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.
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.