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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Acts 23

 

 

Verses 1-35


St. Paul sent to Cæesarea

1. St. Paul often asserts his good conscience before God and man: see Acts 22:3; Acts 24:16.

2. Ananias] is not the same as Annas (Acts 4:6). He was the son of Nebedæus, and held the high priesthood from 47-59 a.d. His rapacity and violence were notorious. To smite him] because, being a prisoner, he spoke without being asked: cp. John 18:22.

3. God shall smite thee] St. Paul's angry retort has often been contrasted with our Lord's mild words on a similar occasion (John 18:23). But St. Paul's rebuke was well deserved. Thou whited wall] i.e. 'thou hypocrite.' The allusion is to the practice of limewashing dirty walls to conceal the filth: cp. Matthew 23:27; Luke 11:44. Contrary to the law] see John 7:51, and cp. Deuteronomy 19:15, etc.

5. As the high priest, when present, presided over the Sanhedrin, it is somewhat strange that St. Paul should not have known who Ananias was. A possible explanation is that St. Paul was somewhat short-sighted.

Thou shalt not speak evil] see Exodus 22:28.

6f. The Sadducees, who disbelieved a future life or a resurrection, derided the supposed appearance of the risen Jesus; but the Pharisees, who believed both, heard St. Paul's story with considerable sympathy. St. Paul then; seeing how matters stood, declared himself a Pharisee of the Pharisees. He declared that, like the Pharisees, he looked for the coming (i.e. the Second Coming) of the Messiah ('the hope' of Israel), and for the future resurrection of the dead, and claimed Pharisaic sympathy against his Sadducean enemies.

11. The appearance was vouchsafed to Paul to assure him that his life would not be cut short before the great desire of his life was attained.

12-35. St. Paul is sent to Cæsarea.

12. The men who plotted against St. Paul were probably Sicarii or Assassins (see on Acts 21:38), whom we know that the high priest Ananias did not scruple to employ to remove his enemies.

16. St. Paul's nephew was perhaps a rabbinical student at Jerusalem, as St. Paul himself had been.

26-30. Lysias presents his action in the most favourable light. He makes no mention of his illegal order to scourge the prisoner, and takes credit to himself for his zeal in succouring a Roman citizen, whereas, as a matter of fact, he had no idea at the time that St. Paul was a Roman citizen.

27. An army] RV 'the soldiers.'

31. Antipatris] founded by Herod the Great, now Râs-el-'Ain.

33. The governor] i.e. Antonius Felix, procurator of Judæa, cirActs 52-58 a.d. His ferocious repression of the Zealots called into being a new and still more pernicious class of enthusiasts, the Sicarii, or Assassins: see on Acts 21:38; His folly and cruelty goaded the nation into disaffection and rebellion.

34. Of Cilicia] Cilicia and Judaea were at this time minor provinces, attached to the superior province of Syria. Hence Felix could have sent Paul for trial to the governor of Syria, if he had wished.

35. Herod's judgment hall] the palace built by Herod the Great at Cæsarea, where the Roman procurator resided. It was also a fortress, and would contain a guard-room.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Acts 23:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/acts-23.html. 1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, December 13th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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