Can you scourge a Roman citizen? (Acts 22:25)

“But when they had tied him up

With thongs,

Paul said

To the centurion

Who was standing by.

‘Is it legal for you

To flog

A Roman citizen,

Who is not condemned?’”

ὡς δὲ προέτειναν αὐτὸν τοῖς ἱμᾶσιν, εἶπεν πρὸς τὸν ἑστῶτα ἑκατόνταρχον ὁ Παῦλος Εἰ ἄνθρωπον Ῥωμαῖον καὶ ἀκατάκριτον ἔξεστιν ὑμῖν μαστίζειν;

The author of Acts indicated that when they had tied him up (ὡς δὲ προέτειναν αὐτὸν) with thongs (τοῖς ἱμᾶσιν), Paul (ὁ Παῦλος) said (εἶπεν) to the centurion (ἑκατόνταρχον) who was standing by (πρὸς τὸν ἑστῶτα).  “Is it legal (ἔξεστιν) for you (ὑμῖν) to flog (μαστίζειν) a Roman citizen (ἄνθρωπον Ῥωμαῖον), who is not condemned (καὶ ἀκατάκριτον)?”  Acts was the only Greek biblical writing that used these words προέτειναν, that means to stretch out or tie up for scourging, ἀκατάκριτον, that means not condemned or not yet tried, and μαστίζειν, that means to whip, scourge, or flog.  The first time that Paul mentioned that he was a Roman citizen appeared in chapter 16:37, when he was arrested in Philippi.  “Paul (ὁ δὲ Παῦλος) replied (ἔφη) to these officers (πρὸς αὐτούς) that they had beaten them (Δείραντες ἡμᾶς) in public (δημοσίᾳ), even though they were un-condemned men (ἀκατακρίτους ἀνθρώπους) that were Roman citizens (Ῥωμαίους ὑπάρχοντας).  They had been thrown (ἔβαλαν) into prison (εἰς φυλακήν).  Now they are going to discharge them (ἡμᾶς ἐκβάλλουσιν) in secret (νῦν λάθρᾳ).  Paul said, “Certainly not (οὐ γάρ)!”  He wanted them to come themselves (ἀλλὰ ἐλθόντες αὐτοὶ) and take them out (ἡμᾶς ἐξαγαγέτωσαν).  Paul was indignant.  They had beaten them in public and thrown them into jail.  Yet, they had no trial and they were Roman citizens.  Now they were trying to get rid of them in secret.  Paul wanted them to show up in person and take them publicly out of jail.  Whether Paul was an actual Roman citizen is not sure.  This was the first time that it was mentioned.  A Roman citizen had certain prerogatives or privileges that they could not be punished without an investigation or a trial.  Paul, as usual, took more offense at this than most people.  This Roman scouring had leather whips with bone or metal fragments on the end.  Here Paul warned the centurion who was standing beside him that he was a Roman citizen.  I am not sure how they could tell if he really was a Roman citizen or not.  Do you think that an American citizen has certain rights?

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