On July 19, advertisement 64, a fire broke out in Rome, ruining ten of thecity’s fourteen districts. The inferno raged for six days and sevennights, flaring sporadically for second three days. Despite the fireprobably began accidentally in one oil warehouse, rumors swirled thatEmperor Nero had actually ordered the inferno for this reason he might rebuild Rome according tohis very own liking. Nero tried to stamp the end the rumors—but come no avail.He then tried to find a scapegoat. And since 2 of the districts untouched bythe fire to be disproportionally occupied by Christians, he shifted theblame to them.

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Roman historian Tacitus tells the story:

But all human efforts, every the lavish gifts of the emperor, and also thepropitiations the the gods, did no banish the sinister id that theconflagration was the result of one order. Consequently, to get rid of thereport, Nero fastened the guilt and also inflicted the many exquisite tortureson a class hated for your abominations, referred to as Christians by the populace.. . . Accordingly, one arrest was very first made that all that pleaded guilty ; then, upon your information, an enormous multitude wasconvicted, no so much for the crime of firing the city, together of hatredagainst mankind.1

The accusation that roman inn Christians hated humankind likely take it root intheir refusal to get involved in Rome’s social and civic life, whichwas linked with pagan worship. Whether for that reason or for the fire,once Nero’s wildly inflamed, he continued his persecution ofRome’s Christians. And as a “ringleader” (Acts 24:5),Paul to be rearrested in ~ some allude and placed, according to churchtradition, in the Mamertine Prison.

The Mamertine Prison can have been referred to as the “House ofDarkness.” few prisons were together dim, dank, and also dirty together the lowerchamber Paul occupied. Known in earlier times as the Tullianum dungeon, its“neglect, darkness, and also stench” provided it “a hideous andterrifying appearance,” follow to Roman chronicler Sallust. 2

Prisoners in the old world were seldom sent come prison together punishment.Rather, prisons generally served as holding cells because that those awaiting trialor execution. We watch this throughout Scripture. Mosaic regulation made noprovision because that incarceration together a kind of punishment. Joseph languished inan Egyptian jail for two years, maybe awaiting trial before Pharaohon a charge of rape (Genesis 39:19–20; 41:1). Jeremiah was imprisonedunder accusation that treason (Jeremiah 37:11–16) but was transferredto the holy place guardhouse after ~ an appeal come King Zedekiah, that sought toprotect the prophet (37:17–21). And also though Jeremiah was later on throwninto a cistern, the objective was to death him, no imprison him(38:1–6).

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During Paul’s an initial imprisonment, he awaited trial before Romangovernors Felix and also Festus (Acts 24–26). That then to be under housearrest in Rome for two years (28:30), awaiting an appearance before Nero.Scholars think Paul to be released sometime in advertisement 62 since the Jews whohad accused the of being “a actual pest and also a other who stirs updissension” (24:5) didn’t press their case before the emperor.However, throughout Paul’s second imprisonment in the Mamertine dungeon,he had actually apparently got a preliminary hearing and also was awaiting a finaltrial (2 Timothy 4:16). The didn’t mean acquittal; he intended to befound guilty, in every likelihood, for hating humankind. From there, Paulbelieved just his execution would be left (4:6–7), which was probablycarried out in advertisement 68.3

Tacitus, Annals, 15.44, in Annals, Histories, Agricola, Germania, trans. Alfred man Church and William Jackson Brodribb (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009), 353–4. Sallust, The War v Catiline, 55.5, in The War v Catiline, The War through Jugurthine, trans. J. C. Rolfe, rev. Man T. Ramsey (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard university Press, 2013), 133. Paul must have languished in the Mamertine prison for a pair of years before his beheading (as befitting his status as a roman inn citizen), which, follow to tradition, developed on the Ostian method about 3 miles outside the city. Eusebius notes that Paul and also Peter to be executed during the very same Neronian persecution, despite Peter was crucified upside down, as he requested. See Eusebius, The Ecclesiastical History, vol. 1, 2.25.6, 8 and 3.1.2, trans. Kirsopp Lake (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard college Press, 1926), 181, 183, 191.

Derrick G. Jeter

Derrick G. Jeter stop a grasp of theology level from Dallas Theological Seminary and also served as a writer for the creative Ministries room of understanding for life Ministries. He has actually authored or coauthored much more than twenty-five books. Derrick"https://ubraintv-jp.com/how-long-was-paul-in-prison/imager_1_6802_700.jpgs writing has showed up on influential Web sites, and he is a contributing writer for The Christian Post. He and also his wife, Christy, have five children and also live in the Dallas area. He blog at www.DerrickJeter.com.