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Acts 23:1-5

Context

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 

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.



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