« PreviousContinue »
(raised by the Jews, heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, I was come again to Jerusalem, even Saul, why persecutest thou nie? while I prayed in the temple, I was in
8 And I answered, Who art thou, a trance; Lord? And he said unto me, I am 18 And saw him saying unto me,
Nazareth, whom thou perse. Make haste, and get thee quickly out cutest.
of Jerusalem : for they will not re9 And they that were with me saw ceive thy testimony concerning me. indeed the light, and were afraid ; but 19 And I said, Lord, they know they heard not the voice of him that that I imprisoned and beat in every spake to me.
synagogue them that believed on thee: 10 And I said, What shall I do, 20 And when the blood of thy Lord ? And the Lord said unto me, martyr Stephen was shed, I also was Arise, and go into Damascus ; and standing by, and consenting unto his there it shall be told thee of all things death, and kept the raiment of them which are appointed for thee to do. that slew him.
11 And when I could not see for 21 And he said unto me, Depart: the glory of that light, being led by the for I will send thee far hence unto the hand of them that were with ine, I Gentiles. came into Damascus.
22 And they gave him audience 12 And one Ananias, a devout man unto this word, and then lifted up their according to the law, having a good voices, and said, Away with such a Teport of all the Jews which dwelt fellow from the earth : for it is not fit there,
that he should live. 13 Came unto me, and stood, and 23 And as they cried out, and cast said unto me, Brother Saul, receive off their clothes, and threw dust into thy sight. And the same hour I looked the air, up upon him.
24 The chief captain commanded 14 And he said, The God of our him to be brought into the castle, and fathers hath chosen thee, that thou bade that he should be examined by shouldest know his will, and see that scourging ; that he might know whereJust One, and shouldest hear the voice fore they cried so against him. of his mouth.
25 And as they bound him with 15 For thou shalt be his witness thongs, Paul said unto the centurion unto all men of what thou hast seen that stood by, Is it lawful for you to and heard.
scourge a man that is a Roman, and 16 And now why tarriest thou ? uncondemned ? arise, and be baptized, and wash 26 When the centurion heard that, away thy sins, calling on the name of he went and told the chief captain, the Lord.
saying, Take heed what thou doest : 17 And it came to pass, that, when for this man is a Roman.
10, et seq.
Ver. 20. Consenting unto his death. -So chap. Ver. 12. And one Ananias.--Compare chap. ix. viii. 1. Mr. Scott thinks this version much tio
weak. The word rendered consenting," implies a Ver. 14. That Just One-Namely, Jesus Christ. complacency in the deed; and the word rendered See chap. ii. 14; vii. 52.
" death,” innplies " murder.” Ver. 16. And wash away thy sins.--See chap. ii. Ver. 23. Cast off their clothes.--Sir J. Chardin 38, and compare I Peter iii. 21.
mentions, that the Persians, when they complain Ver. 17. When I was come again to Jerusalem- to their Sovereign, go in numbers, with strange After he had been to Damascus and Arabia-then cries, tearing their garments, and casting dust into While he was in the temple-perhaps in a portico,
the air. Harmer's Obs. vol. iv. p. 203. and at a time when no one was with him.
Ver. 24. Examined by scourging. This is the Ver. 19. Lord, they know.-Paul is understood cruel method by which evidence was formerly exhere to plead for the probability of his success torted; but it was not applicable to a Roman citi among the Jews, on the ground of his having been zen. See Nole on chap. xvi. 37.
And Paul again]
THE ACTS. [rescued by the guard. 27 Then the chief captain came, Jews, he loosed him from his bands, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou and commanded the Chief Priests and a Roman? He said, Yea.
all their council to appear, and 28 And the chief captain answered, brought Paul down, and set him beWith a great sum obtained I this fore them. (U) freedom. And Paul said, but I was free born.
CHAP. XXIII. 29 Then straightway they departed from him
which should have examined AND Paul, earnestly beholding the him: and the chief captain also was council, said, Men and brethren, afraid, after he knew that he was a I have lived in all good conscience beRoman, and because he had bound him. fore God until this day.
30 On the morrow, because he 2 And the High Priest Ananias would have known the certainty commanded them that stood by him wherefore he was accused of the to smite him on the mouth.
antly successful. So it is said of the cele(U) Ver. 1-30. Paul's defence to his brated Melancthon, when he first began to brethren, in the Hebrew tongue.-Having preach, that he thought his arguments obtained permission of the Roman com- and his eloquence would be irresistible ; mander, Paul now addresses his country- but a little experience convinced him, as men in their own dialect, wbich, for some himself expressed it, “that old Adam time, procured their attention. The ac
was iodeed too strong for young Melanccount of his birth, education, perseenting thon.” Paul was not lest, however, thus zeal, and extraordinary conversion, having to waste his strength by "going a war. been before narrated, will require but little fare," as it were, “at his own expense." observation here, especially as the narra- He was directed whither to go, and a tive will again come under our notice in power went with him that insured success. his speech before Agrippa.
Bat when his countrymen heard it avowed The only new fact here developed in that his commission was to the Gentiles, relation to St. Paul, is the trance which he they (as op former occasions) would not had in the temple, when the Lord Jesus hear another word, but “lifted up their appeared to hiin, and warned him to leave voices" in one continued cry."Away with Jerusalem, and go and preach unto the such a fellow from the earth." Geutiles. In this case Paul seems to have It is probable that the chief captain did had too much confidence in his own not well understand this speech, which strength, and but a slight acquaintance was in Hebrew, from his having prewith the obduracy of the human heart. viously asked the apostle (ch, xxi. 37), He thought the narrative he could unfold Canst thou speak Greek? He was therewould be so affecting and convinciog- fore about to have recourse to the barbasuch an appeal to facts within their own rous.custom of that age, of extorting con. knowledge, as must be irresistible: that fession by the torture of the whip, but when they saw a man who had been brought Paul's privilege as a Roman citizeu again up in the same religious principles, and saved him from it; and finding with whom had been actuated by the same persecuting he now had to do, the chief captain loosed zeal as themselves; that such a man had his bands, and ordered all his accusers to been so completely changed, that he was appear before him ou the following day, now ready to die in the behalf of that Jesus when Paul was set before them, again to whom be so bitterly had persecuted, that make his own defence. his ministry must have been here abund.
NOTES, Ver. 28. I was free born.--Commentators are not CHAP. XXII. Ver. 2. To smite him on the exactly agreed by what means this could be. Some mouth.-Mr. Hanway mentions, that when a rebel think Tarsus was a Roman colony; but Lardner de. Persian chief was brought before one of Nadir Shah's nies tbis. Doddridge thinks that some one of Paul's generals, his answers
not pleasing him, he ordered ancestors must have been rewarded for his military him to be struck across the mouth, to silence him, services. See Lardner, bk, 1.ch, . 26.
which was done with such violence, that the blood
Paul's defence before] CHAP. XXIII.
[the Sanhedrim. 3 Then said Paul unto him, God lest Paul should have been pulled in shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for pieces of them, commanded the soldiers sittest thou to judge me after the law, to go down, and to take him by force and commandest me to be smitten from among them, and to bring him, contrary to the law ?
into the castle. 4 And they that stood by said, Re. 11 And the night following the vilest thou God's High Priest? Lord stood by him, and said, Be of
5 Then said Paul, I wist not, bre- good cheer, Paul : for as thou hast thren, that he was the High Priest: for testified of me in Jerusalem, so must it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil thou bear witness also at Rome. of the ruler of thy people.
12 And when it was day, certain 6 But when Paul perceived that of the Jews banded together, and the one part were Sadducees, and the bound themselves under a curse, says other Pharisees, he cried out in the ing that they would neither eat nor council, Men and brethren, I am a drink till they had killed Paul, Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the 13 And they were more than forty hope and resurrection of the dead I am which had made this conspiracy, alled in question.
14 And they came to the Chief 7 And when he had so said, there Priests and elders, and said, We have trose a dissension between the Pha- bound ourselves under a great curse, isees and the Sadducees : and the that we will eat nothiog until we have nultitude was divided.
slain Paul 8 For the Sadducees say that there 15 Now therefore ye, with the coun3 no resurrection, neither angel, nor cil, signify to the chief captain, that he pirit: but the Pharisees confess both. bring him down unto you to morrow,
9 And there arose a great cry: and as though ye would enquire something he scribes that were of the Pharisees' more perfectly concerning him: and art arose, and strove, saying, We find we, or ever he come near, are ready to oevil in this man : but if a spirit or an kill him. ngel hath spoken to him, let us not 16 And when Paul's sister's son ght against God.
heard of their lying in wait, he went 10 And when there arose a great and entered into the castle, and told issension, the chief captain, fearing Paul. (X)
30) that the chief priests and council were (X) Ver. 1-16.-Paul's defence before now assembled, with Ananias in the chair ; è Sanhedrim.-Lysias, the chief captain, but probably without his official robes, or ema bere to have maintained the full the insignia of his former office. Paul gnity of the Roman power, for though again began his defence, avoiding repe
brought down the prisoner before the tition of what he had said the day before, uncil, it was by his command (ch. xxii. in these simple and inoffensive terms:
NOTES. ned forth. Hanway's Travels, vol. i. p. 299. explanation of the learned Michaelis, and is adopted n pare i Kings xxii. 24.
by Mr. Preb. Townsend, New Test. Arr. vol. ji. ler. 5. I wist (knew) not, &c.--Ananias had cer- p. 426, Note. So also Dr. Boothroyd. nly been High Priest some years before, but was Ver. 6. Of the hope and resurrection, &c. For a it to Rome prisoner, under some charges of mis- vindication at large of Paul's conduct in this place, duct; and though he had been acquitted he had see Dr. Findlay's Answer to Voltaire, book ii. 26. been reinstated, but one Jonathan appointed in Ver. 8. The Sadducees say, &c.-On the differing room. Jonathan, bowever, bad been murdered, sentiments of the Jewish sects, see Exposition on I one Ismael appointed in his stead, but had not Matt. xxii. 15-46. taken possession of his office, and in this inter Ver. 9. Fight against God.-Compare Acts v.39; of vacancy, Ananias pushed himself forward to ix. 5. side in the council, but probably without either Ver 14. A great eurse.- Doddr. “a solexnn ang robes or insignia of his former office. This is the thema." SeeNote on Num. xxii, 6.
The Jews lie in]
[wait to murder him. 17 ( Then Paul called one of the and prayed me to bring this young centurions unto him, and said, Bring man unto thee, who hath something to this young man unto the chief captain: say unto thee. for he hath a certain thing to tell him. 19 Then the chief captain took him
18 So he took him, and brought by the hand, and went with him aside him to the chief captain, and said, privately, and asked him, What is Paul the prisoner called me unto him, that thou hast to tell me ?
EXPOSITION-Chap. XXIII. Continued. * Men and brethren, I have lived in all Some circumstance might occur tu show good conscience before God unto this day." the heterogeneous principles of the coun: This was only pleading “not guilty," as cil, one part being infidei Sadducees, and every prisoner has certainly a right to do the other zealous Pharisees, on which Paul, when put on trial; yet so offended was this taking the advantage of their dissension priestly tyrant, Auanias, that he ordered (as we couceive he might justly do), called Paul to be smitten on the mouth to silence out that he was "a Pharisee, the son of a him : on which the apostle, by the spirit of Pharisee;" and that it was for “the hope prophecy, predicted the judgment that and resurrection of the dead" that he was shortly after came upon him. The expres- now called in question. And this was not sion, « Tbou whited wall,” seems to have only true in reference to the resurrection an allusion to that of our Loril, who com- of Christ, but, in as much as our resur. pares the Scribes and Pharisees to “whited rectiou depends on his, the resurrection of sepulchres,” which are beautiful without mankind in general; for, as he elsewhere and rottenness within. (Matt. xxiii., 27.) argues, “ if Christ be not raised," then is And the judgment predicted was remark. it in vain to hope for any resurrection. ably fulfilled; for though he stood on good (1 Cor. xv. 12—22.) terms towards the Jews in general, be so By this statement in bebalf of a resurcruelly defrauded the inferior priests, as to rection, it appears that Paul partially drew bring on him the public vengeance; and, the Pharisees on his side, who, recollecting after his house had been burnt to ashes in what he had said the day before of seeing a public tumult, when he attempted to hide a vision and bearing a voice from heaven, himself even in an old aqueduct, he was began to think within themselves that dragged out and slain about five years there might be some truth in it; and, if subsequent to this period.
he had so done (which their principles Upon this speech of Paul, however, some admitted to be at least possible), it was by-standers ventured to reprove him, say- wrong thus violently to condemn him on ing, “ Revilest thou God's High Priest ?” that account, lest they should be found to to which he calmly replied, “I wist (or “fight against God." Thus the Pharisees, knew) not, brethren, that he was the High who believed in a future state and resurPriest," or I would not have done so, for rection, and the Sadducees, who denied it is written, "Thou shalt not speak evil of both, fell to quarrelling, and so violent was the ruler of thy people.".
the fray, that the chief captain was obliged But a question here arises, How was it again to interfere, to prevent Paul from that Paul, as au inspired man, knew not being torn to pieces. that Ananias was High Priest? To this it But the more bitter and malevolent of has been answered, 1. As to Paul's inspi. his enemies, who now appear to have been ration, it supplied him only with knowledge the Sadducees, combined against him, and appropriate to his official duty, and not forty men bound themselves under an oath with political information ; and the office to murder him. That “God in heaven of High Priest had been so often changed that revealeth secrets," discovered it, since they had been under the Roman bowever, to one of Paul's nephews, and power, that a stranger at Jerusalem, as he secretly reported it to the chief captain, Paul had been for some time, might well who, to disappoint their murderous design, be iguorant both of his person and his sent him off by night, under a strong miliname : but, 2. Ananias was not now, either tary guard, to Felix, the governor of Cesain right or in fact, High Priest ; and called rea, where he resided. In the mean time, so only in courtesy, as baviug formerly to support Paul under all these trials, he filled the office, and assuming the chair was favoured with another lieavenly vision, till another should take the place.
the Lord Jesus himself standing by him, A dissension now arose in the council, and saying, “ Fear not, Paul: for as thou which Paul has been accused of raising, hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must but, perhaps, without sufficient reason. thou bear witness of me also at Rome.”
He is rescuen
CHAP. XXIII. [ by Claudius Lysias. 20 And he said, The Jews have him, having understood that he was a agreed to desire thee, that thou wouldest Roman. bring down Paul to morrow into the 28 And when I would have known council, as though they would enquire the cause wherefore they accused him, somewhat of him more perfectly. I brought him forth into their council :
21 But do not thou yield unto 29 Whom I perceived to be accused them: for there lie in wait for him of of questions of their law, but to have them more than forty men, which have nothing laid to his charge worthy of bound themselves with an oath, that death, or of bonds. they will neither eat nor drink till they 30 And when it was told me how have killed him: and now are they that the Jews laid wait for the man, I ready, looking for a promise from thee. sent straightway to thee, and gave
22 So the chief captain then let the commandment to his accusers also to young man depart, and charged him, say before thee what they had against See thou tell no man that thou hast him. Farewell. shewed these things to me.
31 Then the soldiers, as it was com23 And he called unto him two manded them, took Paul, and brought centurions, saying, Make ready two him by night to Antipatris. hundred soldiers to go to Cesarea, and 32 On the morrow they left the horsemen threescore and ten, and spear- horsemen to go with him, and returned men two hundred, at the third hour of to the castle : the night;
33 Who, when they came to Ce24 And provide them beasts, that sarea, and delivered the epistle to the they may set Paul on, and bring him governor, presented Paul also before safe unto Felix the governor.
him. 25 And he wrote a letter after this :34 And when the governor had read
the letter, he asked of what province 26 Claudius Lysias unto the most he was. And when he understood that excellent governor Felix sendeth greet- he was of Cilicia ; ing.
35 I will hear thee, said he, when 27 This man was taken of the Jews, thine accusers are also come. And he and should have been killed of them : commanded bim to be kept in Herod's then came I with an army, and rescued judgment hall. (Y)
EXPOSITION. (Y) Ver. 17–35. Paul rescued by the blended with the most awful imprecations? chief captain, and sent to Festus, at Cesarea, All originates in the principle of religious -Murder is a crime held in detestation by intulerance, which assuming the prerogaall civilized nations, and ought to have tive of Deity, to judge the conscience, imbeen so particularly by the Jews, who were piously aspires to wield the thunderbolts of expressly taught by a divine oracle, “ He the Almighty against our supposed enethat sheddeth man's blood, by man shall mies. This is the priuciple on which Saul his blood be shed.” (Gen. ix. 1.) Assassi- the Pharisee" breathed out threatenings nation is a crime that mixes cowardice with and slaughter" against the saints; and the cruelty, and demands a twofold vengeance. measure which he meted out to them, was How, iben, shall we account for it, that afterwards measured to him again by his these Jews sbould not only attempt assassi- former friends, the priests and scribes. nation, but clothe their determination under This principle, which leads us to take the sacred form of anathema - an oath judgment out of the hands of God, and
NOTES. Ver. 27. Should (rather would) have been killed. Ver. 35. Herod's Judgment Hall-Or Prætorium, Ver. 31. Antipatris.
According to Mr. Biscoe, one of Herod's palaces, with a state prison, probably, 33 miles from Jerusalem, in the way to Cesarea. in the tower of it.