23:1 And 1 Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men [and] brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.
(1) Paul, against the false accusations of his enemies, displays a clear conscience, for proof of which he repeats the whole course of his life.
23:2 2 And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth.
(2) Hypocrites are forced at length to betray themselves by their violence.
23:3 3 Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, [thou] b whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten c contrary to the law?
(3) It is lawful for us to complain of injuries, and to summon the wicked to the judgment seat of God, but yet we must do it without hatred, and with a quiet and peaceable mind.
23:5 4 Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.
(b) This is a vehement and severe speech, but yet not reproachful: for the godly may speak severely, and yet be void of the bitter affection of a severe and angry mind.
(c) For the Law commands the judge to hear the person that is accused patiently, and to pronounce the sentence judiciously.
(4) We must willingly and from the heart give honour to magistrates, although they are tyrants.
23:6 5 But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men [and] brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.
(5) We may sometimes lawfully set the wicked against themselves, so that they stop assaulting us, in order that the truth is not hindered.
23:7 6 And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided.
(6) The agreement between the wicked is weak, even though they conspire together to oppress the truth.
23:8 7 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither d angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.
(7) It is an old heresy of the Sadducees to deny the existence of angels and souls, and in addition the resurrection of the dead.
23:9 8 And there arose a great cry: and the e scribes [that were] of the Pharisees’ part arose, and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man: but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God.
(d) Things that exist without a body.
(8) The Lord, when it pleases him, finds defenders of his cause, even amongst his enemies.
23:10 9 And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring [him] into the castle.
(e) The scribe’s office was a public office, and the name of the Pharisees was the name of a sect.
(9) God will not forsake his own, even to the very end.
23:12 10 And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves f under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.
23:15 Now therefore ye with the g council signify to the chief captain that he bring him down unto you to morrow, as though ye would enquire something more perfectly concerning him: and we, or ever he come near, are ready to kill him.
(10) Those who are carried away with a foolish zeal think that they may lie and murder, and do whatever mischief they wish.
(f) Cursing and prohibiting themselves, they promised.
(g) You and the senate ask that the same thing should be done, so that the tribune will not think that it was demanded of him because of an individual’s private interests.
23:17 11 Then Paul called one of the centurions unto [him], and said, Bring this young man unto the chief captain: for he hath a certain thing to tell him.
23:22 12 So the chief captain [then] let the young man depart, and charged [him, See thou] tell no man that thou hast shewed these things to me.
(11) The wisdom of the Spirit must be joined with simplicity.
23:26 13 Claudius Lysias unto the most excellent governor Felix [sendeth] greeting.
(12) There is no counsel against the Lord and his servants.
(13) Lysias is suddenly made by the Lord to be Paul’s protector.