- Acts 22:26-30
- Acts 22:26 (KJB)
- When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief
captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman.
- The centurion who was standing by and overseeing the scourging, then
held up the proceedings as he went to the tribune and told him that Paul was
a Roman citizen and they are in violation of Roman law if they continued
with the scourging. If they chose not to listen to Paul and continued, both
the centurion and the tribune would be in big trouble. The centurion did not
outrank the tribune so he had to go and speak with him to have the order
rescinded officially. Both officers were well aware of the rights of Roman
- Acts 22:27 (KJB)
- Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a
Roman? He said, Yea.
- The tribune immediately came and spoke to Paul and asked him if he was a
Roman citizen. Paul responds with an affirmative yes. He wanted to hear for
himself if Paul was a Roman citizen. Here is another almost fatal mistake
which results from mob mentality. Even the Romans did not bother to question
Paul about the situation and get to the truth about it, instead, their plan
was to scourge him in response to the reaction of the mob.
- Acts 22:28 (KJB)
- And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this
freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born.
- The tribune had answered Paul and told him that he purchased his
citizenship with a great sum of money. Paul then told him that he was a free
born Roman citizen. In the earlier times of the Roman empire, citizenship
was granted only to those living in Rome, then it was extended to certain
parts of Italy and as more countries and provinces began to join the Roman
empire, Roman citizenship was granted to anyone born in a Roman province.
The selling of Roman citizenship was encouraged by the emperors because it
allowed them to raise revenue plus it lined the pockets of the emperors and
increased their wealth. The chief captain‘s name was Lysias. (Acts
24:7 KJV) But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence
took him away out of our hands, Lysias was either a
Syrian or Greek name and means “he who has the power to set free.”
- Acts 22:29 (KJB)
- Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined him:
and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman,
and because he had bound him.
- The soldiers who were about to do the questioning and the scourging had
immediately left when they found out that Paul was a Roman citizen. There
was even fear in the mind of Lysias because he had Paul chained and even
that could result in serious charges against him if Paul decided to raise
the issue with his superiors. Paul was a citizen of Rome and utilized the
rights he had as a Roman citizen. Paul also understood that government was
given by God because without it there would be nothing but anarchy in this
world. Paul wrote about government in the book of Romans chapter 13.
- Acts 22:30 (KJB)
- 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.
- Paul was kept in the custody of the tribune but I am sure with no chains
and was probably given a nice place to sleep that night and a good meal.
Even though Paul was a Roman citizen, it was still the tribune’s
responsibility to keep the peace in Jerusalem, so the next day he had
commanded the chief priests and probably the entire Sanhedrin to assemble
and once they had done that, then he would be able to find out what the
situation was without the rabble making a commotion. Normally the Romans
allowed the Jews to settle their religious disputes among themselves but
since this latest episode included a riot, it now became the jurisdiction of
the tribune who wanted to know why Paul was causing such an uproar. Now Paul
had a proper chance to face his accusers and make an argument for his case.