A few days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus.
Since they were spending many days there, Festus discussed Paul’s case with the king. He said: “There is a man here whom Felix left as a prisoner.
When I went to Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews brought charges against him and asked that he be condemned.
“I told them that it is not the Roman custom to hand over anyone before they have faced their accusers and have had an opportunity to defend themselves against the charges.
When they came here with me, I did not delay the case, but convened the court the next day and ordered the man to be brought in.
When his accusers got up to speak, they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected.
Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive.
I was at a loss how to investigate such matters; so I asked if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial there on these charges.
But when Paul made his appeal to be held over for the Emperor’s decision, I ordered him held until I could send him to Caesar.”
Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear this man myself.” He replied, “Tomorrow you will hear him.”
The next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp and entered the audience room with the high-ranking military officers and the prominent men of the city. At the command of Festus, Paul was brought in.
Festus said: “King Agrippa, and all who are present with us, you see this man! The whole Jewish community has petitioned me about him in Jerusalem and here in Caesarea, shouting that he ought not to live any longer.
I found he had done nothing deserving of death, but because he made his appeal to the Emperor I decided to send him to Rome.
But I have nothing definite to write to His Majesty about him. Therefore I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that as a result of this investigation I may have something to write.
For I think it is unreasonable to send a prisoner on to Rome without specifying the charges against him.”