1Paul looked straight at the Council and said, “My fellow-Israelites! My conscience is perfectly clear about the way in which I have lived before God to this very day.” 2The High Priest Ananias ordered those who were standing close to Paul to strike him on the mouth. 3#Mt 23.27–28Paul said to him, “God will certainly strike you — you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the Law, yet you break the Law by ordering them to strike me!”
4The men close to Paul said to him, “You are insulting God's High Priest!”
5 # Ex 22.28 Paul answered, “My fellow-Israelites, I did not know that he was the High Priest. The scripture says, ‘You must not speak evil of the ruler of your people.’ ”
6 # Acts 26.5; Phil 3.5 When Paul saw that some of the group were Sadducees and the others were Pharisees, he called out in the Council, “Fellow-Israelites! I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees. I am on trial here because of the hope I have that the dead will rise to life!”
7As soon as he said this, the Pharisees and Sadducees started to quarrel, and the group was divided. 8#Mt 22.23; Mk 12.18; Lk 20.27(For the Sadducees say that people will not rise from death and that there are no angels or spirits; but the Pharisees believe in all three.) 9The shouting became louder, and some of the teachers of the Law who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and protested strongly: “We cannot find anything wrong with this man! Perhaps a spirit or an angel really did speak to him!”
10The argument became so violent that the commander was afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces. So he ordered his soldiers to go down into the group, get Paul away from them, and take him into the fort.
11That night the Lord stood by Paul and said, “Don't be afraid! You have given your witness for me here in Jerusalem, and you must also do the same in Rome.”
The Plot against Paul's Life
12The next morning some Jews met together and made a plan. They took a vow that they would not eat or drink anything until they had killed Paul. 13There were more than forty who planned this together. 14Then they went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have taken a solemn vow together not to eat a thing until we have killed Paul. 15Now then, you and the Council send word to the Roman commander to bring Paul down to you, pretending that you want to get more accurate information about him. But we will be ready to kill him before he ever gets here.”
16But the son of Paul's sister heard about the plot; so he went to the fort and told Paul. 17Then Paul called one of the officers and said to him, “Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him.” 18The officer took him, led him to the commander, and said, “The prisoner Paul called me and asked me to bring this young man to you, because he has something to say to you.”
19The commander took him by the hand, led him off by himself, and asked him, “What have you got to tell me?”
20He said, “The Jewish authorities have agreed to ask you tomorrow to take Paul down to the Council, pretending that the Council wants to get more accurate information about him. 21But don't listen to them, because there are more than forty men who will be hiding and waiting for him. They have taken a vow not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are now ready to do it and are waiting for your decision.”
22The commander said, “Don't tell anyone that you have reported this to me.” And he sent the young man away.
Paul is Sent to Governor Felix
23Then the commander called two of his officers and said, “Get 200 soldiers ready to go to Caesarea, together with seventy horsemen and 200 spearmen, and be ready to leave by nine o'clock tonight. 24Provide some horses for Paul to ride and get him safely through to the governor Felix.” 25Then the commander wrote a letter that went like this:
26“Claudius Lysias to His Excellency, the governor Felix: Greetings. 27The Jews seized this man and were about to kill him. I learnt that he was a Roman citizen, so I went with my soldiers and rescued him. 28I wanted to know what they were accusing him of, so I took him down to their Council. 29I found out that he had not done anything for which he deserved to die or be put in prison; the accusation against him had to do with questions about their own law. 30And when I was informed that there was a plot against him, at once I decided to send him to you. I have told his accusers to make their charges against him before you.”
31The soldiers carried out their orders. They got Paul and took him that night as far as Antipatris. 32The next day the foot soldiers returned to the fort and left the horsemen to go on with him. 33They took him to Caesarea, delivered the letter to the governor, and handed Paul over to him. 34The governor read the letter and asked Paul what province he was from. When he found out that he was from Cilicia, 35he said, “I will hear you when your accusers arrive.” Then he gave orders for Paul to be kept under guard in the governor's headquarters.