Acts 24:24
And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(24) Felix came with his wife Drusilla.—She was, as has been said (see Note on Acts 23:26), the daughter of the first Herod Agrippa and the sister of the second. In her name, the diminutive of Drusus, and borne also by a sister of Caligula’s, we trace the early connection of her father with that emperor. She was but six years of age at the time of her father’s death. She had been married at an early age to Azizus, king of Emesa, who had become a proselyte, and accepted circumcision. Felix fell in love with her, and employed the services of a Jewish magician named Simon, whom some writers have identified with the sorcerer of Samaria (see Note on Acts 8:9), to seduce her from her husband. By her marriage with Felix she had a son named Agrippa, who perished in an eruption of Vesuvius (Jos. Ant. xix. 7; xx. 5). It follows from the facts of her life that she could scarcely have been altogether unacquainted with the history of the new society. She must have known of the death of James and the imprisonment of Peter (Acts 12). She may have connected her father’s tragic end at Cæsarea with the part he had taken in persecuting the faith of which one of the chief preachers was now brought before her. It would seem, from her being with her husband at these interviews, that she was eager to learn more of “the faith in Christ.” Felix, too, seems to have been willing at first to listen. This new development of his wife’s religion, presenting, as it did, a higher aspect than that of the priests and elders of Jerusalem, was for him, at least, an object of more than common interest. The procurator and his wife were apparently in the first stage of an earnest inquiry which might have led to a conversion.

Acts 24:24-25. After certain days — After Paul had been kept a few days in this gentle confinement at Cesarea, Felix, who had been absent a short time, came thither again; with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess — We learn from Josephus, that she was the daughter of Herod Agrippa, and the sister of that Agrippa who is mentioned Acts 25:13. She had been married to Azizus, king of Emessa; but Felix, struck with her great beauty, by means of a wicked Jew, named Simon, who professed himself a magician, persuaded her to abandon her husband and marry him; which she did, though Azizus had but a little before submitted to circumcision, and so embraced Judaism, as the condition required in order to his marrying her. It appears from Josephus, (Antiq, lib. 20. cap. 7,) that she was afterward, with a son she had by Felix, consumed in a terrible eruption of mount Vesuvius. He sent for Paul, &c. — Doubtless, Paul’s trial had occasioned much discourse in Cesarea, and this, it seems, had excited a desire in Drusilla to see and hear that extraordinary man; and, to gratify her curiosity as well as his own, and to learn from Paul’s own mouth what were the principles of his religion, Felix sent for him; and heard him concerning the faith in Christ — That is, heard him declare what the Christians believed concerning Jesus; namely, that he was the Christ, or Messiah, long expected by the Jews; and that he was proved to be the Christ, by God’s raising him from the dead. Moreover, being well acquainted with the character and actions of his illustrious hearers, the apostle introduced other articles of the Christian religion, well suited to their particular case; he reasoned of righteousness — That is, chiefly of justice and mercy toward men; virtues peculiarly necessary in a ruler; of temperance — Of sobriety, continence, chastity, against which Felix and his lady had greatly trespassed in their marriage; and of a judgment to come — At which the highest personages should appear, and stand upon equal terms with others, before that righteous tribunal; and at which the great and small should answer to God for their actions; the only effectual way this of preaching Christ to an unjust and lewd judge, such as Felix was. For of him the Roman historian, Tacitus, relates, “Per omnem sævitiam et libidinem jus regium servili ingenio exercuit,” he practised all cruelty and lust in his government; and from what is said above, it appears that Drusilla, though a Jewess, was not less wicked, transgressing, as Josephus observes, τα πατρια νομιμα, the laws of her country, namely, in marrying a heathen; and the laws of God, in forsaking her own husband and living in adultery with Felix. To persons so unjust, lewd, and otherwise wicked, Paul very properly discoursed on the virtues here mentioned, against which they had both so highly offended; for he knew that it would be to little purpose to address them on other subjects of Christianity, such as those of redemption and salvation through Christ, till they forsook these sins. And it was with equal propriety that he discoursed of a judgment to come, where Felix could not hope to escape unpunished, as here he did. And it is no wonder that Felix trembled, or was terrified, as εμφοβος γενομενος signifies. How happy would it have been for him had he yielded to the convictions now produced in his conscience, and been careful to pursue the views opening upon his mind! But, like thousands, he deferred the consideration of these things to a more convenient season; a season which, alas! never came. For though he heard again, he trembled and was terrified no more. Nor did he forsake his bad practices, but continued in them as long as his government lasted. In the mean time, we do not find that Drusilla, though a Jewess, was thus alarmed. She had been used to hear of a future judgment; perhaps, too, she trusted to being a daughter of Abraham, or to the expiations of the law, and so was proof against the convictions which seized on her husband, though a heathen. Let this teach us to guard against all such false dependances as tend to elude those convictions that might otherwise be produced in us by the faithful preaching of the word of God. Let us stop our ears against those messengers of Satan, who appear as angels of light, who would teach us to reconcile the hope of salvation with a corrupt heart or an unholy life. Go thy way for this time — O how will every damned soul one day lament his having neglected such a time as this! When I have a convenient season — Or, I will take some future opportunity, as Dr. Doddridge renders καιρον μεταλαβων; to call for thee. “He thought it did not become the dignity of a judge on the bench to receive even such oblique admonitions and reproofs from a prisoner, and therefore might really intend to give him a fuller audience in private. Paul must, no doubt, discern those marks of confusion that would be so apparent in his countenance, which would give him some hopes of succeeding in this important attempt for such a conversion, and, consequently, would give him spirit when he resumed the discourse. This must naturally increase in Felix a conviction of his innocence, and esteem for his virtues; yet, in spite of all, he was so far from reforming his life in general, that he would not do justice to Paul; however, the conviction might perhaps prevail so far, as to engage him to persist in his resolution of not delivering him to the Jews. How affecting an instance and illustration of the treachery of the human heart!”24:22-27 The apostle reasoned concerning the nature and obligations of righteousness, temperance, and of a judgment to come; thus showing the oppressive judge and his profligate mistress, their need of repentance, forgiveness, and of the grace of the gospel. Justice respects our conduct in life, particularly in reference to others; temperance, the state and government of our souls, in reference to God. He who does not exercise himself in these, has neither the form nor the power of godliness, and must be overwhelmed with the Divine wrath in the day of God's appearing. A prospect of the judgment to come, is enough to make the stoutest heart to tremble. Felix trembled, but that was all. Many are startled by the word of God, who are not changed by it. Many fear the consequences of sin, yet continue in the love and practice of sin. In the affairs of our souls, delays are dangerous. Felix put off this matter to a more convenient season, but we do not find that the more convenient season ever came. Behold now is the accepted time; hear the voice of the Lord to-day. He was in haste to turn from hearing the truth. Was any business more urgent than for him to reform his conduct, or more important than the salvation of his soul! Sinners often start up like a man roused from his sleep by a loud noise, but soon sink again into their usual drowsiness. Be not deceived by occasional appearances of religion in ourselves or in others. Above all, let us not trifle with the word of God. Do we expect that as we advance in life our hearts will grow softer, or that the influence of the world will decline? Are we not at this moment in danger of being lost for ever? Now is the day of salvation; tomorrow may be too late.Felix came with his wife Drusilla - Drusilla was the daughter of Herod Agrippa the elder, and was engaged to be married to Epiphanes, the son of King Antiochus, on condition that he would embrace the Jewish religion; but as he afterward refused to do that, the contract was broken off. Afterward she was given in marriage, by her brother Agrippa the younger, to Azizus, king of Emesa, upon his consent to be circumcised. When Felix was governor of Judea, he saw Drusilla and fell in love with her, and sent to her Simon, one of his friends, a Jew, by birth a Cyprian, who pretended to be a magician, to endearour to persuade her to forsake her husband and to marry Felix. Accordingly, in order to avoid the envy of her sister Bernice, who treated her ill on account of her beauty, "she was prevailed on," says Josephus, "to transgress the laws of her forefathers, and to marry Felix" (Josephus, Antiq., book 20, chapter 7, sections 1 and 2). She was, therefore, living in adultery with him, and this was probably the reason why Paul dwelt in his discourse before Felix particularly on "temperance," or chastity. See the notes on Acts 24:25.

He sent for Paul, and heard him - Perhaps he did this in order to be more fully acquainted with the case which was submitted to him. It is possible, also, that it might have been to gratify his wife, who was a Jewess, and who doubtless had a desire to be acquainted with the principles of this new sect. It is certain, also, that one object which Felix had in this was to let Paul see how dependent he was on him, and to induce him to purchase his liberty.

Concerning the faith in Christ - Concerning the Christian religion. Faith in Christ is often used to denote the whole of Christianity, as it is the leading and characteristic feature of the religion of the gospel.

24, 25. Felix … with his wife Drusilla … a Jewess—This beautiful but infamous woman was the third daughter of Herod Agrippa I, who was eaten of worms (see on [2108]Ac 12:1), and a sister of Agrippa II, before whom Paul pleaded, Ac 26:1, &c. She was "given in marriage to Azizus, king of the Emesenes, who had consented to be circumcised for the sake of the alliance. But this marriage was soon dissolved, after this manner: When Festus was procurator of Judea, he saw her, and being captivated with her beauty, persuaded her to desert her husband, transgress the laws of her country, and marry himself" [Josephus, Antiquities, 20.7.1,2]. Such was this "wife" of Felix.

he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ—Perceiving from what he had heard on the trial that the new sect which was creating such a stir was represented by its own advocates as but a particular development of the Jewish faith, he probably wished to gratify the curiosity of his Jewish wife, as well as his own, by a more particular account of it from this distinguished champion. And no doubt Paul would so far humor this desire as to present to them the great leading features of the Gospel. But from Ac 24:25 it is evident that his discourse took an entirely practical turn, suited to the life which his two auditors were notoriously leading.

Felix came with his wife; having been out of town to meet and conduct his wife.

Drusilla; who was daughter of Herod the Great, and sister of that Agrippa of whom mention is made in the two following chapters; a most libidinous woman, who had left her husband Aziz, and, whilst he yet lived, was married to this Felix, who was taken with her beauty. Yet Paul preached

the faith in Christ, the gospel, unto such, not knowing what persons, or in what hour, God might call. 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 (a); 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 , "Rabbi Drusai" (b); Herod Agrippa (c) 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.

(a) Sueton. in Vita Tiberii, sect. 3, 4, & in Vita Caligulae, sect. 7. (b) Shemot Rabba, sect. 35. fol. 136. 4. & sect. 43. fol. 140. 4. Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 14. 4. & 18. 2. Juchasin, fol. 88. 1.((c) Joseph. de Bello Jud. l. 2. c. 11. sect. 6. Antiqu. l. 19. c. 9. sect. 1. l. 20, c. 6. sect. 1, 2.

And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife {o} Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.

(o) This Drusilla was Agrippa's sister of whom Luke speaks afterwards, a harlot and very licentious woman, and being the wife of Azizus king of the Emesens, who was circumcised, departed from him, and went to this Felix the brother of Pallas, who was at one time the slave of Nero.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 24:24. Παραγεν.] denotes the coming along of Felix and Drusilla to the prison (Acts 23:35), where they wished to hear Paul. Grotius thinks that it refers to the fetching of Drusilla as his wife, which took place at this time. But this must have been more precisely indicated, and is also not chronologically suitable, as the marriage of Felix with Drusilla occurred much earlier (53 or 54). See Wieseler, p. 80.

On the beautiful Drusilla, the third wife of Felix (Suet. Claud. 28), the daughter of Agrippa I. and sister of Agrippa II., who was at first betrothed to Antiochus Epiphanes, the prince of Commagene, but afterwards, because the latter would not allow himself to be circumcised, was married to Azizus, king of Emesa (Joseph. Antt. xx. 7. 1), and lastly was, with the help of the sorcerer Simon, estranged from her husband and married by Felix (whose first wife, according to Tac. Hist. v. 9 the granddaughter of Antony and Cleopatra,[155] is said to have been also called Drusilla), see Gerlach in the Luther. Zeitschr. 1869, p. 68 f.; Ewald, p. 556 ff.

μετεπέμψ. τ. Π.] certainly at the desire of his Jewish wife, whose curiosity was interested about so well known a preacher of Christ.

[155] Suetonius, l.c., calls him “trium reginarum maritum.” We know only the two.Acts 24:24. Δρουσίλλῃ: of the three daughters of Agrippa I. Drusilla was the youngest, her sisters being Bernice (see below) and Mariamne. Married, when about fourteen, to Azizus king of Emeza, she had been seduced from her husband by Felix, who had employed for his evil purpose a certain impostor and magician, Simon by name, Jos., Ant., xx., 7, 2. The account in Josephus implies that she was unhappy in her marriage with Azizus, and asserts that she was exposed on account of her beauty to the envious ill-treatment of her sister Bernice. She married Felix (“trium reginarum maritus,” as Suetonius calls him, Claud., 28), and her son by him, Agrippa by name, perished under Titus in an eruption of Vesuvius, Jos., u. s. It has been sometimes thought that his mother perished with him, but probably the words σὺν τῇ γυναικί in Josephus refer not to Drusilla, but to the wife of Agrippa (so Schürer); “Herod” (Headlam), Hastings’ B.D., The Herods (Farrar), p. 192 ff.—τῇ γυναὐτοῦ, see critical note, the addition of ἰδίᾳ before γυν. (omit. αὐτοῦ) perhaps to emphasise that Drusilla, though a Jewess, was the wife of Felix, or it may point to the private and informal character of the interview, due to the request of Drusilla. Possibly both ἰδίᾳ and αὐτοῦ were additions to intimate that Drusilla was really the wife of Felix, but the article before γυναικί would have been sufficient to indicate this.—οὔσῃ Ἰουδαίᾳ, cf. [383] text, which states how Felix acted thus to gratify Drusilla, who as a Jewess wished to hear Paul, as her brother Agrippa afterwards, cf. Acts 25:22, see Knabenbauer, in loco.—μετεπέμψατο, see on Acts 10:5.—Χριστὸν, see critical note.

[383] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.24. And after certain days, when Felix came, &c.] To conform to the Greek more strictly, the Rev. Ver. reads “But after certain days, Felix came, &c.” It is difficult to say what is gained by this. Felix did not always reside in Cæsarea. After the first hearing of St Paul’s cause he had gone away for a time, but on his return he sent for the Apostle to question him on his doctrine. Perhaps those words about the resurrection of the just and the unjust had made him uneasy.

with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess] She was a daughter of Herod Agrippa I. and so sister of Agrippa II. and of Bernice. She had formerly been married to Azizus, King of Emesa, but had been induced by Felix to leave her husband, and become his wife. Though she had been only six years of age when her father died (Acts 12:23) she may have heard of the death of James the brother of John, and the marvellous delivery of St Peter from prison. For such matters would be talked of long after they had happened, and perhaps her father’s sudden death may have been ascribed by some to God’s vengeance for what he had done against the Christians. Her marriage with the Gentile Felix shewed that she was by no means a strict Jewess, and what she had heard of Jewish opposition to St Paul’s teaching may have made her, as well as her husband, desirous to hear him.

sent for Paul] The Apostle was lodged in some part of the procurator’s official residence (see Acts 23:35, note) and so was close at hand.

and heard him concerning the faith in Christ] The best MSS. add Jesus. What St Paul would urge was not only a belief in the Christ, for whose coming all Jews were looking, but a belief that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah whom they had so long expected.Acts 24:24. Παραγενόμενος, having arrived) in the judgment-hall (governor’s residence) of Herod, where Paul was being detained captive; with this comp. Acts 23:35. But Felix does not seem to have been in the same place, but to have had a particular residence of his own.—τῇ γυναικί, the woman, partner) Accurate language. She was not the legitimate wife of Felix, but having left her former husband, had married Felix.—Ἰουδαίᾳ, a Jewess) of the family of Herod. See Joseph. l. 20, Ant. c. 5.Verse 24. - But for and, A.V.; Felix came for when Felix came, A.V.; Drusilla, his wife for his wife Drusilla, A.V.; and sent for he sent, A.V.; Christ Jesus for Christ, A.V. and T.R. Came; παραγενόμενος, a very favorite word with St. Luke, occurring twenty-nine times in his Gospel and the Acts. It implies that Felix had been absent from Caesarea for some days after the trial. Drusilla. She was, according to Josephus ('Ant. Jud.,' 20. 7:1, 2) the daughter of Herod Agrippa I., who "killed James with the sword" (Acts 12:1, 2), and died shortly afterwards. She was first the wife of Azizus, King of Emesa; but Felix, becoming enamored of her on account of her singular beauty, employed a certain magician, a Jew named Simon, to entice her away from her husband, and persuade her to marry him, contrary, as Josephus says, to the institutions of her country. She perished, with Agrippa, her only son by Felix, in the eruption of Vesuvius, in the reign of Titus (Josephus, as above). Tacitus says that Drusilla, the wife of Felix, was granddaughter of Antony and Cleopatra. But he seems to have confounded her with another of the three royal wives of Felix, mentioned by Suetonius in 'Claudius;' unless, perchance, as has been conjectured, be had two wives of the name of Drusilla, of whom one was, as Tacitus says, granddaughter of Antony, by being the daughter of King Juba and Cleopatra Selene, Antony's daughter (see note in Whiston's 'Josephus,' and in Kuinoel, on Acts 23:24). But there is no certainty on the subject. Only Josephus's detailed account of Drusilla, the wife of Felix, agrees with St. Luke's statement that she "was a Jewess," and is beyond doubt true.
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