When the seven days of purification were almost over, the Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul in the temple. Grabbing him, they threw the whole crowd into confusion by shouting,
"Fellow Israelites! Help! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people, the Law, and this place. Not only that, he has even brought Greeks into the temple and defiled this holy place." (
They said this because they had seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him earlier, and they assumed Paul had brought him into the temple.)
The entire city was stirred up. The people came rushing, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the temple. Immediately the gates were closed.
While they were trying to kill him, a report reached the commander of a company of soldiers that all Jerusalem was in a state of confusion.
Without a moment's hesitation, he took some soldiers and officers and ran down to the mob. When the mob saw the commander and his soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.
When the commander arrived, he arrested Paul and ordered him to be bound with two chains. Only then did he begin to ask who Paul was and what he had done.
Some in the crowd shouted one thing, others shouted something else. Because of the commotion, he couldn't learn the truth, so he ordered that Paul be taken to the military headquarters.
When Paul reached the steps, he had to be carried by the soldiers in order to protect him from the violence of the crowd.
The mob that followed kept screaming, "Away with him!"
As Paul was about to be taken into the military headquarters, he asked the commander, "May I speak with you?" He answered, "Do you know Greek?
Aren't you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists into the desert some time ago?"
Paul replied, "I'm a Jew from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of an important city. Please, let me speak to the people."
With the commander's permission, Paul stood on the steps and gestured to the people. When they were quiet, he addressed them in Aramaic.