Acts 25

Paul before Festus

1 Festus then, having arrived in 1the province, three days later went up to Jerusalem from 2Caesarea.
2 And the chief priests and the leading men of the Jews 3brought charges against Paul, and they were urging him,
3 requesting a concession against Paul, that he might have him brought to Jerusalem (at the same time, 4setting an ambush to kill him on the way ).
4 Festus then 5answered that Paul 6was being kept in custody at 7Caesarea and that he himself was about to leave shortly.
5 "Therefore," he said, "let the influential men among you go there with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them prosecute him."
6 After he had spent not more than eight or ten days among them, he went down to 8Caesarea, and on the next day he took his seat on 9the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought.
7 After Paul arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing 10many and serious charges against him 11which they could not prove,
8 while Paul said in his own defense, "12I have committed no offense either against the Law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar."
9 But Festus, 13wishing to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, "14Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me on these charges?"
10 But Paul said, "I am standing before Caesar's 15tribunal, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you also very well know.
11 "If, then, I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die; but if none of those things is true of which these men accuse me, no one can hand me over to them. I 16appeal to Caesar."
12 Then when Festus had conferred with his council, he answered, "You have appealed to Caesar, to Caesar you shall go."
13 Now when several days had elapsed, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at 17Caesarea and paid their respects to Festus.
14 While they were spending many days there, Festus laid Paul's case * before the king, saying, "There is a man who was 18left as a prisoner by Felix;
15 and when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews 19brought charges against him, asking for a sentence of condemnation against him.
16 "I 20answered them that it is not the custom of the Romans to hand over any man before 21the accused meets his accusers face to face and has an opportunity to make his defense against the charges.
17 "So after they had assembled here, I did not delay, but on the next day took my seat on 22the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought before me.
18 "When the accusers stood up, they began bringing charges against him not of such crimes as I was expecting,
19 but they simply had some 23points of disagreement with him about their own 24religion and about a dead man, Jesus, whom Paul asserted to be alive.
20 "25Being at a loss how to investigate such matters, I asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem and there stand trial on these matters.
21 "But when Paul 26appealed to be held in custody for the Emperor's decision, I ordered him to be kept in custody until I send him to Caesar."
22 Then 27Agrippa said to Festus, "I also would like to hear the man myself." "Tomorrow," he said, "you shall hear him."

Paul before Agrippa

23 So, on the next day when 28Agrippa came together with 29Bernice amid great pomp, and entered the auditorium accompanied by the commanders and the prominent men of the city, at the command of Festus, Paul was brought in.
24 Festus said, "King Agrippa, and all you gentlemen here present with us, you see this man about whom 30all the people of the Jews appealed to me, both at Jerusalem and here, loudly declaring that 31he ought not to live any longer.
25 "But I found that he had committed 32nothing worthy of death; and since he himself 33appealed to the Emperor, I decided to send him.
26 "Yet I have nothing definite about him to write to my lord. Therefore I have brought him before you all and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that after the investigation has taken place, I may have something to write.
27 "For it seems absurd to me in sending a prisoner, not to indicate also the charges against him."

Acts 25 Commentary

Chapter 25

Paul before Festus, he appeals to Caesar. (1-12) Festus confers with Agrippa respecting Paul. (13-27)

Verses 1-12 See how restless malice is. Persecutors deem it a peculiar favour to have their malice gratified. Preaching Christ, the end of the law, was no offence against the law. In suffering times the prudence of the Lord's people is tried, as well as their patience; they need wisdom. It becomes those who are innocent, to insist upon their innocence. Paul was willing to abide by the rules of the law, and to let that take its course. If he deserved death, he would accept the punishment. But if none of the things whereof they accused him were true, no man could deliver him unto them, with justice. Paul is neither released nor condemned. It is an instance of the slow steps which Providence takes; by which we are often made ashamed, both of our hopes and of our fears, and are kept waiting on God.

Verses 13-27 Agrippa had the government of Galilee. How many unjust and hasty judgments the Roman maxim, ver. ( 16 ) , condemn! This heathen, guided only by the light of nature, followed law and custom exactly, yet how many Christians will not follow the rules of truth, justice, and charity, in judging their brethren! The questions about God's worship, the way of salvation, and the truths of the gospel, may appear doubtful and without interest, to worldly men and mere politicians. See how slightly this Roman speaks of Christ, and of the great controversy between the Jews and the Christians. But the day is at hand when Festus and the whole world will see, that all the concerns of the Roman empire were but trifles and of no consequence, compared with this question of Christ's resurrection. Those who have had means of instruction, and have despised them, will be awfully convinced of their sin and folly. Here was a noble assembly brought together to hear the truths of the gospel, though they only meant to gratify their curiosity by attending to the defence of a prisoner. Many, even now, attend at the places of hearing the word of God with "great pomp," and too often with no better motive than curiosity. And though ministers do not now stand as prisoners to make a defence for their lives, yet numbers affect to sit in judgment upon them, desirous to make them offenders for a word, rather than to learn from them the truth and will of God, for the salvation of their souls But the pomp of this appearance was outshone by the real glory of the poor prisoner at the bar. What was the honour of their fine appearance, compared with that of Paul's wisdom, and grace, and holiness; his courage and constancy in suffering for Christ! It is no small mercy to have God clear up our righteousness as the light, and our just dealing as the noon-day; to have nothing certain laid to our charge. And God makes even the enemies of his people to do them right.

Cross References 33

Footnotes 17

Acts 25 Commentaries