Acts 23:16-20
Acts 23:16 (KJB)
And when Paul's sister's son heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul.
The Bible does not give us any reason as to why Paul’s nephew was in Jerusalem at that time. Some think he was there to become educated just as his uncle Paul did years before. Apparently he did not make known to them who he was and that is why they openly discussed the plot in front of him. Paul knew nothing of the plot but God was well aware of their evil plans and had the right person in the right place at the right time. To the world this would be called luck or coincidence, but to the child of God, it is the planning of God. No such thing as coincidence in the Kingdom of God. His nephew did not waste any time and immediately told Paul about the plot.
Acts 23:17 (KJB)
Then Paul called one of the centurions unto him, and said, Bring this young man unto the chief captain: for he hath a certain thing to tell him.
Paul then immediately called one of the Centurions and asked him if he would bring the young man to Lysias, the Roman tribune. Paul’s nephew took a great chance coming to Paul. If his visit had become known, then they would have probably killed him, especially if they found out that he was Paul’s nephew. It was also a brave move to tell the Roman authorities because there was no way of knowing if they would believe him. I am sure they would have believed him without hesitation because of the previous day’s events where they almost killed him. Lysias knew that Paul was hated by them and that would have given him reason to act.
Acts 23:18 (KJB)
So he took him, and brought him to the chief captain, and said, Paul the prisoner called me unto him, and prayed me to bring this young man unto thee, who hath something to say unto thee.
Prayed - Asked or requested
Paul had requested the centurion bring the young man directly to the tribune. Paul revealed nothing about the plot because the less people that knew that better it was. Only the tribune had the authority to act upon the information. This is also good principle to follow. If you have information for someone, tell that person directly and do not tell others because the message could become corrupted. The centurion had called Paul a prisoner but Paul was really under protective custody from the Jews.
Acts 23:19 (KJB)
Then the chief captain took him by the hand, and went with him aside privately, and asked him, What is that thou hast to tell me?
The tribune then received the young man in a courteous manner. I guess he did not want to upset Paul because Paul could still file charges against them for binding him as one does a condemned man. The tribune then takes the man aside and gives him a private audience. The tribune must have seen the seriousness of the man and knew something was up. He may have also been impressed with the fact that the man went to Paul first and then to the centurion and then to the tribune. Contrary to popular thought, the Romans ruled conquered areas with civility and with proper laws because they wanted to have peace throughout the entire Roman Empire. It was called the “Pax Romana” which means “the Roman peace,” the long period of stability under the Roman Empire.
Acts 23:20 (KJB)
And he said, The Jews have agreed to desire thee that thou wouldest bring down Paul to morrow into the council, as though they would inquire somewhat of him more perfectly.
The young man then proceeds to tell the tribune how the Jews had made an agreement to kill Paul. They would send for you to bring Paul down to the Sanhedrin for the purpose of questioning him further but, on the way, Paul would be killed by the forty men who had taken the oath to kill him. Their hatred for Paul could have risked not only the death of the forty, but also the entire Sanhedrin could have been arrested for conspiracy to murder and if any Roman soldiers were killed in the attempted taking of Paul, then those charges could be bumped up to murder and conspiracy. This is the fruit of blind hatred.