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Acts 24

SUMMARY.--The High Priest and Elders Come Down to Accuse Paul. The Speech of Tertullus, Their Lawyer. Paul's Reply. Declares His Manner of Life, That He is a Christian, Why He Came to Jerusalem, How He Acted. Felix Defers a Decision for Further Inquiry. Paul Preaches Before Felix and Drusilla.

      22, 23. Felix heard these things. The speeches on each side. Having more perfect knowledge. Understanding the real animus of the charges. He was well acquainted with the Jewish hatred of Christians, and understood something of that way, the Christian doctrine. He commanded a centurion to keep Paul. Two reasons caused him to keep a prisoner that had done no wrong: (1) He did not like to offend the Jews; (2) he hoped to be bribed by the Christians to let Paul go. Paul was not put in confinement, but under the charge of an officer who was responsible for him. Usually in this kind of imprisonment the prisoner was bound to a soldier.

      24-27. Felix came with his wife Drusilla. This woman, a Jewess, was the daughter of the Herod who died miserably at Cæsarea ( 12:23 ), and the sister of King Agrippa and Bernice ( 25:23 ). She was very beautiful and very profligate, had been the wife of Azizus, the king of Emesa, but had left him and married Felix. Perhaps the interest she felt in Paul was due to the fact that her father had been a persecutor of the Christians, had died a singular death, and this had been pronounced a judgment. As he reasoned. They, no doubt, expected that he would speak of doctrine, but instead he spoke of the life that ought to be lived, with special reference to those who sat before him in such state and glory. When he spoke of righteousness, he spoke of justice to a judge who held this office only for the sake of gain and who took bribes. When he spoke of temperance, he rebuked the unbridled sway of the passions and of lust. When he spoke of judgment, he pictured the judgment scene when the unjust and impure of earth shall be called to account. With such power he spoke that the stern Roman trembled before the poor prisoner in his power. Go thy way. Felix does not resent; he is too powerfully moved, but he puts off. Thus thousands destroy their souls. He hoped that money. Almost every Roman governor took a province in order to enrich himself, and hence would welcome bribery and every species of corruption. Felix was no worse than the average official of his time. But after two years. It was in the autumn of A. D. 60 that Felix was removed. Porcius Festus came in Felix' room. This officer was more upright, according to Josephus, than most Roman governors, but died in the second year of his office. Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure. He was recalled, because grave accusations were made against him. Had he released Paul, it would have intensified the enmity of the Jews, and hence he was turned over as a prisoner to his successor.

      The question has been asked how Paul spent these two years of confinement. Dean Howson urges that at this time of the Gospel of Luke was written under the supervision of Paul. He and Luke were in Judea, where the facts could be gathered. Philip lived at Cæsarea. Paul more than once in his writings speaks of "My Gospel." Irenæus, who had heard those preach who had heard the apostles, tells us that Paul was accustomed to speak of the Gospel of Luke as written by him, and Origen and Jerome assert the same fact. We know Paul could not have been idle. Hence, for these reasons, Howson suggests that at this period his chief work was the Third Gospel, the "Gospel for the Gentiles."

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