And after certain days
Some days after this trial:
when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess;
to Caesarea, having been to fetch her from some other place, or to meet her: this woman was the daughter of Herod Agrippa, who was eaten by worms, ( Acts 12:23 ) and sister to King Agrippa, mentioned in the next chapter; but though she was born of Jewish parents, and so a Jewess, as she is here called, yet her name was a Roman name, and is the diminutive of Drusus; the first of which name took it from killing Drausus, an enemy's general, and who was of the Livian family; and the name of the mother of Tiberius Caesar was Livia Drusilla; Caius Caligula, the Roman emperor, had also a sister whose name was Drusilla F1; this name Herod took from the Romans, and gave to his daughter; though the masculine name is often to be met with in Jewish writings; we frequently read of (yaowrd ybr) , "Rabbi Drusai" F2; Herod Agrippa F3 left three daughters, born to him of Cypris, Bernice, Mariamne, and Drusilla; and a son by the same, whose name was Agrippa; Agrippa when his father died was seventeen years of age, Bernice was sixteen, and was married to her uncle Herod; Mariamne and Drusilla were virgins, but were promised in marriage by their father; Mariamne to Julius Archelaus, son of Chelcias, and Drusilla to Epiphanes, the son of Antiochus, king of Comagene; but after Herod's death, he refused to marry her, being unwilling to embrace the Jewish religion and relinquish his own, though he had promised her father he would; wherefore her brother Agrippa married her to Azizus king of the Emesenes, who was willing to be circumcised; but this marriage was quickly dissolved; for Felix coming to the government of Judea, seeing Drusilla, was enamoured with her beauty; and by the means of one of his friends, one Simon a Jew, and a native of Cyprus, who pretended to be a magician, he enticed her from her husband, and prevailed upon her to marry him:
he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ;
which he did, chiefly on account of his wife, who being brought up in the Jewish religion, had some notion of the Messiah the Jews expected, and could better understand what Paul talked of than he did; who at this time doubtless showed, that Christ was come, and that Jesus of Nazareth was he; that he is truly God and man, that he died, and rose again from the dead on the third day, and that he has obtained salvation for sinners, and that whoever believes in him shall be saved; this was the faith in Christ Paul discoursed of, and Felix and his wife heard; but it does not appear that it was attended with the power of God, to the conversion of either of them; it seems to have been merely out of curiosity, and as a diversion to them, and to do his wife a pleasure, that he sent for Paul and heard him.
F1 Sueton. in Vita Tiberii, sect. 3, 4, & in Vita Caligulae, sect. 7.
F2 Shemot Rabba, sect. 35. fol. 136. 4. & sect. 43. fol. 140. 4. Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 14. 4. & 18. 2. Juchasin, fol. 88. 1.
F3 Joseph. de Bello Jud. l. 2. c. 11. sect. 6. Antiqu. l. 19. c. 9. sect. 1. l. 20, c. 6. sect. 1, 2.