Paul meets violent opposition in Jerusalem

Acts 21:20-26 Paul soon meets opposition in Jerusalem. The traditional Hebraic and Aramaic-speaking Jewish believers in Jerusalem have become more conservative since the Greek-speaking Jewish believers were forced to leave following the stoning of Stephen in 35AD (see Acts 8:1).

They are concerned that Paul – a Greek-speaking Jew who has been living with Gentile believers for the past few years – isn’t keeping the Jewish religious customs. So they argue that Paul should join in the Jewish purification rites and then make an offering after seven days at the Temple.


The Temple Mount in Jerusalem

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem  (Acts 21:27)


Acts 21:27-36 Some Jews who had opposed Paul at Ephesus see him in the Temple courtyards. They grab Paul and stir up the crowds against him. They accuse Paul (unjustifiably) of bringing his Gentile companion Trophimus, from Ephesus, into the prohibited area of the Temple and try to kill him (see Map 12).

The Roman commander rushes down with soldiers from the Antonia Fortress overlooking the Temple courts and arrests Paul (see Map 12). Jewish riots were common in the Temple courtyards, especially at Passover time, so the Romans always kept armed soldiers on hand, looking out for trouble. As the commander cannot assess what has happened because of the uproar, he attempts to take Paul into the Antonia Fortress.

Acts 21:37-40 On the steps leading up to the fortress, Paul speaks to the Roman commander in Greek. Initially, the commander thinks that Paul is an Egyptian who has recently escaped after leading an anti-Roman revolt on the Mount of Olives.

But on hearing that Paul is a well-educated Jew from Tarsus in Cilicia, the commander allows him to address the crowd.

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