Acts 22:21-25
Acts 22:21 (KJB)
And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.
Paul was then commanded by Jesus that he was to immediately leave Jerusalem and he was going to be sent a far distance from Jerusalem to the Gentiles. This was also Paulís calling whereby he was to begin ministering to the Gentiles. He went a very far distance even unto Illyricum and eventually to Rome itself.
Acts 22:22 (KJB)
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.
The crowd had listened to Paul up until the time he told them that the Lord commanded him to go to the Gentiles. Since the Jews considered the Gentiles to be heathens and idolaters, they thought there would be no way the God of Israel would send one of his own to these Gentiles. This brought them to a state of uproar and they once again started with the death threats. They probably thought that he was just another false teacher and since false teachers were stoned, they thought that Paul was not fit to live because he was a deceiver. Since Israel was occupied by the Romans, they looked at them and thought how could God send a prophet to them because they were the enemy.
Acts 22:23 (KJB)
And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air,
While the crowd was yelling at Paul and stating he was worthy of death, they had begun to remove their clothes which was a sign that Paul was worthy to be stoned. Remember, when Stephen was stoned, Paul held the garments of those who threw the stones. Here they were all ready to stone Paul. The throwing of dust in the air was a symbol of their rejection of Paul and his message. Once again the mob mentality had reigned because if there would have been only individuals, they may have taken the time to search the Scriptures to see if what Paul was teaching was true. In a mob, no one cares about truth, accusations will suffice, even if they are totally false. Truth never feeds a mob.
Acts 22:24 (KJB)
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.
The Roman tribuneís responsibility was to stop any and all riots as quickly as he could. So to appease the mob, just like Pilate did, he brought Paul into the Antonia fortress with the intent of having him scourged. It is obvious that the Roman tribune did not have anyone to interpret for him and when Paul got to the part about going to the Gentiles, the crowd had erupted. The tribune probably wanted to know what Paul said that caused the crowd to suddenly go from ultra quiet to wild and upset. Instead of sitting down with Paul and asking him, they instead thought they could extract more information from him by scourging.
Acts 22:25 (KJB)
And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?
Paul was no stranger to this type of torture because he was beaten with rods and given thirty nine lashes five times by the Jews. The Jews would have used a leather whip but if Paul was subjected to the scourge, with its bits of metal and bone woven in, he would have died under that scourging. While they were binding him and positioning him to be scourged, Paul now had the opportunity to speak to the centurion. While Paul was being dragged in, the crowd would have drowned out any attempt by Paul to communicate but now he had his chance. Paul knew that Roman law forbid a Roman citizen from being scourged, especially since he did not have a trial and he was uncondemned. Normally, the scourge was used on a condemned prisoner before crucifixion but many times the prisoner died under the scourging. Paul now gives them the law and asks them if it is lawful to scourge a Roman citizen and one who is uncondemned?