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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
Acts 25

 

 

Verse 1

Having come into the province (επιβας τηι επαρχειαιepibas tēi eparcheiāi). Second aorist active participle of επιβαινωepibainō to set foot upon. Literally, “Having set foot upon his province.” ΕπαρχειαEparcheia is a late word for province, in N.T. only here and Acts 23:34. Judea was not strictly a province, but a department (Page) of the province of Syria which was under a propraetor (λεγατυς Χαεσαριςlegatus Caesaris) while Judea was under a procurator (επιτροποςepitropos).

After three days (μετα τρεις ημεραςmeta treis hēmeras). So in Acts 28:17 in Rome. That is on the third day, with a day of rest in between. Precisely the language used of the resurrection of Jesus “after three days” = “on the third day.” So by common usage then and now.


Verse 2

The principal men (οι πρωτοιhoi prōtoi). The first men, the leading men of the city, besides the chief priests. In Acts 25:15 we have “the chief priests and the elders.” These chief men among the Jews would desire to pay their respects to the new Procurator on his first visit to Jerusalem. There was another high priest now, Ishmael in place of Ananias.

Informed him against Paul (ενεπανισαν αυτωι κατα του Παυλουenephanisan autōi kata tou Paulou). “This renewal of the charge after two years, on the very first opportunity, is a measure, not only of their unsleeping hatred, but of the importance which they attached to Paul‘s influence” (Furneaux).

Besought (παρεκαλουνparekaloun). Imperfect active, kept on beseeching as a special favour to the Jews.


Verse 3

Asking favour against him (αιτουμενοι χαριν κατ αυτουaitoumenoi charin kat' autou). A favour to themselves (middle voice), not to Paul, but “against” (κατkat' down, against) him.

That he would send for (οπως μεταπεμπσηταιhopōs metapempsētai). First aorist middle subjunctive of μεταπεμπωmetapempō (See note on Acts 24:24, and Acts 24:26) with final particle οπωςhopōs like ιναhina Aorist tense for single case.

Laying wait (ενεδραν ποιουντεςenedran poiountes). See note on Acts 23:16 for the word ενεδραenedra Old idiom (Thucydides) for laying a plot or ambush as here. Only these two uses of ενεδραenedra in N.T. Two years before the Sanhedrin had agreed to the plot of the forty conspirators. Now they propose one on their own initiative.

On the way (κατα την οδονkata tēn hodon). Down along, up and down along the way. Plenty of opportunity would occur between Caesarea and Jerusalem for ambush and surprise attacks.


Verse 4

Howbeit (μεν ουνmen oun). No antithesis expressed, though Page considers δεde in Acts 25:6 to be one. They probably argued that it was easier for one man (Paul) to come to Jerusalem than for many to go down there. But Festus was clearly suspicious (Acts 25:6) and was wholly within his rights to insist that they make their charges in Caesarea where he held court.

Was kept in charge (τηρεισταιtēreisthai). Present passive infinitive of τηρεωtēreō in indirect assertion. οτιHoti with finite verb is more common after αποκρινομαιapokrinomai but the infinitive with the accusative of general reference is proper as here (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1036).

Shortly (εν ταχειen tachei). In quickness, in speed. Old and common usage, seen already in Luke 18:8; Acts 12:7; Acts 22:18. Festus is clearly within his rights again since his stay in Caesarea had been so brief. He did go down in “eight or ten days” (Acts 25:6). Luke did not consider the matter important enough to be precise.


Verse 5

Them therefore which are of power among you (οι ουν εν υμιν δυνατοιhoi oun en humin dunatoi). “The mighty ones among you,” “the men of power” (δυνατοιdunatoi) and authority, “the first men,” the Sanhedrin, in other words. Note change here by Luke from indirect discourse in Acts 25:4, to direct in Acts 25:5 (πησινphēsin says he).

Go down with me (συνκαταβαντεςsunkatabantes). Double compound (συν καταsunσυνκαταβαινωkata) second aorist active participle of ει τι εστιν εν τωι ανδρι ατοπονsunkatabainō It was a fair proposal.

If there is anything amiss in the man (Ατοπονei ti estin en tōi andri atopon). Condition of the first class, assuming that there is (to be courteous to them), but not committing himself on the merits of the case. κατηγορειτωσανAtopon is an old word, specially common in Plato, meaning “out of place.” In N.T. only here and Luke 23:41 which see; Acts 28:6; 2 Thessalonians 3:2. Note present tense active voice of κατηγορεωkatēgoreitōsan (imperative) of katēgoreō repeat their accusations.


Verse 6

On the morrow (τηι επαυριονtēi epaurion). Locative case of the article with ημεραιhēmerāi understood (επαυριονepaurion adverb, tomorrow). Festus lost no time for the chief men had come down with him.

Sat on the judgment seat (κατισας επι του βηματοςkathisas epi tou bēmatos). A legal formality to give weight to the decision. Ingressive aorist active participle. For this use of βημαbēma for judgment seat, see Matthew 27:19, John 19:13, Acts 12:21, Acts 18:12, Acts 25:10. Same phrase repeated in Acts 25:17.

To be brought (αχτηναιachthēnai). First aorist passive infinitive of αγωagō after εκελευσενekeleusen (commanded). Same words repeated in Acts 25:17 by Festus.


Verse 7

When he was come (παραγενομενου αυτουparagenomenou autou). Genitive absolute of common verb παραγινομαιparaginomai (cf. Acts 24:24).

Which had come down (οι καταβεβηκοτεςhoi katabebēkotes). Perfect active participle of καταβαινωkatabainō They had come down on purpose at the invitation of Festus (Acts 25:5), and were now ready.

Stood round about him (περιεστησαν αυτονperiestēsan auton). Second aorist (ingressive) active (intransitive) of περιιστημιperiistēmi old verb, “Took their stand around him,” “periculum intentantes ” (Bengel). Cf. Luke 23:10 about Christ. They have no lawyer this time, but they mass their forces so as to impress Festus.

Bringing against him (καταπεροντεςkatapherontes). Bearing down on. See note on Acts 20:9; and note on Acts 26:10, only N.T. examples of this ancient verb.

Many and grievous charges (πολλα και βαρεα αιτιωματαpolla kai barea aitiōmata). This word αιτιωμαaitiōma for old form αιτιαμαaitiama is found in one papyrus (Moulton and Milligan‘s Vocabulary) in sense of “blame.” But the charges were no “heavier” than those made by Tertullus (Acts 24:5-8). Paul‘s reply proves this and they were also probably on court record (Furneaux). See this adjective βαρυςbarus (heavy) used with λυκοιlukoi (wolves) in Acts 20:29.

Which they could not prove (α ουκ ισχυον αποδειχαιha ouk ischuon apodeixai). Imperfect active of ισχυωischuō to have strength or power as in Acts 19:16, Acts 19:20. Repetition and reiteration and vehemence took the place of proof (αποδειχαιapodeixai first aorist active infinitive of αποδεικνυμιapodeiknumi to show forth, old verb, in N.T. only here, Acts 2:22 which see and 1 Corinthians 4:9).


Verse 8

While Paul said in his defence (του Παυλου απολογουμενουtou Paulou apologoumenou). Genitive absolute again, present middle participle of απολογεομαιapologeomai old verb to make defence as in Acts 19:33; Acts 24:10; Acts 26:1, Acts 26:2. The recitative οτιhoti of the Greek before a direct quotation is not reproduced in English.

Have I sinned at all (τι ημαρτονtōi hēmarton). Constative aorist active indicative of αμαρτανωhamartanō to miss, to sin. The τιti is cognate accusative (or adverbial accusative). Either makes sense. Paul sums up the charges under the three items of law of the Jews, the temple, the Roman state (Caesar). This last was the one that would interest Festus and, if proved, would render Paul guilty of treason (μαεσταςmajestas). Nero was Emperor a.d. 54-68, the last of the emperors with any hereditary claim to the name “Caesar.” Soon it became merely a title like Kaiser and Czar (modern derivatives). In Acts only “Caesar” and “Augustus” are employed for the Emperor, not “King” (ασιλευςBasileus) as from the time of Domitian. Paul‘s denial is complete and no proof had been presented. Luke was apparently present at the trial.


Verse 9

Desiring to gain favour with the Jews (τελων τοις Ιουδαιοις χαριν κατατεσταιthelōn tois Ioudaiois charin katathesthai). Precisely the expression used of Felix by Luke in Acts 24:27 which see. Festus, like Felix, falls a victim to fear of the Jews.

Before me (επ εμουep' emou). Same use of επιepi with the genitive as in Acts 23:30; Acts 24:19, Acts 24:21. Festus, seeing that it was unjust to condemn Paul and yet disadvantageous to absolve him (Blass), now makes the very proposal to Paul that the rulers had made to him in Jerusalem (Acts 25:3). He added the words “επ εμουep' emou ” (before me) as if to insure Paul of justice. If Festus was unwilling to give Paul justice in Caesarea where his regular court held forth, what assurance was there that Festus would give it to him at Jerusalem in the atmosphere of intense hostility to Paul? Only two years ago the mob, the Sanhedrin, the forty conspirators had tried to take his life in Jerusalem. Festus had no more courage to do right than Felix, however plausible his language might sound. Festus also, while wanting Paul to think that he would in Jerusalem “be judged of these things before me,” in reality probably intended to turn Paul over to the Sanhedrin in order to please the Jews, probably with Festus present also to see that Paul received justice (με πρεσεντεme presente). Festus possibly was surprised to find that the charges were chiefly against Jewish law, though one was against Caesar. It was not a mere change of venue that Paul sensed, but the utter unwillingness of Festus to do his duty by him and his willingness to connive at Jewish vengeance on Paul. Paul had faced the mob and the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem, two years of trickery at the hands of Felix in Caesarea, and now he is confronted by the bland chicanery of Festus. It is too much, the last straw.


Verse 10

I am standing before Caesar‘s judgment-seat (εστως επι του βηματος Καισαρος ειμιHestōs epi tou bēmatos Kaisaros eimi). Periphrastic present perfect indicative (εστως ειμιhestōs eimi), second perfect participle εστωςhestōs of ιστημιhistōmi (intransitive). Paul means to say that he is a Roman citizen before a Roman tribunal. Festus was the representative of Caesar and had no right to hand him over to a Jewish tribunal. Festus recognized this by saying to Paul “wilt thou” (τελειςtheleis).

Where I ought to be judged (ου με δει κρινεσταιhou me dei krinesthai). Rather, “Where I must be judged,” for δειdei expresses necessity (it is necessary). Paul exposes the conduct of Festus with merciless precision.

As thou also very well knowest (ως και συ καλλιον επιγινωσκειςhōs kai su kallion epiginōskeis). “As thou also dost understand (hast additional knowledge, επιγινωσκειςepiginōskeis) better” (than thou art willing to admit). That this is Paul‘s meaning by the use of the comparative καλλιονkallion (positive καλωςkalōs) is made plain by the confession of Festus to Agrippa in Acts 25:18. Paul says that Festus knows that he has done no wrong to the Jews at all (ουδεν ηδικηκαouden ēdikēka) and yet he is trying to turn him over to the wrath of the Jews in Jerusalem.


Verse 11

If I am a wrong-doer (ει μεν ουν αδικωei men oun adikō). Condition of the first class with ειei and the present active indicative of αδικεωadikeō (αa privative and δικηdikē): “If I am in the habit of doing injustice,” assuming it to be true for the sake of argument.

And have committed anything worthy of death (και αχιον τανατου πεπραχαkai axion thanatou pepracha). Same condition with the difference in tense (πεπραχαpepracha perfect active indicative) of a single case instead of a general habit. Assuming either or both Paul draws his conclusion.

I refuse not to die (ου παραιτουμαι το αποτανεινou paraitoumai to apothanein). Old verb to ask alongside, to beg from, to deprecate, to refuse, to decline. See notes on Luke 14:18. Josephus (Life, 29) has thanein ou paraitoumai Here the articular second aorist active infinitive is in the accusative case the object of paraitoumai “I do not beg off dying from myself.”

But if none of these things is (τανειν ου παραιτουμαιei de ouden estin). παραιτουμαιDeuteronomy here is contrasted with ει δε ουδεν εστινmen just before. No word for “true” in the Greek. ΔεEstin (“is”) in the Greek here means “exists.” Same condition (first class, assumed as true).

Whereof these accuse me (μενhōn houtoi katēgorousin mou). Genitive of relative Εστινhon by attraction from ων ουτοι κατηγορουσιν μουha (accusative with ονkatēgorousin) to case of the unexpressed antecedent αtoutōn (“of these things”). κατηγορουσινMou is genitive of person after τουτωνkatēgorousin

No man can give me up to them (Μουoudeis me dunatai autois charisasthai). “Can” legally. Paul is a Roman citizen and not even Festus can make a free gift (κατηγορουσινcharisasthai) of Paul to the Sanhedrin.

I appeal unto Caesar (ουδεις με δυναται αυτοις χαρισασταιKaisara epikaloumai). Technical phrase like Latin Caesarem appello. Originally the Roman law allowed an appeal from the magistrate to the people (provocatio ad populum), but the emperor represented the people and so the appeal to Caesar was the right of every Roman citizen. Paul had crossed the Rubicon on this point and so took his case out of the hands of dilatory provincial justice (really injustice). Roman citizens could make this appeal in capital offences. There would be expense connected with it, but better that with some hope than delay and certain death in Jerusalem. Festus was no better than Felix in his vacillation and desire to curry favour with the Jews at Paul‘s expense. No doubt Paul‘s long desire to see Rome (Acts 19:21; Romans 15:22-28) and the promise of Jesus that he would see Rome (Acts 23:11) played some part in Paul‘s decision. But he made it reluctantly for he says in Rome (Acts 28:19): “I was constrained to appeal.” But acquittal at the hands of Festus with the hope of going to Rome as a free man had vanished.


Verse 12

When he had conferred with the council (συνλαλησας μετα του συμβουλιουsunlalēsas meta tou sumbouliou). The word συμβουλιονsumboulion in the N.T. usually means “counsel” as in Matthew 12:14, but here alone as an assembly of counsellors or council. But the papyri (Milligan and Moulton‘s Vocabulary) furnish a number of instances of this sense of the word as “council.” Here it apparently means the chief officers and personal retinue of the procurator, his assessors (ασσεσσορες χονσιλιαριιassessores consiliarii). These local advisers were a necessity. Some discretion was allowed the governor about granting the appeal. If the prisoner were a well-known robber or pirate, it could be refused.

Thou hast appealed unto Caesar (Καισαρα επικεκλησαιKaisara epikeklēsai). The same technical word, but the perfect tense of the indicative.

Unto Caesar thou shalt go (επι Καισαρα πορευσηιepi Kaisara poreusēi). Perhaps the volitive future (Robertson, Grammar, p. 874). Bengel thinks that Festus sought to frighten Paul with these words. Knowling suggests that “they may have been uttered, if not with a sneer, yet with the implication ‹thou little knowest what an appeal to Caesar means.‘” But embarrassment will come to Festus. He has refused to acquit this prisoner. Hence he must formulate charges against him to go before Caesar.


Verse 13

When certain days were passed (ημερων διαγενομενονHēmerōn diagenomenon). Genitive absolute of διαγινομαιdiaginomai to come between, “days intervening.”

Agrippa the King (Αγριππας ο βασιλευςAgrippas ho basileus). Agrippa II son of Agrippa I of Acts 12:20-23. On the death of Herod King of Chalcis a.d. 48, Claudius a.d. 50 gave this Herod Agrippa II the throne of Chalcis so that Luke is correct in calling him king, though he is not king of Judea. But he was also given by Claudius the government of the temple and the right of appointing the high priest. Later he was given also the tetrarchies of Philip and Lysanias. He was the last Jewish king in Palestine, though not king of Judea. He angered the Jews by building his palace so as to overlook the temple and by frequent changes in the high priesthood. He made his capital at Caesarea Philippi which he called Neronias in honour of Nero. Titus visited it after the fall of Jerusalem.

Bernice (ερνικηBernikē). He was her brother and yet she lived with him in shameful intimacy in spite of her marriage to her uncle Herod King of Chalcis and to Polemon King of Cilicia whom she left. Schuerer calls her both a Jewish bigot and a wanton. She afterwards became the mistress of Titus.

Arrived at Caesarea (κατηντησαν εις Καισαριανkatēntēsan eis Kaisarian). Came down (first aorist active of κατανταωkatantaō) to Caesarea from Jerusalem.

And saluted Festus (ασπασαμενοι τον Πηστονaspasamenoi ton Phēston). The Textus Receptus has ασπασομενοιaspasomenoi the future participle, but the correct text is the aorist middle participle ασπασαμενοιaspasamenoi which cannot possibly mean subsequent action as given in the Canterbury Revision “and saluted.” It can only mean contemporaneous (simultaneous) action “saluting” or antecedent action like the margin “having saluted.” But antecedent action is not possible here, so that simultaneous action is the only alternative. It is to be noted that the salutation synchronized with the arrival in Caesarea (note καταkata down, the effective aorist tense), not with the departure from Jerusalem, nor with the whole journey. Rightly understood the aorist participle here gives no trouble at all (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 861-3).


Verse 14

Tarried (διετριβονdietribon). Imperfect active of διατριβωdiatribō common verb for spending time (Acts 12:19, etc.).

Many days (πλειους ημεραςpleious hēmeras). More days (than a few). Accusative case for extent of time.

Laid Paul‘s case (ανετετο τα κατα τον Παυλονanetheto ta kata ton Paulon). Second aorist middle indicative of ανατιτημιanatithēmi old verb to set before, to place up, as if for consultation in conference. Only twice in N.T. here and Galatians 2:2. The motive of Festus is not given, though it was natural enough in view of the quandary of Festus about Paul (the things about Paul) and Agrippa‘s interest in and responsibility for Jewish worship in the temple in Jerusalem. It is quite possible that Festus had a bit of εννυιennui over the visit of these Jewish dignitaries as “more days” went by. Hence the tone of Festus about Paul in this proposal for the entertainment of Agrippa and Bernice is certainly one of superficial and supremely supercilious indifference.

Left a prisoner (καταλελιμμενος δεσμιοςkatalelimmenos desmios). Perfect passive participle of καταλειπωkataleipō to leave behind. Paul is one of Felix‘s left overs (left behind), a sort of “junk” left on his hands. This cowardly Roman procurator thus pictures the greatest of living men and the greatest preacher of all time to this profligate pair (brother and sister) of sinners. Undoubtedly today in certain circles Christ and his preachers are held up to like contempt.


Verse 15

Informed (ενεπανισανenephanisan). Same word as in Acts 23:15, Acts 23:22; Acts 25:2 which see.

Asking for sentence against him (αιτουμενοι κατ αυτου καταδικηνaitoumenoi kat' autou katadikēn). Only N.T. example of this old word (penalty, fine, condemnation) from καταkata and δικηdikē (justice against).


Verse 16

It is not the custom of the Romans (οτι ουκ εστιν ετος ωμαιοιςhoti ouk estin ethos Rōmaiois). If a direct quotation, οτιhoti is recitative as in Authorized Version. Canterbury Revision takes it as indirect discourse after απεκριτηνapekrithēn (I answered), itself in a relative clause (προς ουςpros hous) with the present tense (εστινestin is) preserved as is usual. There is a touch of disdain (Furneaux) in the tone of Festus. He may refer to a demand of the Jews before they asked that Paul be brought to Jerusalem (Acts 25:3). At any rate there is a tone of scorn towards the Jews.

Before that the accused have (πριν η ο κατηγορουμενος εχοιprin ē ho katēgoroumenos echoi). This use of the optative in this temporal clause with πριν ηprin ē instead of the subjunctive αν εχηιan echēi is in conformity with literary Greek and occurs only in Luke‘s writings in the N.T. (Robertson, Grammar, p. 970). This sequence of modes is a mark of the literary style occasionally seen in Luke. It is interesting here to note the succession of dependent clauses in Acts 25:14-16.

The accusers face to face (κατα προσωπον τους κατηγορουςkata prosōpon tous katēgorous). Same word κατηγοροςkatēgoros as in Acts 23:30, Acts 23:35; Acts 25:18. This all sounds fair enough.

And have had opportunity to make his defence concerning the matter laid against him (τοπον τε απολογιας λαβοι περι του εγκληματοςtopon te apologias laboi peri tou egklēmatos). Literally, “And should receive (λαβοιlaboi optative for same reason as εχοιechoi above, second aorist active of λαμβανωlambanō) opportunity for defence (objective genitive) concerning the charge” (εγκληματοςegklēmatos in N.T. only here and Acts 23:19 which see).


Verse 17

When they were come together here (συνελτοντων ενταδεsunelthontōn enthade). Genitive absolute of second aorist active participle of συνερχομαιsunerchomai but without αυτωνautōn (they), merely understood.

Delay (αναβοληνanabolēn). Old word from αναβαλλωanaballō only here in N.T.

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Verse 18

Brought (επερονepheron). Imperfect active of περωpherō referring to their repeated charges.

Of such evil things as I supposed (ων εγω υπενοουν πονηρωνhōn egō hupenooun ponērōn). Incorporation of the antecedent πονηρωνponērōn into the relative clause and change of the case of the relative from the accusative αha object of υπενοουνhupenooun to the genitive like πονηρωνponērōn (Robertson, Grammar, p. 719). Note the imperfect active υπενοουνhupenooun of υπονοεωhuponoeō to emphasize Festus‘s state of mind about Paul before the trial. This old verb only three times in the N.T. (here, Acts 13:25 which see; Acts 27:27).


Verse 19

But had (δε ειχονde eichon). Descriptive imperfect active of εχωechō and δεde of contrast (but).

Concerning their own religion (περι της ιδιας δεισιδαιμονιαςperi tēs idias deisidaimonias). See note on Acts 17:22 for discussion of this word. Festus would hardly mean “superstition,” whatever he really thought, because Agrippa was a Jew.

And of one Jesus (και περι τινος Ιησουkai peri tinos Iēsou). This is the climax of supercilious scorn toward both Paul and “one Jesus.”

Who was dead (τετνηκοτοςtethnēkotos). Perfect active participle of τνησκωthnēskō agreeing with ΙησουIēsou (genitive). As being dead.

Whom Paul affirmed to be alive (ον επασκεν ο Παυλος ζηινhon ephasken ho Paulos zēin). Imperfect active of πασκωphaskō old form of πημιphēmi to say, in the N.T. only here and Acts 24:9; Romans 1:22. Infinitive ζηινzēin in indirect discourse with ονhon (whom) the accusative of general reference. With all his top-loftical airs Festus has here correctly stated the central point of Paul‘s preaching about Jesus as no longer dead, but living.


Verse 20

Being perplexed (απορουμενοςaporoumenos). Present middle participle of the common verb απορεωaporeō (αa privative and ποροςporos way), to be in doubt which way to turn, already in Mark 6:20 which see and Luke 24:4. The Textus Receptus has ειςeis after here, but critical text has only the accusative which this verb allows (Mark 6:20) as in Thucydides and Plato.

How to inquire concerning these things (την περι τουτων ζητησινtēn peri toutōn zētēsin). Literally, “as to the inquiry concerning these things.” This is not the reason given by Luke in Acts 25:9 (wanting to curry favour with the Jews), but doubtless this motive also actuated Festus as both could be true.

Whether he would go to Jerusalem (ει βουλοιτο πορευεσται εις Ιεροσολυμαei bouloito poreuesthai eis Ierosoluma). Optative in indirect question after ελεγονelegon (asked or said) imperfect active, though the present indicative could have been retained with change of person: “Dost thou wish, etc.,” (ει βουληιei boulēi etc.). See Robertson, Grammar, pp. 1031, 1044. This is the question put to Paul in Acts 25:9 though τελειςtheleis is there used.


Verse 21

When Paul had appealed (του Παυλου επικαλεσαμενουtou Paulou epikalesamenou). Genitive absolute with first aorist middle participle of επικαλεομαιepikaleomai the technical word for appeal (Acts 25:11, Acts 25:12). The first aorist passive infinitive τηρητηναιtērēthēnai (to be kept) is the object of the participle.

For the decision of the emperor (εις την του Σεβαστου διαγνωσινeis tēn tou Sebastou diagnōsin). ΔιαγνωσινDiagnōsin (cf. διαγνωσομαιdiagnōsomai Acts 24:22, I will determine) is the regular word for a legal examination (χογνιτιοcognitio), thorough sifting (διαdia), here only in N.T. Instead of “the Emperor” it should be “the Augustus,” as ΣεβαστοςSebastos is simply the Greek translation of Augustus, the adjective (Revered, Reverent) assumed by Octavius b.c. 27 as the αγνομενagnomen that summed up all his various offices instead of Rex so offensive to the Romans having led to the death of Julius Caesar. The successors of Octavius assumed Augustus as a title. The Greek term ΣεβαστοςSebastos has the notion of worship (cf. σεβασμαsebasma in Acts Acts 17:25). In the N.T. only here, Acts 25:25; Acts 27:1 (of the legion). It was more imposing than “Caesar” which was originally a family name (always official in the N.T.) and it fell in with the tendency toward emperor-worship which later played such a large part in Roman life and which Christians opposed so bitterly. China is having a revival of this idea in the insistence on bowing three times to the picture of Sun-Yat-Sen.

Till I should send him to Caesar (εως αν αναπεμπσω αυτον προς Καισαραheōs an anapempsō auton pros Kaisara). Here αναπεμπσωanapempsō can be either future indicative or first aorist subjunctive (identical in first person singular), aorist subjunctive the usual construction with εωςheōs for future time (Robertson, Grammar, p. 876). Literally, “send up” (αναana) to a superior (the emperor). Common in this sense in the papyri and Koiné{[28928]}š writers. Here “Caesar” is used as the title of Nero instead of “Augustus” as ΚυριοςKurios (Lord) occurs in Acts 25:26.


Verse 22

I also could wish (εβουλομην και αυτοςeboulomēn kai autos). The imperfect for courtesy, rather than the blunt βουλομαιboulomai I wish, I want. Literally, “I myself also was wishing” (while you were talking), a compliment to the interesting story told by Festus. The use of ανan with the imperfect would really mean that he does not wish (a conclusion of the second class condition, determined as unfulfilled). ΑνAn with the optative would show only a languid desire. The imperfect is keen enough and yet polite enough to leave the decision with Festus if inconvenient for any reason (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 885-7). Agrippa may have heard much about Christianity.


Verse 23

When Agrippa was come and Bernice (ελτοντος του Αγριππα και της ερνικηςelthontos tou Agrippa kai tēs Bernikēs). Genitive absolute, the participle agreeing in number and gender (masculine singular, ελτοντοςelthontos) with ΑγριππαAgrippa ερνικηςBernikēs being added as an afterthought.

With great pomp (μετα πολλης παντασιαςmeta pollēs phantasias). ΠαντασιαPhantasia is a Koiné{[28928]}š word (Polybius, Diodorus, etc.) from the old verb πανταζωphantazō (Hebrews 12:21) and it from παινωphainō common verb to show, to make an appearance. This is the only N.T. example of παντασιαphantasia though the kindred common word παντασμαphantasma (appearance) occurs twice in the sense of apparition or spectre (Matthew 14:26; Mark 6:49). Herodotus (VII. 10) used the verb πανταζωphantazō for a showy parade. Festus decided to gratify the wish of Agrippa by making the “hearing” of Paul the prisoner (Acts 25:22) an occasion for paying a compliment to Agrippa (Rackham) by a public gathering of the notables in Caesarea. Festus just assumed that Paul would fall in with this plan for a grand entertainment though he did not have to do it.

Into the place of hearing (εις το ακροατηριονeis to akroatērion). From ακροαομαιakroaomai (to be a hearer) and, like the Latin auditorium, in Roman law means the place set aside for hearing, and deciding cases. Here only in the N.T. Late word, several times in Plutarch and other Koiné{[28928]}š writers. The hearing was “semi-official” (Page) as is seen in Acts 25:26.

With the chief captains (συν τε χιλιαρχοιςsun te chiliarchois). ΧιλιαρχςChiliarchs each a leader of a thousand. There were five cohorts of soldiers stationed in Caesarea.

And the principal men of the city (και ανδρασιν τοις κατ εχοχηνkai andrasin tois kat' exochēn). The use of κατ εχοχηνkat' exochēn like our French phrase par excellence, occurs here only in the N.T., and not in the ancient Greek, but it is found in inscriptions of the first century a.d. (Moulton and Milligan‘s Vocabulary). ΕχοχηExochē in medical writers is any protuberance or swelling. Cf. our phrase “outstanding men.”

At the command of Festus (κελευσαντος του Πηστουkeleusantos tou Phēstou). Genitive absolute again, “Festus having commanded.”


Verse 24

Which are here present with us (οι συνπαροντες ημινhoi sunparontes hēmin). Present articular participle of συνπαρειμιsunpareimi (only here in N.T.) with associative instrumental case ημινhēmin

Made suit to me (ενετυχον μοιenetuchon moi). Second aorist active indicative of εντυγχανωentugchanō old verb to fall in with a person, to go to meet for consultation or supplication as here. Common in old Greek and Koiné{[28928]}š Cf. Romans 8:27, Romans 8:34. See εντευχιςenteuxis (petition) 1 Timothy 2:1. Papyri give many examples of the technical sense of εντευχιςenteuxis as petition (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 121). Some MSS. have plural here ενετυχονenetuchon rather than the singular ενετυχενenetuchen

Crying (βοωντεςboōntes). Yelling and demanding with loud voices.

That he ought not to live any longer (μη δειν αυτον ζηιν μηκετιmē dein auton zēin mēketi). Indirect command (demand) with the infinitive δεινdein for δειdei (it is necessary). The double negative (μημηκετιmē̇̇mēketi) with ζηινzēin intensifies the demand.


Verse 25

But I found (εγω δε κατελαβομηνegō de katelabomēn). Second aorist middle of καταλαμβανωkatalambanō to lay hold of, to grasp, to comprehend as in Acts 4:13; Acts 10:34.

That he had committed nothing worthy of death (μηδεν αχιον αυτον τανατου πεπραχεναιmēden axion auton thanatou peprachenai). Perfect active infinitive of πρασσωprassō in indirect assertion with negative μηmē and accusative αυτονauton of general reference, the usual idiom. Acts 25:25 repeats the statement in Acts 25:21, perhaps for the benefit of the assembled dignitaries.


Verse 26

No certain thing (ασπαλες τιουasphales tōi̇̇ou). Nothing definite or reliable (αa privative, σπαλλωsphallō to trip). All the charges of the Sanhedrin slipped away or were tripped up by Paul. Festus confesses that he had nothing left and thereby convicts himself of gross insincerity in his proposal to Paul in Acts 25:9 about going up to Jerusalem. By his own statement he should have set Paul free. The various details here bear the marks of the eyewitness. Luke was surely present and witnessed this grand spectacle with Paul as chief performer.

Unto my lord (τωι κυριωιtōi kuriōi). Augustus (Octavius) and Tiberius refused the title of κυριοςkurios (lord) as too much like rex (king) and like master and slave, but the servility of the subjects gave it to the other emperors who accepted it (Nero among them). Antoninus Pius put it on his coins. Deissmann (Light from the Ancient East, p. 105) gives an ostracon dated Aug. 4, a.d. 63 with the words “in the year nine of Nero the lord” (ενατου Νερωνος του κυριουenatou Nerōnos tou kuriou). Deissmann (op. cit., pp. 349ff.) runs a most interesting parallel “between the cult of Christ and the cult of Caesar in the application of the term κυριοςkurios lord” in ostraca, papyri, inscriptions. Beyond a doubt Paul has all this fully in mind when he says in 1 Corinthians 12:3 that “no one is able to say Κυριος ΙησουςKurios Iēsous except in the Holy Spirit” (cf. also Philemon 2:11). The Christians claimed this word for Christ and it became the test in the Roman persecutions as when Polycarp steadily refused to say “ Lord Caesar” and insisted on saying “Lord Jesus” when it meant his certain death.

Before you (επ υμωνeph' humōn). The whole company. In no sense a new trial, but an examination in the presence of these prominent men to secure data and to furnish entertainment and pleasure to Agrippa (Acts 25:22).

Especially before thee (μαλιστα επι σουmalista epi sou). Out of courtesy. It was the main reason as Acts 25:22 shows. Agrippa was a Jew and Festus was glad of the chance to see what he thought of Paul‘s case.

After examination had (της ανακρισεως γενομενηςtēs anakriseōs genomenēs). Genitive absolute, “the examination having taken place.” ΑνακρισιςAnakrisis from ανακρινωanakrinō (cf. Acts 12:19; Acts 24:8; Acts 28:18) is a legal term for preliminary examination. Only here in the N.T. Inscriptions and papyri give it as examination of slaves or other property.

That I may have somewhat to write (οπως σχω τι γραπσωhopōs schō ti grapsō). Ingressive aorist subjunctive σχωschō (may get) with οπωςhopōs (final particle like ιναhina). Τι γραπσωTi grapsō in indirect question after σχωschō is either future indicative or aorist subjunctive (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1045). Festus makes it plain that this is not a “trial,” but an examination for his convenience to help him out of a predicament.


Verse 27

Unreasonable (αλογονalogon). Old word from αa privative and λογοςlogos (reason, speech). “Without reason” as of animals (Judges 1:10; 2 Peter 2:12), “contrary to reason” here. These the only N.T. instances and in harmony with ancient usage.

In sending (πεμπονταpemponta). Note accusative case with the infinitive σημαναιsēmānai though μοιmoi (dative) just before. Cf. same variation in Acts 15:22.; Acts 22:17.

Signify (σημαναιsēmānai). First aorist active infinitive (not σημηναιsēmānai the old form) of σημαινωsēmainō to give a sign (σημειονsēmeion).

The charges (τας αιτιαςtas aitias). This naive confession of Festus reveals how unjust has been his whole treatment of Paul. He had to send along with the appeal of Paul litterae dimissoriae (αποστολιapostoli) which would give a statement of the case (Page).

 


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Acts 25:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/acts-25.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, October 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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