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31 Then the soldiers, as they were commanded, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32 The next day they left the horsemen to go on with him, and returned to the barracks. 33 When they came to Caesarea and had delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him. 34 And when the governor had read it, he asked what province he was from. And when he understood that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will hear you when your accusers also have come.” And he commanded him to be kept in Herod’s Praetorium.

 

Verses 30-35 describe the Roman commander’s steps to ensure Paul reached Felix safely.

23:30

And when it was told me that the Jews lay in wait for the man, I sent him immediately to you, and also commanded his accusers to state before you the charges against him. Farewell.

Concluding the commander’s letter to Felix, he relates that as soon as he heard about the plot, he decided to send Paul to appear in court before the governor. The Roman commander immediately ordered his accusers to stand before Felix to state their charges against Paul.

23:31

Then the soldiers, as commanded, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris.

Paul had to leave a city by night for his protection for the third time. Luke then reported that the soldiers took Paul by night to Antipatris, halfway to Caesarea from Jerusalem. Antipatris was 35 miles from Jerusalem and was a military station. Herod the Great named the city after his father, Antipater.

23:32

The next day, they left the horsemen to accompany him and returned to the barracks.

The next day, the horsemen took Paul to Caesarea, but the 200 soldiers returned to the Jerusalem barracks. Caesarea was 27 miles from Antipatris.

23:33

When they came to Caesarea and had delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him.

The seventy horsemen arrive in Caesarea to deliver Paul and the letter to Felix from the Roman commander in Jerusalem. Felix (AD 52-29) held the same office as Pontius Pilot (AD 26-36).

23:34

And when the governor had read it, he asked what province he was from. And when he understood that he was from Cilicia,

When Felix read the letter from the Roman commander in Jerusalem, he asked which province Paul was from. Felix wanted to know whether he had jurisdiction over Paul’s case. They said he was from the Roman province of Cilicia. Cilicia was under the jurisdiction of Felix’s superior, the legate of Syria, and thus under Felix’s dominion.

23:35

he said, “I will hear you when your accusers also have come.” And he commanded him to be kept in Herod’s Praetorium.

Felix informed Paul that he would hear his case when his accusers came to Caesarea. In the meantime, they would keep Paul under guard in Herod’s Praetorium, Herod’s headquarters.

PRINCIPLE:

God controls our situation in life, even under duress.

APPLICATION:

There was a time when Paul sang in a Philippian jail because he knew God was sovereign over his difficulties. It was God who provided the Roman cavalry escort to Caesarea. God was with the apostle each step of the way. The apostle could sing under adversity because he knew God’s hand was upon him and his ministry (Acts 20:24). He learned under extreme affliction to rely on God’s promises (Prov 21:1).

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