A nation that draws too broad a difference between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools. — Thucydides

Story of the Bible Told for Young and Old - Jesse Hurlbut

The Speech on the Stairs

When Paul and his friends came to Jerusalem, they met with the church in that city, and gave the money which had been gathered among the Gentiles to help those of the Jewish believers in Christ who were poor. The Apostle James, the Lord's brother, who was at the head of the church in Jerusalem, gave Paul and his friends a glad welcome, and praised God for the good work wrought among the Gentiles.

About a week after Paul had come to Jerusalem, he was worshipping in the Temple, when some Jews from the lands around Ephesus saw him. They at once stirred up a crowd, and took hold of Paul, crying out:

"Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against our people, and against our laws, and against this Temple. Besides, he has brought Gentiles into the Temple and thus has made the holy house unclean!"

They had seen with Paul, walking in the city, one of his friends from Ephesus who was not a Jew, and they started the false report that Paul had taken him into the Temple. When the Jews set up this cry against Paul, all the city was stirred up, and a great crowd gathered around Paul. They dragged Paul out of the Temple into the outer court, and were about to kill him, in their rage.

But in the castle on the north of the Temple was a Roman guard of soldiers, a thousand men under the command of an officer whom we should call a colonel, but who they called "the chief captain." Word came to this officer that all Jerusalem was in a riot, and that a wild mob had seized the Temple. He called out companies of soldiers and their centurions, or captains, and rushed quickly into the Temple and into the midst of the crowd who were beating and trampling upon Paul. The chief captain took Paul from their hands, and, thinking that he must have done something very wicked to call forth such a riot, ordered him to be fastened with two chains.

Then he asked who this man was and what he had done. All began to answer at once, some shouting one thing and some another, and as the chief captain could understand nothing in the confusion, he commanded the soldiers to take him into the castle. The crowd made a rush to seize Paul and take him away from the soldiers, but they carried him through the throng and up the stone steps that led into the castle, while all around, at the foot of the stairs, was the multitude of angry Jews, crying out, "Away with him! Kill him!"

Just as they reached the platform at the door of the castle, Paul in a quiet manner, spoke to the chief captain in his own language, which was the Greek tongue. He said, "May I say something to you?" The officer was surprised, and he answered Paul, "Do you know Greek? Are you not that man from Egypt who some time ago rose up against the rulers, and let out into the wilderness four thousand men who were murderers?"

But Paul said, "I am a Jew, of Tarsus in Cilicia. I belong to no mean city. I pray you, give me leave to speak to the people."

The chief captain thought that if this man should speak to the people he might learn something about him, so he gave him leave. Then Paul, standing on the stairs, beckoned with his hand to the crowd to show that he wished to speak. Soon everybody became quiet, for all wanted to hear; and then Paul began to speak to the people. But he did not speak in Greek, as he had spoken to the chief captain. He spoke in the Hebrew tongue, their own language, which they loved to hear. And when they heard him speak in Hebrew, their own tongue, they were all the more ready to listen to him. And this was what Paul said:

"Brethren and fathers, hear the words that I speak to you. I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city in the law of our fathers; and I was earnest for God, as all of you are this day. And I was a bitter enemy of the way of Christ, binding and putting in prison both men and women who believed in Jesus. The high-priest himself knows this, and all the council of the elders; for they gave me letters to our people In Damascus. And I went on a journey to that place to bring in chains from Damascus to Jerusalem those who followed Jesus, to punish them.

"And it came to pass as I made my journey and drew nigh to Damascus, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. And I fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are thou fighting against me and doing me harm?' And I answered, 'Who art thou, Lord?' And he said to me, 'I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are trying to destroy!'

"Those who were with me saw the light, but they did not hear the voice that spoke to me. And I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said to me, 'Rise up, and go into Damascus, and it shall be told thee what things are given to thee to do.'

"When I stood up I could not see, from the glory of that light, and I was led by the hands of those who were with me into Damascus. And a man named Ananias, a man who worshipped God and kept the law, of whom all the Jews in the city spoke well, came to me, and standing by me, said 'Brother Saul, receive the sight.'

"And in that very hour I looked up and saw him. And he said to me, 'The God of our fathers hath chosen thee to know his will, and to see the Holy One, and to hear his voice. For thou shalt speak in his name to all men, telling them what thou hast seen and heard.'

"And afterward, when I come back to Jerusalem, and was praying in the Temple, I saw the Lord again, and he spoke to me, 'Go forth, and I will send thee far hence to the Gentiles.' "

The Jews listened to Paul quietly until he spoke that word "Gentiles," which roused up all their wrath. They began to cry out, 'Away with such a fellow from the earth! It is not fit that he should live!"

And as they flung off their garments, and threw dust into the air in their rage, the chief captain ordered that Paul should be taken into the castle and beaten with rods until he should tell what dreadful thing he had done to arouse such anger. For the chief captain, not knowing the Jew's language, had not understood what Paul had said.

They took Paul into the castle, and were tying him up to beat him, when Paul said to the centurion who stood by, "Have you any right to beat a Roman citizen who has not been tried before a judge?"

When the centurion heard this he went in haste to the chief captain, and said to him, "Take care what you do to that man, for he is a Roman citizen!"

Then the chief captain came and said to Paul, "Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?"

And Paul answered, "Yes, I am."

The chief captain said, "I bought this right to be a citizen with a great sum of money."

And Paul said to him, "But I am a free-born citizen."

When those who were about to beat Paul knew that he was a Roman citizen, they went away from him in haste, and the chief captain was afraid, because he had bound Paul; for no one might place a chain on a Roman citizen until he had been tried before a Roman judge.

They took Paul into the castle, but were careful not to do him an harm.


Front Matter

The Story of a Beautiful Garden
The First Baby in the World and His Brother
The Great Ship That Saved Eight People
The Tower That Was Never Finished
The Story of a Long Journey
How Abram's Choice Brought Blessing
The Angel by the Well
The Rain of Fire That Fell on a City
The Boy Who Became an Archer
How an Angel's Voice Saved a Boy's Life
The Story of a Journey after a Wife
How Jacob Stole His Brother's Blessing
Jacob's Wonderful Dream
A Midnight Wrestling Match
The Rich Man's Son Who Was Sold as a Slave
From the Prison to the Palace
How Joseph's Dream Came True
A Lost Brother Found
From the Land of Famine to the Land of Plenty
The Beautiful Baby Who Was Found in a River
The Voice from the Burning Bush
The River That Ran Blood
The Night When a Nation Was Born
How the Sea Became Dry Land and the Sky Rained Bre
The Mountain That Smoked and Words That Were Spoke
How Aaron Made a Golden Calf and What Became of It
The Tent Where God Lived Among His People
How They Worshipped God in the Tabernacle
What Strong Drink Brought to Aaron's Sons
The Scapegoat in the Wilderness
The Cluster of Grapes from the Land of Canaan
How the Long Journey of the Israelites Came to an
What a Wise Man Learned from an Ass
How Moses Looked upon the Promised Land
The Story of Job
The Story of a Scarlet Cord
How the River Jordan Became Dry
The Story of a Wedge of Gold
How Joshua Conquered the Land of Canaan
The Old Man Who Fought Against the Giants
The Avenger of Blook and the Cities of Refuge
The Story of an Altar Beside the River
The Presnt That Ehud Brought to King Eglon
How a Woman Won a Great Victory
Gideon and His Brave Three Hundred
Jephthah's Rash Promise and What Came from It
The Strong Man: How He Lived and How He Died
The Idol Temple at Dan and Its Priest
How Ruth Gleaned in the Field of Boaz
The Little Boy with a Linen Coat
How the Idol Fell Down Before the Ark
The Last of the Judges
The Tall Man Who Was Chosen King
How Saul Saved the Eyes of the Men of Jabesh
The Brave Young Prince
Saul's Great Sin and His Great Loss
The Shepherd Boy of Bethlehem
The Shepherd Boy's Fight with the Giant
The Little Boy Looking for the Arrows
Where David Found the Giant's Sword
How David Spared Saul's Life
The Last Days of King Saul
The Shepherd Boy Becomes a King
The Sound in the Treetops
The Cripple at the King's Table
The Prophet's Story of the Little Lamb
David's Handsome Son and How He Stole the Kingdom
Absalom in the Wood; David on the Throne
The Angel with the Drawn Sword on Mount Moriah
Solomon on This Father's Throne
The Wise Young King
The House of God on Mount Moriah
The Last Days of Solomon's Reign
The Breaking Up of a Great Kingdom
The King Who Led Israel to Sin
The Prophet Who Raised a Boy to Life
The Prayer That Was Answered in Fire
The Voice That Spoke to Elijah in the Mount
The Wounded Prophet and His Story
What Ahab Paid for His Vineyard
The Arrow That Killed a King
Elijah's Chariot of Fire
A Spring Sweetened by Salt
The Pot of Oil and the Pot of Poison
The Little Boy at Shunem
How a Little Girl Helped to Cure a Leper
The Chariots of Fire around Elisha
What the Lepers Found in the Camp
Jehu, the Furious Driver of His Chariot
Elisha and the Bow; Jonah and Nineveh
How the Ten Tribes Were Lost
The First Four Kings of Judah
The Little Boy Who Was Crowned King
Three Kings and a Great Prophet
The Good King Hezekiah
The Lost Book Found in the Temple
The Last Four Kings of Judah and the Weeping Proph
What Ezekiel Saw in the Valley
The Jewish Captives in the Court of the King
The Golden Image and the Fiery Furnace
The Tree That Was Cut Down and Grew Again
The Writing upon the Wall
Daniel in the Den of Lions
The Story of a Joyous Journey
The New Temple on Mount Moriah
The Beautiful Queen of Persia
The Scribe Who Wrote the Old Testament
The Nobleman Who Built the Wall of Jerusalem
Ezra's Great Bible Class in Jerusalem
The Angel by the Altar
The Manger of Bethlehem
The Star and the Wise Men
The Boy in his Father's House
The Prophet in the Wilderness
Jesus in the Desert, and beside the River
The Water Jars at the Wedding Feast
The Stranger at the Well
The Story of a Boy in Capernaum and a Riot
A Net Full of Fishes
The Leper and the Man Let Down through the Roof
The Cripple at the Pool and the Withered Hand
The Twelve Disciples and the Sermon on the Mount
The Captain's Servant, the Widow's Son, and a Sinn
Some Stories Jesus Told by the Sea
"Peace, Be Still"
The Little Girl Who Was Raised to Life
A Dancing Girl and What Was Given Her
The Feast beside the Sea and What Followed It
The Answer to a Mother's Prayer
The Glory of Jesus on the Mountain
The Little Child in the Arms of Jesus
At the Feast of Tabernacles
The Man with Clay on His Face
The Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan
Lazarus Raised to Life
Some Parables in Perea
The Poor Rich Man and the Rich Poor Man
Jesus at Jericho
Palm Sunday
The Last Vistis of Jesus to the Temple
The Parables on the Mount of Olives
The Last Supper
The Olive Orchard and the High Priests Hall
The Crown of Thorns
The Darkest Day of All the World
The Brightest Day of All the World
The Stranger on the Shore
The Church of the First Days
The Man at the Beautiful Gate
The Right Way to Give, and the Wrong Way
Stephen with the Shining Face
The Man Reading in the Chariot
The Voice That Spoke to Saul
What Peter Saw by the Sea
How the Iron Gate Was Opened
The Earliest Missionaries
The Song in the Prison
Paul's Speech on the Hill
Paul at Corinth
Paul at Ephesus
Paul's Last Journey to Jerusalem
The Speech on the Stairs
Two Years in Prison
The Story That Paul Told to the King
Paul in the Storm
How Paul Came to Rome and How He Lived There
The Throne of God
The City of God