Acts 23:21 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 23:21, NIV: "Don't give in to them, because more than forty of them are waiting in ambush for him. They have taken an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are ready now, waiting for your consent to their request.'"

Acts 23:21, ESV: "But do not be persuaded by them, for more than forty of their men are lying in ambush for him, who have bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they have killed him. And now they are ready, waiting for your consent.”"

Acts 23:21, KJV: "But do not thou yield unto them: for there lie in wait for him of them more than forty men, which have bound themselves with an oath, that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him: and now are they ready, looking for a promise from thee."

Acts 23:21, NASB: "So do not listen to them, for more than forty of them are in hiding to ambush him, and these men have put themselves under an oath not to eat or drink until they kill him; and now they are ready and waiting for assurance from you.'"

Acts 23:21, NLT: "But don't do it! There are more than forty men hiding along the way ready to ambush him. They have vowed not to eat or drink anything until they have killed him. They are ready now, just waiting for your consent.'"

Acts 23:21, CSB: "Don't let them persuade you, because there are more than forty of them lying in ambush--men who have bound themselves under a curse not to eat or drink until they have killed him. Now they are ready, waiting for your consent.""

What does Acts 23:21 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

A young man, Paul's nephew, is before the local Roman tribune, warning him of a plot to kill Paul. The tribune—Lysias—rescued Paul from a crowd trying to kill him (Acts 21:30–34). Lysias has spent the last three days trying to figure out if Paul is at fault and should be in prison. He has already taken Paul to the Sanhedrin once and learned nothing except that Paul is smarter than the Jewish ruling council (Acts 23:1–10). Lysias would probably welcome an opportunity to return if he could get to the bottom of the issue.

Unbeknownst to Lysias, the Sanhedrin is about to offer such an invitation. The Sanhedrin, in turn, don't know that Paul's nephew knows their request is part of a plot to murder Paul (Acts 23:12–16). We're not sure who the forty men are. They're called "the Jews" which usually refers to Jewish religious leaders, like the scribes of the sect of Pharisees. But Paul's original accusers were Jews from the province of Asia in southwest modern-day Turkey (Acts 21:27). Either way, Paul's life is in danger and since he's a Roman citizen, the tribune must protect him.

Lysias realizes that this case is more than he is authorized to handle. He decides to send Paul to Caesarea Maritima, on the coast of Samaria, to the governor's palace (Acts 23:23–24). The governor will have more resources to discover what Paul has done. And if he doesn't, that absolves Lysias' failure, as well.