Then the commander called two of his officers and ordered, “Get 200 soldiers ready to leave for Caesarea at nine o’clock tonight. Also take 200 spearmen and 70 mounted troops.
Provide horses for Paul to ride, and get him safely to Governor Felix.”
Then he wrote this letter to the governor:
“From Claudius Lysias, to his Excellency, Governor Felix: Greetings!
“This man was seized by some Jews, and they were about to kill him when I arrived with the troops. When I learned that he was a Roman citizen, I removed him to safety.
Then I took him to their high council to try to learn the basis of the accusations against him.
I soon discovered the charge was something regarding their religious law—certainly nothing worthy of imprisonment or death.
But when I was informed of a plot to kill him, I immediately sent him on to you. I have told his accusers to bring their charges before you.”
So that night, as ordered, the soldiers took Paul as far as Antipatris.
They returned to the fortress the next morning, while the mounted troops took him on to Caesarea.
When they arrived in Caesarea, they presented Paul and the letter to Governor Felix.
He read it and then asked Paul what province he was from. “Cilicia,” Paul answered.
“I will hear your case myself when your accusers arrive,” the governor told him. Then the governor ordered him kept in the prison at Herod’s headquarters. (Acts 23:23-35)
This is the next section we have to deal with. There are some shocks in this portion for you to grapple with. But notice first the reaction of the Roman Tribune to the threat of forty Jews plotting to kill Paul on his way to the Temple to a fake hearing about his case.
Really! 200 infantry or foot soldiers
200 spearmen (bowmen or lancers)
70 mounted troops or cavalry.
This constitutes a small army. Present were all of the basic brigades of a Roman battalion without the chariots and siege companies. Isn’t this overkill to protect Paul against 40 renegade Jews who have taken an oath?
Notice the assignment they have been given. To get Paul to Felix in Caesarea safely! Yes Tribune, I think that should be more than adequate to protect him. Besides that, you have put at Paul’s disposal horses. Multiple horses! We are not told how many. We just know there were a number of horses set aside for Paul’s use.
What were they for?
And all of this was to take place at 9,00 pm. Is there anything significant in the time they were to leave?
The journey from Jerusalem to Caesarea is 125.8 kms. If you travelled it today it would take about an hour and 27 minutes driving time. What would it have taken on horseback? Or to walk? Remember there are foot soldiers as well. Why were there foot soldiers? Why not just send light infantry on horseback with Paul? That way they would have got there quicker and not made it easier to the plotters to follow them.
Committees have become so important nowadays that subcommittees have to be appointed to do the work.
A life making mistakes is not only honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing. George Bernard Shaw
Someone once told me not to bite off more than I could chew. I said I’d rather choke on greatness than nibble on mediocrity.
Success is the good fortune that comes from aspiration, desperation, perspiration and inspiration. Evan Esar
Well there was sure a lot of perspiration shed to protect Paul all the way to Caesarea. Ian