Acts xxv.Notes & Commentary:Ver. 1. Festus having arrived at his province, goes to Jerusalem to be inaugurated. The Jews took this opportunity of requesting St. Paul might be sent to Jerusalem, that they might accomplish the iniquitous purport of their vow. Such consequence did they attribute to the death of this one man, that they had no greater favour to ask of their new governor at his auspicious entry among them. (Tirinus)

Ver. 4. It would appear, from their first request being peremptorily denied them, how little solicitous their governors were to please them. The successors of Felix and Festus were not better disposed than their predecessors. Their extortions and oppressions were pushed so far, that the Jews attempted at last to deliver themselves by rebellion, which proved their utter ruin and extirpation. Indeed it was in vain to resist, for they already began to feel the truth of our Saviour’s prediction, in their subjugation to the Gentiles. Josephus bears ample testimony to the fulfilment of the prophecy. (The Jewish War, lib. ii. chap 16. &c.) (Haydock)

Ver. 5. Among you that are able.[1] It may signify, such as are powerful among you, or such as are able by health, and willing. (Witham)

Ver. 8. Paul making answer,[2] or his apology, by the Greek. In the Latin, giving an account. In like manner, (ver. 16.) have liberty given to defend himself; in the Greek, to make his apology. In the Latin, till he take a place of defending himself.

Ver. 10. St. Paul, seeing Festus only sought a plea to get rid of his cause, by putting it into the hands of the Sanhedrim, appeals to Cęsar. According to the ordinary rules of jurisprudence, appeals are only made after sentence is pronounced; but Roman citizens had a privilege of anticipating the sentence, when the judge did any thing contrary to justice; as Festus evidently did in this case, by wishing to deliver Paul, a Roman citizen, to the tribunal of his declared enemies, the Jews. The apostle knew he was secured by making this appeal: as the Roman law declared provincial governors violators of the public peace, who should either strike, or imprison, or put to death a Roman citizen, that appealed to the emperor. (Calmet) — Hence Pliny sent some Christians to Rome for this same reason, as he writes himself in his epistles. (Lib. x. ep. 97.) Fuerunt alii similis amentię, quos, quia cives Romani erant, annotavi in urbem remittendos.

Ver. 13. Agrippa. This was son of the king of the same name, who imprisoned St. Peter, and put St. James to death. Bernice was his sister, and one of the most infamous of women. Her character has merited her a place in one of Juvenal’s satires, 5th.

Ver. 19. Their own superstition.[3] Their particular religion, and manner of worshipping their God. (Witham)

Ver. 21. Augustus Nero, who was then the Roman emperor.

Ver. 22. Agrippa has the same curiosity of hearing Paul, as Herod formerly had of seeing Jesus. The apostle’s name had, no doubt, become famous enough to reach the ears, and arrest the attention of Agrippa. Curiosity is certainly not the best motive a person can bring with him to the investigation of religious truth: still it may occasionally become productive of good. The king was half persuaded to embrace the Christian faith. A better motive, or more serious attention, may induce some to embrace the truth, which accident may first have discovered to them. (Haydock)

Ver. 26. To my lord. This was a title the emperors afterwards took, but which Augustus and Tiberius are said by Pliny, in his epistle to Trajan, and by Tertullian, to have refused, as too assuming and too high, ut nimis sublimem atque gloriosum. This was perhaps done, that none might bear the title at a time when the Lord of lords was to appear on the earth. (Tirinus) — Whilst we can approve and admire the motives which actuated the emperors in refusing this title, we cannot go the lengths which some modern enthusiasts do, (mostly Americans, Quakers, &c.) who pretend it is blasphemy to call a mortal man a lord, as if that name were incommunicable to any but the Creator of the universe. Whence they derive this article of faith it will not be easy for us to guess; certainly not from Scripture, in which the word Dominus or Lord, applied to man, occurs almost as frequently as King. Certainly not from our Saviour’s words, who give both himself and others this title, (Mark xiv. 14. and other places.) nor from St. Paul’s doctrine, who also uses this word indiscriminately through his epistles, Galatians iv. 1; Ephesians vi. v.; &c. Hence we are justified in retaining this practice, in opposition to their cavils; and in treating that opinion as superstitious and void of foundation, which makes it a necessary part of religion to use no titles. (Haydock)


[1] Ver 5. Qui potentes estis, oi dunatoi en umin.

[2] Ver 8. Paulo rationem reddente, apologoumenou. Ver. 16. Locum defendendi accipiat, topon apologias laboi.

[3] Ver. 19. De sua superstitione, peri tes idias deisidaimonias.

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Paul appeals to Cęsar. King Agrippa desires to hear him.

1 Now *when Festus was come into the province, after three days he went up to Jerusalem from Cęsarea.

2 And the chief priests, and principal men of the Jews, went to him against Paul: and they besought him,

3 Requesting favour against him, that he would command him to be brought to Jerusalem, laying wait to kill him in the way.

4 But Festus answered: That Paul was to be kept in Cęsarea: and that he himself should very shortly depart.

5 Let them, therefore, saith he, among you that are able, going down with me, accuse him, if there be any crime in the man.

6 And having remained among them no more than eight or ten days, he went down to Cęsarea, and the next day he sat in the judgment-seat: and commanded Paul to be brought.

7 And when he was brought, the Jews that were come down from Jerusalem, stood about him, objecting many and grievous accusations, which they could not prove:

8 Paul making answer; That neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Cęsar, have I offended in any thing.

9 But Festus being willing to gratify the Jews, answered Paul, and said: Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me?

10 Then Paul said; I stand at Cęsar’s tribunal where I ought to be judged: To the Jews I have done no injury, as thou very well knowest.

11 For if I have injured them, or have committed any thing that deserveth death, I refuse not to die: but if there be nothing of these things whereof they accuse me, no man can deliver me to them. I appeal to Cęsar.

12 Then Festus having conferred with the council, answered: Hast thou appealed to Cęsar? To Cęsar thou shalt go.

13 And after some days, king Agrippa and Bernice came down to Cęsarea, to salute Festus.

14 And as they stayed there many days, Festus told the king of Paul, saying; There is a certain man was left prisoner by Felix,

15 Concerning whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests, and the ancients of the Jews, came to me, desiring judgment against him.

16 To whom I answered: It is not the custom of the Romans to condemn any man, before that he who is accused have his accusers present, and have liberty of making his defence, to clear himself of the things laid to his charge.

17 When, therefore, they came hither, without any delay, on the day following, sitting on the judgment-seat, I commanded the man to be brought forth.

18 Against whom, when the accusers stood up, they brought no cause wherein I suspected evil:

19 But had certain questions of their own superstition against him, and of one Jesus deceased, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.

20 And as I was in doubt of this manner of question, I asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of those things.

21 But Paul appealing to be reserved to the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept, till I might send him to Cęsar.

22 Then Agrippa said to Festus: I would also hear the man myself. To-morrow, said he, thou shalt hear him.

23 And on the next day, when Agrippa, and Bernice were come with great pomp, and had entered into the hall of audience, with the tribunes and principal men of the city, at the command of Festus, Paul was brought forth.

24 And Festus saith: King Agrippa, and all ye men who are here present with us, you see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews solicited me at Jerusalem, petitioning and crying out that he ought not to live any longer.

25 Yet have I found nothing that he hath committed worthy of death. But he himself appealing to Augustus, I have determined to send him.

26 Of whom I have nothing certain to write to my lord. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and especially before thee, O king Agrippa, that examination being made, I may have something to write.

27 For it seemeth to me unreasonable, to send a prisoner, and not to signify the things laid to his charge.



1: about the year A.D. 60.