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Acts 23:23-33

Context
23:23 Then 1  he summoned 2  two of the centurions 3  and said, “Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea 4  along with seventy horsemen 5  and two hundred spearmen 6  by 7  nine o’clock tonight, 8  23:24 and provide mounts for Paul to ride 9  so that he may be brought safely to Felix 10  the governor.” 11  23:25 He wrote 12  a letter that went like this: 13 

23:26 Claudius Lysias to His Excellency Governor 14  Felix, 15  greetings. 23:27 This man was seized 16  by the Jews and they were about to kill him, 17  when I came up 18  with the detachment 19  and rescued him, because I had learned that he was 20  a Roman citizen. 21  23:28 Since I wanted to know 22  what charge they were accusing him of, 23  I brought him down to their council. 24  23:29 I found he 25  was accused with reference to controversial questions 26  about their law, but no charge against him deserved death or imprisonment. 27  23:30 When I was informed 28  there would be a plot 29  against this man, I sent him to you at once, also ordering his accusers to state their charges 30  against him before you.

23:31 So the soldiers, in accordance with their orders, 31  took 32  Paul and brought him to Antipatris 33  during the night. 23:32 The next day they let 34  the horsemen 35  go on with him, and they returned to the barracks. 36  23:33 When the horsemen 37  came to Caesarea 38  and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented 39  Paul to him.

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

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

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

4 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.

5 tn Or “cavalrymen.”

6 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.

7 tn Grk “from.”

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

9 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.

10 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.”

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

12 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.

13 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).”

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

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

16 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.

17 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.

18 tn Or “approached.”

19 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.

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

21 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.

22 tn Or “determine.”

23 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.”

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

25 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.

26 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.

27 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.

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

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

30 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.

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

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

33 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]).

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

35 tn Or “cavalrymen.”

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 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.

38 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.

39 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.”



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