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Acts chapter 23

New International Version

1 Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, 'My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.' 2 At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, 'God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!'
4 Those who were standing near Paul said, 'How dare you insult God's high priest!'
5 Paul replied, 'Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: 'Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.''
6 Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, 'My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.' 7 When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees believe all these things.)
9 There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously. 'We find nothing wrong with this man,' they said. 'What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?' 10 The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.
11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, 'Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.'
12 The next morning some Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 More than forty men were involved in this plot. 14 They went to the chief priests and the elders and said, 'We have taken a solemn oath not to eat anything until we have killed Paul. 15 Now then, you and the Sanhedrin petition the commander to bring him before you on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about his case. We are ready to kill him before he gets here.'
16 But when the son of Paul's sister heard of this plot, he went into the barracks and told Paul.
17 Then Paul called one of the centurions and said, 'Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him.'
18 So he took him to the commander. The centurion said, 'Paul, the prisoner, sent for me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.'
19 The commander took the young man by the hand, drew him aside and asked, 'What is it you want to tell me?'
20 He said: 'Some Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul before the Sanhedrin tomorrow on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about him. 21 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.'
22 The commander dismissed the young man with this warning: 'Don't tell anyone that you have reported this to me.'
23 Then he called two of his centurions and ordered them, 'Get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at nine tonight. 24 Provide horses for Paul so that he may be taken safely to Governor Felix.'
25 He wrote a letter as follows:
26 Claudius Lysias, To His Excellency, Governor Felix: Greetings.
27 This man was seized by the Jews and they were about to kill him, but I came with my troops and rescued him, for I had learned that he is a Roman citizen. 28 I wanted to know why they were accusing him, so I brought him to their Sanhedrin. 29 I found that the accusation had to do with questions about their law, but there was no charge against him that deserved death or imprisonment. 30 When I was informed of a plot to be carried out against the man, I sent him to you at once. I also ordered his accusers to present to you their case against him.
31 So the soldiers, carrying out their orders, took Paul with them during the night and brought him as far as Antipatris. 32 The next day they let the cavalry go on with him, while they returned to the barracks. 33 When the cavalry arrived in Caesarea, they delivered the letter to the governor and handed Paul over to him. 34 The governor read the letter and asked what province he was from. Learning that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, 'I will hear your case when your accusers get here.' Then he ordered that Paul be kept under guard in Herod's palace.
English Standard Version

1 And looking intently at the council, Paul said, “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.” 2 And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?” 4 Those who stood by said, “Would you revile God’s high priest?” 5 And Paul said, “I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”
6 Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.” 7 And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. 9 Then a great clamor arose, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ party stood up and contended sharply, “We find nothing wrong in this man. What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?” 10 And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him away from among them by force and bring him into the barracks.
11 The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.”
12 When it was day, the Jews made a plot and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty who made this conspiracy. 14 They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food till we have killed Paul. 15 Now therefore you, along with the council, give notice to the tribune to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case more exactly. And we are ready to kill him before he comes near.”
16 Now the son of Paul’s sister heard of their ambush, so he went and entered the barracks and told Paul. 17 Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the tribune, for he has something to tell him.” 18 So he took him and brought him to the tribune and said, “Paul the prisoner called me and asked me to bring this young man to you, as he has something to say to you.” 19 The tribune took him by the hand, and going aside asked him privately, “What is it that you have to tell me?” 20 And he said, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more closely about him. 21 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.” 22 So the tribune dismissed the young man, charging him, “Tell no one that you have informed me of these things.”
23 Then he called two of the centurions and said, “Get ready two hundred soldiers, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go as far as Caesarea at the third hour of the night. 24 Also provide mounts for Paul to ride and bring him safely to Felix the governor.” 25 And he wrote a letter to this effect:
26 “Claudius Lysias, to his Excellency the governor Felix, greetings. 27 This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them when I came upon them with the soldiers and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman citizen. 28 And desiring to know the charge for which they were accusing him, I brought him down to their council. 29 I found that he was being accused about questions of their law, but charged with nothing deserving death or imprisonment. 30 And when it was disclosed to me that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, ordering his accusers also to state before you what they have against him.”
31 So the soldiers, according to their instructions, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32 And on the next day they returned to the barracks, letting the horsemen go on with him. 33 When they had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they presented Paul also before him. 34 On reading the letter, he asked what province he was from. And when he learned that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will give you a hearing when your accusers arrive.” And he commanded him to be guarded in Herod’s praetorium.
King James Version

1 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day. 2 And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth. 3 Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law? 4 And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God's high priest? 5 Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.
6 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. 7 And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided. 8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both. 9 And there arose a great cry: and 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. 10 And when there arose a great dissension, 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. 11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.
12 And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. 13 And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy. 14 And they came to the chief priests and elders, and said, We have bound ourselves under a great curse, that we will eat nothing until we have slain Paul. 15 Now therefore ye with the council signify to the chief captain that he bring him down unto you to morrow, as though ye would inquire something more perfectly concerning him: and we, or ever he come near, are ready to kill him. 16 And when Paul's sister's son heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul. 17 Then Paul called one of the centurions unto him, and said, Bring this young man unto the chief captain: for he hath a certain thing to tell him. 18 So he took him, and brought him to the chief captain, and said, Paul the prisoner called me unto him, and prayed me to bring this young man unto thee, who hath something to say unto thee. 19 Then the chief captain took him by the hand, and went with him aside privately, and asked him, What is that thou hast to tell me? 20 And he said, The Jews have agreed to desire thee that thou wouldest bring down Paul to morrow into the council, as though they would inquire somewhat of him more perfectly. 21 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. 22 So the chief captain then let the young man depart, and charged him, See thou tell no man that thou hast shewed these things to me. 23 And he called unto him two centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night; 24 And provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor. 25 And he wrote a letter after this manner: 26 Claudius Lysias unto the most excellent governor Felix sendeth greeting. 27 This man was taken of the Jews, and should have been killed of them: then came I with an army, and rescued him, having understood that he was a Roman. 28 And when I would have known the cause wherefore they accused him, I brought him forth into their council: 29 Whom I perceived to be accused of questions of their law, but to have nothing laid to his charge worthy of death or of bonds. 30 And when it was told me how that the Jews laid wait for the man, I sent straightway to thee, and gave commandment to his accusers also to say before thee what they had against him. Farewell. 31 Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them, took Paul, and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32 On the morrow they left the horsemen to go with him, and returned to the castle: 33 Who, when they came to Caesarea, and delivered the epistle to the governor, presented Paul also before him. 34 And when the governor had read the letter, he asked of what province he was. And when he understood that he was of Cilicia; 35 I will hear thee, said he, when thine accusers are also come. And he commanded him to be kept in Herod's judgment hall.
New American Standard Bible

1 Now looking intently at the Council, Paul said, 'Brothers, I have lived my life with an entirely good conscience before God up to this day.' 2 But the high priest Ananias commanded those standing beside him to strike him on the mouth. 3 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?' 4 But those present said, 'Are you insulting God’s high priest?' 5 And Paul said, 'I was not aware, brothers, that he is high priest; for it is written: ‘YOU SHALL NOT SPEAK EVIL OF A RULER OF YOUR PEOPLE.’?'
6 But Paul, perceiving that one group were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, began crying out in the Council, 'Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!' 7 When he said this, a dissension occurred between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. 9 And a great uproar occurred; and some of the scribes of the Pharisaic party stood up and started arguing heatedly, saying, 'We find nothing wrong with this man; suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?' 10 And when a great dissension occurred, the commander was afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, and he ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force, and bring him into the barracks.
11 But on the following night, the Lord stood near him and said, 'Be courageous! For as you have testified to the truth about Me in Jerusalem, so you must testify in Rome also.'
12 When it was day, the Jews formed a conspiracy and put themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty who formed this plot. 14 They came to the chief priests and the elders and said, 'We have put ourselves under an oath to taste nothing until we have killed Paul. 15 Now therefore, you and the Council notify the commander to bring him down to you, as though you were going to investigate his case more thoroughly; and as for us, we are ready to kill him before he comes near the place.'
16 But the son of Paul’s sister heard about their ambush, and he came and entered the barracks and told Paul. 17 Paul called one of the centurions to himself and said, 'Take this young man to the commander, for he has something to report to him.' 18 So he took him and led him to the commander and *said, 'Paul the prisoner called me over to him and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.' 19 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?' 20 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. 21 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.' 22 Then the commander let the young man go, instructing him, 'Tell no one that you have notified me of these things.'
23 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.' 24 They were also to provide mounts to put Paul on and bring him safely to Felix the governor. 25 And he wrote a letter with the following content:
26 'Claudius Lysias, to the most excellent governor Felix: Greetings.
27 When this man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them, I came up to them with the troops and rescued him, after learning that he was a Roman. 28 And wanting to ascertain the basis for the charges they were bringing against him, I brought him down to their Council; 29 and I found that he was being accused regarding questions in their Law, but was not charged with anything deserving death or imprisonment.
30 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.'
31 So the soldiers, in accordance with their orders, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32 But on the next day they let the horsemen go on with him, and they returned to the barracks. 33 When these horsemen had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him. 34 Now when he had read it, he also asked from what province Paul was, and when he learned that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, 'I will give you a hearing when your accusers arrive as well,' giving orders for Paul to be kept in Herod’s Praetorium.
New Living Translation

1 Gazing intently at the high council, Paul began: 'Brothers, I have always lived before God with a clear conscience!'
2 Instantly Ananias the high priest commanded those close to Paul to slap him on the mouth. 3 But Paul said to him, 'God will slap you, you corrupt hypocrite! What kind of judge are you to break the law yourself by ordering me struck like that?'
4 Those standing near Paul said to him, 'Do you dare to insult God's high priest?'
5 'I'm sorry, brothers. I didn't realize he was the high priest,' Paul replied, 'for the Scriptures say, 'You must not speak evil of any of your rulers.''
6 Paul realized that some members of the high council were Sadducees and some were Pharisees, so he shouted, 'Brothers, I am a Pharisee, as were my ancestors! And I am on trial because my hope is in the resurrection of the dead!'
7 This divided the council--the Pharisees against the Sadducees-- 8 for the Sadducees say there is no resurrection or angels or spirits, but the Pharisees believe in all of these. 9 So there was a great uproar. Some of the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees jumped up and began to argue forcefully. 'We see nothing wrong with him,' they shouted. 'Perhaps a spirit or an angel spoke to him.' 10 As the conflict grew more violent, the commander was afraid they would tear Paul apart. So he ordered his soldiers to go and rescue him by force and take him back to the fortress.
11 That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, 'Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well.'
12 The next morning a group of Jews got together and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty of them in the conspiracy. 14 They went to the leading priests and elders and told them, 'We have bound ourselves with an oath to eat nothing until we have killed Paul. 15 So you and the high council should ask the commander to bring Paul back to the council again. Pretend you want to examine his case more fully. We will kill him on the way.'
16 But Paul's nephew--his sister's son--heard of their plan and went to the fortress and told Paul. 17 Paul called for one of the Roman officers and said, 'Take this young man to the commander. He has something important to tell him.'
18 So the officer did, explaining, 'Paul, the prisoner, called me over and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.'
19 The commander took his hand, led him aside, and asked, 'What is it you want to tell me?'
20 Paul's nephew told him, 'Some Jews are going to ask you to bring Paul before the high council tomorrow, pretending they want to get some more information. 21 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.'
22 'Don't let anyone know you told me this,' the commander warned the young man.
23 Then the commander called two of his officers and ordered, 'Get 200 soldiers ready to leave for Caesarea at nine o'clock tonight. Also take 200 spearmen and 70 mounted troops. 24 Provide horses for Paul to ride, and get him safely to Governor Felix.' 25 Then he wrote this letter to the governor:
26 'From Claudius Lysias, to his Excellency, Governor Felix: Greetings!
27 'This man was seized by some Jews, and they were about to kill him when I arrived with the troops. When I learned that he was a Roman citizen, I removed him to safety. 28 Then I took him to their high council to try to learn the basis of the accusations against him. 29 I soon discovered the charge was something regarding their religious law--certainly nothing worthy of imprisonment or death. 30 But when I was informed of a plot to kill him, I immediately sent him on to you. I have told his accusers to bring their charges before you.'
31 So that night, as ordered, the soldiers took Paul as far as Antipatris. 32 They returned to the fortress the next morning, while the mounted troops took him on to Caesarea. 33 When they arrived in Caesarea, they presented Paul and the letter to Governor Felix. 34 He read it and then asked Paul what province he was from. 'Cilicia,' Paul answered.
35 'I will hear your case myself when your accusers arrive,' the governor told him. Then the governor ordered him kept in the prison at Herod's headquarters.
Christian Standard Bible

1 Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, "Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience to this day." 2 The high priest Ananias ordered those who were standing next to him to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, "God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! You are sitting there judging me according to the law, and yet in violation of the law are you ordering me to be struck? "
4 Those standing nearby said, "Do you dare revile God's high priest? "
5 "I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest," replied Paul. "For it is written, You must not speak evil of a ruler of your people." 6 When Paul realized that one part of them were Sadducees and the other part were Pharisees, he cried out in the Sanhedrin, "Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. I am being judged because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead! " 7 When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 For the Sadducees say there is no resurrection, and neither angel nor spirit, but the Pharisees affirm them all.
9 The shouting grew loud, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees' party got up and argued vehemently, "We find nothing evil in this man. What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him? "
10 When the dispute became violent, the commander feared that Paul might be torn apart by them and ordered the troops to go down, take him away from them, and bring him into the barracks. 11 The following night, the Lord stood by him and said, "Have courage! For as you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so it is necessary for you to testify in Rome."
12 When it was morning, the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves under a curse not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty who had formed this plot. 14 These men went to the chief priests and elders and said, "We have bound ourselves under a solemn curse that we won't eat anything until we have killed Paul. 15 So now you, along with the Sanhedrin, make a request to the commander that he bring him down to you as if you were going to investigate his case more thoroughly. But, before he gets near, we are ready to kill him."
16 But the son of Paul's sister, hearing about their ambush, came and entered the barracks and reported it to Paul. 17 Paul called one of the centurions and said, "Take this young man to the commander, because he has something to report to him."
18 So he took him, brought him to the commander, and said, "The prisoner Paul called me and asked me to bring this young man to you, because he has something to tell you."
19 The commander took him by the hand, led him aside, and inquired privately, "What is it you have to report to me? "
20 "The Jews," he said, "have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the Sanhedrin tomorrow, as though they are going to hold a somewhat more careful inquiry about him. 21 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."
22 So the commander dismissed the young man and instructed him, "Don't tell anyone that you have informed me about this."
23 He summoned two of his centurions and said, "Get two hundred soldiers ready with seventy cavalry and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at nine tonight. 24 Also provide mounts to ride so that Paul may be brought safely to Felix the governor."
25 He wrote the following letter:
26 Claudius Lysias,To the most excellent governor Felix:Greetings.
27 When this man had been seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them, I arrived with my troops and rescued him because I learned that he is a Roman citizen. 28 Wanting to know the charge they were accusing him of, I brought him down before their Sanhedrin. 29 I found out that the accusations were concerning questions of their law, and that there was no charge that merited death or imprisonment. 30 When I was informed that there was a plot against the man, I sent him to you right away. I also ordered his accusers to state their case against him in your presence.
31 So the soldiers took Paul during the night and brought him to Antipatris as they were ordered. 32 The next day, they returned to the barracks, allowing the cavalry to go on with him. 33 When these men entered Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him. 34 After he read it, he asked what province he was from. When he learned he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, "I will give you a hearing whenever your accusers also get here." He ordered that he be kept under guard in Herod's palace.

What does Acts chapter 23 mean?

In Acts 23, Paul is between two difficult situations, where the solution to the first leads him into something even more dangerous. In English, this is referred to using the expression "out of the frying pan and into the fire." While Paul had been working to prove that devotion to Jesus did not eliminate his Jewish-ness, Jews from the province of Asia wrongly accused him of bringing a Gentile into the temple. Some of the crowd heard the accusations and started beating Paul while the rest of the crowd heard nothing and joined in the melee for no reason. The Roman tribune tried to uncover why the Jews have suddenly rioted by letting their victim speak. This made the mob even angrier, and the tribune had to arrest Paul to keep him safe. Once Paul was officially in custody, the tribune ordered the centurion to beat the truth out of him, not realizing Paul was a Roman citizen. Even tying Paul's hands was against the Roman law. Paul told the centurion, who informed the tribune, about his citizenship, and Paul was not examined by flogging. Instead, the tribune decided to take Paul to the Sanhedrin; maybe the Jewish leaders could explain (Acts 21:27—22:30).

Acts 23:1–11 records the fiasco that is the meeting with the Sanhedrin. Paul begins as he usually does by sincerely trying to bring Jews to understand Jesus is their Messiah. He seems to underestimate their hostility, however. He tries to defend his honor and they strike him. Incredulous, he accuses them of breaking the Mosaic law but, possibly because of his poor eyesight, he winds up deriding the high priest. He quickly realizes they're not going to listen to him, so he sets them against each other. He identifies himself as a Pharisee who believes in the resurrection of the dead. Most of the Sanhedrin are Sadducees who do not believe in a physical resurrection. The two factions turn violent, and the tribune takes Paul away for his safety. That night, Jesus tells Paul he will go to Rome.

In Acts 23:12–22, the Sanhedrin show just how unwelcome Paul is in Jerusalem. Paul's nephew overhears a murder plot made by devout Jews and supported by the chief priests and elders. He reports to Paul who tells him to speak with the tribune. The tribune swears the boy to secrecy.

Acts 23:23–35 begins Paul's two-year stay in Caesarea Maritima. Needing to protect Paul from the assassination plot, the tribune sends him with two centurions, two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to the governor's capital. He includes a letter saying the Jews attacked Paul—but he can't figure out why. Governor Felix tells Paul he will hold him until his accusers arrive and the trial begins.

In Acts 24, Felix proves to be both intelligent and corrupt. He hears the Sanhedrin's accusations and Paul's defense and, knowing about Christianity, realizes there's no charge against Paul that will stick. Even so, he decides he will profit more if he keeps Paul under house arrest. First, it will please the Jewish leaders; second, Paul may offer him a bribe. He tells Paul he will hold him until the tribune arrives with his evidence, but the tribune never comes. Two years later, when Porcius Festus is made governor, Paul is still under house arrest.