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Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Acts 23



1As Paul pleads his cause,
2Ananias commands them to smite him.
7Dissension among his accusers.
11God encourages him.
14The Jews' laying wait for Paul,
20is declared unto the chief captain.
27He sends him to Felix the governor.

Verse 1
And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.
6; 6:15; 22:5; Proverbs 28:1
I have
24:16; 1 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Corinthians 1:12; 4:2; 2 Timothy 1:3; Hebrews 13:18; 1 Peter 3:16

Verse 2
And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth.
to smite
1 Kings 22:24; Jeremiah 20:2; Micah 5:1; Matthew 26:67; John 18:22

Verse 3
Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?
God did smite him in a remarkable manner; for about five years after this, after his house had been reduced to ashes, in a tumult raised by his own son, he was besieged and taken in the royal palace; where having attempted in vain to hide himself, he was dragged out and slain.
thou whited
Matthew 23:27,28
Leviticus 19:35; Psalms 58:1,2; 82:1,2; 94:20; Ecclesiastes 3:16; Amos 5:7; Micah 3:8-11
Deuteronomy 25:1,2; John 7:51; 18:24

Verse 5
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.
I wist
Soon after the holding of the first council at Jerusalem, Ananias, son of Nebedenus, was deprived of the high priest's office, for certain acts of violence, and sent to Rome, whence he was afterwards released, and returned to Jerusalem. Between the death of Jonathan, who succeeded him and was murdered by Felix, and the high priesthood of Ismael, who was invested with that office by Agrippa, an interval elapsed in which this dignity was vacant. This was the precise time when Paul was apprehended; and the Sanhedrin being destitute of a president, Ananias undertook to discharge the office. It is probable that Paul was ignorant of this circumstance.
Exodus 22:28; Ecclesiastes 10:20; 2 Peter 2:10; Jude 1:8,9

Verse 6
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.
Matthew 10:16
I am
26:5; Philippians 3:5
of the hope
24:15,21; 26:6-8; 28:20

Verse 7
And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided.
14:4; Psalms 55:9; Matthew 10:34; John 7:40-43

Verse 8
For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.
4:1; Matthew 22:23; Mark 12:18; Luke 20:27

Verse 9
And there arose a great cry: and the 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.
25:25; 26:31; 1 Samuel 24:17; Proverbs 16:7; Luke 23:4,14,15,22
8; 9:4; 22:7,17,18; 26:14-19; 27:23; John 12:29
5:39; 11:17; 1 Corinthians 10:22

Verse 10
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.
27; 19:28-31; 21:30-36; Psalms 7:2; 50:22; Micah 3:3; James 1:19; 3:14-18; James 4:1,2
to take

Verse 11
And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.
the Lord
2:25; 18:9; 27:23,24; Psalms 46:1,2; 109:31; Isaiah 41:10,14; 43:2; Jeremiah 15:19-21; Matthew 28:20; John 14:18; 2 Corinthians 1:8-10
27:22,25; Matthew 9:2; 14:27; John 16:33
19:21; 20:22; 22:18; 28:23-28; Romans 1:15,16; Philippians 1:13; 2 Timothy 4:17
28:30,31; Isaiah 46:10; John 11:8-10

Verse 12
And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.
21,30; 25:3; Psalms 2:1-3; 64:2-6; Isaiah 8:9,10; Jeremiah 11:19; Matthew 26:4
1 Kings 19:2; 2 Kings 6:31; Matthew 27:25; Mark 6:23-26
under a curse
or, with an oath of execration.
Leviticus 27:29; Joshua 6:26; 7:1,15; Nehemiah 10:29; Matthew 26:74; *Gr:; 1 Corinthians 16:22; Galatians 3:13
Such execrable vows as these were not unusual among the Jews, who, from their perverted traditions, challenged to themselves a right of punishing without any legal process, those whom they considered transgressors of the law; and in some cases, as in the case of one who had forsaken the law of Moses, they thought they were justified in killing them. They therefore made no scruple of acquainting the chief priests and elders with their conspiracy against the life of Paul, and applying for their connivance and support; who, being chiefly of the sect of the Sadducees, and the apostle's bitterest enemies, were so far from blaming them for it, that they gladly aided and abetted them in this mode of dispatching him, and on its failure they soon afterwards determined upon making a similar attempt. (ch. 25:2, 3.) If these were, in their bad way, conscientious men, they were under no necessity of perishing for hunger, when the providence of God had hindered them from accomplishing their vow; for their vows of abstinence from eating and drinking were as easy to loose as to bind, any of their wise men or Rabbis having power to absolve them, as Dr. Lightfoot has shown from the Talmud.
1 Samuel 14:24,27,28,40-44; Psalms 31:13

Verse 13
And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy.
2 Samuel 15:12,31; John 16:2

Verse 14
And they came to the chief priests and elders, and said, We have bound ourselves under a great curse, that we will eat nothing until we have slain Paul.
Psalms 52:1,2; Isaiah 3:9; Jeremiah 6:15; 8:12; Hosea 4:9; Micah 7:3

Verse 15
Now therefore ye with the 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.
that he
25:3; Psalms 21:11; 37:32,33; Proverbs 1:11,12,16; 4:16; Isaiah 59:7; Romans 3:14-16

Verse 16
And when Paul's sister's son heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul.
Job 5:13; Proverbs 21:30; Lamentations 3:37; 1 Corinthians 3:19
he went
2 Samuel 17:17

Verse 17
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.
23; 22:26; Proverbs 22:3; Matthew 8:8,9; 10:16

Verse 18
So he took him, and brought him to the chief captain, and said, Paul the prisoner called me unto him, and prayed me to bring this young man unto thee, who hath something to say unto thee.
16:25; 27:1; 28:17; Genesis 40:14,15; Ephesians 3:1; 4:1; Philemon 1:9
Luke 7:40

Verse 19
Then the chief captain took him by the hand, and went with him aside privately, and asked him, What is that thou hast to tell me?
Jeremiah 31:32; Mark 8:23; 9:27
Nehemiah 2:4; Esther 5:3; 7:2; 9:12; Mark 10:51

Verse 20
And he said, The Jews have agreed to desire thee that thou wouldest bring down Paul to morrow into the council, as though they would enquire somewhat of him more perfectly.
The Jews
15; Psalms 12:2; Daniel 6:5-12

Verse 21
But do not thou yield unto them: for there lie in wait for him of them more than forty men, which have bound themselves with an oath, that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him: and now are they ready, looking for a promise from thee.
do not
Exodus 23:2
12-14; 9:23,24; 14:5,6; 20:19; 25:3; 2 Corinthians 11:26,32,33
an oath
14; Romans 9:3

Verse 22
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.
Joshua 2:14; Mark 1:44

Verse 23
And he called unto him two centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night;
two centurions
About nine o'clock in the evening, for the greater secrecy, and to elude the cunning, active malice of the Jews.
Matthew 14:25; Luke 12:38

Verse 24
And provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor.
Nehemiah 2:12; Esther 8:12; Luke 10:34
26,33-35; 24:3,10,22-27; 25:14
the governor
Matthew 27:2; Luke 3:1

Verse 26
Claudius Lysias unto the most excellent governor Felix sendeth greeting.
the most
24:3; 26:25; *Gr:; Luke 1:3
15:23; James 1:1; 3 John 1:14

Verse 27
This man was taken of the Jews, and should have been killed of them: then came I with an army, and rescued him, having understood that he was a Roman.
was taken
10; 21:31-33; 24:7

Verse 28
And when I would have known the cause wherefore they accused him, I brought him forth into their council:

Verse 29
Whom I perceived to be accused of questions of their law, but to have nothing laid to his charge worthy of death or of bonds.
6-9; 18:15; 24:5,6,10-21; 25:19,20
25:7,8,11,25; 26:31

Verse 30
And when it was told me how that the Jews laid wait for the man, I sent straightway to thee, and gave commandment to his accusers also to say before thee what they had against him. Farewell.
it was
and gave
24:7,8; 25:5,6
15:29; 2 Corinthians 13:11

Verse 31
Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them, took Paul, and brought him by night to Antipatris.
23,24; Luke 7:8; 2 Timothy 2:3,4

Verse 33
Who, when they came to Caesarea, and delivered the epistle to the governor, presented Paul also before him.

Verse 34
And when the governor had read the letter, he asked of what province he was. And when he understood that he was of Cilicia;
he asked
25:1; Esther 1:1; 8:9; Daniel 2:49; 6:1; Luke 23:6
15:41; 21:39

Verse 35
I will hear thee, said he, when thine accusers are also come. And he commanded him to be kept in Herod's judgment hall.
30; 24:1,10,22,24-27; 25:16
Matthew 2:1,3,16
Matthew 27:27; John 18:28


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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Acts 23:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

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