502-503 : Paul Makes His Defence
As Paul was being led into the castle, he said to the chief captain, "May I speak to you?"
He answered, "Can you speak Greek?
Are you not that Egyptian who made an uproar and led out into the wilderness four thousand
men that were murderers?"
But Paul said, "I am a man who is a Jew of Tarsus, a city of Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city.
I beseech you, allow me to speak to the people."
And when he had glven permission,
Paul stood on the stairs and beckoned with his hand to the people,
and when there was silence, he spoke to them in the Hebrew tongue, saying:
"Men, brethren, and fathers, hear my defence which I make now to you."
When they heard that he spoke in Hebrew, they kept all the more silent.
"I am truly a man who is a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia,
yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel,
and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers,
and was zealous toward God, as you all are this day.
"I persecuted to death the followers of Christ,
binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.
As also the high priest will bear me witness, and all the elders,
I received letters to the brethren,
and went to Damascus to bring them which were there to Jerusalem to be punished."
Then Paul told of his conversion and baptism and his presence at Stephen's death,
and how the Lord had commanded him to leave Jerusalem,
saying, "Depart, for I will send you far from here, to the Gentiles."
The people listened until this word, and then they lifted up their voices and said:
"Away with such a fellow from the earth. For it is not fit that he should live."
And as they cried and cast off their clothes and threw dust into the air,
the chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle and ordered
that he should be questioned by scourging, so that he might know why they cried so against him.
As they bound him with thongs,
Paul said to a centurion that stood by, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman,
When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying,
"Take care in what you do, for this man is a Roman."
Then the chief captain came and said to Paul, "Tell me, are you a Roman?" He said, "Yes."
And the chief captain said, "For a great sum I obtained this citizenship."
And Paul said, "But I was born a citizen."
And immediately, they who were to have questioned him, departed.
And the chief captain was also afraid,
because he knew that he was a Roman citizen and because he had bound him.
On the next day, because the chief captain wished to know why Paul was accused by his enemies,
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.
But when there arose a great dispute, the chief captain,
fearing that Paul would be pulled in pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down
and to take him by force from among them and to bring him to the castle.
The following night, the Lord stood by him and said, "Be of good cheer, Paul.
For as you have testified for me in Jerusalem, so must you bear witness also in Rome."
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