Acts 23:11-15
Acts 23:11 (KJB)
And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.
It was very trying day for Paul but he maintained his testimony during the ordeal with the soldiers and the crowd. That night, the Lord Jesus Christ came to Paul and told him that just as he was a witness for Him in Jerusalem, he would also be a witness in Rome. Probably Paul was feeling exhausted and may have felt a little discouraged because of the days events. The Lord then gives Paul a command to “be of good cheer” which is in the Imperative mood in the Greek making it a command. It may also be understood as “be of good courage.” Paul was relentless in being a testimony and that is why as he witnessed so courageously in Jerusalem, the Lord was personally encouraging him that he would see Rome and testify for Him there. (Acts 19:21 KJV) After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.
Acts 23:12 (KJB)
And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.
Paul had probably slept real good that night because of his meeting with the Lord Jesus Christ. When the next day had dawned, the Jews were once again plotting to kill Paul. They had bound themselves under a curse, that is, they had determined that if they did not kill Paul, then they themselves should be accursed of God. They also included in that oath that they would not eat or drink until they had fulfilled the killing of Paul. These Jews showed that they knew nothing about the God they supposedly had served. This plot was of a heathen mindset in thinking that they can coerce God into doing it their way. No one on earth can ever have the power to put God in a corner and make Him do things their way. Bargaining with God does not work. I think many can attest to that.
Acts 23:13 (KJB)
And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy.
This plot was not just hatched by a very few but more than forty men had bound themselves under this curse. They believed that Paul was encouraging people to turn from the law and ceremonies of God and that is why they wanted him dead. They probably thought that God would not curse forty of them for the sake of one little heretic. Remember Korah’s rebellion? (Num 16:35 KJV) And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense. Apparently they had forgotten that it is God’s right to destroy anything or anyone which rebels against Him. Right here these forty are rebelling against God because Paul was the strong testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ who had to live because he was going to witness in Rome.
Acts 23:14 (KJB)
And they came to the chief priests and elders, and said, We have bound ourselves under a great curse, that we will eat nothing until we have slain Paul.
These forty plus conspirators went to the chief priests and elders and explained to them what they had planned to do. They would be bound under a curse plus they will fast until they have killed Paul. The chief priests and elders should have stopped them right at that moment because if a group of forty kills one man, then the Romans could take it as the beginning of an insurrection and would descend upon Jerusalem where many innocent would be killed. This is how blinded they all were with hatred for the Lord Jesus Christ and Paul, that they would risk something like that.
Acts 23:15 (KJB)
Now therefore ye with the council signify to the chief captain that he bring him down unto you to morrow, as though ye would inquire something more perfectly concerning him: and we, or ever he come near, are ready to kill him.
Now they discuss the plan with the leaders and it is obvious that they were giving their approval to it since it seems not one of them had opposed such a move. They were to summon the Sanhedrin and pretend that they still wanted to question Paul and extract more information from him to clarify some more matters. Then as Paul was to come near, the Jews under the curse would kill Paul. They had forgotten to realize that Paul would probably have come down to them under Roman guard, since he was a Roman citizen and if they attacked Paul, then they would be attacking the soldiers which could have led to a catastrophe.