"Brothers and fathers! Listen to me as I make my defense before you now!"
When they heard him speaking to them in Hebrew, they settled down more; so he continued:
"I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city and trained at the feet of Gamli'el in every detail of the Torah of our forefathers. I was a zealot for God, as all of you are today.
I persecuted to death the followers of this Way, arresting both men and women and throwing them in prison.
The cohen hagadol and the whole Sanhedrin can also testify to this. Indeed, after receiving letters from them to their colleagues in Dammesek, I was on my way there in order to arrest the ones in that city too and bring them back to Yerushalayim for punishment.
"As I was traveling and approaching Dammesek, around noon, suddenly a brilliant light from heaven flashed all around me!
I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Sha'ul! Sha'ul! Why do you keep persecuting me?'
I answered, 'Sir, who are you?' 'I am Yeshua from Natzeret,' he said to me, 'and you are persecuting me!'
Those who were with me did see the light, but they didn't hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me.
I said 'What should I do, Lord?' And the Lord said to me, 'Get up, and go into Dammesek, and there you will be told about everything that has been laid out for you to do.'
I had been blinded by the brightness of the light, so my companions led me by the hand into Dammesek.
"A man named Hananyah, an observant follower of the Torah who was highly regarded by the entire Jewish community there,
came to me, stood by me and said, 'Brother Sha'ul, see again!' And at that very moment, I recovered my sight and saw him.
He said, 'The God of our fathersy determined in advance that you should know his will, see the Tzaddik and hear his voice;
because you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard.
So now, what are you waiting for? Get up, immerse yourself and have your sins washed away as you call on his name.'
"After I had returned to Yerushalayim, it happened that as I was praying in the Temple, I went into a trance,
and I saw Yeshua. 'Hurry!' he said to me, 'Get out of Yerushalayim immediately, because they will not accept what you have to say about me.'
I said, 'Lord, they know themselves that in every synagogue I used to imprison and flog those who trusted in you;
also that when the blood of your witness Stephen was being shed, I was standing there too, in full agreement; I was even looking after the clothes of the ones who were killing him!'
But he said, 'Get going! For I am going to send you far away - to the Goyim!'"
They had been listening to him up to this point; but now they shouted at the top of their lungs, "Rid the earth of such a man! He's not fit to live!"
They were screaming, waving their clothes and throwing dust into the air;
so the commander ordered him brought into the barracks and directed that he be interrogated and whipped, in order to find out why they were yelling at him like this.
But as they were stretching him out with thongs to be flogged, Sha'ul said to the captain standing by, "Is it legal for you to whip a man who is a Roman citizen and hasn't even had a trial?"
When the captain heard that, he went and reported it to the commander, "Do you realize what you're doing? This man is a Roman citizen!"
The commander came and said to Sha'ul, "Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?" "Yes," he said.
The commander replied, "I bought this citizenship for a sizeable sum of money." "But I was born to it," Sha'ul said.
At once the men who had been about to interrogate him drew back from him; and the commander was afraid too, because he realized that he had put this man who was a Roman citizen in chains.
However, the next day, since he wanted to know the specific charge the Judeans were bringing against him, he released him and ordered the head cohanim and the whole Sanhedrin to meet. Then he brought Sha'ul down and put him in front of them.