Paul looked steadily at the Sanhedrin and began to speak, 'My brothers, to this day I have conducted myself before God with a perfectly clear conscience.'
At this the high priest Ananias ordered his attendants to strike him on the mouth.
Then Paul said to him, 'God will surely strike you, you whitewashed wall! How can you sit there to judge me according to the Law, and then break the Law by ordering a man to strike me?'
The attendants said, 'Are you insulting the high priest of God?
Paul answered, 'Brothers, I did not realise it was the high priest; certainly scripture says, "You will not curse your people's leader." '
Now Paul was well aware that one party was made up of Sadducees and the other of Pharisees, so he called out in the Sanhedrin, 'Brothers, I am a Pharisee and the son of Pharisees. It is for our hope in the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.'
As soon as he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was split between the two parties.
For the Sadducees say there is neither resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, while the Pharisees accept all three.
The shouting grew louder, and some of the scribes from the Pharisees' party stood up and protested strongly, 'We find nothing wrong with this man. Suppose a spirit has spoken to him, or an angel?'
Feeling was running high, and the tribune, afraid that they would tear Paul to pieces, ordered his troops to go down and haul him out and bring him into the fortress.
Next night, the Lord appeared to him and said, 'Courage! You have borne witness for me in Jerusalem, now you must do the same in Rome.'
When it was day, the Jews held a secret meeting at which they made a vow not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul.
More than forty of them entered this pact,
and they went to the chief priests and elders and told them, 'We have made a solemn vow to let nothing pass our lips until we have killed Paul.
Now it is up to you and the Sanhedrin together to apply to the tribune to bring him down to you, as though you meant to examine his case more closely; we, on our side, are prepared to dispose of him before he reaches you.'
But the son of Paul's sister heard of the ambush they were laying and made his way into the fortress and told Paul,
who called one of the centurions and said, 'Take this young man to the tribune; he has something to tell him.'
So the man took him to the tribune, and reported, 'The prisoner Paul summoned me and requested me to bring this young man to you; he has something to tell you.'
Then the tribune took him by the hand and drew him aside and questioned him in private, 'What is it you have to tell me?'
He replied, 'The Jews have made a plan to ask you to take Paul down to the Sanhedrin tomorrow, as though they meant to enquire more closely into his case.
Do not believe them. There are more than forty of them lying in wait for him, and they have vowed not to eat or drink until they have got rid of him. They are ready now and only waiting for your order to be given.'
The tribune let the young man go with this order, 'Tell no one that you have given me this information.'
Then he summoned two of the centurions and said, 'Get two hundred soldiers ready to leave for Caesarea by the third hour of the night with seventy cavalry and two hundred auxiliaries;
provide horses for Paul, and deliver him unharmed to Felix the governor.'
He also wrote a letter in these terms:
'Claudius Lysias to his Excellency the governor Felix, greetings.
This man had been seized by the Jews and would have been murdered by them; but I came on the scene with my troops and got him away, having discovered that he was a Roman citizen.
Wanting to find out what charge they were making against him, I brought him before their Sanhedrin.
I found that the accusation concerned disputed points of their Law, but that there was no charge deserving death or imprisonment.
Acting on information that there was a conspiracy against the man, I hasten to send him to you, and have notified his accusers that they must state their case against him in your presence.'
The soldiers carried out their orders; they took Paul and escorted him by night to Antipatris.
Next day they left the mounted escort to go on with him and returned to the fortress.
On arriving at Caesarea the escort delivered the letter to the governor and handed Paul over to him.
When he had read it, he asked Paul what province he came from. Learning that he was from Cilicia he said,
'I will hear your case as soon as your accusers are here too.' Then he ordered him to be held in Herod's praetorium.
The New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) is a Catholic translation of the Bible published in 1985. The New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) has become the most widely used Roman Catholic Bible outside of the United States. It has the imprimatur of Cardinal George Basil Hume.
Like its predecessor, the Jerusalem Bible, the New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) version is translated "directly from the Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic." The 1973 French translation, the Bible de Jerusalem, is followed only "where the text admits to more than one interpretation." Introductions and notes, with some modifications, are taken from the Bible de Jerusalem.
Source: The Very Reverend Dom (Joseph) Henry Wansbrough, OSB, MA (Oxon), STL (Fribourg), LSS (Rome), a monk of Ampleforth Abbey and a biblical scholar. He was General Editor of the New Jerusalem Bible. "New Jerusalem Bible, Regular Edition", pg. v.
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