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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Acts 24

 

 

Verses 1-27


St. Paul before felix

1-27. St Paul and Felix.

1. Tertullus] in spite of his Roman name may have been a Greek or even a Jew (cp.'our Law,' AV Acts 24:6).

2. Great quietness] Felix really deserved some credit for his vigorous action against the brigands and zealots, when he first entered office, and for his suppression of the Egyptian false prophet. And would have judged.. his accusers to come unto thee] These words, though absent from many ancient authorities, seem from internal evidence to be genuine and authentic. They probably belong to the D text, but D is here deficient.

8. Of whom] i.e. of Paul, if the above words are omitted; but of Lysias, if they are retained.

9. Assented] RV 'joined in the charge.'

10-22. St Paul's Defence. St. Paul answered the charges as follows. (1) He had no seditious intentions, for he was found purified in the Temple 'neither with multitude, nor with tumult' (Acts 24:18). (2) The sect of the Nazarenes, to which he belonged, was a perfectly orthodox and lawful combination of Jewish believers, accepting 'all things which are written in the law and the prophets,' accepting also the orthodox doctrine of the resurrection and the judgment, which some of his accusers (being Sadducees) denied (Acts 24:14). (3) No evidence was produced of an intended pollution of the Temple (Acts 24:19).

14. Heresy] RV 'a sect.' Tertullus had applied the word to the Christians in a bad sense.

15. Allow] rather, 'look for.'

16. Herein] i.e. reiving on this hope. But others understand it to mean 'during this earthly life.' 1] RV 'I also,'i.e. 'las well as they.'

17. Many years] or, 'some years.'

18. Whereupon] RV 'Amidst which.'

21. By you] RV 'before you.'

22. That (the) way] i.e. Christianity.

I will know the uttermost of] rather, 'I will determine.'

23. Liberty] rather, 'indulgence.'

24. Drusilla] The youngest of the three daughters of Agrippa I (the Herod of Acts 12:1). She deserted her husband, Azizus, king of Emesa, to marry Felix.

25. Felix trembled] Instead of simply stating what the Christian faith was, St. Paul, after the manner of the Baptist and the ancient prophets, boldly called his august hearers to repentance. He reasoned of righteousness (condemning Felix's receipt of bribes and evil government: cp. Acts 24:26); of temperance, or, rather,' continence' (with special reference to the adulterous union of Drusilla and Felix), and of the future judgment, which will be without respect of persons. The result was that Felix trembled, but delayed his repentance; and that Drusilla was made an irreconcilable enemy.

27. Porcius Festus] succeeded Felix as procurator of Judasa about 58 a.d. He died after a short tenure of office, having governed, upon the whole, well. He is credited with having (for a time) suppressed the Sicarii or Assassins.

And Felix.. Paul bound] For these words the Bezan text substitutes, 'but Felix left Paul in prison for the sake of Drusilla' (a very probable statement).

Remark. St. Paul spent two whole years in prison at Cæsarea. How was the time occupied? Some critics suppose that he wrote the third group of his Epistles (Philippians, Colossians, Ephesians, Philemon). Much can be said for this view. E.g. in Philippians 1:13 he says, 'my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the prætorium (or palace),' and we know from Acts 23:35 that he was confined in the prætorium (palace) of Herod. But upon the whole it seems more probable that all four were written at Rome (e.g. 'they of Cæsar's household,' Philippians 4:22, naturally, though not necessarily, suggests Rome). St. Luke was doubtless busy collecting materials for his Gospel and Acts, transcribing his own notes, etc. He probably obtained much information from Philip the Evangelist who resided at Cæsarea; from James the Lord's 'brother,' and from Mary the Virgin, or from some intimate female friend of hers.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Acts 24:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/acts-24.html. 1909.

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Friday, May 29th, 2020
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