Paul before Festus
25 Now Festus arrived in the province, and three days later he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea [Maritima]. 2 And [there in Jerusalem] the chief priests and the leading men of the Jews brought charges against Paul [before Festus], and they repeatedly pleaded with him, 3 asking as a concession against Paul, that he would have him brought to Jerusalem; (meanwhile planning an ambush to kill him on the way). 4 Festus answered that Paul was being held in custody in Caesarea [Maritima] and that he himself was about to leave shortly. 5 “So,” he said, “let those who are in a position of authority among you go there with me, and if there is anything criminal about the man, let them bring charges against him.”
6 Now after Festus had spent no more than eight or ten days among them, he went down to Caesarea, and on the next day he took his seat on the tribunal (the judicial bench), and ordered Paul to be brought [before him]. 7 After Paul arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many serious charges against him which they were not able to prove, 8 while Paul declared in his own defense, “I have done no wrong and committed no offense either against the Law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.” 9 But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul, “[a]Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial there in my presence [before the Jewish Sanhedrin] on these charges?” 10 Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried. I have done nothing wrong to the Jews, as you also very well know. 11 Therefore, if I am guilty and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not try to escape death; but if there is nothing to the accusations which these men are bringing against me, no one can hand me over to them. I [b]appeal to Caesar (Emperor Nero).” 12 Then Festus, after conferring with [the men who formed] his council, answered, “You have appealed to Caesar; to Caesar you shall go.”
13 Now several days later, [c]Agrippa [II] the king and [d]Bernice [his sister] arrived at Caesarea and paid their respects to Festus [the new governor]. 14 While they were spending many days there, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying, “There is a man here who was left as a prisoner by Felix. 15 When I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews [told me about him and] brought charges against him, petitioning for a sentence of condemnation against him. 16 I told them that it was not the custom of the Romans to hand over any man [for punishment] before the accused meets his accusers face to face and has the opportunity to defend himself against the charges. 17 So after they arrived together here, I did not delay, but on the next day took my place on the tribunal and ordered that the man be brought before me. 18 When his accusers stood up, they brought no charges against him of crimes that I was expecting [neither civil nor criminal actions], 19 instead they had some points of disagreement with him about their own [e]religion and about one Jesus, a man who had died, but whom Paul kept asserting and insisting [over and over] to be alive. 20 And I, being at a loss as to how to investigate these things, asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem and be tried there regarding these matters. 21 But when Paul appealed to be held in custody for a decision by the Emperor [Nero], I ordered him to be kept in custody until I could send him to Caesar.” 22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow,” Festus replied, “you will hear him.”
Paul before Agrippa
23 So the next day Agrippa and [his sister] Bernice came with great pageantry, and they went into the auditorium accompanied by the military commanders and the prominent men of the city. At the command of Festus, Paul was brought in. 24 Then Festus said, “King Agrippa and all you gentlemen present with us, you see this man [Paul] about whom all the Jewish people appealed to me, both at Jerusalem and here, loudly insisting that he ought not to live any longer. 25 But I found that he had done nothing worthy of death; however, since he appealed to the Emperor [Nero], I decided to send him [to Rome]. 26 But I have nothing specific about him to write to my lord. So I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that after the investigation has taken place, I will have something to put in writing. 27 For it seems absurd and unreasonable to me to send a prisoner [to Rome] without indicating the charges against him.”
- Acts 25:9 Paul was offered a choice because of his rights as a Roman citizen.
- Acts 25:11 Roman citizens had the right to be tried before Caesar.
- Acts 25:13 Herod Agrippa II was the seventh and last of the Herods mentioned in the NT.
- Acts 25:13 Eldest daughter of Herod Agrippa I.
- Acts 25:19 Or superstition.