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Acts 23:12

Context
The Plot to Kill Paul

23:12 When morning came, 1  the Jews formed 2  a conspiracy 3  and bound themselves with an oath 4  not to eat or drink anything 5  until they had killed Paul.

Acts 23:23-35

Context
23:23 Then 6  he summoned 7  two of the centurions 8  and said, “Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea 9  along with seventy horsemen 10  and two hundred spearmen 11  by 12  nine o’clock tonight, 13  23:24 and provide mounts for Paul to ride 14  so that he may be brought safely to Felix 15  the governor.” 16  23:25 He wrote 17  a letter that went like this: 18 

23:26 Claudius Lysias to His Excellency Governor 19  Felix, 20  greetings. 23:27 This man was seized 21  by the Jews and they were about to kill him, 22  when I came up 23  with the detachment 24  and rescued him, because I had learned that he was 25  a Roman citizen. 26  23:28 Since I wanted to know 27  what charge they were accusing him of, 28  I brought him down to their council. 29  23:29 I found he 30  was accused with reference to controversial questions 31  about their law, but no charge against him deserved death or imprisonment. 32  23:30 When I was informed 33  there would be a plot 34  against this man, I sent him to you at once, also ordering his accusers to state their charges 35  against him before you.

23:31 So the soldiers, in accordance with their orders, 36  took 37  Paul and brought him to Antipatris 38  during the night. 23:32 The next day they let 39  the horsemen 40  go on with him, and they returned to the barracks. 41  23:33 When the horsemen 42  came to Caesarea 43  and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented 44  Paul to him. 23:34 When the governor 45  had read 46  the letter, 47  he asked 48  what province he was from. 49  When he learned 50  that he was from Cilicia, 51  23:35 he said, “I will give you a hearing 52  when your accusers arrive too.” Then 53  he ordered that Paul 54  be kept under guard in Herod’s palace. 55 

1 tn Grk “when it was day.”

2 tn Grk “forming a conspiracy, bound.” The participle ποιήσαντες (poihsantes) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

3 tn L&N 30.72 has ‘some Jews formed a conspiracy’ Ac 23:12”; BDAG 979 s.v. συστροφή 1 has “Judeans came together in a mob 23:12. But in the last pass. the word may also mean – 2. the product of a clandestine gathering, plot, conspiracy” (see also Amos 7:10; Ps 63:3).

4 tn Or “bound themselves under a curse.” BDAG 63 s.v. ἀναθεματίζω 1 has “trans. put under a curse τινά someone…pleonastically ἀναθέματι ἀ. ἑαυτόν Ac 23:14. ἑαυτόν vss. 12, 21, 13 v.l.” On such oaths see m. Shevi’it 3:1-5. The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant in English and has not been translated.

5 tn The word “anything” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context, but must be supplied for the modern English reader.

6 tn Grk “And.” Since this represents a response to the reported ambush, καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the logical sequence.

7 tn Grk “summoning…he said.” The participle προσκαλεσάμενος (proskalesameno") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

8 sn See the note on the word centurion in 10:1.

9 sn Caesarea was a city on the coast of Palestine south of Mount Carmel (not Caesarea Philippi). See the note on Caesarea in Acts 10:1. This was a journey of about 65 mi (just over 100 km).

map For location see Map2 C1; Map4 B3; Map5 F2; Map7 A1; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

10 tn Or “cavalrymen.”

11 tn A military technical term of uncertain meaning. BDAG 217 s.v. δεξιολάβος states, “a word of uncertain mng., military t.t., acc. to Joannes Lydus…and Theophyl. Sim., Hist. 4, 1 a light-armed soldier, perh. bowman, slinger; acc. to a scholion in CMatthaei p. 342 body-guard….Spearman Goodspd., NRSV; ‘security officer’, GDKilpatrick, JTS 14, ’63, 393f.”

sn Two hundred soldiers…along with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen. The resulting force assembled to guard Paul was almost a full cohort. The Roman commander was taking no chances, but was sending the issue up the chain of command to the procurator to decide.

12 tn Grk “from.”

13 tn Grk “from the third hour of the night.”

14 tn Grk “provide mounts to put Paul on.”

sn Mounts for Paul to ride. The fact they were riding horses indicates they wanted everyone to move as quickly as possible.

15 sn Felix the governor was Antonius Felix, a freedman of Antonia, mother of the Emperor Claudius. He was the brother of Pallas and became procurator of Palestine in a.d. 52/53. His administration was notorious for its corruption, cynicism, and cruelty. According to the historian Tacitus (History 5.9) Felix “reveled in cruelty and lust, and wielded the power of a king with the mind of a slave.”

16 tn Grk “Felix the procurator.” The official Roman title has been translated as “governor” (BDAG 433 s.v. ἡγεμών 2).

17 tn Grk “writing.” Due to the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was begun here in the translation, supplying “he” (referring to the commanding officer, Claudius Lysias) as subject. The participle γράψας (grayas) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

18 tn Grk “having this form,” “having this content.” L&N 33.48 has “γράψσς ἐπιστολὴν ἔχουσαν τὸν τύπον τοῦτον ‘then he wrote a letter that went like this’ Ac 23:25. It is also possible to understand ἐπιστολή in Ac 23:25 not as a content or message, but as an object (see 6.63).”

19 tn Grk “Procurator.” The official Roman title has been translated as “governor” (BDAG 433 s.v. ἡγεμών 2).

20 sn Governor Felix. See the note on Felix in v. 24.

21 tn The participle συλλημφθέντα (sullhmfqenta) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style. The remark reviews events of Acts 21:27-40.

22 tn Grk “and was about to be killed by them.” The passive construction has been converted to an active one in the translation for stylistic reasons.

23 tn Or “approached.”

24 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.

25 tn In Greek this is a present tense retained in indirect discourse.

26 tn The word “citizen” is supplied here for emphasis and clarity.

sn The letter written by the Roman commander Claudius Lysias was somewhat self-serving. He made it sound as if the rescue of a Roman citizen had been a conscious act on his part. In fact, he had made the discovery of Paul’s Roman citizenship somewhat later. See Acts 21:37-39 and 22:24-29.

27 tn Or “determine.”

28 tn Grk “to know the charge on account of which they were accusing him.” This has been simplified to eliminate the prepositional phrase and relative pronoun δι᾿ ἣν (di}hn) similar to L&N 27.8 which has “‘I wanted to find out what they were accusing him of, so I took him down to their Council’ Ac 23:28.”

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

30 tn Grk “whom I found.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the relative pronoun (“whom”) has been changed to a personal pronoun (“he”) and a new sentence begun in the translation at this point.

31 tn BDAG 428 s.v. ζήτημα states, “in our lit. only in Ac, w. the mng. it still has in Mod. Gk. (controversial) question, issue, argumentAc 15:2; 26:3. ζ. περί τινος questions about someth.…18:15; 25:19. – In 23:29, since περί had already been used, the subj. of the discussion is added in the gen. ζ. τοῦ νόμου αὐτῶν.”

sn With reference to controversial questions. Note how the “neutral” Roman authorities saw the issue. This was a religious rather than a civil dispute. See Acts 18:15.

32 tn Grk “but having no charge worthy of death or imprisonment.” BDAG 273-74 s.v. ἔγκλημα 1 has “legal t.t.…. ἄξιον θανάτου ἢ δεσμῶν a charge deserving death or imprisonment 23:29.”

sn Despite the official assessment that no charge against him deserved death or imprisonment, there was no effort to release Paul.

33 tn Grk “It being revealed to me.” The participle μηνυθείσης (mhnuqeish") has been taken temporally.

34 tn The term translated “plot” here is a different one than the one in Acts 23:16 (see BDAG 368 s.v. ἐπιβουλή).

35 tn Grk “the things against him.” This could be rendered as “accusations,” “grievances,” or “charges,” but since “ordered his accusers to state their accusations” sounds redundant in English, “charges” was used instead.

36 tn BDAG 237-38 s.v. διατάσσω 2 has “κατὰ τὸ δ. αὐτοῖς in accordance w. their ordersAc 23:31.”

37 tn Grk “taking.” The participle ἀναλαβόντες (analabonte") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

38 sn Antipatris was a city in Judea about 35 mi (55 km) northwest of Jerusalem (about halfway to Caesarea). It was mentioned several times by Josephus (Ant. 13.15.1 [13.390]; J. W. 1.4.7 [1.99]).

39 tn Grk “letting.” The participle ἐάσαντες (easante") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

40 tn Or “cavalrymen.”

41 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.”

42 tn Grk “who, coming to Caesarea.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek construction, a new sentence was begun here in the translation. The relative pronoun (“who”) has been replaced with the referent (the horsemen) in the translation for clarity.

43 sn Caesarea was a city on the coast of Palestine south of Mount Carmel (not Caesarea Philippi). See the note on Caesarea in Acts 10:1. It was about 30 mi (50 km) from Antipatris.

44 tn BDAG 778 s.v. παρίστημι/παριστάνω 1.b has “present, representα. lit. τινά τινι someone to someone παρέστησαν τὸν Παῦλον αὐτῷ Ac 23:33.”

45 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the governor) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

46 tn Grk “having read.” The participle ἀναγνούς (anagnou") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

47 tn The words “the letter” are not in the Greek text but are implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek, but must be supplied for the modern English reader.

48 tn Grk “and asking.” The participle ἐπερωτήσας (eperwthsa") has been translated as a finite verb and καί (kai) left untranslated due to requirements of contemporary English style.

49 sn Governor Felix asked what province he was from to determine whether he had legal jurisdiction over Paul. He could have sent him to his home province for trial, but decided to hear the case himself.

50 tn Grk “and learning.” The participle πυθόμενος (puqomeno") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

51 sn Cilicia was a province in northeastern Asia Minor.

52 tn Or “I will hear your case.” BDAG 231 s.v. διακούω has “as legal t.t. give someone an opportunity to be heard in court, give someone (τινός) a hearing Ac 23:35”; L&N 56.13 has “to give a judicial hearing in a legal matter – ‘to hear a case, to provide a legal hearing, to hear a case in court.’”

53 tn Grk “ordering.” The participle κελεύσας (keleusas) has been translated as a finite verb and a new sentence begun here due to the length and complexity of the Greek sentence. “Then” has also been supplied to indicate the logical and temporal sequence.

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

55 sn Herod’s palace (Grk “Herod’s praetorium”) was the palace built in Caesarea by Herod the Great. See Josephus, Ant. 15.9.6 (15.331). These events belong to the period of a.d. 56-57.



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