Vincent's Word Studies
And after five days Ananias the high priest descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the governor against Paul.
An orator (ῥήτορος)
An advocate. The Jews, being little acquainted with Roman forms and laws, had to employ Roman advocates.
And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, Seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence,
We accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness.
Very worthy deeds (κατορθωμάτων)
From κατορθόω, to set upright. Hence, a success consequent on right judgment ; a right action. The best texts, however, read διορθωμάτων, settings right; amendments. Thus the sentence reads, literally, obtaining much peace through thee, and amendments taking place for this nation through thy providence, we accept, etc.
Forethought. Providentia Augusti (the providence of the emperor) was a common title on the coins of the emperors.
Notwithstanding, that I be not further tedious unto thee, I pray thee that thou wouldest hear us of thy clemency a few words.
Be tedious (ἐγκόπτω)
See on hindered, 1 Peter 3:7. The meaning is, rather, "that I may not further hinder thee, or detain thee.
See on gentle, 1 Peter 2:18.
A few words (συντόμως)
Lit., concisely. From συντέμνω to cut down or cut short.
For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:
Pestilent fellow (λοιμὸν)
Lit., a plague or pest.
Originally, one who stands first on the right of a line; a file-leader. Thus Thucydides says that all armies when engaging are apt to thrust outward their right wing; and adds, "The first man in the front rank (ὁ πρωτοστάτης) of the right wing is originally responsible for the deflection" (v., 71). Here, of course, metaphorically, as A. V. and Rev. Only here in New Testament.
See on heresies, 2 Peter 2:1.
The only passage in scripture where this term is used to denote the Christians. See on Matthew 2:23.
Who also hath gone about to profane the temple: whom we took, and would have judged according to our law.
To profane (βεβηλῶσαι)
The word is akin to βηλός, threshold, and βαίνω, to step; and its fundamental idea, therefore, is that of overstepping the threshold of sacred places. The word profane is the Latin pro fanum, in front of the sanctuary; that which is kept outside the fane because unholy.
We laid hold
The best texts omit all after these words as far as by examining.
But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands,
Commanding his accusers to come unto thee: by examining of whom thyself mayest take knowledge of all these things, whereof we accuse him.
Paul. It would refer to Lysias if the omitted passage above were retained.
And the Jews also assented, saying that these things were so.
But the best texts read συνεπέθεντο, jointly set upon or assailed. So Rev., joined in the charge.
Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself:
The more cheerfully (εὐθυμότερον)
The best texts read the positive of the adverb, εὐθύμως, cheerfully.
Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship.
And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city:
Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me.
But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
See on Acts 9:2.
See on Acts 24:5. The word is commonly used in an indifferent sense, as signifying merely a school or party. So Acts 15:5; Acts 28:22. Here, however, in a bad sense - schismatic sect, as in 1 Corinthians 11:19.
Better, as Rev., serve. See on Luke 1:74.
God of my fathers (τῷ πατρώῳ Θεῷ)
A familiar classical phrase, and therefore well known to Felix. Thus Demosthenes calls Apollo the πατρῷος (ancestral god) of Athens. Socrates is asked (Plato, "Euthydemus," 302), "Have you an ancestral Zeus (Ζεὺς πατρῷος)?" So, frequently, in the classics. Similarly, the Roman phrase, Di patrii, "the gods of the forefathers." On the Roman reverence for the ancestral religion, see note on Acts 16:21. The Roman's own sentiment would prepare him to respect Paul's.
And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
Or, as Rev., look for. The word admits of either sense.
And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.
Exercise myself (ἀσκῶ)
Originally, to work raw material, to form: hence, to practise, exercise, discipline; and so, in ecclesiastical language, to mortify the body. Of the kindred adjective ἀσκητικός our word ascetic is a transcript.
Void of offence (ἀπτόσκοπον)
Lit., without stumbling; unshaken. The word is used thus in a passive sense here, as in Philippians 1:10. In 1 Corinthians 10:32, it occurs in the active sense of giving offence to others, or causing them to stumble.
Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings.
Whereupon certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with multitude, nor with tumult.
Whereupon (ἐν οἷς)
More correctly, in which (occupation); while so engaged. The best texts, however, read ἐν αἷς, in which, the pronoun agreeing in gender with offerings. The sense, according to this, is, as Rev., margin, in presenting which (offerings).
Who ought to have been here before thee, and object, if they had ought against me.
Or else let these same here say, if they have found any evil doing in me, while I stood before the council,
Except it be for this one voice, that I cried standing among them, Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day.
And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter.
Adjourned the case. Only here in New Testament.
I will know the uttermost (διαγνώσομαι)
Better, as Rev., I will determine. See on Acts 23:15.
And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him.
From ἀνίημι, to send up; thence, to loosen, release. It is almost exactly expressed by our vulgarism, to let up. The noun here is more correctly rendered by Rev., indulgence. In all the other New Testament passages it is rendered rest, ease, or relief. See 2 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 8:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:7.
To minister (ὑπηρετεῖν)
See on officer, Matthew 5:25.
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.
And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.
Righteousness, temperance, the judgment to come
Three topics which bore directly upon the character of Felix. Tacitus says of him that he "exercised the authority of a king with the spirit of a slave;" and that, by reason of the powerful influence at his command, "he supposed he might perpetrate with impunity every kind of villany." He had persuaded his wife Drusilla to forsake her husband and marry him. He had employed assassins to murder the high-priest Jonathan, and might well tremble at the preaching of the judgment to come. Temperance (ἐγκράτεια) is, properly, self-control; holding the passions in hand.
Trembled (ἔμφοβος γενόμενος)
Lit., having become in fear. Rev., better, was terrified.
For this time (τὸ νῦν ἔχον)
Or, for the present. Very literally, as to what has itself now.
He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.
He hoped also (ἅμα δὲ καὶ ἐλπίζων)
A comma should be placed after thee (Acts 24:25), and the participle ἐλπίζων, hoping, joined with answered: "Felix answered, 'Go thy way, etc.,' hoping withal that money would be given him."
See on talked, Acts 20:11.
But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.
Porcius Festus came into Felix's room (ἔλαβε διάδοχον ὁ Φῆλιξ Πόρκιον Φἤστον)
Rev., better, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. The Greek idiom is, Felix received Porcius Featus as a successor.
To shew the Jews a pleasure (χάριτας καταθέσθαι τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις)
Lit., to lay up thanks for himself with the Jews. Rev., correctly, to gain favor with the Jews.