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Chapter 23

1Paul looked steadily at the council and said,

“Brothers, I have done my duty to God with a perfectly clear conscience up to this very day.”

2At this the high priest Ananias ordered the people who were standing nearest to him to strike him on the mouth. 3Then Paul said to him,

“God will strike you, you white-washed wall! Do you sit there to try me by the Law, and order them to strike me in violation of the Law?”

4But the people who stood near him said,

“Do you mean to insult God’s high priest?”

5“I did not know, brothers,” said Paul, “that he was high priest, for the Scripture says, ‘You shall not say anything against any ruler of your people.’ ”

6Knowing that part of them were Sadducees and part of them Pharisees, Paul called out in the council,

“Brothers, I am a Pharisee, and the son of Pharisees! It is for my hope for the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial!”

7When he said that, a dispute arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the meeting was divided. 8For the Sadducees hold that there is no resurrection and that there are no angels or spirits, while the Pharisees believe in all three. 9So there was a great uproar, and some scribes of the Pharisees’ party got up and insisted,

“We find nothing wrong with this man. Suppose some spirit or angel really spoke to him!”

10As the dispute was becoming violent, the colonel began to be afraid that they would tear Paul in pieces, and ordered the soldiers to go down and get him away from them and bring him into the barracks.

11On the following night the Lord stood beside him and said,

“Courage! For just as you have testified for me in Jerusalem, you must testify in Rome also.”

12In the morning, the Jews made a conspiracy and took an oath not to eat or drink till they had killed Paul. 13There were more than forty of them involved in this plot, 14and they went to the high priests and elders and said to them,

“We have taken a solemn oath not to touch anything to eat till we have killed Paul. 15Now you and the council must suggest to the colonel that he should have Paul brought down to you, as you mean to look into his case more carefully, and we will be ready to kill him before he gets down.”

16But Paul’s nephew heard of the plot, and he came and got into the barracks, and told Paul. 17Paul called one of the officers and said to him,

“Take this young man to the colonel, for he has something to tell him.”

18So he took him to the colonel, and said,

“The prisoner Paul called me to him and asked me to bring this young man to you, as he has something to say to you.”

19So the colonel took him by the arm and stepping aside where they could be alone, asked,

“What is it that you have to tell me?”

20“The Jews,” he answered, “have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, on the ground that you mean to have a fuller inquiry made into his case. 21But do not let them persuade you, for more than forty of them are lying in wait for him, and they have taken an oath not to eat or drink till they have killed him. They are all ready now, and are only waiting to get your promise.”

22So the colonel sent the youth away, directing him not to tell anyone that he had given him this information. 23Then he called in two of his officers and said to them,

“Get two hundred men ready to march to Caesarea, with seventy mounted men and two hundred spear-men, by nine o’clock tonight.” 24They were also to provide horses for Paul to ride, so that they might take him in safety to Felix, the governor, 25to whom he wrote a letter to this effect:

26“Claudius Lysias sends greetings to his Excellency Felix, the governor. 27This man had been seized by the Jews and they were just going to kill him when I came upon them with my men and rescued him, as I had learned that he was a Roman citizen. 28As I wanted to learn what charge they made against him, I had him brought before their council, 29and found that their accusations had to do with questions about their Law, but that he was not charged with anything that would call for his death or imprisonment. 30As I have been informed that a plot against him is brewing, I am sending him on to you at once, and directing his accusers to present their charges against him before you.”

31Then the soldiers took Paul, as they had been ordered to do, and escorted him as far as Antipatris that night. 32The next day, they returned to the barracks, leaving the mounted men to go on with him, 33and they on reaching Caesarea delivered the letter to the governor and handed Paul over to him. 34After reading the letter, he asked Paul what province he belonged to, and when he learned that he was from Cilicia, 35he said,

“I will hear your case as soon as your accusers arrive.”

And he gave orders that he should be kept in Herod’s palace.

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