1Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin. ‘My brothers’, he said, ‘I have always done my duty to God. To this day I feel that I have done nothing wrong.’2Ananias the high priest heard this. So he ordered the men standing near Paul to hit him on the mouth.3Then Paul said to him, ‘You pretender! God will hit you! You sit there and judge me by the law. But you yourself broke the law when you commanded them to hit me!’4Those who were standing near Paul spoke to him. They said, ‘How dare you talk like that to God’s high priest!’5Paul replied, ‘Brothers, I didn’t realise he was the high priest. It is written, “Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.” ’ (Ex 22:28)6Paul knew that some of them were Sadducees and the others were Pharisees. So he called out to the members of the Sanhedrin. ‘My brothers’, he said, ‘I am a Pharisee. I come from a family of Pharisees. I believe that people will rise from the dead. That’s why I am on trial.’7When he said this, the Pharisees and the Sadducees started to argue. They began to take sides.8The Sadducees say that people will not rise from the dead. They don’t believe there are angels or spirits either. But the Pharisees believe all these things.9People were causing trouble and making a lot of noise. Some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up. They argued strongly. ‘We find nothing wrong with this man,’ they said. ‘What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?’10The people arguing were getting out of control. The commanding officer was afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them. So he ordered the soldiers to go down and take him away from them by force. The officer had told them to bring Paul into the fort.11The next night the Lord stood near Paul. He said, ‘Be brave! You have told people about me in Jerusalem. You must do the same in Rome.’
The plan to kill Paul
12The next morning some Jews gathered secretly to make plans against Paul. They made a promise to themselves. They promised that they would not eat or drink anything until they killed him.13More than 40 men took part in this plan.14They went to the chief priests and the elders. They said, ‘We have made a special promise to God. We will not eat anything until we have killed Paul.15Now then, you and the Sanhedrin must make an appeal to the commanding officer. Ask him to bring Paul to you. Pretend you want more facts about his case. We are ready to kill him before he gets here.’16But Paul’s nephew heard about this plan. So he went into the fort and told Paul.17Then Paul called one of the commanders. He said to him, ‘Take this young man to the commanding officer. He has something to tell him.’18So the commander took Paul’s nephew to the officer. The commander said, ‘Paul, the prisoner, sent for me. He asked me to bring this young man to you. The young man has something to tell you.’19The commanding officer took the young man by the hand. He spoke to him in private. ‘What do you want to tell me?’ the officer asked.20He said, ‘Some Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul to the Sanhedrin tomorrow. They will pretend they want more facts about him.21Don’t give in to them. More than 40 of them are waiting in hiding to attack him. They have promised that they will not eat or drink anything until they have killed him. They are ready now. All they need is for you to bring Paul to the Sanhedrin.’22The commanding officer let the young man go. But he gave him a warning. ‘Don’t tell anyone you have reported this to me,’ he said.
Paul is taken to Caesarea
23Then the commanding officer called for two of his commanders. He ordered them, ‘Gather a company of 200 soldiers, 70 horsemen and 200 men armed with spears. Get them ready to go to Caesarea at nine o’clock tonight.24Provide horses for Paul so that he may be taken safely to Governor Felix.’25Here is the letter the officer wrote.26I, Claudius Lysias, am writing this letter. I am sending it to His Excellency, Governor Felix. Greetings.27The Jews grabbed Paul. They were about to kill him. But I came with my soldiers and saved him. I had learned that he is a Roman citizen.28I wanted to know why they were bringing charges against him. So I brought him to their Sanhedrin.29I found out that the charge against him was based on questions about their law. But there was no charge against him worthy of death or prison.30Then I was told about a plan against the man. So I sent him to you at once. I also ordered those bringing charges against him to present their case to you.31The soldiers followed their orders. During the night they took Paul with them. They brought him as far as Antipatris.32The next day they let the horsemen go on with him. The soldiers returned to the fort.33The horsemen arrived in Caesarea. They gave the letter to the governor. Then they handed Paul over to him.34The governor read the letter. He asked Paul where he was from. He learned that Paul was from Cilicia.35So he said, ‘I will hear your case when those bringing charges against you get here.’ Then he ordered that Paul be kept under guard in Herod’s palace.
English Standard Version
1And looking intently at the council, Paul said, “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.” (Job 27:5; Ac 24:16; 1Co 4:4; 2Co 1:12; 2Co 4:2; 2Co 5:11; 2Ti 1:3; Heb 13:18)2And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. (1Ki 22:24; La 3:30; Mic 5:1; Ac 24:1; 2Co 11:20)3Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?” (De 25:1; Isa 30:13; Eze 13:10; Mt 23:27; Joh 7:51)4Those who stood by said, “Would you revile God’s high priest?” (1Sa 2:28; Ps 106:16)5And Paul said, “I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’” (Ex 22:28; Ac 24:1)6Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.” (Mt 22:23; Ac 2:26; Ac 24:15; Ac 24:21; Ac 26:5; Ac 26:6; Ac 28:20; Php 3:5; Col 1:5)7And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided.8For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. (Lu 20:27; 1Co 15:12)9Then a great clamor arose, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ party stood up and contended sharply, “We find nothing wrong in this man. What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?” (Mr 2:16; Lu 5:30; Joh 12:29; Ac 4:5; Ac 22:7; Ac 22:17; Ac 23:29)10And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him away from among them by force and bring him into the barracks. (Ac 21:34; Ac 22:24; Ac 23:16; Ac 23:32)11The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.” (1Sa 3:10; Ac 18:9; Ac 19:21; Ac 22:15; Ac 27:23; 2Ti 4:17)
A Plot to Kill Paul
12When it was day, the Jews made a plot and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. (Ac 23:14; Ac 23:21; Ac 23:30)13There were more than forty who made this conspiracy.14They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food till we have killed Paul.15Now therefore you, along with the council, give notice to the tribune to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case more exactly. And we are ready to kill him before he comes near.”16Now the son of Paul’s sister heard of their ambush, so he went and entered the barracks and told Paul. (Ac 23:10; Ac 23:32)17Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the tribune, for he has something to tell him.”18So he took him and brought him to the tribune and said, “Paul the prisoner called me and asked me to bring this young man to you, as he has something to say to you.” (Eph 3:1)19The tribune took him by the hand, and going aside asked him privately, “What is it that you have to tell me?”20And he said, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more closely about him. (Ac 23:14)21But do not be persuaded by them, for more than forty of their men are lying in ambush for him, who have bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they have killed him. And now they are ready, waiting for your consent.” (Ac 23:12; Ac 23:14)22So the tribune dismissed the young man, charging him, “Tell no one that you have informed me of these things.”
Paul Sent to Felix the Governor
23Then he called two of the centurions and said, “Get ready two hundred soldiers, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go as far as Caesarea at the third hour of the night.24Also provide mounts for Paul to ride and bring him safely to Felix the governor.” (Lu 20:20; Ac 23:26; Ac 23:33; Ac 24:1; Ac 24:2; Ac 24:10; Ac 25:14; Ac 26:30)25And he wrote a letter to this effect:26“Claudius Lysias, to his Excellency the governor Felix, greetings. (Ac 15:23; Ac 24:1)27This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them when I came upon them with the soldiers and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman citizen. (Ac 21:27; Ac 21:32; Ac 22:25)28And desiring to know the charge for which they were accusing him, I brought him down to their council. (Ac 22:30)29I found that he was being accused about questions of their law, but charged with nothing deserving death or imprisonment. (Ac 18:15; Ac 23:9; Ac 25:19; Ac 25:25; Ac 26:31; Ac 28:18)30And when it was disclosed to me that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, ordering his accusers also to state before you what they have against him.” (Ac 9:24; Ac 23:12; Ac 23:20; Ac 23:35; Ac 24:19; Ac 25:16)31So the soldiers, according to their instructions, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris.32And on the next day they returned to the barracks, letting the horsemen go on with him. (Ac 23:10; Ac 23:16)33When they had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they presented Paul also before him.34On reading the letter, he asked what province he was from. And when he learned that he was from Cilicia, (Ac 21:39; Ac 25:1)35he said, “I will give you a hearing when your accusers arrive.” And he commanded him to be guarded in Herod’s praetorium. (Mt 27:27; Ac 23:30)