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23 Paul stared at the Jewish council and said, “Brothers, my relationship with God has always given me a perfectly clear conscience.”

The chief priest Ananias ordered the men standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you hypocrite! You sit there and judge me by Moses’ Teachings and yet you break those teachings by ordering these men to strike me!”

The men standing near Paul said to him, “You’re insulting God’s chief priest!”

Paul answered, “Brothers, I didn’t know that he is the chief priest. After all, Scripture says, ‘Don’t speak evil about a ruler of your people.’ ”

When Paul saw that some of them were Sadducees and others were Pharisees, he shouted in the council, “Brothers, I’m a Pharisee and a descendant of Pharisees. I’m on trial because I expect that the dead will come back to life.”

After Paul said that, the Pharisees and Sadducees began to quarrel, and the men in the meeting were divided. (The Sadducees say that the dead won’t come back to life and that angels and spirits don’t exist. The Pharisees believe in all these things.) The shouting became very loud. Some of the experts in Moses’ Teachings were Pharisees who argued their position forcefully. They said, “We don’t find anything wrong with this man. Maybe a spirit or an angel actually spoke to him!”

10 The quarrel was becoming violent, and the officer was afraid that they would tear Paul to pieces. So the officer ordered his soldiers to drag Paul back to the barracks.

11 The Lord stood near Paul the next night and said to him, “Don’t lose your courage! You’ve told the truth about me in Jerusalem. Now you must tell the truth about me in Rome.”

Some Jews Plot to Kill Paul

12 In the morning the Jews formed a conspiracy. They asked God to curse them if they ate or drank anything before they had killed Paul. 13 More than forty men took part in this plot.

14 They went to the chief priests and leaders ⌞of the people⌟ and said, “We’ve asked God to curse us if we taste any food before we’ve killed Paul. 15 Here’s our plan: You and the council must go to the Roman officer on the pretext that you need more information from Paul. You have to make it look as though you want to get more accurate information about him. We’ll be ready to kill him before he gets to you.”

16 But Paul’s nephew heard about the ambush. He entered the barracks and told Paul. 17 Then Paul called one of the sergeants and told him, “Take this young man to the officer. He has something to tell him.”

18 The sergeant took the young man to the officer and said, “The prisoner Paul called me. He asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.”

19 The officer took the young man by the arm, went where they could be alone, and asked him, “What do you have to tell me?”

20 The young man answered, “The Jews have planned to ask you to bring Paul to the Jewish council tomorrow. They’re going to make it look as though they want more accurate information about him. 21 Don’t let them persuade you to do this. More than forty of them are planning to ambush him. They have asked God to curse them if they eat or drink anything before they have murdered him. They are ready now and are expecting you to promise ⌞that you will bring Paul⌟.”

22 The officer dismissed the young man and ordered him not to tell this information to anyone else.

23 Then the officer summoned two of his sergeants and told them, “I want 200 infantrymen, 70 soldiers on horseback, and 200 soldiers with spears. Have them ready to go to Caesarea at nine o’clock tonight. 24 Provide an animal for Paul to ride, and take him safely to Governor Felix.” 25 The officer wrote a letter to the governor with the following message:

26 Claudius Lysias sends greetings to Your Excellency, Governor Felix:

27 The Jews had seized this man and were going to murder him. When I found out that he was a Roman citizen, I went with my soldiers to rescue him. 28 I wanted to know what they had against him. So I took him to their Jewish council 29 and found their accusations had to do with disputes about their own laws. He wasn’t accused of anything for which he deserved to die or to be put into prison. 30 Since I was informed that there was a plot against this man, I immediately sent him to you. I have also ordered his accusers to state their case against him in front of you.

31 So the infantrymen did as they had been ordered. They took Paul to the city of Antipatris during the night. 32 They returned to their barracks the next day and let the soldiers on horseback travel with Paul. 33 When the soldiers arrived in the city of Caesarea with Paul, they delivered the letter to the governor and handed Paul over to him.

34 After the governor had read the letter, he asked Paul which province he was from. When he found out that Paul was from the province of Cilicia, 35 he said, “I’ll hear your case when your accusers arrive.” Then the governor gave orders to keep Paul under guard in Herod’s palace.

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