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Acts 22:30

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

He - commanded - all their council to appear - Instead of ελθειν, to come, which we translate, to appear, συνελθειν, to assemble, or meet together, is the reading of ACE, nearly twenty others, the Ethiopic, Arabic, Vulgate, Chrysostom, and Theophylact: this reading Griesbach has received into the text; and it is most probably the true one: as the chief captain wished to know the certainty of the matter, he desired the Jewish council, or Sanhedrin, to assemble, and examine the business thoroughly, that he might know of what the apostle was accused; as the law would not permit him to proceed against a Roman in any judicial way, but on the clearest evidence; and, as he understood that the cause of their enmity was something that concerned their religion, he considered the Sanhedrin to be the most proper judge, and therefore commanded them to assemble; and there is no doubt that he himself, and a sufficient number of soldiers, took care to attend, as the person of Paul could not be safe in the hands of persons so prejudiced, unprincipled, and enraged.

This chapter should end with the twenty-ninth verse, and the following should begin with the thirtieth; this is the most natural division, and is followed by some of the most correct editions of the original text.

  1. In his address to the council, Paul asserts that he is a Jew, born of and among Jews; and that he had a regular Jewish education; and he takes care to observe that he had early imbibed all the prejudices peculiar to his countrymen, and had given the fullest proof of this in his persecution of the Christians. Thus, his assertions, concerning the unprofitableness of the legal ceremonies, could neither be attributed to ignorance nor indifference. Had a Gentile, no matter how learned or eminent, taught thus, his whole teaching would have been attributed to ignorance, prejudice, and envy. God, therefore, in his endless mercy, made use of a most eminent, learned, and bigoted Jew, to demonstrate the nullity of the whole Jewish system, and show the necessity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • At the close of this chapter, Dr. Dodd has the following judicious remark: - "As unrighteous as it was in the Roman officer, on this popular clamor, to attempt putting this holy apostle to the torture, so reasonable was St. Paul's plea, as a Roman citizen, to decline that suffering. It is a prudence worthy the imitation of the bravest of men, not to throw themselves into unnecessary difficulties. True courage widely differs from rash and heedless temerity; nor are we under any obligation, as Christians, to give up our civil privileges, which ought to be esteemed as the gifts of God, to every insolent and turbulent invader. In a thousand circumstances, gratitude to God, and duty to men, will oblige us to insist upon them; and a generous concern for those who may come after us should engage us to labor to transmit them to posterity improved rather than impaired." This should be an article in the creed of every genuine Briton.
  • Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    On the morrow - After he had arrested Paul. Paul was still a prisoner; and if suffered to go at liberty among the Jews, his life would have been in danger.

    And commanded the chief priests … - Summoned a meeting of the Sanhedrin, or Great Council of the nation. He did this, as he was prevented from scourging Paul, in order to know what he had done, and that he might learn from the Jews themselves the nature of the charge against him. This was necessary for the safety of Paul and for the ends of justice. This should have been done without any attempt to torture him in order to extort a confession.

    And brought Paul down - From the elevated castle of Antonia. The council assembled commonly in the house of the high priest.

    And set him before them - He brought the prisoner to their bar, that they might have have an opportunity to accuse him, and that thus the chief captain might learn the real nature of the charge against him.

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    The Jews listened to Paul's account of his conversion, but the mention of his being sent to the Gentiles, was so contrary to all their national prejudices, that they would hear no more. Their frantic conduct astonished the Roman officer, who supposed that Paul must have committed some great crime. Paul pleaded his privilege as a Roman citizen, by which he was exempted from all trials and punishments which might force him to confess himself guilty. The manner of his speaking plainly shows what holy security and serenity of mind he enjoyed. As Paul was a Jew, in low circumstances, the Roman officer questioned how he obtained so valuable a distinction; but the apostle told him he was free born. Let us value that freedom to which all the children of God are born; which no sum of money, however large, can purchase for those who remain unregenerate. This at once put a stop to his trouble. Thus many are kept from evil practices by the fear of man, who would not be held back from them by the fear of God. The apostle asks, simply, Is it lawful? He knew that the God whom he served would support him under all sufferings for his name's sake. But if it were not lawful, the apostle's religion directed him, if possible, to avoid it. He never shrunk from a cross which his Divine Master laid upon his onward road; and he never stept aside out of that road to take one up.
    Ellen G. White
    The Acts of the Apostles, 408-10

    In the midst of the tumult the apostle was calm and self-possessed. His mind was stayed upon God, and he knew that angels of heaven were about him. He felt unwilling to leave the temple without making an effort to set the truth before his countrymen. As he was about to be led into the castle he said to the chief captain, “May I speak unto thee?” Lysias responded, “Canst thou speak Greek? Art not thou that Egyptian, which before these days madest an uproar, and leddest out into the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers?” In reply Paul said, “I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people.” AA 408.1

    The request was granted, and “Paul stood on the stairs, and beckoned with the hand unto the people.” The gesture attracted their attention, while his bearing commanded respect. “And when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue, saying, Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defense which I make now unto you.” At the sound of the familiar Hebrew words, “they kept the more silence,” and in the universal hush he continued: AA 408.2

    “I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.” None could deny the apostle's statements, as the facts that he referred to were well known to many who were still living in Jerusalem. He then spoke of his former zeal in persecuting the disciples of Christ, even unto death; and he narrated the circumstances of his conversion, telling his hearers how his own proud heart had been led to bow to the crucified Nazarene. Had he attempted to enter into argument with his opponents, they would have stubbornly refused to listen to his words; but the relation of his experience was attended with a convincing power that for the time seemed to soften and subdue their hearts. AA 409.1

    Read in context »
    Paul's Arrest and Imprisonment