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Going to Jerusalem Despite Warnings

21 After tearing ourselves away from them and setting sail, we set a straight course to Cos, the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. Finding a ship crossing to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail. When we came in sight of Cyprus, passing it by on the left, we kept sailing to Syria and landed at Tyre—for there the ship was to unload the cargo. We looked up the disciples and stayed there seven days. They kept telling Paul through the Ruach not to set foot in Jerusalem.

When our days there were over, we departed and went on our journey. They all, with wives and children, accompanied us until we were outside the city. After kneeling down on the shore and praying, we said farewell to one another. Then we boarded the ship, and they returned home.

When we had finished the trip from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais. We greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed with them for one day. On the next day, we departed and came to Caesarea. We entered the home of Philip, the proclaimer of Good News, who was one of the seven, and we stayed with him. Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.

10 While we stayed there for a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 He came to us, took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet, and said, “The Ruach ha-Kodesh says this: ‘In this way shall the Jewish people in Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’”

12 When we heard these things, both we and the local people urged Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul responded, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but to die for the name of the Lord Yeshua!”

14 Since he would not be persuaded, we fell silent, saying only, “May the Lord’s will be done.”

15 After these days, we packed and started going up to Jerusalem. 16 Some of the disciples from Caesarea also went with us, bringing us to Mnason of Cyprus—one of the early disciples by whom we might be hosted.

Advice from Jacob and the Elders

17 When we arrived in Jerusalem, the brothers and sisters welcomed us gladly. 18 On the next day, Paul went in with us to Jacob; all the elders were present. 19 After greeting them, he reported to them in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his service. 20 And when they heard, they began glorifying God.

They said, “You see, brother, how many myriads there are among the Jewish people who have believed—and they are all zealous for the Torah. 21 They have been told about you—that you teach all the Jewish people among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or to walk according to the customs. 22 What’s to be done then? No doubt they will hear that you have come.

23 “So do what we tell you. We have four men who have a vow on themselves. [a] 24 Take them, and purify yourself[b] along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. That way, all will realize there is nothing to the things they have been told about you, but that you yourself walk in an orderly manner, keeping the Torah.

25 “As for Gentiles who have believed, however, we have written by letter what we decided—for them to abstain from what is offered to idols, and from blood, and from what is strangled, and from immorality.”

26 The next day Paul took the men, purifying himself along with them. He went into the Temple, announcing when the days of purification would be completed and the sacrifice would be offered for each one of them.

Trouble at the Temple

27 When the seven days were about to be completed, the Jewish leaders from Asia[c] saw Paul in the Temple and began stirring up the whole crowd. They grabbed him, 28 shouting, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching all men everywhere against our people and the Torah and this place. Besides, he has even brought Greeks into the Temple and defiled[d] this holy place!”

29 For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, and they assumed that Paul had brought him into the Temple. 30 The whole city was stirred up, and the people rushed together. They grabbed Paul and dragged him out of the Temple, and the gates were shut at once.

31 As they were trying to kill him, news came to the commander of the cohort that all Jerusalem was in chaos. 32 Immediately he took soldiers and centurions and rushed down to them. Upon seeing the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 Then the commander came up, arrested Paul, ordered him to be bound with two chains, and began investigating what he had done. 34 Some in the crowd shouted one thing, and some another. As he could not determine the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into headquarters.

35 When he came to the steps, he had to be carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd. 36 For the multitude of people that followed kept shouting, “Away with him!”

37 As Paul was about to be brought into the headquarters, he said to the commander, “Can I say something to you?”

The commander said, “You know Greek? 38 Then you’re not the Egyptian who stirred up a rebellion some time ago—and led four thousand men of the Assassins out into the desert?”

39 Paul said, “I am a Jewish man from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city. I beg you, let me speak to the people.”

40 When the commander had given him permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the people with his hand. When there was a great hush, he spoke to them in Aramaic,[e] saying:


  1. Acts 21:24 cf. Num. 6:13-21.
  2. Acts 21:24 cf. Num. 19:17-22; Acts 24:18.
  3. Acts 21:27 The Roman province of Asia, in the western part of Asia Minor (now part of Turkey).
  4. Acts 21:28 Lit. made common or unholy; cf. Lev. 10:10.
  5. Acts 21:40 Lit. the Hebrew dialect.