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Acts 24:23-27

24:23 He ordered the centurion 1  to guard Paul, 2  but to let him have some freedom, 3  and not to prevent any of his friends 4  from meeting his needs. 5 

Paul Speaks Repeatedly to Felix

24:24 Some days later, when Felix 6  arrived with his wife Drusilla, 7  who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him speak 8  about faith in Christ Jesus. 9  24:25 While Paul 10  was discussing 11  righteousness, self-control, 12  and the coming judgment, Felix 13  became 14  frightened and said, “Go away for now, and when I have an opportunity, 15  I will send for you.” 24:26 At the same time he was also hoping that Paul would give him money, 16  and for this reason he sent for Paul 17  as often as possible 18  and talked 19  with him. 24:27 After two years 20  had passed, Porcius Festus 21  succeeded Felix, 22  and because he wanted to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison. 23 

1 sn See the note on the word centurion in 10:1.

2 tn Grk “that he was to be guarded.” The passive construction (τηρεῖσθαι, threisqai) has been converted to an active one in parallel with the following clauses, and the referent (Paul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

3 tn BDAG 77 s.v. ἄνεσις 1 states, “lit. relaxation of custodial control, some liberty, . ἔχειν have some freedom Ac 24:23.”

4 tn Grk “any of his own” (this could also refer to relatives).

5 tn Grk “from serving him.”

6 sn See the note on Antonius Felix in 23:24.

7 sn It is possible that Drusilla, being Jewish, was the source of Felix’s knowledge about the new movement called Christianity. The youngest daughter of Herod Agrippa I and sister of Agrippa II, she would have been close to 20 years old at the time. She had married the king of a small region in Syria but divorced him at the age of 16 to marry Felix. This was her second marriage and Felix’s third (Josephus, Ant. 19.9.1 [19.354], 20.7.2 [20.141-144]). As a member of Herod’s family, she probably knew about the Way.

8 tn The word “speak” is implied; BDAG 32 s.v. ἀκούω 1.c has “ἤκουσεν αὐτοῦ περὶ τῆςπίστεως he heard him speak about faith Ac 24:24.”

9 tn Or “Messiah Jesus”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”

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

11 tn Or “speaking about.”

12 tn Grk “and self-control.” This καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.

sn The topic of self-control was appropriate in view of the personal history of both Felix and Drusilla (see the note on “Drusilla” in the previous verse), and might well account for Felix’s anxiety.

13 sn See the note on Felix in 23:26.

14 tn Grk “becoming.” The participle γενόμενος (genomenos) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

15 tn Or “when I find time.” BDAG 639 s.v. μεταλαμβάνω 2 has “καιρὸν μ. have an opportunity = find timeAc 24:25.”

16 tn Grk “he was hoping that money would be given to him by Paul.” To simplify the translation, the passive construction has been converted to an active one.

sn Would give him money. That is, would offer him a bribe in exchange for his release. Such practices were fairly common among Roman officials of the period (Josephus, Ant. 2.12.3 [2.272-274]).

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

18 tn “As often as possible” reflects the comparative form of the adjective πυκνός (puknos); see BDAG 897 s.v. πυκνός, which has “Neut. of the comp. πυκνότερον as adv. more often, more frequently and in an elative sense very often, quite frequently…also as often as possibleAc 24:26.”

19 tn On this term, which could mean “conferred with him,” see BDAG 705 s.v. ὁμιλέω.

20 tn Grk “After a two-year period.”

21 sn Porcius Festus was the procurator of Palestine who succeeded Felix; neither the beginning nor the end of his rule (at his death) can be determined with certainty, although he appears to have died in office after about two years. Nero recalled Felix in a.d. 57 or 58, and Festus was appointed to his vacant office in a.d. 57, 58, or 59. According to Josephus (Ant. 20.8.9-10 [20.182-188]; J. W. 2.14.1 [2.271-272]), his administration was better than that of his predecessor Felix or his successor Albinus, but Luke in Acts portrays him in a less favorable light: He was willing to sacrifice Paul to court Jewish favor by taking him to Jerusalem for trial (v. 9), regardless of Paul’s guilt or innocence. The one characteristic for which Festus was noted is that he dealt harshly with those who disturbed the peace.

22 tn Grk “Felix received as successor Porcius Festus.”

sn See the note on Felix in 23:26.

23 tn Grk “left Paul imprisoned.”

sn Felix left Paul in prison. Luke makes the point that politics got in the way of justice here; keeping Paul in prison was a political favor to the Jews.

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