And they came - Probably by a deputation.
To the chief priests and elders - The members of the Great Council, or Sanhedrin. It is probable that the application was made to the party of the Sadducees, as the Pharisees had shown their determination to defend Paul. They would have had no prospect of success had they attacked the castle, and they therefore devised this mode of obtaining access to Paul, where they might easily despatch him.
Under a great curse - Greek: “We have anathematized ourselves with an anathema.” We have made the vow as solemn as possible.
“But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. AA 411.1
“And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.” The two parties began to dispute between themselves, and thus the strength of their opposition against Paul was broken. “The scribes that were of the Pharisees’ part arose, and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man: but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God.” AA 411.2
In the confusion that followed, the Sadducees were eagerly striving to gain possession of the apostle, that they might put him to death; and the Pharisees were as eager in striving to protect him. “The chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle.” AA 412.1Read in context »