Paul responds to the high priest (Acts 23:3)

“At this,

Paul said to him.

‘God will strike you!

You whitewashed wall!

Are you sitting there

To judge me

According to the law?

Yet in violation

Of the law,

You order me

To be struck!’”

τότε ὁ Παῦλος πρὸς αὐτὸν εἶπεν Τύπτειν σε μέλλει ὁ Θεός, τοῖχε κεκονιαμένε· καὶ σὺ κάθῃ κρίνων με κατὰ τὸν νόμον, καὶ παρανομῶν κελεύεις με τύπτεσθαι;

The author of Acts indicated that at this (τότε), Paul (ὁ Παῦλος) said to the high priest (πρὸς αὐτὸν εἶπεν) that God (ὁ Θεός) would strike him (Τύπτειν σε μέλλει) because he was a whitewashed wall (τοῖχε κεκονιαμένε).  He asked how was he sitting there judging him (καὶ σὺ κάθῃ κρίνων με) according to the law (κατὰ τὸν νόμον)?  Yet he was in violation of the law (καὶ παρανομῶν), since he ordered Paul to be struck (κελεύεις με τύπτεσθαι).  Acts was the only Greek biblical writing that used these words τοῖχε, that means a wall, and παρανομῶν, that means to transgress the law or act contrary to law.  Paul immediately responded when the high priest ordered one of the people to strike him in the mouth.  He said that God was about to strike this high priest because he was like a whitewashed wall, a hypocrite.  Paul wanted to know how he was sitting there being judged by someone who was breaking the Jewish law, by asking someone to strike him.  Paul never mentioned what law the high priest was breaking.  He was clearly challenging the high priest.  Have you ever challenged anyone in authority?

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