Atos 23

1 Paul looked straight at the Council and said: »Fellow Israelites! My conscience is perfectly clear about the way in which I have lived before God to this very day.«

2 The high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth.

3 Paul said to him: »God will strike you, white washed wall! Do you sit judging me according to the Law, and against law command me to be struck?«

4 Those who stood near him said, »Do you revile the high priest of God?«

5 Then Paul said, »I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest. It is written: You shall not speak evil of the ruler of your people.«

6 When Paul saw that part of them were Sadducees and the other part Pharisees, he cried out in the Sanhedrin: »Men! Brothers! I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee! I am being judged because of the hope and resurrection of the dead.«

7 When he said this dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The crowd was divided.

8 The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit. The Pharisees believe both.

9 There arose a great cry. The scribes who were on the Pharisees’ side arose and spoke, »We find no evil in this man. But if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God.«

10 The dispute became so violent the commander was afraid they would pull Paul to pieces. He commanded the soldiers to go down and to take him from among them by force, and to bring him into the barracks.

11 The following night the Lord stood by him and said: »Be of good courage, Paul, for just as you testified about me in Jerusalem, so you also must bear witness at Rome.«

12 When day arrived some of the Jews came together and united with an oath saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul.

13 There were more than forty involved in this conspiracy.

14 They went to the chief priests and elders and said: »We have united with a great oath that we will eat nothing until we have killed Paul.

15 »Now therefore you, with the Sanhedrin, inform the commander that he bring him down to you tomorrow. You say you would inquire some more regarding him. We are ready to put him to death before he comes near.«

16 Hearing about the ambush, Paul’s sister’s son entered the barracks and reported to Paul.

17 Paul called one of the centurions and said: »Take this young man to the commander, for he has something to tell him.«

18 The officer took 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.«

19 The commander took him by the hand and led him off by himself, and asked: »What do you have to tell me?«

20 He said: »The Jewish authorities have agreed to ask you tomorrow to take Paul down to the Council. They want you to pretend the Council wants to get more accurate information about him.

21 »Do not give in to them. There are more than forty men lying in wait for him. They are united with an oath that they will neither eat nor drink until they have killed him. Now they are ready and looking for a promise from you.«

22 So the commander sent the young man away commanding, »Tell no one that you have told these things to me.«

23 He called two centurions, saying, »Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea. Also prepare seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen, at the third hour of the night.

24 Provide some horses for Paul to ride and get him safely through to Governor Felix.

25 Then the commander wrote a letter that went like this:

26 »Claudius Lysias to His Excellency, Governor Felix: Greetings.

27 »The Jews seized this man and were about to kill him. I learned that he is a Roman citizen, so I went with my soldiers and rescued him.

28 »I took him to their council to find out of what they accused him.

29 »I found that he did not do a thing for which he deserved to die or be put in prison. The accusation against him had to do with questions about their own law.

30 »When I was informed that there was a plot against him, I decided to send him to you. I told his accusers to make their charges against him before you.«

31 The soldiers carried out their orders. That night they took Paul as far as Antipatris.

32 The next day the foot soldiers returned to the fort and left the horsemen to go on with him.

33 They took him to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor. Then they turned Paul over to him.

34 The governor read the letter and asked Paul what province he was from. When he found out that he was from Cilicia,

35 he said, »I will hear you fully when your accusers arrive.« He commanded him to be kept in the praetorian of Herod.