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NOW when Festus was come into the province, after three days, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea.

Ver. 1.  Festus having arrived at his province, goes to Jerusalem to be inaugurated.  The Jews took this opportunity of requesting S. Paul might be sent to Jerusalem, that they might accomplish the iniquitous purport of their vow.  Such consequence did they attribute to the death of this one man, that they had no greater favour to ask of their new governor at his auspicious entry among them.  Tirinus.


In the Scripture, when Antioch and Cæsarea are simply mentioned, Antioch, in Syria, and Cæsarea, in Palestine, are uniformly designated.

2 And the chief priests, and principal men of the Jews, went unto him against Paul: and they besought him, 3 Requesting favour against him, that he would command him to be brought to Jerusalem, laying wait to kill him in the way.

4 But Festus answered: That Paul was kept in Caesarea, and that he himself would very shortly depart thither.

Ver. 4.  It would appear, from their first request being peremptorily denied them, how little solicitous their governors were to please them.  The successors of Felix and Festus were not better disposed than their predecessors.  Their extortions and oppressions were pushed so far, that the Jews attempted at last to deliver themselves by rebellion, which proved their utter ruin and extirpation.  Indeed it was in vain to resist, for they already began to feel the truth of our Saviour's prediction, in their subjugation to the Gentiles.  Josephus bears ample testimony to the fulfilment of the prophecy.  De bel. Jud. lib. ii. c 16. &c.  A.


In the Scripture, when Antioch and Cæsarea are simply mentioned, Antioch, in Syria, and Cæsarea, in Palestine, are uniformly designated.

5 Let them, therefore, saith he, among you that are able, go down with me, and accuse him, if there be any crime in the man.

Ver. 5.  Among you that are able.  It may signify, such as are powerful among you, or such as are able by health, and willing.  Wi.


[†]  V 5.  Qui potentes estis, oi dunatoi en umin.

6 And having tarried among them no more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea, and the next day he sat in the judgment seat; and commanded Paul to be brought.


In the Scripture, when Antioch and Cæsarea are simply mentioned, Antioch, in Syria, and Cæsarea, in Palestine, are uniformly designated.

7 Who being brought, the Jews stood about him, who were come down from Jerusalem, objecting many and grievous causes, which they could not prove;

8 Paul making answer for himself: Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar, have I offended in any thing.

Ver. 8.  Paul making answer,† or his apology, by the Greek.  In the Latin, giving an account.  In like manner, (v. 16.) have liberty given to defend himself; in the Greek, to make his apology.  In the Latin, till he take a place of defending himself.


[†]  V 8.  Paulo rationem reddente, apologoumenou.  V. 16. Locum defendendi accipiat, topon apologiaV laboi.

9 But Festus, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, answering Paul, said: Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me?

10 Then Paul said: I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged. To the Jews I have done no injury, as thou very well knowest.

Ver. 10.  S. Paul, seeing Festus only sought a plea to get rid of his cause, by putting it into the hands of the Sanhedrim, appeals to Cæsar.  According to the ordinary rules of jurisprudence, appeals are only made after sentence is pronounced; but Roman citizens had a privilege of anticipating the sentence, when the judge did any thing contrary to justice; as Festus evidently did in this case, by wishing to deliver Paul, a Roman citizen, to the tribunal of his declared enemies, the Jews.  The apostle knew he was secured by making this appeal: as the Roman law declared provincial governors violators of the public peace, who should either strike, or imprison, or put to death a Roman citizen, that appealed to the emperor.  Calmet.


--- Hence Pliny sent some Christians to Rome for this same reason, as he writes himself in his epistles.  Lib. x. ep. 97.  Fuerunt alii similis amentiæ, quos, quia cives Romani erant, annotavi in urbem remittendos.

11 For if I have injured them, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die. But if there be none of these things whereof they accuse me, no man may deliver me to them: I appeal to Caesar. 12 Then Festus having conferred with the council, answered: Hast thou appealed to Caesar? To Caesar shalt thou go.
13 And after some days, king Agrippa and Bernice came down to Caesarea to salute Festus.

Ver. 13.  Agrippa.  This was son of the king of the same name, who imprisoned S. Peter, and put S. James to death.  Bernice was his sister, and one of the most infamous of women.  Her character has merited her a place in one of Juvenal's satires, 5th.


In the Scripture, when Antioch and Cæsarea are simply mentioned, Antioch, in Syria, and Cæsarea, in Palestine, are uniformly designated.

14 And as they tarried there many days, Festus told the king of Paul, saying: A certain man was left prisoner by Felix. 15 About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests, and the ancients of the Jews, came unto me, desiring condemnation against him.

16 To whom I answered: It is not the custom of the Romans to condemn any man, before that he who is accused have his accusers present, and have liberty to make his answer, to clear himself of the things laid to his charge. 17 When therefore they were come hither, without any delay, on the day following, sitting in the judgment seat, I commanded the man to be brought. 18 Against whom, when the accusers stood up, they brought no accusation of things which I thought ill of: 19 But had certain questions of their own superstition against him, and of one Jesus deceased, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.

Ver. 19.  Their own superstition.  Their particular religion, and manner of worshipping their God.  Wi.


[†]  V. 19.  De sua superstitione, peri thV idiaV deisidaimoniaV.

20 I therefore being in a doubt of this manner of question, asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things.

21 But Paul appealing to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept, till I might send him to Caesar.

Ver. 21.  Augustus Nero, who was then the Roman emperor.

22 And Agrippa said to Festus: I would also hear the man, myself. To morrow, said he, thou shalt hear him.

Ver. 22.  Agrippa has the same curiosity of hearing Paul, as Herod formerly had of seeing Jesus.  The apostle's name had, no doubt, become famous enough to reach the ears, and arrest the attention of Agrippa.  Curiosity is certainly not the best motive a person can bring with him to the investigation of religious truth: still it may occasionally become productive of good.  The king was half persuaded to embrace the Christian faith.  A better motive, or more serious attention, may induce some to embrace the truth, which accident may first have discovered to them.  A.

23 And on the next day, when Agrippa and Bernice were come with great pomp, and had entered into the hall of audience, with the tribunes, and principal men of the city, at Festus' commandment, Paul was brought forth. 24 And Festus saith: King Agrippa, and all ye men who are here present with us, you see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews dealt with me at Jerusalem, requesting and crying out that he ought not to live any longer.

25 Yet have I found nothing that he hath committed worthy of death. But forasmuch as he himself hath appealed to Augustus, I have determined to send him. 26 Of whom I have nothing certain to write to my lord. For which cause I have brought him forth before you, and especially before thee, O king Agrippa, that examination being made, I may have what to write.

Ver. 26.  To my lord.  This was a title the emperors afterwards took, but which Augustus and Tiberius are said by Pliny, in his epistle to Trajan, and by Tertullian, to have refused, as too assuming and too high, ut nimis sublimem atque gloriosum.  This was perhaps done, that none might bear the title at a time when the Lord of lords was to appear on the earth.  Tirinus.


--- Whilst we can approve and admire the motives which actuated the emperors in refusing this title, we cannot go the lengths which some modern enthusiasts do, (mostly Americans, quakers, &c.) who pretend it is blasphemy to call a mortal man a lord, as if that name were incommunicable to any but the Creator of the universe.  Whence they derive this article of faith it will not be easy for us to guess; certainly not from Scripture, in which the word Dominus or Lord, applied to man, occurs almost as frequently as King.  Certainly not from our Saviour's words, who give both himself and others this title, (Mark xiv. 14. et alibi passim) nor from S. Paul's doctrine, who also uses this word indiscriminately through his epistles, Gal. iv. 1. Eph. vi. v. &c.  Hence we are justified in retaining this practice, in opposition to their cavils; and in treating that opinion as superstitious and void of foundation, which makes it a necessary part of religion to use no titles.  A.

27 For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not to signify the things laid to his charge.
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