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.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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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.