After arriving in Jerusalem, Paul went to see James and told him and the elders about his travels and the many Gentile conversions, for which they glorified God. They then asked Paul to demonstrate that he was not preaching that Jews had to become like Gentiles and give up all of their customs in order to be a Christian, as many were falsely reporting. So Paul participated with four men under a vow in a purification ritual. This event is the subject of much confusion and controversy. But it does not have to be. Paul never preached that Jews had to give up their entire way of life or never participate in any ritual or feast (remember Romans 14 and 15), nor that they should not circumcise their young. Remember that he circumcised Timothy to avoid offending the Jews they were going to visit in Acts 16:3.
But still Paul was arrested, having been dragged from the temple first and beaten by a mob that had gone wild with accusations and fervor. Until Paul spoke Greek to him, the tribune that arrested him was under the impression that he was an Egyptian revolutionary (verse 38). The event he mentions in that verse was written about by the historian, Josephus. At Paul’s urging, the tribune allows him to speak to the mob; and he does so in Hebrew, as the chapter closes.
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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.