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 appeared (Ac 23:2).
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 (Ac
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 Ac 25:10 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 thither.
5. Let them … which among you are able, go
down—"your leading men."
7. the Jews … from
Jerusalem—clamorously, as at Jerusalem; see Ac 25:24.
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 with them.
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 Jerusalem.
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 Ac 25:11), 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
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 fare better."
Ac 25:13-27. Herod
Agrippa II ON A Visit to Festus,
Being Consulted by Him on Paul's Case,
Desires to Hear the Apostle, Who Is Accordingly Brought Forth.
13. King Agrippa—great-grandson of Herod
the Great, and Drusilla's brother (see on Ac
24:24). On his father's awful death (Ac 12:23), 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
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
came to salute Festus—to pay his
respects to him on his accession to the procuratorship.
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
16-21. to deliver any man to die—On the
word "deliver up," see on Ac 25:11.
18. as I
supposed—"suspected"—crimes punishable by civil
19. questions … of their own
superstition—rather, "religion" (see on Ac
17:22). 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
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
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" (Ac 26:26).
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 prediction (Ac 9:15) was fulfilled, though afterwards still
more remarkably at Rome (Ac 27:24; 2Ti 4:16, 17) [Webster
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 titles" [Hacket].