Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, " Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day.'
The high priest Ananias commanded those standing beside him to strike him on the mouth.
Then Paul said to him, "God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit to try me according to the Law, and in violation of the Law order me to be struck?'
But the bystanders said, "Do you revile God's high priest?'
And Paul said, "I was not aware, brethren, that he was high priest; for it is written, " YOU SHALL NOT SPEAK EVIL OF A RULER OF YOUR PEOPLE.'
But perceiving that one group were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, Paul began crying out in the Council, " Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!'
As he said this, there occurred a dissension between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was divided.
For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.
And there occurred a great uproar; and some of the scribes of the Pharisaic party stood up and began to argue heatedly, saying, " We find nothing wrong with this man; suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?'
And as a great dissension was developing, the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them and ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force, and bring him into the barracks.
But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, " Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.'
When it was day, the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul.
There were more than forty who formed this plot.
They came to the chief priests and the elders and said, "We have bound ourselves under a solemn oath to taste nothing until we have killed Paul.
"Now therefore, you and the Council notify the commander to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case by a more thorough investigation; and we for our part are ready to slay him before he comes near the place.'
But the son of Paul's sister heard of their ambush, and he came and entered the barracks and told Paul.
Paul called one of the centurions to him and said, "Lead this young man to the commander, for he has something to report to him.'
So he took him and led him to the commander and said, "Paul the prisoner called me to him and asked me to lead this young man to you since he has something to tell you.'
The commander took him by the hand and stepping aside, began to inquire of him privately, "What is it that you have to report to me?'
And he said, " The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down tomorrow to the Council, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more thoroughly about him.
"So do not listen to them, for more than forty of them are lying in wait for him who have bound themselves under a curse not to eat or drink until they slay him; and now they are ready and waiting for the promise from you.'
So the commander let the young man go, instructing him, "Tell no one that you have notified me of these things.'
And he called to him two of the centurions and said, "Get two hundred soldiers ready by the third hour of the night to proceed to Caesarea, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen.'
They were also to provide mounts to put Paul on and bring him safely to Felix the governor.
And he wrote a letter having this form:
" Claudius Lysias, to the most excellent governor Felix, greetings.
" When this man was arrested by the Jews and was about to be slain by them, I came up to them with the troops and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman.
" And wanting to ascertain the charge for which they were accusing him, I brought him down to their Council;
and I found him to be accused over questions about their Law, but under no accusation deserving death or imprisonment.
" When I was informed that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, also instructing his accusers to bring charges against him before you.'
So the soldiers, in accordance with their orders, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris.
But the next day, leaving the horsemen to go on with him, they returned to the barracks.
When these had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him.
When he had read it, he asked from what province he was, and when he learned that he was from Cilicia,
he said, "I will give you a hearing after your accusers arrive also,' giving orders for him to be kept in Herod's Praetorium. 24
After five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders, with an attorney named Tertullus, and they brought charges to the governor against Paul.
After Paul had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying to the governor, "Since we have through you attained much peace, and since by your providence reforms are being carried out for this nation,
we acknowledge this in every way and everywhere, most excellent Felix, with all thankfulness.
"But, that I may not weary you any further, I beg you to grant us, by your kindness, a brief hearing.
"For we have found this man a real pest and a fellow who stirs up dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.
"And he even tried to desecrate the temple; and then we arrested him. [ We wanted to judge him according to our own Law.
"But Lysias the commander came along, and with much violence took him out of our hands,
ordering his accusers to come before you.] By examining him yourself concerning all these matters you will be able to ascertain the things of which we accuse him.'
The Jews also joined in the attack, asserting that these things were so.
When the governor had nodded for him to speak, Paul responded: "Knowing that for many years you have been a judge to this nation, I cheerfully make my defense,
since you can take note of the fact that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship.
" Neither in the temple, nor in the synagogues, nor in the city itself did they find me carrying on a discussion with anyone or causing a riot.
" Nor can they prove to you the charges of which they now accuse me.
"But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets;
having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.
"In view of this, I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.
"Now after several years I came to bring alms to my nation and to present offerings;
in which they found me occupied in the temple, having been purified, without any crowd or uproar. But there were some Jews from Asia
who ought to have been present before you and to make accusation, if they should have anything against me.
"Or else let these men themselves tell what misdeed they found when I stood before the Council,
other than for this one statement which I shouted out while standing among them, "For the resurrection of the dead I am on trial before you today.'
But Felix, having a more exact knowledge about the Way, put them off, saying, "When Lysias the commander comes down, I will decide your case.'
Then he gave orders to the centurion for him to be kept in custody and yet have some freedom, and not to prevent any of his friends from ministering to him.
But some days later Felix arrived with Drusilla, his wife who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus.
But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, "Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you.'
At the same time too, he was hoping that money would be given him by Paul; therefore he also used to send for him quite often and converse with him.
But after two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, and wishing to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul imprisoned. 25