|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
22:22-30 The Jews listened to Paul's account of his conversion, but the mention of his being sent to the Gentiles, was so contrary to all their national prejudices, that they would hear no more. Their frantic conduct astonished the Roman officer, who supposed that Paul must have committed some great crime. Paul pleaded his privilege as a Roman citizen, by which he was exempted from all trials and punishments which might force him to confess himself guilty. The manner of his speaking plainly shows what holy security and serenity of mind he enjoyed. As Paul was a Jew, in low circumstances, the Roman officer questioned how he obtained so valuable a distinction; but the apostle told him he was free born. Let us value that freedom to which all the children of God are born; which no sum of money, however large, can purchase for those who remain unregenerate. This at once put a stop to his trouble. Thus many are kept from evil practices by the fear of man, who would not be held back from them by the fear of God. The apostle asks, simply, Is it lawful? He knew that the God whom he served would support him under all sufferings for his name's sake. But if it were not lawful, the apostle's religion directed him, if possible, to avoid it. He never shrunk from a cross which his Divine Master laid upon his onward road; and he never stept aside out of that road to take one up.
Verse 25. - When they had tied him up with the thongs for as they bound him with thongs, A.V. When they had tied him up, etc. This does not seem to be a right rendering. Προτείνω can only mean "to stretch out before," or "expose to the action," of anything, when taken in a literal sense; ἱμάς, again, more naturally means the "thong" or lash of a whip or scourge than a thong to bind a man with; indeed, it is thought to be etymologically connected with μάστιξ, Meyer, therefore, rightly understands the passage to mean when they had stretched him on the stake ready to receive the scourging. Is it lawful, etc.? Paul now pleads his privileges as a Roman citizen, just in time to stop the outrage, remembering, no doubt, the terror inspired in the Philippian magistrates when they found they had beaten with rods an uncondemned Roman citizen (see Acts 16:38). Uncondemned (ἀκατακρίτους); Acts 16:37. Only found in these two passages in the New Testament, and nowhere else.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And as they bound him with thongs,.... To a pillar, in order to be scourged, according to the Roman manner (d). Nor was the Jewish form of scourging much unlike, and perhaps might be now used, which was this; when they scourge anyone they bind both his hands to a pillar, here and there --and they do not strike him standing nor sitting, but inclining (e); for the pillar to which he was bound was fixed in the ground, and so high as for a man to lean upon (f); and some say it was two cubits, and others a cubit and a half high (g): and the word here used signifies an extension, or distension; perhaps the stretching out of the arms to the pillar, and a bending forward of the whole body, which fitly expresses the stooping inclining posture of the person scourged, and was a very proper one for such a punishment: now as they were thus fastening him with thongs to the pillar, and putting him in this position,
Paul said unto the centurion that stood by; to see the soldiers execute the orders received from the chief captain:
is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned? Though the apostle puts this by way of question, yet he knew full well what the Roman laws were in such cases; he did not put this through ignorance, or for information, but to let them know who he was, and to put them in mind of these laws, and of their duty; for, according to the Porcian law, Roman citizens were not to be beaten (h). Hence, says (i) Cicero,
"it is a heinous sin to bind a Roman citizen, it is wickedness to beat him, it is next to parricide to kill him, and what shall I say to crucify him?''
And, according to the Valerian law, it was not lawful for magistrates to condemn a Roman without hearing the cause, and pleading in it; and such condemned persons might appeal to the populace (k).
(d) Lipsius de Cruce, l. 2. c. 4. (e) Misna Maccot, c. 3. sect. 12, 13. (f) Bartenora in ib. (g) Yom Tob in ib. (h) Cicero pro Rabirio Orat. 18. (i) In Verrem Orat. 10. (k) Pompon. Laetus de Legibus, p. 157.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
25. Paul said to the centurion that stood by—to superintend the torture and receive the confession expected to be wrung from him.
Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, &c.—See on Ac 16:37.
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