Acts 21:27-30

27 Now when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him,

28 crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, the law, and this place; and furthermore he also brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.”

29 (For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.)

30 And all the city was disturbed; and the people ran together, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the temple; and immediately the doors were shut.

James’ compromising attempt to avoid a riot actually resulted in a riot. And there is no record of James or anyone in his assembly standing up with or in defense of Paul.

The riot began with the Jews of Asia (v.27) who had resisted Paul everywhere he traveled, but the local Jews of Jerusalem soon joined in.

The accusations against Paul (v.28) were very similar to those against Stephen (Acts 6:13), in which Paul took part.

all men everywhere (v.28) — The Jews were upset because Paul’s message went to all, not just Jews.

the people (v.28) — Jews

this place (v.28) — the temple

into the temple (v.28) — Meaning the inner portion of the temple. The outer “Court of the Gentiles” was open to all. Beyond that was a raised narrow platform bounded by a lofty wall, through which admittance was obtained by gates to a raised plateau containing the temple proper, with its court of the Women, Court of the Israelites, and Court of the Priests. The actual boundary for Gentiles was a low stone barrier, three cubits [four-and-a-half feet] in height, which ran round the court at the foot of the steps leading to the narrow platform, and therefore down below the lofty wall. Josephus tells us that it contained pillars at intervals with inscriptions forbidding Gentiles to go beyond. One of these has been recovered and reads, “No man of another nation to enter within the fence and enclosure around the temple. And whoso is caught will have himself to blame that his death ensues.” This was the “middle wall of partition” referred to in Ephesians 2:14. Seeing the apostle busy with ceremonies in the company of others in the inner court, the Asian Jews supposed [or pretended to suppose] that he had taken Trophimus beyond the prescribed barrier. — Walker, page 468.

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