June 17th Acts 25 Paul before Festus
1: Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem. 2: Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him, 3: And desired favour against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him. 4: But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would depart shortly thither. 5: 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. 6: 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. 7: 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. 8: 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. 9: 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? 10: 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. 11: 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. 12: Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.
Agrippa & Bernice at Caesarea
13: And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus. 14: 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: 15: About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, desiring to have judgment against him. 16: 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. 17: 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. 18: Against whom when the accusers stood up, they brought none accusation of such things as I supposed: 19: But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. 20: 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. 21: 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. 22: Then Agrippa said unto Festus, I would also hear the man myself. To morrow, said he, thou shalt hear him. 23: 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. 24: 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. 25: 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. 26: 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. 27: For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.
When Festus became Governor of Judea he waited for three days before he went up to Jerusalem. When he arrived there the High priest and the Chief Jews sought to influence him against Paul and tried to get him to send Paul back to Jerusalem so that they might have an opportunity of killing him. however Festus was more afraid of Roman Law than these Jews so he kept him at Caesarea. After ten days he went down to Caesarea and the Jews came down again to try to condemn Paul. However they could not prove anything worthy of punishment. Paul was law abiding. Paul answered l have done nothing wrong against the law of the Jews, nor against the Temple not even against Caesar. Festus wanted to make a concession to the Jews so he asked Paul if he would be willing to go back to Jerusalem. Paul knew that this would mean certain death by assassins, so he said I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where my case ought to be judged. You know very well that l have done nothing wrong. If l have done anything worthy of death then l do not refuse death but if l am innocent then no one should deliver me to murderers. I appeal to Caesar. When Festus had consulted with his counsellors he said to Paul, if you have appealed to Caesar then you must go to Caesar. After a while King Agrippa and Bernice came to visit Festus and after they had been there a few days he spoke to Agrippa about Paul’s case. Agrippa asked if he might hear Paul’s arguments so it was arranged for the following day. On the next day King Agrippa came with great pomp and ceremony. Festus asked Agrippa publically if he would listen to this case because he was a dilemma about what charges should be laid against him because it was embarrassing to send a man to Caesar without a proper indictment against him.
- What was Festus trying to do?
- What was the only option for Paul to defend himself against the plotting of the Jews?
- What was the problem that Festus faced with regard to Paul?