Acts 24:7

KJV But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands,

What does Acts 24:7 mean?

This verse, along with the last part of Acts 24:6 and the first part of verse 8, is not found in the oldest, most reliable manuscripts. Acts 24:7 reads: "But Lysias the commander came along and took him out of our hands with much violence" (NASB).

The speaker is Tertullus, a lawyer hired by the Sanhedrin to convince Governor Felix that Paul regularly incites riots against the empire and nearly desecrated a religious structure—a crime punishable by death according to Roman law. Tertullus is telling the story of when Paul arrived at the temple about a week prior.

What really happened is that Paul was trying to fulfill a Jewish ceremony to prove he still values Judaism and would never teach Jews they do not have to follow the Mosaic law, as he'd been accused of (Acts 21:20–24). When Paul arrived at the temple, Jews from the province of Asia in southwest modern-day Turkey assumed he had brought his Gentile friend Trophimus with him. In response they dragged Paul from the temple and incited a mob to beat him almost to death. Lysias, the Roman army tribune, heard of the melee and sent soldiers to rescue Paul (Acts 21:27–36). The event did, indeed, include "much violence," but on the part of the Jews not the Roman guards.

Acts 24:6–8, with the unfounded portion italicized in brackets, reads:
"And he even tried to desecrate the temple, so indeed we arrested him. [We wanted to judge him according to our own Law. But Lysias the commander came along and took him out of our hands with much violence, ordering his accusers to come before you.] By interrogating him yourself concerning all these matters, you will be able to ascertain the things of which we are accusing him" (NASB).
The accusation infers Lysias violently interfered in a religious matter over which the Sanhedrin had control and jurisdiction. The fact that Lysias is not there to defend himself is rather convenient.
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