Why are you persecuting me? (Acts 26:14)

“When we had all fallen

To the ground,

I heard a voice

Saying to me

In the Hebrew language.



Why are you

Persecuting me?

It hurts you

To kick

Against the goads.’”

πάντων τε καταπεσόντων ἡμῶν εἰς τὴν γῆν ἤκουσα φωνὴν λέγουσαν πρός με τῇ Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ Σαοὺλ Σαούλ, τί με διώκεις; σκληρόν σοι πρὸς κέντρα λακτίζειν.

The author of Acts indicated that Paul said when they had all fallen (πάντων τε καταπεσόντων ἡμῶν) to the ground (εἰς τὴν γῆν), he heard (ἤκουσα) a voice (φωνὴν) saying to him (λέγουσαν πρός με) in the Hebrew language (τῇ Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ), “Saul!  Saul (Σαοὺλ Σαούλ)!  Why do you persecute me (τί με διώκεις)?  It hurts you (σκληρόν σοι) to kick (λακτίζειν) against the goads (πρὸς κέντρα)!”   Earlier, the author of Acts, chapter 9:4. indicated that Saul fell (καὶ πεσὼν) to the ground (καὶ πεσὼν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν).  He heard (ἤκουσεν) a voice (φωνὴν) saying to him (λέγουσαν αὐτῷ).  “Saul!  Saul (Σαοὺλ Σαούλ)!  Why do you persecute me? (τί με διώκεις).”  Acts, chapter 22:7, was almost exactly the same, as Paul said that he fell (ἔπεσά) to the ground (τε εἰς τὸ ἔδαφος) and heard (ἤκουσα) a voice (φωνῆς) saying to him (λεγούσης μοι), “Saul!  Saul (Σαοὺλ Σαούλ)!  Why do you persecute me? (τί με διώκεις).”  The only difference was that it was in the first person singular.  However, here there is a more elaborate description.  Paul mentioned that all the people with him fell to the ground, not just himself.  Light and falling to the ground were typical of divine appearances.  However, he added that the voice was in Hebrew and asked him why was he was resisting with a Greek proverb.  The meaning was about useless and harmful resistance, like the ox that kicks against the plowing farmer.  These oxen only hurt themselves when they went against the sharp stick or the goads on the plow.  Thus, God was speaking in Hebrew to Saul, but citing a Greek proverb to tell him to stop wasting his time persecuting him and his growing Christian community.  Saul’s name was repeated twice as to indicate God calling him, like a prophet.  Have you ever resisted God?

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