The Meaning of Acts 23:23 Explained

Acts 23:23

KJV: And he called unto him two centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night;

YLT: and having called near a certain two of the centurions, he said, 'Make ready soldiers two hundred, that they may go on unto Caesarea, and horsemen seventy, and spearmen two hundred, from the third hour of the night;

Darby: And having called to him certain two of the centurions, he said, Prepare two hundred soldiers that they may go as far as Caesarea, and seventy horsemen, and two hundred light-armed footmen, for the third hour of the night.

ASV: And he called unto him two of the centurions, and said, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go as far as Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night:

What does Acts 23:23 Mean?

Context Summary

Acts 23:12-24 - Would-Be Murderers Baffled
The Lord had told His servant that he was needed in Rome, but the conspirators said that he should not leave Jerusalem. There is only one conclusion when such a collision occurs-God's word must stand to the discomfiture of those who have sworn that they will neither eat nor drink till they have perpetrated their plan to the contrary.
These high ecclesiastics fell in with an infamous plot. What will not unscrupulous men do under cover of religion! It is a pleasing trait that the Roman officer took Paul's nephew by the hand and led him aside for a private audience. How proudly would the boy recount the whole story to his mother, when he emerged from those grim walls. At nine o'clock that night there was a clattering of horses' hoofs as seventy horsemen and two hundred soldiers went through the stone-paved streets on their way to Caesarea. Already Paul had begun his journey to Rome. Often afterward, when it seemed as though his life would be forfeited, he must have stayed on the Master's words, So must thou bear witness also at Rome. What a life-buoy that promise was! And if God had saved him from the mob at Jerusalem and given him the friendship of Lysias, what could God not do for him in the future! [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 23:23

Two [τινας δυο]
“Some two” as in Luke 7:19, indicating (Page) that they were not specially chosen. [source]
Soldiers [στρατιωτας]
The three varieties of troops in a Roman army like the cohort of Lysias (Page). The στρατιωται — stratiōtai were the heavy-armed legionaries, the ιππεις — hippeis belonged to every legion, the δεχιολαβοι — dexiolaboi were light-armed supplementary troops who carried a lance in the right hand Vulgate, lancearios. At the third hour of the night About nine in the evening. [source]
horsemen [ιππεις]
The three varieties of troops in a Roman army like the cohort of Lysias (Page). The στρατιωται — stratiōtai were the heavy-armed legionaries, the ιππεις — hippeis belonged to every legion, the δεχιολαβοι — dexiolaboi were light-armed supplementary troops who carried a lance in the right hand Vulgate, lancearios. At the third hour of the night About nine in the evening. [source]
spearmen [δεχιολαβους]
The three varieties of troops in a Roman army like the cohort of Lysias (Page). The στρατιωται — stratiōtai were the heavy-armed legionaries, the ιππεις — hippeis belonged to every legion, the δεχιολαβοι — dexiolaboi were light-armed supplementary troops who carried a lance in the right hand Vulgate, lancearios. At the third hour of the night About nine in the evening. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Acts 23:23

Acts 23:20 Have agreed [συνετεντο]
Second aorist middle indicative of συντιτημι — suntithēmi old verb to join together, to agree. Already this form in Luke 22:5 which see. See also John 9:22; Acts 24:9. To bring down (οπως καταγαγηις — hopōs katagagēis). Very words of the conspirators in Acts 23:15 as if the young man overheard. Second aorist active subjunctive of καταγω — katagō with οπως — hopōs in final clause, still used, but nothing like so common as ινα — hina though again in Acts 23:23 (Robertson, Grammar, p. 985). As though thou wouldest inquire Just as in Acts 23:15 except that here μελλων — mellōn refers to Lysias instead of to the conspirators as in Acts 23:15. The singular is used by the youth out of deference to the authority of Lysias and so modifies a bit the scheming of the conspirators, not “absurd” as Page holds. [source]
Acts 23:20 To bring down [οπως καταγαγηις]
Very words of the conspirators in Acts 23:15 as if the young man overheard. Second aorist active subjunctive of καταγω — katagō with οπως — hopōs in final clause, still used, but nothing like so common as ινα — hina though again in Acts 23:23 (Robertson, Grammar, p. 985). [source]
Acts 23:25 And he wrote [γραπσας]
First aorist active participle of γραπω — graphō agreeing with the subject (Lysias) of ειπεν — eipen (said) back in Acts 23:23 (beginning). [source]

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

And having called to [him] certain two of the centurions he said Prepare soldiers two hundred so that they might go as far as Caesarea horsemen seventy spearmen for the third hour of the night
Καὶ προσκαλεσάμενός τινας δύο τῶν ἑκατονταρχῶν εἶπεν Ἑτοιμάσατε στρατιώτας διακοσίους ὅπως πορευθῶσιν ἕως Καισαρείας ἱππεῖς ἑβδομήκοντα δεξιολάβους ἀπὸ τρίτης ὥρας τῆς νυκτός

προσκαλεσάμενός  having  called  to  [him] 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Middle, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: προσκαλέω  
Sense: to call to.
τινας  certain 
Parse: Interrogative / Indefinite Pronoun, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root: τὶς  
Sense: a certain, a certain one.
δύο  two 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root: δύο 
Sense: the two, the twain.
τῶν  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἑκατονταρχῶν  centurions 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: ἑκατοντάρχης 
Sense: an officer in the Roman army.
εἶπεν  he  said 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: λέγω  
Sense: to speak, say.
Ἑτοιμάσατε  Prepare 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Imperative Active, 2nd Person Plural
Root: ἑτοιμάζω  
Sense: to make ready, prepare.
στρατιώτας  soldiers 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root: στρατιώτης  
Sense: a (common) soldier.
διακοσίους  two  hundred 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root: διακόσιοι  
Sense: two hundred.
ὅπως  so  that 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: ὅπως  
Sense: how, that.
πορευθῶσιν  they  might  go 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Subjunctive Passive, 3rd Person Plural
Root: πορεύομαι  
Sense: to lead over, carry over, transfer.
ἕως  as  far  as 
Parse: Preposition
Root: ἕως  
Sense: till, until.
Καισαρείας  Caesarea 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: Καισάρεια  
Sense: Caesarea of Philippi was situated at the foot of Lebanon near the sources of the Jordan in Gaulanitis, and formerly called Paneas; but afterward being rebuilt by Philip the tetrarch, it was called by him Caesarea, in honour of Tiberias Caesar; subsequently called Neronias by Agrippa II, in honour of Nero.
ἱππεῖς  horsemen 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root: ἱππεύς  
Sense: a horseman.
ἑβδομήκοντα  seventy 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root: ἑβδομήκοντα  
Sense: seventy.
δεξιολάβους  spearmen 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root: δεξιοβόλος 
Sense: throwing with the right hand, a slinger, an archer, javelinmen.
τρίτης  the  third 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: τρίτον 
Sense: the third.
ὥρας  hour 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: ὥρα  
Sense: a certain definite time or season fixed by natural law and returning with the revolving year.
τῆς  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
νυκτός  night 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: νύξ  
Sense: night.

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