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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Acts 23



Verses 12-22

The Jews Plot Against Paul's Life - In Acts 23:12-22 we have the account of how the Jews plotted against Paul's life.

Acts 23:22Comments - The chief captain charged Paul's nephew to keep silence about this plan to bring Paul out of Jerusalem and to Caesarea, the headquarters of Rome's presence in Palestine where the Roman governor sat. This captain knew how volatile Jewish mobs could behave, endangering Roman soldiers and making it difficult to manage the Palestinian region. He did not want his life endangered by Jewish zealots as well by having someone disclose him as the one who brought Paul out of the hands of the Jews.

Verses 23-35

Paul is Sent to Felix the Governor - In Acts 23:23-35 we have the account of Paul being sent to Felix the governor.

Acts 23:23Comments - Four hundred and seventy men seems to be more than enough men to safely escort Paul to Caesarea. However, this Roman captain understood how difficult the Jews were to manage when incited by religious issues. Therefore, he had the authority to make such a large scale escort, and he would not take any chance of having a Jewish mob threaten his men, or Paul, whom he knew was a Roman citizen.

Acts 23:24 — "And provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on" - Comments- Paul was given this grand escort because it was now known that he was a Roman citizen.

"and bring him safe unto Felix the governor" - Comments- Josephus records the appointment of Felix as procurator of Galilee, and Samaria, and Perea by Emperor Claudius (Antiquities 2071 , Wars 2128).

Acts 23:26Comments- Claudius Lysias is mentioned a number of times in the previous passage as the chief captain ( Acts 21:33; Acts 21:37; Acts 22:26-28). The EGT suggests that his Greek name was Lysias, and his Roman name Claudius, which may have been inferred upon him when he purchased his Roman citizenship ( Acts 22:28). 291]

291] W. Robertson Nicoll, ed, The Expositor's Greek Testament, vol 2 (New York: George H. Doran Company, n.d.), 463.

Acts 21:33, "Then the chief captain came near, and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and demanded who he was, and what he had done."

Acts 21:37, "And as Paul was to be led into the castle, he said unto the chief captain, May I speak unto thee? Who said, Canst thou speak Greek?"

Acts 22:26, "When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman."

Acts 23:31Comments- The city of Antipatris is mentioned only one time in Scripture ( Acts 23:31). This city is also mentioned by Josephus on seven occasions (Antiquities 13151; 1652, Wars 147; 1219, 2191, 9; 481). Easton says this city lay along "the great Roman road from Caesarea to Jerusalem." Smith says its ancient name was Capharsaba, but it was rebuilt by Herod, who changed it to Antipatris, in honor of his father, Antipater. Easton says the proposed ruins of ancient Antipatris are identified today with the modern, Ras-el-Ain, where the springs of Aujeh, which are largest springs in Palestine, rise out of these foothills. Thus, it would have served as a refreshing stop along such a journey.

Acts 23:33Comments- The city of Caesarea was the capital of this part of the Roman Empire, just as Jerusalem was the capital of the Jewish nation.

Acts 23:35 — "And he commanded him to be kept in Herod"s judgment hall" - Comments- The Greek word "praetorium" ( πραιτώ ριον) (G 4232) is translated "judgment hall" in the KJV in Acts 23:35. The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 8 times in the New Testament, being translated in the KJV as, "judgment hall 4, hall of judgment 1, common hall 1, praetorium 1, palace 1." The word "praetorium" is of Latin origin, and according to Lightfoot it properly means, "the general's tent," or "the head-quarters in a camp." 292] BDAG says it originally referred to "the praetor's tent in camp, with its surroundings," but that this word was later used to refer to the residence of Roman governor, who presided over a province. The ISBE says that the Romans customarily seized the existing palaces of local kings or princes and made it into their official "praetorium." According to BDAG, the "praetorium" mentioned in the Gospels where Jesus was tried refers either to Herod's palace located in the western part of the city of Jerusalem, or "to the fortress Antonia" located "northwest of the temple area." (see Matthew 27:27, Mark 15:16, John 18:28 a,b, 33; Acts 19:9) In Acts 23:35 Paul's trial would have taken place in Herod's palace in Caesarea, which was used as the residence of the Roman governor. Thus, these palaces were used to hear disputes by the governor and pass judgment. Regarding the use of this word in Philippians 1:13, since Paul's imprisonment is generally believed to be in Rome, Lightfoot supports the popular view that the word "praetorium" refers more specifically to "the imperial guard," rather than to a building. Lightfoot believes that "in Rome itself a ‘praetorium' would not have been tolerated." He thus translates this word as "the imperial guards." 293]

292] J. B. Lightfoot, Paul's Epistle to the Philippians (London: MacMillan and Co, c 1868, 1903), 99.

293] J. B. Lightfoot, Paul's Epistle to the Philippians (London: MacMillan and Co, c 1868, 1903), 101-102.


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Acts 23:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 14th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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