Acts 23

1Paul looked at the Jewish council meeting and said, “Brothers, I have lived my life in a good way before God. I have always done what I thought was right.” 2Ananias, the high priest, was there. Ananias heard Paul and told the men who were standing near Paul to hit him on his mouth. 3Paul said to Ananias, “God will hit you too! You are like a ˻dirty˼ wall that has been painted white! You sit there and judge me, using the law ˻of Moses˼. But you are telling them to hit me, and that is against the law ˻of Moses˼.” 4The men standing near Paul said to him, “You cannot talk like that to God’s high priest. You are insulting him!” 5Paul said, “Brothers, I did not know this man was the high priest. It is written in the Scriptures, 'You must not say bad things about a leader of your people.’” 6Some of the men in the meeting were Sadducees and some others were Pharisees. So Paul had an idea: He shouted to them, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee and my father was a Pharisee! I am on trial here because I hope ˻(believe)˼ that people will rise from death!” 7When Paul said this, there was a big argument between the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The group was divided. 8(The Sadducees believe that after people die, they will not live again as an angel or as a spirit. But the Pharisees believe in both.) 9All these Jews began shouting louder and louder. Some of the teachers of the law, who were Pharisees, stood up and argued, “We find nothing wrong with this man! Maybe an angel or a spirit really did speak to him!” 10The argument became a fight. The commander was afraid that the Jews would tear Paul to pieces. So the commander told the soldiers to go down and take Paul away from these Jews and to put him in the army building. 11The next night the Lord ˻Jesus˼ came and stood by Paul. He said, “Be brave! You have told people in Jerusalem about me. You must also go to Rome to tell people there about me!” 12The next morning some of the Jews made a plan. They wanted to kill Paul. The Jews made a promise ˻(vow)˼ to themselves that they would not eat or drink anything until they had killed Paul. 13There were more than 40 Jews who made this plan. 14These Jews went and talked to the leading priests and the older Jewish leaders. The Jews said, “We have made a serious promise to ourselves. We promised that we will not eat or drink until we have killed Paul! 15So this is what we want you to do: Send a message to the commander from you and all the Jewish leaders. Tell the commander you want him to bring Paul out to you. Tell the commander that you want to ask Paul more questions. We will be waiting to kill Paul while he is on the way here.” 16But Paul’s nephew heard about this plan. He went to the army building and told Paul about the plan. 17Then Paul called one of the army officers and said to him, “Take this young man to the commander. He has a message for him.” 18So the army officer brought Paul’s nephew to the commander. The officer said, “The prisoner, Paul, asked me to bring this young man to you. He wants to tell you something.” 19The commander led the young man to a place where they could be alone. The commander asked, “What do you want to tell me?” 20The young man said, “Some Jews have decided to ask you to bring Paul down to their council meeting tomorrow. Those Jews want you to think that they plan to ask Paul more questions. 21But don’t believe them! There are more than 40 Jews who are hiding and waiting to kill Paul. They have all promised ˻(vowed)˼ not to eat or drink until they have killed him! Now they are waiting for you to say yes.” 22The commander sent the young man away. The commander told him, “Don’t tell anyone that you have told me about their plan.” 23Then the commander called two army officers. He said to them, “I need some men to go to Caesarea. Get 200 soldiers ready. Also, get 70 soldiers on horses and 200 men to carry spears. Be ready to leave at nine o’clock tonight. 24Get some horses for Paul to ride. He must be taken to Governor Felix safely.” 25The commander wrote a letter. This is what the letter said: 26From Claudius Lysias. To the Most Excellent Governor Felix: Greetings: 27The Jews had taken this man ˻(Paul)˼, and they planned to kill him. But I learned that he is a Roman citizen, so I went with my soldiers and saved him. 28I wanted to know why they were accusing him. So I brought him before their council meeting. 29This is what I learned: The Jews said Paul did some things that were wrong. But these charges were about their own Jewish laws. And none of these things were worthy of jail or death. 30I was told that some of the Jews were making a plan to kill Paul. So I send him to you. I also told those Jews to tell you the things they have against him. 31The soldiers did the things they were told. The soldiers got Paul and took him to the city of Antipatris that night. 32The next day the soldiers on horses went with Paul to Caesarea. But the other soldiers and the spearmen went back to the army building ˻in Jerusalem˼. 33The soldiers on horses entered Caesarea and gave the letter to the governor ˻(Felix)˼. Then they gave Paul to him. 34The governor read the letter. Then he asked Paul, “What country are you from?” The governor learned that Paul was from Cilicia. 35The governor said, “I will hear your case when the Jews who are against you come here too.” Then the governor gave orders for Paul to be kept in the palace. (This building had been built by Herod.)

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