Acts 23:5
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New International Version
Paul replied, "Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: 'Do not speak evil about the 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
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

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 might have been wholly unknown to him, as the hearing was very sudden, and there was scarcely any time to consult the formalities of justice, it seems very probable that St. Paul, if he ever had known the person of Ananias, had forgotten him; and as, in a council or meeting of this kind, the presence of the high priest was not indispensably necessary, he did not know that the person who presided was not the sagan, or high priest's deputy, or some other person put in the seat for the time being. I therefore understand the words above in their most obvious and literal sense. He knew not who the person was, and God's Spirit suddenly led him to denounce the Divine displeasure against him.

Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people - If I had known he was the high priest, I should not have publicly pronounced this execration; for respect is due to his person for the sake of his office. I do not see that Paul intimates that he had done any thing through inadvertence; nor does he here confess any fault; he states two facts: -

1. That he did not know him to be the high priest.

2. That such a one, or any ruler of the people, should be reverenced. But he neither recalled or made an apology for his words: he had not committed a trespass, and he did not acknowledge one. We must beware how we attribute either to him in the case before us.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

I wist. Soon after the holding of the first council at Jerusalem, Ananias, son of Nebedenus, was deprived of the high priest's office, for certain acts of violence, and sent to Rome, whence he was afterwards released, and returned to Jerusalem. Between the death of Jonathan, who succeeded him and was murdered by Felix, and the high priesthood of Ismael, who was invested with that office by Agrippa, an interval elapsed in which this dignity was vacant. This was the precise time when Paul was apprehended; and the Sanhedrin being destitute of a president, Ananias undertook to discharge the office. It is probable that Paul was ignorant of this circumstance.

Acts 24:17 Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings.


Exodus 22:28 You shall not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of your people.

Ecclesiastes 10:20 Curse not the king, no not in your thought; and curse not the rich in your bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice...

2 Peter 2:10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed...

Jude 1:8,9 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities...

Christ's Witnesses
'And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of Me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.'--ACTS xxiii. 11. It had long been Paul's ambition to 'preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also.' His settled policy, as shown by this Book of the Acts, was to fly at the head, to attack the great centres of population. We trace him from Antioch to Philippi, Thessalonica, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus; and of course Rome was the
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

Antipatris. Caphar Salama.
We find this town marked out heretofore by a double name, if we believe some. 1. It is called Caphar Salama by some, of which mention is made by Josephus, and the Book of the Maccabees. 2. Capharzaba by Josephus himself: "But Alexander, fearing his" [Antiochus Dionysius] "coming, digs a deep trench, beginning at Capharzaba, which is now called Antipatris, unto the sea of Joppa, a hundred and fifty furlongs." Note, by the way, from Joppa to Antipatris is a hundred and fifty furlongs, that is, eighteen
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

Quirinius the Governor of Syria
WE come now to the last serious difficulty in Luke's account of the "First Enrollment". He says that it occurred while Quirinius was administering Syria. The famous administration of Syria by Quirinius lasted from about AD. 6 to 9; and during that time occurred the" Great Enrollment" and valuation of property in Palestine. [94] Obviously the incidents described by Luke are irreconcilable with that date. There was found near Tibur (Tivoli) in AD. 1764 a fragment of marble with part of an inscription,
Sir William Mitchell Ramsay—Was Christ Born in Bethlehem?

Early Life the Place of Paul +The Man
STUDY I EARLY LIFE THE PLACE OF PAUL +The Man, Paul,+ judged by the influence he has exerted in the world, is one of the greatest characters in all history. He is pre-eminent not only as a missionary, but as a marvelous thinker and writer. "He was a personality of vast power, force, and individuality." There are some men who seem to be born and prepared to do a large work for the world; Paul makes the impression upon those who carefully read the record of his life that he stands first in this class
Henry T. Sell—Bible Studies in the Life of Paul

Cross References
Exodus 22:28
"Do not blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people.

Ecclesiastes 10:20
Do not revile the king even in your thoughts, or curse the rich in your bedroom, because a bird in the sky may carry your words, and a bird on the wing may report what you say.

Acts 23:4
Those who were standing near Paul said, "How dare you insult God's high priest!"

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