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Chapter 25

1Three days after his arrival in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, 2and the high priests and Jewish leaders presented their charges against Paul, 3and begged him as a favor to order Paul to come to Jerusalem, plotting to kill him on the way. 4Festus answered that Paul was being kept in custody at Caesarea, and that he himself was going there soon.

5“So have your principal men go down with me,” he said, “and present charges against the man, if there is anything wrong with him.”

6After staying only eight or ten days there, he went down to Caesarea, and the next day took his place in the judge’s chair, and ordered Paul brought in. 7When he came, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem surrounded him, and made a number of serious charges against him, which they could not substantiate. 8Paul said in his own defense,

“I have committed no offense against the Jewish Law or the Temple or the emperor.”

9Then Festus, wishing to gratify the Jews, said to Paul,

“Will you go up to Jerusalem and be tried there before me on these charges?”

10But Paul said,

“I am standing before the emperor’s court, where I ought to be tried. I have done the Jews no wrong, as you can easily see. 11If I am guilty and have done anything that deserves death, I do not refuse to die; but if there is no truth in the charges that these men make against me, no one can give me up to them; I appeal to the emperor.”

12Then Festus after conferring with the council answered,

“You have appealed to the emperor, and to the emperor you shall go!”

13Some time after, King Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea on a state visit to Festus, 14and as they stayed there several days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king.

“There is a man here,” he said, “who was left in prison by Felix, 15and when I was at Jerusalem the Jewish high priests and elders presented their case against him, and asked for his conviction. 16I told them that it was not the Roman custom to give anybody up until the accused met his accusers face to face and had a chance to defend himself against their accusations. 17So they came back here with me and the next day without losing any time I took my place in the judge’s chair and ordered the man brought in. 18But when his accusers got up, they did not charge him with any such crimes as I had expected. 19Their differences with him were about their own religion and about a certain Jesus who had died but who Paul said was alive. 20I was at a loss as to how to investigate such matters, and I asked him if he would like to go to Jerusalem and be tried on these charges there. 21But Paul appealed to have his case reserved for his Majesty’s decision, and I have ordered him kept in custody until I can send him to the emperor.”

22“I should like to hear the man myself,” Agrippa said to Festus.

“You shall hear him tomorrow,” Festus answered.

23So the next day, Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp and went into the audience-room attended by officers and the leading citizens of the town, and at the command of Festus Paul was brought in. 24Then Festus said,

“King Agrippa and all who are present, you see here the man about whom the whole Jewish people have applied to me both at Jerusalem and here, clamoring that he ought not to live any longer. 25I could not find that he had done anything for which he deserved death, but as he appealed to his Majesty I decided to send him to him. 26Yet I have nothing definite to write to our sovereign about him. So I have brought him before you all, and especially before you, King Agrippa, in order to get from your examination of him something to put in writing. 27For it seems to me absurd to send a prisoner on, without stating the charges against him.”

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