Paul said that he did not realize who the high priest was (Acts 23:5)

“Paul said.

‘I did not realize,

Brothers,

That he was the high priest.

It is written.

‘You shall not speak evil

Of a leader

Of your people.’”

ἔφη τε ὁ Παῦλος Οὐκ ᾔδειν, ἀδελφοί, ὅτι ἐστὶν ἀρχιερεύς· γέγραπται γὰρ ὅτι Ἄρχοντα τοῦ λαοῦ σου οὐκ ἐρεῖς κακῶς.

The author of Acts indicated that Paul (τε ὁ Παῦλος) said (ἔφη) to his brothers (ἀδελφοί) that he did not realize (Οὐκ ᾔδειν), that Ananias was the high priest (ὅτι ἐστὶν ἀρχιερεύς).  Then he said that it was written (γέγραπται) in Scripture that they should not speak evil (οὐκ ἐρεῖς κακῶς) of a leader of their people (γὰρ ὅτι Ἄρχοντα τοῦ λαοῦ σου).  It is not clear how Paul failed to know who the high priest was.  He claimed that he did not know that Ananias was the high priest or that he was not sure that Ananias had uttered the command to hit him in the mouth.  Paul cited the Torah, Exodus, chapter 22:28, when Yahweh was giving Moses the laws on Sinai.  “You shall not revile God, or curse a leader of your people.”  They were to listen to their leaders, neither reviling God, or cursing a leader.  Paul changed it from curse to speak evil.  Paul, ever the great presenter, tried to get out of his remark about the high priest by saying he did not know who he was.  It should have been obvious to everyone.  Paul tried to back out of it by citing the Torah that they should not speak evil about their leaders.  Do you speak evil or curse your leaders?

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