Paul Speaks to the Crowd (con’t), 1-21
Acts 22:1 “Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defence.”
My defense – ‘apologia’. This word is regularly used of Paul’s speeches before the various officials, Acts 22:1; 24:10; 25:8; 26:1, 24.
Acts 22:2 When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet. Then Paul said:
Acts 22:3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today.
Under Gamaliel – lit, ‘at the feet of’, the posture of a disciple.
Acts 22:4 I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison,
Acts 22:5 as also the high priest and all the Council can testify. I even obtained letters from them to their brothers in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.
Acts 22:6 “About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me.
Acts 22:7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’
Acts 22:8 “‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked. “‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied.
Acts 22:9 My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.
They did not understand the voice – Lit. ‘they did not hear the voice’, which differs from the account in Acts 9:7, which says that they did hear the voice. Some commentators (such as Witherington III) regard the discrepancy as trivial. Others (such as Kistemaker) think that the problem may be resolved by attending to the contexts of the two passages (although he does not say what difference the contexts actually make). Peter Enns (Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy) resists all attempts to harmonise these two statements. He points, rather, to Luke’s possible purpose in reporting them in two slightly different ways. In the present verse, Luke may wish to present Paul as an accredited prophet like Ezekiel (Eze 1:28) and Daniel (Dan 10:5-14). There was not such a need with regard to Luke’s account in Acts 9, and this may explain the different ways of reporting the same incident.
Bede: ‘The earlier story of this vision relates that his companions stood “stunned, hearing indeed the voice but seeing no one.” Hence it can be inferred that they heard the sound of a garbled voice, but they did not hear the distinct words.’
According to Peterson (Pillar New Testament Commentary), thinks that there is a difference in meaning between the expressions used in the two passages. In Acts 9:7, they ‘heard the sound’ (akouontes men tēs phōnēs), and in the present verse they ‘did not understand the voice of him who was speaking’ (tēn de phōnēn ouk ēkousan tou lalountos). ‘However, both narratives are stressing that Paul’s companions shared to some extent in the experience, while not enjoying the full revelation granted to Paul.’
Acts 22:10 “‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked. “‘Get up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’
Acts 22:11 My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.
Acts 22:12 “A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there.
Acts 22:13 He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him.
Acts 22:14 “Then he said: ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth.
Acts 22:15 You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.
Acts 22:16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptised and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’
Acts 22:17 “When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance
Acts 22:18 and saw the Lord speaking. ‘Quick!’ he said to me. ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’
Acts 22:19 “‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these men know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you.
Acts 22:20 And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’
Acts 22:21 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”
Paul the Roman Citizen, 22-29
Acts 22:22 The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!”
Acts 22:23 As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air,
There is something quite comical in the spectacle of a crowd of people whose pent-up frustration has reached such a pitch that it is expressed in waving their cloaks and throwing dust into the air.
Acts 22:24 the commander ordered Paul to be taken into the barracks. He directed that he be flogged and questioned in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this.
Acts 22:25 As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”
Acts 22:26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it. “What are you going to do?” he asked. “This man is a Roman citizen.”
Acts 22:27 The commander went to Paul and asked, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” “Yes, I am,” he answered.
Acts 22:28 Then the commander said, “I had to pay a big price for my citizenship.” “But I was born a citizen,” Paul replied.
“I had to pay a big price for my citizenship” –
‘Hemer (p. 170) notes the passage (Acts 22.28) in which a Roman commander, surprised that Paul is a Roman citizen, says that he himself bought his freedom (citizenship) at a great price. Hemer first points out (a fact that makes it into some Bible footnotes) that the sale of citizenship was a well-known feature of the reign of the Emperor Claudius. (By Hemer’s chronology, this scene in Acts took place about three years after the end of Claudius’s reign.) This is interesting in itself, but there is more. The commander’s name is Claudius Lysias (Acts 23.26) which Hemer says may well attest to his attaining his citizenship under Claudius. Most striking of all, the Roman historian Dio Cassius records that the cost of purchasing citizenship went down in the course of the reign of Claudius. Says Hemer, “This man … had presumably gained his rights early in the reign, and had seen his pride reduced by Claudius’ later practice, and his remark reflects this.” Such a wealth of indirect historical confirmation of a single remark in Acts is truly remarkable.’ (McGrew, Lydia. Hidden In Plain View: Undesigned Coincidences in the Gospels and Acts. DeWard Publishing Company, Ltd.. Kindle Edition.)
Acts 22:29 Those who were about to question him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realised that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains.
Before the Sanhedrin, 30-23:11
Acts 22:30 The next day, since the commander wanted to find out exactly why Paul was being accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the Sanhedrin to assemble. Then he brought Paul and had him stand before them.