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Acts 23:1-11


23:1 Paul looked directly 1  at the council 2  and said, “Brothers, I have lived my life with a clear conscience 3  before God to this day.” 23:2 At that 4  the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near 5  Paul 6  to strike 7  him on the mouth. 23:3 Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! 8  Do 9  you sit there judging me according to the law, 10  and in violation of the law 11  you order me to be struck?” 23:4 Those standing near him 12  said, “Do you dare insult 13  God’s high priest?” 23:5 Paul replied, 14  “I did not realize, 15  brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, ‘You must not speak evil about a ruler of your people.’” 16 

23:6 Then when Paul noticed 17  that part of them were Sadducees 18  and the others Pharisees, 19  he shouted out in the council, 20  “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection 21  of the dead!” 23:7 When he said this, 22  an argument 23  began 24  between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 23:8 (For the Sadducees say there is no resurrection, or angel, or spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.) 25  23:9 There was a great commotion, 26  and some experts in the law 27  from the party of the Pharisees stood up 28  and protested strongly, 29  “We find nothing wrong 30  with this man. What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 23:10 When the argument became 31  so great the commanding officer 32  feared that they would tear Paul to pieces, 33  he ordered the detachment 34  to go down, take him away from them by force, 35  and bring him into the barracks. 36 

23:11 The following night the Lord 37  stood near 38  Paul 39  and said, “Have courage, 40  for just as you have testified about me in Jerusalem, 41  so you must also testify in Rome.” 42 

1 tn Grk “Paul, looking directly at the council, said.” The participle ἀτενίσας (atenisa") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

2 tn Grk “the Sanhedrin” (the Sanhedrin was the highest legal, legislative, and judicial body among the Jews).

3 tn BDAG 846 s.v. πολιτεύομαι 3 has “W. a double dat. συνειδήσει ἀγαθῇ πεπολίτευμαι τῷ θεῷ I have lived my life with a clear conscience before God Ac 23:1.”

4 tn Grk “and” (δέ, de); the phrase “at that” has been used in the translation to clarify the cause and effect relationship.

5 tn BDAG 778 s.v. παρίστημι/παριστάνω 2.b.α has “οἱ παρεστῶτες αὐτῷ those standing near him Ac 23:2.”

6 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Paul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

7 tn Or “hit” (‘strike’ maintains the wordplay with the following verse). The action was probably designed to indicate a rejection of Paul’s claim to a clear conscience in the previous verse.

8 sn You whitewashed wall. This was an idiom for hypocrisy – just as the wall was painted on the outside but something different on the inside, so this person was not what he appeared or pretended to be (L&N 88.234; see also BDAG 1010 s.v. τοῖχος). Paul was claiming that the man’s response was two-faced (Ezek 13:10-16; Matt 23:27-28). See also Deut 28:22.

9 tn Grk “And do.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

10 tn The law refers to the law of Moses.

11 tn BDAG 769 s.v. παρανομέω has “παρανομῶν κελεύεις in violation of the law you order Ac 23:3.”

sn In violation of the law. Paul was claiming that punishment was given before the examination was complete (m. Sanhedrin 3:6-8). Luke’s noting of this detail shows how quickly the leadership moved to react against Paul.

12 tn The word “him” is not in the Greek text but is implied.

13 tn L&N 33.393 has for λοιδορέω (loidorew) “to speak in a highly insulting manner – ‘to slander, to insult strongly, slander, insult.’”

sn Insult God’s high priest. Paul was close to violation of the Mosaic law with his response, as the citation from Exod 22:28 in v. 5 makes clear.

14 tn Grk “said.”

15 tn Or “know.”

16 sn A quotation from Exod 22:28. This text defines a form of blasphemy. Paul, aware of the fact that he came close to crossing the line, backed off out of respect for the law.

17 tn BDAG 200 s.v. γινώσκω 4 has “to be aware of someth., perceive, notice, realize”; this is further clarified by section 4.c: “w. ὅτι foll….Ac 23:6.”

18 sn See the note on Sadducees in 4:1.

19 sn See the note on Pharisee in 5:34.

20 tn Grk “the Sanhedrin” (the Sanhedrin was the highest legal, legislative, and judicial body among the Jews).

21 tn That is, concerning the hope that the dead will be resurrected. Grk “concerning the hope and resurrection.” BDAG 320 s.v. ἐλπίς 1.b.α states, “Of Israel’s messianic hope Ac 23:6 (. καὶ ἀνάστασις for . τῆς ἀν. [obj. gen] as 2 Macc 3:29 . καὶ σωτηρία).” With an objective genitive construction, the resurrection of the dead would be the “object” of the hope.

22 tn The participle εἰπόντος (eiponto") has been translated temporally.

23 tn Or “a dispute” (BDAG 940 s.v. στάσις 3).

24 tn Grk “there came about an argument.” This has been simplified to “an argument began”

25 tn BDAG 55 s.v. ἀμφότεροι 2 has “all, even when more than two are involved…Φαρισαῖοι ὁμολογοῦσιν τὰ ἀ. believe in them all 23:8.” On this belief see Josephus, J. W. 2.8.14 (2.163); Ant. 18.1.3 (18.14).

sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

26 tn Or “clamor” (cf. BDAG 565 s.v. κραυγή 1.a, which has “there arose a loud outcry” here, and Exod 12:30).

27 tn Or “and some scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 4:5.

28 tn Grk “standing up.” The participle ἀναστάντες (anastante") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

29 tn Grk “protested strongly, saying.” L&N 39.27 has “διαμάχομαι: to fight or contend with, involving severity and thoroughness – ‘to protest strongly, to contend with.’…‘some scribes from the party of the Pharisees protested strongly’ Ac 23:9.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant and has not been translated.

30 sn “We find nothing wrong with this man.” Here is another declaration of innocence. These leaders recognized the possibility that Paul might have the right to make his claim.

31 tn This genitive absolute construction with the participle γινομένης (ginomenhs) has been taken temporally (it could also be translated as causal).

32 tn Grk “the chiliarch” (an officer in command of a thousand soldiers). In Greek the term χιλίαρχος (ciliarco") literally described the “commander of a thousand,” but it was used as the standard translation for the Latin tribunus militum or tribunus militare, the military tribune who commanded a cohort of 600 men.

33 tn Grk “that Paul would be torn to pieces by them.” BDAG 236 s.v. διασπάω has “of an angry mob μὴ διασπασθῇ ὁ Παῦλος ὑπ᾿ αὐτῶν that Paul would be torn in pieces by them Ac 23:10.” The passive construction is somewhat awkward in English and has been converted to an equivalent active construction in the translation.

34 tn Normally this term means “army,” but according to BDAG 947 s.v. στράτευμα, “Of a smaller detachment of soldiers, sing. Ac 23:10, 27.” In the plural it can be translated “troops,” but it is singular here.

35 tn Or “to go down, grab him out of their midst.”

36 tn Or “the headquarters.” BDAG 775 s.v. παρεμβολή 2 has “barracks/headquarters of the Roman troops in Jerusalem Ac 21:34, 37; 22:24; 23:10, 16, 32.”

37 sn The presence of the Lord indicated the vindicating presence and direction of God.

38 tn Grk “standing near Paul, said.” The participle ἐπιστάς (epistas) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

39 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Paul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

40 tn Or “Do not be afraid.”

41 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

42 sn Like Jesus went to Jerusalem, Paul would now go to Rome. This trip forms the concluding backdrop to Acts. This is the second notice about going to Rome (see Acts 19:21 for the first).

map For location see JP4 A1.

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