23:1 – 5 Strike him (Lev. 19:15), whitewashed wall (Jesus, uses the same terminology) Not speak evil of the high priest, True, but Paul had been away and so didn’t know.
– 6-10, Resurrection of the dead an argument of Pharisees against Sadducees. Sadducees only held to the first 5 books of Moses, and claimed there was nothing of resurrection to be found in those texts. (Jesus argues with the Sadducees on their own terms; Mark 12:18-27, Ex 3:6 – God of the living, implies they are raised and alive in Heaven)
– My Paraphrase to show the context of the debate and how heated it can get.”Now when Paul perceived that one part was Evangelical and the other Reformed, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Reformed minister, a son of Reformed minister. It is with respect to the hope and the predestination of the elect that I am on trial.”
– Longstanding fight of rich Sadducees and poor Pharisees. Threshing floor tithe was brutally collected by the Sadducees so as to deprive the Pharisees of food, hoping to starve them out.
– 11-22, thwarted plot, visitation rights as a citizen Paul was in a mild form of house arrest. Those plotting would not have died of starvation, as some reason because of their vow. Within the Mishnah, vows are void once they have become impossible to keep (such with Paul being carried away into another region, under armed guard).
– 23-35, Felix’s question, “what providence?” If it’s not my jurisdiction, don’t bother me (vs. 34). Must await for accusers to show as Roman Law – See your accusers face-to-face
24:1 – 9, Tertullas orator (formal linguist to an official – lawyer, would be modern day equivalent)
– Much peace… a fluffy lie as Felix is a very brutal ruler. Quote from historian about Felix “Plunging into every form of cruelty and lust he exercised the power of a king with the spirit of a slave.” Staged home invasions as searches for insurrectionists (Josephus – incalculable # of people perished, Felix the cause for most insurrections). Freedman Dispute, Felix helped Claudius decide how to handle Samaria for poor treatment of Jews passing through on pilgrimage. High priests and temple guard impressed and asked for Felix to be over Judea, yet later regret it.
– Charges against Paul: rioting thus a ringleader and profaning the Temple.
– 10-21, Defense, No fluff towards Felix, Paul did nothing wrong, only been in town 12 days, Giving alms and offerings. Paul shifts gears and halts the proceeding when he understands the Asia Jews are not present – “Where are my accusers?” (vs.19) Face-to-face court under Roman law.
– 22-26, Paul’ boldness, Felix almost converted and fears. Consistent with his character, Felix is a bad official who hopes for bribe money
– Porcius Festus. Felix is removed from office because of poor handling of a Caesarean dispute