Spirit must be joined with
12 So the chief captain [then] let the
young man depart, and charged [him, See thou] tell no man that thou hast shewed
these things to me.
(12) There is no counsel against the Lord and his
13 Claudius Lysias unto the most
excellent governor Felix [sendeth] greeting.
(13) Lysias is suddenly made by the Lord to be