About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Paul Watches Stephen's Death

Concerning Paul who watched Stephen being stoned in Acts 7; many recollect that Paul held the outer coat of Stephen while he as stoned, but this is not true.  Paul, then called Saul, actually stood by the outer coats of those who were called "witnesses". (Acts 7:58)

What Paul was watching was something that was set out in the Old Testament Law by God Himself.  In Dued. 17:1-7 you will note that if anyone, man or woman was caught in the practice of serving other God's, 2 or 3 witnesses had to bring this person to the attention of the Jewish leadership.  If the accusation by the 2 or 3 witnesses was found to be true, then that person, or persons had to be stoned.

The procedure that then took place was that the 2 or 3 witnesses would throw the first stones, then after that happened the rest of the people watching could throw stones as well, until the person was dead.

This is the account of Stephen's death in Acts 7.  Paul stood beside the coasts of "the witnesses", that is the 2 or 3 witnesses that threw the first stones towards Stephen for his so-called blasspamous words against the God of Israel.   

It is only speculation, but if you note from Dued. 17 that the rest of the bystanders could throw stones after the witnesses threw their stone, it is entirely possible that Paul threw stones at Stephen as well, aiding in his murder.

On the other hand, in Acts 22:17 and following Paul gives his own account of Stephen's death.  He said that he stood by and watched over his accuser's coats.  If he had indeed helped stone Stephen, he most likely would have said it in this passages.  Still, this is somewhat speculative as well.


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