Paul, having been arrested and beaten, had at the close of chapter 22 convinced the Roman tribune to allow him to speak to the mob. When he spoke in Hebrew, it settled them down and they listened. He then gave them a history of himself as a Jew, “educated at the feet of Gamaliel” (a Pharisee and renowned teacher, who was also a member of the Sanhedrin council – see Acts 5:34). He also recounted his own persecution of Christians and the “Way ” (see previous post here for more information on “the Way”); and then told of his encounter with the Lord in Acts 9:3-8, in which he was blinded. The re-telling of that event here in verses 6-11 is not contradictory at all, despite what some say. Those who were with Paul on that road could hear what was said, but were not made to understand.
Paul then turns to Ananias restoring his sight and his subsequent baptism in verses 12-16. But when he told them of his encounter with the Lord, and how He had told Paul that He was sending him to the Gentiles (verses 17-21), the crowd became wild with anger again. The tribune ordered him to be flogged in order to find out why they were shouting out against him. But as he was stretched out, Paul told the tribune that he was a Roman citizen by birth (verses 25-28); and the Roman tribune became fearful (Roman law forbade flogging a Roman citizen without a hearing or a formal condemnation). So in verse 30, the chapter ends with the tribune having Paul brought before the Sanhedrin, since scourging was not an option.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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