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Acts 23 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Paul before the Council

23 Now looking intently at the [a]Council, Paul said, “[b]Brothers, I have [c]lived my life with an entirely good conscience before God up to this day.” But the high priest Ananias commanded those standing beside him to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit to try me according to the Law, and in violation of the Law, order me to be struck?” But those present said, “Are you insulting God’s high priest?” And Paul said, “I was not aware, brothers, that he is high priest; for it is written: ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”

But Paul, perceiving that one group were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, began crying out in the [d]Council, “[e]Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!” When he said this, a dissension occurred between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. And a great uproar occurred; and some of the scribes of the Pharisaic party stood up and started arguing heatedly, saying, “We find nothing wrong with this man; suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10 And when a great dissension occurred, the commander was afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, and he ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force, and bring him into the barracks.

11 But on the following night, the Lord stood near him and said, Be courageous! For as you have testified to the truth about Me in Jerusalem, so you must testify in Rome also.”

A Conspiracy to Kill Paul

12 When it was day, the Jews formed a [f]conspiracy and put themselves under an [g]oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty who formed this plot. 14 They came to the chief priests and the elders and said, “We have put ourselves under an [h]oath to taste nothing until we have killed Paul. 15 Now therefore, you [i]and the [j]Council notify the commander to bring him down to you, as though you were going to investigate his case more thoroughly; and as for us, we are ready to kill him before he comes near the place.”

16 But the son of Paul’s sister heard about their ambush, [k]and he came and entered the barracks and told Paul. 17 Paul called one of the centurions to himself and said, “Take this young man to the commander, for he has something to report to him.” 18 So he took him and led him to the commander and *said, “Paul the prisoner called me over to him and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.” 19 The commander took him by the hand, and stepping aside, began to inquire of him privately, “What is it that you have to report to me?” 20 And he said, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down tomorrow to the [l]Council, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more thoroughly about him. 21 So do not [m]listen to them, for more than forty [n]of them are in hiding to ambush him, and these men have put themselves under an oath not to eat or drink until they kill him; and now they are ready and waiting for assurance from you.” 22 Then the commander let the young man go, instructing him, “Tell no one that you have notified me of these things.”

Paul Moved to Caesarea

23 And he called to him two of the centurions and said, “Get two hundred soldiers ready by [o]the third hour of the night to proceed to Caesarea, [p]with seventy horsemen and two hundred [q]spearmen.” 24 They were also to provide mounts to put Paul on and bring him safely to Felix the governor. 25 And he wrote a letter [r]with the following content:

26 “Claudius Lysias, to the most excellent governor Felix: Greetings.

27 When this man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them, I came up to them with the troops and rescued him, after learning that he was a Roman. 28 And wanting to ascertain the basis for the charges they were bringing against him, I brought him down to their [s]Council; 29 and I found that he was being accused regarding questions in their Law, but [t]was not charged with anything deserving death or [u]imprisonment.

30 When I was informed that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, also instructing his accusers to [v]bring charges against him before you.”

31 So the soldiers, in accordance with their orders, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32 But on the next day they let the horsemen go on with him, and they returned to the barracks. 33 When these horsemen had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him. 34 Now when he had read it, he also asked from what province Paul was, and when he learned that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will give you a hearing when your accusers arrive as well,” giving orders for [w]Paul to be kept in Herod’s [x]Praetorium.

Footnotes:

  1. Acts 23:1 Or Sanhedrin
  2. Acts 23:1 Lit Men, brothers
  3. Acts 23:1 Or conducted myself as a citizen
  4. Acts 23:6 Or Sanhedrin
  5. Acts 23:6 Lit Men, brothers
  6. Acts 23:12 Or mob
  7. Acts 23:12 I.e., an oath with a self-imposed curse
  8. Acts 23:14 See note 2 v 12
  9. Acts 23:15 Lit with
  10. Acts 23:15 Or Sanhedrin
  11. Acts 23:16 Or having been present with them, and he also entered
  12. Acts 23:20 Or Sanhedrin
  13. Acts 23:21 Lit be persuaded by them
  14. Acts 23:21 Lit men of them
  15. Acts 23:23 I.e., 9 p.m.
  16. Acts 23:23 Lit and
  17. Acts 23:23 Or slingers; or bowmen
  18. Acts 23:25 Or to this effect
  19. Acts 23:28 Or Sanhedrin
  20. Acts 23:29 Lit had no charge of
  21. Acts 23:29 Lit bonds
  22. Acts 23:30 Lit speak against him
  23. Acts 23:35 Lit him
  24. Acts 23:35 I.e., governor’s official residence
New American Standard Bible (NASB)

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved.

Acts 23 New International Version (NIV)

23 Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!”

Those who were standing near Paul said, “How dare you insult God’s high priest!”

Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.’[a]

Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees believe all these things.)

There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously. “We find nothing wrong with this man,” they said. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10 The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.

11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”

The Plot to Kill Paul

12 The next morning some Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 More than forty men were involved in this plot. 14 They went to the chief priests and the elders and said, “We have taken a solemn oath not to eat anything until we have killed Paul. 15 Now then, you and the Sanhedrin petition the commander to bring him before you on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about his case. We are ready to kill him before he gets here.”

16 But when the son of Paul’s sister heard of this plot, he went into the barracks and told Paul.

17 Then Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him.” 18 So he took him to the commander.

The centurion said, “Paul, the prisoner, sent for me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.”

19 The commander took the young man by the hand, drew him aside and asked, “What is it you want to tell me?”

20 He said: “Some Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul before the Sanhedrin tomorrow on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about him. 21 Don’t give in to them, because more than forty of them are waiting in ambush for him. They have taken an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are ready now, waiting for your consent to their request.”

22 The commander dismissed the young man with this warning: “Don’t tell anyone that you have reported this to me.”

Paul Transferred to Caesarea

23 Then he called two of his centurions and ordered them, “Get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen[b] to go to Caesarea at nine tonight. 24 Provide horses for Paul so that he may be taken safely to Governor Felix.”

25 He wrote a letter as follows:

26 Claudius Lysias,

To His Excellency, Governor Felix:

Greetings.

27 This man was seized by the Jews and they were about to kill him, but I came with my troops and rescued him, for I had learned that he is a Roman citizen. 28 I wanted to know why they were accusing him, so I brought him to their Sanhedrin. 29 I found that the accusation had to do with questions about their law, but there was no charge against him that deserved death or imprisonment. 30 When I was informed of a plot to be carried out against the man, I sent him to you at once. I also ordered his accusers to present to you their case against him.

31 So the soldiers, carrying out their orders, took Paul with them during the night and brought him as far as Antipatris. 32 The next day they let the cavalry go on with him, while they returned to the barracks. 33 When the cavalry arrived in Caesarea, they delivered the letter to the governor and handed Paul over to him. 34 The governor read the letter and asked what province he was from. Learning that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will hear your case when your accusers get here.” Then he ordered that Paul be kept under guard in Herod’s palace.

Footnotes:

  1. Acts 23:5 Exodus 22:28
  2. Acts 23:23 The meaning of the Greek for this word is uncertain.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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