Paul and Agrippa – Acts 26

Coin of Porcius Festus

Coin of Porcius Festus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the chapter opens, Agrippa has given Paul permission to speak in his defense. In verses 2-3, Paul speaks of feeling fortunate to be appearing before Agrippa, since he was familiar with “the customs and controversies of the Jews.” In fact, Agrippa’s reputation was that of a pious Jew, though much of the rest of his reputation was not so good. Still, he was (like his uncle Herod) in control of the temple treasury, and the Romans consulted him on religious matters.

Paul then tells Agrippa of his persecution of Christians before his conversion, then gives us the third account in this book of his vision – his encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus (the other two being in Acts 9 and Acts 22), and ending with the charge that Jesus gave him (verses 15-18). From this chapter’s account, we have more details about what Jesus said to him on that first occasion. “To kick against the goads” in verse 14 is an old proverbial saying that refers to use of a pointed instrument to prod oxen as they plowed. A stubborn ox that continued to kick would only injure itself if it continued to do so – making its resistance futile.

Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Good King Josiah – 2 Chronicles 34

English: Josias-Josiah was a king of Judah (64...

English: Josias-Josiah was a king of Judah (641–609 BC) who instituted major reforms. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Josiah began his reign at the age of eight. By the time he was twelve he had begun his purge of Judah and Jerusalem. He tore down the high places, the Asherim,, and the carved images. He chopped down the altars of the Baals. After breaking down the Asherim and the carved images into powder, he scattered the dust over the graves of those who had served them. Verse 5 says that “he also burned the bones of the priests on their altars and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.”

He sent officials into the house of the Lord to repair it, and they found that the Levites had still been collecting money from the people. They used it to pay builders and carpenters in the effort. Then Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord. It was brought to the king, and when he read it, he tore his clothes. Having discovered what the Law said, he told Hilkiah and those with him to inquire of the Lord concerning the Law. He knew that God’s wrath was upon them because of the evil their fathers had done.

Hilkiah went to Huldah the prophetess, who prophesied disaster for the people. But God told Josiah that because he had humbled himself, he would go to his grave in peace, without seeing the destruction to come. Josiah had the Law read to the people and he made a covenant with the Lord and brought the people into it. They served God all the days of Josiah’s life.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 


 

 

 

 

Festus Meets with Agrippa II and Bernice – Acts 25

Herod Agrippa II was the seventh and last king...

Herod Agrippa II was the seventh and last king of the family of Herod the Great, thus last of the Herodians. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After some days, Festus met with King Agrippa II and his sister, Bernice, who was always by his side (one of his other siblings was Drusilla, who was the wife of Festus’ predecessor, Felix). This Agrippa was educated in the court of the emperor Claudius, and was the son of Herod Agrippa I, who in Acts 12:1-3 had the Apostle James killed and Peter arrested, and who the Lord stuck down dead in Acts 12:21-23. He was also the great-grandson of Herod the Great – who had ordered the killing of all the male children of the region around Bethlehem when Jesus was born. As Festus laid out the case against Paul, he concluded by surmising that the matter was a dispute about their religion, and the death of “a certain Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive” (verse 19).

The next day, Festus introduced Paul, saying in a nutshell that (interestingly enough) he had found no charge deserving of death for Paul, and therefore he thought it wise to have him appear to Agrippa, so that maybe he (Festus) would have “something to write” before sending him to Caesar.

Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Chief Priests Try to Get Paul Sent back to Jerusalem- Acts 25

Antonius Felix was the Roman procurator of Iud...

Antonius Felix was the Roman procurator of Iudaea Province 52-58, in succession to Ventidius Cumanus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Antonius Felix was replaced by Porcius Festus as the Roman procurator of Judea from about 59 to 62 AD. During his reign, hostility to Roman rule was heating to a fevered pitch, preceding the “Great Revolt” (the Jewish-Roman war of AD 66) that ended with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Wasting no time after Festus assumed his role, verse 2 says that “the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews laid out their case against Paul,” trying to persuade him to send Paul to Jerusalem so they could ambush him.

These “chief priests and principal men” were most likely of the Sanhedrin, and had conspired with more than 40 others to kill Paul in Acts 23:12-15. In verse 9, Festus was ready to send Paul to Jerusalem as a favor to the Jews, when Paul invoked his right as a Roman citizen to appeal to Caesar.

Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

The Miserable Reign of Manasseh – 2 Chronicles 33

Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king after the death of his father, Hezekiah. As good as his father was for Judah, Manasseh was evil in kind. He rebuilt all the high places that his father destroyed, and he erected altars for worship of the Baals, and made Asheroth. He even burned his own sons as an offering in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom. Recall that practices such as these were the very reason that God gave the Canaanites over to the Israelites in the first place. He also used fortune-telling and omens and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. The kingdom had sunk to its lowest point, it seemed. The wrath of God burned hot. To make matters worse, he set a carved image of an idol in the house of the Lord.

Then God sent the Assyrians, and they captured him with hooks and bound him with chains, taking him to Babylon. Then incredibly, Manasseh had a change of heart and repented in prayer to God. God was moved by his pleas and restored him to Jerusalem. After this, he built an outer wall for the city, and he took away all of the idols, including the one he had placed in the house of the Lord. He tore down the altars and threw them all outside the city. Then he commanded the people to worship God. But they still sacrificed at the high places, but only to God.

It is worth noting that if God can forgive evil as Manasseh had done, he will forgive anyone with a repentant heart.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 


 

 

 

 

Felix Keeps Paul in Prison – Acts 24

Coin of Porcius Festus

Coin of Porcius Festus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Felix gave him his turn, Paul laid out his defense in verses 10-21, methodically disputing the accusations with the obvious truth – which his accusers were unable to counter. In verse 14, he “confesses” that he is a part of “the Way” (which Tertullus called “the sect of the Nazarenes,”), through which he worships “the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.” Thus, Paul not only makes the case that he is a “good Jew,” but that Christianity is God’s divine will.

Felix seemed to be aware of Paul’s innocence, but was more interested in the possibility of getting some money from him over a period of time (verse 26), as well as garnering support from the Jews. After two years had passed, he left Paul in prison as a favor to them when he was replaced by Porcius Festus.

Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Paul Before Felix – Acts 24

Antonius Felix was the Roman procurator of Iud...

Antonius Felix was the Roman procurator of Iudaea Province 52-58, in succession to Ventidius Cumanus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having been escorted to Caesarea on the order of Lysias, the Roman tribune, Paul finally appears before Felix after Ananias and the rest of his accusers arrive. Not much is known about the “spokesman,” Tertullus. Some suppose that he may have been a both a Gentile (ironic) and a lawyer. When he addresses Felix, he begins by flattering him with praise about his reforms and the “peace” they enjoy. This was utter nonsense!

Antonius Felix is remembered today for his cruelty, bribe-taking, and general corruption; and the crime rate soared under his reign in Judea. When he went back to Rome after his tenure, he was accused of using a dispute between Jews and Syrians to murder and pillage numbers of the people of Caesarea. He escaped prosecution thanks to his brother, Marcus Antonius Pallas, who had been the secretary of treasury to Emperor Claudius.

Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Hezekiah and Sennacherib – 2 Chronicles 31-32

The Taylor Prism from the Neo-Assyrian empire ...

The Taylor Prism from the Neo-Assyrian empire tells the story of king Sennacherib’s third campaign and includes descriptions of his conquests in Judah, some of which are described from another point of view in the old testament of the Bible. This picture has been assembled from File:Taylor Prism-1.jpg and File:Taylor Prism-2.jpg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After the temple was restored, the people of Israel went out into the cities of Judah and tore down the Asherim and the high places throughout Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim , and Manasseh. Then they returned to their own cities. Hezekiah then had the priests and Levites divided up according to their service. He made his own contribution for the offerings; and then he had the people resume the practice of tithing and bringing their firstfruits for the priests and the Levites. Because God had blessed the people richly, the contributions were so plentiful, that there was a great abundance over what was needed. Because of Hezekiah’s leadership,  the people prospered greatly.

In chapter 32, Sennacherib of Assyria came and invaded Judah. And Hezekiah had the people go to all of the springs and the brook that ran through the area and stopped the water from flowing — thereby depriving Sennacherib‘s army the benefit of the water. He then had the walls rebuilt and towers erected upon them; and he had them make weapons and shields. He spoke encouragingly to the people and told them the same thing that Moses and Joshua had told the people so long ago — “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him.” He assured them that God was with them, and the people were comforted.

Sennacherib sent servants and wrote letters to mock God, trying to discourage and dismay the people. Then God sent an angel, who struck down his forces. Sennacherib returned to his land defeated, and was killed by his own sons. Hezekiah became very sick, and he prayed to God and was delivered from death. But his heart grew proud and he brought wrath upon the people until he humbled himself. Hezekiah and the people prospered greatly until his death. And then his son Manasseh reigned.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 


 

 

 

 

Plot to Kill Paul – Acts 23

English: folio 11 recto of the codex with the ...

English: folio 11 recto of the codex with the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Appearing before the Sanhedrin, Paul’s statement that set in motion the rage there was “brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial;” and every word of it was true. Paul had been raised a Pharisee (Philippians 3:5-9), and it was indeed because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the hope, that he was on trial. The following night, the Lord stood by him for encouragement and told him that he must go to Rome to testify the facts about Him (verse 11).

The Jews then sensed that Paul’s fate was slipping away, so more than forty of them conspired to kill him, taking an oath not to eat or drink until they had done so. Such an oath was a serious matter – not made flippantly (and reminds us of Jezebel in 1 Kings 19:2). Verse 14 leaves no doubt of the extent of corruption there, as we learn that the chief priests and elders were involved in this despicable plot. But Paul’s sister learned of the plot and sent her son to warn him. Paul then sends his nephew to tell the tribune (whose name we learn in verse 26 is Claudius Lysias). Lysias then composed a letter to Felix the governor (verse 26-30), putting himself, of course, in a favorable light. At his orders, Paul gets an escort of two hundred soldiers to deliver him and the letter to Antipatris by the dark of night. Upon reading the letter and questioning Paul as to his birthplace, he ordered Paul held in Herod’s praetorium (one of Herod’s palaces that the governor used for his quarters), as he awaits his accusers for a hearing.

Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Paul Before the Sanhedrin – Acts 23

English: St. Paul. From the Acts of the Apostl...

English: St. Paul. From the Acts of the Apostles printed in , Georgia, in 1709 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paul had just begun to speak to the Sanhedrin council, when the high priest unlawfully ordered him to be struck (it was unlawful to strike a man who had not yet been condemned). Paul correctly predicts Ananias’ demise in verse 3, as he will be killed by his own people at the start of the Jewish war. There are a lot of theories (total speculation, of course) about verses 4-5 and Paul’s disrespect for Ananias, but whatever the case, we should take Paul at his word that he did not know who he was addressing. It is noteworthy, however, how quick they were to point out that fact, yet ignore the willful violation made against Paul. At that point, he would have no question (if there was doubt before) about whether he would receive a fair hearing from them.

Paul then uses the fact that the Sanhedrin council was made up of both Pharisees and Sadducees to his advantage.  The Sadducees did not believe in resurrection, but the Pharisees did – and the division between them because of it was great.  Paul’s statement in verse 6 makes that division so sharp that it became violent.  The Roman tribune then feared that Paul would be torn to pieces, and had the soldiers remove him and take him to the barracks.

Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.