Acts 23:12-22 Forty Hungry Jews

In the right place at the right time

Paul is back in protective custody as we rejoin him. God spoke to him in this place and told him that he was not done testifying for Him. When day breaks though, another group of men hatch a different plan.

As soon as I started reading and saw the “oath” this group made I smiled. Their promise was to neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. Were these men the Asian Jews? They absolutely did NOT like Paul. If they were serious about their oath they would die of hunger and thirst! The group went so far as to make their oath known to the chief priests. Did it make their oath more binding or were there ways to get out of it because circumstances changed?

When presenting the plan to the chief priests, one would hope that those in authority wouldn’t go along with a murder plot. We aren’t specifically told that they “agreed” to this plan but Paul’s nephew makes it clear they did. Not surprising as they hatched a plot themselves to kill Jesus and any of His new followers. The counsel that is supposed to be the religious and moral compass of the Jews is instead a colluding band of murders. Sorry if that comes out a bit strong but that is how I read their actions. Read more »

Acts 22:30-23:11 Tribune Still Curious

Paul speaks boldly for God

We left Paul in the care of the tribune. I say “care” very loosely because he was about to try beating the truth out of him. But that all came to a screeching halt when Paul informed them he was a Roman citizen. Paul was safe from flogging but not released.

Our tribune is still curious as to what the nature of the uproar was in the first place. This is probably so he can prevent it from happening again. It is his duty to watch over the people of Jerusalem and keep them in line. He hasn’t released Paul yet, even though he knows it is against the law for him to hold Paul without charges. Is he holding onto Paul for Paul’s own protection? Is he trying to gather evidence for future charges? Is he impressed by Paul’s knowledge of the law? Or maybe Paul’s speech the day before has him questioning the truth. Read more »

Acts 22:22-29 A Roman Citizen!

Citizenship has its perks

Paul stands before the people sharing his testimony. All are listening until he makes ONE statement; “And He said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles’” (verse 21). The crowd goes wild and Paul is hurried inside the barracks.

That is where we left Paul last time. At the point where the crowd was calling out for his death. “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live” (verse 22b). If that’s not wishing someone dead I don’t know what is. I would venture to say they didn’t accept Paul’s testimony.

Our tribune can’t figure out what has got the crowd so riled up. Surely the speech Paul just gave isn’t that provocative, is it? This city is in his charge and he has to get to the bottom of this or risk all out riots in the streets. His superiors would NOT look fondly on that! Read more »

Acts 21:37-22:21 On The Barracks Steps

If only they really listened

When we left Paul yesterday he was being carried into the barracks for his own protection and examination. He had been attacked by MANY Jews and dragged out of the temple. They meant to kill him but the soldiers intervened. Today he is on the threshold of the barracks when he asks if he can address the crowd.

The tribune thought Paul was an Egyptian who had recently caused a great deal of trouble. To him, this would have made sense regarding what had just happened. His comment about Paul speaking Greek makes me wonder. Had Paul spoken to him in Greek or was the tribune asking him to do so now? Was Greek the language of the tribune or the Roman guards?

Paul provided his pedigree and asked to be allowed to speak to the people. I wonder if the tribune agreed to Paul’s request because it was now a Jew v Jew issue. Read more »

Acts 21:27-36 Away With Him!

Protected from the people. Part of God’s plan

We meet the mob today as they attempt to kill Paul. It’s not just a plot anymore but a full out assault on him.

The first thing I notice is that it was the Jews from Asia that started the trouble. It wasn’t the Jews from Jerusalem responding to gossip or rumors. It was the Jews he had debated during his travels. They had come for the holy days too.

Something else that caught my attention was that they waited until near the end of the seven days of Paul’s purification time before they acted. Why was that? Did Paul not enter the temple after his first visit until this day? Were they required to leave him be by the law during that time? They had obviously seen him in the town but did nothing to stir up trouble at that point. Why?

It looks like the Jews from Asia are the ones who grabbed Paul in the first place. Then they rallied the troops to their cause. The Jews of Jerusalem probably didn’t recognize Paul but the Jews from Asia had recent contact with him and knew him quite well. Read more »