Acts 21J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
The brothers at Tyre warn Paul not to go to Jerusalem
21 1-11 When we had finally said farewell to them we set sail, running a straight course to Cos, and the next day we went to Rhodes and from there to Patara. Here we found a ship bound for Phoenicia, and we went aboard her and set sail. After sighting Cyprus and leaving it on our left we sailed to Syria and put in at Tyre, since that was where the ship was to discharge her cargo. We sought out the disciples there and stayed with them for a week. They felt led by the Spirit again and again to warn Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. But when our time was up we left there and continued our journey. They all came out to see us off, bringing their wives and children with them, accompanying us till we were outside the city. Then kneeling down on the beach we prayed and said good-bye to each other. Then we went aboard the ship while the disciples went back home. We sailed away from Tyre and arrived at Ptolemais. We greeted the brothers there and stayed with them for just one day. On the following day we left and proceeded to Caesarea and there we went to stay at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the seven deacons. He had four unmarried daughters, all of whom spoke by the Spirit of God. During our stay there of several days a prophet by the name of Agabus came down from Judea. When he came to see us he took Paul’s girdle and used it to tie his own hands and feet together, saying, “The Holy Spirit says this: the man to whom this girdle belongs will be bound like this by the Jews in Jerusalem and handed over to the Gentiles!”
We all warn Paul, but he is immovable
12-13 When we heard him say this, we and the people there begged Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered us, “What do you mean by unnerving me with all your tears? I am perfectly prepared not only to be bound but to die in Jerusalem for the sake of the name of the Lord Jesus.”
14 Since he could not be dissuaded all we could do was to say, “May the Lord’s will be done,” and hold our tongues.
Paul is warmly welcomed at first
15 After this we made our preparations and went up to Jerusalem.
16-25 Some of the disciples from Caesarea accompanied us and they brought us to the house of Mnason, a native of Cyprus and one of the earliest disciples, with whom we were going to stay. On our arrival at Jerusalem the brothers gave us a very warm welcome. On the following day Paul went with us to visit James, and all the elders were present. When he had greeted them he gave them a detailed account of all that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry, and they, on hearing this account, glorified God. Then they said to him, “You know, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews who have become believers, and that every one of these is a staunch upholder of the Law. They have been told about you—that you teach all Jews who live among the Gentiles to disregard the Law of Moses, and tell them not to circumcise their children nor observe the old customs. What will happen now, for they are simply bound to hear that you have arrived? Now why not follow this suggestion of ours? We have four men here under a vow. Suppose you join them and be purified with them, pay their expenses so that they may have their hair cut short, and then everyone will know there is no truth in the stories about you, but that you yourself observe the Law. As for those Gentiles who have believed, we have sent them a letter with our decision that they should abstain from what has been offered to idols, from blood and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality”
But his enemies attempt to murder him
26-30 So Paul joined the four men and on the following day, after being purified with them, went into the Temple to give notice of the time when the period of purification would be finished and an offering would be made on behalf of each one of them. The seven days were almost over when the Jews from Asia caught sight of Paul in the Temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized him, shouting, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching everybody everywhere to despise our people, our Law and this place. Why, he has even brought Greeks into the Temple and he has defiled this holy place!” For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with Paul in the city and they had concluded that Paul had brought him into the Temple. The whole city was stirred by this speech and a mob collected who seized Paul and dragged him outside the Temple, and the doors were slammed behind him.
Paul is rescued by Roman soldiers
31-37 They were trying to kill him when a report reached the ears of the colonel of the regiment that the whole of Jerusalem was in an uproar. Without a moment’s delay he took soldiers and centurions and ran down to them. When they saw the colonel and the soldiers they stopped beating Paul. The colonel came up to Paul and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. Then he enquired who the man was and what he had been doing. Some of the crowd shouted one thing and some another, and since he could not be certain of the facts because of the shouting that was going on, the colonel ordered him to be brought to the barracks. When Paul got to the steps he was actually carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the mob. For the mass of the people followed, shouting, “Kill him!” Just as they were going to take him into the barracks Paul asked the colonel, “May I say something to you?”
38 “So you know Greek, do you?” the colonel replied. “Aren’t you that Egyptian who not long ago raised a riot and led those four thousand assassins into the desert?
39 “I am a Jew,” replied Paul. “I am a man of Tarsus, a citizen of that not insignificant city. I ask you to let me speak to the people.”
Paul attempts to defend himself
40 On being given permission Paul stood on the steps and made a gesture with his hand to the people. There was a deep hush as he began to speak to them in Hebrew.