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Volume 30 - Page 130 of 179 Index | Zoom | |
Paul is now immediately bound with "two chains"--that is, he is handcuffed to two
soldiers, one on either side of him--and the Captain seeks to discover the cause of the
tumult, asking him "who he was, and what he had done". As the uproar continues,
however, the Captain orders him to be removed to the castle. Fearing that they may lose
their prey, the mob now rush for the stairs, and their violence is so great that the soldiers
are obliged to "carry" the Apostle. Paul is now under arrest without warrant.
According to Septimus Buss there were three kinds of custody under Roman law.
Custodia Publica, when the prisoner was committed to gaol, as in the case of Paul
and Silas at Philippi.
Custodia Libera, when the accused was placed under surveillance either in his
own house, or in the house of a magistrate, who became responsible (sponsor) for
his production in court on the day of trial, and gave a legal promise (vadimonium)
for that purpose.
Custodia Militaris, when the accused was given in charge to a guard of soldiers.
Lysias, the Captain, is surprised when Paul addresses him in good Greek, for he
evidently thought he had captured an Egyptian who had led over 4000 assassins into the
wilderness. A second riot threatens to follow the Apostle's speech from the stairs, and so
the prisoner is taken into the castle, and examined.
Lysias now commands that Paul shall be scourged as a means of extracting a
confession from him, but while he is being bound and "bent forward" (proeteinan), he
quietly says to the Centurion:
"Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?" (Acts 22: 25).
To apply the flagellum horribile at the very outset was in itself illegal: and much
more so in the case of a Roman citizen. And so we read:
"When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain saying, Take heed
what thou doest, for this man is a Roman" (Acts 22: 26).
Lysias had first of all mistaken Paul for an Egyptian, and now, learning that he
claimed to be a Roman citizen, he hurries back to make sure.
"Tell me he said, Art thou a Roman? He said I am. And the chief captain answered,
With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was born free. And
straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the chief
captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound
him" (Acts 22: 27-29).
Lysias could not retain the prisoner in custody without some charge being laid against
him, and so we read:
"He loosed him from his bands, and commanded the chief priests and all their council
to appear, and brought Paul down and set him before them" (Acts 22: 30).