The narrative today is pretty easy to follow so there will be just a few background tidbits.
The High Priest Ananias
According to the historian Josephus, Ananias was described as "insolent, hot-tempered, profane, and greedy." He illegally commanded that Paul be struck. In Jewish law a man was innocent until proven guilty.
The Pharisees versus the Sadducees
Paul divided his enemies by stating his "hope in the resurrection of the dead" (23:6). The Pharisees believed in a bodily resurrection while the Sadducees did not because they only adhered to Genesis through Deuteronomy, and this part of Scripture contained no teaching on the resurrection. Paul was a Pharisee. So, the Pharisees defended him.
In the letter of Claudius Lysias to Governor Felix, he admits that Paul was not guilty of anything worthy of death or imprisonment (23:29). This is true throughout the book of Acts with Gallio (18:14-15), the city heads of Ephesus (19:40), Pharisees (23:9), Festus (25:25), and Herod Agrippa II (26:31-32).
The terrain between Jerusalem and Antipatris (23:31) near Joppa would have been perfect for an ambush. The forced march was about 35 miles. It was 27 more miles to Caesarea (23:33), and the terrain was not as dangerous.
Thank You for the bold example of Paul. Give us that kind of boldness and give us Your words and wisdom when under attack. Amen.
|Another geographical place mentioned was Paul's home province of Cilicia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Anatolia_Ancient_Regions_base.svg|
We will talk about Felix tomorrow.