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“Brothers and fathers, listen to the defense that I now make before you.”

2 When they heard him addressing them in Hebrew, they became even more quiet. Then he said:

3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, educated strictly according to our ancestral law, being zealous for God, just as all of you are today. 4I persecuted this Way up to the point of death by binding both men and women and putting them in prison, 5as the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify about me. From them I also received letters to the brothers in Damascus, and I went there in order to bind those who were there and to bring them back to Jerusalem for punishment.

Paul Tells of His Conversion

6 “While I was on my way and approaching Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me. 7I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ 8I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Then he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.’ 9Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 10I asked, ‘What am I to do, Lord?’ The Lord said to me, ‘Get up and go to Damascus; there you will be told everything that has been assigned to you to do.’ 11Since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, those who were with me took my hand and led me to Damascus.

12 “A certain Ananias, who was a devout man according to the law and well spoken of by all the Jews living there, 13came to me; and standing beside me, he said, ‘Brother Saul, regain your sight!’ In that very hour I regained my sight and saw him. 14Then he said, ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear his own voice; 15for you will be his witness to all the world of what you have seen and heard. 16And now why do you delay? Get up, be baptized, and have your sins washed away, calling on his name.’

Paul Sent to the Gentiles

17 “After I had returned to Jerusalem and while I was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 18and saw Jesus saying to me, ‘Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ 19And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. 20And while the blood of your witness Stephen was shed, I myself was standing by, approving and keeping the coats of those who killed him.’ 21Then he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”

Paul and the Roman Tribune

22 Up to this point they listened to him, but then they shouted, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.” 23And while they were shouting, throwing off their cloaks, and tossing dust into the air, 24the tribune directed that he was to be brought into the barracks, and ordered him to be examined by flogging, to find out the reason for this outcry against him. 25But when they had tied him up with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who is uncondemned?” 26When the centurion heard that, he went to the tribune and said to him, “What are you about to do? This man is a Roman citizen.” 27The tribune came and asked Paul, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” And he said, “Yes.” 28The tribune answered, “It cost me a large sum of money to get my citizenship.” Paul said, “But I was born a citizen.” 29Immediately those who were about to examine him drew back from him; and the tribune also was afraid, for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had bound him.

Paul before the Council

30 Since he wanted to find out what Paul was being accused of by the Jews, the next day he released him and ordered the chief priests and the entire council to meet. He brought Paul down and had him stand before them.

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Ac 22:1-30. Paul's Defense from the Stairs of the FortressThe Rage of the Audience Bursting Forth, the Commandant Has Him Brought into the Fort to Be Examined by Scourging, but Learning that He Is a Roman, He Orders His Release and Commands the Sanhedrin to Try Him.

2. when they heard … the Hebrew tongue—(See on Ac 21:40).

they kept the more silence—They could have understood him in Greek, and doubtless fully expected the renegade to address them in that language, but the sound of their holy mother tongue awed them into deeper silence.

3. a Jew of Tarsus, brought up in this city, at the feet—(See on Lu 10:39).

of Gamaliel—(See on Ac 5:34); a fact of great importance in the apostle's history, standing in the same relation to his future career as Moses' education in the Egyptian court to the work for which he was destined.

the perfect manner of the law of the fathers—the strictest form of traditional Judaism.

zealous—"a zealot."

toward God as ye all are this day—his own former murderous zeal against the disciples of the Lord Jesus being merely reflected in their present treatment of himself.

4. I persecuted, &c.—(See on Ac 9:1,2; Ac 9:5-7).

5. the high priest—still alive.

doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders—the whole Sanhedrim.

8. Jesus of Nazareth—the Nazarene. See on Ac 9:5.

9-11. they that were with me—(See on Ac 9:7, &c.)

12. Ananias, a devout man, according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there—One would not know from this description of Ananias that he was a Christian at all, the apostles object being to hold him up as unexceptionable, even to the most rigid Jews.

13-15. The God of our fathers hath chosen thee—studiously linking the new economy upon the old, as but the sequel of it; both having one glorious Author.

14. that thou shouldest … see that—"the"

Just One—compare Ac 3:14; 7:52.

hear the voice of his mouth—in order to place him on a level with the other apostles, who had "seen the [risen] Lord."

16. be baptized and wash away thy sins—This way of speaking arises from baptism being the visible seal of remission.

calling on the name of the Lord—rather, "having called," that is, after having done so; referring to the confession of Christ which preceded baptism, as Ac 8:37.

17-21. it came to pass, &c.—This thrilling dialogue between the glorified Redeemer and his chosen vessel is nowhere else related.

when I was come again to Jerusalem—on the occasion mentioned in Ac 9:26-29.

while I prayed in the temple—He thus calls their attention to the fact that after his conversion he kept up his connection with the temple as before.

18. get … quickly out of Jerusalem—compare Ac 9:29.

for they will not receive thy testimony … And I said, Lord, they know, &c.—"Can it be, Lord, that they will resist the testimony of one whom they knew so well as among the bitterest of all against Thy disciples, and whom nothing short of resistless evidence could have turned to Thee?"

21. depart for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles—that is, "Enough; thy testimony is not to be thrown away upon Jerusalem; the Gentiles, afar off, are thy peculiar sphere."

22, 23. gave him audience to this word … then … Away with such a fellow from the earth, &c.—Their national prejudices lashed into fury at the mention of a mission to the Gentiles, they would speedily have done to him as they did to Stephen, but for the presence and protection of the Roman officer.

24-26. examined by scourging—according to the Roman practice.

that he might know wherefore they cried so—Paul's speech being to him in an unknown tongue, he concluded from the horror which it kindled in the vast audience that he must have been guilty of some crime.

25. Paul said to the centurion that stood by—to superintend the torture and receive the confession expected to be wrung from him.

Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, &c.—See on Ac 16:37.

27-29. art thou a Roman?—showing that this being of Tarsus, which he had told him before (Ac 21:39) did not necessarily imply that he was a Roman citizen.

28. With a great sum obtained I this freedom—Roman citizenship was bought and sold in the reign of Claudius, we know, at a high price: at a subsequent date, for next to nothing. But to put in a false claim to this privilege was a capital crime.

I was free born—born to it, by purchase, or in reward of services, on the part of his father or some ancestor.

29. chief captain also was afraid, &c.—See on Ac 16:38.

30. commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear—that is, the Sanhedrim to be formally convened. Note here the power to order a Sanhedrim to try this case, assumed by the Roman officers and acquiesced in on their part.