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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament
Acts 24

 

 

Verse 1

Acts 24:1. πέντε ἡμέρας: most probably to be reckoned from the arrival of St. Paul at Cæsarea, not from his apprehension in Jerusalem, or from his start from Jerusalem on the way to Cæsarea. This latter view is that of Mr. Page, who takes οἱ μὲν οὖν, Acts 23:31, as answered by the δέ in this verse. But δέ, Acts 23:32, seems quite sufficiently to answer to μέν in the previous verse. Wendt reckons the days from the arrival of Paul at Cæsarea, and regards the day of the arrival of the high priest as the fifth day, cf. Mark 8:31. μετὰ τρεῖς ἡμέρας = Matthew 16:21, Luke 9:22, τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμ., see below, Acts 24:11. On the truthfulness of the narrative see also on same verse.— κατέβη: “came down,” R.V., i.e., from the capital.— ἀνανίας, see on Acts 23:2. If we read πρεσ. τινῶν, see critical note, “with certain elders,” R.V., i.e., a deputation of the Sanhedrim.— ῥήτορος τ. τινὸς: “an orator, one Tertullus,” R.V., ῥη. here = causidicus, a barrister; here the prosecuting counsel συνήγορος (as opposed to σύνδικος the defendant’s advocate), see note, Blass, in loco. τερτ.: a common name, diminutive of Tertius; but it does not follow from the name that he was a Roman, as both Greeks and Jews often bore Roman names. Blass speaks of him as a Jew “erat Judæus et ipse” (so Ewald, Bethge), whilst Wendt (1899) inclines against this view, although if the words in Acts 24:6, κατὰ τὸν ἡμετερον νόμον, are retained, he admits that it would be correct; in addition to this the expression ἔθνος τοῦτο, Acts 24:3, seems in Wendt’s view to indicate that the speaker was not a Jew (so too Wetstein). Tertullus was apparently one of the class of hired pleaders, often employed in the provinces by those who were themselves ignorant of Roman law. The trial may have been conducted in Greek, Lewin, St. Paul, ii. 684, Felten, in loco.— ἐνεφάνισαν, cf. Acts 25:2; Acts 25:15, the verb appears to be used in these passages as a kind of technical term to indicate laying formal information before a judge, cf. Jos., Ant., xiv., 10, 8, in LXX, Esther, Esther 2:22. Blass takes it here = χάρτην ἔδωκαν, see also Wetstein.


Verse 2

Acts 24:2. ἤρξατο: he began with a captatio benevolentiæ after the usual oratorical style, cf. Cicero, De Oratore, ii., 78, 79, on the exordium and its rules.—If obtaining such artificial support was not as Calvin calls it “signum malæ conscientiæ,” it may well indicate the weakness of the Jews’ cause, and their determination to leave nothing untried against Paul.


Verse 3

Acts 24:3. πολλῆς εἰρ. τυγχ.: the governors specially prided themselves on keeping peace in their provinces (Wetstein). On the phrase see 2 Maccabees 4:6; 2 Maccabees 14:10.— κατορθωμάτων: “very worthy deeds,” A.V., the word might mean “successes,” cf. Polyb., i., 19, 12, or it might mean recte facta, cf. Cic., De Fin., iii., 14 (see also in Wetstein; the word is found in 3 Maccabees 3:23, R); but διορθώματα, see critical note, in Arist., Plut. = corrections, reforms (cf. R.V.), so διόρθωσις in Polyb., Vulgate, multa corrigantur. In LXX διορθοῦν is used of amending, Jeremiah 7:3; Jeremiah 7:5προνοίας: foresight, cf. Romans 13:14, nowhere else in N.T.; cf. for a close parallel to its use here 2 Maccabees 4:6, referred to above (Lumby). It is possible that the word may be a further proof of the sycophancy of the orator; twice the Latin providentia, A. and R.V. “providence,” was used of the emperors on coins, and also of the gods (Humphry on R.V.), “hoc vocabulum sæpe diis tribuerunt,” Bengel, in loco.— πάντη τε καὶ πανταχοῦ ἀποδεχ., so A. and R.V., “non in os solum laudamus” (Wetstein); but Meyer joins πάν. τε κ. παντ. with what precedes (Lach.), and in this he is followed by Weiss, Wendt, Page and Blass. For similar phrases in Plato, Artistotle, Philo, Josephus, see Wetstein. πάντῃ: only here in N.T., but cf. Sirach 50:22, 3 Maccabees 4:1, cf. Friedrich, p. 5, on Luke’s fondness for ᾶς and kindred words.— τῷ ἔθνει τούτῳ, see above on Acts 24:1 and also Acts 24:10. If he had been a Jew Wetstein thinks that he would have said τῷ ἔθνει τῷ ἡμετέρῳ, but see Blass, in loco, on ἔθνος “in sermone elegantiore et coram alienigenis”.— ἀποδ.: only in Luke and Acts; for its meaning here cf. Acts 2:41, 1 Maccabees 9:71 ( al(377)), so in classical Greek.— εὐχ.: except Revelation 4:9; Revelation 7:12, elsewhere in N.T. only in St. Paul’s Epistles (frequent); the word is also found in Esth. (LXX) Acts 8:13, Sirach 37:11, Wisdom of Solomon 16:28, 2 Maccabees 2:27, and for other references see Kennedy, Sources of N.T. Greek, p. 73, and Grimm-Thayer, sub v.—There was very little, if anything, to praise in the administration of Felix, but Tertullus fastened on the fact of his suppression of the bands of robbers who had infested the country, Jos., B.J., ii., 13, 2, Ant., xx., 8, 5, “ipse tamen his omnibus erat nocentior” (Wetstein). His severity and cruelty was so great that he only added fuel to the flame of outrage and sedition, Jos., Ant., xx., 8, 6, B.J., ii., 13, 6, whilst he did not hesitate to employ the Sicarii to get rid of Jonathan the high priest who urged him to be more worthy of his office. In the rule of Felix Schürer sees the turning-point in the drama which opened with the death of Herod and terminated with the bloody conflict of A.D. 70. The uprisings of the people under his predecessors had been isolated and occasional; under him rebellion became permanent. And no wonder when we consider the picture of the public and private life of the man drawn by the hand of the Roman historian, and the fact trading upon the influence of his infamous brother Pallas he allowed himself a free hand to indulge in every licence and excess, Tac., Hist., Acts 24:9, and Ann., xii., 54, Schürer, Jewish People, div. i., vol. ii., p. 177–181, E.T.


Verse 4

Acts 24:4. δέ: autem, “innuit plura dici potuisse in laudem Felicis,” Bengel.— ἐγκόπτω, impedire, as if Felix was so busy in his reforms that Tertullus would not interrupt him, but see critical note, cf. Romans 15:22, Galatians 5:7.— ἐπὶ πλεῖον, cf. Acts 4:17, Acts 20:9; in 2 Timothy 2:16; 2 Timothy 3:9, with the opposite verb προκόπτω.— συντόμως: so in classical Greek, with λέγειν, εἰπεῖν; in Jos., c. Apion., i., 1, 6, with γράψαι and διδάσκειν, see Wetstein on Romans 9:28, cf. 2 Maccabees 2:31, for the adjective and for the adverb, Proverbs 13:23, 3 Maccabees 5:25; “est hæc communis oratorum promissio” (Blass).— ἐπιεικείᾳ: only in Luke and Paul, see 2 Corinthians 10:1, “pro tua dementia,” Vulgate, derived from εἴκω, cedo, it properly might be rendered yieldingness; equity as opposed to strict law; so Aristotle sets the ἐπιεικής against the ἀκριβοδίκαιος, Eth. Nic., v., 10, 6. It is often joined with φιλανθρωπία, πραότης. Its architype and pattern is to be found in God, cf. Wisdom of Solomon 12:18, 2 Maccabees 2:22; 2 Maccabees 10:4 R., Psalms 85:5, and so also in Psalms of Solomon, Acts 5:14. The word also occurs, Baruch 2:27, Song of the Three Children, Acts 24:19 (Dan., LXX and Theod. 3:42), where it is used of God, also in Wisdom of Solomon 2:19, 3 Maccabees 3:15; 3 Maccabees 7:6. For a valuable account of the word see Trench, Synonyms, i., p. 176 ff.


Verse 5

Acts 24:5. εὑρόντες γὰρ τὸν ἄνδραὂς καὶὅν καὶ ἐκρατ.: on the anacolouthon, Blass, Gram. des N.G., p. 277, Winer-Moulton, xlv., 6 b. Blass remarks that Luke gives no address so carelessly as that of Tertullus, but may not the anacolouthon here be the exact expression of the orator’s invective? see critical note.— λοιμόν: 1 Samuel 2:12; 1 Samuel 10:27; 1 Samuel 25:17; 1 Samuel 25:25, Psalms 1:1 (plural), 1 Maccabees 15:21; 1 Maccabees 10:61; 1 Maccabees 15:3 R, ἄνδρες λοιμοί (cf. Proverbs 24:9; Proverbs 29:8 A). So in classical Greek Dem., and in Latin pestis, Ter., Cic., Sallust. In 1 Maccabees 10:6 A, ἄνδρες παράνομοι is a further description of “the pestilent fellows” (so 1 Samuel 2:12, υἱοὶ λοιμοί = ἀνὴρ παράνομος, 2 Samuel 16:7).— κινοῦντα στασιν, cf. Jos., B.J., ii., 9, 4. κιν. ταραχήν.: not against the Romans but amongst the Jews themselves—such a charge would be specially obnoxious to Felix, who prided himself on keeping order.— τὴν οἰκ.: the Roman empire, see on p. 270, cf. Acts 17:6, and Acts 21:28; see addition in (378) text.— πρωτοστάτης: the τε closely connecting the thought that the prisoner does all this as the leader, etc., literally one who stands in the front rank, so often in classical Greek, in LXX, Job 15:24, AB.— τῶν ναζ.: “the disciple is not above his Master,” and the term is applied as a term of contempt to the followers of Jesus, as it had been to Jesus Himself, Who was stamped in the eyes of the Jews as a false Messiah by His reputed origin from Nazareth, John 1:46; John 7:41-42; see for the modern employment of the name amongst Jews and Mohammedans Plumptre, in loco, and further, Harnack, History of Dogma, i., 301, E.T. Blass compares the contemptuous term used by the Greeks, χρηστιανοί, Acts 11:26.— αἱρέσεως, see above on Acts 5:17, all references to the question of law, Acts 23:6; Acts 23:29, were purposely kept in the background, and stress laid upon all which threatened to destroy the boasted “peace” (Weiss).


Verse 6

Acts 24:6. ἐπείρασε: the charge could not be proved, cf. Acts 21:28, but the verb here used is an aggravation not a modification of the surmise ( ἐνόμιζον, Acts 21:29) of the Jews.— βεβ., cf. Matthew 12:5 ( βαίνω, βηλός, threshold), Judith 9:8, 1 Maccabees 2:12; 1 Maccabees 4:38; 1 Maccabees 4:44; 1 Maccabees 4:54, 2 Maccabees 10:5, etc., and frequent in LXX, cf. Psalms of Solomon Acts 1:8, and βέβηλος four, βεβήλωσις three times.—Probably Tertullus wanted to insinuate that the prisoner was punishable even according to Roman law, see above on Acts 21:29; but Trophimus as a Greek and not Paul would have been exposed to the death penalty, to say nothing of the fact that the charge was only one of suspicion. Schürer, Jewish People, div. i., vol. ii., p. 74, note, and references in chap. 21, Acts 21:29.— ἐκρατήσαμεν: the word could be used “de conatu vel mero vel efficaci,” and so Bengel adds “aptum igitur ad calumniam”. The orator identifies himself with his clients, and ascribes to the hierarchy the seizing of Paul, as if it was a legal act, whereas it was primarily the action of the mob violence of the people, Acts 21:30; frequently used in same sense as here by Matthew and Mark, but not at all by St. John, and only in this passage by Luke, cf. Revelation 20:2, LXX, Psalms 55, tit., Judges 8:12; Judges 16:21 (A al(379)).— καὶ κατὰἐπὶ σέ, Acts 24:8, see critical note, omitted by R.V. in text, retained by Blass and Knabenbauer, so in Vulgate. Zöckler amongst others has recently supported Blass, and for the same reason, viz., because if the words are retained the judge is asked to inquire of Paul, and thus the Apostle becomes a witness as well as a prisoner. But, on the other hand, Paul though still a prisoner is allowed to speak for himself before both Felix and Festus. If the words are retained, παρʼ οὗ would refer to Lysias, and this would be in agreement with the remarks of Felix in Acts 24:22. Certainly ἐκρατήσαμεν seems very bald without any sequel, and this may have caused the insertion of the words; but the insertion was a bold one, although we can understand that the Jews would have been incensed against Lysias, who had twice protected Paul from their violence. The omission of the words if they formed part of the original text is no doubt difficult to explain.— ἠθελ. κρίνειν, cf. Acts 21:31; Acts 21:36, Acts 22:22, Acts 23:12, passages which give us a very different idea of the wishes of the Jews.


Verse 7

Acts 24:7. μετὰ π. βίας: another statement directly at variance with the facts, Acts 21:32.


Verse 8

Acts 24:8. ἀνακ.: not an examination by torture, which could not be legally applied either to Paul or to Lysias as Roman citizens, but in the sense of a judicial investigation—in this sense peculiar to Luke, cf. Luke 4:9, and Plummer on Luke 23:14, cf. Acts 25:26 below. A.V., “by examining of whom thyself,” etc., which is quite misleading whether we retain the words omitted above in R.V. or not, because this rendering reads as it Felix was to examine the accusers, whereas the relative pronoun is in the singular, παρʼ οὐ.


Verse 9

Acts 24:9. συνέθεντο: in R.V. συνεπεο., “joined in the charge,” cf. Acts 18:10, so in classical Greek; in LXX (Deuteronomy 32:27), Psalms 3:6 (380)S, Zach. Acts 1:15, here only in N.T.— φάσκοντες, cf. Acts 25:19, Romans 1:22, dictitantes, but sometimes with the notion of alleging what is untrue, to pretend, cf. LXX, Bel and the Dragon, Acts 24:8. The verb is found elsewhere, Genesis 26:20, 2 Maccabees 14:27; 2 Maccabees 14:32, 3 Maccabees 3:7.


Verse 10

Acts 24:10. On the language of the speech see Bethge, p. 229.—This short apology before Felix is not without its traces of Paul’s phraseology, e.g., ἐλπίδα ἔχων, Acts 24:15, with which we may compare Romans 15:4, 2 Corinthians 3:12; 2 Corinthians 10:15, Ephesians 2:12, 1 Thessalonians 4:13, in all of which we have the phrase ἐλπ. ἔχειν (only once elsewhere in N.T., 1 John 3:3); προσδέχονται in Acts 24:15, with which we may compare Titus 2:13; προσφοράς, Acts 24:17, cf. Romans 15:16; διʼ ἐτῶν, Acts 24:17, with Galatians 2:1 ( διά with genitive of time, only once elsewhere in N.T., Mark 2:1), and more especially ἀπρόσκοπον συνειδ., cf. 1 Corinthians 10:32, Philippians 1:10, and for συνείδησις, see Acts 23:1 (cf. Nösgen, Apostelgeschichte, p. 54, and Alford, Acts, Introd., p. 14). Wendt regards the whole speech as a free composition of the author of Acts, and even this view contrasts favourably with what Wendt himself calls the wilful attempts to refer different words and phrases in the speech to various Redactors, see for illustrations of this arbitrariness his note on p. 369 (1899).— νεύσαντος: in N.T., elsewhere only John 13:24. Friedrich draws attention to the frequent mention of beckoning, or making signs, as characteristic of Luke’s writings, p. 29, cf. Luke 1:22; Luke 1:62 ( διανεύω, ἐννεύω), Acts 5:7 ( κατανεύω); Acts 13:16; Acts 26:1; Acts 24:10, etc.— ἐκ πολλῶν ἐτῶν: in view of the constant change of procurators a period of five to seven years would quite justify St. Paul’s words. Ewald argued for ten years from the statement, Tac., Ann., xii., 54, that Felix had been joint procurator with Cumanus before he had been appointed sole procurator of Judæa, Samaria, Galilee, Peræa. But no mention is made of this by Jos., Ant., xx., 7, 1. If, however, so it is argued, Felix had occupied a position of importance in Samaria in the time of the rule of Cumanus without being himself actually joint procurator, this would perhaps account for Jonathan the high priest asking that he might be appointed procurator after the departure of Cumanus (Jos., Ant., xx., 8, 5, B.J., ii., 12, 6); such a request is difficult to understand unless Jonathan had some ground for supposing that Felix would be acceptable to the Jews. But the description of Tacitus, l.c., is also difficult to understand, since we naturally ask what was the relative rank of Felix and Cumanus? or were there two procuratorial districts? and the statement of Josephus seems clearly to intimate that Felix was first appointed to the province after the deposition of Cumanus, and that he went to Palestine as his successor, B.J., ii., 12, 6, cf. Ant., xx., 8, 5, Schürer, Jewish People, div. i., vol. ii., p. 173 ff., and “Felix,” Hastings’ B.D.—Both Tacitus and Josephus are taken to imply that Felix succeeded Cumanus in 52 A.D. as procurator, Ann., xii., 54, Jos., Ant., xx., 7, 1. But if O. Holtzmann and McGiffert are right in placing St. Paul’s imprisonment in Cæsarea in 53–55 A.D., it seems scarcely intelligible that St. Paul should speak of the “many years” of the rule of Felix, unless on the supposition that Tacitus is right and that Felix had ruled in Samaria and Judæa whilst Cumanus had ruled in Galilee. Harnack, Chron., i., 236, following Eusebius, assigns the eleventh year of Claudius, 51 A.D., as the year in which Felix entered upon office, and thinks that a procuratorship lasting from 51–54 might be described in St. Paul’s words, but, as Wendt justly points out (1899), the expression πολλὰ ἔτη is much more fitting if spoken some years later. Schürer follows Josephus, Jewish People, div. i., vol. ii., p. 173 ff., and so more recently Dr. A. Robertson, “Felix,” Hastings’ B.D., and Dr. Zahn, Einleitung, ii., p. 635 (so also article, Biblical World, Nov., 1897), whilst Wendt, p. 58 (1899), would appear to incline to the same view.—But it is to be noted that St. Paul speaks of Felix as κριτής, and in this expression it may be possible to find a point of reconciliation between the divergencies resulting from a comparision of Josephus and Tacitus. Felix may have held an office during the procuratorship of Cumanus which may have given him some judicial authority, although of course subordinate to the procurator, whilst on the other hand his tenure of such an office may well have prompted Jonathan’s request to the emperor that Felix should be sent as procurator (a request upon which both Schürer and Zahn lay such stress). The phrase πόλλα ἔτη may thus be further extended to include the tenure of this judicial office which Felix held earlier than 52 A.D., see also Turner, “Chronology,” Hastings’ B.D., i., 418, 419, McGiffert, Apostolic Age, p. 358, O. Holtzmann, Neutest. Zeitgeschichte, p. 128, Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 313, Gilbert, Student’s Life of Paul, p. 249 ff., 1899.— κριτὴν, see above, p. 480; on the addition δίκαιον, defended by St. Chrysostom (so , Syr. H.), Blass remarks “continet adulationem quæ Paulum parum deceat, quidquid dicit Chrysostomus”.— τῷ ἔθνει τούτῳ: St. Paul is speaking of the Jews as a nation in their political relationship, in addressing a Roman governor, not as God’s people, λαός.— εὐθυμότερον: adverb only here in N.T., not in LXX, but in classical Greek, for the adjective see Acts 27:36 (2 Maccabees 11:26), and the verb εὐθυμεῖν, Acts 24:22.—St. Paul also begins with a captatio benevolentiæ, but one which contains nothing but the strict truth; he might fairly appeal to the judicial experience of Felix for the due understanding of his case.— τὰ περὶ ἐμαυτοῦ: for the phrase τὰ περί τινος as characteristic of St. Luke, three times in Gospel, eight times in Acts (six times in St. Paul’s Epistles and not in other Gospels, except Mark 5:27, R.V.), cf. Hawkins, Horæ Synopticæ, p. 38, Friedrich, p. 10 (so Lekebusch and Zeller).— ἀπολογοῦμαι: only in Luke and Paul, Luke 12:11; Luke 21:14, Acts 19:33; Acts 25:8; Acts 26:1-2; Acts 26:24; Romans 2:15, 2 Corinthians 12:19, each time in Acts, except Acts 19:38, with reference to Paul: R.V. “I make my defence”; see Grimm-Thayer, sub v., for the construction of the verb, in classical Greek as here, Thuc., iii., 62, Plat., Phædo, 69 D. In LXX, cf. Jeremiah 12:1, 2 Maccabees 13:26.


Verse 11

Acts 24:11. δυν. σοῦ γνῶναι: “seeing that thou canst take knowledge” ( ἐπιγ.), R.V., the shortness of the time would enable Felix to gain accurate knowledge of the events which had transpired, and the Apostle may also imply that the time was too short for exciting a multitude to sedition.— οὐ πλείους εἰσί μοι ἡμ. δεκαδύο: on οὐ πλείους see Acts 24:1 and critical note.—The number is evidently not a mere round number, as Overbeck thinks, but indicates that Paul laid stress upon the shortness of the period, and would not have included incomplete days in his reckoning. It is not necessary therefore to include the day of the arrival in Jerusalem ( ἀφʼ ἧς points to the day as something past, Bethge), or the day of the present trial; probably the arrival in Jerusalem was in the evening, as it is not until the next day that Paul seeks out James (Wendt). The first day of the twelve would therefore be the entry in to James, the second the commencement of the Nazirite vow, the sixth that of the apprehension of Paul towards the close of the seven days, Acts 21:27; the seventh the day before the Sanhedrim, the eighth the information of the plot and (in the evening) Paul’s start for Cæsarea, the ninth the arrival in Cæsarea; and, reckoning from the ninth five days inclusively, the day of the speech of Tertullus before Felix would be the thirteenth day, i.e., twelve full days; cf. Acts 20:6, where in the seven days are reckoned the day of arrival and the day of departure (Wendt, in loco). Meyer on the other hand reckons the day of St. Paul’s arrival in Jerusalem as the first day, and the five days of Acts 24:1 from his departure from Jerusalem for Cæsarea. For other modes of reckoning see Wendt’s note, Farrar, St. Paul, ii., 338, Alford, Rendall, and Lumby, in loco. Weiss points out that it is simplest to add the seven days of Acts 21:27 and the five days of Acts 24:1, but we cannot by any means be sure that Acts 21:27 implies a space of full seven days: “varie numerum computant; sed simplicissimum est sine dubio, e septem diebus, Acts 21:27, et quinque, Acts 24:1, eum colligere,” so Blass, but see his note on the passage.— προσκυνήσων, cf. Acts 20:16, the purpose was in itself an answer to each accusation—reverence not insurrection, conformity not heresy, worship not profanity. “To worship I came, so far was I from raising sedition,” Chrys. There were other reasons no doubt for St. Paul’s journey, as he himself states, Acts 24:17, cf. Romans 15:25, but he naturally places first the reason which would be a defence in the procurator’s eyes. Overbeck and Wendt contend that the statement is not genuine, and that it is placed by the author of Acts in St. Paul’s mouth, but see on the other hand Weiss, in loco. It seems quite captious to demand that Paul should explain to the procurator all the reasons for his journey, or that the fact that he came to worship should exclude the fact that he also came to offer alms.


Verse 12

Acts 24:12. οὔτε ἐν τῷ ἱερῷοὔτεοὔτε: step by step he refutes the charge.— οὔτε εὗρον, cf. Acts 24:5, εὑρόντες, a flat denial to the allegation of Tertullus; R.V. reads more plainly: both acts, the disputing and the exciting a tumult, are denied with reference to the Temple, the synagogue, the city. In διαλ. there would have been nothing censurable, but even from this the Apostle had refrained.— ἐπισύστασιν ποι. ὄχ.: R.V. reads ἐπίστασιν; the Apostle had been accused as κινοῦντα στάσεις, Acts 24:5; here is his answer to the charge, they had not found him “stirring up a crowd,” R.V. This rendering however seems to make ἐπίστασις almost = ἐπισύστασις, a stronger word, cf. Numbers 26:9, 1 Esdras 5:73, conjuratio. In 2 Maccabees 6:3 we have ἐπίστασις τῆς κακίας, incursio malorum, Vulgate, but its meaning here would seem to be rather concursus, in the sense of a concourse, an assembly, not an onset or attack; and the phrase expresses that the Apostle had not been guilty of even the least disturbance; not even of causing the assembling of a crowd (see Wendt and Weiss, in loco), “aut concursum facientem turbæ,” Vulgate.—In 2 Corinthians 11:28 it is possible that ἐπισύστασις may be used of the presence of a multitude, almost like ἐπίστασις, see Grimm-Thayer.— συναγωγαῖς: plural, because so many in Jerusalem, cf. Acts 6:9.— κατὰ τὴν πόλιν: Alford renders “up and down the streets,” cf. Luke 8:39; Luke 15:14.


Verse 13

Acts 24:13. οὔτε: οὐδὲ, R.V. (so Blass, Gram., p. 260, Simcox, Z. N. T., p. 165); the Apostle after denying the specific charges made against him in Jerusalem, now proceeds further to a general denial of the charge that he had been an agitator amongst the Jews throughout the empire.— παραστῆσαι: argumentis probare, only here in N.T. in this sense, but in classical Greek, Philo, Jos., Epictet.— νῦν, see critical note.


Verse 14

Acts 24:14. ὁμολ.: “verbum forense idemque sacrum,” Bengel. “Unum crimen confitetur,” viz., that of belonging to the sect of the Nazarenes, “sed crimen non esse docet”.— κατὰ τὴν ὁδὸν ἢν λέγ. αἴρεσιν: “according to the way which they call a sect,” R.V. For ὁδὸν see Acts 9:2, and for the reading in (381) text critical note. αἵρεσιν: a word of neutral significance, which Tertullus had used in a bad sense. For St. Paul Christianity was not αἵρεσις, a separation from the Jewish religion, but was rather πλήρωσις, cf. Acts 13:32.— τῷ πατρ. θεῷ, cf. Acts 22:3. The Apostle may have used the expression here as a classical one which the Roman might appreciate, cf. θεοὶ πατρῷοι, Thuc., ii., 71; Æn., ix., 247, and instances in Wetstein. (On the distinctions between πατρῷος and πατρικός, Galatians 1:14, see Syn(382), Grimm-Thayer.) Moreover St. Paul could appeal to the fact that liberty had been given to the Jews by the Romans themselves to worship the God of their fathers (see Alford’s note, in loco).— λατρεύω: “so serve I,” R.V., see on Acts 7:42; if it is true that the word always describes a divine service like λατρεία, and that this idea appears to spring from the conception of complete devotion of powers to a master which lies in the root of the word (Westcott), no verb could more appropriately describe the service of one who called himself δοῦλος of God and of Christ.— πᾶσι το͂ ις κατὰ τὸν ν. κ. τ. λ.: “all things which are according to the law,” R.V., “iterum refutat Tertullum, Acts 24:6,” Bengel; “and which are written in the prophets,” R.V. The mention of the prophets as well as of the law shows that a reference to the Messianic hopes is intended.


Verse 15

Acts 24:15. ἐλπίδα ἔχων, cf. Acts 23:6 : St. Paul speaks of the hope as a present possession, “habens id plus quam προσδ. expectant,” Bengel; in LXX very frequent with ἐπί, but for εἰς cf. Isaiah 51:5, Ps. 118:114, so here, a hope supporting itself upon God.— καὶ αὐτοὶ οὗτοι: the Apostle makes no distinction between Sadducees and Pharisees, but regards the Jews who were present as representing the nation.— προσδ., Acts 23:21, cf. St. Paul’s words in Titus 2:13, Galatians 5:5.— μέλλειν ἔσεσθαι, see above on Acts 11:28, and cf. Acts 27:10, future infinitive with μέλλειν only in this one phrase in N.T.— ἀνάστασινδικ. τε καὶ ἀδίκων: the belief was firmly held in all circles where the teaching of the Pharisees prevailed. But was this belief a belief in the resurrection of Israelites only? Was it a belief in the resurrection of the righteous only? The book of Daniel plainly implies a resurrection of the just and the unjust, Acts 12:2, but we cannot say that this became the prevailing belief, e.g., in Psalms of Solomon, although Acts 3:16 may probably be based upon the passage in Daniel, yet in Acts 24:13 there is no thought of the resurrection of the sinner (cf. 2 Maccabees 7:14, σοὶ μὲν γὰρ ἀνάστασις εἰς ζωήυ οὐκ ἔσται, addressed to Antiochus Epiphanes). So Josephus, in giving an account of the ordinary Pharisaic doctrine, speaks only of the virtuous reviving and living again, Ant., xviii., 1, 3. So too in the Talmudic literature the resurrection of the dead is a privilege of Israel, and of righteous Israelites only—there is no resurrection of the heathen. On the other hand there are passages in the Book of Enoch where a resurrection of all Israelites is spoken of, cf. 22, with the exception of one class of sinners, i–xxxvi, xxxvii–lxx, lxxxiii–xc, Apocalypse of Baruch l–li. 6, but in Enoch xli–liv. we have a resurrection of the righteous Israelites only, cf. Apoc. of Baruch xxx. 1 (cf. with this verse in Acts). See further Charles, Book of Enoch, pp. 139, 262, and Apocalypse of Baruch, l.c., Psalms of Solomon, Ryle and James, Introd., li., pp. 37, 38, Schürer, Jewish People, div. ii., vol. ii., p. 179. Weber, Jüdische Theol., p. 390 ff. (1897). Enoch xci–civ is placed by Charles at 104–95 B.C., and Baruch xxx is ascribed to 2, written after the destruction of Jerusalem.


Verse 16

Acts 24:16. ἐν τούτῳ: “herein” is rather ambiguous, A. and R.V.; the expression may be used as = propterea, as the result of the confession of faith in Acts 24:14-15, cf. John 16:30 (Xen., Cyr., i., 3, 14). Rendall takes it = meanwhile (so apparently Wetstein), sc. χρόνῳ, i.e., in this earthly life; “hanc spem dum habeo,” Bengel. If we read καί, not δέ, perhaps best explained “non minus quam illi,” Blass, “I also exercise myself,” R.V., ἀσκῶ, cf. 2 Maccabees 15:4; ἄσκησις, 4 Maccabees 13:22; ἀσκητής, 4 Maccabees 12:11; so in classical Greek, laborare, studere, Soph., Elect., 1024.— ἀπρόσκοπον: only by Paul in N. T., cf. 1 Corinthians 10:32, where used actively, and cf. Sirach 32(35):21, 3 Maccabees 3:8. In Philippians 1:10 Lightfoot points out that the word may be taken either transitively or intransitively, although he prefers the latter. Mr. Page in his note on the word in this passage commends A.V. “void of offence” as including the two images, not offending, upright, ἀπροσ. πρὸς τὸν θεόν; not causing offence, ἀπροσ. πρὸς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους. “Ad Deum et homines congruit quod sequitur eleemosynas et oblationes,” Bengel.— διὰ παντός, see Plummer on Luke 24:53, cf. Acts 2:25; Acts 10:2, Matthew 18:10, Mark 5:5, Hebrews 2:15, emphatic here at the end of sentence, implying that the Apostle’s whole aim in life should free him from the suspicion of such charges as had been brought against him.


Verse 17

Acts 24:17. πλειόνων: “many,” R.V., but margin, “some,” so Rendall: if Acts 18:22 refers to a visit to Jerusalem (see note) at the close of the Apostle’s second missionary journey, the number expressed by πλειόνων would not exceed four or five.— ἐλεημοσύνας ποιήσων, see above on collection for the Saints at Jerusalem. ἐλεη.: not elsewhere used by Paul, who speaks of κοινωνία, διακονία είς τοὺς ἁγίους, see on Acts 10:2.— παρεγενόμην, Lucan, but cf. also 1 Corinthians 16:3, for the word again used by St. Paul.— εἰς τὸ ἔθνος μου: quite natural for St. Paul to speak thus of the Jewish nation, for the Jewish-Christian Church naturally consisted of Jews, cf. Romans 9:3. For this allusion in Acts to the great work of the collection, and its evidential value, as corroborating the notices in the Epistles, see above on p. 422, and Paley, H.P., chap. ii., 1. On this use of εἰς cf. 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2 Corinthians 8:4; 2 Corinthians 9:1; 2 Corinthians 9:13, Romans 15:26, and see Deissmann, Bibelstudien, p. 113.— καὶ προσφοράς: no mention is made of offerings as part of the purpose of St. Paul’s visit to Jerusalem, but we know that he came up to Jerusalem to worship, Acts 24:11, and to be present at the Feast of Pentecost, Acts 20:16, and even if he did not present some offering in connection with that Feast (a thank-offering as Bethge supposes), Dr. Hort’s view may well commend itself that the Apostle wished to make some offering on his own account, or it may be a solemn peace-offering in connection with the Gentile contribution for the Jewish Christians, and its acceptance, see on Acts 21:26, and also Weiss, in loco. The position of προσφ. seems against the supposition that we can take it simply with ἐλεη., and in combination with it, as if both words referred to the collection for the Saints. Jüngst would omit the words καὶ προσφἱερῷ altogether, whilst even Hilgenfeld regards Acts 24:17-21 as an addition of his “Author to Theophilus”.


Verse 18

Acts 24:18. ἐν οἷς, see critical note. If we read ἐν αἷς = “amidst which,” R.V., “in presenting which,” margin, with reference to προσφοράς, including not only the offerings in connection with the Apostle’s association of himself with the poor men in the Nazirite vow, but also offerings such as those referred to in Acts 24:17. ἐν οἷς = inter quæ (Winer-Schmiedel, pp. 193, 228), i.e., in reference to these matters generally, cf. Acts 26:12.— εὗρον, cf. Acts 24:5 : “they found me,” indeed, as they have said, but οὐ μετὰ ὄχλου κ. τ. λ.; a direct answer to the charge of profaning the Temple: he had gone there for worship and sacrifice, “then how did I profane it?” Chrys., Hom., .— ἡγνισμένον: the expression is generally taken to refer to the offerings involved in the association with the vow, Acts 21:26, but it may also include other acts of worship and purification in the Temple.— τινὲς: in A.V. the word is simply referred to εὗρον and there is no difficulty; but if we insert δέ after it (see critical note). R.V. renders “but there were certain Jews from Asia,” etc. The sentence breaks off, and the speaker makes no direct reference to Acts 21:27, but implies that these Asiatic Jews should have been present to accuse him if they had any accusation to make—their absence was in the prisoner’s favour; “the passage as it stands (i.e., with this break) is instinct with life, and seems to exhibit the abruptness so characteristic of the Pauline Epistles,” cf. Acts 26:9, see Page’s note in loco. Others take δέ though less forcibly as more strictly in opposition to the preceding words, meaning that his accusers had not found him as they alleged, and as Tertullus alleged, Acts 24:5, but that certain Jews of Asia had found him. Hackett retains δέ, and sees in the words a retort of the charge of riot upon the true authors of it: “but certain Jews from Asia”—it is they who excited a tumult, not I the verb could be omitted, a true picture of the Apostle’s earnestness, because so readily suggested from θορύβου, but this interpretation seems hardly borne out by the context.


Verse 19

Acts 24:19. ἔδει without ἄν, cf. Luke 11:42; Luke 15:32; on the force of this imperfect, see Burton, p. 14, Winer-Moulton, xli. 2.— εἴ τι ἔχοιεν πρός με: the optative of subjective possibility, representing the subjective view of the agent—if they had anything against me (in their own belief), Winer-Moulton, xli. b 2, Viteau, Le Grec du N. T., p. 111 (1893), Burton, p. 106.— κατηγορεῖν: “to make accusation,” R.V., cf. Acts 24:2.


Verse 20

Acts 24:20. αὐτοὶ οὗτοι: “quando-quidem absunt illi, hi dicant,” Blass; as the Jews from Asia are not present as accusers, he appeals to those Jews who are—he cannot demand speech from the absent, but he claims it from the present (Weiss): “or else let these men themselves say,” R.V., since they are the only accusers present. Kuinoel refers the words to the Sadducees, and thinks this proved from the next verse, but the context does not require this reference, nor can the words be referred with Ewald to the Asiatic Jews, since στάντος μου ἐπὶ τοῦ συν. is against such an interpretation.— τι, see critical note.


Verse 21

Acts 24:21. = ἄλλο after ἀδίκημα (Rendall); St. Paul, of course, uses the word ( ἀδίκημα) of his accusers. St. Paul is taken by some to speak ironically … strange ἀδίκημα, a question of belief with regard to which the Jews themselves were at variance, and which the procurator would regard as an idle contention! Weiss renders “or let them say, if in other respects they have found nothing wrong, concerning this one utterance,” etc.—“in what respect they regard it as an ἀδίκημα,” supplying εἰπάτωσαν from the previous verse. On the whole verse see further Blass, Gram., p. 168, Winer-Schmiedel, p. 187; and also p. 225 on ἧς ἔκραξα probably not for (cf. Matthew 27:50), but here φωνή is used in the sense of a loud cry, so that the construction resolves itself into φωνὴν κράζειν, cf. Revelation 6:10; Revelation 5:1. (and for the expression in LXX. Isaiah 6:4). Farrar, St. Paul, ii., 328, thinks that he sees in this utterance some compunction on St. Paul’s part for his action in dividing the Sanhedrim, and for the tumult he had caused, but see above, p. 467.


Verse 22

Acts 24:22. ἀνεβάλετο: ampliavit eos, a technical expression, only here in N. T., the judges were wont to say Amplius in cases where it was not possible to pass at once a judgment of condemnation or acquittal before further inquiry, Cic., In Verr., i., 29.— ἀκριβ.: “having more exact knowledge concerning the Way” than to be deceived by the misrepresentation of the Jews; he may have learnt some details of the Christian sect during his years of office from his wife Drusilla, or possibly during his residence in Cæsarea, where there was a Christian community and the home of Philip the Evangelist, and where Cornelius had been converted. This knowledge, the writer indicates, was the real reason: the reason which Felix alleged was that he required the evidence of Lysias in person. Wendt, Zöckler, Bethge, Nösgen take the words to mean that the address of Paul had offended Felix’s more accurate knowledge, and on this account he put off any decision. On the comparative see Blass, Gram., p. 139.— τὰ περὶ: characteristic of Luke and Paul, see p. 481.— διαγ. τὰ καθʼ ὑμᾶς: “I will determine your matter,” R.V., cf. Acts 25:21, and see above on Acts 23:15. τὰ καθʼ ὑμᾶς: probably refers to both accusers and accused. On τὰ before κατά characteristic of Luke see instance in Moulton and Geden, and Hawkins, Horæ Synopticæ, p. 38.


Verse 23

Acts 24:23. τηρεῖσθαι: that he should he kept in charge as a prisoner; not middle as in A.V.— ἔχειν τε ἄνεσιν: “and should have indulgence,” R.V., not “liberty,” A.V., word only elsewhere in Paul in N.T., 2 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 8:13, 2 Thessalonians 1:7, cf. also Sirach 26:10, 1 Esdras 4:62. From Acts 24:27 it appears that the prisoner was still bound, but the indulgence involved a custodia liberior, and extended to food, and the visits of friends, and remission from the severer form of custody, cf. Jos., Ant., xviii., 6, 7, 10, where Agrippa has similar indulgence in his imprisonment at Rome, but is still chained.— μηδένα κωλύειν τῶν ἰδίων, cf. Acts 4:23, Luke, Aristarchus, perhaps Trophimus, cf. Jos., Ant., xviii, u. s., for the same indulgence; change of subject to centurion in κωλύειν.— ὑπηρετεῖν, Acts 13:36, Acts 20:34.


Verse 24

Acts 24:24. δρουσίλλῃ: of the three daughters of Agrippa I. Drusilla was the youngest, her sisters being Bernice (see below) and Mariamne. Married, when about fourteen, to Azizus king of Emeza, she had been seduced from her husband by Felix, who had employed for his evil purpose a certain impostor and magician, Simon by name, Jos., Ant., xx., 7, 2. The account in Josephus implies that she was unhappy in her marriage with Azizus, and asserts that she was exposed on account of her beauty to the envious ill-treatment of her sister Bernice. She married Felix (“trium reginarum maritus,” as Suetonius calls him, Claud., 28), and her son by him, Agrippa by name, perished under Titus in an eruption of Vesuvius, Jos., u. s. It has been sometimes thought that his mother perished with him, but probably the words σὺν τῇ γυναικί in Josephus refer not to Drusilla, but to the wife of Agrippa (so Schürer); “Herod” (Headlam), Hastings’ B.D., The Herods (Farrar), p. 192 ff.— τῇ γυναὐτοῦ, see critical note, the addition of ἰδίᾳ before γυν. (omit. αὐτοῦ) perhaps to emphasise that Drusilla, though a Jewess, was the wife of Felix, or it may point to the private and informal character of the interview, due to the request of Drusilla. Possibly both ἰδίᾳ and αὐτοῦ were additions to intimate that Drusilla was really the wife of Felix, but the article before γυναικί would have been sufficient to indicate this.— οὔσῃ ἰουδαίᾳ, cf. (383) text, which states how Felix acted thus to gratify Drusilla, who as a Jewess wished to hear Paul, as her brother Agrippa afterwards, cf. Acts 25:22, see Knabenbauer, in loco.— μετεπέμψατο, see on Acts 10:5.— χριστὸν, see critical note.


Verse 25

Acts 24:25. περὶ δικαι.: Paul does not gratify the curiosity of Felix and Drusilla, but goes straight to the enforcement of those great moral conditions without which, both for Jew and Greek, what he had to say of the Messiahship of Jesus was unintelligible; how grievously Felix had failed in righteousness the events of his period of government proved, cf. Tac., Ann., xii., 54, “cuncta malefacta sibi impune ratus,” through the evil influence of Pallas, Tac., Hist., v., 9.— ἐγκρατ.: R.V. margin “self-control,” Latin, temperantia, Vulgate, castitate. The presence of Drusilla by his side was in itself a proof how Felix had failed in this virtue also, ἐγκρ. being specially applicable to continence from sensual pleasures (Wetstein); opposed to it is ἀκρασία, 1 Corinthians 7:5 (= ἀκράτεια), “incontinence,” Arist., Eth., vii., 4, 2. In N.T., Galatians 5:23, 2 Peter 1:6 (bis), cf. Titus 1:8. The word is found in Sirach 18:15; Sirach 18:30, 4 Maccabees 5:34. St. Paul gives a double proof of his courage in reasoning thus not only before Felix but before his wife, for like another Herodias her resentment was to be feared.— τοῦ κρίματος τοῦ μέλλ.: “the judgment to come,” R.V., preserving the force of the article omitted in all E.V(384) except Rhem.: “ubi etiam illi, qui nunc judices sedent, judicandi erunt” (Wetstein).— ἐμφ. γεν., see on Acts 10:4, cf. the attitude of Antipas with regard to the Baptist, Mark 6:30.— τὸ νῦν ἔχον, cf. Tobit 7:11 (1 ἔχων), and for instances in Greek writers see Wetstein.— καιρὸν δὲ μεταλ., cf. Polyb., ii., 16, 15. μεταλαβόντες καιρ. ἁρμόττοντα (Alford, Blass). So far as we know, no more convenient season ever came, see reading in (385) text.


Verse 26

Acts 24:26. ἅμα δὲ καὶ ἐλπ.: connected by some with ἀπεκ. (cf. Acts 23:25), so Weiss, Wendt, Hackett; others punctuate as W.H(386), R.V., and render it as a finite verb.— ὅτι: on the construction with ἐλπίζειν see Simcox, Language of the N.T., p. 121, and Blass, in loco: Luke 24:31, 2 Corinthians 1:13; 2 Corinthians 13:6, Philemon 1:22 (not in Attic Greek).—On ἅμα cf. Blass, Gram., p. 247, Colossians 4:3, Philemon 1:22, 1 Timothy 5:13. ἅμα καί: only in Luke and Paul; on its use by them see further Viteau, Le Grec du N.T., p. 187 (1893).— χρήματα: the mention of “alms,” Acts 24:17, had perhaps suggested the thought that Paul was in a position to purchase his freedom with money, and it was also evident to Felix that the prisoner was not without personal friends, Acts 24:23. Spitta, Apostelgeschichte, p. 280, points to Acts 24:17, and to the fact that Felix could not be unaware that Paul was a man of wide influence and supported by many friends, as a sufficient answer to the supposed improbability urged by Pfleiderer that Felix could hope for money from a poor tent—maker and missionary. Spitta thinks that Philippians may have been written from Cæsarea, and that therefore (Philippians 4:10) Felix had double cause to suppose that the poor missionary had command of money; but without endorsing this view as to the place of writing of Philippians, it may be suggested that St. Paul’s friends at Philippi might have helped to provide financial help for the expenses of his trial: Lydia, e.g., was not only ready with large-hearted hospitality, but her trade in itself required a considerable capital: see on the other hand the view of Ramsay. St. Paul, p. 312. It is urged, moreover, that a poor man would never have received such attention or aroused such interest. But St. Luke himself has told us how Herod desired to see the Son of Man, Who had not where to lay His head, and the same feeling which prompted Herod, the feeling of curiosity, the hope perhaps of seeing some new thing, may have prompted the desire of an Agrippa or a Drusilla to see and to hear Paul.— ἐλπιζ.… δοθ.: “sic thesaurum evangelii omisit infelix Felix,” Bengel. When Overbeck expresses surprise that Felix did not deliver Paul to the Jews for money, he forgets that Paul’s Roman citizenship would make such an action much more dangerous than his detention.— διὸ καὶ: characteristic of Luke and Paul, and common to Luke’s Gospel and Acts, cf. Luke 1:35, Acts 10:29, Romans 4:22; Romans 15:22, 2 Corinthians 1:20; 2 Corinthians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 5:9, Philippians 2:9, only twice elsewhere in N.T., Hebrews 11:12; Hebrews 13:12; “ut illiceret eum ad se pecunia temptandum,” Blass, Knabenbauer.— πυκνότερον, cf. Luke 5:33, 1 Timothy 5:23; and LXX, Esther 8:13, 2 Maccabees 8:8, 3 Maccabees 4:12. The comparative here is “verus comparativus”: quo sæpius, Blass. Nothing could more plainly show the corruption of the Roman government than the conduct of Felix in face of the law: “Lex Julia de repetundis præcepit, ne quis ob hominem in vincula publice conjiciendum, vinciendum, vincirive jubendum, exve vinculis dimittendum; neve quis ob hominem condemnandum, absolvenduum … aliquid acceperit,” Digest., xl., 11, 3 (Wetstein); see further on Acts 24:3.— ὡμίλει: only in Luke, see above Acts 20:11; imperfect denoting frequent occurrence.


Verse 27

Acts 24:27. διετίας δὲ πληρ.: on the question of chronology see below, cf. Acts 20:30, and for τριετία, Acts 20:31; on διετία in inscriptions see two instances in Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien, p. 86. πληρ.: perhaps indicating that two full years are meant. Weizsäcker throws doubt upon the historical character of this imprisonment, and thinks that the episode is merely introduced by the writer of Acts, who in his ignorance of the name of the procurator doubles the incident before Felix and Festus; but Wendt declines to value so lightly the definite notices and accounts in Acts, and adds that the delay of the trial under a procurator devoid of a sense of duty was no improbable event. The recall of Felix has been assigned to very varying dates, Lightfoot naming 60, Wendt (1899) 61, Schürer, at the earliest 58, at the latest 61, probably 60, Ramsay 59, whilst McGiffert, following the Chronology recently advocated by O. Holtzmann (with a few earlier writers), places it as early as 55 (Harnack 55–56, following Eusebius, whilst Blass has also defended the Eusebian date). Both McGiffert and Holtzmann fix upon 55 because before the end of this year Pallas, the brother of Felix, was in disgrace; and yet, according to Josephus, Felix escaped the accusations brought against him by shielding himself behind his brother Pallas, whom Nero was then holding in special honour, Jos., Ant., xx., 8, 9, Tac., Ann., xiii., 14. “Either Josephus is in error,” says O. Holtzmann, Neutest. Zeitgeschichte, p. 128, “or Festus went to Palestine in 55”. But there is good reason for thinking that Josephus was in error in stating that Felix escaped by his brother’s influence, then at its height, Jos., u. s. It is no doubt true that the influence of Pallas may have been very substantial long after his fall from court favour; but if the intervention of Pallas was subsequent to his fall, what becomes of the synchronism between his disgrace and the recall of Felix? But further, Pallas, according to the statement of Tacitus, Ann., xiii., 14, was disgraced before the fourteenth birthday of Britannicus, in Feb. 55, but, if so, how could Felix have reached Rome at such an early period of that year? Nero came to the throne on 13th Oct., 54, and we have to suppose that the order for recall was sent and the return journey of Felix to the capital accomplished in spite of the winter season which made a sea voyage impossible (Ramsay, Zahn, Bacon); “one can therefore no longer base the chronology of an Apostle’s life upon the dismissal of a court favourite”. But are there no chronological data available? Albinus, the successor of Festus, was already procurator in 62. How long he had been in office we cannot say, but he was certainly procurator in the summer of that year (Schürer, Jewish People, div. i., vol. ii., p. 188, E.T.; Biblical World, p. 357, 1897). From Jos., Ant., xx., 9, 1, we learn that there was an interval of some few months full of disturbance and anarchy between the death of Festus and the arrival of Albinus in Jerusalem, so that we seem justified in inferring that Festus died probably in the winter of 61–62; and whilst the events of his procuratorship can scarcely have extended over five years (as would be demanded by the earlier chronology)—for in this case Josephus would surely have given us more information about them—it seems equally difficult to suppose that the events which Josephus does record could have been crowded into less than a year, or portions of two (Schürer). The entrance of Festus upon his office might thus be carried back to 59–60, and St. Paul’s departure for Rome would fall probably in 60. But a further contribution to the subject has been made by Mr. Turner, “Chronology of the N.T.,” Hastings’ B.D., pp. 418, 419, and he argues for the exclusion of a date as late as 60 for the accession of Festus, and for placing the recall of Felix in 57–59, i.e., between the earlier and later dates mentioned above; or, more definitely still, in 58, cf. p. 420. With this date Dr. Gilbert agrees, Student’s Life of Paul, p. 252, 1899. See further Zahn, Einleitung, ii., 634; Wendt (1899), p. 56; Expositor, March, 1897, Feb., 1898; “Festus” (A. Robertson), Hastings’ B.D. and B.D.2.— ἔλαβε διάδοχον, Sirach 46:1; Sirach 48:8. In 2 Maccabees 4:29; 2 Maccabees 14:26, the meaning of successor is doubtful, and it would seem that the title rather denoted a high office about the court of the Ptolemies, cf. Deissmann, Bibelstudien, p. 111. In classical Greek it is used as here for successor, cf. Jos., Ant., xx., 8, 9, so successorem accepit, Plin., Epist., ix., 13.— φῆστον: we know nothing of him except from the N.T. and Josephus. The latter, however, contrasts him favourably with his successor Albinus: “et Albinum cum ei dissimillimum fuisse tradit, scelestum hominem, simul illum laudat” (Blass). So far as our information goes, Festus also contrasts favourably with his predecessor; he acted with promptness to rid the country of robbers and sicarii, and amongst them of one impostor whose promises were specially seductive, Ant., xx., 8, 9, 10, and B.J., ii., 14, 1. But although, as Schürer says, he was disposed to act righteously, he found himself unable to undo the mischief wrought by his predecessor, and after a short administration death prevented him from coping further with the evils which infested the province. For his attitude towards St. Paul as his prisoner see notes below. Two other events marked his procuratorship: (1) the quarrel between the priests and Agrippa, because the latter built on to his palace so as to overlook the Temple, and the priests retaliated by building so as to shut off his view. Festus sided with Agrippa, but allowed the priests to appeal to Rome. (2) The decision of the emperor in favour of the Syrian against the Jewish inhabitants of Cæsarea, which caused a bitterness provoking in A.D. 66 the disturbances in which Josephus marked the beginnings of the great War, Ant., xx., 8, 9.— θέλων τε χάριτας καταθέσθαι τοῖς .: “desiring to gain favour with the Jews,” R.V., literally to lay down or deposit a favour with the Jews as a deposit for which a due return might be expected, cf. 1 Maccabees 10:23 R.; Jos., Ant., xi., 6, 5, so too in classical Greek, Thuc., i., 33, 128; Herod., vi., 41, etc. The policy of Felix was to gain popularity with the Jews in view of the accusations which followed him on his return to Rome, Jos., Ant., xx., 8, 9. That the pursuit of such a policy was not alien to the character of Roman officials see Jos., Ant., xx., 9, 5, where we learn that Albinus, desiring to gain the gratitude of the Jews, took money of all those in prison for some trifling fault, by which means the prisons indeed were emptied, but the country was full of robbers. In B.J., ii., 14, 1, we learn that the same system was pursued by Albinus, the successor of Festus, until no one was left in the prisons but those who gave him nothing. According to (387) text Felix leaves Paul in prison to please his wife, but, as Blass points out, both reasons may be true.— χάριτα (W.H(388), R.V.) only (in N.T.) in Jude, Acts 24:4, cf. Acts 25:9 A found in classics, though rarer than χάριν, Winer-Schmiedel, p. 88; in LXX, Zechariah 6:14δεδεμ.: this does not at all imply that Paul had been quite free, and was now rebound, cf. Acts 24:23. ἄνεσις did not mean perfect freedom, and the custodia militaris might still continue. Nösgen thinks that the word in its position at the end of the verse indicates a severer form of custody, but this is by no means necessary, although as the last word of the episode, and as the result of all the intercourse with Felix, it has a dramatic force and pathos. Zeller, Acts, ii., p. 83, E.T., although he thinks it remarkable that Felix and Festus are represented as acting from the same motive, as Pilate for a similar reason had consented to the execution of Jesus, is constrained to admit that conduct such as that of the two procurators is too natural for its repetition to be surprising; unscrupulous officials are always ready by complaisance at the expense of others to appease those to whom they have given just cause for complaint.

(387) R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

 


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Bibliography Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Acts 24:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/acts-24.html. 1897-1910.

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Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
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