3/3/17 Angry Asian Jews Falsely Accuse Paul

warning-against-gentiles-entering-temple

Among the people at the Temple that day are a large group of Asian Jews, to whom Paul is very familiar.  Some of them were in the mob that tried to stone him several years before, when he was teaching about Jesus in their cities.  They have come to celebrate Pentecost in Jerusalem, and have seen Paul around the city over the past few days, sometimes in the company of a Gentile believer, who they recognize as an Ephesian man named Trophimus.  Now, seeing Paul enter the Temple with the four men who have taken the Nazarite vow, they fly into a rage and begin to shout accusations at him, which in turn stirs up the rest of the crowd.  Paul is standing before the priests, holding items he and his companions have brought to offer as sacrifices for the completion of their vow and purification, when several of these Asian Jews rush over and seize him.  “We call upon all those who hold sacred our Law of Moses to listen now!” they cry out.  “This man is the one we have been telling you about.  He has gone all over Asia, teaching the people not to follow the Law, and to forget about all our rules and traditions!  He is against us, against God, and against His Holy Temple!  And he has even dishonored this Temple by bringing Gentiles into it!”  They point to the stone wall behind them as they utter this last accusation, on which is engraved these words, “NO MAN OF ALIEN RACE IS TO ENTER WITHIN THE BALUSTRADE AND FENCE THAT GOES ROUND THE TEMPLE. IF ANY ONE IS TAKEN IN THE ACT, LET HIM KNOW THAT HE HAS HIMSELF TO BLAME FOR THE PENALTY OF DEATH THAT FOLLOWS.”  Of course, Paul has done no such thing, and the Jews accusing him of this heinous act have not actually seen him bringing Gentiles into the Temple.  But, having seen him walking around Jerusalem in the company of the Ephesian Gentile Trophimus, they assume that he would do such a thing.

 

Acts 21:27-29, http://biblehub.com/commentaries/acts/21-27.htm, http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/bar/img/36800.jpg

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