Summary: The people seized Paul and dragged him outside the sanctuary and closed the doors so that he could not seek refuge in the inner courts. They intended to kill him but they did not want to spill his blood in the sanctuary for fear that it would defile....
February 11, 2016
Acts of the Apostles
By: Tom Lowe
Lesson: ARRESTED BY THE JEWS (21:27-40)
ACTS 21:27-40 (KJV)
27 And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him,
28 Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.
29 (For they had seen before with him in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.)
30 And all the city was moved, and the people ran together: and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and forthwith the doors were shut.
31 And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar.
32 Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down unto them: and when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, they left beating of Paul.
33 Then the chief captain came near, and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and demanded who he was, and what he had done.
34 And some cried one thing, some another, among the multitude: and when he could not know the certainty for the tumult, he commanded him to be carried into the castle.
35 And when he came upon the stairs, so it was, that he was borne of the soldiers for the violence of the people.
36 For the multitude of the people followed after, crying, Away with him.
37 And as Paul was to be led into the castle, he said unto the chief captain, May I speak unto thee? Who said, Canst thou speak Greek?
38 Art not thou that Egyptian, which before these days madest an uproar, and leddest out into the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers?
39 But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people.
40 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,
THE UNPLEASANT INCIDENT IN A NUTSHELL
The scheme of James and the elders (Lesson IV.E.2) proved to be ineffective, and ended in disaster for Paul. Just before the termination of the seven days, some Jews from Asia who were attending the feast of Pentecost saw Paul in the Temple with Trophimus. They knew Trophimus, one of the apostles traveling companions, because he was a citizen of Ephesus. Thinking that Paul had brought Trophimus, a Gentile, into the Temple, they stirred up a mob with the charge that Paul had defiled the Temple with the presence of his Greek friend. The people seized Paul and dragged him outside the sanctuary and closed the doors so that he could not seek refuge in the inner courts. They intended to kill him but they did not want to spill his blood in the sanctuary for fear that it would defile the Temple.
While the people were beating Paul, a report of the uproar came to Claudius Lysias, the Tribune of the Roman cohort garrisoned in Jerusalem. Lysias took some soldiers and hurried to the scene. When the Romans put in their appearance, the Jews suddenly regained their composure and stopped beating Paul. The Tribune arrested Paul and ordered him to be bound with two chains. He then decided to move Paul away from the people and take him to the barracks located inside the Tower of Antonio. When the soldiers reached the steps leading up to the Tower, they had to carry Paul in order to keep him out of reach of the angry crowd.
Up to this time it seems that Paul had not been able to say anything. When he was brought into the barracks, he asked the Tribune if he could speak. The officer was surprised to hear him use the Greek language. He was under the impression that Paul was the Egyptian who came to Jerusalem in a.d. 54 and claimed that he was a prophet.
Paul quickly set Lysias straight about his mistake in opinion and informed him that he was a Jew from Tarsus in Philistia. He then asked to be granted permission to speak to the people. Lysias consented. The apostle stood on the steps of the Tower of Antonia and motioned with his hand to the people. When they became silent, he spoke to them in the Aramaic language which was the language spoken in the land of Palestine.