The soldiers who were about to interrogate Paul quickly withdrew when they heard he was a Roman citizen, and the commander was frightened because he had ordered him bound and whipped.Acts 22:29
Paul Before the High Council
The next day the commander ordered the leading priests into session with the Jewish high council. He wanted to find out what the trouble was all about, so he released Paul to have him stand before them. Gazing intently at the high council, Paul began: “Brothers, I have always lived before God with a clear conscience!”
Instantly Ananias the high priest commanded those close to Paul to slap him on the mouth. But Paul said to him, “God will slap you, you corrupt hypocrite! What kind of judge are you to break the law yourself by ordering me struck like that?”
Those standing near Paul said to him, “Do you dare to insult God’s high priest?”
“I’m sorry, brothers. I didn’t realize he was the high priest,” Paul replied, “for the Scriptures say, ‘You must not speak evil of any of your rulers.’”
Paul realized that some members of the high council were Sadducees and some were Pharisees, so he shouted, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, as were my ancestors! And I am on trial because my hope is in the resurrection of the dead!” This divided the council—the Pharisees against the Sadducees— for the Sadducees say there is no resurrection or angels or spirits, but the Pharisees believe in all of these. So there was a great uproar. Some of the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees jumped up and began to argue forcefully. “We see nothing wrong with him,” they shouted. “Perhaps a spirit or an angel spoke to him.”
As the conflict grew more violent, the commander was afraid they would tear Paul apart. So he ordered his soldiers to go and rescue him by force and take him back to the fortress. That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, “Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well.”Acts 22:30 – 23:11
Where would Paul have stayed overnight as there is certainly the possibility of him being a guest of the Commander? It does say the next day the Commander released him but surely as a Roman citizen without trial he would have been treated with some leniency after the previous day’s events? The Commander was frightened after ordering him bound and whipped (Acts 22:29) so would have wanted to appease him I would have thought, but maybe not, these were rather barbarous times.
Was there any possibility that the Roman Tribune took Paul to his home?
This is all highly speculative as we just don’t know. Luke has given us no indication whatsoever that Paul was taken into the Roman Tribune’s house. I think if this remarkable thing had happened Luke would have told us. It is highly unlikely that the Commander would have taken Paul into his house (or personal quarters in the barracks) and if he had, I believe Luke would have drawn even stronger parallels between what happened in Philippi and this incident in Jerusalem. More than likely Paul was “housed” in a cell in the barracks and dealt with in the morning. Or those compassionate ones among you might suggest they gave him one of the soldiers’ rooms. But the soldiers were housed in barracks and I don’t think they would have put a prisoner in with the soldiers. I left Ross’ question with you readers and no one has commented over the time between Gems. Perhaps you were not courageous enough to go out on a limb for fear that Ian would make your opinion known to the world. For whatever reason you, my readers, have added nothing more to the discussion so we will move on.
Did this situation parallel the Philippian jailer?
And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God. The next morning the city officials sent the police to tell the jailer, “Let those men go!”Acts 16:32-35
This is what we have recorded in Acts 16 giving us the details on what happened in Philippi. We have nothing like that from Luke on the Jerusalem saga so we will refrain from speculation. What intrigues me is Luke’s comment that in the morning it was the Roman Tribune who “ordered the leading priests into session with the Jewish high council. He wanted to find out what the trouble was all about, so he released Paul to have him stand before them.” (Acts 22:30) That is amazing. Historically the Romans were hesitant to become embroiled in Jewish religious affairs because the Jews were prone to riot at any hint of interference. Yet in this case it is the Roman Commander of the troops who orders the leading priests to call a meeting of the Sanhedrin. Note the commander didn’t call the Sanhedrin into session himself, he didn’t have that authority. But he ordered the leading priests to do it. That has to have included the High Priest. Luke also tells us the reason for this happen – because he wanted to find out what the trouble was all about.”
Why was it that the Roman commander called the meeting of the Sanhedrin? How could he do that? I would have thought they were autonomous.
In a case like this the Roman occupying forces could command the Jews to do whatever they wanted but in religious matters they left it to the Sanhedrin to deal with matters of religious life. Clearly the commander in this case ordered them to call a session and he very clearly attended. That fact alone is interesting because the Sanhedrin normally met on the Temple mount and Gentiles were not allowed in the Temple area. I will leave you to come to own conclusions on that one. I won’t bother opening this up to more responses from any of you given the fact that no one responded to the last Gem.
What intrigues me is the way Paul uses his dual citizenship to put the pressure on the Sanhedrin which resulted in the Commander stepping in and ordering a meeting of the Highest Jewish religious Council in the land. Take note of what happened last time Paul’s Roman citizenship came up (in Phillipi). The Roman authorities on that occasion wanted to sweep the matter under the carpet. Just let them go! No way was Paul having any of that. All of this makes me wonder if there was any influence from what happened in Phillipi behind this case in Jerusalem. Paul himself has pushed the Sanhedrin and strategically played his Roman citizenship card at the perfect moment. It makes me wonder if Paul was wanting to ensure he got his day “in court” – on this occasion before the Sanhedrin. Later on he will appeal to Caesar and be taken to Rome.
Notice how Luke begins the segment with Paul standing before the Sanhedrin with the Roman Tribune present. “Gazing intently at the high council, Paul began: “Brothers, I have always lived before God with a clear conscience!”Whoa, I would have loved to have been a “fly on the wall” in that moment. To see the look in Paul’s eyes and to look around the room and take in the reactions of the members of the Sanhedrin and the looks on their faces would have been telling. But alas Luke tells us no more. However we are told how Paul opened his defence.
“Brothers, I have always lived before God with a clear conscience!” Instantly Ananias the high priest commanded those close to Paul to slap him on the mouth.Acts 23:1-2
Another telling moment! One reader’s question was focused on this moment.
Why did the High Priest order Paul to be slapped for saying that? What was wrong with saying, “Brothers, I have always lived before God with a clear conscience”?
I will leave you hanging at this crucial moment and add my comments in the next Gem and attempt to work my way through all of the remaining questions as well. We will see how successful I am.
Sometimes God will put a Goliath in your life, for you to find a David within you!Anon
Remember that creating a successful marriage is like farming: you have to start over again every morning!Rick Godwin
A man’s health can be judged by which he takes two at a time – pills or stairs.Ian Vail
I am amazed that Paul was kept healthy during his ministry years despite the beatings, stoning, imprisonment and numerous times he was roughed up. Covered over with the hand of God.Anon
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.2 Corinthians 1:4
Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.2 Corithians 4:10
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!2 Corinthians 4:16-17
Now there is an attitude toward suffering you should embrace. Everyone needs a biblical theology of suffering.Ian Vail