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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Acts 24

 

 

Verses 1-9

Acts 24:1-9. Hearing before Felix: Speech for the Prosecution.—It would take five days (1) for the summons of Lysias (Acts 23:30) to be acted on, and the prosecutors to travel down. The High Priest and some elders appear, to sustain a judgment they have not yet passed (cf. Acts 24:6-8 mg., which may well be the true text) with an orator acquainted with the practice of Roman courts. Information is laid against Paul; Paul is called before the court, or the case is called in court (Acts 24:2), and counsel appears for the prosecution. His speech is given in short; his compliments to the procurator (who had in truth done much to suppress piracy; what other evils we do not know), his desire to be brief, then the charge and the suggestion that the facts will come out in the examination of Paul himself. The charge is that of sedition, disturbance of order, and an offence against the Temple. He is a pest; he has created disorder all over the world; he is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazoreans.


Verses 10-21

Acts 24:10-21. Paul's Speech.—Paul does not speak till the procurator invites him to do so, according to the necessary order of all judicial proceedings. His speech is not quite so "fine" as that of Tertullus, yet while strictly to the point, as was necessary in the circumstances, it is full of elegant turns which have to some extent confused the scribes, so that the text is at some points uncertain. Felix has been for many years procurator; no further compliment is paid him.

The twelve days of Acts 24:11 are apparently the sum of the seven days of Acts 21:27, and the five of Acts 24:1. But a few more must be added (Acts 21:17-18; Acts 21:26, Acts 23:11). Paul's visit to Jerusalem was made from a religious motive, and he was not involved in any disturbance or debate there, in Temple or synagogue or street. The accusations are denied, as incapable of proof; except that which charges him with belonging to a sect. He calls it "the Way," the method, and claims that it does not prevent him from being a good Jew, nor from believing all that is contained in the Law and the Prophets, nor from the belief of the Pharisees, who are accusing him, in the coming resurrection of just and unjust. His principles are those of all good Jews, and he has striven to act up to them (Acts 24:16). He then speaks (Acts 24:17) of the errand which after an absence of years brought him to Jerusalem, of which in all the exciting days there no mention was made. Having come to Jerusalem with alms and offerings for his people, he was quietly discharging in the Temple, in the course of that undertaking, a vow of purification; here the grammar breaks down; he thinks of the Jews of Asia (Acts 21:27) who raised the outcry against him, and they are left without a verb to say what they did; they should have been present before Felix to substantiate the charges they made. The Pharisees who appear as his accusers were not present, but they had him before them in the Sanhedrin. Can they bring any charge against him on the ground of what took place there? On one point perhaps they can; the apostle apologises for having said he was being tried for believing in the resurrection (Acts 23:6), which shows the artificial nature of this speech and of the part of the narrative on which it is based.


Verses 10-22

Acts 24:22 f. Felix Adjourns the Case.—The clause "having more exact knowledge concerning the Way" may be due to the editor, who tends to exhibit Roman officials as favourable to the cause (Preuschen). It was necessary, of course, that the tribune should be heard on the matter.


Verses 24-27

Acts 24:24-27. Paul and Felix.—Drusilla was the third daughter of Agrippa (Acts 12:1); and Felix had taken her from her husband Azizus of Emesa. She was his third wife, and all three were queens. The marriage was still recent, and Paul's preaching of temperance and judgment would touch them. Other hearings took place; but the delay in the case is set down to another motive than interest in the preaching. The trial of Paul seems to be the date from which the two years (Acts 24:27) are reckoned; two reasons being given for the long delay. Felix's last thought on leaving is to win favour from the Jews; which he much needed. The Syriac gives an additional motive for leaving Paul in prison; it was done on account of Drusilla.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Acts 24:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/acts-24.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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