The Holy Bible: The Acts of the Followers 22-24

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     22[1-11] Paul said to them, “Everyone, hear my defense which I make now to you. (And when they heard him speaking in the Hebrew tongue to them, they quieted down: and he said,) “The truth is, I am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught in the strict way of the ancestors in God’s Word, and was as passionate about God, as you all are today. And I abused the people of this Way, even to death, arresting and putting them in jails, both the men and the women. As also the leading priest are my witnesses, and all the court of the elders: from whom also I had gotten letters to the Jews, and went to Damascus, to bring those who were arrested there back to Jerusalem to be punished. And then, as I traveled there, and came near Damascus about noon, suddenly, a great light from heaven shined all around me. And I fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, Why are you trying to hurt me?’ And I said, ‘Who are you, Christ?’ And the Christ told me, ‘I am Yeshua of Nazareth, whom you’re trying to hurt.’ And those who were with me saw the light, too, and were afraid; but they didn’t hear the voice of the One who spoke to me. And I said, ‘What should I do, Christ?’ And the Christ told me, ‘Get up, and go into Damascus; and it’ll be told you there everything that has been chosen for you to do.’ And when I couldn’t see because the light was so bright, being led by those who were with me, I came into Damascus.

      [12-21] And someone named Ananias, someone dedicated to the Word of God, having a good report of all the Jews which lived there, came to me and said, ‘Brother Saul, see again.’ And as soon as he said this, I could see him. And he said, ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you, that you would know God’s will, and see that Holy One, and would hear the voice of the Christ’s mouth. You’ll be the Christ’s witness to everyone of what you’ve seen and heard. And now, what are you waiting for? Get up, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the Name of God.’ And then, when I came again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the place of worship, I was in a trance; and saw the Christ saying to me, ‘Go quickly, and get out of Jerusalem because they won’t accept what you say about Me.’ And I said, ‘Christ, they know that I locked up and beat in every place of worship those who believed on You: And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I was standing there, too, and agreed  to his death, and kept the coats of those who killed him.’ And the Christ told me, ‘Go and I’ll send you far from here to the other peoples.’”

     [22-30] And they listened to him until he said this, and then hollered out, saying, “Put a person like this to death because he isn’t fit to live.” And as they hollered out, and took off their coats, and threw dust into the air, the captain told them to bring him into the prison, and question him by beating; in order to know why the people were hollering out against him. And as they tied him up with leather straps, Paul said to the soldier next to him, “Is it right for you to beat someone who is a Roman, and has not been charged with anything?” When the soldier heard that, he went and told the captain, saying, “Be careful what you do because this person is a Roman.” Then the captain came, asking, “Tell me, are you a Roman?” And Paul said, “Yes.” And the captain said, “I got this right with a lot of money.” And Paul said, “But I was born with that right.” Then suddenly those who were about to question him left: and the captain was also afraid, after he knew that Paul was a Roman, and because they had tied him up. The next day, because they wanted to know for sure why Paul was being accused by the Jews, he let him out and brought him down, and told the leading priests and all their court to appear, and set Paul before them.

    23[1-9] And Paul, carefully watching the court, said, “Everyone, I’ve lived in good conscience to God until today.” And the leading priest Ananias told those who were next to him to hit him on the mouth. Then Paul said to them, “God will hit you, you whitewashed wall because you sit and judge me in the Word of God, and order me to be beaten, which against the Word of God?” And those who stood there said, “Are you accusing God’s leading priest?” Then Paul said, “I didn’t know that he was the leading priest, but the Word says, ‘You shouldn’t speak evil of the ruler of your people.’” But when Paul realized that part of them were of one religious sect, and the others were of another religious sect, he hollered out in the court, “People, I am a religious leader, the child of a religious leader: because of my belief and hope of the coming to life again of the dead I am called into question.” And when Paul had said this, an argument started between the religious leaders and the ministers from the other religious sects: and the crowd was divided, because one religious sect says that there’s no the coming to life again, and neither angel, nor spirit: but the religious leaders believe in both. And everyone started hollering out: and those who were of the religious leaders’ belief stood up, and said, “We find this person not guilty! If a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let’s not fight against God.”

     [10-21] And when everyone started arguing again, the captain, fearing that Paul would have been torn apart by them, told the guards to go down, and take him away from them by force, and to bring him back to the prison. And the night after that, Christ came to him, saying, “Be happy, Paul! Just as you’ve told of me truthfully in Jerusalem, so you must be a truthful witness at Rome, also.” And when it was day, some of the Jews came together, and put themselves under a curse, saying that they wouldn’t eat or drink anything till they had killed Paul. And more than forty of them had made this promise. And they came to the leading priests and elders, saying, “We’ve put ourselves under a great curse, that we won’t eat anything until we’ve put Paul to death. So now you, along with the court, tell the captain to bring him down to you tomorrow, as though you want to ask him more questions: and we, when they come close enough, will be ready to kill him.” But when Paul’s nephew heard of their plan to kill him, he left, and went to the prison, and told Paul. Then Paul called one of the guards to him, saying, “Bring this young person to the captain because he has something to tell him.” So he took him, and brought him to the captain, saying, “Paul, the prisoner called me, and asked me to bring this young person to you, who has something to say to you.” Then the captain took him by the hand and went with him aside secretly, and asked him, “What do you want to tell me?” And he told him, “The Jews have all agreed to ask you to bring Paul down into the court tomorrow, as though they wanted to ask him some more questions. But don’t give in to them, because more than forty people have planned to kill him, which have promised that they won’t eat or drink anything till they’ve killed him: and now they’re ready, waiting for a promise from you.”  

     [22-35] So then the captain let the boy leave, and told him, “Don’t tell anyone what you’ve told me.” And he called two guards, saying, “Get two hundred guards ready to go to Caesarea, and seventy riders, and two hundred foot soldiers, at nine o’clock tonight; And give them a horse for Paul, and bring him safely to Felix, the governor.” Later, he wrote a letter:

Claudius Lysias to the most excellent governor Felix sends greeting. This person was taken from the Jews, and would have been killed by them: then I came with an army, and rescued him, knowing that he was a Roman. And when I wanted to know the reason why they accused him, I brought him out into their court: Whom I realized then was being accused of questions about their law, but I to don’t have anything to charge him with worthy of death or even of imprisonment. And when it was told me that the Jews planned to kill this person, I sent him quickly to you, and gave word to his accusers also to tell you what they had against him. Goodbye.

Then the guards did as they were told and took Paul, bringing him by night to Antipatris. The next day they left the riders to go on with him, and then went back to the prison. When they came to Caesarea, and had given the letter to the governor, they turned Paul over to him. And when the governor had read the letter, he asked what province Paul was from. And when he found out that he was from Cilicia; he said, “I’ll hear you, when your accusers have come, too.” And he told them to keep Paul in Herod’s court.

    24[1-9] And after five days Ananias the leading priest came down with the elders, and with a certain well spoken person named Tertullus, who told the governor the accusations against Paul. And when he was called on, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, “Seeing that we enjoy great peace with you, and that you have done very worthy things for this nation by your generosity, we accept it always, everywhere, most noble Felix, with great thankfulness. But so that I won’t be too tiring to you, I ask you to hear a few words from us out of your kindness. We’ve found this person to be a troublesome person, who starts rebellions among all the Jews throughout the whole world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Christians: Who also has tried to treat the place of worship with disrespect: whom we took, and would have judged by our law. But Captain Lysias came on us, and with great force took him out of our hands, ordering his accusers to come to you.  You will know this for yourself when you question him about the things we’re accusing him of.” And the Jews also agreed, saying that it was true.

     [10-23] Then Paul, after that the governor had waved to him to speak, said, “As I know that you’ve been a judge to this nation for many years, I’ll more gladly answer for myself: because I know that you can understand that it has been only twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship. And they didn’t find me in the place of worship arguing with anyone, nor stirring up the people, neither in the place of worship, nor in the city.  They can’t prove anything they’re accusing me of, now. But I tell you this, that I worship in the Way, which they call heresy, the God of my ancestors, believing everything which is written in the Word of God and in the words of the great preachers: And I have hope in God, which they themselves also allow, that there will be a coming to life again of the dead, both of the good and the evil. And in this, I always try to have a good conscience, without doing wrong to God, or anyone else. Now after many years, I came to bring gifts to my nation, and offerings. At which point, certain Jews from Asia found me cleansed in the place of worship, not with a crowd, nor with any disorder. Who should have come here before you, to accuse me, if they had anything against me. Or else, let these that are here say if they’ve found me doing anything wrong, while I stood in the court, except maybe for this one thing, that I hollered out to them, “I am being called into question by you today about my belief in the coming to life again of the dead.” And when Felix heard this, having a better knowledge of that Way, he told them to wait, saying, “When Lysias, the captain, comes down, I’ll make a decision on your case.” And he told a guard to keep Paul, but to let him have freedom, and not to tell anyone that they can’t minister or come to him.

    [24-27] And after a few days, when Felix came with his spouse Drusilla, who was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and listened to him speak about the faith in Christ. And as he spoke to them about goodness, self-control, and the judgment to come Felix shook with fear, saying, “Go for now; but I’ll call for you again when it’s a better time.” He was hoping also that Paul would give him some money to free him, so he sent for Paul more often, and talked with him. But after two years Porcius Festus took the office of Felix: and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul in prison.

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