Page images
PDF
EPUB

58.

Julian Pe.
SECTION XXV.

Jerusalem. riod, 4771. Vulgar Æra, St. Paul makes his Defence before the Populace.

ACTS xxi. 37. to the end. xxii. 1--21.
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,

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)

3 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.

6 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 about me.

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.

3 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,

riod, 4771. into Damascus.

Julian Pe- being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came Jerusalem. Vulgar Æra, 58.

12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews, which dwelt there,

12 Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Bro-
ther 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.

17 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.

SECTION XXVI.
On declaring his Mission to preach to the Gentiles, the

Jews clamour for his Death.

ACTS xxi. 22.
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,

SECTION XXVII.
St. Paul claims the Privilege of a Roman Citizen.

ACTS xxi. 23-29.
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.

Julian Pe 25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto Jerusalem. riod, 4771, the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge Vulgar Æra, 58. a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?

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 answer

wered, With a great sum
obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free
borno.

34 It has beeu a question much agitated among the learned, how St. Paul's ancestor became free of the city of Rome? St. Paul saying, in his answer to Lysias, “But I was free born," Acts xxii. 20. Vid. Gron. not. ad Joseph. p. 41- 16. Never, certainly, was there a dispute more needless, since it is so very plain from many unquestionable authorities, that the freedom of the city of Rome was attainable by foreigners in various ways. By merit : thus two whole cohorts of Cameritians; thus Heracli. ensium Legio, and many others, mentioned by Tully, pro Balbo, c. 22. By favour: thus the cohort garrisoned at Trapezus, spoken of hy Tacitus, Hist. I. 3. c. 47 ; thus Alaudarum Legio, so often mentioned by Cicero, Suet. Jul. 24. 2. Nothing is more certain, than that the Jews assisted Julius Cæsar with their forces, Jos. Antiq. I. xiv. c. 8. $ 1, 2, 3. which he also very gratefully acknowledges. Ibid. c. x. § 2. 7. The like they did by Mark Antony, Ibid. c. 15. 98. Can it be supposed that many of them did not at that time, either by merit or favour, procure the freedom of the city of Rome? or was it Antipater alone who had that honour conferred on him ? Ibid. c. viii. $ 3. By money: as in the instance of the centurion. Hence, probably, it is that we read of so many Jews free of the city of Rome, who dwelt in Grecce and Asia. Ibid. c. X. $ 13, 14. 16, 17, 18, 19. By being freed from servitude: very great numbers became citizens this way, through the covetousness or vainglory of their masters, as well as from their own merit. Vid. Dionys. Halic. Ant. Rom. I. iv. c. 24. Suet. Aug. c. xlii. 2. 3. That multitudes of the Jews, in particular, became free this way, appears from Tiberius enlisting four thousand freed Jews at one time, and sending them to Sardinia. Compare Suet. Tib. C. xxxvi. n. 2. Tacitus, l. 2. c. lxxxv. n. 4. Jos. Antiq. I. 18. c. iii. $ 5.

It has been generally believed, however, that the inhabitants of Tarsus, born in that city, had the same rights and privileges as Roman citizens, in consequence of a charter or grant from Julius Cæsar. Calmet disputes this, because Tarsus was a free, not a colonial city; and he supposes that St. Paul's father might have been rewarded with the freedom of Rome for some military service; and that it was in consequence of this that St. Paul was born free. But, that the city of Tarsus had such privileges, appears extremely probable. In chap. xxi. 39. Paul says, “ he was born at Tarsus in Cilicia;' and in this chap. ver. 28. he says, “ he was free-born ;” and at ver. 26. he calls himself a Roman ; as he does also chap. xvi. 37. From whence it bas been reasonably concluded that Tarsus, though no Roman colony, yet had this privilege granted to it, that its natives should be citizens of Rome. Pliny, in Hist. Nat. lib. v. 27. tells us, that Tarsus was a free city. And Appian. De Bello Civil. lib. v.

Jalian Pe 29 Then straightway they departed from him which Jerusalem.
riod, 4771, should have examined him; and the chief captain also
Valgar Æra,
58.

was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and be-
cause he had bound him.

SECTION XXVIII.
St. Paul is brought before the Sanhedrim, who are sum-

moned by the Captain of the Temple.

ACTS xxii. 30. and xxiii, 1–10.
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.

1 And Paul earnestly beholding the council, said, Men
and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before
God until this day.

2 And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by to smite him on the mouth.

3 Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law ?

4 And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God's high priest?

5 Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest 3 : for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.

p. 1077. Ed. Tollii, says that Antony made the people of Tarsus
sree, and discharged them from paying tribute. Dio Cassius, lib.
xlvii. p. 508. Edit. Reimar, further tells us, Adeo Cæsari priori,
et ejus gratia etiam posteriori, favebant Tarsensus, ut urbem
suam pro Tarso, Juliopolin, vocaverint. Philo, de Virt. vol. ii.
p. 587. Edit. Mang. makes Agrippa say to Caligula, “ You have
made whole countries, to which your friends belong, to be citi-
zens of Rome.” These testimonies are of weight sufficient to
shew that St. Paul, by being born at Tarsus, might have been
free-born, and a Roman.See Biscoe on the Acts, Bishop Pearce
on Acts xvi. 37. Dr. A. Clarke, &c.

35 St. Paul's ignorance that Ananias was high-priest, bas pre-
sented some difficulty, and occasioned much discussion. The
former modes of considering the subject are given by the learned
Witsius (a). How, it is demanded, could St. Paul be mistaken
in the person of a man so exalted in rank as the high-priest?
And, if he was mistaken, can bis excuse be considered as suffi-
cient? The Jews were forbidden to revile their ruler ; were
they therefore permitted to revile the rest of their countrymen ?
In reply to this, some explain the words “ not to know," as
equivalent to “ not to acknowledge." I do not acknowledge
him for high-priest-our great bigh-priest is Jesus Cbrist': bim
only can I allow as such. This, however, does not appear sa-
tisfactory to Witsius, and he proposes two elucidations, leaving
his reader to choose between them.

Julian Pe. 6 But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sad- Jerusalem. riod, 4771. ducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the counVulgar Æra, 58.

Ist. It is very possible that St. Paul was not acquainted with the person of the high-priest. For St. Paul had been for some time absent from Judea; and the office of high-priest being completely at the disposal of the Roman governor, changes were very frequent; so much so, that, as Josephus informs us, there have been three high-priests in the course of one year. It may further be observed, that Ananias did not wear his pontifical robes, which were worn only in the temple.

2dly. We may suppose that St. Paul was not mistaken in the person of the high-priest, but happening to have his eyes turned another way when the command was given, he was not aware from whom the expression proceeded, but attributed it to some other member of the Sanhedrim seated with the high-priest upon the bench. Le Clerc, and the most learned of the English interpreters, incline to this explanation. But what can justify the harshness of Paul's reply, (v. 3.) supposing it addressed to any in. different individual?" It is answered, that Paul's words amount to a prophetical denunciation, and not an imprecation-TUTTELV DE MEMME. This was proved in the event; for, as Grotius observes, Ismael Phabi" succeeded to the high priesthood soon after; whether on account of the death or the removal of Ananias is uncertain.

Michaelis (6) has solved the difficulty, however, in a very satisfactory manner. On this passage it has been asked, 1. Who was this Ananias? 2. How can it be reconciled with chronology, that Ananias was at that time called the high-priest, when it is certain, from Josephus, that the time of his holding that office was much earlier? And 3. How it happened that Paul said, “I wist not, brethren, that he was the high-priest," since the external marks of office must have determined whether he were or not? “ On all these subjects,” says Michaelis, “is thrown the fullest light, as soon as we examine the special history of that period; a light which is not confined to the present, but extends itself to the following chapters, insomuch that it cannot be doubted that this book was written, not after the destruction of Jerusalem, but by a person who was contemporary to tbe events which are there related.”

Ananias, the son of Nebedeni, was high-priest at the time that Helena, Queen of Abiadene, supplied the Jews with corn from Egypt, during the famine which took place in the fourth year of Claudius, mentioned in the eleventh chapter of the Acts. St. Paul, therefore, who took a journey to Jerusalem at that period, could not have been ignorant of the elevation of Ananias to that dignity. Soon after the holding of the first council, as it is called, at Jerusalem, Ananias was dispossessed of his office, in consequence of certain acts of violence between the Samaritans and the Jews, and sent prisoner to Rome, whence he was afterwards released, and returned to Jerusalem. Now from that period he could not be called bigh-priest, in the proper sepse of the word, though Josephus has sometimes given him the title of apxiepevs, taken in the more extensive meaning of a priest, who had a seat and voice in the Sanbedrim; and Jonathan, though we are not acquainted with the circumstances of his elevation, had been raised in the mean time to the supreme dignity of the Jewish church. Between the death of Jonathan, who was murdered by order of Felix, and the high priesthood of Ismael, who was invested with that office by Agrippa, elapsed an interval in which this dignity continued vacant. Now it

« PreviousContinue »