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Acts 21:31-38

Context
21:31 While they were trying 1  to kill him, a report 2  was sent up 3  to the commanding officer 4  of the cohort 5  that all Jerusalem was in confusion. 6  21:32 He 7  immediately took 8  soldiers and centurions 9  and ran down to the crowd. 10  When they saw 11  the commanding officer 12  and the soldiers, they stopped beating 13  Paul. 21:33 Then the commanding officer 14  came up and arrested 15  him and ordered him to be tied up with two chains; 16  he 17  then asked who he was and what 18  he had done. 21:34 But some in the crowd shouted one thing, and others something else, 19  and when the commanding officer 20  was unable 21  to find out the truth 22  because of the disturbance, 23  he ordered Paul 24  to be brought into the barracks. 25  21:35 When he came to the steps, Paul 26  had to be carried 27  by the soldiers because of the violence 28  of the mob, 21:36 for a crowd of people 29  followed them, 30  screaming, “Away with him!” 21:37 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, 31  he said 32  to the commanding officer, 33  “May I say 34  something to you?” The officer 35  replied, 36  “Do you know Greek? 37  21:38 Then you’re not that Egyptian who started a rebellion 38  and led the four thousand men of the ‘Assassins’ 39  into the wilderness 40  some time ago?” 41 

Acts 22:24-30

Context
22:24 the commanding officer 42  ordered Paul 43  to be brought back into the barracks. 44  He told them 45  to interrogate Paul 46  by beating him with a lash 47  so that he could find out the reason the crowd 48  was shouting at Paul 49  in this way. 22:25 When they had stretched him out for the lash, 50  Paul said to the centurion 51  standing nearby, “Is it legal for you to lash a man who is a Roman citizen 52  without a proper trial?” 53  22:26 When the centurion 54  heard this, 55  he went to the commanding officer 56  and reported it, 57  saying, “What are you about to do? 58  For this man is a Roman citizen.” 59  22:27 So the commanding officer 60  came and asked 61  Paul, 62  “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” 63  He replied, 64  “Yes.” 22:28 The commanding officer 65  answered, “I acquired this citizenship with a large sum of money.” 66  “But I was even 67  born a citizen,” 68  Paul replied. 69  22:29 Then those who were about to interrogate him stayed away 70  from him, and the commanding officer 71  was frightened when he realized that Paul 72  was 73  a Roman citizen 74  and that he had had him tied up. 75 

Paul Before the Sanhedrin

22:30 The next day, because the commanding officer 76  wanted to know the true reason 77  Paul 78  was being accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and the whole council 79  to assemble. He then brought 80  Paul down and had him stand before them.

1 tn Grk “seeking.”

2 tn Or “information” (originally concerning a crime; BDAG 1050 s.v. φάσις).

3 tn Grk “went up”; this verb is used because the report went up to the Antonia Fortress where the Roman garrison was stationed.

4 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.

5 sn A cohort was a Roman military unit of about 600 soldiers, one-tenth of a legion.

6 tn BDAG 953 s.v. συγχέω has “Pass. w. act.force be in confusionὅλη συγχύννεται ᾿Ιερουσαλήμ 21:31.”

7 tn Grk “who.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence and the tendency of contemporary English to use shorter sentences, the relative pronoun (“who”) was translated as a pronoun (“he”) and a new sentence was begun here in the translation.

8 tn Grk “taking…ran down.” The participle κατέδραμεν (katedramen) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

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

10 tn Grk “to them”; the referent (the crowd) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

11 tn Grk “seeing.” The participle ἰδόντες (idonte") has been taken temporally.

12 tn Grk “the chiliarch” (an officer in command of a thousand soldiers). See note on the term “commanding officer” in v. 31.

13 sn The mob stopped beating Paul because they feared the Romans would arrest them for disturbing the peace and for mob violence. They would let the Roman officials take care of the matter from this point on.

14 tn Grk “the chiliarch” (an officer in command of a thousand soldiers). See note on the term “commanding officer” in v. 31.

15 tn Grk “seized.”

16 tn The two chains would be something like handcuffs (BDAG 48 s.v. ἅλυσις and compare Acts 28:20).

17 tn Grk “and he.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was begun in the translation, and καί (kai) has been replaced with a semicolon. “Then” has been supplied after “he” to clarify the logical sequence.

18 tn Grk “and what it is”; this has been simplified to “what.”

19 tn L&N 33.77 has “ἄλλοι δὲ ἄλλο τι ἐπεφώνουν ἐν τῷ ὄχλῳ ‘some in the crowd shouted one thing; others, something else’ Ac 21:34.”

20 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the commanding officer) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

21 tn This genitive absolute construction has been translated temporally; it could also be taken causally: “and since the commanding officer was unable to find out the truth.”

22 tn Or “find out what had happened”; Grk “the certainty” (BDAG 147 s.v. ἀσφαλής 2).

23 tn Or “clamor,” “uproar” (BDAG 458 s.v. θόρυβος).

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

25 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.”

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

27 sn Paul had to be carried. Note how the arrest really ended up protecting Paul. The crowd is portrayed as irrational at this point.

28 tn This refers to mob violence (BDAG 175 s.v. βία b).

29 tn Grk “the multitude of people.” While πλῆθος (plhqo") is articular, it has been translated “a crowd” since it was probably a subset of the larger mob that gathered in v. 30.

30 tn The word “them” 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.

31 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.”

32 tn Grk “says” (a historical present).

33 tn Grk “the chiliarch” (an officer in command of a thousand soldiers) See note on the term “commanding officer” in v. 31.

34 tn Grk “Is it permitted for me to say” (an idiom).

35 tn Grk “He”; the referent (the officer) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

36 tn Grk “said.”

37 sn “Do you know Greek?” Paul as an educated rabbi was bilingual. Paul’s request in Greek allowed the officer to recognize that Paul was not the violent insurrectionist he thought he had arrested (see following verse). The confusion of identities reveals the degree of confusion dominating these events.

38 tn L&N 39.41 has “οὐκ ἄρα σὺ εἶ ὁ Αἰγύπτιος ὁ πρὸ τούτων τῶν ἡμερῶν ἀναστατώσας ‘then you are not that Egyptian who some time ago started a rebellion’ Ac 21:38.”

39 tn Grk “of the Sicarii.”

sn The term ‘Assassins’ is found several times in the writings of Josephus (J. W. 2.13.3 [2.254-257]; Ant. 20.8.10 [20.186]). It was the name of the most fanatical group among the Jewish nationalists, very hostile to Rome, who did not hesitate to assassinate their political opponents. They were named Sicarii in Latin after their weapon of choice, the short dagger or sicarius which could be easily hidden under one’s clothing. In effect, the officer who arrested Paul had thought he was dealing with a terrorist.

40 tn Or “desert.”

41 tn Grk “before these days.”

42 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.

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

44 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.”

45 tn Grk “into the barracks, saying.” This is a continuation of the same sentence in Greek using the participle εἴπας (eipas), but due to the length and complexity of the Greek sentence a new sentence was begun in the translation here. The direct object “them” has been supplied; it is understood in Greek.

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

47 sn To interrogate Paul by beating him with a lash. Under the Roman legal system it was customary to use physical torture to extract confessions or other information from prisoners who were not Roman citizens and who were charged with various crimes, especially treason or sedition. The lashing would be done with a whip of leather thongs with pieces of metal or bone attached to the ends.

48 tn Grk “they”; the referent (the crowd) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

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

50 tn Grk “for the thongs” (of which the lash was made). Although often translated as a dative of means (“with thongs”), referring to thongs used to tie the victim to the whipping post, BDAG 474-75 s.v. ἱμάς states that it “is better taken as a dat. of purpose for the thongs, in which case οἱ ἱμάντες = whips (Posidonius: 87 fgm. 5 Jac.; POxy. 1186, 2 τὴν διὰ τῶν ἱμάντων αἰκείαν. – Antiphanes 74, 8, Demosth. 19, 197 and Artem. 1, 70 use the sing. in this way).”

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

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

53 tn Or “a Roman citizen and uncondemned.” BDAG 35 s.v. ἀκατάκριτος has “uncondemned, without due process” for this usage.

sn The fact that Paul was a Roman citizen protected him from being tortured to extract information; such protections were guaranteed by the Porcian and Julian law codes. In addition, the fact Paul had not been tried exempted him from punishment.

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

55 tn The word “this” 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.

56 tn Grk “the chiliarch” (an officer in command of a thousand soldiers). See note on the term “commanding officer” in v. 24.

57 tn The word “it” 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.

58 tn Or perhaps, “What do you intend to do?” Although BDAG 627 s.v. μέλλω 1.c.α lists this phrase under the category “be about to, be on the point of,” it is possible it belongs under 1.c.γ, “denoting an intended action: intend, propose, have in mindτί μέλλεις ποιεῖν; what do you intend to do?

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

60 tn Grk “the chiliarch” (an officer in command of a thousand soldiers). See note on the term “commanding officer” in v. 24.

61 tn Grk “and said to.”

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

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

64 tn Grk “He said.”

65 tn Grk “the chiliarch” (an officer in command of a thousand soldiers). See note on the term “commanding officer” in v. 24.

66 sn Sometimes Roman citizenship was purchased through a bribe (Dio Cassius, Roman History 60.17.4-9). That may well have been the case here.

67 tn BDAG 495-96 s.v. καί 2.b has “intensive: evenAc 5:39; 22:28.”

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

sn Paul’s reference to being born a citizen suggests he inherited his Roman citizenship from his family.

69 tn Grk “Paul said.” This phrase has been placed at the end of the sentence in the translation for stylistic reasons.

70 tn BDAG 158 s.v. ἀφίστημι 2.b has “keep awayἀπό τινος… Lk 4:13; Ac 5:38; 2 Cor 12:8…cp. Ac 22:29.” In context, the point would seem to be not that the interrogators departed or withdrew, but that they held back from continuing the flogging.

71 tn Grk “the chiliarch” (an officer in command of a thousand soldiers). See note on the term “commanding officer” in v. 24.

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

73 tn This is a present tense (ἐστιν, estin) retained in indirect discourse. It must be translated as a past tense in contemporary English.

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

75 sn Had him tied up. Perhaps a reference to the chains in Acts 21:33, or the preparations for the lashing in Acts 22:25. A trial would now be needed to resolve the matter. The Roman authorities’ hesitation to render a judgment in the case occurs repeatedly: Acts 22:30; 23:28-29; 24:22; 25:20, 26-27. The legal process begun here would take the rest of Acts and will be unresolved at the end. The process itself took four years of Paul’s life.

76 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the commanding officer) has been supplied here in the translation for clarity.

77 tn Grk “the certainty, why.” BDAG 147 s.v. ἀσφαλής 2 has “τὸ ἀ. the certainty = the truth (in ref. to ferreting out the facts…ἵνα τὸ ἀ. ἐπιγνῶ) γνῶναι 21:34; 22:30.”

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

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

80 tn Grk “and bringing.” The participle καταγαγών (katagagwn) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was begun in the translation, and καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to clarify the logical sequence.



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