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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Acts 25

 

 

Verses 1-12

Acts 25:1-12. Trial before Festus.—Of Festus little is known, but nothing unfavourable. Here he appears as a conscientious magistrate, who keeps everyone in his proper place and does not allow the course of justice to be unduly delayed. Mommsen in ZNTW, 1901, p. 81, finds the account of Paul's trials before Felix and Festus, in spite of some editorial touches, to be quite in accordance with Roman legal form, and says that in this report alone is a case of appeal to the Emperor placed before us in living reality. The new procurator having entered on his office (Acts 25:1 mg.) there is an end of the long delay. The animosity of the Jews against Paul is unabated after the two years. To their application (Acts 25:3) Festus replies by pointing out their proper legal course; "those who are of power" (Acts 25:5) means those who had a right to appear at Cæsarea. This takes place without delay, the Jews from Jerusalem standing round Paul and making their charges. If the nature of these can be inferred from Paul's answer in Acts 25:8, they were identical with those made in the Temple (Acts 21:28), together with a general one of disloyalty. The Asiatic Jews of the Temple being absent, there was a want of evidence for all this, and Paul denies their statements. Festus then puts to him what the Jews asked for. Will he agree to a trial at Jerusalem at which he. the procurator, will preside? Paul is aware (they have no doubt made it plain) that it is his death and nothing less that the Jews desire; and that to take him to Jerusalem is virtually to hand him over to those who have already sentenced him. He does not seek to escape from death if he deserves it, but if their charges are without substance, he pleads, no one is entitled to make a present of him to them, as they asked (Acts 25:3). He insists on his rights as a Roman citizen to be tried in the Emperor's court. The appeal to Cæsar is formally made, and after Festus has consulted with his assessors (Acts 25:23*), is formally allowed.


Verses 13-22

Acts 25:13-22. Agrippa and Bernice: Interest of Agrippa in Paul.—Agrippa was seventeen years old when his father died (Acts 12:23). He obtained from Claudius and Nero certain territories in the N. of Palestine, but he had little power of action. He built largely at Cæsarea Philippi and at Berytus (Aleppo), and was not much interested in religious matters. Bernice was his sister, the sister also of Drusilla. After living many years with her brother she excited the admiration of Titus and lived with him at Rome. The private conversation of Festus and Agrippa (Acts 25:14-22) was probably given by the writer of the source, who was acquainted with the principles of Roman law, and made it up very correctly. Festus gives his view of the case publicly in Acts 25:23-27. In Acts 25:3 the Jews asked that Paul might be sent to Jerusalem; here, that sentence of condemnation might be given against him. The maxim of Acts 25:16 is to be found in the Roman Digests, xlviii. 171. Festus' account (Acts 25:17 ff.) shows that there was no delay on his part; the charges which he reports are not those against which Paul protests in Acts 25:8 but rather those of the Sanhedrin meeting in Acts 23:1-9.

Acts 25:20. Translate: "and as I knew little about such disputes."

Acts 25:21. Note mg.


Verses 23-27

Acts 25:23-27. Paul Placed before Agrippa.—Festus probably lived in Herod's palace at Cæsarea, which would contain a large court-room for judicial proceedings, the "place of hearing." The officers of rank and the leading people of Cæsarea are taken by Mommsen to make up the council which Festus consulted (Acts 25:12), and Agrippa is also allowed to be connected with that body. Festus states the case again, but shortly: he confesses himself to be at a loss how to write the letter with which a prisoner appealing to a higher court had to be accompanied (Digests, xlix. 6).

Acts 25:26. my lord (Kyrios): the emperors from Caligula downwards accept the title by which Oriental monarchs were addressed, and which Augustus and Tiberius had refused. The words "after examination had" (Acts 25:26) represent the following scene as a quasi-judicial inquiry, not merely the diversion of a court. But the hearing of Paul by Agrippa may have been found existing by itself and adopted by our author in spite of the fact that the same matter has been given twice already in his book.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Acts 25:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/acts-25.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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