by Harley Howard

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The Book of Acts Chapter 23 (39 of 44)
Dr. Harley Howard

1 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said,
Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience
before God until this day.
2 And the High Priest Ananias commanded them that
stood by him to smite him on the mouth.

Paul claimed to have lived a life with a good
conscience before God (First) and then to men.
Ananias probably thought that Paul was being
disrespectful considering the riot that began a day
earlier, so in his own hot tempered, profane manner,
he instructed those nearest to Paul to smite him in
the mouth. The word, smite means to punch with
violence. Look at Paul's response.

3 Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou
whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the
law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the

Paul called the man a whited wall. This is an
expression meaning a hypocrite. He called him a
hypocrite because as High Priest, sitting as an
authority as a judge of God's law, he authorized an
action that was contrary to God's law, thus making him
a hypocrite. Deuteronomy 25:1,2. Paul said that God
shall smite Ananias.

God did smite him in remarkable fashion. About 5
years after this incident, his house was reduced to
ashes in a riot raised by his own son. He was
attempting in vain to hide in the royal palace where
he was dragged out and killed.

4 And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God's
high priest?
5 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.

Many bible teachers are divided to whether Paul was
apologizing for his statement made to the High Priest,
or was the statement made in irony. I believe that
the statement Paul used was sarcastic towards Ananias.
Some say that Paul did not know who the High Priest
was. This was an official setting and the cou ...

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