Paul had letters to punish the Way in Damascus (Acts 22:5)

The high priest

And the whole council

Of elders

Can testify about me.

I received letters

From them

To the brothers

In Damascus.

I went there

In order to bind those

Who were there

And bring them back

To Jerusalem

For punishment.”

ὡς καὶ ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς μαρτυρεῖ μοι καὶ πᾶν τὸ πρεσβυτέριον· παρ’ ὧν καὶ ἐπιστολὰς δεξάμενος πρὸς τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς εἰς Δαμασκὸν ἐπορευόμην, ἄξων καὶ τοὺς ἐκεῖσε ὄντας δεδεμένους εἰς Ἱερουσαλὴμ ἵνα τιμωρηθῶσιν.

The author of Acts indicated that Paul said that the high priest (ὡς καὶ ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς) and the whole council of elders (καὶ πᾶν τὸ πρεσβυτέριον) can testify about him (μαρτυρεῖ μοι).  He had received letters (καὶ ἐπιστολὰς δεξάμενος) from this Jerusalem council and the high priest (παρ’ ὧν) for the brothers (πρὸς τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς) in Damascus (εἰς Δαμασκὸν).  Paul was on his way (ἐπορευόμην) to Damascus to bind (δεδεμένους) those followers of the Way who were there (καὶ τοὺς ἐκεῖσε ὄντας).  Then he was going to bring them back (ἄξων) to Jerusalem (εἰς Ἱερουσαλὴμ) for punishment (ἵνα τιμωρηθῶσιν).  Acts was the only Greek biblical writing that used this word τιμωρηθῶσιν, that means to punish or avenge.  This was similar to what was said earlier in chapter 9:2.  Saul had requested or asked (ᾐτήσατο παρ’) the high priest for letters (αὐτοῦ ἐπιστολὰς) to the synagogues (πρὸς τὰς συναγωγάς) at Damascus (εἰς Δαμασκὸν).  Thus, if he found anyone (ὅπως ἐάν τινας εὕρῃ) who belonged to the Way (τῆς Ὁδοῦ ὄντας), both men (ἄνδρας τε) and women (καὶ γυναῖκας), he would bring them (ἀγάγῃ) bound (δεδεμένους) back to Jerusalem (εἰς Ἱερουσαλήμ).  Paul had a specific request.  He wanted to bring some of these Jewish heretics who belonged to the Jesus Way back to Jerusalem where they would stand trial at the Jewish Sanhedrin.  He wanted letters from the high priest in Jerusalem to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any of these heretics, he could bring them back to Jerusalem for a Sanhedrin hearing.  This was what Saul or Paul said here.  Paul had the backing of the Jerusalem high priest in his attempt to put down this new Christian Way of doing Jewish things.  Have you ever disliked a sect or denomination of Christianity?

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