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Acts 25:1-12

Context
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 

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.



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