Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee
Which may be considered either as a prophecy of what would be, that God would smite him with some judgment here, or with death quickly, or with eternal damnation hereafter; taking up his own words, and suggesting that a retaliation would be made, and that the measure he meted, would be measured to him again; or else as an imprecation upon him; for the words may be rendered, "may God smite thee"; the future tense being often used by the Jews for the imperative, and that in this very phrase; for certain it is, that this is the form of an imprecation with them: for it is said, if anyone should say, (Mwhla hkky) , "may God smite", or "so may God smite"; this is (hla) , "a curse", written in the law F16; though this instance of the apostle ought not to be drawn into example, any more than those of other saints, who might be under a direction of the Holy Ghost to deliver out such things, which would come to pass in righteous judgment: and if this was Ananias, the son of Nebedaeus, as is generally thought, it is remarkable, that five years after this, in the beginning of the wars of the Jews with the Romans, this Ananias, hiding himself under the ruins of a conduit, was discovered, and taken out, and killed F17: and no doubt but he very fitly calls him
thou whited wall;
or hypocrite, in like manner as Christ compares the hypocritical Scribes and Pharisees to whited sepulchres, ( Matthew 23:27 ) .
for sittest thou to judge me after the law;
the law of Moses, which was the rule of judgment in the sanhedrim, at least professed to be, and which was allowed of by the Romans, especially in matters relating to the Jewish religion:
and commandest me to be smitten contrary to law?
which condemns no man before he is heard, and much less punishes him, ( John 7:51 ) and which is contrary not only to the Jewish laws, but to the Roman laws, and all others founded upon the law of nature and reason.
F16 Misn. Shebuot, c. 4. sect. 13. & Maimon. in ib.
F17 Joseph. de Bello Jud. l. 2. c. 17. sect. 9.