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Acts 23:17-35

Context
23:17 Paul called 1  one of the centurions 2  and said, “Take this young man to the commanding officer, 3  for he has something to report to him.” 23:18 So the centurion 4  took him and brought him to the commanding officer 5  and said, “The prisoner Paul called 6  me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.” 23:19 The commanding officer 7  took him by the hand, withdrew privately, and asked, “What is it that you want 8  to report to me?” 23:20 He replied, 9  “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council 10  tomorrow, as if they were going to inquire more thoroughly about him. 23:21 So do not let them persuade you to do this, 11  because more than forty of them 12  are lying in ambush 13  for him. They 14  have bound themselves with an oath 15  not to eat or drink anything 16  until they have killed him, and now they are ready, waiting for you to agree to their request.” 17  23:22 Then the commanding officer 18  sent the young man away, directing him, 19  “Tell no one that you have reported 20  these things to me.” 23:23 Then 21  he summoned 22  two of the centurions 23  and said, “Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea 24  along with seventy horsemen 25  and two hundred spearmen 26  by 27  nine o’clock tonight, 28  23:24 and provide mounts for Paul to ride 29  so that he may be brought safely to Felix 30  the governor.” 31  23:25 He wrote 32  a letter that went like this: 33 

23:26 Claudius Lysias to His Excellency Governor 34  Felix, 35  greetings. 23:27 This man was seized 36  by the Jews and they were about to kill him, 37  when I came up 38  with the detachment 39  and rescued him, because I had learned that he was 40  a Roman citizen. 41  23:28 Since I wanted to know 42  what charge they were accusing him of, 43  I brought him down to their council. 44  23:29 I found he 45  was accused with reference to controversial questions 46  about their law, but no charge against him deserved death or imprisonment. 47  23:30 When I was informed 48  there would be a plot 49  against this man, I sent him to you at once, also ordering his accusers to state their charges 50  against him before you.

23:31 So the soldiers, in accordance with their orders, 51  took 52  Paul and brought him to Antipatris 53  during the night. 23:32 The next day they let 54  the horsemen 55  go on with him, and they returned to the barracks. 56  23:33 When the horsemen 57  came to Caesarea 58  and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented 59  Paul to him. 23:34 When the governor 60  had read 61  the letter, 62  he asked 63  what province he was from. 64  When he learned 65  that he was from Cilicia, 66  23:35 he said, “I will give you a hearing 67  when your accusers arrive too.” Then 68  he ordered that Paul 69  be kept under guard in Herod’s palace. 70 

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

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

3 tn Grk “the chiliarch” (an officer in command of a thousand soldiers). See note on the term “commanding officer” in v. 10.

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

5 tn Grk “the chiliarch” (an officer in command of a thousand soldiers). See note on the term “commanding officer” in v. 10.

6 tn Grk “calling.” The participle προσκαλεσάμενος (proskalesameno") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

7 tn Grk “the chiliarch” (an officer in command of a thousand soldiers). See note on the term “commanding officer” in v. 10.

8 tn Grk “you have,” but the expression “have to report” in English could be understood to mean “must report” rather than “possess to report.” For this reason the nearly equivalent expression “want to report,” which is not subject to misunderstanding, was used in the translation.

9 tn Grk “He said.”

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

11 tn Grk “do not be persuaded by them.” The passive construction μὴ πεισθῇς αὐτοῖς (mh peisqh" autoi") has been converted to an active construction in the translation, and the phrase “to do this” supplied to indicate more clearly the object of their persuasion.

12 tn Grk “forty men of them.” In the expression ἐξ αὐτῶν ἄνδρες (ex autwn andre") “men” is somewhat redundant and has not been included in the English translation.

13 tn Grk “are lying in wait for him” (BDAG 334 s.v. ἐνεδρεύω); see also v. 16.

14 tn Grk “for him, who.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the relative pronoun (“who”) was translated by the third person plural pronoun (“they”) and a new sentence begun in the translation.

15 tn Or “bound themselves under a curse.” BDAG 63 s.v. ἀναθεματίζω 1 has “trans. put under a curse τινά someone. ἑαυτόν vss. 12, 21, 13 v.l.”

16 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.

17 tn Grk “waiting for your approval,” “waiting for your agreement.” Since it would be possible to misunderstand the literal translation “waiting for your approval” to mean that the Jews were waiting for the commander’s approval to carry out their plot or to kill Paul (as if he were to be an accomplice to their plot), the object of the commander’s approval (their request to bring Paul to the council) has been specified in the translation as “their request.”

18 tn Grk “the chiliarch” (an officer in command of a thousand soldiers). See note on the term “commanding officer” in v. 10.

19 tn BDAG 760 s.v. παραγγέλλω has “to make an announcement about someth. that must be done, give orders, command, instruct, direct of all kinds of persons in authority, worldly rulers, Jesus, the apostles…παραγγέλλειν w. an inf. and μή comes to mean forbid to do someth.: π. τινί w. aor. inf. Lk 5:14; 8:56; without the dat., which is easily supplied fr. the context Ac 23:22.” However, if the direct discourse which follows is to be retained in the translation, a different translation must be used since it is awkward to introduce direct discourse with the verb to forbid. Thus the alternative to direct was used.

20 tn On this verb, see BDAG 325-26 s.v. ἐμφανίζω 2. The term was frequently used of an official report to authorities. In modern terms, this was a police tip.

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

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

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

24 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.

25 tn Or “cavalrymen.”

26 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.

27 tn Grk “from.”

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

29 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.

30 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.”

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

32 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.

33 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).”

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

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

36 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.

37 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.

38 tn Or “approached.”

39 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.

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

41 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.

42 tn Or “determine.”

43 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.”

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

45 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.

46 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.

47 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.

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

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

50 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.

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

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

53 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]).

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

55 tn Or “cavalrymen.”

56 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.”

57 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.

58 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.

59 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.”

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

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

62 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.

63 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.

64 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.

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

66 sn Cilicia was a province in northeastern Asia Minor.

67 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.’”

68 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.

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

70 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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