16 It happened that as we were on our way to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave-girl who had [a]a spirit of divination [that is, a demonic spirit claiming to foretell the future and discover hidden knowledge], and she brought her owners a good profit by fortune-telling. 17 She followed after Paul and us and kept screaming and shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God! They are proclaiming to you the way of salvation!” 18 She continued doing this for several days. Then Paul, being greatly annoyed and worn out, turned and said to the spirit [inside her], “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ [as His representative] to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment.
19 But when her owners saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities in the market place [where trials were held], 20 and when they had brought them before the chief magistrates, they said, “These men, who are Jews, are throwing our city into confusion and causing trouble. 21 They are publicly teaching customs which are unlawful for us, as Romans, to accept or observe.”
Paul and Silas Imprisoned
22 The crowd also joined in the attack against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and ordered that Paul and Silas be beaten with rods.23 After striking them many times [with the rods], they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely. 24 He, having received such a [strict] command, threw them into the inner prison (dungeon) and fastened their feet in the stocks [in an agonizing position].
25 But about midnight when Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; 26 suddenly there was a great earthquake, so [powerful] that the very foundations of the prison were shaken and at once all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. 27 When the jailer, shaken out of sleep, saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, thinking that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, saying, “Do not hurt yourself, we are all here!” 29 Then the jailer called for torches and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 and after he brought them out [of the inner prison], he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
Acts 16:16Lit a python spirit. In Greek mythology, Python the earth-dragon (serpent goddess), was associated with the oracle at Delphi.
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