My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead.
Paul gets off to a bad start in his defense. When he mentions living in good conscience, the High Priest orders him to be slapped. Things are not going well.
Paul realizes he must do something drastic to save himself. His strategy?
Divide and conquer.
He quickly sizes up his jury. They are two divergent groups, Sadducees and Pharisees - The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.
Paul sides with the truth and proclaims it. After all, this is what he has been preaching about Jesus all along. There is a resurrection!
The council immediately devolved into contentious debate among themselves. Pharisees siding with Paul and Sadducees arguing vigorously against him!
The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.
Who can fault Paul for this shrewd ploy? He has been wise in his tactic and done no harm. He lives to teach another day and the Lord approves.
The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, "Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome."