St Paul's arrest, and his trial, from
Jerusalem to Caesarea and Rome

Acts Ist  Period
Acts Ist Period III - IV to conclusion

Acts 2d Period
2nd mission
Acts 2nd Period  2nd Journey
Acts Third Mission
Acts  Romans
Acts St Paul Arrest Trial
  21 - 28


'Sicari' (Assassins)    Saint_Paul_Letters_
  The storm
and the shipwreck
276 persons on board
Viper Bites Paul
on Malta
Paul Cures on Malta Publius
and others
The procurator, Antonius Felix, (see Chronology Of The Acts)
St_Paul_Letter_to_the_Ephesians St_Paul_Letter_to_the_Colossians Saint_Paul_Letters Written_in_Rome

101 Arrival at Jerusalem   102 Paul arrested in the Temple 103 Paul's speech to the peopl105 Paul before the Sanhedrin
104 A prisoner in the Antonia barrack106 Jewish plot: Paul Is transferred to Caesarea   107 The trial before Felix 108 Paul and the Procurator Festus. The appeal to Caesar
110 Paul before King Agrippa II   111 Agrippa acknowledges Paul's innocence  112 The departure for Rome  113 The storm and the shipwreck  114 Paul and the shipwrecked mariners
115 From Malta to Rome  116 Paul in the Capital of the Empire
Saint Paul's journey to Rome as a prisoner. 
When he left Jerusalem, after a halt at Antipatris, he reached

Caesarea where he remained as a prisoner fro two years. 
At Caesarea he took ship and, having rtouched Sidon and rounded Cyprus,
he went ashore at Myra where he was transferred to another ship. 
Setting sail for Italy, he sailed under the lee of Crete and landed at Fair Havens.
In an attempt to reach the harbour of Myra, more suitable for wintering in,
the ship was caught in a storm and carried towards Malta where she ran aground. 
When winter was over, he sailed in another ship for Syracuse and,
having called at Rhegium, disembarked at Puteoli whence, by land, he reached Rome.

V. Saint Paul's arrest, and his trial, from
Jerusalem to Caesarea and Rome

101 Arrival at Jerusalem

(Acts 21, 15-26)
   15 After these days we made ready and went up to Jerusalem. 16 And some of the disciples from Caesarea went with us, bringing us to the house of Mnason of Cyprus {Note}, an early disciple, with whom we should lodge.
17 When we had come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. 18 On the following day Paul went in with us to James; and all the elders were present. 19 After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified God. And they said to him, "You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed; they are all zealous for the law, 21 and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or observe the customs. 22 What then is to be done?  They will certainly hear that you have come. 23 Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow;  24 take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you but that you yourself live in observance of the law. (1) 25 But as for the Gentiles who have believed, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from unchastity."
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  26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day he purified himself with them and went into the temple, to give notice when the days of purification would be fulfilled and the offering presented for every one of them.

(1)    The rulers of the Church of Jerusalem, a very conservative group, (see p. 115, the early church in Jerusalem) were concerned to prevent the creation of divisions, at least in practical matters.  The vow, which is referred to, is the vow of the Nazirite (see Note to No. 53).  It might happen that, when the period of the vow was accomplished, poor Jews did not have the means to bear the considerable expenses involved (offering of a lamb, a sheep and a ram: see Numbers 6,14 ff.). In this case richer people were proud to intervene with an act of generosity.  This is precisely what it was suggested that Paul should do.  At this point also a 'we-section' ends, one of those passages, that is, in which Luke speaks in the first person plural (see Nos. 45, 65 and 112).
{Note} {Mnason was aged, but active. He knew victory over the infirmity of later years. He had an active mind for God - moved with the times.
Embraced the ministry of Paul when younger men failed to appreciate him. He was among the grand company of saints who made achievements in old age.}

p. 264

102 Paul arrested in the Temple

    (Acts 21, 27-40)
  27 When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, who had seen him in the temple, stirred up all the crowd, and laid hands on him, 28 crying out, "Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching men everywhere against the people and the law and this place; moreover he also brought Greeks into the temple, and he has defiled this holy place."

Jerusalem the sacred area of the Temple was separated from
 the 'Court of the Gentiles" by a rectangular balustrade
which forbade access to pagans on pain of death.


Fragment of a Greek inscription
forbidding pagans to enter
the sacred precinct of the
Temple, on pain of death.
29 For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. 30 Then all the city was aroused, and the people ran together; they seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and at once the gates were shut. 31 And as they were trying to kill him, word came to the tribune of the cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion. 32 He at once took soldiers and centurions, and ran down to them; and when they saw the tribune and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 Then the tribune came up and arrested him, and ordered him to be bound with two chains. He inquired who he was and what he had done (1). 34 Some in the crowd shouted one thing, some another; and as he could not learn the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into the barracks. 35 And when he came to the steps, he was actually carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd; 36 for the mob of the people followed, crying, "Away with him!"

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    37 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the tribune, "May I say something to you?" And he said, "Do you know Greek? 38 Are you not the Egyptian, then, who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?" 39 Paul replied, "I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city; I beg you, let me speak to the people."   40 And when he had given him leave, Paul, standing on the steps, motioned with his hand to the people; and when there was a great hush, he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, saying:

     (1)    The Temple, properly so-called (see "Gospel of Jesus", page 25), was reserved for Jews only.  The entrance of a non-Jew was considered so grave a sacrilege as to be legally punishable by death.  The arrival of the tribune with his cohort was due to the fear that the riot might swell into a more open rebellion.
      The character to whom the tribune alluded was a certain Ben-Stada of Egyptian origin. The Jewish historian Josephus Flavius relates that this man, giving himself out as Messiah, had been followed by a great many Jews of the extreme nationalist party called 'Sicari' (Assassins) (from the word 'sica', the name of the dagger they carried hidden beneath their cloaks).  This false Messiah had been defeated by the procurator Felix (52-59 A.D.).
103 Paul's speech to the people
 (Acts 22, 1-21)
     1 "Brethren and fathers, hear the defense which I now make before you."
     2 And when they heard that he addressed them in the Hebrew language, they were the more quiet. And he said: 3 "I am a Jew, born at Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, educated according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as you all are this day. 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, 5 as the high priest and the whole council of elders bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brethren, and I journeyed to Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.
   6 As I made my journey and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me.
P. 267

Of the majestic Temple of Herod there remains today only the great esplanade
whose area gives us an idea of the vastness of the building: 
In the shape of an irregular trapeze, it measures 491 metres on the west side and
462 metres on the east.  In the photograph is the Mosque of Omar seen from the south.

   7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?' 8 And I answered, 'Who are you, Lord?' And he said to me, 'I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.' 9 Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 10 And I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said to me, 'Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.' 11 And when I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.
    12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 came to me, and standing by me said to me, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight.'  13 And in that very hour I received my sight and saw him. 14 And he said, 'The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Just One and to hear a voice from his mouth; 15 for you will be a witness for him to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now why do you wait?  Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.'
    17 When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw him saying to me, 'Make haste and get quickly out of Jerusalem, because they will not accept your testimony about me.' 19 And I said, 'Lord, they themselves know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believed in thee. 20 And when the blood of Stephen thy witness was shed, I also was standing by and approving, and keeping the garments of those who killed him.' 21 And he said to me, 'Depart; for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'

104 A prisoner in the Antonia barracks
 (Acts 22, 22-29)

   22 Up to this word they listened to him; then they lifted up their voices and said, "Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he ought not to live." 23 And as they cried out and waved their garments and threw dust into the air, 24 the tribune commanded him to be brought into the barracks, and ordered him to be examined by scourging, to find out why they shouted thus against him. 
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   25 But when they had tied him up with the thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman citizen, and uncondemned?" 26 When the centurion heard that, he went to the tribune and said to him, "What are you about to do?  For this man is a Roman citizen." 27 So the tribune came and said to him, "Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?" And he said, "Yes." 28 The tribune answered, "I bought this citizenship for a large sum." Paul said, "But I was born a citizen." 29 So those who were about to examine him withdrew from him instantly; and the tribune also was afraid, for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had bound him. (1)

(1)    Concerning the privileged penal treatment reserved for Roman citizens see the note to No. 46.

105 Paul before the Sanhedrim
 (Acts 22, 30; 23, 1-11)
22,  30 But on the morrow, desiring to know the real reason why the Jews accused him, he unbound him, and commanded the chief priests and all the council to meet, and he brought Paul down and set him before them.
23, 1 And Paul, looking intently at the council, said, "Brethren, I have lived before God in all good conscience up to this day." 2 And the high priest Ananias (1) commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him "God shall strike you, you whitewashed wall!  Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?"    4 Those who stood by said, "Would you revile God's high priest?"    5 And Paul said, "I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, 'You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people."'
   6 But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, "Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead I am on trial." 7 And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the assembly was divided.

P. 271

For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit; but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.  9 Then a great clamor arose; and some of the scribes of the Pharisees' party stood up and contended, "We find nothing wrong in this man.  What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?" 10 And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn in pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them and bring him into the barracks.
   11 The following night the Lord stood by him and said, "Take courage, for as you have testified about me at Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also at Rome."

(1)        Ananias was High Priest in the years from 47 to 59 A.D.
He had the reputation of being a very violent man and was killed by the 'Sicari' (see
note to No. 102) in the year 66.

106 Jewish plot: Paul Is transferred to Caesarea

 (Acts 23, 12-35)

    12 When it was day, the Jews made a plot and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty who made this conspiracy. 14 And they went to the chief priests and elders, and said; "We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food till we have killed Paul.
15 You therefore, along with the council, give notice now to the tribune to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case more exactly.  And we are ready to kill him before he comes near."
     16 Now the son of Paul's sister (1) heard of their ambush so he went and entered the barracks and told Paul. 17 And Paul called one of the centurions and said, "Bring this young man to the tribune; for he has something to tell him."
18  So he took him and brought him to the tribune and said, “Paul the prisoner called me and asked me to bring this young man to you, as he has something to say to you."
P. 273

  19 The tribune took him by the hand, and going aside asked him privately, "What is it that you have to tell me?" 20 And he said, "The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more closely about him. 21 But do not yield to them; for more than forty of their men lie in ambush for him, having bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they have killed him; and now they are ready, waiting for the promise from you." 22 So the tribune dismissed the young man, charging him, "Tell no one that you have informed me of this."

23 Then he called two of the centurions and said, "At the third hour of the night get ready two hundred soldiers with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go as far as Caesarea. 24 Also provide mounts for Paul to ride, and bring him safely to Felix the governor." (2) 25 And he wrote a letter to this effect:
   26 "Claudius Lysias to his Excellency the governor Felix, greeting. 27 This man was seized by the Jews, and was about to be killed by them, when I came upon them with the soldiers and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman citizen. 28 And desiring to know the charge on which they accused him, I brought him down to their council. 29 I found that he was accused about questions of their law, but charged with nothing deserving death or imprisonment. 30 And when it was disclosed to me that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, ordering his accusers also to state before you what they have against him."

  31 So the soldiers, according to their instructions, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32 And on the morrow they returned to the barracks, leaving the horsemen to go on with him. 33 When they came to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they presented Paul also before him. 34 On reading the letter, he asked to what province he belonged.  When he learned that he was from Cilicia 35 he said, “I will hear you when your accusers arrive." And he commanded him to be guarded in Herod's praetorium.

(1)        The expression 'the son of Paul's sister' is the only mention of the Apostle's family that we have in the whole of the New Testament. (2) The procurator, Antonius Felix, (see chronological diagram on page 43) was a freedman of the Imperial household. Backed by the protection he enjoyed at court, he ruled with insolence, licentiousness and venality.  Of him the Roman historian Tacitus wrote: 'he exercised the power of a king with the spirit of a slave'.  Because of his bad government he was dismissed.

P. 274

107 The trial before Felix
     (Acts 24, 1-27)
  1 And after five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and a spokesman, one Tertullus. They laid before the governor their case against Paul; 2 and when he was called, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying:
     "Since through you we enjoy much peace, and since by your provision, most excellent Felix, reforms are introduced on behalf of this nation, 3 in every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude. 4 But, to detain you no further, I beg you in your kindness to hear us briefly. 5 For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, an agitator among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. 6 He even tried to profane the temple, but we seized him. [7] By examining him yourself you will be able to learn from him about everything of which we accuse him."
   7 The Jews also joined in the charge, affirming that all this was so.
P. 275

10 And when the governor had motioned to him to speak, Paul replied:
"Realizing that for many years you have been judge over this nation, I cheerfully make my defense. 11 As you may ascertain, it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship at Jerusalem;
12 and they did not find me disputing with any one or stirring up a crowd, either in the temple or in the synagogues, or in the city.
13 Neither can they prove to you what they now bring up against me.  14 But this I admit to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the law or written in the prophets, 15 having a hope in God which these themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.

16 So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward God and toward men. 17 Now after some years I came to bring to my nation alms and offerings. 18 As I was doing this, they found me purified in the temple, without any crowd or tumult. But some Jews from Asia - 19 they ought to be here before you and to make an accusation, if they have anything against me. 20 Or else let these men themselves say what wrongdoing they found when I stood before the council, 21 except this one thing which I cried out while standing among them, 'With respect to the resurrection of the dead I am on trial before you this day.'"
  22 But Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, "When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case." 23 Then he gave orders to the centurion that he should be kept in custody but should have some liberty, and that none of his friends should be prevented from attending to his needs.
   24 After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess; and he sent for Paul and heard him speak upon faith in Christ Jesus. 25 And as he argued about justice and self-control and future judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, "Go away for the present; when I have an opportunity I will summon you." 26 At the same time be hoped that money would be given him by Paul. So he sent for him often and conversed with him. 27 But when two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus; (1) and desiring to do the Jews a favour, Felix left Paul in prison.
p. 277

[7] 'We would have judged him according to our Law.  But the chief captain Lysias came and with great violence took him out of our hands [8] commanding his accusers to come before you'.
These verses are omitted in the best codices.
(1)        Porcius Festus was procurator in Judea from the year 60 till his death in 62 (see chronological diagram on page 43). He was of the 'Porcius family' of which other members were Cato the Censor and Cato the Less. He is presented to us by Josephus Flavius as an active and honorable officer.

108 Paul and the Procurator Festus. The appeal to Caesar

(Acts 25, 1-12)
  1 Now when Festus had come into his province, after three days he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea.  2 And the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews informed him against Paul; 3 and they urged him, I asking as a favour to have the man sent to Jerusalem, planning an ambush to kill him on the way.
 4 Festus replied that Paul was being kept at Caesarea, and that he himself intended to go there shortly.  5 "So," said he, "Let the men of authority among you go down with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them accuse him."
   6 When he had stayed among them not more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea; and the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought. 7 And when he had come, the Jews who had gone down from Jerusalem stood about him, bringing against him many serious charges, which they could not prove. 8 Paul said in his defense, "Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended at all."
But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favour, said to Paul, "Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem, and there be tried on these charges before me?" But Paul said, "I am standing before Caesar's tribunal, where I ought to be tried; to the Jews I have done no wrong, as you know very well. If then I am a wrongdoer, and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death; but if there is nothing in their charges against me, no one can give me up to them.  I appeal to Caesar." Then Festus, when he had conferred with his council, answered, "You have appealed to Caesar; to Caesar you shall go."
p. 278

Genealogy of Agrippa II

109 Festus explains Paul's case to King Agrippa II
  (Acts 25, 13-27)
  13 Now when some days had passed, Agrippa the king and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to welcome Festus. 14 And as they stayed there many days, Festus laid Paul's case before the king, saying, "There is a man left prisoner by Felix; 15 and when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews gave information about him, asking for sentence against him. 16 I answered them that it was not the custom of the Romans to give up any one before the accused met the accusers face to face, and had opportunity to make his defense concerning the charge laid against him. 17 When therefore they came together here, I made no delay, but on the next day took my seat on the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought in. 18 When the accusers stood up, they brought no charge in his case of such evils as I supposed; 19 but they had certain points of dispute with him about their own superstition and about one Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive.
P. 279

  20 "Being at a loss how to investigate these questions, I asked whether he wished to go to Jerusalem and be tried there regarding them. 21 But when Paul had appealed to be kept in custody for the decision of the emperor, I commanded him to be held until I could send him to Caesar." 22 And Agrippa said to Festus, "I should like to hear the man myself." "Tomorrow," said he, "you shall hear him."
  23 So on the morrow Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp, and, they entered the audience hall with the military tribunes and the prominent men of the city. Then by command of Festus Paul was brought in. 24 And Festus said, "King Agrippa and all who are present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Jewish people petitioned me, both at Jerusalem and here, shouting that he, ought not to live any longer." 25 But I found that he had done nothing deserving death; and as he himself appealed to the emperor, I decided to send him. 26 But I have nothing definite to write to my lord (2) about him. Therefore I have brought him before you, and, especially before you, King Agrippa, that, after we have examined him, I may have something to write.   27 For it seems to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not to indicate the charges against him."P. 281
(1) Agrippa II, son of Agrippa I (see note to No. 33), lived incestuously with his sister, Bernice. Brought up and educated in Rome at the court of Claudius, he became king in the year 48 and was always most loyal to the Empire. Of weak character, he was always completely dominated by his sister. Their conduct was known even in Rome and provoked sarcastic references from Juvenal in his satires (Satire 6).
Agrippa II was not king of Judea but of the territories to the northeast of Galilee; however he had the supervision of the Temple with the right of nominating the High Priest.
(2)Note the divine title 'Lord' given by Festus to the Emperor.  Whereas such a usage was a long-standing tradition in the east, it was introduced in Rome by the Emperors Caligula and Nero.
110 Paul before King Agrippa 11

 (Acts 26, 1-23)
1 Agrippa said to Paul, "You have permission to speak for yourself." Then Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense:
2 "I think myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 because you are especially familiar with all customs and controversies of the Jews; therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.
4 “My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and at Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. 5 They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee. 6 And now I stand here on trial for hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, 7 to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, 0 king! 8 Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?
9 "I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And I did so in Jerusalem; not only shut up many of the saints in prison, by authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them.
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   11 And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme; and in raging fury against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.
  12 "Thus I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 At midday, 0 king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining round me and those who journeyed with me. 14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?  It hurts you to kick against the goads.' 15 And I said, 'Who are you, Lord?'  And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise and stand upon your feet; for I have appeared to  you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and bear witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, 17 delivering you from the people and from the Gentiles to whom I send you 18 to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light (1) and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'
 19 "Wherefore, 0 King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those at Damascus, then at Jerusalem and throughout all the country of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God and perform deeds worthy of their repentance.
21 For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22 To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: 23 that the Christ must suffer, and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to the people and to the Gentiles."
(1) See Isaiah 42, 7 and 16.

111 Agrippa acknowledges Paul's innocence
    (Acts 26, 24-32)
  24 And as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, "Paul, you are mad; your great learning is turning you mad."
P. 283

   25 But Paul said, "I am not mad, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking the sober truth. 26 For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak freely; for I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe." 28 And Agrippa said to Paul, "In a short time you think to make me a Christian!" 29 And Paul said, "Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am except for these chains."
   30 Then the king rose, and the governor and Bernice and those who were sitting with them; 31 and when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, "This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment." 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, "This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar."
112 The departure for Rome
 (Acts 27, 1-12)

 1 And when it was decided that we should sail (1) for Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort, named Julius. 2 And embarking in a ship of Adramyttium, which was about to sail to the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica.
  3 The next day we put in at Sidon; and Julius treated Paul kindly, and gave him leave to go to his friends and be cared for. 4 And putting to sea from there we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were against us.
  5 And when we had sailed across the sea that is off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra in Lycia. 6 There the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy, and put us on board. 7 We sailed slowly for a number of days, and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, and as the wind did not allow us to go on, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone. 8 Coasting along it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasaea.
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  9 As much time had been lost, and the voyage was already dangerous because the fast (2) had already gone by, Paul advised them, 10 saying, "Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives."  11 But the centurion paid more attention to the captain and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said. 12 And because the harbor was not suitable to winter in, the majority advised to put to sea from there, on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, looking northeast and southeast, and winter there.
(1)        St Luke, who during St Paul's captivity at Caesarea, must have been collecting material for his Gospel and the Acts, at this point joined Paul (the third 'we-section' begins, see Nos. 45 and 65) and accompanied him to Rome.
(2)        The great fast was on the occasion of the Day of Atonement which fell about the end of September or beginning of October. That was a little before navigation was suspended. With the means then available it was in fact very unwise to put to sea during the winter.

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113 The storm and the shipwreck
 (Acts 27, 13-44)
  13  And when the south wind blew gently, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and, sailed along Crete, close inshore. 14  But soon a tempestuous wind, called the northeaster, struck down from the land; 15  and when the ship was caught and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and were driven. 16  And running under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we managed with difficulty to secure the boat; 17  after hoisting it up, they took measures to undergird the ship; then, fearing that they should run on the Syrtis, they lowered the gear, and so were driven. 18  As we were violently storm-tossed, they began next day to throw the cargo overboard; 19  and the third day they cast out with their own hands the tackle of the ship. 20  And when neither sun nor stars appeared for many a day, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.
21 As they had been long without food, Paul then came forward among them and said, "Men, you should have listened to me, and should not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss. 22 I now bid you to take heart; for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For this very night there stood by me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24 and he said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and lo, God has granted you all those who sail with you.'25 So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. 26 But we shall have to run on some island."
     27 When the fourteenth night had come, as we were drifting across the sea of Adria (1), about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land. 28 So they sounded and found twenty fathoms; a little farther on they sounded again and found fifteen fathoms. 29 And fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let out four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come. 30 And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, and had lowered the boat into the sea, under pretence of laying out anchors from the bow, 31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers,
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 "Unless these men stay in the Ship, you cannot be saved." 32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the boat, and let it go.
33 As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, "Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing. 34 Therefore I urge you to take some food; it will give you strength, since not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you." (2) 35 And when he had said this, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. 36 Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves. 37 (We were in all two hundred and seventy-six persons in the ship.) 38 And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea.
39 Now when it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned if possible to bring the ship ashore. 40 So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that tied the rudders; then hoisting the foresail to the wind they made for the beach. 41 But striking a shoal they ran the vessel aground; the bow stuck and remained immovable, and the stern was broken up by the surf. 42 The soldiers' plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape; 43 but the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their purpose.  He ordered those who could swim to throw themselves overboard first and make for the land, and the rest on planks or on pieces of the ship.  And so it was that all escaped to land. (1)        By the name 'Sea of Adria' the ancients meant the sea between Greece, Italy and Africa.
(2)        Similar words had been used by Jesus (see Luke 12,7 and 21,18).

114 Paul and the shipwrecked mariners all given hospitality in Malta
    (Acts 28, 1-10)
   After we had escaped, we then learned that the island was called Malta. And the natives showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold. 
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   Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, when a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. 4 When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, "No doubt this man is a murderer.  Though he has escaped from the sea, justice (1) has not allowed him to live." 5 He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 They waited, expecting him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead; but when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.
   7 Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days. 8 It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery; and Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him. 9 And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured.  10 They presented many gifts to us; and when we sailed, they put on board whatever we needed.
(1)        The 'Justice' of which the Maltese spoke among themselves is the goddess 'Dike' (which means precisely Justice) of Greek mythology. The island of Malta was administered by the Praetor of Sicily whose representative on the island was in fact called 'Chief man of the Island', a title which is confirmed by ancient inscriptions which have been found.
115 From Malta to Rome (Acts 28, 11-15)11After three months we set sail in a ship that had wintered in the island, a ship of Alexandria, with the Twin Brothers (1) as figurehead. 12 Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days. 13 And from there we made a circuit and arrived at Rhegium; and after one day a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli.  There we found brethren, and were invited to stay with them for seven days. And so we came to Rome.
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   15  And when the brethren there heard of us, they came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them Paul thanked God and took courage.
(1)        It was a common custom for ships to bear on their prows the image or at least the name of a tutelary divinity.  The ship on which St Paul embarked bore the figurehead of Castor and Pollux (the Dioscuri, 'Twins') who were protectors of seafarers in peril.
116 Paul in the Capital of the Empire
     (Acts 28, 16-31)  16  And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier that guarded him. (1)
17  After three days he called together the local leaders of the Jews; and when they had gathered, he said to them, "Brethren, though I had done nothing against the people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. 18  When they had examined me, they wished to set me at liberty, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case. 19  But when the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar-though I had no charge to bring against my nation.
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20  For this reason therefore I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain." 21  And they said to him, "We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brethren coming here has reported or spoken any evil about you. 22 But we desire to hear from you what your views are; for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against."
   23 When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in great numbers. And he expounded the matter to them from morning till evening, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the law of Moses and from the prophets. 24 And some were convinced by what he said, while others disbelieved. 25 So, as they disagreed among themselves, they departed, after Paul had made one statement: "The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet:
26 'Go to this people, and say,
You shall indeed hear but never understand,
and you shall indeed see but never perceive.
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27 For this people's heart has grown dull,
    and their ears are heavy of hearing,
    and their eyes they have closed;
    lest they should perceive with their eyes,
    and hear with their ears,
    and understand with their heart,
    and turn for me to heal them.' (2)
28 Let it be known to you then that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen." [29]
30 And he lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ quite openly and unhindered.
(1)        The type of custody which Paul the prisoner had to endure was very lenient: the prisoner could freely choose the house in which he was to live.  But his right hand was always fastened with a chain to the soldier who guarded him.
(2)        The quotation is from the Prophet Isaiah 6, 9 ff. used also by Jesus (see Matthew 13,14; Mark 4,12 and John 12,40).
[29] 'And when he had said these things, the Jews departed, holding much dispute among themselves'.
This verse is omitted in the best codices.


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