At one point, as I recall, when the Apostle Paul is brought before the Jewish High Priest, he calls him a “white-washed wall”, then, when he realizes that this was, in fact, the High Priest, he quickly takes it back, seemingly auoting a law (possibly Exodus 22:28?) wherein it apparently says that not to speak ill/curse the leaders of your people.
First of all, in what context is, exactly, the Exodus verse? After all, is it not unlawful/immoral to speak ill of/curse/disrespect anyone, not *just the leaders of a people? Why, then, in this passage, are the rulers of the people specified? If this passage is speaking generally ofnever saying a negative word about a ruler, be it to criticize (even harshly) or otherwise, does this apply to us today. Even if our leaders do something wrong, are we not at all to criticize?
And, what of the NT passage in which this seems to arise? Is Paul saying here that it would have been all right to criticize other people as he did, calling them a “white-wahsed wall” and the like, but not if the person is the leader of the people? Again, this seems at least a little inconsistent. Or, was Paul here perhaps indeed backhandedly criticizing the High Priest, in a sense saying that “I criticize you because you are not acting like the leader of our people/you are not acting as you should as carrying out God’s law”? Or, rather, is Paul actually being too legalistic here, thinking that it is OK to criticize anyone else but not the leader of the people because that is prohibited by the Old Law? If this latter is the case, why does our author choose to include it here? After all, authors usually have reasons for excluding/including material, oftentimes more than just simply reporting events, do they not?
Really not quite clear about the meaning of either of the passages I’ve mentioned and would appreciate your/others insight on this.