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ACTS
The continued Life of Jesus through the Apostles

CHAPTER TWENTY TWO

"Stairway Sermon"
Key Verse = Acts 22:22


  1. Paul's Defense at Jerusalem
  2. Paul's Roman Citizenship
  3. Paul Brought Before the Sanhedrin



PAUL'S  DEFENSE  AT  JERUSALEM

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Acts 22:1 & 2
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(1)  "Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now."

Brethren and fathers, hear my defense which I now make to you.

(2)  And when they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they kept all the more silent.

And when they heard him speak to them in the Hebrew tongue they were the more quiet. And he said,


Brethren and fathers
This defense was addressed to the Jews, and Paul commenced it with an expression of sincere respect for them. Stephen began his defense with the same form of address. See the notes on Acts 7:2.

Stephen, Sha’ul's Paul former enemy, used the same words to address an unfriendly audience (Acts 7:2&N); see also 23:1&N. The fact that Sha’ul's circumstances here and his speech have several other features in common with Stephen's gives a certain sense of closure (see Acts 7:58).
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

My defense
Against the charges brought against me. Those charges were that he had endeavored to prejudice people everywhere against the Jews, the Law, and the temple, Acts 21:28. In order to meet this charge, Paul stated:
(1) That he was a Jew by birth, and had enjoyed all the advantages of a Jewish education, Acts 22:3
(2) He recounted the circumstances of his conversion, and the reason why he believed that he was called to preach the gospel, Acts 22:4-16
(3) He proceeded to state the reasons why he went among the Gentiles, and evidently intended to vindicate his conduct there, Acts 22:17-21; but at this point, at the name Gentiles, his defense was interrupted by the enraged multitude, and he was not permitted to proceed. What would have been his defense, therefore, had he been suffered to finish it, it is impossible to know with certainty. On another occasion, however, he was permitted to make a similar defense, and perhaps to complete the train of thought which he had purposed to pursue here.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

The Hebrew language
Literally, “in the Hebrew language,” which could have been either the
Aramaic - heard more often in public or the
Hebrew - still spoken in public but more often at home
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

The Hebrew language was their dearest language. It touched them at the point of sympathy. Paul had a new hold on them when he spoke in that language. He knew that, and therefore he chose that language in speaking to them. Paul showed his wisdom and showed a kindly, loving spirit in the very words of his choice at this time.

"Hebrew" here is probably a loose expression for Aramaic (so NIV), the vernacular of much of rural Syria-Palestine and all lands to the east. It is especially significant for Paul's purposes that Aramaic was the vernacular of the Jewish nationalists, and that Paul speaks it as well as they. The tribune would not understand any of what Paul is saying, however; Aramaic is similar to Hebrew, but bears little relation to Latin and Greek
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

This typically Greek way to begin a speech reflects the extent to which Greek culture had permeated Palestine (Greek loanwords even occur throughout rabbinic Hebrew; Paul's hearers would not automatically associate his words with Gentile culture). The parallel with Stephen (7:2), who provoked his audience to martyr him, also builds suspense for Luke's readers.

Those who thought that they had caught a Diaspora collaborator with the Gentiles must have reconsidered after they heard his fluent Aramaic [Syriac] (A language related to Hebrew that was the standard international language of the ancient Near East before Alexander the Great's conquests made Greek the standard; it was still widely spoken in different forms in Syria-Palestine and farther east in Jesus' day. Most Jewish people in first-century Palestine probably spoke both Greek and Aramaic.).
(From IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

When Paul asked for permission to address the Jews, Claudius consented, hoping that perhaps he would get enough information for an official report. He never did (see Acts 23:23-30). Paul spoke to the Jews in their native Aramaic, and this helped quiet them down. He was never able to finish his speech, but he did get to explain three important aspects of his life and ministry.

Aramaic
The name is given to a form of Semitic speech, most nearly related to Hebrew and Phoenician, but exhibiting marked peculiarities, and subsisting in different dialects. Its original home may have been in Mesopotamia (Aram), but it spread North and West, and, as below shown, became the principal tongue throughout extensive regions. After the return from the Captivity, it displaced Hebrew as the spoken language of the Jews in Palestine In its eastern form it is known as Syriac
(from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Electronic Database Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

A North Semitic language similar to Phoenician and Hebrew it was the language of the Arameans whose presence in northwestern Mesopotamia is known from about 2000 B.C.
Old Testament
Although the Arameans never founded a great national state or empire, by the eleventh century they had established several small states in Syria, and their language came to be known from Egypt to Persia.
The oldest inscriptions in Old Aramaic are from Syria around 800 B.C.
In the ninth century official or Royal Aramaic appeared. This was a dialect known from documents from Assyria and known best from documents from the Persian empire, for which Aramaic had become the official court language. Before 700 B.C. Aramaic had begun to supplant Akkadian as the language of commerce and diplomacy (2 Kings 18:26). Important for biblical history are the fifth century papyri from Elephantine, the site of a Jewish colony in Egypt. Official Aramaic continued to be used widely throughout the Hellenistic period.
Parts of the Old Testament were written in Aramaic:
Ezra 4:8-6:18; 7:12-26;
Daniel 2:4 b-7:28;
Jeremiah 10:11.
Two words in Genesis 31:47, Jegar-sahadutha (heap of witness) are in Aramaic.
A number of Aramaic words came into common Hebrew usage, and several passages in the Hebrew Bible show Aramaic influence.
New Testament
The wide diffusion of Aramaic, along with its flexibility and adaptability, resulted in the emergence of various dialects.
In Syria-Palestine the western group includes Jewish Palestinian Aramaic, Samaritan, Palmyrene, and Naba-taean.
Jewish Palestinian Aramaic words and phrases occur in the New Testament, such as
Abba  (father) (Mark 14:36)
talitha, qumi (maiden, arise) (Mark 5:41)
lama sabachthani (why hast thou forsaken me?) (Mark 15:34)
The Palestinian Talmud and the Targums (translations of Old Testament books into Aramaic) also were written in Palestinian Jewish Aramaic. The eastern (Mesopotamian) group includes Babylonian Jewish Aramaic, Mandaean, and Syriac.
(from Holman Bible Dictionary. Copyright © 1991 by Holman Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(1)  Brethren and fathers, listen to the defense which I now make in your presence.
(2)  And when they heard that he addressed them in the Hebrew tongue, they were all the more quiet. And he continued,

Acts 22:3-5
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(3)  "I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers' law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today.

I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, yet I was brought up in this city under the care and guidance of Gamaliel, and trained perfectly according to the law of our fathers, and was zealous toward God just as you are also.

(4)  I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women,

And I persecuted this religion to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.

(5)  as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished.

The high priest and all the elders can so testify about me, for it was from them that I received letters to go to the brethren at Damascus to bring those who were there bound to Jerusalem to be punished.


Paul had been a leading rabbi in his day (Galatians 1:13-14), so he was certainly known to some of the people in the crowd. Note how Paul piled up his Jewish credentials: he was a Jew, a native of Tarsus, brought up in Jerusalem, trained by Gamaliel, a follower of the Law, a zealous persecutor of the church, and a representative of the Sanhedrin. How could his countrymen not respectfully listen to a man with that kind of record!

Instead of accusing them of participating in a riot he commended them for being "zealous toward God." (He had used a similar approach with the Athenians; Acts 17:22.) He admitted that he too had been guilty of having people arrested and bound, and even killed. The Christian faith was known as "the way" (Acts 9:2; 19:9,23; 24:14,22), probably a reference to our Lord's statement "I am the way" (John 14:6).
(From The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

The Jewish New Testament Commentary has:
(1) A Jew born in Tarsus
Sha’ul was born a Hellenistic Jew; by announcing this he increases his identification with his Asian accusers.
(2) But brought up in this city.
He also identifies with the Jerusalemites, probably the majority.
(3) Trained
In every detail of the Torah
(4) At the feet of Gamaliel
On Gamli’el himself see Acts 5:34. Jewish tradition says nothing about Sha’ul's apprenticeship with the most distinguished rabbi and scholar of his time. In fact neither the Talmud nor any early Midrash says anything about him at all — a fact that cries out for an explanation. In an article called “Paul and the Law—‘All Things to All Men,’” the Messianic Jewish scholar H. L. Ellison writes of Elisha ben-’Avuyah, who was one of the great rabbis of the early 2nd century and who is quoted in the Mishna (Avot 4:20) but later apostatized:
“He was excommunicated and is almost always referred to as Acher (The Other One). There was never any danger of tradition's keeping his memory green, for it told also of how he had deliberately profaned the Sabbath. In other words, his false teaching had been sterilized and rendered harmless, not so much by his excommunication but rather by his notorious breach of the law. With Paul, however, his memory had to be forgotten, for there were no stories that could be told about him that would neutralize his teaching.” (Included in W. Gasque and R. Martin, editors, Apostolic History and the Gospel, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1970, p.  199)
This is because Sha’ul, unlike Elisha ben-’Avuyah, kept the Law all his life, as the rest of Ellison's article proves and as I have shown at 13:9, 16:3 and 21:21. Aware of this, and heeding the principle that “the only bad publicity is having your name misspelled,” the rabbis said nothing about Sha’ul. The principle is still in use; often the non-Messianic Jewish community's response to Messianic Judaism, especially the forms of it which are willing to grapple seriously with relating to the Torah, is to ignore it publicly, to pretend it doesn't exist—in the hope that it will go away, which it will not.
(5) I was as zealous for God as all of you are today
Sha’ul completes the recitation of his credentials by reminding his hearers that he too knows the Torah and has stood in their shoes, as zealous as they.
It is said that a fool learns from his own experience, but a wise man can learn from the experience of others. Sha’ul hopes that even among this zealous mob there will be some who are wise and can profit from hearing where their present path leads.
(From Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Note: Jesus said, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture.’ John 10:7, 9 (KJV). So from these verses, we see that the only way to God is through the door which is the sacrifice of God’s Son Jesus Christ. Any one - Jew or Gentile - who tries to make it in using another way will only find the judgment of God.
(Paul the Learner)

From Barnes' Notes:
(1) Born in Tarsus
See the notes on Acts 9:11
(2) Brought up in this city
In Jerusalem, sent there for the advantage of more perfect instruction in the Law.
(3) At the feet of Gamaliel
As a scholar or disciple of Gamaliel. The phrase to sit at the feet of one is expressive of the condition of a disciple or learner. It is probable that the expression arose from the fact that the learners occupied a lower place or seat than the teacher. On the character and rank of Gamaliel, see the notes on Acts 5:34. Paul mentions his having been instructed in this manner in order to show that he was entitled to the full privileges of a Jew, and that he had had every opportunity to become fully acquainted with the nature of the Law.
(4) According to the perfect manner
kata (NT: 2596) akribeian (NT: 195). By strict diligence or exact care; or in the utmost rigor and severity of that instruction. No pains were spared to make him understand and practice the Law of Moses.
(5) The law of the fathers
The law of our fathers; that is, the law which they received and handed down to us. Paul was a Pharisee, and the law in which he had been taught was not only the written Law of Moses, but the traditional law which had been handed down from former times.
(6) And was zealous toward God
He had a constant burning zeal for God and His Law, which was expressed not only by scrupulous adherence to its forms, but by persecuting all who opposed it, Acts 22:4-5.
(7)  And I persecuted
According to Acts 8:3 he "made havoc of the church."
(8) This way
Those who were of this mode of worshipping God; that is, Christians.
(9)  Unto the death
Intending to put them to death. He did not probably put any to death himself, but he committed them to prison; he sought their lives; he was the agent employed in arresting them; and when they were put to death, he tells us that he gave his voice against them (Acts 26:10); that is, he joined in, and approved of their condemnation.
(10) Delivering into prisons
See again Acts 8:3.
(11)  As also the high priest
See the notes on Acts 9:2
(12) All the estate of the elders
Greek: all the presbytery; that is, the whole body of the Sanhedrin, or Great Council of the nation.
(13) Unto the brethren
The Jewish brethren who were at Damascus. Paul here speaks as a Jew, and regards his countrymen as his brethren.
(From Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Of the three accounts of Paul's call, this is the one clearly designed for a nationalistic Jewish audience. Despite his clear Jewishness, however, his refusal to compromise God's call to the Gentiles in the end incites the crowd's wrath. Paul was always sensitive to his audience but never willing to compromise the gospel. Speeches usually included a narrative component; this component takes up Paul's whole speech, perhaps because he is not permitted to complete it.

In ancient statements, "brought up" and "educated" (NASB) normally refer to different periods in a person's life; thus Paul was raised in Jerusalem and studied to become a teacher of the law under Gamaliel I — the famous pupil of Hillel. Although he was born in another country, he can therefore explain that he is really a Jerusalemite by upbringing and an orthodox Pharisaic teacher by training. As a son in an educated and perhaps aristocratic home (his father being a citizen, Paul probably began to learn the law around his fifth year and other Pharisaic traditions around his tenth year, and was sent to pursue training to be able to teach the law sometime after turning thirteen.

People normally sat on chairs (or reclined on couches for banquets); sitting at someone's feet was taking the posture of a disciple. Paul's model for "zeal" may have been Phinehas, who killed for God (Numbers 25:13), and his successors in the Maccabees. Within eight years of Paul's speech the revolutionaries were calling themselves "Zealots," those zealous for God; this title may thus have appealed to Paul's more nationalistic hearers.

Calling on the testimony of the high priest and the Sanhedrin may indicate that he trusts their integrity; but unknown to Paul, a different high priest is now in office anyway (Acts 23:5). (IVP)
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

Paul also describes his former activities in Philippians 3:5 & 6
Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews;
concerning the law, a Pharisee;
concerning zeal, persecuting the church;
concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
And even though he could say that he was blameless concerning the righteousness which is in the law, he also confessed that he was the greatest of sinners, and needed a Savior (1 Tim 1:15 Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.).
Paul the Learner

HISTORICAL OUTLOOK FROM 400 A. D. BY ARCHBISHOP JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
Homily 47 - Acts 22:1-5
"He spake unto them," it says, "in the Hebrew tongue, saying, Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defense which I make now unto you." (ch. 22:1.) Mark his address, at once so free from all flattery, and so expressive of meekness. For he says not, "Masters," nor "Lords," but, "Brethren," just the word they most liked: "I am no alien from. you," he says, nor "against you." "Men," he says, "brethren, and fathers:" this, a term of honor, that of kindred. "Hear ye," says he, "my"-he says not, "teaching," nor "harangue," but, "my defense which I now make unto you." He puts himself in the posture of a suppliant. "And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence." (v. 2.) Do you observe how the using the same tongue subdued them? In fact, they had a sort of awe for that language. Observe also how he prepares the way for his discourse, beginning thus: "I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day." (v. 3.) "I am a man," he says, "which am a Jew:" which thing they liked most of all to hear; "born in Tarsus, a city of Cilicia."
That they may not again think him to be of another nation, he adds his religion: "but brought up in this city." He shows how great was his zeal for the worship, inasmuch as having left his native city, which was so great and so remote too, he chose to be brought up here for the Law's sake. See how from the beginning he attached himself to the law. But this he says, not only to defend himself to them, but to show that not by human intent was he led to the preaching of the Gospel, but by a Divine power: else, having been so educated, he would not have suddenly changed. For if indeed he had been one of the common order of men, it might have been reasonable to suspect this: but if he was of the number of those who were most of all bound by the law, it was not likely that he should change lightly, and without strong necessity. But perhaps some one may say: "To have been brought up here proves nothing: for what if thou camest here for the purpose of trading, or for some other cause?"
Therefore he says, "at the feet of Gamaliel:" and not simply, "by Gamaliel," but "at his feet," showing his perseverance, his assiduity, his zeal for the hearing, and his great reverence for the man. "Taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers." Not simply, "the law," but "the law of the fathers;" showing that he was such from the beginning, and not merely one that knew the Law. All this seems indeed to be spoken on their side, but in fact it told against them, since he, knowing the law, forsook it. "Yes: but what if thou didst indeed know the law accurately, but dost not vindicate it, no, nor love it?" "Being a zealot," he adds: not simply (one that knew it). Then, since it was a high encomium he had passed upon himself, he makes it theirs as well as his, adding, "As ye all are this day." For he shows that they act not from any human object, but from zeal for God; gratifying them, and preoccupying their minds, and getting a hold upon them in a way that did no harm. Then he brings forward proofs also, saying, "and I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders" (v. 4, 5): (Archbishop John Chrysostom of Constantinople A.D. 400)
(from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 1, Volume 11, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(3)  I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia but reared in this city. At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated according to the strictest care in the Law of our fathers, being ardent [even a zealot] for God, as all of you are today.
(4)  [Yes] I harassed (troubled, molested, and persecuted) this Way [of the Lord] to the death, putting in chains and committing to prison both men and women,
(5)  As the high priest and whole council of elders (Sanhedrin) can testify; for from them indeed I received letters with which I was on my way to the brethren in Damascus in order to take also those [believers] who were there, and bring them in chains to Jerusalem that they might be punished.

Acts 22:6-11
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(6)  "Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me.

And it came to pass as I drew near to Damascus, at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone round about me.

(7)  And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?'

And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?

(8)  So I answered, 'Who are You, Lord?' And He said to me, 'I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.'

And I answered, saying, Who are you, my Lord? And he said to me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you persecute.

(9)  "And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me.

And the men who were with me saw the light, but they did not hear the voice that spoke to me.

(10)  So I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said to me, 'Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.'

And I said, What shall I do, my Lord? And our Lord said to me, Arise and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told to you all things which are appointed for you to do.

(11)  And since I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus.

And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.


Luke recorded Paul's conversion experience in Acts 9, and Paul would repeat the account later for Felix and Agrippa (Acts 26). It is difficult to imagine a comparable crowd today quietly listening to that kind of a testimony.

About noon
Acts 26:13 has "at mid-day."  This circumstance is omitted by Luke in his account in Acts 9: Paul mentions it as being the more remarkable since it occurred at mid-day, to show that he was not deluded by any meteoric or natural appearances, which usually occur at night.

However, people in that day expected miraculous things to happen and were no doubt fascinated by Paul's story (see Acts 23:9). Also, Paul was on official Sanhedrin business when these events took place, which at least gave it some aura of authority. In his testimony, Paul affirmed that Jesus of Nazareth was alive.
Paul saw His glory
Paul heard His voice
The people listening in the temple courts knew the official Jewish position that Jesus of Nazareth was an impostor who had been crucified and His body stolen from the tomb by His disciples who then started the rumor that Jesus had been raised from the dead. Of course, Paul himself had believed this story when he was persecuting the church. The men with Paul saw the bright light, but were not blinded as he was; and they heard a sound, but could not understand what was being said (Acts 9:7).
Imagine Paul's amazement to discover that Jesus was alive!
Instantly, he had to change his whole way of thinking (repentance) and let the risen Lord have control.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(6)   But as I was on my journey and approached Damascus, about noon a great blaze of light flashed suddenly from heaven and shone about me.
(7)   And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me [harass and trouble and molest Me]?
(8)   And I replied, Who are You, Lord? And He said to me, I am Jesus the Nazarene, Whom you are persecuting.
(9)   Now the men who were with me saw the light, but they did not hear [the sound of the uttered words of] the voice of the One Who was speaking to me [so that they could understand it].
(10)  And I asked, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord answered me, Get up and go into Damascus, and there it will be told you all that it is destined and appointed for you to do.
(11)  And since I could not see because [of the dazzlingly glorious intensity] of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and [thus] I arrived in Damascus.

Acts 22:12-16
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(12)  "Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there,

And a certain man, Ananias, righteous according to the law, as testified by all the Jews concerning him,

(13)  came to me; and he stood and said to me, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight.' And at that same hour I looked up at him.

Came to me and said, My brother Saul, receive your sight. and instantly my eyes were opened and I looked upon him.

(14)  Then he said, 'The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth.

And he said to me, The God of our fathers has appointed you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear the voice of his mouth.

(15)  For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.

And you shall be a witness for him before all men of all that you have seen and heard.

(16)  And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.'

And now why do you delay? Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.


The background is essentially the same as in 9:4-17, although this speech emphasizes different features, like Ananias's Jewish piety, which would commend themselves to Paul's nationalistic hearers.

This second report of Sha’ul's coming to trust in Yeshua.
Chananyah (Ananias), an observant follower of the Torah who was highly regarded by the entire Jewish community, or: “...who [see character] is witnessed to by all the Jews living there.” In other words, the fact that he was a Torah-true Jew can be verified by whoever wants to do so. This fact about Chananyah, not reported at 9:10-17, is relevant for Sha’ul's present audience. (Another instance of Sha’ul's appealing to objective verifiability is when he answered those who doubted whether Yeshua had actually been resurrected; see 1 Corinthians 15:5-8&NN.)
The Tzaddik, or “the Righteous One”; see 7:52&N, where Stephen too used this term for Yeshua the Messiah. At Isaiah 53:11 God speaks of “my righteous servant,” who will “make many righteous.”
Immerse yourself, Greek baptisai; the verb is in the middle voice, which means that it has reflexive force. If the word were in the passive voice here, “be immersed” would be appropriate. Jewish practice in the mikveh, for proselyte baptism as well as for other ritual purifications, is self-immersion, in contrast with the common present-day Christian baptismal practice of being immersed by someone else.
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Note Paul's wisdom as he identified himself with Ananias, a devout Jew who kept the Law and who called him "brother." Note also that Ananias attributed Paul's great experience to "the God of our fathers." In quoting Ananias, Paul gave reason for his listeners to accept his salvation experience and his call to service. Paul had seen "the Just [Righteous] One," which was a title for Messiah (see Acts 3:14; 7:52). Paul was now commissioned by God to take His message to "all men." This would include the Gentiles, but Paul did not say so until later. Acts 22:16 in the King James Version seems to suggest that baptism is required for the washing away of our sins, but such is not the case. In his Expanded Translation of the New Testament, Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest puts it "Having arisen, be baptized and wash away your sins, having previously called upon His Name."

We are saved by calling on the Lord by faith (Acts 2:21; 9:14), and we give evidence of that faith by being baptized. According to Acts 9:17, Paul was filled with the Spirit before he was baptized; and this would indicate that he was already born again it is the "calling," not the baptizing, that effects the cleansing.
Certainly many of Paul's listeners knew about the new "Christian sect" that had sprung up, the baptisms that had taken place, the stoning of Stephen, and the miracles that these "people of the way" had wrought. Paul was not speaking to ignorant people, because these things had not been "done in a corner" (Acts 26:26).
(From The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Five things about Paul here:
1. He was chosen of God (Acts 22:14; Gal 1:15-16)
2. He was chosen to know God's will (Acts 22:4)
3. He was chosen to see Jesus (Acts 22:14, 18; 1 Cor 9:1; 15:8; 2 Cor 12:1-4)
4. He was chosen to hear His voice (Acts 22:7, 14)
5. He was chosen to be a special witness to all people (Acts 22:15; Gal 1:15-16)
(from Dake Annotated Reference Bible © 2007 by Dake Publishing. All rights reserved in U.S.A. and Other Countries.)

HISTORICAL OUTLOOK FROM 400 A. D. BY ARCHBISHOP JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
Homily 47 - Acts 22:6-16
"How does this appear." As witnesses he brings forward the high-priest himself and the elders. He says indeed, "Being a zealot, as ye": but he shows by his actions, that he went beyond them. "For I did not wait for an opportunity of seizing them: I both stirred up the priests, and undertook journeys: I did not confine my attacks, as ye did, to men, I extended them to women also: "both binding, and casting into prisons both men and women."
This testimony is incontrovertible; the (unbelief) of the Jews (is left) without excuse. See how many witnesses he brings forward, the elders, the high-priest, and those in the city. Observe his defense, how it is not of cowardly fear (for himself, that he pleads), no, but for teaching and indoctrination. For had not the hearers been stones, they would have felt the force of what he was saying. For up to this point he had themselves as witnesses: the rest, however, was without witnesses: "From whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished. And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou Me? And I answered, Who are Thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, Whom thou persecutes." (v. 6, 7, 8.)
Why then, these very things ought to have been held worthy of credit, from those that went before: otherwise he would not have undergone such a revolution. How if he is only making a fine story of it, say you? Answer me, Why did he suddenly fling away all this zeal? Because he looked for honor? And yet he got just the contrary. But an easy life, perhaps? No, nor that either. Well but something else? Why it is not in the power of thought to invent any other object. So then, leaving it to themselves to draw the inference, he narrates the facts. "As I came nigh," he says, "unto Damascus, about noonday." See how great was the excess of the light. What if he is only making a fine story, say you? Those who were with him are witnesses, who led him by the hand, who saw the light. "And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of Him that spake to me." (v. 9.) But in another place he says, "Hearing the voice, but seeing no man." (Acts 9:7.)
It is not at variance: no, there were two voices, that of Paul and the Lord's voice: in that place, the writer means Paul's voice; as in fact (Paul) here adds, "The voice of Him that spake unto me. Seeing no man:" he does not say, that they did not see the light: but, "no man," that is, "none speaking," And good reason that it should be so, since it behooved him alone to have that voice vouchsafed unto him. For if indeed they also had heard it, (the miracle) would not have been so great. Since persons of grosser minds are persuaded more by sight, those saw the light, and were afraid. In fact, neither did the light take so much effect on them, as it did on him: for it even blinded his eyes: by that which befell him, (God) gave them also an opportunity of recovering their sight, if they had the mind. It seems to me at least, that their not believing was providentially ordered, that they might be unexceptionable witnesses.
"And he said unto me" it says, "I am Jesus of Nazareth, Whom thou persecutes." (comp. ch. 9:5.) Well is the name of the city (Nazareth) also added, that they might recognize (the Person): moreover, the Apostles also spoke thus. (ch. 2:22; 4:10; 10:38.) And Himself bore witness, that they were persecuting Him. "And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid, but they heard not the voice of Him that spake to me. And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do. And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus. And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him. Enter into the city," it says, "and there it shall be spoken to thee of all that is appointed for thee to do." (v. 10-13.)
Lo! again another witness. And see how unexceptionable he makes him also. "And one Ananias," he says, "a devout man according to the law,"-so far is it from being anything alien!-"having a good report of all the Jews that dwelt" (there). "And I in the same hour received sight." Then follows the testimony borne by the facts.
Observe how it is interwoven, of persons and facts; and the persons, both of their own and of aliens: the priests, the elders, and his fellow-travelers: the facts, what he did and what was done to him: and facts bear witness to facts, not persons only. Then Ananias, an alien; then the fact itself, the recovery of sight; then a great prophecy. "And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know His will, and see That Just One." (v. 14.) It is well said, "Of the fathers," to show that they were not Jews, but aliens from the law, and that it was not from zeal (for the law) that they were acting. "That thou shouldest know His will." Why then His will is this. See how in the form of narrative it is teaching. "And see That Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. For thou shall be His witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And see," he says, "that Just One." (v. 15.)
For the present he says no more than this: if He is Just, they are guilty. "And hear the voice of His mouth." See how high he raises the fact! "For thou shall be His witness-for this, because thou wilt not betray the sight and hearing (i.e. "prove false to")-" both of what thou hast seen, and of what thou hast heard:" by means of both the senses he claims his faith, fullness-"to all men. And now why tarries thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on His name." (v. 16.)
(from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 1, Volume 11, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(12)  And one Ananias, a devout man according to the Law, well spoken of by all the Jews who resided there,
(13)  Came to see me, and standing by my side said to me, Brother Saul, look up and receive back your sight. And in that very instant I [recovered my sight and] looking up saw him.
(14)  And he said, The God of our forefathers has destined and appointed you to come progressively to know His will [to perceive, to recognize more strongly and clearly, and to become better and more intimately acquainted with His will], and to see the Righteous One (Jesus Christ, the Messiah), and to hear a voice from His [own] mouth and a message from His [own] lips;
(15)  For you will be His witness unto all men of everything that you have seen and heard.
(16)  And now, why do you delay? Rise and be baptized, and by calling upon His name, wash away your sins.

Acts 22:17-21
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(17)  "Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I was in a trance

And it came to pass that when I returned here to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple,

(18)  and saw Him saying to me, 'Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me.'

I saw a vision, saying to me, Make haste and get quickly out of Jerusalem; for they will not receive your testimony concerning me.

(19)  So I said, 'Lord, they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You.

And I said, My Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue those who believed in you;

(20)  And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.'

And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by and was in accord with his slayers, and was in charge of the garments of them who stoned him.

(21)  Then He said to me, 'Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles.'"

Then he said to me, Depart; for I will send you afar to preach to the Gentiles.


The Lord tells Sha’ul to leave Jerusalem because the Jewish people there will not respond to his message. Sha’ul immediately trots out his Jewish credentials, objecting that the Jews of Jerusalem ought to accept what he says now because they know how diligently he opposed the believers in the past (vv. 4-5). But Yeshua repeats his command, “Get going!”. Why won't the Jews of Jerusalem hear Sha’ul? Because a believer's having opposed the Gospel in the past is not what makes a nonbeliever believe. On the contrary, the believer's faith now outweighs everything else about him. No matter how reasonable his beliefs seem to himself now, a believer cannot substitute his own stormy process of coming to faith for that of someone else.

Therefore, in instructing Sha’ul to get on with his task of evangelizing the Gentiles Yeshua is saving Sha’ul years of fruitless endeavor which would have been the outcome of following his own natural desire to devote all his energy to winning his Jewish brothers (Romans 10:1 "my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved"). Sha’ul's earthly wisdom would not have led him to the specific mission Yeshua had designed for him. The Lord knows better than we how we can best serve him. Moreover, the book of Acts shows that Sha’ul experienced no small measure of success with Jews as well.
(From Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

And saw him
Evidently, the Lord Jesus Acts 22:14. He had received his commission from him, and he now received a distinct command to go to the Gentiles.

They will not receive
The inhabitants of Jerusalem, probably including both Jews and Christians.
The Jews would not listen to him because he had become, in their view, an apostate, and they would hate and persecute him.
The Christians would not be likely to receive him, for they would remember his former persecutions, and would be suspicious of him because he had been so long in Arabia, and had not sooner connected himself with them (Acts 9:26).
See the notes on , "And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple."

In every synagogue
Beating, or scourging, was often done in the synagogue. It was customary for those who were converted to Christianity still to meet with the Jews in their synagogues, and to join with them in their worship.

Guarding the clothes
The outer robes or garments, which were usually laid aside when they engaged in running or labor. All this showed that, though Paul was not engaged in stoning Stephen, yet he was with them in spirit, and fully accorded with what they did. These circumstances are mentioned here by him as reasons why he knew that he would not be received by Christians as one of their numbers, and why it was necessary, therefore, for him to turn to the Gentile world.
(Acts 7:58; 8:1)

Far from here
Paul traveled far in the pagan nations. A large part of his ministry was spent in remote countries, and in the most distant regions then known.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

This was the particular calling of Paul. He was the apostle to the Gentiles. He preached also to the Jews, but to preach and to write the revelation of God to the Gentiles was his great work. To this end we find him traveling in
Judea Samaria Syria Phoenicia
Arabia Cilicia Pisidia Lycaonia
Pamphylia Galatia Phrygia Macedonia
Greece Asia Italy Spain
the Isles of the Mediterranean and Aegean seas
and other lands. No other preached, traveled, and labored like Paul. The epistles of all the others are mainly Jewish. Next to Jesus Christ Paul is the great founder of the Christian church in various lands. Jesus is the foundation — Paul the master builder (1 Corinthians 3:10  "According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it.").
(from Dake Annotated Reference Bible © 2007 by Dake Publishing. All rights reserved in U.S.A. and Other Countries.)

After his conversion, Paul had ministered in Damascus and then had gone to Arabia, perhaps to evangelize and to meditate on God's Word (Acts 9:19-25; Galatians 1:16-17). When Paul did return to Jerusalem, the church leaders did not accept him until Barnabas interceded and got him in (Acts 9:26-29). Note how Paul again emphasized the Jewish elements in his experience, for the Jews would be impressed with a man who prayed in the temple and had a vision from God. The Lord told Paul to leave Jerusalem quickly, because the people would not receive his witness. By obeying this command, Paul saved his life, because the Hellenistic Jews had plotted to kill him (Acts 9:29-30). But first Paul debated with the Lord! He wanted to show the Jews that he was a new person and tell them that Jesus was the Messiah, and He was alive. If Paul won some of them to the Lord, it would perhaps help to compensate for all the damage he had done, especially in the killing of Stephen.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

From the Amplified Bible
(17)  Then when I had come back to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple [enclosure], I fell into a trance (an ecstasy);
(18)  And I saw Him as He said to me, Hurry, get quickly out of Jerusalem, because they will not receive your testimony about Me.
(19)  And I said, Lord, they themselves well know that throughout all the synagogues I cast into prison and flogged those who believed on (adhered to and trusted in and relied on) You.
(20)  And when the blood of Your witness (martyr) Stephen was shed, I also was personally standing by and consenting and approving and guarding the garments of those who slew him.
(21)  And the Lord said to me, Go, for I will send you far away unto the Gentiles (nations).
PAUL'S  ROMAN  CITIZENSHIP

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Acts 22:22-24   
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(22)  And they listened to him until this word, and then they raised their voices and said, "Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he is not fit to live!"

They had given Paul audience up to this word, and then they lifted up their voices and cried out, Away with such a fellow from the earth; for it is not right that he should live.

(23)  Then, as they cried out and tore off their clothes and threw dust into the air,

And as they cried out and cast off their robes and threw dust into the air,

(24)  the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, and said that he should be examined under scourging, so that he might know why they shouted so against him.

The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and ordered that he should be examined by scourging, that he might know for what cause they cried so against him.


Throwing dust on one's head was a sign of mourning; removing it from one's feet meant removing what was unholy (Acts 13:51); here it is probably simply that they have nothing else to throw at him at the moment (historical reference:  2 Maccabees 4:41 "some caught up stones, some strong clubs; and some threw ashes upon Lysimachus"). They may throw off their cloaks for the same reason (perhaps they also tore them, as one would after hearing blasphemy), although Luke no doubt records it ironically as indicating their guilt.
(From IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)(From IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

The Messianic Community in Jerusalem sent Sha’ul home to Tarsus (Acts 9:30), where for some thirteen years he had the opportunity to proclaim the Gospel to the Gentiles. Later, with this experience behind him, he set out on his travels to reach non-Jews throughout the Eastern Mediterranean area.

The objection was to Sha’ul's message, which grants Gentiles equality with Jews as part of God's people; see Ephesians 2:11-16.
Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh — who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands — that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace.     (NKJV)
That this was the objection is proved by 21:27-30.

Waving their clothes gave their anger a visible dimension. Likewise they probably were throwing dust only because there were no stones handy (compare Acts 7:58, John 8:59). My guess, based on thirteen years of living in the Middle East, is that the dust was not thrown in the air vaguely or ceremonially but purposefully and vigorously in Sha’ul's direction!

The commander, still convinced Sha’ul must be a dangerous criminal, since he had not understood Sha’ul's message in Hebrew (v. 2), was determined to whip the truth out of him.
(From Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

The Lord's command was, "Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles!"  Paul was about to explain why he was involved with the Gentiles, but the Jews in the temple courts would not permit him to go on. No devout Jew would have anything to do with the Gentiles! Had Paul not uttered that one word, he might have later been released; and perhaps he knew this. However, he had to be faithful in his witness, no, matter what it cost him. Paul would rather be a prisoner than give up his burden for lost souls and for missions! When Claudius saw that the riot was starting again, he took Paul into the barracks for "examination by torture." The apostle had already mentioned that he was born in Tarsus, but be had not told them that his citizenship was Roman. It was unlawful for a Roman citizen to be scourged. We do not know how people proved their citizenship in those days; perhaps they carried the first-century equivalent of an ID card.

Claudius must have been shocked that this little Jewish troublemaker who spoke Aramaic and Greek was actually a Roman citizen. "With great sum I obtained this freedom," Claudius boasted, indicating that he had gotten his citizenship by bribing the Roman officials, for it could not be actually purchased. But Paul was ahead of the Roman captain, for he had been born into freedom and Roman citizenship, thanks to his father. How Paul's father obtained his freedom, we do not know. We do know that Paul knew how to make use of his Roman citizenship for the cause of Christ. The soldiers had made two mistakes, and they were quick to undo them: they had bound Paul and had planned to scourge him. No doubt Claudius and his men were especially kind to Paul now that they knew he was a Roman citizen. God was using the great power of the Empire to protect His servant and eventually get him to Rome.

Paul's entire time in Jerusalem was one filled with serious misunderstandings, but he pressed on. Perhaps at this point some of his friends were saying, "We told him so! We warned him!" For Paul and his associates, it may have looked like the end of the road, but God had other plans for them. Paul would witness again and again, and to people he could never have met had he not been a Roman prisoner. God's missionary did get to Rome and the Romans paid the bill! That is what happens when God's people are willing to be daring! (B. E. C.)
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Away with such a fellow
Greek: "take such a man from the earth," that is, "put him to death." It is language of strong indignation and abhorrence. The reasons of their induction were, not that they supposed that the Gentiles could not be brought into covenant with God, for they would themselves compass sea and land to make one proselyte, but:
(1) That they believed that Paul taught that they might be saved without conforming to the Law of Moses.
(2) His speech implied that the Jews were more hardened than the Gentiles, and that he had a greater prospect of success in bringing them to God than he had in regard to the Jews.

Cast off their clothes
Their outer garments. Probably they did it now intending to stone him, Acts 7:58.

Threw dust into the air
As expressive of their abhorrence and indignation. This was a striking exhibition of rage and malice. Paul was guarded by Roman soldiers so that they could not injure him; and their only way of expressing their wrath was by menaces and threats, and by these tokens of furious indignation. Thus, Shimei expressed his indignation against David by cursing him, throwing stones at him, and casting dust, 2 Sam 16:13.

The barracks
The castle of Antonia. He would be there removed entirely from the wrath of the Jews.

Examined
Examined - anetazesthai (NT: 426)." The word "examine" with us commonly means "to inquire, to question, to search for, to look carefully into a subject." The word used here is commonly applied to metals whose nature is tested, or examined by fire; and then it meant to subject to torture or torments, in order to extort a confession where persons were accused of crime. It was often resorted to among the ancients. A common mode has been by the rack, but various kinds of torments have been invented in order to extort confessions of guilt from those who were accused. The whole practice has been one of the most flagrant violations of justice, and one of the foulest blots on human nature. In this case, the tribune saw that Paul was accused violently by the Jews; he was probably ignorant of the Hebrew language, and had not understood the address of Paul; he supposed from the extraordinary excitement that Paul must have been guilty of some flagrant offence, and he therefore resolved to subject him to torture to extort from him a confession.

Scourging
By the scourge or whip. This could have been added to those mentioned in 2 Corinthians where Paul listed the things he had endured.

2 Corinthians 11:23-27               

In labors more abundant,
in stripes above measure,
in prisons more frequently,
in deaths often.
From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.
Three times I was beaten with rods;
once I was stoned;
three times I was shipwrecked;
a night and a day I have been in the deep;
in journeys often,
in perils of waters,
in perils of robbers,
in perils of my own countrymen,
in perils of the Gentiles,
in perils in the city,
in perils in the wilderness,
in perils in the sea,
in perils among false brethren;
in weariness and toil,
in sleeplessness often,
in hunger and thirst,
in fastings often,
in cold and nakedness —   (NKJV)
Notice the mention of "in stripes above measure" and "forty stripes minus one." The forty stripes minus one is scourging by the Jews, for they had the law that a scourging could not exceed 40 stripes, so they stopped at 39. The Romans had no such law, so unless they were given a specific number of stripes as their sentence, the Roman soldier administering the scourging had no limit in time or number of stripes.

From the Amplified Bible
(22)  Up to the moment that Paul made this last statement, the people listened to him; but now they raised their voices and shouted, Away with such a fellow from the earth! He is not fit to live!
(23)  And as they were shouting and tossing and waving their garments and throwing dust into the air,
(24)  The commandant ordered that Paul be brought into the barracks, and that he be examined by scourging in order that [the commandant] might learn why the people cried out thus against him.

Acts 22:25-29
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(25)  And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who stood by, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?"

And when they had bound him with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who stood over him, Is it lawful for you to scourge a Roman citizen who is uncondemned?

(26)  When the centurion heard that, he went and told the commander, saying, "Take care what you do, for this man is a Roman."

When the centurion heard that, he went to the chief captain and said, Be careful what you do; for this many is a Roman citizen.

(27)  Then the commander came and said to him, "Tell me, are you a Roman?"
He said, "Yes."

Then the captain came and said to him, Tell me, are you a Roman? Paul said, Yes.

(28)  The commander answered, "With a large sum I obtained this citizenship." And Paul said, "But I was born a citizen."

And the  captain answered, saying, I obtained Roman citizenship with a great sum of money. Paul answered, But I was born to it.

(29)  Then immediately those who were about to examine him withdrew from him; and the commander was also afraid after he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.

Immediately those who were ready to scourge him left him alone, and the captain was afraid when he found out that he was a Roman citizen, because he had bound him.


Is it lawful?
Even had Paul not been a Roman citizen, the tribune would have no authority to try a provincial belonging to another jurisdiction (Acts 21:39), after he had quelled the unrest. But it was legal to scourge slaves or aliens to extort confessions or to determine the truth concerning a situation. Paul had experienced Jewish synagogue beatings and lectors' rods. But this scourge is with the flagellum - leather thongs into which pieces of metal or bone were woven. It could easily lead to the victim's death, and would certainly scar and probably maim him. Centurions were sometimes left to supervise executions and related duties. But the Porcian and Julian laws exempted Roman citizens from such beatings without trial. Paul's citizenship excluded him from being tortured for information, and together with his being untried, it excluded him from punishment.
(From IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

As in Philippi (Acts16:36-40) Sha’ul makes full use of his legal rights not merely to save his hide but also to protect the honor of the Gospel. Both whipping him and binding him in chains (v. 29) would violate his rights as a Roman citizen. Since Sha’ul had not been charged, nor had the commander been informed of grounds for a charge, whipping Sha’ul prior to a trial would have been a misuse of authority for which the commander would have been liable. By questioning the whipping Sha’ul was saving the commander as well as himself an unpleasant experience.

Sha’ul's “Yes” is certainly true; summary death awaited anyone falsely claiming Roman citizenship.
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

From The Bible Exposition Commentary
I was once called to be a character witness in a child custody case involving a man who had served tune in prison. This was a new experience for me, and I was completely unprepared for the first question the attorney asked me: "Reverend, do you think that a man who has been a prisoner is fit to raise a child?"
     "That depends on the man," I replied bravely. "Some of the greatest men in history have been prisoners - John the Baptist, John Bunyan, and even the Apostle Paul."
     "Simply answer yes or no!" said the judge curtly, and that was the end of my sermon.
"Paul the prisoner" (Acts 23:18) was the name the Roman soldiers used for the apostle, a designation he himself often used (Ephesians 3:1; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:8; Philemon 1,9). Paul was under "military custody," which meant he was bound to a Roman soldier who was responsible for him. Prisoners under "public custody" were put in the common jail, a horrible place for any human being to suffer (Acts 16:19-24).
Paul's friends could visit him and help meet his personal needs. It is sad that we don't read, "And prayer was made fervently by the church for Paul" (see Acts 12:5). There is no record that the Jerusalem church took any steps to assist him, either in Jerusalem or during his two years in Caesarea. This is an exciting chapter, and in it we read of three confrontations that Paul experienced.
Having discovered that Paul was a Roman citizen, the Roman captain now had two serious problems to solve.
1. First he needed to let the prisoner know what the official charges were against him, since that was Paul's right as a Roman citizen.
2. Second, he also needed to have some official charges for his own records and to share with his superiors.
He was sure that Paul had done something notorious, otherwise why would so many people want to do away with him? Yet nobody seemed to know what Paul's crimes were. What a plight for a Roman official to be in!
The logical thing was to let Paul's own people try him, so the captain arranged for a special meeting of the Jewish council (Sanhedrin). This group was composed of seventy (or seventy-one) of the leading Jewish teachers, with the high priest presiding. It was their responsibility to interpret and apply the sacred Jewish Law to the affairs of the nation, and to try those who violated that Law. The Romans gave the council permission to impose capital punishment where the offense deserved it.
(From The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

I was born a citizen
The freedom or privilege of Roman citizenship. From this it would seem that the privilege of being a Roman citizen might be purchased, unless perhaps he refers to the expenses which were necessarily attendant in passing through the proper forms of becoming a Roman citizen. The argument of the tribune in this case is this: "I obtained this privilege at a great price. Whence did you, Paul, thus poor and persecuted, obtain the means of becoming a Roman citizen?" Paul had informed him that he was a native of Tarsus (Acts 21:39); and the chief captain supposed that that was not a free city, and that Paul could not have derived the privilege of citizenship from his birth.
[But I was free born] I was born a Roman citizen, or I am such in virtue of my birth. Various opinions have been formed on the question in what way or for what reasons Paul was entitled to the privileges of a Roman citizen. Some have supposed that Tarsus was a Roman colony, and that he thus became a Roman citizen. But of this there does not appear to be sufficient proof. Pliny says (v. 27) that it was a free city.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Scholars note that one could achieve Roman citizenship in several ways:
1. Born to a Roman father (so Paul)
2. A citizen of a Roman colony (A city either literally founded by the Romans or given honorary privileges as if it had been; its citizens were thus treated as citizens of Rome itself.).
3. A retired auxiliary soldier
4. Part of a municipal aristocracy or other group honored by Rome
5. Most common — after being born in Rome or in a colony — a slave freed by his or her owner
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

Appian says that it  (Tarsus) was endowed with the privileges of a free city by Augustus Caesar after it had been greatly afflicted and oppressed by wars. Dio Chrysost. Says to the people of Tarsus, "He (Augustus) has conferred on you everything which anyone could bestow on his friends and companions, a country (that is, a free country), laws, honor, authority over the river (Cydranus) and the neighboring sea." Free cities were permitted in the Roman Empire to use their own laws, customs, and magistrates, and they were free from being subject to Roman guards. They were required only to acknowledge the supremacy and authority of the Roman people, and to aid them in their wars. Such a city was Tarsus; and, having been born there, Paul was entitled to these privileges of a free man.

With a large sum
The tribune or commander is either a former slave who acquired enough funds to buy his freedom (as often happened), or he bought his citizenship by a bribe, which was common under the preceding emperor, whose name he took (Acts 23:26). He had to be a citizen before he could be part of a legion; to have the status of a tribune, he must have had a powerful patron or been one of the rare individuals who toiled his way up through the ranks to this position.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

Because he had bound him
Preparatory to scourging him. The act of binding a Roman citizen with such an intent, untried and uncondemned was unlawful. Prisoners who were to be scourged were usually bound by the Romans to a pillar or post; and a similar custom prevailed among the Jews. That it was unlawful to bind a man with this intent, who was uncondemned, appears from an express declaration in Cicero (against Verres): "It is a heinous sin to bind a Roman citizen; it is wickedness to beat him; it is next to parricide to kill him, and what shall I say to crucify him?"
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Upon these words, the soldiers who were about to torture Paul at once drew back from him. The tribune was stricken with fear because he had initiated an illegal procedure against a Roman citizen.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1962 by Moody Press. All rights reserved.)

HISTORICAL OUTLOOK FROM 400 A. D. BY ARCHBISHOP JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
Homily 48 - Acts 22:21-30
See how he thrusts himself (into danger), I came, he says, after that vision, "to Jerusalem. I was in a trance," etc. Again, this is without witness: but observe, the witness follows from the result. He said, "They will not receive thy testimony:" they did not receive it. And yet from calculations of reason the surmise should have been this, that they would assuredly receive him. For I was the man that made war upon the Christians: so that they ought to have received him. Here he establishes two things:
1. They are without excuse, since they persecuted him contrary to all likelihood or calculation of reason.
2. Christ was God, as prophesying things contrary to expectation, and as not looking to past things, but fore-knowing the things to come.
How then does He say, "He shall bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and children of Israel?" (Acts 9:15.) Not, certainly persuade. Besides which, on other occasions we find the Jews were persuaded, but here they were not. Where most of all they ought to have been persuaded, as knowing his former zeal (in their cause), here they were not persuaded. "And when the blood of Thy martyr Stephen," etc. See where again his discourse terminates, namely, in the forcible main point that it was he that persecuted, and not only persecuted but killed, nay, had he ten thousand hands would have used them all to kill Stephen. He reminded them of the murderous spirit heinously indulged (by him and them).
Then of course above all they would not endure him, since this convicted them; and truly the prophecy was having its fulfillment: great the zeal, vehement the accusation, and the Jews themselves witnesses of the truth of Christ! "And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles. And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that, he should live." (v. 21, 22.) The Jews would not endure to hear out all his harangue, but excessively fired by their wrath, they shouted, it says, "Away with him; for it is not fit that he should live." And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air, the tribune commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that be should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him." (v. 23, 24.)
Whereas both the tribune ought to have examined whether these things were so-yes, and the Jews themselves too -
Or, if they were not so, to have ordered him to be scourged, he "bade examine him by scourging, that he might know for what cause they so clamored against him." And yet he ought to have learnt from those clamorers, and to have asked whether they laid hold upon aught of the things spoken: instead of that, without more ado he indulges his arbitrary will and pleasure, and acts with a view to gratify them: for he did not look to this, how he should do a righteous thing, but only how he might stop their rage unrighteous as it was. "And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman and un-condemned?" (v. 25.) Paul lied not, God forbid: for he was a Roman.
If there was nothing else, he would have been afraid (to pretend this), lest he should be found out, and suffer a worse punishment. (See Sueton. Vit. Claud. §25.) And observe he does not say it peremptorily, but, "Is it lawful for you?" The charges brought are two, both its
being without examination,
and his being a Roman.
They held this as a great privilege, at that time: for they say that (it was only) from the time of Hadrian that all were named Romans, but of old it was not so. He would have been contemptible had he been scourged: but as it is, he puts them into greater fear (than they him). Had they scourged him, they would also have dismissed the whole matter, or even have killed him; but as it is, the result is not so.
See how God permits many (good results) to be brought about quite in a human way, both in the case of the Apostles and of the rest (of mankind). Mark how they suspected the thing to be a pretext, and that in calling himself a Roman, Paul lied: perhaps surmising this from his poverty. "When the centurion heard that, he went and told the tribune, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman. Then the tribune came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea. And the tribune answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born. Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the tribune also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him." (v. 26-29.)-"But I," he says, "was free born." So then his father also was a Roman.
What then comes of this? He bound him, and brought him down to the Jews. "On the morrow, because he would have known the certainty whereof he was accused of the Jews, he loosed him from his bands, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down, and set him before them." (v. 30.) (Archbishop John Chrysostom of Constantinople A.D. 400)
(from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 1, Volume 11, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(25)  But when they had stretched him out with the thongs (leather straps), Paul asked the centurion who was standing by, Is it legal for you to flog a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned [without a trial]?
(26)  When the centurion heard that, he went to the commandant and said to him, What are you about to do? This man is a Roman citizen!
(27)  So the commandant came and said to [Paul], Tell me, are you a Roman citizen? And he said, Yes [indeed]!
(28)  The commandant replied, I purchased this citizenship [as a capital investment] for a big price. Paul said, But I was born [Roman]!
(29)  Instantly those who were about to examine and flog him withdrew from him; and the commandant also was frightened, for he realized that [Paul] was a Roman citizen and he had put him in chains.



PAUL  BROUGHT  BEFORE  THE  SANHEDRIN

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Acts 22:30   
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(30)  The next day, because he wanted to know for certain why he was accused by the Jews, he released him from his bonds, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down and set him before them.

The next day, because he desired to know the truthfulness of the charges which the Jews had brought against Paul, he unbound him and commanded the high priests and all their council to appear before him, and he took Paul and brought him down and set him before them.


The only way the commander can now find grounds for holding Sha’ul is to receive an accusation from others, in this case the Sanhedrin.
(From Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

The Sanhedrin was the highest religious court of Jewish Palestine. The Pharisees and Sadducees disagreed on many points. The Pharisees had less power and representation on the council, but some of them (like the aristocratic Simon son of Gamaliel I) would have had some power.

Because Paul's offense is clearly a religious one related to the temple, the perplexed official is going to try to ascertain the charge by consulting the Sanhedrin.
(From IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

He summoned a meeting of the Sanhedrin, or Great Council of the nation. He did this, as he was prevented from scourging Paul, in order to know what he had done, and that he might learn from the Jews themselves the nature of the charge against him. This was necessary for the safety of Paul and for the ends of justice. This should have been done without any attempt to torture him in order to extort a confession.

He brought Paul down from the elevated castle of Antonia. The council assembled commonly in the house of the high priest.

He brought the prisoner to their bar, that they might have an opportunity to accuse him, and that thus the chief captain might learn the real nature of the charge against him.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(30)  But the next day, desiring to know the real cause for which the Jews accused him, he unbound him and ordered the chief priests and all the council (Sanhedrin) to assemble; and he brought Paul down and placed him before them.

 


(End of Chapter Twenty Two)

 

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