Acts 24 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

(Read all of Acts 24)
24:1 And 1 after five days Ananias the high priest descended with the elders, and [with] a certain orator [named] Tertullus, who informed the governor against Paul.

(1) Hypocrites, when they can not do what they want to do by force and deceit, at length they go about to accomplish it by a show of law.

24:2 And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse [him], saying, Seeing that a by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very b worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence,

(a) Felix ruled that province with great cruelty and covetousness, and yet Josephus records that he did many worthy things, such as taking Eleazar the captain of certain cutthroats, and put that deceiving wretch the Egyptian to flight, who caused great troubles in Judea.
(b) He uses a word which the Stoics defined as a perfect duty and perfect behaviour.

24:5 For we have found this man [a] c pestilent [fellow], and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a d ringleader of the sect of the e Nazarenes:

(c) Literally, "a plague".
(d) As one would say, a ringleader, or a flag bearer.
(e) So they scoffingly called the Christians, taking the name from the towns where they thought that Christ was born, whereupon it happened that Julian the apostate called Christ a Galilean.

24:9 And the Jews also f assented, saying that these things were so.

(f) Confirmed what Tertullus said.

24:10 2 Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of g many years a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself:

(2) Tertullus, by the devil's rhetoric, begins with flattery and finishes with lies: but Paul using heavenly eloquence, and but a simple beginning, casts off from himself the crime of sedition, with which he was being charged, with a simple denial.
(g) Paul pleaded his cause two years before Felix departed out of the province, see (Acts 24:27), but he had governed Trachonite, and Batanea, and Galavnite, before Claudius made him governor of Judea; see Josephus in the History of the Jewish War, lib. 2, cap. 11.

24:13 Neither can they h prove the things whereof they now accuse me.

(h) They cannot lay forth before you and prove with good reasons.

24:14 3 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call i heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

(3) Paul proceeds in the case of religion from a conjectural state to a practical state, not only admitting of the religion which he was accused of, but also proving it to be true, to be heavenly and from God, and to be the oldest of all religions.
(i) Here this word "heresy" or "sect" is taken in a good sense.

24:17 4 Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings.

(4) Paul in conclusion tells the things thing which was truly done, which Tertullus before him had corrupted in various ways.

24:18 k Whereupon certain Jews from l Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with multitude, nor with tumult.

(k) And while I was occupied with those things.
(l) By this it is evident that these from Asia were Paul's enemies, and the ones that stirred up the people against him.

24:20 Or else let these same [here] say, if they have found any evil doing in me, while I stood before the m council,

(m) Where the tribune brought me.

24:22 5 And when Felix heard these things, having more n perfect knowledge of [that] way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter.

(5) The judge suspends his sentence because the matter is doubtful.
(n) Felix could not judge whether he had done wickedly in the matter of his religion or not until he had a better understanding of the way which Paul professed: and as for other matters with regard to the charge of sedition, he considers it good to defer it until he hears Lysias, and therefore he gives Paul somewhat more liberty.

24:23 6 And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let [him] have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him.

(6) God is a most faithful keeper of his servants, and the power of the truth is wonderful, even amongst men who are otherwise profane.

24:24 And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife o Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.

(o) This Drusilla was Agrippa's sister of whom Luke speaks afterwards, a harlot and very licentious woman, and being the wife of Azizus king of the Emesens, who was circumcised, departed from him, and went to this Felix the brother of Pallas, who was at one time the slave of Nero.

24:27 7 But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, willing to p shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.

(7) With an evil mind, that is guilty in itself, and although sometimes there is some show of fairness, yet eventually the conscience will be extinguished: but in the meanwhile we have need of continual patience.
(p) For he had behaved himself very wickedly in the province, and had it not been for favour of his brother Pallas, he would have died for it: so that we may gather by this why he would have pleased the Jews.