Acts 23:5
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
And Paul said, "I was not aware, brethren, that he was high priest; for it is written, 'YOU SHALL NOT SPEAK EVIL OF A RULER OF YOUR PEOPLE.'"

King James Bible
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 people.

Darby Bible Translation
And Paul said, I was not conscious, brethren, that he was high priest; for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evilly of the ruler of thy people.

World English Bible
Paul said, "I didn't know, brothers, that he was high priest. For it is written, 'You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.'"

Young's Literal Translation
and Paul said, 'I did not know, brethren, that he is chief priest: for it hath been written, Of the ruler of thy people thou shalt not speak evil;'

Acts 23:5 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Then said Paul, I wist not - I know not; I was ignorant of the fact that he was high priest. Interpreters have been greatly divided on the meaning of this expression. Some have supposed that Paul said it in irony, as if he had said, "Pardon me, brethren, I did not consider that this was the high priest. It did not occur to me that a man who could conduct thus could be God's highest. Others have thought (as Grotius) that Paul used these words for the purpose of mitigating their wrath, and as an acknowledgment that he had spoken hastily, and that it was contrary to his usual habit, which was not to speak evil of the ruler of the people. As if he had said, "I acknowledge my error and my haste. I did not consider that I was addressing him whom God had commanded me to respect." But this interpretation is not probable, for Paul evidently did not intend to retract what he had said.

Dr. Doddridge renders it, "I was not aware, brethren, that it was the high priest," and regards it as an apology for having spoken in haste. But the obvious reply to this interpretation is, that if Ananias was the high priest, Paul could not but be aware of it. Of so material a point it is hardly possible that he could be ignorant. Others suppose that, as Paul had been long absent from Jerusalem, and had not known the changes which had occurred there, he was a stranger to the person of the high priest. Others suppose that Ananias did not occupy the usual seat which was appropriated to the high priest, and that he was not clothed in the usual robes of office, and that Paul did not recognize him as the high priest. But it is wholly improbable that on such an occasion the high priest, who was the presiding officer in the Sanhedrin, should not be known to the accused. The true interpretation, therefore, I suppose, is what is derived from the fact that Ananias was not then properly the high priest; that there was a vacancy in the office, and that he presided by courtesy, or in virtue of his having been formerly invested with that office.

The meaning then will be: "I do not regard or acknowledge him as the high priest, or address him as such, since that is not his true character. Had he been truly the high priest, even if he had thus been guilty of manifest injustice, I would not have used the language which I did. The office, if not the man, would have claimed respect. But as he is not truly and properly clothed with that office, and as he was guilty of manifest injustice, I did not believe that he was to be shielded in his injustice by the Law which commands me to show respect to the proper ruler of the people." If this be the true interpretation, it shows that Luke, in this account, accords entirely with the truth of history. The character of Ananias as given by Josephus, the facts which he has stated in regard to him, all accord with the account here given, and show that the writer of the "Acts of the Apostles" was acquainted with the history of that time, and has correctly stated it.

For it is written - Exodus 22:28. Paul adduces this to show that it was his purpose to observe the Law; that he would not intentionally violate it; and that, if he had known Ananias to be high priest, he would have been restrained by his regard for the Law from using the language which he did.

Of the ruler of thy people - This passage had not any special reference to the high priest, but it inculcated the general spirit of respect for those in office, whatever that office was. As the office of high priest was one of importance and authority, Paul declares here that he would not be guilty of showing disrespect for it, or of using reproachful language in regard to it.

Acts 23:5 Parallel Commentaries

Library
The Witness of Our Own Spirit
"This is our rejoicing, the testimony of out conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world." 2 Cor. 1:12 1. Such is the voice of every true believer in Christ, so long as he abides in faith and love. "He that followeth me," saith our Lord, "walketh not in darkness:" And while he hath the light, he rejoiceth therein. As he hath "received the Lord Jesus Christ," so he walketh in him; and while he walketh
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

Whether Discord is a Sin?
Objection 1: It would seem that discord is not a sin. For to disaccord with man is to sever oneself from another's will. But this does not seem to be a sin, because God's will alone, and not our neighbor's, is the rule of our own will. Therefore discord is not a sin. Objection 2: Further, whoever induces another to sin, sins also himself. But it appears not to be a sin to incite others to discord, for it is written (Acts 23:6) that Paul, knowing that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees,
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

The Life and Death of Mr. Badman,
Presented to the World in a Familiar Dialogue Between Mr. Wiseman and Mr. Attentive. By John Bunyan ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. The life of Badman is a very interesting description, a true and lively portraiture, of the demoralized classes of the trading community in the reign of King Charles II; a subject which naturally led the author to use expressions familiar among such persons, but which are now either obsolete or considered as vulgar. In fact it is the only work proceeding from the prolific
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

How Sowers of Strifes and Peacemakers are to be Admonished.
(Admonition 24.) Differently to be admonished are sowers of strifes and peacemakers. For sowers of strifes are to be admonished to perceive whose followers they are. For of the apostate angel it is written, when tares had been sown among the good crop, An enemy hath done this (Matth. xiii. 28). Of a member of him also it is said through Solomon, An apostate person, an unprofitable man, walketh with a perverse mouth, he winketh with his eyes, he beateth with his foot, he speaketh with his finger,
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

Cross References
Exodus 22:28
"You shall not curse God, nor curse a ruler of your people.

Ecclesiastes 10:20
Furthermore, in your bedchamber do not curse a king, and in your sleeping rooms do not curse a rich man, for a bird of the heavens will carry the sound and the winged creature will make the matter known.

Acts 23:4
But the bystanders said, "Do you revile God's high priest?"

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