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Matthew Henry

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary - Acts 23:1-5

Perhaps when Paul was brought, as he often was (corpus cum causa?the person and the cause together), before heathen magistrates and councils, where he and his cause were slighted, because not at all understood, he thought, if he were brought before the sanhedrim at Jerusalem, he should be able to deal with them to some good purpose, and yet we do not find that he works at all upon them. Here we have, I. Paul's protestation of his own integrity. Whether the chief priest put any question to him,... read more

William Barclay

William Barclay's Daily Study Bible - Acts 23:1-10

23:1-10 Paul fixed his gaze on the Sanhedrin and said, "Brethren, I have lived before God with a completely pure conscience up to this day." The high priest Ananias ordered those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. Paul said to him, "God is going to strike you, you white-washed wall! Do you sit judging me according to the Law and do you order me to be struck and so break the Law?" Those who were standing beside him said, "Are you insulting God's high priest?" Paul said, "I did not... read more

John Gill

John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary - Acts 23:5

Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest ,.... Or I did not know that he was the high priest; and the sense is, that he did not really know him, either because he had been long absent from Jerusalem; and besides there were new high priests made, sometimes every year, and sometimes oftener, that it is no wonder he should not know him; or because he might not sit in his usual place; or chiefly because he was not, in his habit, an high priest; for the priests, both the... read more

Adam Clarke

Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible - Acts 23:5

I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest - After all the learned labor that has been spent on this subject, the simple meaning appears plainly to be this: - St. Paul did not know that Ananias was high priest; he had been long absent from Jerusalem; political changes were frequent; the high priesthood was no longer in succession, and was frequently bought and sold; the Romans put down one high priest, and raised up another, as political reasons dictated. As the person of Ananias... read more

John Calvin

John Calvin's Commentary on the Bible - Acts 23:5

Verse 5− 5.I knew not, brethren. Those who think that this excuse of Paul hath in it no figure, do not well mark the contrary objections wherewith their error is refuted. They say that Paul knew not the high priest, because he had been absent long time; as if he were ignorant that he was chief priest, who is the chief in the council, and hath the uppermost room. Neither was Ananias so base and obscure that Paul was ignorant of his degree. But his words cut off all occasion of disputation, when... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Acts 23:1-5

A threefold example of true greatness. Every careful reader of the Testament is aware that there is obscurity present to a certain degree in this passage. The obscurity is of a nature not very likely to yield to timid treatment. It does not seem likely that there remain facts of history which would clear it up, for instance. Rather would it seem the preferable course to face at once the difficulty, to narrow its dimensions to the smallest compass, and to admit that it is not evident how it... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Acts 23:1-10

Paul before the Sanhedrim. I. A SUGGESTIVE CONTRAST between corrupt ecclesiasticism and secular power. The bigotry, intolerance, personal animosity, unfairness, fanatical cruelty, all finding abundant confirmation in the history of the persecutions emanating from the papacy. Lysias was cruel because he was reckless and followed bad customs, but Ananias was cruel because he was spiteful and tyrannical. II. THE MASTER 'S PREDICTION FULFILLLED . Such a scene was what the... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Acts 23:1-11

Policy. The characteristic quality of an Israelite indeed, as our Lord has taught us, is to be without guile. All kinds of trickery, deceit, false pretences, disguises, dissimulation, as well as downright falsehood, are entirely alien from the true Christian spirit. The man of God walks habitually in an atmosphere of transparent truth. He has nothing to conceal, nothing to simulate. He has to do with the God of truth, who searches all hearts, and from whom no secrets are hid. His one great... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Acts 23:3-10

Things dubious and things certain. There are few passages of Scripture in which there are so many doubtful points in a small space. I. THREE DOUBTFUL POINTS . It is uncertain: 1. What Paul meant by his apologetic remark ( Acts 23:5 ; see Exposition). 2. Whether he was justified in administering such a scathing rebuke, "God shall smite thee," etc. It certainly looks much like the utterance of a man who for the moment has lost his self-control, and there seems to be... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Acts 23:5

And Paul said for then said Paul, A.V.; high for the high, A.V. ; a ruler for the ruler , A.V. I wist not , etc. These words express, as distinctly as words can express anything, that St. Paul was not aware, when he called Ananias a "whited wall," that he was addressing the high priest. Different reasons for this ignorance have been given. Some think that it arose from the uncertainty that existed whether Ananias really was high priest or not at this time, or whether the office... read more

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