Paul Before the Jewish Governing Council
(1) Paul looked straight at the members of the Jewish governing council (the Sanhedrin) and he said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” (2) When Paul said this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to hit him in the face. (3) Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you who look so good on the outside, like a whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law of Moses, but you yourself break the law by ordering that I be hit!”
(4) Those standing near Paul said, “How dare you insult God’s high priest!” (5) Paul said, “Brothers, I didn’t realize that he was the high priest; because I know that it is written in Exodus 22:28, ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.’ ”
(6) Then Paul, knowing that the Sanhedrin members included both Sadducees and Pharisees, shouted out, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, and the son of Pharisees. I stand on trial today because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead.” (7) After Paul said this, a major argument broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, causing a deep divide in the Sanhedrin—(8) because the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, or in the existence of angels or spirits, but the Pharisees believed all these things.
(9) There was a huge uproar among them, and some of the teachers of the law of Moses who were Pharisees stood up and argued with great passion. They said, “We find nothing wrong with Paul, because what if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” (10) The argument became so violent that the Roman commander was afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them. So he ordered his troops to take him away by force and take him into the military barracks.
(11) The following night the Lord stood next to Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have witnessed about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify about me in Rome.”
Some Jews Plan to Kill Paul
(12) The next morning some Jews made a plan and took an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. (13) More than 40 men were a part of this plot. (14) They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have taken a sacred oath not to eat anything until we have killed Paul. (15) Now then, you and the Jewish governing council (the Sanhedrin) ask the Roman military commander to bring Paul before you, pretending that you want to obtain more accurate information about his case. We are ready to kill Paul before he gets here.“
(16) But when the son of Paul’s sister heard of this ambush plan, he ran into the military barracks and told Paul. (17) Then Paul called one of the military officers and said, “Take this young man to the commander; he has something important to tell him.” (18) So he took him to the commander. The military officer said, “The prisoner Paul sent for me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something important to tell you.”
(19) The commander took the young man by the hand and pulled him aside and asked, “What is it you want to tell me?” (20) He said, “Some Jews are going to ask you to bring Paul before the Jewish governing council (the Sanhedrin) tomorrow, pretending they need more accurate information about him. (21) Do not do it! For more than 40 men are hiding to kill Paul. They have taken an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They’re waiting right now for your answer.” (22) The commander dismissed the young man and told him, “Don’t tell anyone that you have told this to me.”
From Jerusalem to Caesarea
(23) Then the Roman commander called two of his military officers and ordered them, “Prepare 200 soldiers, 70 horsemen, and 200 spearmen to go to the city of Caesarea (the seat of the Roman governor of the province of Judea) at 9 p.m. Provide horses for Paul so that he can be taken safely to Roman Governor Felix.”
(25) The commander wrote this letter: (26) “Claudius Lysias, To his Excellency, Governor Felix: Greetings. (27) The Jews seized this man named Paul, and they were about to kill him, but I came with my troops and rescued him, because I had learned that he is a Roman citizen. (28) I wanted to know why they were accusing him, so I brought him before the members of the Jewish governing council (the Sanhedrin). (29) I discovered that the charges were over questions about their law, but there was no charge against him that deserved prison or death. (30) When I was told about a plan to kill Paul, I sent him to you at once. I also ordered his Jewish accusers to argue their case against him to you.”
(31) So the soldiers, obeying the military commander’s orders, took Paul with them during the night and traveled to the city of Antipatris (about 35 miles/56 km). (32) The next day the soldiers let the cavalry take Paul about 30 miles (48 km) to Caesarea, while they returned to the Jerusalem military barracks. (33) When the cavalry arrived in Caesarea, they gave the letter to the governor and handed Paul over to him.
(34) The governor read the letter and asked what Roman province Paul was from. Learning that he was from the region of Cilicia of the Roman province of Syria, (35) he said, “I will hear your case when your Jewish accusers come to Caesarea.” Then he ordered that Paul be kept under guard in Herod’s palace.