Acts 9:14 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 9:14, NIV: And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.'

Acts 9:14, ESV: And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.”

Acts 9:14, KJV: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.

Acts 9:14, NASB: and here he has authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on Your name.'

Acts 9:14, NLT: And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.'

Acts 9:14, CSB: And he has authority here from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name."

What does Acts 9:14 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Ananias is in Damascus, 133 miles north of Jerusalem and the Sanhedrin—the Jewish ruling council. He, apparently, is a Gentile who worshiped the Jewish God before trusting in Jesus (Acts 22:12). Saul, a young Jewish man from the city of Tarsus, gained authority from the Sanhedrin to arrest Jesus-followers in Jerusalem. As his persecution increased, the Christians fled (Acts 8:1–3). Some came to Damascus and told Ananias what had happened.

The Sanhedrin was comprised of elders, priests, and scribes. The position of "chief priest" is not ordained in the Hebrew Scriptures. All qualified descendants of Aaron were to be priests, and there was to be one "high priest" at a time. In the four hundred years between Malachi's prophecies and the birth of Jesus, the priesthood became more politicized. They still had a single high priest, but other priests who were high ranking and served on the Sanhedrin came to be known as "chief priests." When Ananias says "chief priests," he is using shorthand for the entire Sanhedrin.

How did the Sanhedrin get the power over Jews outside of Judea and Samaria? At this time, Damascus belongs to either Syria or Nabataea, or it might possibly be a semi-independent city. When the Hasmonaeans won Jewish independence in 142 BC, the Romans ordered neighboring states to extradite any Jew in their territory whom the Jewish government demanded. In 47 BC, when Israel was under Roman rule, Julius Caesar confirmed this policy. The Sanhedrin had the authority to send representatives to bring back Jewish fugitives or immigrants to other Roman territories who had broken Jewish law. Whether Damascus belongs to Syria or Nabataea or is its own loose conglomeration, as part of the Roman Empire it is legally required to extradite Jews who now follow Jesus.