Punishing (timōrōn). Old word timōreō originally to render help, to succor (timōros, from timē and ouros), then to avenge (for honour). In N.T. only here and Act 22:5.
I strove to make them blaspheme (ēnagkazon blasphēmein). Conative imperfect active of anagkazō, old verb from anagkē (necessity, compulsion). The tense, like the imperfect in Mat 3:14; Luk 1:59, leaves room to hope that Paul was not successful in this effort, for he had already said that he brought many “unto death” (Act 22:4).
I persecuted (ediōkon). Imperfect active again, repeated attempts. The old verb diōkō was used to run after or chase game and then to chase enemies. The word “persecute” is the Latin persequor, to follow through or after. It is a vivid picture that Paul here paints of his success in hunting big game, a grand heresy hunt.
Even unto foreign cities (kai eis exō poleis). We know of Damascus, and Paul evidently planned to go to other cities outside of Palestine and may even have done so before the fateful journey to Damascus.