- Acts 23:1-5
- Acts 23:1 (KJB)
- And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and
brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.
- Paul knew what he was up against because there is speculation that he
was a member of the Sanhedrin. Even if he was not, he knew they could be a
very ferocious group. Paul did not flinch and began to speak with them in a
very confident manner. He addresses them in a polite way and tells them that
he has lived before God with a good conscience to this day. He knew that he
was not in opposition to anything in the law and that his life was not lived
in opposition to the Scriptures.
- Acts 23:2 (KJB)
- And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite
him on the mouth.
- Paulís declaration that he was not guilty of any of their charges had
infuriated the high priest Ananias and he commanded someone to strike Paul
on the mouth, no doubt believing that Paul spoke blasphemy. He may have been
angry because Paul called them brethren. Whatever the matter was, Ananias
was just being himself because he ruled like a tyrant and according to the
Jewish Talmud, he was also a glutton. Someone with that type of lifestyle
could never believe that anyone could live before God with a clear
- Acts 23:3 (KJB)
- Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall:
for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten
contrary to the law?
- Paul then responded to this slap immediately because he had a sense of
justice which was now aroused. He then rebuked the High Priest with a very
strong phrase ďwhite wallĒ which was used to cover dirt and filth.
(Mat 23:27 KJV) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye
are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but
are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
Jesus had spoken of the Pharisees in the same manner telling them they were
hypocrites. They looked so religious on the outside but their lives were
lived in Satanís kingdom and doing all the sins of the unbelievers they
railed against. Having someone smitten was against the law. (John
7:51 KJV) Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he
doeth? This was a question asked by Nicodemus.
They wanted to judge according to the law and those who were the judges,
were violating the law. Paul even tells them that God will smite them
because of their attitudes and actions.
- Acts 23:4 (KJB)
- And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God's high priest?
- Revilest - Insult
- Then some who were standing by Paul asked him, do you revile or insult
Godís High priest? Notice they stated that Ananias was Godís High Priest. In
reality, once Christ went to the cross, the Mosaic system was then nullified
and the office of high priest in the temple was abolished because now Christ
is Godís High Priest. (Heb 8:1 KJV) Now of the things which we
have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the
right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;
In essence, Paul rebuked the high priest of a defunct religion. In a few
years, God would send General Titus to Jerusalem and he would completely
destroy it and the temple, since it was no longer needed nor held any
- Acts 23:5 (KJB)
- Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high
priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy
- Wist - Knew
- Paul did not know that he was the High priest, and Paul immediately
apologized for that comment being a very humble man. (Exo 22:28
KJV) Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.
Paul knew that it was forbidden to speak evil of a ruler of the people,
whether the ruler deserved to be rebuked or not. It is not certain why Paul
did not recognize the high priest, whether it was bad eyesight or he was not
dressed in the traditional garb. The Roman tribune may have assembled the
rulers in a hurry and maybe Ananias was sitting among them instead of
presiding over the assembly. Ananias was appointed to be high priest in 47
A.D. by Herod of Chalcis and Paul was not in Jerusalem many times so he
would not have known who Ananias was. Herod of Chalcis was also known as
Herod V and the brother of Herod Agrippa I and Herodias. Chalcis was an
ancient city in Syria. Herod of Chalcis died in 48 A.D. and was succeeded by
Herod Agrippa II. Paulís statement to Ananias that God would smite him came
to pass a little over a year later when he was deposed as high priest and in
66 A.D. Jewish zealots had assassinated him for being pro-Roman.