Second Corinthians 11:33
‘In Damascus, the governor under Aretus the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison — desirous to apprehend me! But through a window in a basket, I was let down by the wall — and escaped his hands!’ Second Corinthians 11:32-33.
Calvin comments: “He (Paul) tells us how he was trapped…. It was only with the greatest difficulty, that he was able to save his life….
“Some raise the question as to whether it was right for Paul to climb over the town wall…. Since this was a capital crime….
“My answer is first, that it is not certain if that punishment was in fact sanctioned by law in the east…. Secondly, even if it was, Paul committed no crime. Since he climbed the wall not as an enemy, or for sport — but from necessity….
“For the law would not punish a man who threw himself from the wall…to save his life from fire…. What difference is there between a fire, and a fierce attack by rascals?
“In thinking of the law, we must always have regard to equity and fairness. That consideration will absolve Paul from all blame.”
Many years ago, back in 1965, when I visited Damascus — I asked a Muslim taxi-driver to take me to see the church of Ananias built over the place where the converted Paul received back his eyesight (Acts 9:17). The Muslim tax-driver sat in his vehicle, while I went into the church.
I was unimpressed by what I saw there. The inside was festooned with all kinds of mediaeval accretions — contrary to the simple house of Ananias where Paul had received back his eyesight!
When I emerged from the church and walked back to the waiting taxi, the driver noted the look of disappointment on my face. So, out of concern, he asked me what I thought of that church.
In all honestly, I then told him I was horrified by all the mediaeval trappings inside that building. My driver then shouted to me in joy: “Allahu akbar! Praise God, you’re a Muslim!”
After agreeing with him that that “church” was a disgrace, I lifted up my eyes to the city wall. I then asked him to point out the me the spot where Paul had escaped from the city by rope from a high window in that wall. He showed me, and told my that God had then assisted him to escape. I interjected: “Praise God! You sound like a Christian!”
Paul once escaped with his life — in a basket, on a rope, down from the top of a city wall. May many Judaists, Heathens and Muslims escape as Paul did — and become true Christians!