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Acts 25:8-11

25:8 Paul said in his defense, 1  “I have committed no offense 2  against the Jewish law 3  or against the temple or against Caesar.” 4  25:9 But Festus, 5  wanting to do the Jews a favor, asked Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and be tried 6  before me there on these charges?” 7  25:10 Paul replied, 8  “I am standing before Caesar’s 9  judgment seat, 10  where I should be tried. 11  I have done nothing wrong 12  to the Jews, as you also know very well. 13  25:11 If then I am in the wrong 14  and have done anything that deserves death, I am not trying to escape dying, 15  but if not one of their charges against me is true, 16  no one can hand me over to them. 17  I appeal to Caesar!” 18 

1 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.”

2 tn Grk “I have sinned…in nothing.”

3 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.

4 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.

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

6 tn Or “stand trial.”

7 tn Grk “concerning these things.”

8 tn Grk “said.”

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

10 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.

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

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

13 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.”

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

15 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).

16 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.

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

18 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.

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