Interesting Observation: Verse 12 says that the Jews really wanted to kill Paul. In fact, they made an oath to not eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. Because Paul was in prison, they planned to kill him after the commander brought him out of prison for more questioning. If you read on, the commander finds out and sends 200 soldiers to transport Paul to a distant city. So, the Jews’ plan of killing Paul failed. If you look at the last 2 verses of the chapter (28:30), Paul is alive for 2 more years. Ever wonder if they stuck to their oath and starved to death?
Meaningful Observation: Why did these Jews want to kill Paul? Wasn’t one of their commandments not to murder? Didn’t they want to please God by not murdering? This leads me to be highly suspicious that these Jews were not so much concerned about pleasing God. Paul was proving them wrong, and they seemed to be much more concerned about losing respect and credibility.
In the Gospels, we see repeatedly that Jesus encounters Pharisees that use religion for the purpose of earning praise for themselves. They were so concerned with their own praise that they were willing to kill to keep it safe. Do I use Christianity as a means for praising myself? So that people will see how “good” I am, that I’m a Bible study leader, that I’m a music worship leader, etc.? When I try hard at something God-related, am I trying hard so I will earn the praise of man, or am I trying hard because I want to please my Lord? May it be the latter!