Acts 23:31
Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them, took Paul, and brought him by night to Antipatris.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(31) Antipatris.—The town, built by Herod the Great, and named after his father, is represented by the modern Kefr-Saba, answering to the Caphar Saba of Josephus (Ant. xvi. 5, § 2). It was about forty-two miles from Jerusalem and twenty-six from Cæsarea. Traces of a Roman road have been discovered between it and Jerusalem, more direct by some miles than the better known route through the pass of Beth-horon. Having started probably at or about midnight, they would reach this town about six or seven A.M. They would then be practically beyond all danger of pursuit or attack, and the foot-soldiers therefore returned, as no longer needed, to their barracks in the Tower Antonia, leaving the horsemen to go on with him.

Acts 23:31-35. Then the soldiers brought him by night to Antipatris — But not the same night they set out; for Antipatris was about thirty-eight of our miles north-west of Jerusalem. Herod the Great rebuilt it, and gave it this name, in honour of his father Antipater. Cesarea was near seventy miles from Jerusalem, about thirty from Antipatris. He commanded him to be kept in Herod’s judgment-hall — Or pretorium. This was a palace and a court, built by Herod the Great, when he rebuilt and beautified Cesarea. Probably some tower belonging to it might be used as a kind of state prison.

23:25-35 God has instruments for every work. The natural abilities and moral virtues of the heathens often have been employed to protect his persecuted servants. Even the men of the world can discern between the conscientious conduct of upright believers, and the zeal of false professors, though they disregard or understand not their doctrinal principles. All hearts are in God's hand, and those are blessed who put their trust in him, and commit their ways unto him.To Antipatris - This town was anciently called Cafar-Saba. Josephus says (Antiq., Acts 13:23) that it was about 17 miles from Joppa. It was about 26 miles from Caesarea, and, of course, about 35 miles from Jerusalem. Herod the Great changed its name to Antipatris, in honor of his father Antipater. It was situated in a fine plain, and watered with many springs and fountains. Eli Smith, late missionary to Palestine, who took a journey from Jerusalem to Joppa for the purpose of ascertaining Paul's route, supposes that the site of Antipatris is the present Kefr Saba. Of this village he gives the following description in the Bibliotheca Sacra for 1843: "It is a Muslim village of considerable size, and wholly like the most common villages of the plain, being built entirely of mud. We saw but one stone building, which was apparently a mosque, but without a minaret. No old ruins, nor the least relic of antiquity, did we anywhere discover. A well by which we stopped, a few rods east of the houses, exhibits more signs of careful workmanship than anything else. It is walled with hewn stone, and is 57 feet deep to the water. The village stands upon a slight circular eminence near the western hills, from which it is actually separated, however, by a branch of the plain." 31, 32. brought him … to Antipatris—nearly forty miles from Jerusalem, on the way to Cæsarea; so named by Herod in honor of his father, Antipater. Not that they came to Antipatris by night; but they began that journey by night, as Acts 23:23, and went as much of it as they could by night, for fear of being discovered, and attempted upon by the Jews.

This Antipatris was built by Herod the Great, and so called in memory of his father Antipater; it was about seventeen leagues from Jerusalem, pleasantly situated upon the Mediterranean Sea, between Joppa and Caesarea.

Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them, took Paul,.... Out of the castle, and put him upon a beast, as the chief captain had ordered the centurions, and they had directed the soldiers to do:

and brought him by night to Antipatris: they set out from Jerusalem at the third hour, or about nine o'clock at night, and travelled all night, and by break of day came to Antipatris; a city which lay in the road from Jerusalem to Caesarea: it was built by Herod the great, in the best soil of his kingdom, enriched with rivers and woods (t); and was so called by him, in memory of his father Antipater; it before went by the name of Chabar Zaba (u), or Capharsaba; the Jewish writers place it in the utmost borders of the land of Judea (w); hence that phrase so often used by them, from Gebath to Antipatris (x), in like sense as from Dan to Beersheba, these two places being the utmost borders of the land; here it was that Simon the just, with some of the principal inhabitants of Jerusalem, met Alexander the great, who travelled all night, as these soldiers with Paul did, and came to Antipatris at sun rising (y). It was forty two miles from Jerusalem. It was in the road from Judea to Galilee, as appears from the following canon of the Jews, concerning divorces (z);

"if a husband says to his wife, lo, this is thy divorce, if I do not come thirty days hence, and he goes from Judea to Galilee, and comes to Antipatris and returns, it becomes void:''

the way from Jerusalem to Caesarea lay through Nicopolis, Lydda, Antipatris, and Betthar; from Jerusalem to Nicopolis, according to the old Jerusalem Itinerary (a), were twenty two miles; from thence to Lydda, ten miles; and from Lydda to Antipatris ten more (which make forty two miles, as before observed); and from Antipatris to Betthar ten miles, and from thence to Caesarea, sixteen more: so that when the apostle was at Antipatris, he had twenty six miles more to go to Caesarea; and hence it appears, that the length of the journey from Jerusalem to Caesarea was sixty eight miles; though Josephus (b) makes the distance to be six hundred furlongs, or seventy five miles: and that the way from the one to the other lay through the places before mentioned, may be illustrated from what the same writer says, of some persons travelling from Caesarea to Jerusalem; so he relates (c), concerning Quadratus governor of Syria, that from Tyre he came to Caesarea, from Caesarea to Lydda, and from Lydda to Jerusalem; and of Cestius the Roman general, he says (d), that from Caesarea he came to Antipatris, and from Antipatris to Lydda, and from Lydda to Jerusalem, which clearly seems to be the same road the apostle went; and so Jerom (e), in the account he gives of the journey of Paula, says, that she came to Caesarea, where she saw the house of Cornelius, the cottage of Philip, and the beds of the four virgin prophetesses; and from thence to Antipatris, a little town half pulled down, which Herod called after his father's name; and from thence to Lydda, now Diospolis, famous for the resurrection of Dorcas, and the healing of Aeneas. Antipatris is, by Ptolomy (f), placed at the west of Jordan, and is mentioned along with Gaza, Lydda, and Emmaus; some take it to be the same with Capharsalama, mentioned in:

"Nicanor also, when he saw that his counsel was discovered, went out to fight against Judas beside Capharsalama:'' (1 Maccabees 7:31)

and others say, it is the same that is since called Assur or Arsuf, a town on the sea coast, which is not likely, since it does not appear that Antipatris was a maritime city. The apostle could not now stay to preach the Gospel in this place, nor do we elsewhere read or hear of a Gospel church state in it, until the "fifth" century; when it appears (g) there was a church here, and Polychronius was bishop of it, who was present at the council of Chalcedon, held in the year 451; and in the "eighth" century there were many Christians dwelt here, for in the year 744 there were many of them killed by the Arabians.

(t) Josephus De Bello Jud. l. 1. c. 21. sect 9. (u) Ib. Antiqu. l. 13. c. 15. sect. 1. & l. 16. c. 5. sect. 2.((w) Bartenora in Misn. Gittin, c. 7. sect. 7. (x) T. Hieros. Taanioth, fol. 69. 2. & Megilia, fol. 70. 1. & T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 62. 2. & Sanhedrin, fol. 94. 2. Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 18. 2. & Juchasin, fol. 108. 1. & Jarchi in Eccl. xi. 6. (y) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 69. 1.((z) Misn. Gittin, c. 7. sect. 7. (a) Apud Reland. Palestina Illustrata, l. 2. c. 4. p. 417. (b) De Bello Jud. l. 1. c. 3. sect. 5. (c) Ib. l. 2. c. 12. sect. 5, 6. (d) Ib. c. 19. sect. 1.((e) Epitaph. Paulae, fol. 59. A. (f) Geograph. l. 5. c. 16. (g) Vid. Reland. Palestina Ilustrata, l. 3. p. 569, 570.

Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them, took Paul, and brought him by night to Antipatris.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 23:31-34. Antipatris, on the road from Jerusalem to Caesarea, built by Herod I., and named after his father Antipater, was 26 miles (thus 5 1/5 geographical miles) distant from Caesarea. See Robinson, III. p. 257 ff.; Ritter, Erdk. XVI. p. 571.

διὰ τῆς νυκτός] as in Acts 17:10. Inexact statement a potiori; for, considering the great distance between Jerusalem and Antipatris (about 8 geographical miles), and as they did not set out from Jerusalem before nine in the evening (Acts 23:25), besides the night a part of the following forenoon must have been spent on the journey to Antipatris, which must, moreover, be conceived of as a very hurried one; yet the following night is not, with Kuinoel (against Acts 23:32), to be included.

Acts 23:32. ἐάσαντες κ.τ.λ.] thus from their own foresight (because such a strong force was unnecessary at the distance which they had reached, and might be required in case of an uproar at Jerusalem), not according to the literal command of the tribune, Acts 23:23.

τοὺς ἱππεῖς] not also the δεξιολάβους, whom they took back with them, as may be concluded from their not being mentioned.

Acts 23:33. οἵτινες] “ad remotius nomen, secus atque expectaveris refertur,” Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 368.

καὶ τ. Παῦλ.] simul et Paulum.

Acts 23:34. Felix makes only a preliminary personal inquiry, but one necessary for the treatment of the cause and of the man, on a point on which the elogium contained no information.

ποίας] is qualitative: from what kind of province. Cilicia was an imperial province.

Acts 23:31. οἱ μὲν οὖντῇ δὲ ἐπαύριον: Rendall, appendix on μὲν οὖν, p. 162. Page finds the antithesis in μετὰ δὲ, Acts 24:1, referring the five days there not to Paul’s arrival in Cæsarea, but to his despatch from Jerusalem by Lysias, “so then the soldiers, etc.… but after five days …” (see also note below).—ἀναλαβόντες, cf. Acts 20:13.—διὰ (τῆς) νυκτὸς: “by night,” this use of διά with genitive of time passed through (cf. Acts 1:3) is comparatively rare, Luke 5:5, Hebrews 2:15, except in almost adverbial phrases as here, cf. Acts 5:19, Acts 16:9, Acts 17:10, Simcox, Language of the N.T., p. 140.—εἰς τὴν Ἀντιπατρίδα: founded by Herod the Great, on the road from Jerusalem to Cæsarea, not apparently as a fortress but as a pleasant residence, giving it its name in honour of his father, most probably on the site now called Râs el ‘Ain, “the spring-head,” and not where Robinson placed it, on the site of the present Kefr Saba. The more modern site, the discovery of which is due to Conder, is more in accordance with the abundant supply of water referred to by Josephus. It is to be noted that while Josephus in one passage identifies Antipatris with Kefr Saba, in another his description is more general, and he places it in the Plain of Kefr Saba (for notices cf. Ant., xiii., 15, 1, xvi. 5, 2, B.J., i., 21, 9). They were now more than half way to Cæsarea, and the road traversed the open plain so that they were no longer in danger of surprise, G. A. Smith, Historical Geography, p. 165, B.D.2, Hastings’ B.D. (Conder). On the Greek article in notices of stations on journeys, peculiar to Acts, see Blass, Gram., p. 149, cf. Acts 17:1, Acts 20:13, Acts 21:1; Acts 21:3 (but Acts 20:14 no article).

31–35. Paul is brought to Cesarea, and kept prisoner by Felix

31. Then [So] the soldiers, &c.… took Paul] i.e. they formed a party for his escort, and took him among them.

and brought him by night] i.e. that same night, starting off early in the night and travelling during night-time, thus getting clear away from Jerusalem before the ambush of the Jews was prepared.

to Antipatris] This place was 42 miles from Jerusalem and 26 from Cæsarea. It was in early times called Capharsaba, but Herod the Great rebuilt it and named it Antipatris in memory of his father Antipater. It lay in a beautiful part of the Vale of Sharon and was both well watered and rich in wood. The remains of a Roman road have been found close by it. For notices of the older city, see Josephus, Ant. xvi. 5. 2; 1Ma 7:31; of the place as rebuilt, see Josephus, B. J. i. 4. 7; ii. 19. 1 and 9; iv. 8. 1.

Verse 31. - So for then, A.V. Antipatris; "forty-two Roman miles from Jerusalem, and twenty-six from Caesarea, built (on the site of Kaphor Saba) by Herod the Great, and named in honor of Antipater, his father" (Alford). According to Howson, following the American traveller, the Rev. Eli Smith, the route lay from Jerusalem to Gophna, on the road to Nablous, and from Gophna, leaving the great north road by a Roman road of which many distinct traces remain, to Antipatris, avoiding Lydda or Diospolis altogether. Gophna is three hours from Jerusalem, and, as they started at 9 p.m., would be reached by midnight. Five or six hours more would bring them to Antipatris, most of the way being downhill from the hill country of Ephraim to the plain of Sharon. Attera halt of two or three hours, a march of six hours would bring them to Caesarea, which they may have reached in the afternoon. Acts 23:31Took (ἀναλαβόντες)

Lit., "having taken up." Compare set Paul on, Acts 23:24.

To Antipatris

A hard night's ride: forty miles.

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