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 The centurion did not outrank the tribune so he had to go and speak with him to have the order rescinded officially.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 citizens.
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.