Vincent's Word Studies
Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem.
Was come into the province (ἑπιβὰς τῇ ἐπαρχίᾳ)
Lit., having entered upon the province.
Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him,
The imperfect denotes their persistence: kept beseeching.
And desired favour against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him.
Laying wait (ἐνέδραν ποιοῦντες)
Lit., making or arranging an ambush.
But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would depart shortly thither.
Should be kept (τηρεῖσθαι)
This puts it as a peremptory denial of the Jews' request by Festus; whereas it is only his statement of a fact. Render, as Rev., that Paul was kept in charge. Festus' reply is conciliatory, and is put on the ground of convenience.
Let them therefore, said he, which among you are able, go down with me, and accuse this man, if there be any wickedness in him.
And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto Caesarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought.
See on Acts 7:5.
And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove.
While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all.
Have I offended (ἥμαρτον)
See on the kindred noun ἁμαρτία, sin, Matthew 1:21.
But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me?
Do a pleasure
See on Acts 24:27. Rev., better, to gain favor.
Before me ( ἐπ' ἐμοῦ)
Not with him as judge, but by the Sanhedrim in his presence.
Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest.
Very well (κάλλιον)
The force of the comparative should be preserved: "thou knowest better than thy question implies."
For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar.
With an underlying sense of giving him up as a favor to the Jews.
I appeal (ἐπικαλοῦμαι)
The technical phrase for lodging an appeal. The Greek rendering of the Latin formula appello.
Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.
A body of men chosen by the governor himself from the principal Romans of the province. These were called assessors, sometimes friends, sometimes captains. Though a Roman citizen had the right of appeal to the emperor, a certain discretion was allowed the governors of provinces as to admitting the appeal. It might be disallowed if the affair did not admit of delay, or if the appellant were a known robber or pirate. In doubtful cases the governor was bound to consult with his council, and his failure to do so exposed him to censure. Cicero, in his impeachment of Verres, the brutal governor of Sicily, says: "Will you deny that you dismissed your council, the men of rank with whom your predecessor and yourself had been wont to consult, and decided the case yourself?" (ii., 33). That Festus exercised this discretion in Paul's case is shown by his conferring with the council.
And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus.
Agrippa the king
Herod Agrippa II., son o the Herod whose death is recorded in Acts 12:20-23.
Sister of Drusilla, the wife of Felix. She is said to have lived in incestuous relations with her brother. Juvenal, in his sixth satire, alludes to this: "A most notable diamond, made more precious by having been worn on the finger of Bernice. This a barbarian king once gave to his incestuous love. This Agrippa gave to his sister."
And when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul's cause unto the king, saying, There is a certain man left in bonds by Felix:
About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, desiring to have judgment against him.
To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have licence to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him.
Lit., place. An unclassical use of the word.
Therefore, when they were come hither, without any delay on the morrow I sat on the judgment seat, and commanded the man to be brought forth.
Against whom when the accusers stood up, they brought none accusation of such things as I supposed:
But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.
See on Acts 17:22. Better, religion, as Rev. As Agrippa was a Jew by religion, Festus would not have insulted him by applying the word superstition to his faith. Note, however, that he speaks of it as their own religion, not identifying Agrippa with them. It was a non-committal expression, since the word meant either religion or superstition according to circumstances. He left Agrippa "to take the word in a good sense, but reserved his own view, which was certainly the Roman one" (Meyer). There is, indeed, a similar tact in Paul's use of the word to the Athenians. He selected "a word which almost imperceptibly shaded off from praise to blame" (Trench).
The imperfect implies something habitual. "Paul kept asserting."
And because I doubted of such manner of questions, I asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters.
But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar.
Of the Emperor (τοῦ Σεβαστοῦ)
Lit., the august one; hence a translation of Augustus, which was not a proper name, but a title of the Roman emperors.
Then Agrippa said unto Festus, I would also hear the man myself. To morrow, said he, thou shalt hear him.
And on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp, and was entered into the place of hearing, with the chief captains, and principal men of the city, at Festus' commandment Paul was brought forth.
And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men which are here present with us, ye see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and also here, crying that he ought not to live any longer.
But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and that he himself hath appealed to Augustus, I have determined to send him.
Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and specially before thee, O king Agrippa, that, after examination had, I might have somewhat to write.
An instance of Luke's accuracy. The title "lord" was refused by the first two emperors, Augustus and Tiberius. The emperors who followed accepted it. In the time of Domitian it was a recognized title. Antoninus Pius was the first who put it on his coins.
For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.
Rev., more correctly, charges.