2 Corinthians 11:32-33, Paul Escapes in a Basket

In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.

//Luke, when writing about this event in Acts 9:23-25, tells us that the Jews took counsel to kill Paul, and the disciples lowered him in a basket to escape. But Paul’s own letter indicates that he was fleeing the governor under King Aretas, not the Jews.

King? Who is King Aretas?

He was king of the Nabataeans, a southern neighbor of Judea. Aretas wasn’t a Jew; in fact, he fought against the Jews in 4 BCE. His daughter married Herod the Tetrarch. Aretas carried political clout, but did he control Damascus as Paul indicates? That’s unlikely.

So how do we make sense of the different reports? Did Paul escape from Jews, from Nabataeans, from a small Nabataean community in Damascus, or is there some other explanation?

Historians haven’t put this puzzle together yet.

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