4 July Acts 21:27-40

4 July. Some of Paul's opponents stir up a riot and he is arrested

"When the seven days were almost over, Some Jews from Asia [Minor] saw Paul at the [Jewish] Temple. They upset all the people and grabbed Paul."

"They shouted, 'People of Israel, help us! This is the man who goes everywhere teaching against the law of Moses, against our people and against this Temple. Now he has brought some Greeks into the Temple [against the Jewish law] and has made this holy place [ritually] unclean!'"

"The Jews said this because they had seen Trophimus, a [Gentile] man from Ephesus, with Paul in Jerusalem. The Jews thought that Paul had brought him into the Temple."

"All the [Jewish] people in Jerusalem became upset. Together they ran, took Paul and dragged him out of the Temple. The Temple doors were closed immediately."

"While they were trying to kill Paul, the commander of the Roman army in Jerusalem learned that there was trouble in the whole city. Immediately he took some officers and soldiers and ran to the place where the crowd was gathered."

"When the people saw them, they stopped beating Paul, The commander went to Paul and arrested him. He told his soldiers to tie Paul with two chains. Then he asked who he was and what he had done wrong."

"Some in the crowd were yelling one thing, and some were yelling another. Because of all this confusion and shouting, the commander could not learn what had happened. So he ordered the soldiers to take Paul to the army building [the Antonia Fortress]."

"When Paul came to the steps, the soldiers had to carry him because the people were ready to hurt him. The whole mob was following them, shouting 'Kill him!'"

"As the soldiers were about to take Paul into the army building, he spoke to the commander [in Greek], 'May I say something to you?' The commander said, 'Do you speak Greek? I thought you were the Egyptian who started some trouble against the [Roman] government not long ago and led 4,000 killers out to the desert.'"

"Paul said, 'No, I am a Jew from Tarsus in the country [Roman province] of Cilicia. I am a citizen of that important city. Please let me speak to the people.' The commander gave permission, so Paul stood on the steps and waved his hand to quiet the people. When there was silence, he spoke to them in the Jewish language [Hebrew]."

          (Acts 21:27-40)



Keeping his promise to the Jewish leaders of the Christian believers in Jerusalem, Paul went to the Temple to join in the Jewish purification rites. Some Jews who had opposed Paul at Ephesus saw him in the Temple courtyards. They grabbed Paul and stirred up the crowds against him. They accused Paul (unjustifiably) of bringing his Gentile companion Trophimus, from Ephesus, into the area of the Temple prohibited to Gentiles (see the map), and tried to kill him.

The Roman commander rushed down with soldiers from the Antonia Fortress overlooking the Temple courts (see the map) and arrested Paul. 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 couldn't assess what had happened because of the uproar, he attempted to take Paul into the Antonia Fortress.

On the steps leading up to the fortress, Paul spoke to the Roman commander in Greek. Initially, the commander thought that Paul was an Egyptian who had recently escaped after leading an anti-Roman revolt on the Mount of Olives. But on hearing that Paul was a well-educated Jew from Tarsus in Roman Cilicia, the commander allowed him to address the crowd. Tomorrow we'll discover what Paul said.

The map shows the layout of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem at the time of Paul's arrest in 57AD.

You can discover more about the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem @ The Bible Journey | The completion of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.

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