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Acts 25

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Paul Appeals to Caesar

25:1 Now 1  three days after Festus 2  arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem 3  from Caesarea. 4  25:2 So the chief priests and the most prominent men 5  of the Jews brought formal charges 6  against Paul to him. 25:3 Requesting him to do them a favor against Paul, 7  they urged Festus 8  to summon him to Jerusalem, planning an ambush 9  to kill him along the way. 25:4 Then Festus 10  replied that Paul was being kept at Caesarea, 11  and he himself intended to go there 12  shortly. 25:5 “So,” he said, “let your leaders 13  go down there 14  with me, and if this man has done anything wrong, 15  they may bring charges 16  against him.”

25:6 After Festus 17  had stayed 18  not more than eight or ten days among them, he went down to Caesarea, 19  and the next day he sat 20  on the judgment seat 21  and ordered Paul to be brought. 25:7 When he arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, 22  bringing many serious 23  charges that they were not able to prove. 24  25:8 Paul said in his defense, 25  “I have committed no offense 26  against the Jewish law 27  or against the temple or against Caesar.” 28  25:9 But Festus, 29  wanting to do the Jews a favor, asked Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and be tried 30  before me there on these charges?” 31  25:10 Paul replied, 32  “I am standing before Caesar’s 33  judgment seat, 34  where I should be tried. 35  I have done nothing wrong 36  to the Jews, as you also know very well. 37  25:11 If then I am in the wrong 38  and have done anything that deserves death, I am not trying to escape dying, 39  but if not one of their charges against me is true, 40  no one can hand me over to them. 41  I appeal to Caesar!” 42  25:12 Then, after conferring with his council, 43  Festus 44  replied, “You have appealed to Caesar; 45  to Caesar 46  you will go!” 47 

Festus Asks King Agrippa for Advice

25:13 After several days had passed, King Agrippa 48  and Bernice arrived at Caesarea 49  to pay their respects 50  to Festus. 51  25:14 While 52  they were staying there many days, Festus 53  explained Paul’s case to the king to get his opinion, 54  saying, “There is a man left here as a prisoner by Felix. 25:15 When I was in Jerusalem, 55  the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed 56  me about him, 57  asking for a sentence of condemnation 58  against him. 25:16 I answered them 59  that it was not the custom of the Romans to hand over anyone 60  before the accused had met his accusers face to face 61  and had been given 62  an opportunity to make a defense against the accusation. 63  25:17 So after they came back here with me, 64  I did not postpone the case, 65  but the next day I sat 66  on the judgment seat 67  and ordered the man to be brought. 25:18 When his accusers stood up, they did not charge 68  him with any of the evil deeds I had suspected. 69  25:19 Rather they had several points of disagreement 70  with him about their own religion 71  and about a man named Jesus 72  who was dead, whom Paul claimed 73  to be alive. 25:20 Because I was at a loss 74  how I could investigate these matters, 75  I asked if he were willing to go to Jerusalem and be tried 76  there on these charges. 77  25:21 But when Paul appealed to be kept in custody for the decision of His Majesty the Emperor, 78  I ordered him to be kept under guard until I could send him to Caesar.” 79  25:22 Agrippa 80  said to Festus, 81  “I would also like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow,” he replied, 82  “you will hear him.”

Paul Before King Agrippa and Bernice

25:23 So the next day Agrippa 83  and Bernice came with great pomp 84  and entered the audience hall, 85  along with the senior military officers 86  and the prominent men of the city. When Festus 87  gave the order, 88  Paul was brought in. 25:24 Then Festus 89  said, “King Agrippa, 90  and all you who are present here with us, you see this man about whom the entire Jewish populace 91  petitioned 92  me both in Jerusalem 93  and here, 94  shouting loudly 95  that he ought not to live any longer. 25:25 But I found that he had done nothing that deserved death, 96  and when he appealed 97  to His Majesty the Emperor, 98  I decided to send him. 99  25:26 But I have nothing definite 100  to write to my lord 101  about him. 102  Therefore I have brought him before you all, and especially before you, King Agrippa, 103  so that after this preliminary hearing 104  I may have something to write. 25:27 For it seems unreasonable to me to send a prisoner without clearly indicating 105  the charges against him.”

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1 tn BDAG 736-37 s.v. οὖν 2.b states, “οὖν serves to indicate a transition to someth. new…now, then, wellAc 25:1.”

2 sn See the note on Porcius Festus in 24:27.

3 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

4 sn Caesarea was a city on the coast of Palestine south of Mount Carmel (not Caesarea Philippi). See the note on Caesarea in Acts 10:1. This was a journey of 65 mi (just over 100 km).

map For location see Map2-C1; Map4-B3; Map5-F2; Map7-A1; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4.

5 tn BDAG 893-94 s.v. πρῶτος 2.a.β has “οἱ πρῶτοι the most prominent men, the leading men w. gen. of the place…or of a group…οἱ πρ. τοῦ λαοῦLk 19:47; cp. Ac 25:2; 28:17.”

6 tn BDAG 326 s.v. ἐμφανίζω 3 has “. τινὶ κατά τινος bring formal charges against someoneAc 24:1; 25:2.”

sn Note how quickly the Jewish leadership went after Paul: They brought formal charges against him within three days of Festus’ arrival in the province.

7 tn Grk “Requesting a favor against him”; the referent (Paul) has been specified in the translation, the understood direct object of “requesting” has been supplied, and the phrase “to do them” supplied for clarity.

8 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Festus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. The words “they urged him” are in v. 2 in the Greek text.

9 sn Planning an ambush. The Jewish leadership had not forgotten the original plan of several years ago (see 23:16). They did not trust the Roman legal process, but preferred to take matters into their own hands.

10 sn See the note on Porcius Festus in 24:27.

11 sn Caesarea was a city on the coast of Palestine south of Mount Carmel (not Caesarea Philippi). See the note on Caesarea in Acts 10:1.

12 tn The word “there” is not in the Greek text but is implied.

13 tn Grk “let those who are influential among you” (i.e., the powerful).

14 tn The word “there” is not in the Greek text, but is implied.

15 tn Grk “and if there is anything wrong with this man,” but this could be misunderstood in English to mean a moral or physical defect, while the issue in context is the commission of some crime, something legally improper (BDAG 149 s.v. ἄτοπος 2).

16 tn BDAG 533 s.v. κατηγορέω 1 states, “nearly always as legal t.t.: bring charges in court.” L&N 33.427 states for κατηγορέω, “to bring serious charges or accusations against someone, with the possible connotation of a legal or court context – ‘to accuse, to bring charges.”

17 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Festus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

18 tn Grk “Having stayed.” The participle διατρίψας (diatriya") has been taken temporally.

19 sn Caesarea was a city on the coast of Palestine south of Mount Carmel (not Caesarea Philippi). See the note on Caesarea in Acts 10:1.

map For location see Map2-C1; Map4-B3; Map5-F2; Map7-A1; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4.

20 tn Grk “sitting down…he ordered.” The participle καθίσας (kaqisa") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

21 tn Although BDAG 175 s.v. βῆμα 3 gives the meaning “tribunal” for this verse, and a number of modern translations use similar terms (“court,” NIV; “tribunal,” NRSV), since the bhma was a standard feature in Greco-Roman cities of the time, there is no need for an alternative translation here.

sn The judgment seat (βῆμα, bhma) was a raised platform mounted by steps and sometimes furnished with a seat, used by officials in addressing an assembly or making pronouncements, often on judicial matters. The judgment seat was a familiar item in Greco-Roman culture, often located in the agora, the public square or marketplace in the center of a city.

22 tn BDAG 801 s.v. περιίστημι 1.a has “περιέστησαν αὐτὸν οἱ ᾿Ιουδαῖοι the Judeans stood around him 25:7.”

23 tn Grk “many and serious.” The term βαρύς (barus) refers to weighty or serious charges (BDAG 167 s.v. 1).

24 tn The term ἀποδείκνυμι (apodeiknumi) in a legal context refers to legal proof (4 Macc 1:8; BDAG 108 s.v. 3).

25 tn Grk “Paul saying in his defense”; the participle ἀπολογουμένου (apologoumenou) could be taken temporally (“when Paul said…”), but due to the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the participle was translated as a finite verb and a new sentence begun here in the translation. BDAG 116-17 s.v. ἀπολογέομαι has “W. ὅτι foll. τοῦ Παύλου ἀπολογουμένου, ὅτι when Paul said in his defense (direct quot. foll.) Ac 25:8.”

26 tn Grk “I have sinned…in nothing.”

27 tn Grk “against the law of the Jews.” Here τῶν ᾿Ιουδαίων has been translated as an attributive genitive.

sn The Jewish law refers to the law of Moses.

28 tn Or “against the emperor” (“Caesar” is a title for the Roman emperor).

sn Paul’s threefold claim to be innocent with respect to the law…the temple and Caesar argues that he has not disturbed the peace at any level. This was the standard charge made against early Christians (Luke 23:2; Acts 17:6-7). The charges here are emphatically denied, with the Greek conjunction oute repeated before each charge.

29 sn See the note on Porcius Festus in 24:27.

30 tn Or “stand trial.”

31 tn Grk “concerning these things.”

32 tn Grk “said.”

33 tn Or “before the emperor’s” (“Caesar” is a title for the Roman emperor).

34 tn Although BDAG 175 s.v. βῆμα 3 gives the meaning “tribunal” for this verse, and a number of modern translations use similar terms (“court,” NIV; “tribunal,” NRSV), since the bema was a standard feature in Greco-Roman cities of the time, there is no need for an alternative translation here. Here of course Paul’s reference to “Caesar’s judgment seat” is a form of metonymy; since Festus is Caesar’s representative, Festus’ judgment seat represents Caesar’s own.

sn The judgment seat (βῆμα, bhma) was a raised platform mounted by steps and sometimes furnished with a seat, used by officials in addressing an assembly or making pronouncements, often on judicial matters. The judgment seat was a familiar item in Greco-Roman culture, often located in the agora, the public square or marketplace in the center of a city.

35 tn That is, tried by an imperial representative and subject to Roman law.

36 sn “I have done nothing wrong.” Here is yet another declaration of total innocence on Paul’s part.

37 tn BDAG 506 s.v. καλῶς 7 states, “comp. κάλλιον (for the superl., as Galen, Protr. 8 p. 24, 19J.=p. 10, 31 Kaibel; s. B-D-F §244, 2) ὡς καί σὺ κ. ἐπιγινώσκεις as also you know very well Ac 25:10.”

38 tn BDAG 20 s.v. ἀδικέω 1.b has “intr. be in the wrong (Ex 2:13) εἰ ἀδικῶ Ac 25:11.”

39 tn BDAG 764 s.v. παραιτέομαι 2.b.β, “οὐ παραιτοῦμαι τὸ ἀποθανεῖν I am not trying to escape death Ac 25:11 (cp. Jos., Vi. 141).” To avoid redundancy in the translation, the English gerund “dying” is used to translate the Greek infinitive ἀποθανεῖν (apoqanein).

40 tn Or “but if there is nothing to their charges against me.” Both “if” clauses in this verse are first class conditions. Paul stated the options without prejudice, assuming in turn the reality of each for the sake of the argument.

41 sn That is, no one can hand me over to them lawfully. Paul was aware of the dangers of a return to Jerusalem.

42 tn Or “to the emperor” (“Caesar” is a title for the Roman emperor).

sn The appeal to Caesar was known as the provocatio ad Caesarem. It was a Roman citizen’s right to ask for a direct judgment by the emperor (Pliny the Younger, Letters 10.96). It was one of the oldest rights of Roman citizens.

43 tn That is, with his advisers.

44 sn See the note on Porcius Festus in 24:27.

45 tn Or “to the emperor” (“Caesar” is a title for the Roman emperor).

46 tn Or “to the emperor.”

47 sn “To Caesar you will go!” In all probability Festus was pleased to send Paul on to Rome and get this political problem out of his court.

48 sn King Agrippa was Herod Agrippa II (a.d. 27-92/93), son of Herod Agrippa I (see Acts 12:1). He ruled over parts of Palestine from a.d. 53 until his death. His sister Bernice was widowed when her second husband, Herod King of Chalcis, died in a.d. 48. From then she lived with her brother. In an attempt to quiet rumors of an incestuous relationship between them, she resolved to marry Polemo of Cilicia, but she soon left him and returned to Herod Agrippa II. Their incestuous relationship became the gossip of Rome according to Josephus (Ant. 20.7.3 [20.145-147]). The visit of Agrippa and Bernice gave Festus the opportunity to get some internal Jewish advice. Herod Agrippa II was a trusted adviser because he was known to be very loyal to Rome (Josephus, J. W. 2.16.4 [2.345-401]).

49 sn Caesarea was a city on the coast of Palestine south of Mount Carmel (not Caesarea Philippi). See the note on Caesarea in Acts 10:1.

map For location see Map2-C1; Map4-B3; Map5-F2; Map7-A1; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4.

50 tn BDAG 144 s.v. ἀσπάζομαι 1.b states, “Of official visits pay ones respects toAc 25:13.”

51 sn See the note on Porcius Festus in 24:27.

52 tn BDAG 1105-6 s.v. ὡς 8.b states, “w. pres. or impf. while, when, as long asAc 1:10; 7:23; 9:23; 10:17; 13:25; 19:9; 21:27; 25:14.”

53 sn See the note on Porcius Festus in 24:27.

54 tn Grk “Festus laid Paul’s case before the king for consideration.” BDAG 74 s.v. ἀνατίθημι 2 states, “otherw. only mid. to lay someth. before someone for consideration, declare, communicate, refer w. the added idea that the pers. to whom a thing is ref. is asked for his opinion lay someth. before someone for considerationAc 25:14.”

55 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

56 tn BDAG 326 s.v. ἐμφανίζω 3 has “to convey a formal report about a judicial matter, present evidence, bring charges. περί τινος concerning someone 25:15.”

57 tn Grk “about whom.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the relative pronoun (“whom”) has been replaced with a personal pronoun (“him”) and a new sentence started in the translation at the beginning of v. 15 (where the phrase περὶ οὗ [peri Jou] occurs in the Greek text).

58 tn BDAG 516 s.v. καταδίκη states, “condemnation, sentence of condemnation, conviction, guilty verdictαἰτεῖσθαι κατά τινος κ. ask for a conviction of someone Ac 25:15.”

59 tn Grk “to whom I answered.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the relative pronoun (“whom”) has been replaced with a personal pronoun (“them”) and a new sentence started in the translation at the beginning of v. 16.

sn “I answered them.” In the answer that follows, Festus is portrayed in a more positive light, being sensitive to justice and Roman law.

60 tn Grk “any man.” This is a generic use of ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpos).

61 tn Or “has met his accusers in person.”

62 tn Grk “and receives.”

63 tn Or “indictment” (a legal technical term). BDAG 273-74 s.v. ἔγκλημα 1 states, “legal t.t.…ἀπολογία περὶ τοῦ ἐ. defense against the accusation Ac 25:16.” L&N 56.6 defines ἔγκλημα (enklhma) as “(a technical, legal term) a formal indictment or accusation brought against someone – ‘indictment, accusation, case.’ …‘and might receive an opportunity for a defense against the indictment’ Ac 25:16.”

64 tn BDAG 969-70 s.v. συνέρχομαι 2 states, “συνελθόντων ἐνθάδε prob. means (because of συνκαταβάντες 25:5) they came back here with (me) 25:17.”

65 tn BDAG 59 s.v. ἀναβολή states, “‘delay’…legal t.t. postponement. μηδεμίαν ποιησάμενος I did not postpone the matter Ac 25:17.” “Case” has been supplied instead of “matter” since it is more specific to the context. The participle ποιησάμενος (poihsameno") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

66 tn Grk “sitting…I ordered.” The participle καθίσας (kaqisa") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

67 tn Although BDAG 175 s.v. βῆμα 3 gives the meaning “tribunal” for this verse, and a number of modern translations use similar terms (“court,” NIV; “tribunal,” NRSV), since the bema was a standard feature in Greco-Roman cities of the time, there is no need for an alternative translation here.

sn The judgment seat (βῆμα, bhma) was a raised platform mounted by steps and sometimes furnished with a seat, used by officials in addressing an assembly or making pronouncements, often on judicial matters. The judgment seat was a familiar item in Greco-Roman culture, often located in the agora, the public square or marketplace in the center of a city.

68 tn Grk “they brought no charge of any of the evil deeds.” BDAG 31 s.v. αἰτία 3.b has “αἰτίαν φέρεινbring an accusation Ac 25:18.” Since κατήγοροι (kathgoroi, “accusers”) in the previous clause is somewhat redundant with this, “charge” was used instead.

69 tn Or “I was expecting.”

70 tn Grk “several controversial issues.” BDAG 428 s.v. ζήτημα states, “in our lit. only in Ac, w. the mng. it still has in Mod. Gk. (controversial) question, issue, argumentAc 15:2; 26:3. ζ. περί τινος questions about someth.…18:15; 25:19.”

71 tn On this term see BDAG 216 s.v. δεισιδαιμονία 2. It is a broad term for religion.

sn About their own religion. Festus made it clear that in his view as a neutral figure (and as one Luke had noted was disposed to help the Jews), he saw no guilt in Paul. The issue was a simple religious dispute.

72 tn Grk “a certain Jesus.”

73 tn Or “asserted.”

74 tn Or “Because I was undecided.” Grk “Being at a loss.” The participle ἀπορούμενος (aporoumeno") has been translated as a causal adverbial participle.

75 tn L&N 27.34 states, “ἀπορούμενος δὲ ἐγὼ τὴν περὶ τούτων ζήτησιν ‘I was undecided about how I could get information on these matters’ Ac 25:20. The clause ‘about how I could get information on these matters’ may also be rendered as ‘about how I should try to find out about these matters’ or ‘about how I could learn about these matters.’”

76 tn Or “stand trial.”

77 tn Grk “on these things.”

78 tn A designation of the Roman emperor (in this case, Nero). BDAG 917 s.v. σεβαστός states, “ὁ Σεβαστός His Majesty the Emperor Ac 25:21, 25 (of Nero).” It was a translation into Greek of the Latin “Augustus.”

79 tn Or “to the emperor” (“Caesar” is a title for the Roman emperor).

80 sn See the note on King Agrippa in 25:13.

81 sn See the note on Porcius Festus in 24:27.

82 tn Grk “said.”

83 sn See the note on King Agrippa in 25:13.

84 tn Or “great pageantry” (BDAG 1049 s.v. φαντασία; the term is a NT hapax legomenon).

sn Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp. The “royals” were getting their look at Paul. Everyone who was anyone would have been there.

85 tn Or “auditorium.” “Auditorium” may suggest to the modern English reader a theater where performances are held. Here it is the large hall where a king or governor would hold audiences. Paul once spoke of himself as a “spectacle” to the world (1 Cor 4:8-13).

86 tn Grk “the chiliarchs” (officers in command of a thousand soldiers). In Greek the term χιλίαρχος (ciliarco") literally described the “commander of a thousand,” but it was used as the standard translation for the Latin tribunus militum or tribunus militare, the military tribune who commanded a cohort of 600 men.

87 sn See the note on Porcius Festus in 24:27.

88 tn Grk “and Festus ordering, Paul was brought in.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was begun in the translation, and καί (kai) has not been translated. The participle κελεύσαντος (keleusanto") has been taken temporally.

89 sn See the note on Porcius Festus in 24:27.

90 sn See the note on King Agrippa in 25:13.

91 tn Probably best understood as rhetorical hyperbole. BDAG 825 s.v. πλῆθος 2.b.γ states, “people, populace, populationτὸ πλῆθος the populaceἅπαν τὸ πλ. τῶν ᾿Ιουδαίων Ac 25:24.” However, the actions of the leadership are seen by Luke as representing the actions of the entire nation, so the remark is not inaccurate.

92 tn Or “appealed to” (BDAG 341 s.v. ἐντυγχάνω 1.a).

93 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

94 sn Here means “here in Caesarea.”

95 tn Or “screaming.”

96 sn He had done nothing that deserved death. Festus’ opinion of Paul’s guilt is like Pilate’s of Jesus (Luke 23:4, 14, 22).

97 tn The participle ἐπικαλεσαμένου (epikalesamenou) has been taken temporally. It could also be translated as causal: “and because he appealed…”

98 tn A designation of the Roman emperor (in this case, Nero). BDAG 917 s.v. σεβαστός states, “ὁ Σεβαστός His Majesty the Emperor Ac 25:21, 25 (of Nero).”

99 tn The word “him” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context, but must be supplied for the modern English reader.

100 sn There is irony here. How can Festus write anything definite about Paul, if he is guilty of nothing.

101 sn To my lord means “to His Majesty the Emperor.”

102 tn Grk “about whom I have nothing definite…” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the relative pronoun (“whom”) was replaced with a personal pronoun (“him”) and a new sentence begun in the translation at the beginning of v. 26.

103 sn See the note on King Agrippa in 25:13.

104 tn Or “investigation.” BDAG 66 s.v. ἀνάκρισις has “a judicial hearing, investigation, hearing, esp. preliminary hearingτῆς ἀ. γενομένης Ac 25:26.” This is technical legal language.

105 tn L&N 33.153 s.v. σημαίνω, “to cause something to be both specific and clear – ‘to indicate clearly, to make clear’… ‘for it seems unreasonable to me to send a prisoner without clearly indicating the charges against him’ Ac 25:27.”

sn Without clearly indicating the charges against him. Again the point is made by Festus himself that there is difficulty even in articulating a charge against Paul.



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