The Meaning of Acts 23:10 Explained

Acts 23:10

KJV: And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle.

YLT: and a great dissension having come, the chief captain having been afraid lest Paul may be pulled to pieces by them, commanded the soldiery, having gone down, to take him by force out of the midst of them, and to bring him to the castle.

Darby: And a great tumult having arisen, the chiliarch, fearing lest Paul should have been torn in pieces by them, commanded the troop to come down and take him by force from the midst of them, and to bring him into the fortress.

ASV: And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should be torn in pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them, and bring him into the castle.

What does Acts 23:10 Mean?

Context Summary

Acts 23:1-11 - Dividing His Persecutors
The behavior of the judge was quite unworthy of his office, but Paul's epithet cannot be defended. The best of men are but men at the best. Paul was thrown off his guard by an insult which touched him to the quick; but nothing could have been finer than the grace and frankness with which he acknowledged his error. The adroit way in which Paul divided the Council probably saved the situation. If the body had been united, Lysias would doubtless have handed Paul over to them to deal with. But the fiery hatred that broke out gave the chief captain grave concern for the safety of this man with citizen-rights.
How timely and precious was the Savior's revelation on the following night! As Paul's heart was sinking amid the solitude of his cell, and he was beginning to think that perhaps the predictions of Agabus and others were about to be fulfilled, he suddenly became aware of the presence of his Lord. Do not trust in your own understanding; let your Master steer your course; and remember that in the darkest hour, as in the brightest, He is beside you. There will be made to you, at "the fourth watch of the night," revelations which will reassure your weary and despairing soul that you are not alone. [source]

Chapter Summary: Acts 23

1  As Paul pleads his cause,
2  Ananias commands them to strike him
7  Dissension among his accusers
11  God encourages him
14  The Jews' vow to kill Paul,
20  is declared unto the chief captain
27  He sends him to Felix the governor

Greek Commentary for Acts 23:10

When there arose a great dissension [πολλης της γινομενης στασεως]
Present middle participle (genitive absolute). Literally, “dissension becoming much.” [source]
Lest Paul should be torn in pieces by them [μη διασπαστηι ο Παυλος]
First aorist passive subjunctive of διασπαω — diaspaō to draw in two, to tear in pieces, old verb, in the N.T. only here and Mark 5:4 of tearing chains in two. The subjunctive with μη — mē is the common construction after a verb of fearing (Robertson, Grammar, p. 995). The soldiers (το στρατευμα — to strateuma). The army, the band of soldiers and so in Acts 23:27. To go down Second aorist active participle of καταβαινω — katabainō having gone down. Take him by force (αρπασαι — harpasai). To seize. The soldiers were to seize and save Paul from the midst of (εκ μεσου — ek mesou) the rabbis or preachers (in their rage to get at each other). Paul was more of a puzzle to Lysias now than ever. [source]
The soldiers [το στρατευμα]
The army, the band of soldiers and so in Acts 23:27. [source]
To go down [καταβαν]
Second aorist active participle of καταβαινω — katabainō having gone down. Take him by force (αρπασαι — harpasai). To seize. The soldiers were to seize and save Paul from the midst of (εκ μεσου — ek mesou) the rabbis or preachers (in their rage to get at each other). Paul was more of a puzzle to Lysias now than ever. [source]
Take him by force [αρπασαι]
To seize. The soldiers were to seize and save Paul from the midst of Paul was more of a puzzle to Lysias now than ever. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Acts 23:10

Acts 21:34 When he could not know [μη δυναμενου αυτου γνωναι]
Genitive absolute of present middle participle of δυναμαι — dunamai with negative μη — mē and second aorist active infinitive of γινωσκω — ginōskō The certainty (το ασπαλες — to asphales). Neuter articular adjective from α — a privative and σπαλλω — sphallō to make totter or fall. Old word, in the N.T. only in Acts 21:34; Acts 22:30; Acts 25:26; Philemon 3:1; Hebrews 6:19. Into the castle Koiné{[28928]}š word from παρεμβαλλω — paremballō to cast in by the side of, to assign soldiers a place, to encamp (see note on Luke 19:43). So παρεμβολη — parembolē comes to mean an interpolation, then an army drawn up (Hebrews 11:34), but mainly an encampment (Hebrews 13:11, Hebrews 13:13), frequent in Polybius and lxx. So here barracks of the Roman soldiers in the tower of Antonia as in Acts 21:37; Acts 21:22: Acts 21:24; Acts 23:10, Acts 23:16, Acts 23:32. [source]
Acts 21:34 Into the castle [εις την παρεμβολην]
Koiné{[28928]}š word from παρεμβαλλω — paremballō to cast in by the side of, to assign soldiers a place, to encamp (see note on Luke 19:43). So παρεμβολη — parembolē comes to mean an interpolation, then an army drawn up (Hebrews 11:34), but mainly an encampment (Hebrews 13:11, Hebrews 13:13), frequent in Polybius and lxx. So here barracks of the Roman soldiers in the tower of Antonia as in Acts 21:37; Acts 21:22: Acts 21:24; Acts 23:10, Acts 23:16, Acts 23:32. [source]
Hebrews 11:7 Being warned of God [χρηματιστεις]
First aorist passive participle of χρηματιζω — chrēmatizō old word for oracular or divine communications as already in Hebrews 8:5 (cf. Matthew 2:12, Matthew 2:22, etc.). Moved with godly fear First aorist passive indicative of ευλαβεομαι — eulabeomai old verb from ευλαβης — eulabēs (from ευ — eu and λαβειν — labein to take hold well or carefully), to show oneself ευλαβης — eulabēs to act circumspectly or with reverence, here only in N.T. (save Textus Receptus in Acts 23:10), often in lxx. An ark Genesis 6:15; Matthew 24:38. Shaped like a box (cf. Hebrews 9:4). Through which Through his faith as shown in building the ark. The world Sinful humanity as in Hebrews 11:38. Heir In 2 Peter 2:5 Noah is called “a preacher of righteousness” as here “heir of righteousness.” He himself believed his message about the flood. Like Enoch he walked with God (Genesis 6:9). [source]
Revelation 12:5 Was caught up [ἡρπάσθη]
See on Matthew 12:12. Compare Acts 23:10; Judges 1:23. [source]

What do the individual words in Acts 23:10 mean?

Great then arising dissension having feared the commander lest should be torn to pieces - Paul by them he commanded the troop having gone down to take by force him from midst of them to bring [him] then into the barracks
πολλῆς δὲ γινομένης στάσεως φοβηθεὶς χιλίαρχος μὴ διασπασθῇ Παῦλος ὑπ’ αὐτῶν ἐκέλευσεν τὸ στράτευμα καταβὰν ἁρπάσαι αὐτὸν ἐκ μέσου αὐτῶν ἄγειν τε εἰς τὴν παρεμβολήν

πολλῆς  Great 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: πολύς  
Sense: many, much, large.
γινομένης  arising 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Middle or Passive, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: γίνομαι  
Sense: to become, i.
στάσεως  dissension 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: στάσις  
Sense: a standing, station, state.
φοβηθεὶς  having  feared 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Passive, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: φοβέομαι 
Sense: to put to flight by terrifying (to scare away).
χιλίαρχος  commander 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: χιλίαρχος  
Sense: a chiliarch, the commander of a thousand soldiers.
μὴ  lest 
Parse: Adverb
Root: μή 
Sense: no, not lest.
διασπασθῇ  should  be  torn  to  pieces 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Subjunctive Passive, 3rd Person Singular
Root: διασπάω  
Sense: to rend asunder, break asunder.
  - 
Parse: Article, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Παῦλος  Paul 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: Παῦλος  
Sense: Paul was the most famous of the apostles and wrote a good part of the NT, the 4 Pauline epistles.
ἐκέλευσεν  he  commanded 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: κελεύω  
Sense: to command, to order.
στράτευμα  troop 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root: στράτευμα  
Sense: an army.
καταβὰν  having  gone  down 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Active, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root: καταβαίνω  
Sense: to go down, come down, descend.
ἁρπάσαι  to  take  by  force 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Infinitive Active
Root: ἁρπάζω  
Sense: to seize, carry off by force.
μέσου  midst 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Neuter Singular
Root: μέσος  
Sense: middle.
αὐτῶν  of  them 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive Masculine 3rd Person Plural
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.
ἄγειν  to  bring  [him] 
Parse: Verb, Present Infinitive Active
Root: ἄγω  
Sense: to lead, take with one.
εἰς  into 
Parse: Preposition
Root: εἰς  
Sense: into, unto, to, towards, for, among.
παρεμβολήν  barracks 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: παρεμβολή  
Sense: an encampment.