The Foolish Oath: Acts 23:12-15
“12) When it was day, the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. 13) There were more than forty who formed this plot. 14) They came to the chief priests and the elders and said, “We have bound ourselves under a solemn oath to taste nothing until we have killed Paul. 15) Now therefore, you and the Council notify the commander to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case by a more thorough investigation; and we for our part are ready to slay him before he comes near the place.”” Acts‬ ‭23‬:‭12‬-‭15‬
This qualifies as a foolish oath. Paul had made an oath to be in Jerusalem by Pentecost. He kept his oath despite a clear indication that it would bring him bonds and imprisonment. Sure enough, it was happening.
This group of more than forty took an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. I wonder how many of them kept their oath? It would have been a quick way for God to dispose of Paul’s most zealous adversaries. Besides, what righteous person would make an oath to commit murder? This was a blatant violation of the 6th Commandment; “Thou shalt not commit murder.” (Exodus 20:13)
The worse part is that when they revealed their devious plot and foolish oath to the chief priests and elders, they were not met with rebuke or scorn. Instead, they were ready and eager to become accessories to murder. Not one of them weighed the scheme by the Word of God, but allowed bitterness and hatred to fuel their ungodly zeal.
When viewed from the side lines, what they did was unbiblical, foolish and wrong. It is wise to allow neutral and unbiased people to judge your plans before making a commitment or taking an oath. One wonders what their wives had to say about their foolish oath, especially after Paul left town under the watch of 200 armed soldiers?
This story screams that the majority can and often is wrong. It also shows that God has no problem thwarting the plans of the wicked. It is better to walk alone with God than join hands with a multitude in doing wrong.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global