“When I had returned to Jerusalem, and while I prayed in the temple, I fell into a trance, and saw him saying to me, ‘Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not receive testimony concerning me from you.’ I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue those who believed in you. When the blood of Stephen, your witness, was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting to his death, and guarding the cloaks of those who killed him.’
“He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you out far from here to the Gentiles.’”
They listened to him until he said that; then they lifted up their voice, and said, “Rid the earth of this fellow, for he isn’t fit to live!”
As they cried out, and threw off their cloaks, and threw dust into the air, the commanding officer commanded him to be brought into the barracks, ordering him to be examined by scourging, that he might know for what crime they shouted against him like that. When they had tied him up with thongs, Paul asked the centurion who stood by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and not found guilty?”
When the centurion heard it, he went to the commanding officer and told him, “Watch what you are about to do, for this man is a Roman!”
The commanding officer came and asked him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?”
He said, “Yes.”
The commanding officer answered, “I bought my citizenship for a great price.”
Paul said, “But I was born a Roman.”
Immediately those who were about to examine him departed from him, and the commanding officer also was afraid when he realized that he was a Roman, because he had bound him. But on the next day, desiring to know the truth about why he was accused by the Jews, he freed him from the bonds, and commanded the chief priests and all the council to come together, and brought Paul down and set him before them.
Paul, looking steadfastly at the council, said, “Brothers, I have lived before God in all good conscience until today.”
The high priest, Ananias, commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth.
Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit to judge me according to the law, and command me to be struck contrary to the law?”
Those who stood by said, “Do you malign God’s high priest?”
Paul said, “I didn’t know, brothers, that he was high priest. For it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’” But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. Concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!”
When he had said this, an argument arose between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit; but the Pharisees confess all of these. A great clamor arose, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees part stood up, and contended, saying, “We find no evil in this man. But if a spirit or angel has spoken to him, let’s not fight against God!”
When a great argument arose, the commanding officer, fearing 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.