I am trying to think of the last time 40 people promised to not eat or drink before killing me.
And I am drawing a blank. Either my enemies hate me too little or love food and drink too much. So against the day when "those who seek to kill you will believe they are doing God a favor," I look at what Paul does in this situation:
1) He pays attention to the warning signs. Paul's sister's son gets wind of the plot and tells Uncle Paul right away.
2) He doesn't turn and run. That's why thugs talk so big and bad - they want us to lose heart and do their work for them. The trick is to realize they are not so tough.
3) He takes prudent, positive action. Like a spiritual martial artist, he turns their strength into a weakness. Paul goes to the Roman authorities (who are probably bending over backwards to help him after their near-mistake of flogging the back of a citizen) and has his nephew tell them about the Jewish "dagger-men" (see last chapter). As is often the case with big-talking activists and other bullies, the 40 Assassins cave when resisted with strength and determination. These fools risked their dignity to gain Paul's death. They lost on both counts. Glory, glory hallelujah, His truth is marching on.