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Acts 23:3

    Acts 23:3 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    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 law?

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Then said Paul to him, God shall smite you, you white washed wall: for sit you to judge me after the law, and command me to be smitten contrary to the law?

    American Standard Version (ASV)

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

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Then Paul said to him, God will give blows to you, you whitewashed wall: are you here to be my judge by law, and by your orders am I given blows against the law?

    Webster's Revision

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

    World English Bible

    Then Paul said to him, "God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit to judge me according to the law, and command me to be struck contrary to the law?"

    English Revised Version (ERV)

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

    Definitions for Acts 23:3

    Smite - To strike; beat.

    Clarke's Commentary on Acts 23:3

    God shall smite thee, thou whited wall - Thou hypocrite! who sittest on the seat of judgment, pretending to hear and seriously weigh the defense of an accused person, who must in justice and equity be presumed to be innocent till he is proved to be guilty; and, instead of acting according to the law, commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law, which always has the person of the prisoner under its protection; nor ever suffers any penalty to be inflicted but what is prescribed as the just punishment for the offense. As if he had said: "Thinkest thou that God will suffer such an insult on his laws, on justice, and on humanity, to pass unpunished?"

    Barnes' Notes on Acts 23:3

    God shall smite thee - God shall punish thee. God is just; and he will not suffer such a manifest violation of all the laws of a fair trial to pass unavenged. This was a remarkably bold and fearless declaration. Paul was surrounded by enemies. They were seeking his life. He must have known that such declarations would only excite their wrath and make them more thirsty for his blood. That he could thus address the president of the council was not only strongly characteristic of the man, but was also a strong proof that he was conscious of innocence, and that justice was on his side. This expression of Paul, "God shall smite thee," is not to be regarded in the light of an imprecatio, or as an expression of angry feeling, but of a prediction, or of a strong conviction on the mind of Paul that a man so hypocritical and unjust as Ananias was could not escape the vengeance of God. Ananias was slain, with Hezekiah his brother, during the agitation that occurred in Jerusalem when the robbers, or Sicarii, under their leader, Manahem, had taken possession of the city. He attempted to conceal himself in an aqueduct, but was drawn forth and killed. See Josephus, Jewish Wars, book 2, chapter 17, section 8. Thus, Paul's prediction was fulfilled.

    Thou whited wall - This is evidently a proverbial expression, meaning thou hypocrite. His hypocrisy consisted in the fact that while he pretended to sit there to do justice, he commanded the accused to be smitten in direct violation of the Law, thus showing that his character was not what he professed it to be, but that of one determined to carry the purposes of his party and of his own feelings. Our Saviour used a similar expression to describe the hypocritical character of the Pharisees Matthew 23:27, when he compares them to whited sepulchres. A whited wall is a wall or enclosure that is covered with lime or gypsum, and that thus appears to be different from what it is, and thus aptly describes the hypocrite. Seneca (De Providentia, chapter 6) uses a similar figure to describe hypocrites: "They are sordid, base, and like their walls adorned only externally." See also Seneca, Epis. 115.

    For sittest thou ... - The Law required that justice should be done, and in order to that, it gave every man an opportunity of defending himself. See the note, John 7:51. Compare Proverbs 18:13; Leviticus 19:15-16; Exodus 23:1-2; Deuteronomy 19:15, Deuteronomy 19:18.

    To judge me after the law - As a judge, to hear and decide the case according to the rules of the Law of Moses.

    Contrary to the law - In violation of the Law of Moses Leviticus 19:35, "Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment."

    Wesley's Notes on Acts 23:3

    23:3 Then said Paul - Being carried away by a sudden and prophetic impulse. God is about to smite thee, thou whited wall - Fair without; full of dirt and rubbish within. And he might well be so termed, not only as he committed this outrage, while gravely sitting on the tribunal of justice but also as, at the same time that he stood high in the esteem of the citizens, he cruelly defrauded the priests of their legal subsistence, so that some of them even perished for want. And God did remarkably smite him; for about five years after this, his house being reduced to ashes, in a tumult begun by his own son, he was besieged in the royal palace; where having hid himself in an old aqueduct, he was dragged out and miserably slain.