S. S. Times
And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brothers, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.
Paul's characterisation recalls at once our Lord's denunciation of the Pharisees. This proverbial expression is common over all the East, and the custom which gave rise to it goes back to the times of the ancient Egyptians. Old Egyptian tombs consisted of a deep shaft sunk in the rock, with a subterranean chamber, and sarcophagus containing the body. At the top of the shaft was built a sacrificial chamber, or chambers, which it was the custom to decorate richly with coloured sculptures. Thus, the chamber above ground was decorated with scenes of life and gladness, strangely at variance with the gloomy chamber below. In Palestine most of the mukams, or little sacred buildings built in honour of the local saints, are cenotaphs or tomb buildings. These mukams may be seen on almost every hilltop; they are kept with scrupulous care; offerings are placed in them frequently; and they are whitewashed before every great religious festival. The ordinary Mohammedan graves are often heaped with rubble, which is then covered with stucco. A somewhat similar comparison to that in the text appears in the early Christian writers; as, for instance, in the Epistle of Ignatius to the Philadelphians. Speaking of certain offenders, Ignatius says, "These to me are monuments and tombs which bear only the names of men." Here there may be another allusion besides that which is apparent to the Western reader. In rabbinic the word nephesh means the "vital principle," a "person" himself, and a "tomb." Of nephesh in this last sense, it might punningly be said to be nephesh — or a living person — only in name.
(S. S. Times.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.
WEB: Paul, looking steadfastly at the council, said, "Brothers, I have lived before God in all good conscience until this day."