23 And he called for two centurions, saying, “Prepare two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at the third hour of the night;
24 and provide mounts to set Paul on, and bring him safely to Felix the governor.”
25 He wrote a letter in the following manner:
26 Claudius Lysias, To the most excellent governor Felix: Greetings.
27 This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them. Coming with the troops I rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman.
28 And when I wanted to know the reason they accused him, I brought him before their council.
29 I found out that he was accused concerning questions of their law, but had nothing charged against him deserving of death or chains.
30 And when it was told me that the Jews lay in wait for the man, I sent him immediately to you, and also commanded his accusers to state before you the charges against him. Farewell.
31 Then the soldiers, as they were commanded, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris.
32 The next day they left the horsemen to go on with him, and returned to the barracks.
33 When they came to Caesarea and had delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him.
34 And when the governor had read it , he asked what province he was from. And when he understood that he was from Cilicia,
35 he said, “I will hear you when your accusers also have come.” And he commanded him to be kept in Herod’s Praetorium.
two centurions (v.23) — of the 10 reporting to him — these were probably the most reliable
make ready (v.23) — fully armed
spearmen (v.23) = lit. “right hand graspers” — probably light infantry who carried a spear in the right hand
third hour (v.23) — 9 pm
Felix the governor (v.24) — Antonius Felix, a Greek by birth, was the younger brother of Pallas, the emperor Claudius’s favorite. The two brothers had formerly been slaves of Antonia, Claudius’s mother, but she had made them freedmen and advanced them. Pallas’s influence at court procured Felix a military command in Samaria under the procurator Ventidius Cumanus; and, on the latter’s degradation from office, Felix became procurator of Judaea in his stead (about A.D. 52). He proved to be a cruel, corrupt and avaricious governor. Tacitus the historian tells us that “he wielded the power of a king with the mind of a slave.” During his last two years of office, serious riots occurred in Caesarea between the Jewish and Syrian inhabitants, and Felix acted in a very high-handed manner. He was recalled to Rome to answer the charges against him, and only escaped condemnation through his brother’s influence. He is then lost to view in history. — Walker, page 497.
having learned that he was a Roman (v.27) — a lie to make himself look better. Lysias thought Paul was Egyptian (Acts 21:38). He didn’t learn Paul was Roman until after he’d intervened and when he was about to have him scourged (Acts 22:24-25)
Antipatris (v.31) — A city founded by Herod the Great, and so called in honor of his father. It was about 35 miles from Jerusalem, a little more than half way to Caesarea. Here the party halted, being now beyond the reach of surprise. — Walker, page 498.
what province (v.34) — to see if he had jurisdiction
Praetorium (v.35) — Built by Herod the Great as a royal residence and now occupied by the Roman procurator. The Romans called it ” a praetorium”, and it was a fortress with a soldier garrison as well as a palace. Paul was kept in military custody, in the guard-room attached to the palace-garrison. — Walker, pages 499-500
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