And when he had given him licence, Paul stood on the stairs, and beckoned
with the hand unto the people. And when there was made a great silence,
he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue, saying,
1 ¶ Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you.
.2 (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,)
| 1 -
brethren A polite way to address them as in the case of Stephen
2 - Hebrew It was Aramaic, the common language of the time which had come from Hebrew.
¶ I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia,
yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according
to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward
God, as ye all are this day.
.4 And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.
5 As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.
| 3 -
Here we have some background information. See on ac0911,
3 - Gamaliel "The most distinguished rabbi then living and the teacher of the apostle Paul. He was the grandson of Hillel, the great doctor of the law who was the rival of Shammai. Hillel and Shammai were the leaders respectively of the liberal and the conservative schools of Jewish legal interpretations." (Teacher's Commentary).
4 - Way Name used by the early believers. They were first called Christians in Antioch ac1125f. For "way" see jn1404ff and mal0208.
And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto
Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round
7 And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
.8 And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.
9 And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.
10 And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.
11 And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.
| 8 -
... whom thou persecutest How could this be when Jesus was in
9 - Heard not the voice The didn't understand. See ac0907.
10 - What shall I do, Lord? This is the response we all need to make when confronted with new truth from the Bible.
11 - Could not see See ac0908.
| 12 And one Ananias,
a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews
which dwelt there,
.13 Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him.
14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.
15 For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.
16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
- Brother Saul This greeting must have taken courage.
14 - God of our fathers The new understanding was an expansion of understanding old truth.
And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while
I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance;
18 And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.
19 And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee:
20 And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.
21 And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.
- Again ... Jerusalem The visit recorded in ac0926.
It was likely at the time of morning or evening prayer lu0109, ac0301.
17 - Trance See verses 18-21.
18 - Make haste Paul's second encounter with Jesus. Why might they not have received his testimony?
19 - They The emphatic form of the word may indicate that these were the same ones who had tried to kill him. "This shows what an active instrument Saul of Tarsus was, in the hands of this persecuting priesthood, and how very generally the followers of Christ were persecuted, and how difficult it was at this time to profess Christianity." (Clarke commentary)
20 - Martyr From martus which indicated primarily "witness" at this time. "This shows what an active instrument Saul of Tarsus was, in the hands of this persecuting priesthood, and how very generally the followers of Christ were persecuted, and how difficult it was at this time to profess Christianity." Many witnessed by laying down their lives.
21 - I will send thee Paul's commission.
| 22 ¶ And they gave him
audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away
with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.
23 And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air,
.24 The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him.
25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?
- Unto this word Literally, "Until
22 - Away with The idea that Gentiles could be saved enraged them lu0428, ac0751.
23 - Cast of their clothes Removed their outer robes ready for action.
24 - Castle Or the Tower of Antonia which was north of the temple. See Jerusalem map.
24 - Examined The use of torture to get information is not new.
25 - Bound ... thongs Maybe strapped in a position to be whipped.
25 - Roman His citizenship was helpful on several occasions ac1637-39.
| 26 When the centurion
heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what
thou doest: for this man is a Roman.
27 Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea.
28 And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born.
29 Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.
30 On the morrow, because he would have known the certainty wherefore he was accused of the Jews, he loosed him from his bands, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down, and set him before them.
- Freedom Or "citizenship."
29 - Should have Better, "were about to."
30 - Would have known Or "desired to know."
30 - All their council The Sanhedrin. See mt2702.
30 - Down From the prison tower, the Castle of Antonia. See v24 and ac2134 and Jerusalem map, north part of Temple enclosure, directly west of the words "Gethsemane."