New Defender's Study Bible Notes
23:2 Ananias. This Ananias, of course, was not the same high priest as at the time of Christ, thirty years before. This priest was a political appointee, notoriously corrupt and cruel, destined soon for assassination by his Jewish countrymen when they rebelled against Rome only a few years hence.
23:3 contrary to the law. Paul had not even been formally charged with any offense, let alone tried and found guilty.
23:5 it is written. See Exodus 22:28. Paul had been away from Jerusalem for many years, and could not have known Ananias by sight.
23:8 no resurrection. The sect of the Sadducees professed to be orthodox Jews, believing in the Mosaic laws, but were actually materialists believing in neither bodily nor spiritual resurrection. Nevertheless, they were more powerful politically than the more Biblically oriented Pharisees.
23:8 Pharisees. Paul himself was a convinced Pharisee (Philippians 3:4-5), and still had deep respect for the law (Romans 7:12), though he knew and preached that salvation was altogether by grace (Romans 5:20-21).
23:16 Paul’s sister’s son. This is the only reference in the Bible to the fact that Paul had a sister and nephew. There is no indication as to what they were doing in Jerusalem (Paul’s family originally lived in Tarsus, in Asia Minor), or what access this young man had to the conspirators. As intriguing as such questions are, we can only conclude that all of these circumstances had somehow been ordered in God’s providence to save Paul’s life.
23:21 neither eat nor drink. Since this vow could not be carried out, the question arises as to whether the conspirators proceeded to starve themselves to death. This is unlikely; the Jewish Mishna writings provide for release from vows under such conditions.
23:26 Felix. Felix, governor of Judaea and Samaria, held the position once held by Pontius Pilate. The provincial capital was at Caesarea, sixty-five miles northwest of Jerusalem. Paul, as a Roman citizen, was thus taken to be judged by a Roman governor.