1–6. Three days after Festus arrived. He was the new governor of Judea. He went to Jerusalem to confer with the Jewish leaders. Brought their charges. The Jewish leaders wanted Paul transferred to Jerusalem, so they could kill him. In fact, Paul would never have reached Jerusalem. Festus answered. He intends to keep Paul at Caesarea. They must come there to make their accusations. Of course, Festus knew nothing of the plot to kill Paul.
7–12. When Paul arrived. The accused had to face his accusers. This was Roman law. Many serious charge against him. The Jewish leaders had probably come along with Festus back to Caesarea. Their accusations are about the same as those to Felix. (1) Teaching a new and illegal religion: (2) defiling the temple; (3) leading riots against the Roman authorities. We infer these from Paul’s defence in Acts 25:8. To gain favor. He was just beginning his rule as governor. Since Paul was a Roman, Festus could not send him to his enemies in Jerusalem unless Paul would agree to it. Festus may have thought, also, that Paul would appeal to Rome as he did, thus taking the whole matter off his hands. Before the Emperor’s own judgment court. Paul uses his legal right to appeal as a Roman citizen. This law was to protect Romans against corrupt governors, etc. They could ask that their case be transferred to the Imperial Court in Rome. After conferring with his advisers. What Festus says, is probably an official legal statement. This appeal by Paul implies his mistrust of Festus.
13–22. King Agrippa and Bernice. This is Herod Agrippa II and his sister Bernice. Drusilla, the wife of Festus, was also their sister. This man became king when his father, Herod Agrippa I died (Acts 12:23). Bernice was beautiful, and had been married twice before Paul ever saw her. An incestuous relationship is implied between she and her brother; later she was to be the “mistress” of both Vespasian and Titus in turn. A visit of welcome to Festus. To greet the new governor. Festus explained Paul’s situation to the King. He did this for advice. He knew little of Jewish customs, and he could see no guilt in Paul. King Agrippa was himself a Jew, and would understand the real cause of the problem. About their own religion. Festus had expected them to accuse Paul of crimes punishable by Roman law. But they were not able to prove anything (Acts 25:7). But Paul appealed. Paul used his legal rights as a Roman to protect his life from those Jews who wanted to kill him. This appeal was a “blessing in disguise” (see Acts 28:16). Agrippa said to Festus. What he says in the Greek Implies he had wanted to hear Paul for some time.
23–27. The next day. Luke writes as one who saw it all take place. Note who all is there, and compare Acts 9:15. Paul was brought in. He is the preacher, and his congregation contains some of the most powerful and influential men and women of the whole area. This shows God’s providence at work. We read Paul’s sermon in the next chapter. Festus said. This is a court of law. Festus gives the charges against Paul: (1) You see this man; (2) the Jewish people... scream that he should not live; (3) I could not find... he deserved the death sentence; (4) he himself made an appeal to the Emperor; (5) I do not have anything... to write to the Emperor; (6) So I have brought him here before you. Festus and others like him found it very difficult to decide how to deal with Christians. They could find no real reason to oppose them, and their sense of “fair play” made them nervous about it all. Yet they wanted to keep the good will of all the people, which included these Jewish leaders and such men as Demetrius (Acts 19).
These files are public domain.
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Acts 25". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany