23 Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin(A) and said, “My brothers,(B) I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience(C) to this day.” At this the high priest Ananias(D) ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth.(E) Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall!(F) You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!”(G)

Those who were standing near Paul said, “How dare you insult God’s high priest!”

Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.’[a](H)

Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees(I) and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers,(J) I am a Pharisee,(K) descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.”(L) When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection,(M) and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees believe all these things.)

There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees(N) stood up and argued vigorously. “We find nothing wrong with this man,”(O) they said. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?”(P) 10 The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.(Q)

11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage!(R) As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”(S)

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Footnotes

  1. Acts 23:5 Exodus 22:28

Cities of Refuge(A)

20 Then the Lord said to Joshua: “Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses, so that anyone who kills a person accidentally and unintentionally(B) may flee there and find protection from the avenger of blood.(C) When they flee to one of these cities, they are to stand in the entrance of the city gate(D) and state their case before the elders(E) of that city. Then the elders are to admit the fugitive into their city and provide a place to live among them. If the avenger of blood comes in pursuit, the elders must not surrender the fugitive, because the fugitive killed their neighbor unintentionally and without malice aforethought. They are to stay in that city until they have stood trial before the assembly(F) and until the death of the high priest who is serving at that time. Then they may go back to their own home in the town from which they fled.”

So they set apart Kedesh(G) in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, Shechem(H) in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath Arba(I) (that is, Hebron(J)) in the hill country of Judah.(K) East of the Jordan (on the other side from Jericho) they designated Bezer(L) in the wilderness on the plateau in the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead(M) in the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan(N) in the tribe of Manasseh. Any of the Israelites or any foreigner residing among them who killed someone accidentally(O) could flee to these designated cities and not be killed by the avenger of blood prior to standing trial before the assembly.(P)