Acts 23Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
23 Paul looked at the council members and said, “Brothers, I have lived my life in a good way before God. I have always done what I thought was right.” 2 Ananias,[a] the high priest, was there. When he heard this, he told the men who were standing near Paul to hit him in the mouth. 3 Paul said to Ananias, “God will hit you too! You are like a dirty wall that has been painted white. You sit there and judge me, using the Law of Moses. But you are telling them to hit me, and that is against the law.”
4 The men standing near Paul said to him, “Are you sure you want to insult God’s high priest like that?”
5 Paul said, “Brothers, I did not know this man was the high priest. The Scriptures say, ‘You must not say bad things about a leader of your people.’[b]”
6 Paul knew that some of the men in the council meeting were Sadducees and some were Pharisees. So he shouted, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee and my father was a Pharisee! I am on trial here because I believe that people will rise from death.”
7 When Paul said this, a big argument started between the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The group was divided. 8 (The Sadducees believe that after people die, they will not live again as an angel or as a spirit. But the Pharisees believe in both.) 9 All these Jews began shouting louder and louder. Some of the teachers of the law, who were Pharisees, stood up and argued, “We find nothing wrong with this man. Maybe an angel or a spirit really did speak to him.”
10 The argument turned into a fight, and the commander was afraid that the Jews would tear Paul to pieces. So he told the soldiers to go down and take Paul away from these Jews and put him in the army building.
11 The next night the Lord Jesus came and stood by Paul. He said, “Be brave! You have told people in Jerusalem about me. You must do the same in Rome.”
Some Jews Plan to Kill Paul
12 The next morning some of the Jews made a plan to kill Paul. They made a promise to themselves that they would not eat or drink anything until they had killed him. 13 There were more than 40 of them who made this plan. 14 They went and talked to the leading priests and the older Jewish leaders. They said, “We have promised ourselves that we will not eat or drink until we have killed Paul. 15 So this is what we want you to do: Send a message to the commander from you and the high council. Tell him you want him to bring Paul out to you. Say that you want to ask him more questions. We will be waiting to kill him while he is on the way here.”
16 But Paul’s nephew heard about this plan. He went to the army building and told Paul. 17 Then Paul called one of the army officers and said to him, “Take this young man to the commander. He has a message for him.” 18 So the army officer brought Paul’s nephew to the commander. The officer said, “The prisoner Paul asked me to bring this young man to you. He has something to tell you.”
19 The commander led the young man to a place where they could be alone. The commander asked, “What do you want to tell me?”
20 The young man said, “Some Jews have decided to ask you to bring Paul down to their council meeting tomorrow. They want you to think that they plan to ask Paul more questions. 21 But don’t believe them! More than 40 of them are hiding and waiting to kill him. They have all promised not to eat or drink until they have killed him. Now they are waiting for you to say yes.”
22 The commander sent the young man away, telling him, “Don’t tell anyone that you have told me about their plan.”
Paul Is Sent to Caesarea
23 Then the commander called two army officers. He said to them, “I need some men to go to Caesarea. Get 200 soldiers ready. Also, get 70 soldiers on horses and 200 men to carry spears. Be ready to leave at nine o’clock tonight. 24 Get some horses for Paul to ride so that he can be taken to Governor Felix safely.” 25 The commander wrote a letter that said:
26 From Claudius Lysias,
To the Most Honorable Governor Felix.
27 Some Jews had taken this man and planned to kill him. But I learned that he is a Roman citizen, so I went with my soldiers and saved him. 28 I wanted to know why they were accusing him. So I brought him before their council meeting. 29 This is what I learned: The Jews said this man did some things that were wrong. But these charges were about their own Jewish laws, and there was nothing worthy of jail or death. 30 I was told that some of the Jews were making a plan to kill him. So I decided to send him to you. I also told those Jews to tell you what they have against him.
31 The soldiers did what they were told. They got Paul and took him to the city of Antipatris that night. 32 The next day the soldiers on horses went with Paul to Caesarea, but the other soldiers and the spearmen went back to the army building in Jerusalem. 33 The soldiers on horses entered Caesarea, gave the letter to Governor Felix, and then turned Paul over to him.
34 The governor read the letter and asked Paul, “What country are you from?” The governor learned that Paul was from Cilicia. 35 The governor said, “I will hear your case when the Jews who are accusing you come here too.” Then the governor gave orders for Paul to be kept in the palace built by Herod.