Ac 25:1-12. FESTUS, COMING TO JERUSALEM, DECLINES TO HAVE PAUL BROUGHT THITHER FOR JUDGMENT, BUT GIVES THE PARTIES A HEARING ON HIS RETURN TO CÆSAREA--ON FESTUS ASKING THE APOSTLE IF HE WOULD GO TO JERUSALEM FOR ANOTHER HEARING BEFORE HIM, HE IS CONSTRAINED IN JUSTICE TO HIS CAUSE TO APPEAL TO THE EMPEROR.
1-3. Festus . . . after three days . . .
ascended . . . to Jerusalem--to make himself acquainted
with the great central city of his government without delay.
2. Then the high priest--a successor of him before whom Paul had
and the chief of the Jews--and "the whole multitude of the Jews"
(Ac 25:24) clamorously.
informed him against Paul . . .
3. desired favour--in
Ac 25:15, "judgment."
against him--It would seem that they had the insolence to ask him to
have the prisoner executed even without a trial
laying wait . . . to kill him--How deep must have been
their hostility, when two years after the defeat of their former
attempt, they thirst as keenly as ever for his blood! Their plea for
having the case tried at Jerusalem, where the alleged offense took
place, was plausible enough; but from
it would seem that Festus had been made acquainted with their causeless
malice, and that in some way which Paul was privy to.
4-6. answered that Paul should be kept--rather, "is in custody."
at Cæsarea, and . . . himself would depart shortly
5. Let them . . . which among you are able, go down--"your leading
7. the Jews . . . from Jerusalem--clamorously, as at
many and grievous complaints against Paul--From his reply, and Festus'
statement of the case before Agrippa, these charges seem to have been a
jumble of political and religious matter which they were unable to
substantiate, and vociferous cries that he was unfit to live. Paul's
reply, not given in full, was probably little more than a challenge to
prove any of their charges, whether political or religious.
9, 10. Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure--to ingratiate himself
said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and . . . be judged . . . before
me--or, "under my protection." If this was meant in earnest, it was
temporizing and vacillating. But, possibly, anticipating Paul's refusal,
he wished merely to avoid the odium of refusing to remove the trial to
10. Then said Paul, I stand at Cæsar's judgment seat--that
is, I am already before the proper tribunal. This seems to imply that
he understood Festus to propose handing him over to the Sanhedrim for
judgment (and see on
with a mere promise of protection from him. But from going to Jerusalem
at all he was too well justified in shrinking, for there assassination
had been quite recently planned against him.
to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou knowest very well--literally,
"better," that is, (perhaps), better than to press such a proposal.
if there be none of these things . . . no man may deliver me unto
them--The word signifies to "surrender in order to gratify" another.
11. I appeal to Cæsar--The right of appeal to the supreme power, in
case of life and death, was secured by an ancient law to every Roman
citizen, and continued under the empire. Had Festus shown any
disposition to pronounce final judgment, Paul, strong in the
consciousness of his innocence and the justice of a Roman tribunal,
would not have made this appeal. But when the only other alternative
offered him was to give his own consent to be transferred to the great
hotbed of plots against his life, and to a tribunal of unscrupulous and
bloodthirsty ecclesiastics whose vociferous cries for his death had
scarcely subsided, no other course was open to him.
12. Festus--little expecting such an appeal, but bound to respect it.
having conferred with the council--his assessors in judgment, as to
the admissibility of the appeal.
said, Hast thou--for "thou hast."
to Cæsar shalt thou go--as if he would add perhaps "and see if thou
Ac 25:13-27. HEROD
13. King Agrippa--great-grandson of Herod the Great, and
Drusilla's brother (see on
Ac 24:24). On his father's awful death
being thought too young (seventeen) to succeed, Judea, was attached to
the province of Syria. Four years after, on the death of his uncle
Herod, he was made king of the northern principalities of Chalcis, and
afterwards got Batanea, Iturea, Trachonitis, Abilene, Galilee, and
Perea, with the title of king. He died A.D. 100,
after reigning fifty-one years.
and Bernice--his sister. She was married to her uncle Herod, king of
Chalcis, on whose death she lived with her brother Agrippa--not without
suspicion of incestuous intercourse, which her subsequent licentious
life tended to confirm.
came to salute Festus--to pay his respects to him on his accession to
14, 15. when there many--"several"
days, Festus declared Paul's cause--taking advantage of the presence
of one who might be presumed to know such matters better than himself;
though the lapse of "several days" ere the subject was touched on shows
that it gave Festus little trouble.
16-21. to deliver any man to die--On the word "deliver up,"
18. as I supposed--"suspected"--crimes punishable by civil law.
19. questions . . . of their own superstition--rather,
"religion" (see on
It cannot be supposed that Festus would use the word in any
discourteous sense in addressing his Jewish guest.
one Jesus--"Thus speaks this miserable Festus of Him to whom every
knee shall bow" [BENGEL].
whom Paul affirmed--"kept affirming."
to be alive--showing that the resurrection of the Crucified One had
been the burden, as usual, of Paul's pleading. The insignificance of the
whole affair in the eyes of Festus is manifest.
20. because I doubted of such manner of questions--The "I" is emphatic.
"I," as a Roman judge, being at a loss how to deal with such matters.
21. the hearing of Augustus--the imperial title first conferred by the
Roman Senate on Octavius.
22-27. I would also hear--"should like to hear."
the man myself--No doubt Paul was fight when he said, "The king knoweth
of these things . . . for I am persuaded that none of these things are
hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner"
Hence his curiosity to see and hear the man who had raised such
commotion and was remodelling to such an extent the whole Jewish
23. when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp--in the same
city in which their father, on account of his pride, had perished, eaten
up by worms [WETST].
with the chief captains--(See on
Ac 21:32). JOSEPHUS
[Wars of the Jews, 3.4.2] says that five cohorts, whose full
complement was one thousand men, were stationed at Cæsarea.
principal men of the city--both Jews and Romans. "This was the most
dignified and influential audience Paul had yet addressed, and the
was fulfilled, though afterwards still more remarkably at Rome
2Ti 4:16, 17) [WEBSTER and WILKINSON].
26. I have no certain--"definite"
thing to write my lord--Nero. "The writer's accuracy should be remarked
here. It would have been . . . a mistake to apply this term ("lord") to
the emperor a few years earlier. Neither Augustus nor Tiberius would let
himself be so called, as implying the relation of master and slave. But
it had now come (rather, "was coming") into use as one of the imperial