Who did Paul escape by being lowered over the walls of Damascus in a basket?

Posted on Feb.14, 2009. Filed in Acts, 2 Corinthians. Average rating: 1.3 / 10 (Rate It).

Following his conversion, Paul had some powerful enemies. Twice we are told that he fled Damascus, and that he even had to be lowered from the city walls in a basket because the gates were being watched. Who was watching the gates, though, depends on the account.

In Acts, it is the Jews who Paul evades by being lowered from the walls in a basket:

Saul became increasingly more powerful and counfounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Messiah. After some time had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night so that they might kill him; but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket. [Acts 9:23-25 (NRSV)]

In 2 Corinthians, however, Paul says that King Aretas’s governor’s guard were the ones keeping watch:

In Damascus, the governor under King Aretas set a guard on the city of Damascus in order to seize me, but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands. [2 Corinthians 11:32-33 (NRSV)]

So who did Paul escape by being lowered from the walls of Damascus in a basket, the Jews or King Aretas’s governor’s guard?

N.B. All posts are written in a style sympathetic to the claim of Biblical error, even in cases where the author ("Errancy") disagrees with the claim. See the About page for the site's philosophy.

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  1. 1

    There’s certainly no contradiction here, only a slight discrepancy. The idea that both the Jews and the king had it in for Saul is plausible enough, and they may even have conspired against him.

  2. 2

    As we see so often it is two perspectives on the same event. Those Jews who were opposed to Paul would have done all in their power to apprehend Paul and they were certainly not averse to colluding with or provoking to action the authorities as witnessed elsewhere in The New Testament – Ephesus, Jerusalem etc

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