Paul Is Tried Before Festus
Verse 1 – Now when Festus had come to the province, after three days he went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem.
Felix is out and Festus takes his place. Festus goes down to Jerusalem to make himself acquainted with the affairs of the nation.
Verse 2 – Then the high priest and the chief men of the Jews informed him against Paul; and they petitioned him,
Verse 3 – asking a favor against him, that he would summon him to Jerusalem – while they lay in ambush along the road to kill him.
Verse 4 – But Festus answered that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself was going there shortly.
Verse 5 – “Therefore,” he said, “let those who have authority among you go down with me and accuse this man, to see if there is any fault in him.”
Verse 6 – And when he had remained among them more than ten days, he went down to Caesarea. And the next day, sitting on the judgment seat, he commanded Paul to be brought.
Paul has been kept for more than two years. He went through one trial with Felix and his accusers, and now it is going to start all over with Festus.
Verse 7 – When he had come, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood about and laid many serious complaints against Paul, which they could not prove,
Verse 8 – while he answered for himself, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all.”
Verse 9 – But Festus, waiting to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, “Are you willing to go to Jerusalem and there be judged before me concerning these things.?”
Verse 10 – Then Paul said, “I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you very well know.
Verse 11 – “For if I am an offender, or have committed anything worthy of death, I do not object to dying; but if there is nothing in these things of which these men accuse me, no one can deliver me to them. I appeal to Caesar.”
These accusing Jews kept forgetting that Paul was a Roman citizen and would be treated as such. Paul knew after being tried by Felix and Festus, and finding he had done no wrong, that it would be impossible to get justice with the Jews in Jerusalem. And it was Paul’s right, as a Roman citizen, to appeal to Caesar.
Verse 12 – Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, “You have appealed to Caesar? To Caesar you shall go!”
Verse 13 – And after some days king Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea to greet Festus.
Verse 14 – When they had been there many days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying: “There is a certain man left a prisoner by Felix,
Verse 15 – “about whom the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, when I was in Jerusalem, asking for a judgment against him.
Verse 16 – “To them I answered, ‘It is not the custom of the Romans to deliver any man to destruction before the accused meets the accusers face to face, and has opportunity to answer for himself concerning the charge against him.’
Verse 17 – “Therefore when they had come together, without any delay, the next day I sat on the judgment seat and commanded the man to be brought in.
Verse 18 – “When the accusers stood up, they brought no accusation against him of such things as I supposed,
Verse 19 – “but had some questions against him about their own religion and about one, Jesus, who had died, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.
Verse 20 – “And because I was certain of such questions, I asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem and there be judged concerning these matters.
Verse 21 – “But when Paul appealed to be reserved for the decision of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I could send him to Caesar.”
Verse 22 – Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I also would like to hear the man myself.” Tomorrow,” he said, “You shall hear him.”
Paul Is Tried Before Agrippa
Verse 23 – So the next day, when Agrippa and Bernice had come with great pomp, and had entered the auditorium with the commanders and the prominent men of the city, at Festus’ command Paul was brought in.
King Agrippa, accompanied with his sister Bernice, all the people of influence, civil officers, and military officers, were all gathered in the place where judges sat and trials were conducted.
Verse 24 – And Festus said, “King Agrippa and all the men who are here present with us, you see this man about whom the whole assembly of the Jews petitioned me, both at Jerusalem and here, crying out that he was not fit to live any longer.
Verse 25 – “But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and that he himself had appealed to Augustus (Caesar), I decided to send him.
Verse 26 – “I have nothing certain to write to my lord concerning him. Therefore I have brought him out before you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that after the examination has taken place I may have something to write.
Festus couldn’t just send Paul to Caesar without a letter of why he was sending him. He had to have some kind of formal charges that would explain why Festus, himself, wasn’t able to handle it. So perhaps after hearing Paul, himself, the king could think of something for which Festus could charge Paul with.
Verse 27 – “For it seems to me unreasonable to send a prisoner and not to specify the charges against him.”