The altar on Mount Ebal

27 Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people: ‘Keep all these commands that I give you today. When you have crossed the Jordan into the land the Lord your God is giving you, set up some large stones and coat them with plaster. Write on them all the words of this law when you have crossed over to enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. And when you have crossed the Jordan, set up these stones on Mount Ebal, as I command you today, and coat them with plaster. Build there an altar to the Lord your God, an altar of stones. Do not use any iron tool on them. Build the altar of the Lord your God with stones from the field and offer burnt offerings on it to the Lord your God. Sacrifice fellowship offerings there, eating them and rejoicing in the presence of the Lord your God. And you shall write very clearly all the words of this law on these stones you have set up.’

Curses from Mount Ebal

Then Moses and the Levitical priests said to all Israel, ‘Be silent, Israel, and listen! You have now become the people of the Lord your God. 10 Obey the Lord your God and follow his commands and decrees that I give you today.’

11 On the same day Moses commanded the people:

12 When you have crossed the Jordan, these tribes shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph and Benjamin. 13 And these tribes shall stand on Mount Ebal to pronounce curses: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan and Naphtali.

14 The Levites shall recite to all the people of Israel in a loud voice:

15 ‘Cursed is anyone who makes an idol – a thing detestable to the Lord, the work of skilled hands – and sets it up in secret.’

Then all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’

16 ‘Cursed is anyone who dishonours their father or mother.’

Then all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’

17 ‘Cursed is anyone who moves their neighbour’s boundary stone.’

Then all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’

18 ‘Cursed is anyone who leads the blind astray on the road.’

Then all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’

19 ‘Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.’

Then all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’

20 ‘Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his father’s wife, for he dishonours his father’s bed.’

Then all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’

21 ‘Cursed is anyone who has sexual relations with any animal.’

Then all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’

22 ‘Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.’

Then all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’

23 ‘Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his mother-in-law.’

Then all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’

24 ‘Cursed is anyone who kills their neighbour secretly.’

Then all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’

25 ‘Cursed is anyone who accepts a bribe to kill an innocent person.’

Then all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’

26 ‘Cursed is anyone who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out.’

Then all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’

The Assembly at Shechem

27 Then Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people: “Pay attention to all the commandments[a] I am giving[b] you today. When you cross the Jordan River[c] to the land the Lord your God is giving you, you must erect great stones and cover[d] them with plaster. Then you must inscribe on them all the words of this law when you cross over, so that you may enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors,[e] said to you. So when you cross the Jordan you must erect on Mount Ebal[f] these stones about which I am commanding you today, and you must cover them with plaster. Then you must build an altar there to the Lord your God, an altar of stones—do not use an iron tool on them. You must build the altar of the Lord your God with whole stones and offer burnt offerings on it to the Lord your God. Also you must offer fellowship offerings and eat them there, rejoicing before the Lord your God. You must inscribe on the stones all the words of this law, making them clear.”

Then Moses and the Levitical priests spoke to all Israel: “Be quiet and pay attention, Israel. Today you have become the people of the Lord your God. 10 You must obey him[g] and keep his commandments and statutes that I am giving you today.” 11 Moreover, Moses commanded the people that day: 12 “The following tribes[h] must stand to bless the people on Mount Gerizim when you cross the Jordan: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin. 13 And these other tribes must stand for the curse on Mount Ebal: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.

The Covenant Curses

14 “The Levites will call out to every Israelite[i] with a loud voice: 15 ‘Cursed is the one[j] who makes a carved or metal image—something abhorrent[k] to the Lord, the work of the craftsman[l]—and sets it up in a secret place.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’[m] 16 ‘Cursed[n] is the one who disrespects[o] his father and mother.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 17 ‘Cursed is the one who moves his neighbor’s boundary marker.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 18 ‘Cursed is the one who misleads a blind person on the road.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 19 ‘Cursed is the one who perverts justice for the resident foreigner, the orphan, and the widow.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 20 ‘Cursed is the one who goes to bed with[p] his father’s former wife,[q] for he dishonors his father.’[r] Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 21 ‘Cursed is the one who commits bestiality.’[s] Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 22 ‘Cursed is the one who goes to bed[t] with his sister, the daughter of either his father or mother.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 23 ‘Cursed is the one who goes to bed[u] with his mother-in-law.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 24 ‘Cursed is the one who kills[v] his neighbor in private.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 25 ‘Cursed is the one who takes a bribe to kill an innocent person.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 26 ‘Cursed is the one who refuses to keep the words of this law.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’

Footnotes

  1. Deuteronomy 27:1 tn Heb “the whole commandment.” See note at 5:31.
  2. Deuteronomy 27:1 tn Heb “commanding”; NAB “which I enjoin on you today” (likewise in v. 10).
  3. Deuteronomy 27:2 tn The word “River” is not in the Hebrew text but has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
  4. Deuteronomy 27:2 tn Heb “plaster” (so KJV, ASV; likewise in v. 4). In the translation “cover” has been used for stylistic reasons.
  5. Deuteronomy 27:3 tn Heb “fathers.”
  6. Deuteronomy 27:4 tc Smr reads “Mount Gerizim” for the MT reading “Mount Ebal” to justify the location of the Samaritan temple there in the postexilic period. This reading is patently self-serving and does not reflect the original. In the NT when the Samaritan woman of Sychar referred to “this mountain” as the place of worship for her community she obviously had Gerizim in mind (cf. John 4:20).
  7. Deuteronomy 27:10 tn Heb “listen to the voice of the Lord your God.” Here “listen” (NAB “hearken”) means “obey” (cf. KJV, ASV, NASB). The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.
  8. Deuteronomy 27:12 tn The word “tribes” has been supplied here and in the following verse in the translation for clarity.
  9. Deuteronomy 27:14 tn Heb “Israelite man.”
  10. Deuteronomy 27:15 tn Heb “man,” but in a generic sense here.
  11. Deuteronomy 27:15 tn The Hebrew term translated here “abhorrent” (תּוֹעֵבָה, toʿevah) speaks of attitudes and/or behaviors so vile as to be reprehensible to a holy God. See note on the word “abhorrent” in Deut 7:25.
  12. Deuteronomy 27:15 tn Heb “craftsman’s hands.”
  13. Deuteronomy 27:15 tn Or “So be it!” The term is an affirmation expressing agreement with the words of the Levites.
  14. Deuteronomy 27:16 tn The Levites speak again at this point; throughout this pericope the Levites pronounce the curse and the people respond with “Amen.”
  15. Deuteronomy 27:16 tn The Hebrew term קָלָה (qalah) means to treat with disdain or lack of due respect (cf. NAB, NIV, NRSV “dishonors”; NLT “despises”). It is the opposite of כָּבֵד (kaved, “to be heavy,” that is, to treat with reverence and proper deference). To treat a parent lightly is to dishonor him or her and thus violate the fifth commandment (Deut 5:16; cf. Exod 21:17).
  16. Deuteronomy 27:20 tn Heb “lies down with.” The verb שָׁכַב (shakhav) “to lie down” can be a euphemism for going to bed for sexual relations (cf. NASB, NRSV “who lies with”; NIV “who sleeps with”; NLT “who has sexual intercourse with”).
  17. Deuteronomy 27:20 tn See note at Deut 22:30.
  18. Deuteronomy 27:20 tn Heb “he uncovers his father’s skirt” (NASB similar). See note at Deut 22:30.
  19. Deuteronomy 27:21 tn Heb “lies down with any animal.” The verb שָׁכַב (shakhav) “to lie down” can be a euphemism for going to bed for sexual relations, the perversion in this case being bestiality.
  20. Deuteronomy 27:22 tn Heb “lies down with.” See note at v. 20.
  21. Deuteronomy 27:23 tn Heb “lies down with.” See note at v. 20.
  22. Deuteronomy 27:24 tn Or “strikes down” (so NRSV).

[a]How beautiful your sandalled feet,
    O prince’s daughter!
Your graceful legs are like jewels,
    the work of an artist’s hands.
Your navel is a rounded goblet
    that never lacks blended wine.
Your waist is a mound of wheat
    encircled by lilies.
Your breasts are like two fawns,
    like twin fawns of a gazelle.
Your neck is like an ivory tower.
Your eyes are the pools of Heshbon
    by the gate of Bath Rabbim.
Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon
    looking towards Damascus.
Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel.
    Your hair is like royal tapestry;
    the king is held captive by its tresses.
How beautiful you are and how pleasing,
    my love, with your delights!
Your stature is like that of the palm,
    and your breasts like clusters of fruit.
I said, ‘I will climb the palm tree;
    I will take hold of its fruit.’
May your breasts be like clusters of grapes on the vine,
    the fragrance of your breath like apples,
    and your mouth like the best wine.

She

May the wine go straight to my beloved,
    flowing gently over lips and teeth.[b]
10 I belong to my beloved,
    and his desire is for me.
11 Come, my beloved, let us go to the countryside,
    let us spend the night in the villages.[c]
12 Let us go early to the vineyards
    to see if the vines have budded,
if their blossoms have opened,
    and if the pomegranates are in bloom –
    there I will give you my love.
13 The mandrakes send out their fragrance,
    and at our door is every delicacy,
both new and old,
    that I have stored up for you, my beloved.

Footnotes

  1. Song of Solomon 7:1 In Hebrew texts 7:1-13 is numbered 7:2-14.
  2. Song of Solomon 7:9 Septuagint, Aquila, Vulgate and Syriac; Hebrew lips of sleepers
  3. Song of Solomon 7:11 Or the henna bushes

The Lover to His Beloved:

(7:2) How beautiful are your sandaled[a] feet,
O nobleman’s daughter![b]
The curves[c] of your thighs[d] are like jewels,
the work of the hands of a master craftsman.
Your navel[e] is a round mixing bowl[f]
may it never lack[g] mixed wine![h]
Your belly[i] is a mound of wheat,
encircled[j] by lilies.
Your two breasts are like two fawns,
twins of a gazelle.
Your neck is like a tower made of ivory.[k]
Your eyes are the pools in Heshbon
by the gate of Bath Rabbim.[l]
Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon
overlooking Damascus.
Your head crowns[m] you like Mount Carmel.[n]
The locks of your hair[o] are like royal tapestries[p]
the king is held captive[q] in its tresses!
How beautiful you are! How lovely,
O love,[r] with your delights![s]

The Palm Tree and the Palm Tree Climber

The Lover to His Beloved:

Your stature[t] is like a palm tree,[u]
and your breasts are like clusters of grapes.[v]
I want[w] to climb the palm tree,[x]
and take hold of its fruit stalks.
May your breasts be like the clusters of grapes,[y]
and may the fragrance of your breath be like apples![z]
May your mouth[aa] be like the best wine,
flowing smoothly for my beloved,
gliding gently over our lips as we sleep together.[ab]

Poetic Refrain: Mutual Possession

The Beloved about Her Lover:

10 I am my beloved’s,
and he desires me![ac]

The Journey to the Countryside

The Beloved to Her Lover:

11 Come, my beloved, let us go to the countryside;
let us spend the night in the villages.
12 Let us rise early to go to the vineyards,
to see if the vines have budded,
to see if their blossoms have opened,
if the pomegranates are in bloom—
there I will give you my love.
13 The mandrakes[ad] send out their fragrance;
over our door is every delicacy,[ae]
both new and old, which I have stored up for you, my lover.

Footnotes

  1. Song of Solomon 7:1 sn Solomon calls attention to the sandals the “noble daughter” was wearing. While it was common for women in aristocratic circles in the ancient Near East to wear sandals, women of the lower classes usually went barefoot (e.g., Ezek 16:10).
  2. Song of Solomon 7:1 tn Alternately, “noble daughter” or “magnificent daughter.” The title בַּת־נָדִיב (bat nadiv, “princely daughter” or “daughter of the prince”; HALOT 673 s.v. נָדִיב; BDB 622 s.v. נָדִיב 2) suggests to some that this woman is not the Israelite country maiden of chapters 1-4 and 8, but the daughter of Pharaoh whom Solomon later married (1 Kgs 11:1). While the term נָדִיב often denotes nobility of position (“nobleman”), it can also denote nobility of character (“noble, willing, magnificent”) (e.g., Prov 17:26; Isa 32:5, 8) (HALOT 673-74; BDB 622 s.v. 2).
  3. Song of Solomon 7:1 tn The term חַמּוּק (khammuq, “curve”) describes the shapely curvature of her legs (HALOT 327; BDB 330 s.v. 2) rather than a curving, dancing motion (Arabic bridal dance view). Although the verb חָמַק (khamaq, “turn”) appears twice (Song 5:6; Jer 31:22), the noun חַמּוּק is a hapax legomenon. In postbiblical Hebrew it refers to “rundles” (Jastrow 476 s.v. חַמּוּק). The term here has been translated in various ways: “[thigh] joints” (KJV), “rounded [thighs]” (RSV), “curves [of thighs]” (NASB), “graceful [thighs]” (NIV).
  4. Song of Solomon 7:1 tn The term יָרֵךְ (yarekh, “thigh”) may refer to (1) the fleshy upper part of the thigh where the leg joins the pelvis (Gen 32:25-32; 46:26; Exod 1:5; Judg 8:30) or (2) the outside of the thigh from the hip down (Exod 32:27; Judg 3:16, 21; Ps 45:4; Song 3:8). The first usage is usually restricted to a figure for the male loins, the source of male procreation (Gen 46:26; Exod 1:5) and the locus of an oath (Gen 24:2, 9; 47:29).
  5. Song of Solomon 7:2 tn The noun שֹׁרֶר (shorer) is a hapax legomenon, appearing in the OT only here. There is debate whether it means “navel” or “vulva”: (1) Lys and Pope suggest that שֹׁרֶר is related to Arabic srr (“secret place, pudenda, coition, fornication”). They suggest that this is contextually supported by three factors: (a) His descriptive praise of her is in ascending order, beginning with her feet and concluding with her hair. The movement from her thighs (7:1b), to her vulva (7:2a), and then to her waist (7:2b) would fit this. (b) The descriptive comparison to a glass of wine would be grotesque if her navel were in view—her navel was moist or filled with liquid?—but appropriate if her vulva were in view. (c) The navel would be a somewhat synonymous reference to the belly which is already denoted by בִּטְנֵךְ (bitnekh, “belly”) in the following line. Because 7:1-7 does not use synonymous parallelism, the term שֹׁרֶר would have to refer to something other than the belly. (2) The term שֹׁרֶר denotes “navel”: (a) It may be related to the bi-consonantal noun שֹׁר (shor, “navel, umbilical cord”) (Prov 3:8; Ezek 16:4). (b) Mishnaic Hebrew שָׁרָר (sharar) denotes “navel, umbilical cord” (Jastrow 1634 s.v. שָׁרָר). For example, in a midrash on the Book of Numbers, the noun שֹׁרֶר appears in an allusion to Song 7:3 to justify the seating of the Sanhedrin in the middle of the synagogue: “As the navel (שֹׁרֶר) is placed in the centre of the body, so are the Sanhedrin…” (Num. Rab. 1:4). On the other hand, the meaning “vulva” never appears in Mishnaic Hebrew. Therefore, apart from this disputed usage there is no evidence that this term was ever used in this manner in Hebrew. (c) Rather than שֹׁרֶר being related to Arabic sirr (“pudenda”), it could just as easily be related to the Arabic noun surr “navel.” It is methodologically more sound to define שֹׁרֶר as “navel” than as “vulva.” (d) The nuance “navel” is not as out of line contextually as Lys and Pope suggest. The navel would not be out of place in the ascending order of praise because the בִּטְנֵךְ (“abdomen”) which follows may be viewed as both above and below the navel. The figurative association of the שֹׁרֶר as a mixing bowl filled with wine does not imply that this bodily part must actually be moist or filled with liquid as Pope suggests. The point of comparison is not physical or visual but one of function, i.e., it is intoxicating. The comparison of the navel to a mixing bowl of wine is no more out of line than the comparison of the belly to a heap of wheat in the next line. In fact, the two go together—she is both the “drink” and “food” for Solomon. The shape of the navel is as congruent with the metaphor of the “round bowl” as the vulva; both are round and receding. (3) Since both terms are derived from the same geminate root—Hebrew שֹׁרֶר and Arabic srr—it is more prudent to take the term as a synecdoche of whole (lower region) for the parts (including navel and vulva). The attempt to decide between these two options may be illegitimately splitting hairs. See K&D 18:123; J. S. Deere, “Song of Solomon,” BKCOT, 199-200; D. Lys, “Notes sur de Cantique,” VTSup 17 (1969): 171-78; M. H. Pope, Song of Songs (AB), 617; G. L. Carr, Song of Solomon (TOTC), 157.
  6. Song of Solomon 7:2 sn The expression אַגַּן הַסַּהַר (ʾaggan hassahar, “round mixing bowl”) refers to a vessel used for mixing wine. Archaeologists have recovered examples of such large, deep, two handled, ring-based round bowls. The Hebrew term אַגַּן (“mixing bowl”) came into Greek usage as ἂγγος (angos) which designates vessels used for mixing wine (e.g., Homer, Odyssey xvi 16) (LSJ 7). This is consistent with the figurative references to wine which follows: “may it never lack mixed wine.” Selected Bibliography: J. P. Brown, “The Mediterranean Vocabulary for Wine,” VT 19 (1969): 158; A. M. Honeyman, “The Pottery Vessels of the Old Testament,” PEQ 80 (1939): 79. The comparison of her navel to a “round mixing bowl” is visually appropriate in that both are round and receding. The primary point of comparison to the round bowl is one of sense, as the following clause makes clear: “may it never lack mixed wine.” J. S. Deere suggests that the point of comparison is that of taste, desirability, and function (“Song of Solomon,” BKCOT, 202). More specifically, it probably refers to the source of intoxication, that is, just as a bowl used to mix wine was the source of physical intoxication, so she was the source of his sexual intoxication. She intoxicated Solomon with her love in the same way that wine intoxicates a person.
  7. Song of Solomon 7:2 tn The phrase אַל־יֶחְסַר (ʾal yekhsar) has traditionally been taken as an imperfect: “it never lacks mixed wine” (M. H. Pope, Song of Songs [AB], 619); “which wanteth not liquor” (KJV); “in which liquor is never lacking” (RSV); “that never lacks mixed wine” (JB); “with no lack of wine” (NEB); “that shall never want for spiced wine” (NEB); “that never lacks blended wine” (NIV). This is also how LXX understood it: μὴ ὑστερούμενος κρᾶμα (mē husteroumenos krama, “not lacking liquor”). However, the negative אַל (ʾal) normally precedes a jussive expressing a wish or request: “May it never lack mixed wine!” (J. S. Deere, “Song of Solomon,” BKCOT, 202). This approach is adopted by several translations: “that should never lack for mixed wine” (NASB) and “Let mixed wine not be lacking!” (NJPS).
  8. Song of Solomon 7:2 sn The term מָזֶג (mazeg, “mixed wine”) does not refer to wine mixed with water to dilute its potency, but to strong wine mixed with weaker wine. The practice of mixing wine with water is not attested in the Hebrew Bible. Both מָזֶג and מֶסֶךְ (mesekh) refer to strong wine mixed with weaker wine. The rabbis later distinguished between the two, stating that מָזֶג was strong wine mixed with weak wine, while מֶסֶךְ was wine mixed with water (Aboda Zara 58b). However, both types of wine were intoxicating. Mixed wine was the most intoxicating type of wine. In a midrash on the Book of Numbers a comment is made about the practice of mixing strong wine with weaker wine (e.g., Isa 5:22; Prov 23:30), stating its purpose: “They used to mix strong wine with weak wine so as to get drunk with it” (Num. Rab. 10:8). See J. P. Brown, “The Mediterranean Vocabulary of Wine,” VT 19 (1969): 154. The comparison of a wife’s sexual love to intoxicating wine is common in ancient Near Eastern love literature. Parallel in thought are the words of the Hebrew sage, “May your fountain be blessed and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her love (or breasts) always intoxicate you, may you ever stagger like a drunkard in her love” (Prov 5:18-19).
  9. Song of Solomon 7:2 tn Alternately, “your waist.” The term בִּטְנֵךְ (bitnekh) probably refers to the woman’s “belly” rather than “waist.” It is associated with a woman’s abdominal/stomach region rather than her hips (Prov 13:25; 18:20; Ezek 3:3). The comparison of her belly to a heap of wheat is visually appropriate because of the similarity of their symmetrical shape and tannish color. The primary point of comparison, however, is based upon the commonplace association of wheat in Israel, namely, wheat was the main staple of the typical Israelite meal (Deut 32:14; 2 Sam 4:6; 17:28; 1 Kgs 5:11; Pss 81:14; 147:14). Just as wheat satisfied an Israelite’s physical hunger, she satisfied his sexual hunger. J. S. Deere makes this point in the following manner: “The most obvious commonplace of wheat was its function, that is, it served as one of the main food sources in ancient Palestine. The Beloved was both the ‘food’ (wheat) and ‘drink’ (wine) of the Lover. Her physical expression of love nourished and satisfied him. His satisfaction was great for the ‘mixed wine’ is intoxicating and the ‘heap of wheat’ was capable of feeding many. The ‘heap of wheat’ also suggests the harvest, an association which contributes to the emotional quality of the metaphor. The harvest was accompanied with a joyous celebration over the bounty yielded up by the land. So also, the Beloved is bountiful and submissive in giving of herself, and the source of great joy” (“Song of Solomon,” BKCOT, 203-204).
  10. Song of Solomon 7:2 tn Heb “fenced around by.”
  11. Song of Solomon 7:4 tn Alternately, “the ivory tower.” The noun הַשֵּׁן (hashen, “ivory”) is a genitive of composition, that is, a tower made out of ivory. Solomon had previously compared her neck to a tower (Song 4:4). In both cases the most obvious point of comparison has to do with size and shape, that is, her neck was long and symmetrical. Archaeology has never found a tower overlaid with ivory in the ancient Near East and it is doubtful that there ever was such a tower. The point of comparison might simply be that the shape of her neck looks like a tower, while the color and smoothness of her neck was like ivory. Solomon is mixing metaphors: her neck was long and symmetrical like a tower; but also elegant, smooth, and beautiful as ivory. The beauty, elegance, and smoothness of a woman’s neck is commonly compared to ivory in ancient love literature. For example, in a piece of Greek love literature, Anacron compared the beauty of the neck of his beloved Bathyllus to ivory (Ode xxxix 28-29).
  12. Song of Solomon 7:4 sn It is impossible at the present time to determine the exact significance of the comparison of her eyes to the “gate of Bath Rabbim” because this site has not yet been identified by archaeologists.
  13. Song of Solomon 7:5 tn Heb “your head [is] upon you.”
  14. Song of Solomon 7:5 sn The Carmel mountain range is a majestic sight. The mountain range borders the southern edge of the plain of Esdraelon, dividing the Palestinian coastal plain into the Plain of Acco to the north and the Plains of Sharon and Philistia to the south. Its luxuriant foliage was legendary (Isa 33:9; Amos 1:2; Nah 1:4). Rising to a height of approximately 1750 feet (525 m), it extends southeast from the Mediterranean for 13 miles (21 km). Due to its greatness and fertility, it was often associated with majesty and power (Isa 35:2; Jer 46:18). The point of the comparison is that her head crowns her body just as the majestic Mount Carmel rested over the landscape, rising above it in majestic and fertile beauty. See ZPEB 1:755; C. F. Pfeiffer and H. F. Vos, Wycliffe Historical Geography of Bible Lands, 100.
  15. Song of Solomon 7:5 sn The term דַּלָּה (dallah, “locks, hair”) refers to dangling curls or loose hair that hangs down from one’s head (HALOT 222-23 s.v. I דַּלָּה). The Hebrew term is from a common Semitic root meaning “to hang down,” and is related to Arabic tadaldala “dangle” and Ethiopic delul “dangling curls” (KBL 222-23).
  16. Song of Solomon 7:5 tn Heb “like purple” or “like purple fabric.” The term אַרְגָּמָן (ʾargaman, “purple fabric”) refers to wool dyed with red purple (HALOT 84 s.v. אַרְגָּמָן). It is used in reference to purple threads (Exod 35:25; 39:3; Esth 1:9) or purple cloth (Num 4:13; Judg 8:26; Esth 8:15; Prov 31:22; Jer 10:9; Song 3:10). NASB translates it as “purple threads,” while NIV nuances this term as “royal tapestry.” M. H. Pope (The Song of Songs [AB], 629-30) adduces several ancient Near Eastern texts and suggests that it refers to purple hair-dye. The comparison is to hair which entangles Solomon like binding cords and therefore, it seems most likely that the idea here must be purple threads. The Hebrew noun is a loanword from Hittite argaman “tribute,” which is reflected in Akkadian argamannu “purple” (also “tribute” under Hittite influence), Ugaritic argmn “tax, purple,” Aramaic argwn “purple” (HALOT 84). Purple cloth and threads were considered very valuable (Ezek 27:7, 16) and were commonly worn by kings as a mark of their royal position (Judg 8:26).
  17. Song of Solomon 7:5 tn Alternately, “captivated.” The verb אָסַר (ʾasar, “to bind, capture, hold captive, put in prison”) is commonly used of binding a prisoner with cords and fetters (Gen 42:34; Judg 15:10-13; 16:5-12; 2 Kgs 17:4; 23:33; 25:7; 2 Chr 33:11) (HALOT 75 s.v. אסר). It is frequently used as a figure to depict absolute authority over a person (Ps 105:22). The passive participle סוּר means “to be bound, held captive, imprisoned” (2 Sam 3:34; Jer 40:1; Job 36:8). Like a prisoner bound in cords and fetters and held under the complete control and authority of his captor, Solomon was captivated by the spellbinding power of her hair. In a word, he was the prisoner of love and she was his captor. Similar imagery appears in an ancient Egyptian love song: “With her hair she throws lassoes at me, with her eyes she catches me, with her necklace she entangles me, and with her seal ring she brands me” (Song 43 in the Chester Beatty Cycle, translated by W. K. Simpson, ed., The Literature of Ancient Egypt, 324). J. S. Deere suggests, “The concluding part of the metaphor, ‘The king is held captive by your tresses,’ is a beautiful expression of the powerful effect of love. A strong monarch was held prisoner by the beauty of his Beloved” (“Song of Solomon,” BKCOT, 206-207). This is a startling statement because Solomon emphasizes that the one who was being held captive like a prisoner in bonds was the “king”! At this point in world history, Solomon was the ruler of the most powerful and wealthy nation in the world (1 Kgs 3:13; 10:23-29). And yet he was held totally captive and subject to the beauty of this country maiden!
  18. Song of Solomon 7:6 tn Alternately, “O beloved one.” Consonantal אהבה is vocalized by the Masoretes as אַהֲבָה (ʾahavah, “love”). However, a variant Hebrew ms tradition preserves the vocalization of the passive form אֲהֻבָה (ʾahuvah, “beloved one, one who is loved”), as is also reflected in the Vulgate and Syriac. The term אַהֲבָה (“love”) usually refers to sexual (2 Sam 13:15; Prov 5:19) or emotional love between a man and a woman (2 Sam 1:26; Song 8:6-7) (HALOT 18 s.v. I אַהֲבָה).
  19. Song of Solomon 7:6 tc The MT preserves a syntactically difficult reading בַּתַּעֲנוּגִים (battaʿanugim, “in/with delights”). A variant Hebrew textual tradition preserves the alternate reading בַּת תַּעֲנוּגִים (bat taʿanugim, “daughter of delights” or “delightful daughter”). The textual variant is either due to haplography (mistakenly writing ת [tav] once instead of twice) or dittography (mistakenly writing ת twice instead of once). The alternate textual tradition is reflected in Aquila θυγάτηρ τρυφῶν (thugatēr truphōn, “daughter of delights”). However, the MT reading אַהֲבָה בַּתַּעֲנוּגִים (ʾahavah battaʿanugim, “O love, in your delights”) is supported by LXX (Old Greek) ἀγάπη, ἐν τρυφαῖς σου (agapē, en truphais sou, “O love, in your delights”).tn The term תַּעֲנוּג (taʿanug, “luxury, daintiness, exquisite delight”) is used in reference to: (1) tender love (Mic 1:16); (2) the object of pleasure (Mic 2:9); (3) erotic pleasures (Eccl 2:8); (4) luxury befitting a king (Prov 19:10). The term may have sexual connotations, as when it is used in reference to a harem of women who are described as “the delights” of the heart of a man (Eccl 2:8) (BDB 772 s.v. תַּעֲנוּג).
  20. Song of Solomon 7:7 tn The term קוֹמָתֵךְ (qomatek, “stature”) indicates the height of an object, e.g., tall person (1 Sam 16:7; Ezek 13:8), tall tree (2 Kgs 19:23; Isa 10:33; Ezek 31:3-5, 10-14), a towering vine (Ezek 19:11).
  21. Song of Solomon 7:7 sn The term תָּמָר (tamar, “palm tree”) refers to the date palm tree (Phoenix dactyliferia) that can reach a height of 80 feet (24 m). It flourished in warm moist areas and oases from Egypt to India. Ancient Iraq was the leading grower of date palms and dates in the ancient world, as today (M. H. Pope, The Song of Songs [AB], 633). There is also a hint of eroticism in this palm tree metaphor because the palm tree was often associated with fertility in the ancient world. The point of comparison is that she is a tall, slender, fertile young woman. The comparison of a tall and slender lady to a palm tree is not uncommon in love literature: “O you, whose height is that of a palm tree in a serail” (Homer, Odyssey vi 162-63) (S. H. Stephan, “Modern Palestinian Parallels to the Song of Songs,” JPOS 2 [1922]: 76).
  22. Song of Solomon 7:7 tn Alternately “clusters of figs.” The term אַשְׁכֹּלוֹת (ʾashkolot, “clusters”) usually refers to (1) clusters of grapes, that is, the stalk on which the bunch of grapes grow and the bunch of grapes themselves (Gen 40:10; Num 13:23-24; Deut 32:32; Isa 65:8; Mic 7:1) or (2) the berry on a cluster of henna bush (Song 1:14) (HALOT 95 s.v. I אַשְׁכּוֹל). It is possible that this is an anomalous usage in reference to a cluster of dates rather than to a cluster of grapes for three reasons: (1) the תָּמָר (tamar, “palm tree”) referred to in 7:7 is a date palm, (2) the term סַנְסִנִּים (sansinnim, “fruit stalks”) in 7:8a refers to the fruit stalk of dates (Rademus dactylorum), being related to Akkadian sissinnu (“part of the date palm”), and (3) the reference to climbing the palm tree in 7:8a is best understood if it is a date palm and its fruit are dates. The comparison between her breasts and clusters of dates probably has to do with shape and multiplicity, as well as taste, as the rest of this extended metaphor intimates. M. H. Pope (The Song of Songs [AB], 634) notes: “The comparison of the breasts to date clusters presumably intended a pair of clusters to match the dual form of the word for ‘breasts.’ A single cluster of dates may carry over a thousand single fruits and weigh twenty pounds or more. It may be noted that the multiple breasts of the representations of Artemis of Ephesus look very much like a cluster of large dates, and it might be that the date clusters here were intended to suggest a similar condition of polymasty.”
  23. Song of Solomon 7:8 tn Heb “I said, ‘I will climb….’” The verb אָמַר (ʾamar, “to say”) is often used metonymically in reference to the thought process, emphasizing the spontaneity of a decision or of an idea which has just entered the mind of the speaker moments before he speaks (Gen 20:11; 26:9; 44:28; Exod 2:14; Num 24:11; Ruth 4:4; 1 Sam 20:4, 26; 2 Sam 5:6; 12:22; 2 Kgs 5:11). M. H. Pope renders it appropriately: “Methinks” (Song of Songs [AB], 635).
  24. Song of Solomon 7:8 sn A Palestinian palm tree grower would climb a palm tree for two reasons: (1) to pluck the fruit and (2) to pollinate the female palm trees. Because of their height and because the dates would not naturally fall off the tree, the only way to harvest dates from a palm tree is to climb the tree and pluck the fruit off the stalks. This seems to be the primary imagery behind this figurative expression. The point of comparison here would be that just as one would climb a palm tree to pluck its fruit so that it might be eaten and enjoyed, so too Solomon wanted to embrace his Beloved so that he might embrace and enjoy her breasts. It is possible that the process of pollination is also behind this figure. A palm tree is climbed to pick its fruit or to dust the female flowers with pollen from the male flowers (the female and male flowers were on separate trees). To obtain a better yield and accelerate the process of pollination, the date grower would transfer pollen from the male trees to the flowers on the female trees. This method of artificial pollination is depicted in ancient Near Eastern art. For example, a relief from Gozan (Tel Halaf) dating to the 9th century b.c. depicts a man climbing a palm tree on a wooden ladder with his hands stretched out to take hold of its top branches to pollinate the flowers or to pick the fruit from the tree. The point of this playful comparison is clear: Just as a palm tree grower would climb a female tree to pick its fruit and to pollinate it with a male flower, Solomon wanted to grasp her breasts and to make love to her (The Illustrated Family Encyclopedia of the Living Bible, 10:60).
  25. Song of Solomon 7:8 tn Heb “of the vine.”
  26. Song of Solomon 7:8 tn See tn on “apples” in 2:5.
  27. Song of Solomon 7:9 tn The term חֵךְ (khek, “palate, mouth”) is often used as a metonymy for what the mouth produces, e.g., the mouth is the organ of taste (Ps 119:103; Job 12:11; 20:13; 34:3; Prov 24:13; Song 2:3), speech (Job 6:30; 31:30; 33:2; Prov 5:3; 8:7), sound (Hos 8:1), and kisses (Song 5:16; 7:10) (HALOT 313 s.v. חֵךְ; BDB 335 s.v. חֵךְ). The metonymical association of her palate/mouth and her kisses is made explicit by RSV which translated the term as “kisses.”
  28. Song of Solomon 7:9 tc The MT reads שִׁפְתֵי יְשֵׁנִים (shifte yeshenim, “lips of those who sleep”). However, an alternate Hebrew reading of שְׂפָתַי וְשִׁנָּי (sefatay veshinnay, “my lips and my teeth”) is suggested by the Greek tradition (LXX, Aquila, Symmachus): χείλεσίν μου καὶ ὀδοῦσιν (cheilesin mou kai odousin, “my lips and teeth”). This alternate reading, with minor variations, is followed by NAB, NIV, NRSV, TEV, NLT.tn Or “his lips as he falls asleep.” Heb “the lips of sleepers.” Alternately, “over lips and teeth” (so NIV, NRSV, NLT).
  29. Song of Solomon 7:10 tn Heb “his desire is for me” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV).
  30. Song of Solomon 7:13 sn In the ancient Near East the mandrake was a widely used symbol of erotic love because it was thought to be an aphrodisiac and therefore was used as a fertility drug. The unusual shape of the large forked roots of the mandrake resembles the human body with extended arms and legs. This similarity gave rise to the popular superstition that the mandrake could induce conception and it was therefore used as a fertility drug. It was so thoroughly associated with erotic love that its name is derived from the Hebrew root דּוֹד (dod, “love”), that is, דּוּדָאִים (dudaʾim) denotes “love-apples.” Arabs used its fruit and roots as an aphrodisiac and referred to it as abd al sal’m (“servant of love”) (R. K. Harrison, “The Mandrake and the Ancient World,” EQ 28 [1956]: 188-89; Fauna and Flora of the Bible, 138-39).
  31. Song of Solomon 7:13 sn Her comparison of their love to fruit stored “over our door” reflects an ancient Near Eastern practice of storing fruit on a shelf above the door of a house. In the ancient Near East, fruits were stored away on shelves or cupboards above doorways where they were out of reach and left to dry until they became very sweet and delectable. The point of comparison in this figurative expression seems to be two-fold: (1) She was treasuring up special expressions of her sexual love to give to him, and (2) All these good things were for him alone to enjoy. See M. H. Pope, The Song of Songs [AB], 650.

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

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

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

Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, ‘My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.’ 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, 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 stood up and argued vigorously. ‘We find nothing wrong with this man,’ they said. ‘What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?’ 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.

11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, ‘Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.’

The plot to kill Paul

12 The next morning some Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13 More than forty men were involved in this plot. 14 They went to the chief priests and the elders and said, ‘We have taken a solemn oath not to eat anything until we have killed Paul. 15 Now then, you and the Sanhedrin petition the commander to bring him before you on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about his case. We are ready to kill him before he gets here.’

16 But when the son of Paul’s sister heard of this plot, he went into the barracks and told Paul.

17 Then Paul called one of the centurions and said, ‘Take this young man to the commander; he has something to tell him.’ 18 So he took him to the commander.

The centurion said, ‘Paul, the prisoner, sent for me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.’

19 The commander took the young man by the hand, drew him aside and asked, ‘What is it you want to tell me?’

20 He said: ‘Some Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul before the Sanhedrin tomorrow on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about him. 21 Don’t give in to them, because more than forty of them are waiting in ambush for him. They have taken an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. They are ready now, waiting for your consent to their request.’

22 The commander dismissed the young man with this warning: ‘Don’t tell anyone that you have reported this to me.’

Paul transferred to Caesarea

23 Then he called two of his centurions and ordered them, ‘Get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen[b] to go to Caesarea at nine tonight. 24 Provide horses for Paul so that he may be taken safely to Governor Felix.’

25 He wrote a letter as follows:

26 Claudius Lysias,

To His Excellency, Governor Felix:

Greetings.

27 This man was seized by the Jews and they were about to kill him, but I came with my troops and rescued him, for I had learned that he is a Roman citizen. 28 I wanted to know why they were accusing him, so I brought him to their Sanhedrin. 29 I found that the accusation had to do with questions about their law, but there was no charge against him that deserved death or imprisonment. 30 When I was informed of a plot to be carried out against the man, I sent him to you at once. I also ordered his accusers to present to you their case against him.

31 So the soldiers, carrying out their orders, took Paul with them during the night and brought him as far as Antipatris. 32 The next day they let the cavalry go on with him, while they returned to the barracks. 33 When the cavalry arrived in Caesarea, they delivered the letter to the governor and handed Paul over to him. 34 The governor read the letter and asked what province he was from. Learning that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, ‘I will hear your case when your accusers get here.’ Then he ordered that Paul be kept under guard in Herod’s palace.

Footnotes

  1. Acts 23:5 Exodus 22:28
  2. Acts 23:23 The meaning of the Greek for this word is uncertain.

23 Paul looked directly[a] at the council[b] and said, “Brothers, I have lived my life with a clear conscience[c] before God to this day.” At that[d] the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near[e] Paul[f] to strike[g] him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall![h] Do[i] you sit there judging me according to the law,[j] and in violation of the law[k] you order me to be struck?” Those standing near him[l] said, “Do you dare insult[m] God’s high priest?” Paul replied,[n] “I did not realize,[o] brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, ‘You must not speak evil about a ruler of your people.’”[p]

Then when Paul noticed[q] that part of them were Sadducees[r] and the others Pharisees,[s] he shouted out in the council,[t] “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection[u] of the dead!” When he said this,[v] an argument[w] began[x] between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. (For the Sadducees say there is no resurrection, or angel, or spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.)[y] There was a great commotion,[z] and some experts in the law[aa] from the party of the Pharisees stood up[ab] and protested strongly,[ac] “We find nothing wrong[ad] with this man. What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10 When the argument became[ae] so great the commanding officer[af] feared that they would tear Paul to pieces,[ag] he ordered the detachment[ah] to go down, take him away from them by force,[ai] and bring him into the barracks.[aj]

11 The following night the Lord[ak] stood near[al] Paul[am] and said, “Have courage,[an] for just as you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”[ao]

The Plot to Kill Paul

12 When morning came,[ap] the Jews formed[aq] a conspiracy[ar] and bound themselves with an oath[as] not to eat or drink anything[at] until they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty of them who formed this conspiracy.[au] 14 They[av] went[aw] to the chief priests[ax] and the elders and said, “We have bound ourselves with a solemn oath[ay] not to partake[az] of anything until we have killed Paul. 15 So now you and the council[ba] request the commanding officer[bb] to bring him down to you, as if you were going to determine[bc] his case[bd] by conducting a more thorough inquiry.[be] We are ready to kill him[bf] before he comes near this place.”[bg]

16 But when the son of Paul’s sister heard about the ambush,[bh] he came and entered[bi] the barracks[bj] and told Paul. 17 Paul called[bk] one of the centurions[bl] and said, “Take this young man to the commanding officer,[bm] for he has something to report to him.” 18 So the centurion[bn] took him and brought him to the commanding officer[bo] and said, “The prisoner Paul called[bp] me and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.” 19 The commanding officer[bq] took him by the hand, withdrew privately, and asked, “What is it that you want[br] to report to me?” 20 He replied,[bs] “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council[bt] tomorrow, as if they were going to inquire more thoroughly about him. 21 So do not let them persuade you to do this,[bu] because more than forty of them[bv] are lying in ambush[bw] for him. They[bx] have bound themselves with an oath[by] not to eat or drink anything[bz] until they have killed him, and now they are ready, waiting for you to agree to their request.”[ca] 22 Then the commanding officer[cb] sent the young man away, directing him,[cc] “Tell no one that you have reported[cd] these things to me.” 23 Then[ce] he summoned[cf] two of the centurions[cg] and said, “Make ready 200 soldiers to go to Caesarea[ch] along with 70 horsemen[ci] and 200 spearmen[cj] by[ck] nine o’clock tonight,[cl] 24 and provide mounts for Paul to ride[cm] so that he may be brought safely to Felix[cn] the governor.”[co] 25 He wrote[cp] a letter that went like this:[cq]

26 Claudius Lysias to His Excellency Governor[cr] Felix,[cs] greetings. 27 This man was seized[ct] by the Jews and they were about to kill him,[cu] when I came up[cv] with the detachment[cw] and rescued him, because I had learned that he was[cx] a Roman citizen.[cy] 28 Since I wanted to know[cz] what charge they were accusing him of,[da] I brought him down to their council.[db] 29 I found he[dc] was accused with reference to controversial questions[dd] about their law, but no charge against him deserved death or imprisonment.[de] 30 When I was informed[df] there would be a plot[dg] against this man, I sent him to you at once, also ordering his accusers to state their charges[dh] against him before you.

31 So the soldiers, in accordance with their orders,[di] took[dj] Paul and brought him to Antipatris[dk] during the night. 32 The next day they let[dl] the horsemen[dm] go on with him, and they returned to the barracks.[dn] 33 When the horsemen[do] came to Caesarea[dp] and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented[dq] Paul to him. 34 When the governor[dr] had read[ds] the letter,[dt] he asked[du] what province he was from.[dv] When he learned[dw] that he was from Cilicia,[dx] 35 he said, “I will give you a hearing[dy] when your accusers arrive too.” Then[dz] he ordered that Paul[ea] be kept under guard in Herod’s palace.[eb]

Footnotes

  1. Acts 23:1 tn Grk “Paul, looking directly at the council, said.” The participle ἀτενίσας (atenisas) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
  2. Acts 23:1 tn Grk “the Sanhedrin” (the Sanhedrin was the highest legal, legislative, and judicial body among the Jews).
  3. Acts 23:1 tn BDAG 846 s.v. πολιτεύομαι 3 has “W. a double dat. συνειδήσει ἀγαθῇ πεπολίτευμαι τῷ θεῷ I have lived my life with a clear conscience before God Ac 23:1.”
  4. Acts 23:2 tn Grk “and” (δέ, de); the phrase “at that” has been used in the translation to clarify the cause and effect relationship.
  5. Acts 23:2 tn BDAG 778 s.v. παρίστημι/παριστάνω 2.b.α has “οἱ παρεστῶτες αὐτῷ those standing near him Ac 23:2.”
  6. Acts 23:2 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Paul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  7. Acts 23:2 tn Or “hit” (“strike” maintains the wordplay with the following verse). The action was probably designed to indicate a rejection of Paul’s claim to a clear conscience in the previous verse.
  8. Acts 23:3 sn You whitewashed wall. This was an idiom for hypocrisy—just as the wall was painted on the outside but something different on the inside, so this person was not what he appeared or pretended to be (L&N 88.234; see also BDAG 1010 s.v. τοῖχος). Paul was claiming that the man’s response was two-faced (Ezek 13:10-16; Matt 23:27-28). See also Deut 28:22.
  9. Acts 23:3 tn Grk “And do.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.
  10. Acts 23:3 tn The law refers to the law of Moses.
  11. Acts 23:3 tn BDAG 769 s.v. παρανομέω has “παρανομῶν κελεύεις in violation of the law you order Ac 23:3.”sn In violation of the law. Paul was claiming that punishment was given before the examination was complete (m. Sanhedrin 3:6-8). Luke’s noting of this detail shows how quickly the leadership moved to react against Paul.
  12. Acts 23:4 tn The word “him” is not in the Greek text but is implied.
  13. Acts 23:4 tn L&N 33.393 has for λοιδορέω (loidoreō) “to speak in a highly insulting manner—‘to slander, to insult strongly, slander, insult.’”sn Insult God’s high priest. Paul was close to violation of the Mosaic law with his response, as the citation from Exod 22:28 in v. 5 makes clear.
  14. Acts 23:5 tn Grk “said.”
  15. Acts 23:5 tn Or “know.”
  16. Acts 23:5 sn A quotation from Exod 22:28. This text defines a form of blasphemy. Paul, aware of the fact that he came close to crossing the line, backed off out of respect for the law.
  17. Acts 23:6 tn BDAG 200 s.v. γινώσκω 4 has “to be aware of someth., perceive, notice, realize”; this is further clarified by section 4.c: “w. ὅτι foll….Ac 23:6.”
  18. Acts 23:6 sn See the note on Sadducees in 4:1.
  19. Acts 23:6 sn See the note on Pharisee in 5:34.
  20. Acts 23:6 tn Grk “the Sanhedrin” (the Sanhedrin was the highest legal, legislative, and judicial body among the Jews).
  21. Acts 23:6 tn That is, concerning the hope that the dead will be resurrected. Grk “concerning the hope and resurrection.” BDAG 320 s.v. ἐλπίς 1.b.α states, “Of Israel’s messianic hope Ac 23:6 (. καὶ ἀνάστασις for . τῆς ἀν. [obj. gen] as 2 Macc 3:29 . καὶ σωτηρία).” With an objective genitive construction, the resurrection of the dead would be the “object” of the hope.
  22. Acts 23:7 tn The participle εἰπόντος (eipontos) has been translated temporally.
  23. Acts 23:7 tn Or “a dispute” (BDAG 940 s.v. στάσις 3).
  24. Acts 23:7 tn Grk “there came about an argument.” This has been simplified to “an argument began”
  25. Acts 23:8 tn BDAG 55 s.v. ἀμφότεροι 2 has “all, even when more than two are involved…Φαρισαῖοι ὁμολογοῦσιν τὰ ἀ. believe in them all 23:8.” On this belief see Josephus, J. W. 2.8.14 (2.163); Ant. 18.1.3 (18.14).sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.
  26. Acts 23:9 tn Or “clamor” (cf. BDAG 565 s.v. κραυγή 1.a, which has “there arose a loud outcry” here, and Exod 12:30).
  27. Acts 23:9 tn Or “and some scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 4:5.
  28. Acts 23:9 tn Grk “standing up.” The participle ἀναστάντες (anastantes) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
  29. Acts 23:9 tn Grk “protested strongly, saying.” L&N 39.27 has “διαμάχομαι: to fight or contend with, involving severity and thoroughness—‘to protest strongly, to contend with.’…‘some scribes from the party of the Pharisees protested strongly’ Ac 23:9.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant and has not been translated.
  30. Acts 23:9 sn “We find nothing wrong with this man.” Here is another declaration of innocence. These leaders recognized the possibility that Paul might have the right to make his claim.
  31. Acts 23:10 tn This genitive absolute construction with the participle γινομένης (ginomenēs) has been taken temporally (it could also be translated as causal).
  32. Acts 23:10 tn Grk “the chiliarch” (an officer in command of a thousand soldiers). In Greek the term χιλίαρχος (chiliarchos) literally described the “commander of a thousand,” but it was used as the standard translation for the Latin tribunus militum or tribunus militare, the military tribune who commanded a cohort of 600 men.
  33. Acts 23:10 tn Grk “that Paul would be torn to pieces by them.” BDAG 236 s.v. διασπάω has “of an angry mob μὴ διασπασθῇ ὁ Παῦλος ὑπ᾿ αὐτῶν that Paul would be torn in pieces by them Ac 23:10.” The passive construction is somewhat awkward in English and has been converted to an equivalent active construction in the translation.
  34. Acts 23:10 tn Normally this term means “army,” but according to BDAG 947 s.v. στράτευμα, “Of a smaller detachment of soldiers, sing. Ac 23:10, 27.” In the plural it can be translated “troops,” but it is singular here.
  35. Acts 23:10 tn Or “to go down, grab him out of their midst.”
  36. Acts 23:10 tn Or “the headquarters.” BDAG 775 s.v. παρεμβολή 2 has “barracks/headquarters of the Roman troops in Jerusalem Ac 21:34, 37; 22:24; 23:10, 16, 32.”
  37. Acts 23:11 sn The presence of the Lord indicated the vindicating presence and direction of God.
  38. Acts 23:11 tn Grk “standing near Paul, said.” The participle ἐπιστάς (epistas) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
  39. Acts 23:11 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Paul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  40. Acts 23:11 tn Or “Do not be afraid.”
  41. Acts 23:11 sn Like Jesus went to Jerusalem, Paul would now go to Rome. This trip forms the concluding backdrop to Acts. This is the second notice about going to Rome (see Acts 19:21 for the first).
  42. Acts 23:12 tn Grk “when it was day.”
  43. Acts 23:12 tn Grk “forming a conspiracy, bound.” The participle ποιήσαντες (poiēsantes) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
  44. Acts 23:12 tn L&N 30.72 has ‘some Jews formed a conspiracy’ Ac 23:12”; BDAG 979 s.v. συστροφή 1 has “Judeans came together in a mob 23:12. But in the last pass. the word may also mean—2. the product of a clandestine gathering, plot, conspiracy” (see also Amos 7:10; Ps 63:3).
  45. Acts 23:12 tn Or “bound themselves under a curse.” BDAG 63 s.v. ἀναθεματίζω 1 has “trans. put under a curse τινά someone…pleonastically ἀναθέματι ἀ. ἑαυτόν Ac 23:14. ἑαυτόν vss. 12, 21, 13 v.l.” On such oaths see m. Shevi’it 3:1-5. The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant in English and has not been translated.
  46. Acts 23:12 tn The word “anything” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context, but must be supplied for the modern English reader.
  47. Acts 23:13 tn L&N 30.73 defines συνωμοσία (sunōmosia) as “a plan for taking secret action someone or some institution, with the implication of an oath binding the conspirators—‘conspiracy, plot.’…‘there were more than forty of them who formed this conspiracy’ Ac 23:13.”
  48. Acts 23:14 tn Grk “who.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the relative pronoun (“whom”) was translated by the third person plural pronoun (“them”) and a new sentence begun in the translation.
  49. Acts 23:14 tn Grk “going.” The participle προσελθόντες (proselthontes) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
  50. Acts 23:14 sn They went to the chief priests. The fact that the high priest knew of this plot and did nothing shows the Jewish leadership would even become accomplices to murder to stop Paul. They would not allow Roman justice to take its course. Paul’s charge in v. 3 of superficially following the law is thus shown to be true.
  51. Acts 23:14 tn Or “bound ourselves under a curse.” BDAG 63 s.v. ἀναθεματίζω 1 has “trans. put under a curse τινά someone…pleonastically ἀναθέματι ἀ. ἑαυτόν Ac 23:14. ἑαυτόν vss. 12, 21, 13 v.l.” The pleonastic use ἀναθέματι ἀνεθεματίσαμεν (literally “we have cursed ourselves with a curse”) probably serves as an intensifier following Semitic usage, and is represented in the translation by the word “solemn.” On such oaths see m. Nedarim 3:1, 3.
  52. Acts 23:14 tn This included both food and drink (γεύομαι [geuomai] is used of water turned to wine in John 2:9).
  53. Acts 23:15 tn Grk “the Sanhedrin” (the Sanhedrin was the highest legal, legislative, and judicial body among the Jews).
  54. Acts 23:15 tn Grk “the chiliarch” (an officer in command of a thousand soldiers). See note on the term “commanding officer” in v. 10.
  55. Acts 23:15 tn Or “decide.” BDAG 227 s.v. διαγινώσκω has “ἀκριβέστερον τὰ περὶ αὐτοῦ to make a more thorough examination of his case Ac 23:15.”
  56. Acts 23:15 tn Grk “determine the things about him.”
  57. Acts 23:15 tn The expression “more thorough inquiry” reflects the comparative form of ἀκριβέστερον (akribesteron).
  58. Acts 23:15 sn “We are ready to kill him.” Now those Jews involved in the conspiracy, along with the leaders as accomplices, are going to break one of the ten commandments.
  59. Acts 23:15 tn The words “this place” are not in the Greek text, but are implied.
  60. Acts 23:16 tn Or “plot” (BDAG 334 s.v. ἐνέδρα).
  61. Acts 23:16 tn Grk “coming and entering…, he told.” The participles παραγενόμενος (paragenomenos) and εἰσελθών (eiselthōn) have been translated as finite verbs due to requirements of contemporary English style.
  62. Acts 23:16 tn Or “the headquarters.” BDAG 775 s.v. παρεμβολή 2 has “barracks/headquarters of the Roman troops in Jerusalem Ac 21:34, 37; 22:24; 23:10, 16, 32.”
  63. Acts 23:17 tn Grk “calling…Paul said.” The participle προσκαλεσάμενος (proskalesamenos) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
  64. Acts 23:17 sn See the note on the word centurion in 10:1.
  65. Acts 23:17 tn Grk “the chiliarch” (an officer in command of a thousand soldiers). See note on the term “commanding officer” in v. 10.
  66. Acts 23:18 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the centurion) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  67. Acts 23:18 tn Grk “the chiliarch” (an officer in command of a thousand soldiers). See note on the term “commanding officer” in v. 10.
  68. Acts 23:18 tn Grk “calling.” The participle προσκαλεσάμενος (proskalesamenos) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
  69. Acts 23:19 tn Grk “the chiliarch” (an officer in command of a thousand soldiers). See note on the term “commanding officer” in v. 10.
  70. Acts 23:19 tn Grk “you have,” but the expression “have to report” in English could be understood to mean “must report” rather than “possess to report.” For this reason the nearly equivalent expression “want to report,” which is not subject to misunderstanding, was used in the translation.
  71. Acts 23:20 tn Grk “He said.”
  72. Acts 23:20 tn Grk “the Sanhedrin” (the Sanhedrin was the highest legal, legislative, and judicial body among the Jews).
  73. Acts 23:21 tn Grk “do not be persuaded by them.” The passive construction μὴ πεισθῇς αὐτοῖς (mē peisthēs autois) has been converted to an active construction in the translation, and the phrase “to do this” supplied to indicate more clearly the object of their persuasion.
  74. Acts 23:21 tn Grk “forty men of them.” In the expression ἐξ αὐτῶν ἄνδρες (ex autōn andres) “men” is somewhat redundant and has not been included in the English translation.
  75. Acts 23:21 tn Grk “are lying in wait for him” (BDAG 334 s.v. ἐνεδρεύω); see also v. 16.
  76. Acts 23:21 tn Grk “for him, who.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the relative pronoun (“who”) was translated by the third person plural pronoun (“they”) and a new sentence begun in the translation.
  77. Acts 23:21 tn Or “bound themselves under a curse.” BDAG 63 s.v. ἀναθεματίζω 1 has “trans. put under a curse τινά someone. ἑαυτόν vss. 12, 21, 13 v.l.”
  78. Acts 23:21 tn The word “anything” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context, but must be supplied for the modern English reader.
  79. Acts 23:21 tn Grk “waiting for your approval,” “waiting for your agreement.” Since it would be possible to misunderstand the literal translation “waiting for your approval” to mean that the Jews were waiting for the commander’s approval to carry out their plot or to kill Paul (as if he were to be an accomplice to their plot), the object of the commander’s approval (their request to bring Paul to the council) has been specified in the translation as “their request.”
  80. Acts 23:22 tn Grk “the chiliarch” (an officer in command of a thousand soldiers). See note on the term “commanding officer” in v. 10.
  81. Acts 23:22 tn BDAG 760 s.v. παραγγέλλω has “to make an announcement about someth. that must be done, give orders, command, instruct, direct of all kinds of persons in authority, worldly rulers, Jesus, the apostles…παραγγέλλειν w. an inf. and μή comes to mean forbid to do someth.: π. τινί w. aor. inf. Lk 5:14; 8:56; without the dat., which is easily supplied fr. the context Ac 23:22.” However, if the direct discourse which follows is to be retained in the translation, a different translation must be used since it is awkward to introduce direct discourse with the verb to forbid. Thus the alternative to direct was used.
  82. Acts 23:22 tn On this verb, see BDAG 325-26 s.v. ἐμφανίζω 2. The term was frequently used of an official report to authorities. In modern terms, this was a police tip.
  83. Acts 23:23 tn Grk “And.” Since this represents a response to the reported ambush, καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the logical sequence.
  84. Acts 23:23 tn Grk “summoning…he said.” The participle προσκαλεσάμενος (proskalesamenos) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
  85. Acts 23:23 sn See the note on the word centurion in 10:1.
  86. Acts 23:23 sn Caesarea was a city on the coast of Palestine south of Mount Carmel (not Caesarea Philippi). See the note on Caesarea in Acts 10:1. This was a journey of about 65 mi (just over 100 km).
  87. Acts 23:23 tn Or “cavalrymen.”
  88. Acts 23:23 tn A military technical term of uncertain meaning. BDAG 217 s.v. δεξιολάβος states, “a word of uncertain mng., military t.t., acc. to Joannes Lydus…and Theophyl. Sim., Hist. 4, 1 a light-armed soldier, perh. bowman, slinger; acc. to a scholion in CMatthaei p. 342 body-guard….Spearman Goodspd., NRSV; ‘security officer’, GDKilpatrick, JTS 14, ’63, 393f.”sn 200 soldiers…along with 70 horsemen and 200 spearmen. The resulting force assembled to guard Paul was almost a full cohort. The Roman commander was taking no chances, but was sending the issue up the chain of command to the procurator to decide.
  89. Acts 23:23 tn Grk “from.”
  90. Acts 23:23 tn Grk “from the third hour of the night.”
  91. Acts 23:24 tn Grk “provide mounts to put Paul on.”sn Mounts for Paul to ride. The fact they were riding horses indicates they wanted everyone to move as quickly as possible.
  92. Acts 23:24 sn Felix the governor was Antonius Felix, a freedman of Antonia, mother of the Emperor Claudius. He was the brother of Pallas and became procurator of Palestine in a.d. 52/53. His administration was notorious for its corruption, cynicism, and cruelty. According to the historian Tacitus (History 5.9) Felix “reveled in cruelty and lust, and wielded the power of a king with the mind of a slave.”
  93. Acts 23:24 tn Grk “Felix the procurator.” The official Roman title has been translated as “governor” (BDAG 433 s.v. ἡγεμών 2).
  94. Acts 23:25 tn Grk “writing.” Due to the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was begun here in the translation, supplying “he” (referring to the commanding officer, Claudius Lysias) as subject. The participle γράψας (grapsas) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
  95. Acts 23:25 tn Grk “having this form,” “having this content.” L&N 33.48 has “γράψσς ἐπιστολὴν ἔχουσαν τὸν τύπον τοῦτον ‘then he wrote a letter that went like this’ Ac 23:25. It is also possible to understand ἐπιστολή in Ac 23:25 not as a content or message, but as an object (see 6.63).”
  96. Acts 23:26 tn Grk “Procurator.” The official Roman title has been translated as “governor” (BDAG 433 s.v. ἡγεμών 2).
  97. Acts 23:26 sn Governor Felix. See the note on Felix in v. 24.
  98. Acts 23:27 tn The participle συλλημφθέντα (sullēmphthenta) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style. The remark reviews events of Acts 21:27-40.
  99. Acts 23:27 tn Grk “and was about to be killed by them.” The passive construction has been converted to an active one in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  100. Acts 23:27 tn Or “approached.”
  101. Acts 23:27 tn Normally this term means “army,” but according to BDAG 947 s.v. στράτευμα, “Of a smaller detachment of soldiers, sing. Ac 23:10, 27.” In the plural it can be translated “troops,” but it is singular here.
  102. Acts 23:27 tn In Greek this is a present tense retained in indirect discourse.
  103. Acts 23:27 tn The word “citizen” is supplied here for emphasis and clarity.sn The letter written by the Roman commander Claudius Lysias was somewhat self-serving. He made it sound as if the rescue of a Roman citizen had been a conscious act on his part. In fact, he had made the discovery of Paul’s Roman citizenship somewhat later. See Acts 21:37-39 and 22:24-29.
  104. Acts 23:28 tn Or “determine.”
  105. Acts 23:28 tn Grk “to know the charge on account of which they were accusing him.” This has been simplified to eliminate the prepositional phrase and relative pronoun δι᾿ ἣν (dihēn) similar to L&N 27.8 which has “‘I wanted to find out what they were accusing him of, so I took him down to their Council’ Ac 23:28.”
  106. Acts 23:28 tn Grk “their Sanhedrin” (the Sanhedrin was the highest legal, legislative, and judicial body among the Jews).
  107. Acts 23:29 tn Grk “whom I found.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the relative pronoun (“whom”) has been changed to a personal pronoun (“he”) and a new sentence begun in the translation at this point.
  108. Acts 23:29 tn BDAG 428 s.v. ζήτημα states, “in our lit. only in Ac, w. the mng. it still has in Mod. Gk. (controversial) question, issue, argumentAc 15:2; 26:3. ζ. περί τινος questions about someth.…18:15; 25:19.—In 23:29, since περί had already been used, the subj. of the discussion is added in the gen. ζ. τοῦ νόμου αὐτῶν.”sn With reference to controversial questions. Note how the “neutral” Roman authorities saw the issue. This was a religious rather than a civil dispute. See Acts 18:15.
  109. Acts 23:29 tn Grk “but having no charge worthy of death or imprisonment.” BDAG 273-74 s.v. ἔγκλημα 1 has “legal t.t.…. ἄξιον θανάτου ἢ δεσμῶν a charge deserving death or imprisonment 23:29.” sn Despite the official assessment that no charge against him deserved death or imprisonment, there was no effort to release Paul.
  110. Acts 23:30 tn Grk “It being revealed to me.” The participle μηνυθείσης (mēnutheisēs) has been taken temporally.
  111. Acts 23:30 tn The term translated “plot” here is a different one than the one in Acts 23:16 (see BDAG 368 s.v. ἐπιβουλή).
  112. Acts 23:30 tn Grk “the things against him.” This could be rendered as “accusations,” “grievances,” or “charges,” but since “ordered his accusers to state their accusations” sounds redundant in English, “charges” was used instead.
  113. Acts 23:31 tn BDAG 237-38 s.v. διατάσσω 2 has “κατὰ τὸ δ. αὐτοῖς in accordance w. their ordersAc 23:31.”
  114. Acts 23:31 tn Grk “taking.” The participle ἀναλαβόντες (analabontes) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
  115. Acts 23:31 sn Antipatris was a city in Judea about 35 mi (55 km) northwest of Jerusalem (about halfway to Caesarea). It was mentioned several times by Josephus (Ant. 13.15.1 [13.390]; J. W. 1.4.7 [1.99]).
  116. Acts 23:32 tn Grk “letting.” The participle ἐάσαντες (easantes) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
  117. Acts 23:32 tn Or “cavalrymen.”
  118. Acts 23:32 tn Or “the headquarters.” BDAG 775 s.v. παρεμβολή 2 has “barracks/headquarters of the Roman troops in Jerusalem Ac 21:34, 37; 22:24; 23:10, 16, 32.”
  119. Acts 23:33 tn Grk “who, coming to Caesarea.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek construction, a new sentence was begun here in the translation. The relative pronoun (“who”) has been replaced with the referent (the horsemen) in the translation for clarity.
  120. Acts 23:33 sn Caesarea was a city on the coast of Palestine south of Mount Carmel (not Caesarea Philippi). See the note on Caesarea in Acts 10:1. It was about 30 mi (50 km) from Antipatris.
  121. Acts 23:33 tn BDAG 778 s.v. παρίστημι/παριστάνω 1.b has “present, representα. lit. τινά τινι someone to someone παρέστησαν τὸν Παῦλον αὐτῷ Ac 23:33.”
  122. Acts 23:34 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the governor) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  123. Acts 23:34 tn Grk “having read.” The participle ἀναγνούς (anagnous) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
  124. Acts 23:34 tn The words “the letter” are not in the Greek text but are implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek, but must be supplied for the modern English reader.
  125. Acts 23:34 tn Grk “and asking.” The participle ἐπερωτήσας (eperōtēsas) has been translated as a finite verb and καί (kai) left untranslated due to requirements of contemporary English style.
  126. Acts 23:34 sn Governor Felix asked what province he was from to determine whether he had legal jurisdiction over Paul. He could have sent him to his home province for trial, but decided to hear the case himself.
  127. Acts 23:34 tn Grk “and learning.” The participle πυθόμενος (puthomenos) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
  128. Acts 23:34 sn Cilicia was a province in southeastern Asia Minor.
  129. Acts 23:35 tn Or “I will hear your case.” BDAG 231 s.v. διακούω has “as legal t.t. give someone an opportunity to be heard in court, give someone (τινός) a hearing Ac 23:35”; L&N 56.13 has “to give a judicial hearing in a legal matter—‘to hear a case, to provide a legal hearing, to hear a case in court.’”
  130. Acts 23:35 tn Grk “ordering.” The participle κελεύσας (keleusas) has been translated as a finite verb and a new sentence begun here due to the length and complexity of the Greek sentence. “Then” has also been supplied to indicate the logical and temporal sequence.
  131. Acts 23:35 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Paul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  132. Acts 23:35 sn Herod’s palace (Grk “Herod’s praetorium”) was the palace built in Caesarea by Herod the Great. See Josephus, Ant. 15.9.6 (15.331). These events belong to the period of a.d. 56-57.

Paul’s trial before Felix

24 Five days later the high priest Ananias went down to Caesarea with some of the elders and a lawyer named Tertullus, and they brought their charges against Paul before the governor. When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix: ‘We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude. But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly.

‘We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. [a] By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.’

The other Jews joined in the accusation, asserting that these things were true.

10 When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied: ‘I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defence. 11 You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. 13 And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me. 14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, 15 and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.

17 ‘After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings. 18 I was ceremonially clean when they found me in the temple courts doing this. There was no crowd with me, nor was I involved in any disturbance. 19 But there are some Jews from the province of Asia, who ought to be here before you and bring charges if they have anything against me. 20 Or these who are here should state what crime they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin – 21 unless it was this one thing I shouted as I stood in their presence: “It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.”’

22 Then Felix, who was well acquainted with the Way, adjourned the proceedings. ‘When Lysias the commander comes,’ he said, ‘I will decide your case.’ 23 He ordered the centurion to keep Paul under guard but to give him some freedom and permit his friends to take care of his needs.

24 Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, ‘That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.’ 26 At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him.

27 When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favour to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.

Footnotes

  1. Acts 24:7 Some manuscripts include here him, and we would have judged him in accordance with our law. But the commander Lysias came and took him from us with much violence, ordering his accusers to come before you.

The Accusations Against Paul

24 After five days the high priest Ananias[a] came down with some elders and an attorney[b] named[c] Tertullus, and they[d] brought formal charges[e] against Paul to the governor. When Paul[f] had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him,[g] saying, “We have experienced a lengthy time[h] of peace through your rule,[i] and reforms[j] are being made in this nation[k] through your foresight.[l] Most excellent Felix,[m] we acknowledge this everywhere and in every way[n] with all gratitude.[o] But so that I may not delay[p] you any further, I beg[q] you to hear us briefly[r] with your customary graciousness.[s] For we have found[t] this man to be a troublemaker,[u] one who stirs up riots[v] among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader[w] of the sect of the Nazarenes.[x] He[y] even tried to desecrate[z] the temple, so we arrested[aa] him.[ab] When you examine[ac] him yourself, you will be able to learn from him[ad] about all these things we are accusing him of doing.”[ae] The Jews also joined in the verbal attack,[af] claiming[ag] that these things were true.

Paul’s Defense Before Felix

10 When the governor gestured for him to speak, Paul replied, “Because I know[ah] that you have been a judge over this nation for many years, I confidently make my defense.[ai] 11 As you can verify[aj] for yourself, not more than twelve days ago[ak] I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 They did not find me arguing[al] with anyone or stirring up a crowd[am] in the temple courts[an] or in the synagogues[ao] or throughout the city,[ap] 13 nor can they prove[aq] to you the things[ar] they are accusing me of doing.[as] 14 But I confess this to you, that I worship[at] the God of our ancestors[au] according to the Way (which they call a sect), believing everything that is according to the law[av] and that is written in the prophets. 15 I have[aw] a hope in God (a hope[ax] that[ay] these men[az] themselves accept too) that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.[ba] 16 This is the reason[bb] I do my best to always[bc] have a clear[bd] conscience toward God and toward people.[be] 17 After several years[bf] I came to bring to my people gifts for the poor[bg] and to present offerings,[bh] 18 which I was doing when they found me in the temple, ritually purified,[bi] without a crowd or a disturbance.[bj] 19 But there are some Jews from the province of Asia[bk] who should be here before you and bring charges,[bl] if they have anything against me. 20 Or these men here[bm] should tell what crime[bn] they found me guilty of[bo] when I stood before the council,[bp] 21 other than[bq] this one thing[br] I shouted out while I stood before[bs] them: ‘I am on trial before you today concerning the resurrection of the dead.’”[bt]

22 Then Felix,[bu] who understood the facts[bv] concerning the Way[bw] more accurately,[bx] adjourned their hearing,[by] saying, “When Lysias the commanding officer comes down, I will decide your case.”[bz] 23 He ordered the centurion[ca] to guard Paul,[cb] but to let him have some freedom,[cc] and not to prevent any of his friends[cd] from meeting his needs.[ce]

Paul Speaks Repeatedly to Felix

24 Some days later, when Felix[cf] arrived with his wife Drusilla,[cg] who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him speak[ch] about faith in Christ Jesus.[ci] 25 While Paul[cj] was discussing[ck] righteousness, self-control,[cl] and the coming judgment, Felix[cm] became[cn] frightened and said, “Go away for now, and when I have an opportunity,[co] I will send for you.” 26 At the same time he was also hoping that Paul would give him money,[cp] and for this reason he sent for Paul[cq] as often as possible[cr] and talked[cs] with him. 27 After two years[ct] had passed, Porcius Festus[cu] succeeded Felix,[cv] and because he wanted to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.[cw]

Footnotes

  1. Acts 24:1 sn Ananias was in office from a.d. 47-59.
  2. Acts 24:1 tn The term refers to a professional advocate (BDAG 905 s.v. ῥήτωρ).
  3. Acts 24:1 tn Grk “an attorney, a certain Tertullus.”
  4. Acts 24:1 tn Grk “who” (plural). Because in English the relative pronoun “who” could be understood to refer only to the attorney Tertullus and not to the entire group, it has been replaced with the third person plural pronoun “they.” “And” has been supplied to provide the connection to the preceding clause.
  5. Acts 24:1 tn BDAG 326 s.v. ἐμφανίζω 3 has “. τινὶ κατά τινος bring formal charges against someoneAc 24:1; 25:2.”
  6. Acts 24:2 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Paul) has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
  7. Acts 24:2 tn Or “began to bring charges, saying.”
  8. Acts 24:2 tn Grk “experienced much peace.”
  9. Acts 24:2 tn Grk “through you” (“rule” is implied).
  10. Acts 24:2 tn This term is used only once in the NT (a hapax legomenon). It refers to improvements in internal administration (BDAG 251 s.v. διόρθωμα).
  11. Acts 24:2 tn Or “being made for this people.”
  12. Acts 24:2 sn References to peaceful rule, reforms, and the governor’s foresight in the opening address by Tertullus represent an attempt to praise the governor and thus make him favorable to the case. Actual descriptions of his rule portray him as inept (Tacitus, Annals 12.54; Josephus, J. W. 2.13.2-7 [2.253-270]).
  13. Acts 24:3 sn Most excellent Felix. See the note on Felix in 23:24.
  14. Acts 24:3 tn Grk “in every way and everywhere.”
  15. Acts 24:3 tn Or “with complete thankfulness.” BDAG 416 s.v. εὐχαριστία 1 has “μετὰ πάσης εὐ.…with all gratitude Ac 24:3.” L&N 31.26 has “‘we acknowledge this anywhere and everywhere with complete thankfulness’ Ac 24:3.”
  16. Acts 24:4 tn Or “may not weary.” BDAG 274 s.v. ἐγκόπτω states, “ἵνα μὴ ἐπὶ πλεῖόν σε ἐγκόπτω Ac 24:4 is understood by Syr. and Armen. versions to mean in order not to weary you any further; cp. ἔγκοπος weary Diog. L. 4, 50; LXX; and ἔγκοπον ποιεῖν to weary Job 19:2; Is 43:23. But impose on is also prob.; detain NRSV.”
  17. Acts 24:4 tn Or “request.”
  18. Acts 24:4 tn This term is another NT hapax legomenon (BDAG 976 s.v. συντόμως 2). Tertullus was asking for a brief hearing, and implying to the governor that he would speak briefly and to the point.
  19. Acts 24:4 tn BDAG 371 s.v. ἐπιείκεια has “τῇ σῇ ἐ. with your (customary) indulgence Ac 24:4.”
  20. Acts 24:5 tn Grk “For having found.” The participle εὑρόντες (heurontes) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
  21. Acts 24:5 tn L&N 22.6 has “(a figurative extension of meaning of λοιμός ‘plague,’ 23.158) one who causes all sorts of trouble—‘troublemaker, pest.’…‘for we have found this man to be a troublemaker” Ac 24:5.”
  22. Acts 24:5 tn Or “dissensions.” While BDAG 940 s.v. στάσις 3 translates this phrase “κινεῖν στάσεις (v.l. στάσιν) τισί create dissension among certain people Ac 24:5, ” it is better on the basis of the actual results of Paul’s ministry to categorize this usage under section 2, “uprising, riot, revolt, rebellion” (cf. the use in Acts 19:40).
  23. Acts 24:5 tn This term is yet another NT hapax legomenon (BDAG 894 s.v. πρωτοστάτης).sn A ringleader. Tertullus’ basic argument was that Paul was a major disturber of the public peace. To ignore this the governor would be shunning his duty to preserve the peace and going against the pattern of his rule. In effect, Tertullus claimed that Paul was seditious (a claim the governor could not afford to ignore).
  24. Acts 24:5 sn The sect of the Nazarenes is a designation for followers of Jesus the Nazarene, that is, Christians.
  25. Acts 24:6 tn Grk “who.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the relative pronoun (“who”) was replaced by the third person singular pronoun (“he”) and a new sentence begun here in the translation.
  26. Acts 24:6 tn Or “profane” (BDAG 173 s.v. βεβηλόω). The term was also used of profaning the Sabbath.
  27. Acts 24:6 tn Or “seized.” Grk “whom also we arrested.” Because of the awkwardness of a relative clause in English at this point, the relative pronoun (“whom”) was replaced by the pronoun “him” as object of the verb.
  28. Acts 24:6 tc Some mss include some material at the end of v. 6, all of 24:7, and some material at the beginning of v. 8: “and we wanted to judge him according to our law. 24:7 But Lysias the commanding officer came and took him out of our hands with a great deal of violence, 24:8 ordering those who accused him to come before you.” Acts 24:6b, 7, and 8a are lacking in P74 א A B H L P 049 81 1175 1241 pm and a few versional witnesses. They are included (with a few minor variations) in E Ψ 33 323 614 945 1505 1739 pm and a few versional witnesses. This verse (and parts of verses) is most likely not a part of the original text of Acts, for not only is it lacking from the better witnesses, there is no easy explanation as to how such could be missing from them. The present translation follows NA28 in omitting the verse number, a procedure also followed by a number of other modern translations.
  29. Acts 24:8 tn Or “question.”
  30. Acts 24:8 tn Grk “From whom when you examine him yourself, you will be able to learn…” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the relative pronoun (“whom”) was replaced by the third person singular pronoun (“him”) and a new sentence begun at the beginning of v. 8 in the translation.
  31. Acts 24:8 tn Grk “about all these things of which we are accusing him.” This has been simplified to eliminate the relative pronoun (“of which”) in the translation.
  32. Acts 24:9 tn Grk “joined in the attack,” but the adjective “verbal” has been supplied to clarify that this was not another physical assault on Paul. The verb is another NT hapax legomenon (BDAG 969 s.v. συνεπιτίθημι).
  33. Acts 24:9 tn Or “asserting” (BDAG 1050 s.v. φάσκω).
  34. Acts 24:10 tn Grk “knowing.” The participle ἐπιστάμενος (epistamenos) has been translated as a causal adverbial participle.
  35. Acts 24:10 sn “Because…defense.” Paul also paid an indirect compliment to the governor, implying that he would be fair in his judgment.
  36. Acts 24:11 tn BDAG 369 s.v. ἐπιγινώσκω 2.c has “notice, perceive, learn of, ascertain…Also as legal t.t. ascertain (2 Macc 14:9) τὶ Ac 23:28; cp. 24:8. W. ὅτι foll. Ac 24:11.” “Verify” is an English synonym for “ascertain.”
  37. Acts 24:11 tn Grk “it is not more than twelve days from when.” This has been simplified to “not more than twelve days ago.”sn Part of Paul’s defense is that he would not have had time to organize a revolt, since he had arrived in Jerusalem not more than twelve days ago.
  38. Acts 24:12 tn Or “disputing,” “conducting a heated discussion.”
  39. Acts 24:12 tn BDAG 381 s.v. ἐπίστασις 2 has “. ποιεῖν ὄχλου to cause a crowd to gather Ac 24:12.” Roman authorities would not allow a mob to gather and threaten the peace, and anyone suspected of instigating a mob would certainly be arrested.
  40. Acts 24:12 tn Grk “in the temple.” This is actually a reference to the courts surrounding the temple proper, and has been translated accordingly.
  41. Acts 24:12 sn See the note on synagogue in 6:9.
  42. Acts 24:12 sn A second part of Paul’s defense is that he did nothing while he was in Jerusalem to cause unrest, neither arguing nor stirring up a crowd in the temple courts or in the synagogues or throughout the city.
  43. Acts 24:13 tn BDAG 778 s.v. παρίστημι/παριστάνω 1.f has “οὐδὲ παραστῆσαι δύνανταί σοι περὶ ὧν νυνὶ κατηγοροῦσίν μου nor can they prove to you the accusations they are now making against me Ac 24:13.”sn Nor can they prove. This is a formal legal claim that Paul’s opponents lacked proof of any wrongdoing. They had no witness who could justify the arrest at the temple.
  44. Acts 24:13 tn The words “the things” are not in the Greek text but are implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context, but must be supplied for the modern English reader.
  45. Acts 24:13 tn Grk “nor can they prove to you [the things] about which they are now accusing me.” This has been simplified to eliminate the relative pronoun (“which”) in the translation.
  46. Acts 24:14 tn Or “serve.”
  47. Acts 24:14 tn Or “forefathers”; Grk “fathers.”
  48. Acts 24:14 sn That is, the law of Moses. Paul was claiming that he legitimately worshiped the God of Israel. He was arguing that this amounted to a religious dispute rather than a political one, so that the Roman authorities need not concern themselves with it.
  49. Acts 24:15 tn Grk “having.” The participle ἔχων (echōn) has been translated as a finite verb and a new sentence begun at this point in the translation because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence.
  50. Acts 24:15 sn This mention of Paul’s hope sets up his appeal to the resurrection of the dead. At this point Paul was ignoring the internal Jewish dispute between the Pharisees (to which he had belonged; Acts 23:6) and the Sadducees (who denied there would be a resurrection of the dead; Acts 23:8).
  51. Acts 24:15 tn Grk “a hope in God (which these [men] themselves accept too).” Because the antecedent of the relative pronoun “which” is somewhat unclear in English, the words “a hope” have been repeated at the beginning of the parenthesis for clarity.
  52. Acts 24:15 tn Grk “that they”; the referent (these men, Paul’s accusers) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  53. Acts 24:15 tn Or “the unjust.”sn This is the only mention of the resurrection of the unrighteous in Acts. The idea parallels the idea of Jesus as the judge of both the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; 17:31).
  54. Acts 24:16 tn BDAG 329 s.v. ἐν 9.a, “ἐν τούτῳ πιστεύομεν this is the reason why we believe Jn 16:30; cp. Ac 24:16.”
  55. Acts 24:16 tn BDAG 224 s.v. διά 2.a, “διὰ παντόςalways, continually, constantlyAc 2:25 (Ps 16:8); 10:2; 24:16.” However, the positioning of the adverb “always” in the English translation is difficult; the position used is one of the least awkward.
  56. Acts 24:16 tn BDAG 125 s.v. ἀπρόσκοπος 1 has “. συνείδησις a clear conscience Ac 24:16.”
  57. Acts 24:16 tn Grk “men,” but this is a generic use (Paul does not have only males in view).
  58. Acts 24:17 tn BDAG 401 s.v. ἔτος has “δι᾿ ἐ. πλειόνων after several years 24:17.”
  59. Acts 24:17 tn Grk “to bring alms,” but the term “alms” is not in common use today, so the closest modern equivalent, “gifts for the poor,” is used instead.
  60. Acts 24:17 tn Or “sacrifices.” BDAG 887 s.v. προσφορά 1 has “προσφοράς ποιεῖν have sacrifices made Ac 24:17, ” but this may be overly specific. It is not clear from the immediate context whether the offering of sacrificial animals (so BDAG assumes) or offerings of some other sort (such as financial gifts) are in view. The combination with ἐλεημοσύνας (eleēmosunas) in the preceding clause may suggest monetary offerings. Some have suggested this is an allusion to the payments made by Paul on behalf of the four other men mentioned in Acts 21:23-26, but the text here seems to suggest something Paul had planned to do before he came, while the decision to pay for the expenses of the men in 21:23ff. was made at the suggestion of the Jerusalem leadership after he arrived. In either case, Paul was portraying himself as a pious worshiper of his God.
  61. Acts 24:18 sn Ritually purified. Paul’s claim here is that he was honoring the holiness of God by being sensitive to issues of ritual purity. Not only was he not guilty of the charges against him, but he was thoroughly devout.
  62. Acts 24:18 tn BDAG 458 s.v. θόρυβος 3.b has “μετὰ θορύβουwith a disturbance Ac 24:18.”
  63. Acts 24:19 tn Grk “Asia”; in the NT this always refers to the Roman province of Asia. The Roman province of Asia made up about one-third of modern Asia Minor and was on the western side of it. Asia lay to the west of the region of Phrygia and Galatia. The words “the province of” are supplied to indicate to the modern reader that this does not refer to the continent of Asia.
  64. Acts 24:19 tn BDAG 533 s.v. κατηγορέω 1 states, “nearly always as legal t.t.: bring charges in court.” L&N 33.427 states for κατηγορέω (katēgoreō), “to bring serious charges or accusations against someone, with the possible connotation of a legal or court context—‘to accuse, to bring charges.’”sn Who should be here…and bring charges. Paul was asking, where were those who brought about his arrest and claimed he broke the law? His accusers were not really present. This subtle point raised the issue of injustice.
  65. Acts 24:20 tn Grk “these [men] themselves.”
  66. Acts 24:20 tn Or “unrighteous act.”
  67. Acts 24:20 tn The words “me guilty of” are not in the Greek text, but are implied. L&N 88.23 has “αὐτοὶ οὗτοι εἰπάτωσαν τί εὗρον ἀδίκημα στάντος μου ‘let these men themselves tell what unrighteous act they found me guilty of’ Ac 24:20.”
  68. Acts 24:20 tn Grk “the Sanhedrin” (the Sanhedrin was the highest legal, legislative, and judicial body among the Jews).
  69. Acts 24:21 tn BDAG 433 s.v. 2.c has “οὐδὲν ἕτερον ἤ nothing else thanAc 17:21. τί what otherthan24:21.”
  70. Acts 24:21 tn Grk “one utterance.”
  71. Acts 24:21 tn Cf. BDAG 327 s.v. ἐν 1.e, which has “before, in the presence of, etc.”
  72. Acts 24:21 sn The resurrection of the dead. Paul’s point was, what crime was there in holding this religious belief?
  73. Acts 24:22 sn See the note on Antonius Felix in 23:24.
  74. Acts 24:22 tn Grk “the things.”
  75. Acts 24:22 tn That is, concerning Christianity.
  76. Acts 24:22 tn BDAG 39 s.v. ἀκριβῶς has “Comp. ἀκριβέστερον more exactly. ἐκτίθεσθαι explain more exactly Ac 18:26, cp. 23:15, 20; also more accurately24:22.” Felix knew more about the Christian movement than what the Jewish leaders had told him.
  77. Acts 24:22 tn L&N 56.18 s.v. ἀναβάλλω has “to adjourn a court proceeding until a later time—‘to adjourn a hearing, to stop a hearing and put it off until later.’…‘then Felix, who was well informed about the Way, adjourned their hearing’ Ac 24:22.”
  78. Acts 24:22 tn BDAG 227 s.v. διαγινώσκω 2 states, “to make a judicial decision, decide/hear (a case)τὰ καθ᾿ ὑμᾶς decide your case Ac 24:22.”
  79. Acts 24:23 sn See the note on the word centurion in 10:1.
  80. Acts 24:23 tn Grk “that he was to be guarded.” The passive construction (τηρεῖσθαι, tēreisthai) has been converted to an active one in parallel with the following clauses, and the referent (Paul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  81. Acts 24:23 tn BDAG 77 s.v. ἄνεσις 1 states, “lit. relaxation of custodial control, some liberty, . ἔχειν have some freedom Ac 24:23.”
  82. Acts 24:23 tn Grk “any of his own” (this could also refer to relatives).
  83. Acts 24:23 tn Grk “from serving him.”
  84. Acts 24:24 sn See the note on Antonius Felix in 23:24.
  85. Acts 24:24 sn It is possible that Drusilla, being Jewish, was the source of Felix’s knowledge about the new movement called Christianity. The youngest daughter of Herod Agrippa I and sister of Agrippa II, she would have been close to 20 years old at the time. She had married the king of a small region in Syria but divorced him at the age of 16 to marry Felix. This was her second marriage and Felix’s third (Josephus, Ant. 19.9.1 [19.354], 20.7.2 [20.141-144]). As a member of Herod’s family, she probably knew about the Way.
  86. Acts 24:24 tn The word “speak” is implied; BDAG 32 s.v. ἀκούω 1.c has “ἤκουσεν αὐτοῦ περὶ τῆςπίστεως he heard him speak about faith Ac 24:24.”
  87. Acts 24:24 tn Or “Messiah Jesus”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”
  88. Acts 24:25 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Paul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  89. Acts 24:25 tn Or “speaking about.”
  90. Acts 24:25 tn Grk “and self-control.” This καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.sn The topic of self-control was appropriate in view of the personal history of both Felix and Drusilla (see the note on “Drusilla” in the previous verse), and might well account for Felix’s anxiety.
  91. Acts 24:25 sn See the note on Felix in 23:26.
  92. Acts 24:25 tn Grk “becoming.” The participle γενόμενος (genomenos) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
  93. Acts 24:25 tn Or “when I find time.” BDAG 639 s.v. μεταλαμβάνω 2 has “καιρὸν μ. have an opportunity = find timeAc 24:25.”
  94. Acts 24:26 tn Grk “he was hoping that money would be given to him by Paul.” To simplify the translation, the passive construction has been converted to an active one.sn Would give him money. That is, would offer him a bribe in exchange for his release. Such practices were fairly common among Roman officials of the period (Josephus, Ant. 2.12.3 [2.272-274]).
  95. Acts 24:26 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Paul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  96. Acts 24:26 tn “As often as possible” reflects the comparative form of the adjective πυκνός (puknos); see BDAG 897 s.v. πυκνός, which has “Neut. of the comp. πυκνότερον as adv. more often, more frequently and in an elative sense very often, quite frequently…also as often as possibleAc 24:26.”
  97. Acts 24:26 tn On this term, which could mean “conferred with him,” see BDAG 705 s.v. ὁμιλέω.
  98. Acts 24:27 tn Grk “After a two-year period.”
  99. Acts 24:27 sn Porcius Festus was the procurator of Palestine who succeeded Felix; neither the beginning nor the end of his rule (at his death) can be determined with certainty, although he appears to have died in office after about two years. Nero recalled Felix in a.d. 57 or 58, and Festus was appointed to his vacant office in a.d. 57, 58, or 59. According to Josephus (Ant. 20.8.9-10 [20.182-188]; J. W. 2.14.1 [2.271-272]), his administration was better than that of his predecessor Felix or his successor Albinus, but Luke in Acts portrays him in a less favorable light: He was willing to sacrifice Paul to court Jewish favor by taking him to Jerusalem for trial (see 25:9), regardless of Paul’s guilt or innocence. The one characteristic for which Festus was noted is that he dealt harshly with those who disturbed the peace.
  100. Acts 24:27 tn Grk “Felix received as successor Porcius Festus.”sn See the note on Felix in 23:26.
  101. Acts 24:27 tn Grk “left Paul imprisoned.”sn Felix left Paul in prison. Luke makes the point that politics got in the way of justice here; keeping Paul in prison was a political favor to the Jews.