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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament
Acts 25

 

 

Verse 1

Acts 25:1. ἐπιβὰς: “having come into the province,” A. and R.V., or, “having entered upon his province,” R.V. margin. If we read τῇ ἐπαρχείῳ with Weiss and W.H(389) margin, the word is an adjective of two terminations, sc. ἐξουσίᾳ, i.e., having entered on his duties as governor of the province (see Weiss, Apostelgeschichte, p. 8), and cf. Acts 23:34. For the adjective in inscriptions see Blass, in loco.μετὰ τρεῖς ἡμ.: “sat cito,” Bengel.— ἀνέβη: went up to Jerusalem officially as the capital; the visit had nothing necessarily to do with St. Paul, but the close-connecting τε may indicate that the action of the priests in again bringing up their case was to be expected.


Verse 2

Acts 25:2. ἐνεφάνισαν, cf. Acts 23:15, Acts 24:1 : here the context evidently implies that legal and formal information was laid against Paul.—If we read οἱ ἀρχ., cf. Acts 4:5. οἱ πρῶτοι: sometimes taken as = πρεσβ. in Acts 25:15, cf. Acts 23:14, Acts 24:1, but in Luke 19:47 we have οἱ ἀρχ. καὶ οἱ γράμμ. καὶ οἱ πρῶτοι τοῦ λαοῦ. The difference of designation seems to indicate that they were not identical with the πρεσβ., although perhaps including them, or possibly as their chief representatives: see also Plummer on Luke, l. c. Blass seems to identify πρῶτοι with ἀρχιερεῖς, cf. Acts 4:5, ἄρχοντες.— παρέκαλουν: the word and the tense mark their importunity.


Verse 3

Acts 25:3. αἰτουμ., cf. Acts 25:15. “Postulantes gratiam non justitiam,” Corn à Lapide.— ἐνέδραν ποιοῦντες, not ποιήσοντες, they were making and contriving the ambush already (Alford): priests and elders were willing as before to avail themselves of the assassin.— κατὰ τὴν ὁδόν, cf. Luke 10:4, and three times in Acts 8:36; Acts 26:13, nowhere else in N. T. Syr. H. mg. adds a distinct reference to the forty conspirators previously mentioned, Acts 23:12, but Blass omits in (390) text—doubtless, as he says, there were many others ready for the deed at the service of the Sanhedrim.


Verse 4

Acts 25:4. μὲν οὖν: no antithesis expressed; but Rendall, Appendix on μὲν οὖν, Acts, p. 162, holds that two phases of events are here contrasted: Festus refused to bring Paul away from Cæsarea, but he undertook to hear the charges of the Jews there.— ἐν και., see critical note, perhaps here εἰς simply = ἐν, so Blass, and Simcox, cf. Mark 13:9, Acts 19:22. On the other hand cf. Weiss on the frequent force of εἰς peculiar to Acts 8:40; Acts 9:21 (where he reads ἐις), intimating that Paul had been brought to Cæsarea with the purpose that he should be kept there. The Jews had asked Festus ὅπως μεταπέμψ. α. εἰς ., but Festus intimates that the prisoner was in custody at Cæsarea, and that as he was himself going there, the prisoner’s accusers should go there also; in other words, he returns a refusal to their request, cf. Acts 25:16.— ἐν τάχει, Luke 18:8, and three times in Acts 12:7; Acts 22:18, not in the other Evangelists; Romans 16:20, 1 Timothy 3:14, Revelation 1:1; Revelation 22:6.— ἐκπορ.: for the verb used absolutely as here cf. Luke 3:7.


Verse 5

Acts 25:5. φησί: change to the oratio recta, cf. Acts 1:4. For other instances of the insertion of the single words ἔφη or φησίν, rare in N. T., see Simcox, Language of the New Testament, p. 200; cf. Acts 23:35, Acts 26:25, 1 Corinthians 6:16, 2 Corinthians 10:10, Hebrews 8:5.— οἱδυνατοί: “Let them therefore, saith he, which are of power among you,” R.V.; not simply “which are able,” A.V., “qui in vobis potentes sunt,” Vulgate. The word may be used by Festus, because he was not acquainted with the Jewish official terms, or it may be used in a general way as in 1 Corinthians 1:26. In Jos., B.J., i., 12, 5, we have the expression, ἧκον ἰουδαίων οἱ δυνατοί, cf. Thuc. i. 89, Polyb., ix., 23, 4; but in addition to this general use of the word Jos. frequently conjoins the ἀρχιερεῖς with the δυνατοί as members of the Sanhedrim, Schürer, Jewish People, div. ii., vol. i., p. 178, E.T. This interpretation of the word is more natural than that adopted by Bengel: “qui valent ad iter faciendum: ἧθος urbanum Festi respondents Judæis molestiam viae causantibus;” for other explanations see Wendt-Meyer, in loco.συγκαταβάντες: “go down with me,” R.V., mecum; only here in N. T., in LXX, Ps. 48:17, Wisdom of Solomon 10:13, Dan. 3:49 (Theod. 3:49) = Song of the Three Children, Acts 25:26.— ἄτοπον, see critical note, and further on Acts 28:6.


Verse 6

Acts 25:6. ἡμέρας πλ., see critical note, “not more than eight or ten days,” R.V., i.e., the whole period of Festus’ stay ἐν αὐτοῖς. Blass sees in the words an indication of the vigour of action characterising Festus. The expression may, however, be used from the standpoint of Paul and his friends at Cæsarea, who did not know how much of his absence Festus had spent in Jerusalem, or how much on the journey (so Weiss and Wendt).— τῇ ἐπαύριον: ten times in Acts, but nowhere in Luke’s Gospel, cf., however, ἐπὶ τὴν αὔριον, Luke 10:35 and Acts 4:5 only (Hawkins). This evidently implies that the accusers had come down with Festus, and it may again indicate his promptness, cf. Acts 25:17. There does not seem any indication that this immediate action shows that he had been prejudiced against Paul in Jerusalem (Chrys.).— ἐπὶ τοῦ βήματος, Acts 12:21, Acts 18:12, and Acts 25:10 below: seven times in Acts in this sense (Matthew 27:19, John 19:13), but nowhere in Luke’s Gospel; twice by St. Paul, Romans 14:10, 2 Corinthians 5:10.— καθ. ἐπὶ τοῦ β.: a necessary formality, otherwise no legal effect would be given to the decision, cf. Schürer, Jewish People, div. i., vol. ii., p. 15, E.T., for this and other instances.— ἀχθῆναι, cf. προσάγεσθαι, Polyc., Mart., ix., 1 and 2.


Verse 7

Acts 25:7. περιέστησαν: if we add αὐτόν, see critical note, “stood round about him,” i.e., Paul, R.V., “periculum intentantes,” Bengel. (Cf. John 11:42, Judith 5:22, omit 1.)— πολλὰ καὶ βαρέα: “many and (indeed) heavy,” etc., Winer-Moulton, lix., 3, perhaps as in Matthew 23:23, weighty, of great moment.— αἰτιάματα φέρ., see critical note. ἀιτίαμ. in Æschylus and Thucydides. For καταφέροντες, Acts 26:10, cf. Deuteronomy 22:14.


Verse 8

Acts 25:8. Evidently the charges classed as before under three heads, (1) the Law, (2) the Temple, (3) the Empire. In this verse Hilgenfeld ascribes ὅτιἥμαρτον to his “author to Theophilus”(Jüngst, too, omits the words). But, not content with this, he concludes that the whole narrative which follows about Agrippa is to ratify the innocence of Paul before a crowned head of Judaism, cf. Acts 9:15, where υἱῶν τε ἰσ. is also ascribed to the “author to Theophilus,” and perhaps also τε καὶ βασιλέωγ; we are therefore to refer to this unknown writer the whole section Acts 25:13 to Acts 26:32.— ἥμαρτον with εἰς only here in Acts, three times in Luke’s Gospel, three times in 1 Cor., only once elsewhere in N.T., Matthew 18:21.


Verse 9

Acts 25:9. χάριν καταθέσθαι, Acts 24:27.— τοῖς ., best placed emphatically before χάριν κατ. (W.H(391)), so as to show that it was the compliance of Festus to the Jews which caused the turn which things took (Weiss).— θέλεις εἰς .: “injustum videbatur condemnare, incommodum absolvere,” Blass.— ἐκεῖ: he makes himself the same proposal to the prisoner which had previously been suggested by the accusers, Acts 25:3.— ἐπʼ ἐμοῦ: “me præsente,” for the Sanhedrists would be the judges; otherwise, where would be the favour to the Jews? Felix may have added the words speciose, so as to reassure Paul and to obtain his acquiescence to the proposal; in Acts 25:20 omitted, but evidently from their close connection with περὶ τούτ. κρίν. they indicate that Festus would play some judicial part in the matter; cf. Acts 24:21 and 1 Corinthians 6:1. But Paul’s answer plainly shows that he thought from the words of Felix that a Jewish and not a Roman tribunal awaited him: ἐπʼ ἐμοῦ would therefore seem to mean that the Sanhedrim would judge, whilst Festus would ratify their judgment or not as seemed good to him, as Pilate had acted in the case of Christ. On the other hand it is possible that Festus may have been quite sincere in his proposal: his words at least showed that in his judgment there was no case against Paul of a political nature, and he may have thought that religious questions could be best decided before the Sanhedrim in Jerusalem, whilst he could guarantee a safe-conduct for Paul as a Roman citizen.


Verse 10

Acts 25:10. ἑστώς εἰμι: “I am standing,” used rhetorically, Blass, Gram., p. 198; on the position of ἑστ. see critical note.— καίσαρος: because the procurator was the representative of Cæsar: “quæ acta gestaque sunt a procuratore Cæsaris sic ab eo comprobantur, atque si a Cæsare ipso gesta sint,” Ulpian, Digest., i., 19, 1.— δεῖ: because a Roman citizen, no need to suppose that the word has reference here to any divine intimation.— ἰουδ.…: “to Jews have I done no wrong,” the omission of the article in translation makes Paul’s denial more forcible and comprehensive; for ἀδικεῖν with οὐδέν and the double accusative cf. Luke 10:19.— ὡς καὶ σὺ κάλλιον ἐπιγ.: “as thou also art getting to know better,” Rendall (see also Page and Weiss): this rendering, it is said, saves us from the ungracious and unjust retort which A. and R.V. ascribe to Paul. But Acts 25:18 seems to show us by the confession of Festus himself that the Apostle might fairly have imputed to him a keeping back of his better and fairer judgment, whilst in the expression χαρίσαθαι, Acts 25:11, there seems to be an intimation that the Apostle felt that Festus might make him a victim. Zöckler sees in the comparative “a gentle reproach,” as if St. Paul would intimate to Festus that he really knew better than his question (Acts 25:9) would imply.


Verse 11

Acts 25:11. εἰ μὲν γὰρ, see critical note, “if then ( οὗν) I am a wrongdoer,” referring to his standing before Cæsar’s judgment-seat, and not to the ἠδίκησα in Acts 25:10.— ἀδικεῖν: only here absolutely in N.T.; the verb occurs five times in Acts, once in Luke’s Gospel, and once in St. Matthew, but not elsewhere in the Gospels (Friedrich, p. 23).— ἄξιον θαν., i.e., according to Roman law.— οὐ παραιτοῦμαι τὸ ἀποθανεῖν: non recuso, Vulgate, so Blass; the verb is only used here in Acts, but it occurs three times in St. Luke’s Gospel, three times in Hebrews, once in Mark 15:6, W.H(392)—In the present passage, and in 1 Timothy 4:7; 1 Timothy 5:11, 2 Timothy 2:23, Titus 3:10, Hebrews 12:25 (twice), the word is rendered “refuse,” R.V. text; but in Luke 14:18-19, the word is rendered “to make excuse”; “excused”: Jos., Ant., vii., 8, 2; but in each case the Greek verb literally means “to beg off from,” and the Latin deprecor might well express the verb both here and in Luke 14, l.c., cf. Esther 4:8 in the sense of supplicating, and for the sense as above 2 Maccabees 2:31, 3 Maccabees 6:27; see also Grimm sub v. for different shades of meaning. In Jos., Vita, 29, we have the phrase θανεῖνοὐ παραιτοῦμαι: upon which Krenkel insists as an instance of dependence upon Josephus, but not only is the phrase here somewhat different verbally, οὐ παραι. τὸ ἀποθ., the article expressing more emphatically, as Bengel says, id ipsum agi; but cf. the instances quoted by Wetstein of the use of similar phrases in Greek, and of the Latin deprecor, e.g., Dion. Hal., A.V., 29. τὸν μὲγ οὖν θάνατονοὐ παραιτοῦμαι. See further Introd., p. 31.— χαρίσασθαι: “to grant me by favour,” R.V. margin, cf. Acts 3:14, Acts 25:16, Acts 27:24 (Philemon 1:22), only in Luke and Paul in N.T.; see on its importance as marking the “We” section, Acts 27:24, and other parts of Acts, Zeller, Acts, ii., 318, E.T. Paul must have known what this “giving up” to the Jews would involve.— καίσαρα ἐπικ.: Appello: provoco ad Cæsarem: “Si apud acta quis appellaverit, satis erit si dicat: Appello.” Digest., xlix., 1, 2, except in the case of notorious robbers and agitators whose guilt was clear, ibid., 16. But we must distinguish between an appeal against a sentence already pronounced, and a claim at the commencement of a process that the whole matter should be referred to the emperor. It would appear from this passage, cf. Acts 27:21; Acts 27:26; Acts 27:32, that Roman citizens charged with capital offences could make this kind of appeal, for the whole narrative is based upon the fact that Paul had not yet been tried, and that he was to be kept for a thorough inquiry by the emperor, and to be brought to Rome for this purpose, cf. Pliny, Epist., x., 97, quoted by Schürer, Alford, and others, and similar instances in Renan, Saint Paul, p. 543, Schürer, Jewish People, div. 1., vol. ii., p. 59, and div. ii., vol. ii., p. 278, E.T., and also “Appeal,” Hastings’ B.D., and below, p. 514.—This step of St. Paul’s was very natural. During his imprisonment under Felix he had hoped against hope that he might have been released, but although the character of Festus might have given him a more reasonable anticipation of justice, he had seen enough of the procurator to detect the vacillation which led him also to curry favour with the Jews. From some points of view his position under Festus was more dangerous than under Felix: if he accepted the suggestion that he should go up to Jerusalem and be tried before the Sanhedrim, he could not doubt that his judges would find him guilty; if he declined, and Festus became the judge, there was still the manifest danger that the better judgment of the magistrate would be warped by the selfishness of the politician. Moreover, he may well have thought that at a distant court, where there might be difficulty in collecting evidence against him, he would fare better in spite of the danger and expense of the appeal. But whilst we may thus base St. Paul’s action upon probable human motives, his own keen and long desire to see Rome, Acts 19:21, and his Lord’s promise of the fulfilment of that desire, Acts 23:11, could not have been without influence upon his decision, although other motives need not be altogether excluded, as St. Chrysostom, Ewald, Neander and Meyer (see Nösgen, 435). It has been maintained that there was every reason to suppose that St. Paul would have obtained his acquittal at the hands of the Roman authorities, especially after Agrippa’s declaration of his innocence, Acts 26:32. But St. Paul’s appeal had been already made before Agrippa had heard him, and he may well have come to the conclusion that the best he could hope for from Festus was a further period of imprisonment, whilst his release would only expose him to the bitter and relentless animosity of the Jews. Two years of enforced imprisonment had been patiently borne, and the Apostle would be eager (can we doubt it?) to bear further witness before Gentiles and kings of his belief in Jesus as the Christ, and of repentance and faith towards God.


Verse 12

Acts 25:12. μετὰ τοῦ συμβ., i.e., his assessors, assessores consiliarii, with whom the procurators were wont to consult in the administration of the law. They were probably composed, in part at all events, of the higher officials of the court, cf. Suet., Tiber., 33, Lamprid., Vita Alex. Sev., 46, Jos., Ant., xiv., 10, 2, Schürer, Jewish People, div. i., vol. ii., p. 60, E.T.; and see further on the word Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien, p. 65, and references in Grimm-Thayer, sub v. It would seem that the procurator could only reject such an appeal at his peril, unless in cases where delay might be followed by danger, or when there was manifestly no room for an appeal, Dig., xlix., 5, and see Bethge, Die Paulinischen Reden, p. 252, and Blass, in loco.κ. ἐπικ.: no question, W.H(393), R.V., Weiss (as in A.V.); “asynd. rhetoricum cum anaphora,” Blass, cf. 1 Corinthians 7:18; 1 Corinthians 7:21; 1 Corinthians 7:27. The decision of the procurator that the appeal must be allowed, and the words in which it was announced were not meant to frighten Paul, as Bengel supposed, but at the same time they may have been uttered, if not with a sneer, yet with the implication “thou little knowest what an appeal to Cæsar means”. Moreover, Festus must have seen that the appeal was based upon the prisoner’s mistrust of his character, for only if the accused could not trust the impartiality of the governor had he any interest in claiming the transference of his trial to Rome.


Verse 13

Acts 25:13. ἀγρ. βασιλεὺς: this was Herod Agrippa II., son of Agrippa I., whose tragic end is recorded in chap. 12. At the time of his father’s death he was only seventeen, and for a time he lived in retirement, as Claudius was persuaded not to entrust him with the kingdom of Judæa. But on the death of Herod, king of Chalcis, A.D. 48, Claudius not only gave the young Agrippa the vacant throne, A.D. 50, but transferred to him the government of the Temple, and the right of appointing the high priest. His opinion on religious questions would therefore be much desired by Festus. Subsequently he obtained the old tetrarchies of Philip and Lysanias, and the title of king was bestowed upon him. We have thus a proof of St. Luke’s accuracy in that he calls him βασιλεύς, cf. Acts 26:27, but not king of Judæa, although he was the last Jewish king in Palestine. Bernice and Drusilla were his sisters. He offended the Jews not only by building his palace so as to overlook the Temple, but also by his constant changes in the priesthood. In the Jewish wax he took part with the Romans, by whom at its close he was confirmed in the government of his kingdom, and received considerable additions to it. When Titus, after the fall of Jerusalem, celebrated his visit to Cæsarea Philippi—Herod’s capital, called by him Neronias in honour of Nero—by magnificent games and shows, it would seem that Agrippa must have been present; and if so, he doubtless joined as a Roman in the rejoicings over the fete of his people, Hamburger, Real-Encyclopädie des Judentums, ii., 1, 30, “Agrippa II.”; Schürer, Jewish People, div. i., vol. ii., p. 191 ff., “Herod’ (6), Hastings’ B.D., Farrar, The Herods, p. 193 ff. (1898).— βερνίκη ( βερεν. = Macedonian form of φερενίκη, see Blass, in loco, and C.I.G., 361; C.I. Att., iii., i., 556, Headlam in Hastings’ B.D.): the eldest of the three daughters of Agrippa I. She was betrothed, but apparently never married, to Marcus, son of Alexander, the Alabarch of Alexandria (see Schürer for correct reading of Jos., Ant., xix., 5, 1, Jewish People, div. i., vol. ii., p. 342, note). On his death at the age of thirteen she was married to her uncle, Herod of Chalcis, Jos., u.s., but after a few years she was left a widow, and lived in the house of her brother Agrippa II. In order to allay the worst suspicions which were current as to this intimacy, she married Polemon, king of Cilicia, Ant., xx., 7, 3 (Juv., Sat., vi., 156 ff.), but she soon left him and resumed the intimacy with her brother. Like Agrippa she showed openly at least a certain deference for the Jewish religion, and on one occasion, says Schürer, u.s., p. 197, we find even her, a bigot as well as a wanton, a Nazirite in Jerusalem, B.J., ii., 15, 1. This was in A.D. 66, and she endeavoured while in the capital to stay the terrible massacre of Florus—“the one redeeming feature of her career,” B.D.2. But later on, exasperated by the Jewish populace who burnt her palace, she became, like her brother, a partisan of the Romans, and in turn the mistress of Vespasian and of Titus, Tac., Hist., ii., 81; Suet., Tit., 7; Jos., B.J., ii., 17, 6. O. Holtzmann, Neutest. Zeitgeschichte, p. 83, speaks of Drusilla as a worthy sister of Bernice: he might have said the same of the other sister, Mariamne, since she too left her husband for the wealth of Demetrius, the Jewish Alabarch of Alexandria, Jos., Ant., xx., 7, 3.— ἀσπασόμενοι, see critical note. No doubt an official visit of congratulation paid by Agrippa as a Roman vassal upon the procurator’s entry on his office. The future participle makes the sense quite easy, but if we read the aorist it looks as if Agrippa and Bernice had previously saluted Felix, and afterwards came to his official residence, Cæsarea. Rendall includes in κατήντησαν not only the notion of arrival but also of settling down for a stay short or long: “came to stay at Cæsarea and saluted Felix” (aorist), but see Simcox, Language of the N. T., p. 125.


Verse 14

Acts 25:14. ἀνέθετο: only in Luke and Paul, cf. Galatians 2:2. “Laid Paul’s case before the king,” R.V., cf. 2 Maccabees 3:9, and instances in Wetstein, Galatians 2:2. In the middle voice the idea is that of relating with a view to consulting, so here (cf. Acts 25:20; Acts 25:26, Lightfoot on Galatians 2:2); it was natural for Festus thus to consult Agrippa, see above on Acts 25:13.


Verse 15

Acts 25:15. ἀρχ. καὶ οἱ πρεσβ., see on Acts 25:2.— ἐνεφάνισαν, see Acts 25:21.— δίκην, see critical note. If we read καταδίκην = “sentence,” R.V., i.e., of condemnation; LXX, Symm., Psalms 89:3, Wisdom of Solomon 12:27; so in Polyb., xxvi., 5, 1.


Verse 16

Acts 25:16. ἔθος, see Acts 6:14.— χαρίζ., p. 489.— πρὶν ἔχοι, cf. Luke 2:26, the only two passages where a finite verb occurs after πρίν in N. T., see further Burton, pp. 52, 129, 133, and Plummer, Luke, l. c.κατὰ πρόσωπον, see on Acts 3:13.— τόπον: “opportunity,” Romans 15:23, Ephesians 4:27, Hebrews 12:17, Sirach 4:5, cf. Jos., Ant., xvi., 8, 5 (Polyb., i., 88, 2).


Verse 17

Acts 25:17. ἀναβ. μηδ. ποιησάμενος, Acts 24:22, for the phrase see Thuc., ii., 42; Plut., Camill., 35, and Wetstein, in loco.


Verse 18

Acts 25:18. οὐδ. αἰτίαν ἐπέφ.: classical, cf. Thuc., v., 76; Herod., i., 26, so in Polyb. and Jos., but see critical note.— αἰτίαν: criminis delatio, accusatio, and so in Acts 25:27; see for various meanings Grimm, sub v.ὑπενόουν: possibly he supposed that there were to be some charges of political disturbance or sedition like that which had recently given rise to such bloody scenes and a conflict between Greeks and Jews in the streets of Cæsarea. St. Chrys., Hom., well emphasises the way in which the charges against Paul had repeatedly broken down.


Verse 19

Acts 25:19. ζητήματατινα: plural contemptuously (Weiss).— δεισιδαιμονίας, see on Acts 17:22, “religion,” R.V.: in addressing a Jewish king Felix would not have used the term offensively, especially when we consider the official relation of Agrippa to the Jewish religion (see above, Acts 25:13), but he may well have chosen the word because it was a neutral word (verbum μέσον, Bengel) and did not commit him to anything definite.— περί τινος .: we note again the almost contemptuous, or at least indifferent, tone of Festus. At the same time this and the similar passage Acts 18:15 are proofs of the candour of St. Luke in quoting testimonies of this kind from men of rank: in this “aristocratic ignorance of the Roman” Zeller sees a trait taken from life, so in Agrippa’s answer to Paul’s urgency, Acts 26:28. Festus does not even deign to mention the kind of death (but he accepts the fact of the death as certain); “crucem aut nescivit, aut non curavit,” Bengel; see further Luckock, Footsteps of the Apostles as traced by St. Luke, ii., p. 269.— ἔφασκεν: with the notion of groundless affirmation, “alleging”; see Page, in loco, and Meyer on Romans 1:22 (Revelation 2:2). Blass and Knabenbauer take it as = dictitabat.


Verse 20

Acts 25:20. ἀπορούμενος δὲ: “being perplexed how to inquire concerning,” R.V., omitting εἰς, the verb ἀπορ. talking a direct accusative. See above on Acts 2:12. Festus might have truly said that he was perplexed, as he still was, concerning Paul, and it is possible that the positive motive assigned for his action in Acts 25:9 was an honest attempt on his part to get more definite information at Jerusalem than he would obtain in Cæsarea—but we know how St. Paul viewed his question. On the other hand he may have wished to conceal his real motive (Weiss).


Verse 21

Acts 25:21. ἐπικ. τηρηθῆναι αὐτὸν: on the construction after words of request or command of the infinitive passive see Simcox, Language of the N. T., p. 121, and also Blass, Gram., p. 222.— εἰς τὴν τοῦ σεβαστοῦ διάγνωσιν: “for the decision of the Emperor,” R.V., “the Augustus,” margin; cf. Acts 24:22, and for the noun Wisdom of Solomon 3:18.— σεβ.: here and in Acts 25:25 rendered “Emperor,” R.V.—the title Augustus, A.V., might lead to confusion. The Cæsar Augustus in Luke 2:1 was Octavian, upon whom the title of Augustus was first conferred, Suet., Aug(394), 7, B.C. 27. The title was inherited by his successors, and thus it is ascribed to Nero here and in Acts 25:25. The divine sacredness which the title seemed to confer (cf. its Greek form, and the remark of Dio Cassius, liii., 16, 18, that Augustus took the title as being himself something more than human) excited the scruples of Tiberius, but succeeding emperors appear to have adopted it without hesitation.— πέμψω, see critical notes; the reading ἀναπέμψω would mean, literally, “till I should send him up,” i.e., to a higher authority, cf. Luke 23:7, where it is used of “referring” to another jurisdiction, and in Acts 25:11; Acts 25:15, of “sending back” (Philemon 1:12); see Plummer’s note. For the use of this word in its technical sense of sending to a higher authority (as it is used in Plut., Phil., Jos., Polyb.) see further instances from inscriptions, Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien, ii., 56. The verb is only used by Luke and Paul.— καίσαρα: in N.T. the name is always official, never personal. It was first assumed as an official title by Octavius, the nephew of Julius Cæsar (see above), who doubtless took it on account of the fame of his uncle, and as a name not likely to be hated and despised by the Romans like that of “king”. After the death of Gaius Cæsar, the last of the Julian stock, it was adopted by Claudius and by succeeding emperors, Tac., Hist., ii., 80, until the third century, when the title Augustus was reserved for the supreme ruler, and that of Cæsar was adopted for those who shared his government as his possible heirs, as earlier still it had been conferred upon the heir presumptive: “Cæsar,” Hastings’ B.D. and B.D.2.


Verse 22

Acts 25:22. ἐβουλόμην καὶ αὐτὸς: “I also was wishing to hear the man myself,” R.V., margin, imperfect, as of a wish entertained for some time; it was probable from Agrippa’s position, and his official relationship to Judaism, that he would have been already interested in Paul. Bethge takes it as if it meant that a strong desire had been already awakened by the governor’s statement to hear Paul, see also Winer-Moulton, xli. a, 2; but it is most usual to explain the imperfect here (without ἄν) rather than the direct present as used out of politeness, softening the request, “I should like,” Burton, p. 16, Page, in loco; Lightfoot, On a Fresh Revision, etc., p. 16. Calvin strangely takes the imperfect to mean that Agrippa had long cherished the wish to hear Paul, but had checked it hitherto, lest he should seem to have come with any other motive than to see Festus.— αὔριον: emphatic (and emphasised by φησίν), indicating the immediate compliance with Agrippa’s wish.


Verse 23

Acts 25:23. φαντασίας, Polyb., xv., 25, 15, etc.; Diod. Sic., xii., 83, and instances in Wetstein, cf. Herod., vii., 10. φαντάζεσθαι (Page); “in eadem urbe, in qua pater ipsorum a vermibus corrosus ob superbiam perierat” (Wetstein). The word here in the description may point to the presence of an eyewitness (Plumptre).— τὸ ἀκροατήριον: auditorium, but the article need not be pressed, as here the word may simply imply the chamber used on this occasion; it would scarcely have been the place of formal trial, as this was not in question.— χιλιάρχοις: there were five cohorts stationed at Cæsarea, Jos., B.J., iii., 4, 2, but see the remarks of Belser, Beiträge, pp. 138–140.— ἀνδράσι τοῖς κατʼ ἐξοχὴν: evidently from the context to be regarded as heathen. Both Jew and heathen in Cæsarea had equal civil rights, and had to conduct the public affairs in common; the expression here used does not mean that Jews were excluded from the government, although it is quite in accordance with the fact of the preponderating Gentile element mentioned by Josephus, B.J., iii., 9, 1; Schürer, Jewish People, div. ii., vol. i., p. 86, note, E.T.— κατʼ ἐξοχήν: here only in N.T., not in classical Greek in this sense; primarily of any prominence, cf. LXX, Job 39:28, ἐξόχως, 3 Maccabees 5:31; cf. for its meaning here Cic., Ad Att., iv., 15, 7, in classical Greek ἔξοχος; for the phrase, Winer-Moulton, li., 2, g.


Verse 24

Acts 25:24. βασιλεῦ, see above on p. 495.— συμπαρόντες: only here in N.T., cf. Wisdom of Solomon 9:10, Tobit 12:12 (395) (396).— πᾶν τὸ πλ.: the statement is not in the least inconsistent with Acts 25:2; Acts 25:7; Acts 25:15. In Jerusalem at all events it is easily intelligible that a noisy crowd would second the actual accusers, cf. Acts 17:5-6, while in connection with Cæsarea we know from the latter years of the government of Felix how bitter the Jews were against the Gentiles, and how natural it would be for them to oppose the Apostle of the Gentiles, Jos., B. J., ii., 13, 7; Ant., xx., 8, 7.— ἐνέτυχόν μοι: “made suit to me,” R.V., Wisdom of Solomon 8:20, 3 Maccabees 6:37, so in Plut., Pomp., 55, cf. Polyc., Martyr., xvii., 2, with dative only; it is used also of those making complaint before some authority, 1 Maccabees 8:32; 1 Maccabees 10:61; 1 Maccabees 11:35, 2 Maccabees 4:36, see Westcott on Hebrews 7:25. The verb with the exception of Hebrews 7:25 and text is only found in Romans 8:27; Romans 8:34; Romans 11:2, in each place of making supplication to God. For its use cf. ἔντευξις and ἐντυχία, of making request to one in authority, cf. Deissmann, Bibelstudien, i., pp. 117, 118, 143, 144, e.g., the frequent formula on the papyri, ἔντευξις εἰς τὸ τοῦ βασιλέως ὄνομα. Clemen regards the whole speech of Festus to Agrippa, Acts 25:24-27, as an interpolation on account of the repetition of Acts 25:21 in Acts 25:25, and of the contradiction supposed to exist between Acts 25:27; Acts 25:19. But Jüngst differs from him with regard to the latter point, and although admitting the hand of a reviser freely in the first speech, and also in Acts 25:14-21, he hesitates to define the revision too exactly in the latter speech.


Verse 25

Acts 25:25. καταλαβόμενος, cf. Acts 4:13 and Acts 10:34; Ephesians 3:18.— τὸν σ.: “sanctius hoc nomen erat quam Cæsar,” Blass.— αὐτοῦ δὲ τούτου, cf. Acts 24:15, Thuc., vi., 33 (Wetstein).


Verse 26

Acts 25:26. ἀσφαλές τι γράψαι, Dig., xlix., 6. “Post appellationem interpositam litteræ dandæ sunt ab eo, a quo appellatum est, ad eum qui de appellatione cogniturus est, sive principem, sive quem alium, quas litt. dimissorias sive Apostolos appellant” (Wetstein and Blass).— τῷ κυρίῳ: title refused by Augustus and Tiberius because it savoured too much of the relationship between a master and a slave, and perhaps because it seemed a title more fitting to God (as Wetstein explains it), cf. Suet., Aug(397), 53, Tiber., 27, and Tacitus, Ann., ii., 87. It was accepted by Caligula and succeeding emperors (cf. Pliny’s Letter to Trajan with the frequent Dominus), although Alexander Severus forbade it to be applied to him; for other instances, and instances on inscriptions, see Wetstein, in loco, Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien, 44, and Bibelstudien, 77, 78, and Tert(398), Apol., 34, Polyc., Martyr., viii., 2, ix. 2, who refused to utter it with reference to Cæsar. For the due significance of the word in St. Luke, who uses it more frequently of Christ than the other Evangelists, see especially Wetstein, in loco.— ἀνακρίσεως: here not in its strictly legal and judicial sense of a preliminary inquiry, but an inquiry into the case, cf. Acts 25:22 (Acts 4:9), with a view to sending a report to the emperor as judge, Renan, Saint Paul, p. 544, and Zöckler, in loco. Festus knew what the charges were, but not their significance, and he hoped to obtain some definite information from Agrippa or Paul—he wanted something ἀσφαλές; Paul had contradicted the charge of treason, and what was left, Acts 25:19, seemed full of obscurity and absurdity.


Verse 27

Acts 25:27. ἄλογον, cf. Thuc., vi., 85, Xen., Ages., xi., 1 (elsewhere in N.T., 2 Peter 2:12, Judges 1:10, cf. Wisdom of Solomon 11:15-16, 3 Maccabees 5:40 (A om.), 4 Maccabees 14:14; 4 Maccabees 14:18). It would seem from the verse that the procurator was not bound to send the litteræ dimissoriæ (O. Holtzmann).— πέμποντα: for construction cf. Hebrews 2:10, or the expression may be quite general “that any one sending,” etc.— σημᾶναι: here per litteras significare, as in classical Greek (Wetstein). This decisive turn given to events by Paul’s appeal is regarded by Weizsäcker (Apostolic Age, ii., 124, E.T.) as the most certain event in the whole history of the case; Paul as a prisoner could only be taken to Rome if he was to be brought before the emperor’s court, and this had to be done if he invoked such intervention. On Zeller’s and Weizsäcker’s attempt to see in the appearance of Paul before Agrippa a mere repetition of the episode of our Lord before Annas cf. Spitta’s reply, Apostelgeschichte, p. 281.

 


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Bibliography Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Acts 25:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/acts-25.html. 1897-1910.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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