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ACTS
The continued Life of Jesus through the Apostles

CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR

"Feeble Felix"
Key Verse = Acts 24:25


  1. Paul is Accused of Sedition
  2. Paul's  Defense Before Felix
  3. Felix Procrastinates



PAUL  IS  ACCUSED  OF  SEDITION

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Acts 24:1-4
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(1)  Now after five days Ananias the high priest came down with the elders and a certain orator named Tertullus. These gave evidence to the governor against Paul.

And after five days the high priest Ananias came down, with some of the ancients, and one Tertullus an orator, who went to the governor against Paul.

(2)  And when he was called upon, Tertullus began his accusation, saying: "Seeing that through you we enjoy great peace, and prosperity is being brought to this nation by your foresight,

And Paul being called for, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying: Whereas through thee we live in much peace, and many things are rectified by thy providence,

(3)  we accept it always and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness.

We accept it always and in all places, most excellent Felix, with all thanksgiving.

(4)  Nevertheless, not to be tedious to you any further, I beg you to hear, by your courtesy, a few words from us.

But that I be no further tedious to thee, I desire thee of thy clemency to hear us in few words.


Five days
On the 5th day after their departure from Jerusalem.

This time was occupied, doubtless, in their receiving the command to go to Caesarea, and in making the necessary arrangements. This was the twelfth day after Paul's arrival at Jerusalem. See Acts 24:11.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries.)

Ananias
The high priest (Acts 23:2).

The elders
A deputation of elders along with the high priest Ananias, not the whole Sanhedrin, but no hint of the forty conspirators or of the Asian Jews. The Sanhedrin had become divided so that now it is probably Ananias (mortally offended) and the Sadducees who take the lead in the prosecution of Paul.
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright © 1985 by Broadman Press.)

Came down
In the Bible record, 
when people go to Jerusalem, they always go up;
when they go from Jerusalem, they always go down.
This explains why the official Jewish party "descended" when they came to Caesarea.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Tertullus
A certain "attorney" retained by the high priest and Sanhedrin to accuse the apostle Paul at Caesarea before the procurator Felix. He evidently belonged to the class of professional attorneys who were to be found not only in Rome but in other parts of the empire, where they went with the expectation of finding occupation at the tribunals of the provincial magistrates. We may infer that Tertullus was of Roman, or, at all events, of Italian, origin; the Sanhedrin would naturally desire his services on account of their own ignorance of the Latin language and of the ordinary procedure of a Roman law court.
(from The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright © 1988.)

Roman law was as complex as our modern law, and it took an expert to understand it and know how to apply it successfully to his client's case.

As for his heritage, we find various opinions:
Unger Bible Dictionary
Tertullus was of Roman, or, at all events, of Italian, origin
Dake Annotated Ref
This is a Roman name, yet he spoke as a Jew. But the theory that he was a proselyte to the Jewish faith and employed by them as their lawyer is no doubt false. Had he been a proselyte the governor would have considered him at once both an apostate from Roman religion and a fool.
Wycliffe Bible Commentary
Tertullus' use of the first person plural in his speech may indicate either that he was himself a Jew or merely that he was associating himself with his clients.
Barnes Notes
This is a Roman name, and this man was doubtless a Roman. As the Jews were, to a great extent, ignorant of the Roman laws, and of their mode of administering justice, it is not improbable that they were in the habit of employing Roman lawyers to plead their causes.
Jewish NT Commentary
Probably Jewish (“we,” vv. 5-6); but his having a Latin name suggests that he may have had good Roman connections.
IVP Bible Background Commentary
Although Tertullus bears a fairly common Latin name, he could easily be a Jewish Roman citizen like Paul.

The prosecution would always begin first, both in Roman and in Jewish trials. Tertullus begins his speech with a standard captatio benevolentiae - flattery to secure Felix's favor. (Rhetoric manuals emphasized winning the judge's favor, and speeches before public officials always opened by praising them.) Although flattery was sometimes true, this example is blatantly false: revolutionaries had escalated under Felix's corrupt and repressive administration, bringing neither peace nor reforms.
(From IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

The lawyer spent almost as much time on his introduction as he did on the specific charges against Paul. His description of Felix was obviously fawning flattery, for Felix was known for his violent use of repressive force and corrupt self-aggrandizement. Felix had been a slave, won his freedom, and curried favor with the imperial court. Tacitus, a Roman historian, bitingly summed up Felix's character with the terse comment, "He exercised royal power with the mind of a slave."
(from Bible Knowledge Commentary/Old Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries; Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries. All rights reserved.)

Tertullus began with the customary flattery, a normal part of the judicial routine. After all, before you can win your case, you must win over your judge. Tacitus, the Roman orator and politician, called flatterers "those worst of enemies"; and Solomon wrote that ."a flattering mouth works ruin" (Proverbs 26:28, NKJV). The lawyer complimented Felix because the governor's many reforms had brought quietness to the land. (Question: Why did it require nearly 500 soldiers to protect one man in transit from Jerusalem to Caesarea?) It was true that Felix had put down some revolts, but he had certainly not brought peace to the land. In fact, during the time Felix was suppressing robbers in his realm, he was also hiring robbers to murder the high priest Jonathan! So much for his reforms.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

This was said in the customary style of flatterers and orators, to conciliate the favor of the judge, and is strikingly in contrast with the more honest and straight forward introduction in reply of Paul, Acts 24:10. Though it was said for flattery, and though Felix was in many respects an unprincipled man, yet it was true that his administration had been the means of producing much peace and order in Judea, and that he had done many things that tended to promote the welfare of the nation. In particular,
He had arrested a band of robbers, with Eleazar at their head, whom he had sent to Rome to be punished (Josephus, Antiq., book 20, chapter 8);
He had arrested the Egyptian false prophet who had led out 4,000 men into the wilderness, and who threatened the peace of Judea (see the note on Acts 21:38);
He had repressed a sedition which arose between the inhabitants of Caesarea and of Syria (Josephus, Jewish Wars, book 2, chapter 13, section 2).
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Not to hinder or detain you
Speakers could apologize for wearying the official as if they had not really finished praising him (e.g., the Letter of Aristeas 8); this was a rhetorical technique for flattering someone even beyond the limits of one's own rhetorical skills or credibility.

From the Amplified Bible
(1)  Five days later, the high priest Ananias came down [from Jerusalem to Caesarea] with some elders and a certain forensic advocate Tertullus [acting as spokesman and counsel]. They presented to the governor their evidence against Paul.
(2)  And when he was called, Tertullus began the complaint [against him] by saying: Since through you we obtain and enjoy much peace, and since by your foresight and provision wonderful reforms (amendments and improvements) are introduced and effected on behalf of this nation,
(3)  In every way and in every place, most excellent Felix, we accept and acknowledge this with deep appreciation and with all gratitude.
(4)  But not to hinder or detain you too long, I beg you in your clemency and courtesy and kindness to grant us a brief and concise hearing.

Acts 24:5-6
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(5)  For we have found this man a plague, a creator of dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.

We have found this to be a pestilent man, and raising seditions among all the Jews throughout the world, and author of the sedition of the sect of the Nazarenes.

(6)  He even tried to profane the temple, and we seized him, and wanted to judge him according to our law.

Who also hath gone about to profane the temple: whom, we having apprehended, would also have judged according to our law.


The prosecutor's accusations against Paul were no more truthful than his flattery.
He brought three charges:
1. A Personal charge (he is a plague)
2. A Political charge (sedition and leading an illegal religion)
3. A Perverted Doctrinal charge (profaning the temple)

Compare the charges against Jesus:
Jesus Paul
Luke 23:5 Stirs up the people A trouble maker Acts 24:5
Luke 23:2 Perverting the nation Leading an illegal religion Acts 24:5
Luke 23:2 Claims to be King of the Jews Profaning the temple Acts 24:6

1st Accusation: He is a plague
loimós  (NT:3061) a plague (literally, the disease, or figuratively, a pest)
A pestilence, any deadly infectious malady; a pestilent fellow - one who causes all sorts of trouble.

Wuest translates it: "For we found this man to be a pest and a plague and an instigator of insurrections among all the Jews throughout the Roman empire."

This Personal charge was based on the Jews' conflicts with Paul in different parts of the Roman world. It was his own countrymen, not the Roman authorities, who caused Paul trouble from city to city. The Jews from Asia (Acts 21:27) would certainly have stories to tell about Lystra, Corinth, and Ephesus!

Adam Clarke observes: Tertullus did not say that Paul was a pestilent fellow, but he said that he was the very pestilence itself.

As for Paul being "a pest," it all depends on one's point of view. The Jews wanted to maintain their ancient traditions, and Paul was advocating something new. The Romans were afraid of anything that upset their delicate "peace" in the Empire, and Paul's record of causing trouble was long and consistent. As Vance Havner used to say, "Wherever Paul went there was either a riot or a revival!"

2nd Accusation: Ringleader of an illegal religion
Ringleader = Prootostateen (NT: 4414). This word is properly a military word, and denotes "one who stands first in an army, a standard-bearer, a leader, a commander." The meaning is that Paul had been so active, and so prominent in preaching the gospel, that he had been a leader, or the principal person in extending the sect of the Nazarenes.

The political charge was much more serious, because no Roman official wanted to be guilty of permitting illegal activities that would upset the "Pax Romana" (Roman Peace). Rome had given the Jews freedom to practice their religion, but the Roman officials kept their eyes on them lest they use their privileges to weaken the Empire. If Paul indeed was a "ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes," then his enemies could easily build a case against him.

At that time, the Christian faith was still identified with the Jews, and they were permitted by the Romans to practice their religion. There had been Gentile seekers and God-fearers in the synagogues, so the presence of Gentiles in the churches did not create legal problems. Later, when the number of Gentile believers increased and more of the congregations separated from the Jewish synagogues, then Rome saw the difference between Jews and Christians and trouble began. Rome did not want a rival religion thriving in the Empire and creating problems.

The sect of the Natzratim, a Hebrew word derived from “Natzeret” (Nazareth), the town where Yeshua Jesus the Messiah lived most of his life. The Greek word used here is “Nazœraios”; it is used six times in Acts and five times in the Gospels as descriptive of Yeshua himself, and in these places the Jewish New Testament renders it “from Natzeret.” Today a similarly derived Hebrew word, “Notzrim,” is the ordinary word for “Christians”; after two thousand years it no longer refers to a group considered to be within Judaism. Most English translations use the term “Nazarenes” in this verse.
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

3rd Accusation: Tried to desecrate the temple
Profaning the temple was a capital charge. Tertullus could accuse Paul only of trying to desecrate the temple, because no witnesses could prove that he had actually taken Trophimus inside (Acts 21:29).

Tertullus knew that there was some basis for this charge because Paul had preached to the Jews that Jesus Christ was their King and Lord. To the Romans and the unbelieving Jews, this message sounded like treason against Caesar (Acts 16:20-21; 17:5-9).

Tertullus' third accusation had to be handled with care because it implicated a Roman officer who had saved a man's life. For the most part, Roman officials like Felix did not want anything to do with cases involving Jewish Law. The fewer Jews who ended up in Roman courts, the better it would be for the Empire. Tertullus had to present this third charge in a way that made the Jews look good without making the Romans look too bad, and he did a good job.
To begin with, he softened the charge. The accusation given by the Asian Jews was that Paul had polluted the temple (Acts 21:28), but Tertullus said, "He even tried to profane the temple"  Why the change? For at least two good reasons.
(1) Paul's accusers realized that the original charge could never be substantiated if the facts were investigated.
(2) But even more, the Asian Jews who started the story seemed to have vanished from the scene! If there were no witnesses, there could be no evidence or conviction.
When you compare Luke's account of Paul's arrest (Acts 21:27-40) with the captain's account (Acts 23:25-30) and the lawyer's account (Acts 24:6-8), you can well understand why judges and juries can get confused. Tertullus gave the impression that Paul had actually been guilty of profaning the temple, that the Jews had been within their rights in seizing him, and that the captain had stepped, out of line by interfering. It was Claudius, not the Jews, who was guilty of treating a Roman citizen with violence! But Felix had the official letter before him and was more likely to believe his captain than a paid Hellenistic Jewish lawyer. Tertullus knew that the Jews had authority from Rome to arrest and prosecute those who violated Jewish Law. True, the Romans thought that the Jews' devotion to their traditions was excessive and superstitious; yet Rome wisely let them have their way. The Jews were even permitted to execute guilty offenders in capital cases, such as Paul's "offense" of permitting Gentiles to cross the protective barricade in the temple.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

The Asian Jews thought he had actually done so (Acts 21:28), but by this time even his accusers realized he had not. Attempted profanation of the Temple is a reduced charge. "We arrested him." This is a gross understatement — they wanted to lynch him (Acts 21:30-32&N).

Sect = Greek airesis - it gives us the English word “heresy.” It is used in Jewish literature to refer to other groups, including the P’rushim (Pharisee) — it does not necessarily have a negative connotation. Tertullus wants Felix to understand the Natzratim as a Messianic group, and that any group supporting a Messiah is loyal to a different king and subversive of Roman hegemony.
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

From the Amplified Bible
(5)  For we have found this man a perfect pest (a real plague), an agitator and source of disturbance to all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the [heretical, division-producing] sect of the Nazarenes.
(6)  He also [even] tried to desecrate and defile the temple, but we laid hands on him and would have sentenced him by our Law,

Acts 24:7-9
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(7)  But the commander Lysias came by and with great violence took him out of our hands,

But Lysias the tribune coming upon us, with great violence took him away out of our hands;

(8)  commanding his accusers to come to you. By examining him yourself you may ascertain all these things of which we accuse him."

Commanding his accusers to come to thee : of whom thou mayest thyself, by examination, have knowledge of all these things, whereof we accuse him.

(9)  And the Jews also assented, maintaining that these things were so.

And the Jews also added, and said that these things were so.


Tertullus alleged that the Jewish Sanhedrin was handling Paul's case in perfectly legal fashion, when the Roman tribune, Lysias, without justification, intervened and by force took Paul out of their hands. This is, of course, a serious distortion of the facts; but Lysias was not present to give his side of the story.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1962 by Moody Press. All rights reserved.)

The text of verses 7-8 a is questionable (see marginal notes in translations); if these verses are original, they refer to a conflict over whether the Sanhedrin or the Roman commander has jurisdiction over the case; from all that we know about Felix, he would certainly side with the commander.
(From IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

Note: Most of the above text is missing from the Greek text of A.D. 400. I find it quite interesting that the account of Lysias intervening is left out of the Greek text but is found in the Syriac text which was spoken by the disciples of Jesus and which has not been changed for 2,000 years, like the Greek text has.  Also, note that Chrysostom (below) made direct reference to these verses in A.D. 400.  Paul the Learner

Tertullus argued that if Claudius had not interfered, the Jews would have tried Paul themselves, and this would have saved Felix and Rome a great deal of trouble and expense. In closing his argument Tertullus hinted that Claudius Lysias should have been there personally and had not just sent the Jewish leaders to present the case. Why was he absent? Could he not defend his case? Was he trying to "pass the buck" to others? As far as we know, during the two years Paul was detained in Caesarea, Claudius never did show up to tell his side of the story. We wonder why. But Paul was there and Felix could get the truth out of him! "If you examine Paul," the clever lawyer said, "you will find that what I am saying is true." The other members of the Jewish delegation united in agreeing with their lawyer, which was no surprise to anybody.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Tertullus pretends that they would have judged Paul righteously if Lysias had not interposed; but the truth was that, without regard to law or justice, they would have murdered him on the spot.

Tertullus offered the Jews as his witnesses of the truth of what he had said. It is evident that we have here only the summary or outline of the speech which he made it is incredible that a Roman rhetorician would have on such an occasion delivered an address so brief, so meager, and so destitute of display as this. But it is doubtless a correct summary of his address, and contains the leading points of the accusation. It is customary for the sacred writers, as for other writers, to give only the outline of discourses and arguments. Such a course was inevitable, unless the New Testament had been swelled to wholly undue proportions.

The Jews had gone as the accusers of Paul, and they bore testimony, when called upon, to the truth of all that the orator had said. Whether they were examined individually or not is not declared. In whatever way their testimony was arrived at, they confirmed unanimously the accusation which he had brought against Paul.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Here Tertullus closes his opening and statement of the case; and now he proceeds to call and examine his witnesses; and they were no doubt examined one by one, though Luke sums the whole up in one word-The Jews also assented, saying, that these things were so. Whoever considers the plan of Tertullus' speech, will perceive that it was both judicious and artful. Let us take a view of the whole:
1. He praises Felix to conciliate his favor.
2. He generally states the great blessings of his administration.
3. He states that the Jews, throughout the whole land, felt themselves under the greatest obligations to him, and extolled his prudent and beneficent management of the public affairs everywhere.
4. That the prisoner before him was a very bad man; a disturber of the public peace; a demagogue of a dangerous party; and so lost to all sense of religion as to attempt to profane the temple!
5. That, though he should have been punished on the spot, yet, as they were ordered by the chief captain to appear before him, and show the reason why they had seized on Paul at Jerusalem, they were accordingly come.
6. Having now exhibited their charges, he would proceed to examine witnesses, who would prove all these things to the satisfaction of the governor.
7. He then called his witnesses, and their testimony confirmed and substantiated the charges.
No bad cause was ever more judiciously and cunningly managed.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

HISTORICAL OUTLOOK FROM 400 A. D. BY ARCHBISHOP JOHN CHRYSOSTOM

Homily 50 - Acts 24:1-9
"And with an orator, one Tertullus." And what need was there of "an orator? Which (persons) also informed the governor against Paul." (c. 24:1.) See how this man also from the very outset with his praises seeks to gain the judge beforehand. "And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, Seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence, we accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness." (v. 2,3.) Then as having much to say, he passes by the rest: "Notwithstanding, that I be not further tedious unto thee, I pray thee that thou wouldest hear us of thy clemency a few words. For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world." As a revolutionary and seditious person he wishes to deliver him up. And yet, it might be answered, it is ye that have done this. And see how he would put up the judge to a desire of punishing, seeing he had here an opportunity to coerce the man that turned the world upside down!
As if they had achieved a meritorious action, they make much of it: "Having found this fellow," etc., "a mover of sedition," say they, "among all the Jews throughout the world." (Had he been such), they would have proclaimed him as a benefactor and savior of the nation! "And a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes." (v. 4,5.) They thought this likely to tell as a reproach - "of the Nazarenes:" and by this also they seek to damage him-for Nazareth was a mean place. And, "we have found him," say they: see how maliciously they calumniate him: (found him), as if he had been always giving them the slip, and with difficulty they had succeeded in getting him: though he had been seven days in the Temple! "Who also hath gone about to profane the temple; whom we took, [and would have judged according to our law."] (v. 6.)
See how they insult even the Law; it was so like the Law, forsooth, to beat, to kill, to lie in wait! And then the accusation against Lysias: though he had no right, say they, to interfere, in the excess of his confidence he snatched him from us: [" But the tribune Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands, commanding his accusers to come unto thee] : by examining of whom thyself mayest take knowledge of all these things, where of we accuse him. And the Jews also assented, saying that these things were so." (v. 7-9).
(from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 1, Volume 11, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(7)  But the commandant Lysias came and took him from us with violence and force,
(8)  And ordered his accusers to present themselves to you. By examining and cross-questioning him yourself, you will be able to ascertain the truth from him about all these things with which we charge him.
(9)  The Jews also agreed and joined in the accusation, declaring that all these things were exactly so.
 
PAUL'S  DEFENSE  BEFORE  FELIX

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Acts 24:10 & 11
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(10)  Then Paul, after the governor had nodded to him to speak, answered: "Inasmuch as I know that you have been for many years a judge of this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself,

Then Paul answered, (the governor making a sign to him to speak :) Knowing that for many years thou hast been judge over this nation, I will with good courage answer for myself.

(11)  because you may ascertain that it is no more than twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship.

For thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days, since I went up to adore in Jerusalem :


But the governor did not examine Paul. He merely nodded his head as a signal that it was now Paul's turn to speak. Paul did not flatter Felix (see 1 Thessalonians 2:1-6)
"But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness — God is witness."   (NKJV)
He merely acknowledged that the governor was a man of experience and therefore a man of knowledge. After this brief but honest introduction, Paul then proceeded to answer the charges of Tertullus (Acts 24:10-16), the Asian Jews (Acts 24:17-19) and the Jewish council (Acts 24:20-21).

Paul's rhetorical skills prove as effective as, or more effective than, those of his paid accuser Tertullus.

Here Paul begins a narration, a stating of the case's facts. Paul shows himself skilled in the rhetoric of his day.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

Many years
Felix and Cumanus had been joint governors of Judea; but after Cumanus had been condemned for his bad administration of affairs, the government fell entirely into the hands of Felix. This was about seven years before Paul was arraigned, and might be called many years, as he had been long enough there to become acquainted with the customs and habits of the Jews; and it might also be called long in comparison with the short time which his immediate predecessors had held the office. See Josephus, Antiq., book 20, chapters 7 and 7.

A judge
This word is evidently used here in the sense of magistrate, or one appointed to administer the affairs of government. To determine litigated matters was, however, one part of his office. It is remarkable that Paul did not begin his speech, as Tertullus had done, by any flattering address, or by any of the arts of rhetoric. He founded his plea on the justice of his cause, and on the fact that Felix had had so much experience in the affairs of Judea that he was well qualified to understand the merits of the case, and to judge impartially. Paul was well acquainted with his character, and would not by flattering words declare what was not strictly true.

As far as the temple charge was concerned, Paul was in the temple to worship and not to lead a disturbance. In fact, the temple records would show that Paul was registered to pay the costs for four Jews who had taken a Nazarite vow. Paul had not preached in the temple or the synagogues, nor had he preached anywhere in the city. (Years before, Paul had made an agreement with Peter and the Jerusalem elders that he would not evangelize the Jews in Jerusalem. See Galatians 2:7-10.) Nobody could prove that he was guilty of leading any kind of rebellion against the Jews or the Romans.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

No more than 12 days
Since he had been in Jerusalem only a week (the twelve days of Acts 24:11, minus the five days of Acts 24:1), there had hardly been time to organize and lead an assault on the temple! While students of Paul's life do not agree on every detail, the order of events was probably something like this:
Day 1 (Acts 21:17) Paul arrived in Jerusalem
Day 2 (Acts 21:18) Met with James and the elders
Day 3 (Acts 21:26) In the temple with the Nazarites
Day 4   In the temple
Day 5   In the temple
Day 6 (Acts 21:27) Arrested in the temple
Day 7 (Acts 23:1-10) Met with the Jewish council
Day 8 (Acts 23:12, 23) Threatened; taken to Caesarea
Day 9 (Acts 23:33) Arrived in Caesarea
Day 10   Waited (Felix sent for the Jewish leaders)
Day 11   Waited for the Jewish leaders to arrive
Day 12   Waited - they arrived - hearing scheduled
Day 13   The hearing conducted
The four men who had taken the Nazarite vow were evidently already involved in their temple duties when James suggested that Paul pay their costs (Acts 21:24). If they had started the day before Paul arrived in Jerusalem, then the day of Paul's arrest would have been the seventh day of their obligations (Acts 21:27). The New American Standard Bible translates Acts 21:27, "And when the seven days were almost over." This implies that the events occurred on the seventh day of their schedule, Paul's sixth day in the city. It would probably take two days for the official Roman messenger to get from Caesarea to Jerusalem, and another two days for Ananias and his associates to make it to Caesarea. They were not likely to finger, the case was too important.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

To Worship
Proskuneo (NT:4352) - to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand; to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence, to adore).
The Douay-Rheims Bible translates it: "I went up to adore in Jerusalem."

From the Amplified Bible
(10)  And when the governor had beckoned to Paul to speak, he answered: Because I know that for many years you have been a judge over this nation, I find it easier to make my defense and do it cheerfully and with good courage.
(11)  As you can readily verify, it is not more than twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship;

Acts 24:12-14
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(12)  And they neither found me in the temple disputing with anyone nor inciting the crowd, either in the synagogues or in the city.

And neither in the temple did they find me disputing with any man, or causing any concourse of the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city :

(13)  Nor can they prove the things of which they now accuse me.

Neither can they prove unto thee the things whereof they now accuse me.

(14)  But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.

But this I confess to thee, that according to the way, which they call a heresy, so do I serve the Father and my God, believing all things which are written in the law and the prophets :


This verse is a propositio, the proposition or thesis of Paul's speech; this was a standard part of ancient speeches.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

The first charge of Tertullus against Paul was that he was "a pestilent fellow." The charge of his being a pest was so general that Paul did not think it necessary to attempt to refute it. 

They neither found me
In the temple disputing with anyone
To the specification that he was a mover of sedition, he replies by a firm denial.
Nor inciting the crowd
And by a solemn declaration that they had not found him in any synagogue, or in the city, or in the temple, either disputing or exciting a tumult.
His conduct there had been entirely peaceable, and they had no right to suppose that it had been otherwise anywhere.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Nor can they prove
Although ancient courts preferred arguments from probability over eyewitness accounts, proof was essential. For example, Herod's son Antipater, after much proof of his guilt, offered only oaths in favor of his innocence, so the Syrian legate Varus had him executed.

But this I confess
Roman lawyers also had defenses for those who confessed their guilt, admitting that the deed was wrong (concessio); they could claim they meant well (purgatio) or simply beseech pardon (deprecatio). But when Paul admits a deed, he does not admit that it is wrong or ask pardon for it. Instead, he creates a masterful defense:
1. First, this is an issue of internal Jewish law, not a crime under Roman law, and therefore worthy neither of Roman trial nor of Roman execution at Jewish instigation.
2. Further, the Christian faith springs from the Old Testament and is thus an ancient religion, which should be protected as a form of Judaism under Roman toleration.
3. Confessing what was not a crime was a typical masterful rhetorical move; it would heighten one's credibility while doing nothing for the opponents' charge that the defendant had broken the law.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

Having disposed of the temple charges, Paul then dealt with the charges of sedition and heresy. Even though the high priest was a Sadducee, there were certainly Pharisees in the official Jewish delegation, so Paul appealed once again to their religious roots in the Scriptures. The fact that Paul was a Christian did not mean that he worshiped a different God from the God of his fathers. It only meant he worshiped the God of his fathers in a new and living way, for the only acceptable way to worship the Father is through Jesus Christ (John 5:23). His faith was still founded on the Old Testament Scriptures, and they bore witness to Jesus Christ.

The Sadducees accepted the five Books of Moses (the Law), but not the rest of the Old Testament They rejected the doctrine of the Resurrection because they said it could not be found anywhere in what Moses wrote. (Jesus had refuted that argument but they chose to ignore it. See Matthew 22:23-33.) By declaring his personal faith in the Resurrection, Paul affirmed his orthodox convictions and identified himself with the Pharisees. Once again, the Pharisees were caught on the horns of a dilemma, for if Paul's faith was that of a heretic, then they were heretics too!
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Of this reply we may observe:
(1) That he does not stoop to notice the contempt implied in the use of the word "Nazarenes." He was engaged in a more important business than to contend about the name which they chose to give to Christians.
(2) He admits that he belonged to that sect or class of people. That he was a Christian he neither denied, nor was disposed to deny.
(3) He maintains that in this way he was still worshipping the God of his fathers. Of this, the fact that he was engaged in worship in the temple was sufficient proof.
(4) He shows them that he believed only what was written in the Law and the prophets; that this involved the main doctrine of their religion the hope of the resurrection of the dead; and that it was his constant and earnest desire to keep a pure conscience in all things. These are the points of his defense to the second charge, and we shall see that they fully meet and dispose of the accusation.

There are two arguments in this statement.
First Our nation is divided into what they call 'sects' -
the sect of the Pharisees and
the sect of the Sadducees;
and all the difference between them and me is, that I belong to neither of these, but to another sect, or religious section of the nation, which, from its Head, they call Nazarenes: for that reason, and that alone, am I hated.
Second The Roman law allows every nation to worship its own deities; I claim protection under that law, worshipping the God of my ancestors, even as they do, only of a different sect of the common religion.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

The God of my fathers
My father's God, Yahweh; the God whom my Jewish ancestors adored. There is something very touching in this, and suited to find its way to the heart of a Jew. He had introduced no new object of worship (compare Deut 13:1-5); he had not become a follower of a false or foreign God; and this fact was really a reply to their charge that he was setting up a new sect in religion. The same thing Paul affirms of himself in 2 Tim 1:3: "I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with a pure conscience."
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

This is precisely the response a present-day Messianic Jew makes to Jews who consider him apostate. The God we worship is the only God, Elohey-avoteynu, “the God of our fathers” (the phrase is found in the first blessing of the ‘Amidah, the central synagogue prayer). Likewise today's Messianic Jew, with Sha’ul, believes everything that accords with the Torah “as upheld by the Messiah” (1 Corinthians 9:21&N, Galatians 6:2&N) and everything written in the Prophets, including the prophecies pointing to Yeshua as the Messiah.
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

From the Amplified Bible
(12)  And neither in the temple nor in the synagogues nor in the city did they find me disputing with anybody or bringing together a seditious crowd.
(13)  Neither can they present argument or evidence to prove to you what they now bring against me.
(14)  But this I confess to you, however, that in accordance with the Way [of the Lord], which they call a [heretical, division-producing] sect, I worship (serve) the God of our fathers, still persuaded of the truth of and believing in and placing full confidence in everything laid down in the Law [of Moses] or written in the prophets;

Acts 24:15 & 16
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(15)  I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.

Having hope in God, which these also themselves look for, that there shall be a resurrection of the just and unjust.

(16)  This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.

And herein do I endeavor to have always a conscience without offence towards God, and towards men.


Paul and the early Christians did not see themselves as "former Jews" but as "fulfilled Jews." The Old Testament was a new book to them because they had found their Messiah. They knew that they no longer needed the rituals of the Jewish Law in order to please God, but they saw in these ceremonies and ordinances a revelation of the Savior. Both as a Pharisee and a Christian, Paul had "taken pains" always to have a good conscience and to seek to please the Lord. Having replied to the false charges of Tertullus, Paul then proceeded to answer the false accusation of the Asian Jews that he had profaned the temple (Acts 24:17-19). He had not come to Jerusalem to defile the temple but to bring needed help to the Jewish people and to present his own offerings to the Lord. (This is the only mention in Acts of the special offering.) When the Asians saw him in the temple, he was with four men who were fulfilling their Nazarite vows.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

I have hope in God...resurrection

Pharisaism and the rest of Judaism that believed in the resurrection of the righteous were divided on the resurrection of the wicked.
Some believed that the wicked would be raised for judgment (either temporary torture followed by annihilation, or eternal torture);
others believed that they would not be raised.
The early Christians who comment on the matter accept a resurrection of the wicked to judgment (John 5:29; Revelation 20:5), the most natural way to read Daniel 12:2.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)
John 5:29-30
...and come forth — those who have done good, to the resurrection of life,
and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.       (NKJV)
Revelation 20:4-6
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands.
And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished.
This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection       (NKJV)
Daniel 12:2
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,
Some to everlasting life,
Some to shame and everlasting contempt.       (NKJV)

Perhaps he designated in this remark the Pharisees who were present. He held nothing in this great cardinal point which they did not also hold. For the reasons why he introduced this point so prominently, and the success of thus introducing it, see the notes on Acts 23:6-10.

Strive to have a good conscience
Paul often appeals to his conscientiousness as the leading habit of his life. Even before his conversion he endeavored to act according to the dictates of conscience. See Acts 26:9; compare Phil 3:5-6.

He means that he endeavored to keep his conscience so enlightened and pure in regard to duty, and that he acted according to its dictates in such a way that his conduct should not be displeasing to God or injurious to man. To have such a conscience implies two things:
(1) That it be enlightened or properly informed in regard to truth and duty; and,
(2) That what is made known to be right should be honestly and faithfully performed.
Without these two things no man can have a conscience that will be inoffensive and harmless.

The great and noble aim of Paul was to be pure; and no slander of his enemies, any trials, persecutions, perils, or pains of dying could take away the approving voice of conscience. Alike in his travels and in his persecutions; among friends and foes; when preaching in the synagogue, the city, or the desert; or when defending himself before governors and kings, he had this testimony of a self-approving mind. Happy they who thus frame their lives. And happy will be the end of a life where this has been the grand object of the journey through this world.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(15)  Having [the same] hope in God which these themselves hold and look for, that there is to be a resurrection both of the righteous and the unrighteous (the just and the unjust).
(16)  Therefore I always exercise and discipline myself [mortifying my body, deadening my carnal affections, bodily appetites, and worldly desires, endeavoring in all respects] to have a clear (unshaken, blameless) conscience, void of offense toward God and toward men.

Acts 24:17-19
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(17)  "Now after many years I came to bring alms and offerings to my nation,

Now after many years, I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings, and vows.

(18)  in the midst of which some Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with a mob nor with tumult.

In which I was found purified in the temple : neither with multitude, nor with tumult.

(19)  They ought to have been here before you to object if they had anything against me.

But certain Jews of Asia, who ought to be present before thee, and to accuse, if they had any thing against me :


Many years
Paul had been away from Jerusalem for approximately 6 or 7 years.

Alms and offerings
To bring alms
eleeemosúnas  (NT:1654) - compassionateness, i.e. (as exercised towards the poor) beneficence
These "alms" were for the poor saints in Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 16:1-4; Romans 15:26) who were none the less Jews.
1 Corinthians 16:1-4
Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem. But if it is fitting that I go also, they will go with me.     (NKJV)
Romans 15:26
For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem.     (NKJV)
And offerings
prosforás  (NT:4376) - presentation; concretely, an oblation (bloodless) or sacrifice
The very word used in Acts 21:26 of the offerings or sacrifices made by Paul for the four brethren and himself. It does not follow that it was Paul's original purpose to make these "offerings" before he came to Jerusalem (cf. Acts 18:18). He came up to worship (Acts 24:11) and to be present at Pentecost (Acts 20:16).
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright © 1985 by Broadman Press.)

Almsgiving was highly regarded in Judaism but would not impress Felix, although he would regard it as harmless. More impressive is its value as clear proof of Paul's solidarity with his people and their ancestral customs. Again on a probability argument (v. 16), this point would make the charge of violating the temple absurd.

Paul had appeared publicly but had not spoken publicly before the riot, and the lack of eyewitnesses in such a public place refutes his opponents' argument, especially when the chief witnesses had conveniently returned to Asia after the feast.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

The gift was not only for Messianic Jews but for unbelieving Jews as well, since they too are included in “my nation” (see Romans 15:25-31&NN and Galatians 2:10&N, where believing Jews and Gentiles are enjoined to show kindness and charity toward Jews specifically.) That Sha’ul considered the Messianic Jewish community in Jerusalem part of the Jewish nation is not even an issue, nor should there be any question today that Messianic Jews are part of the Jewish people. (In spite of this the State of Israel's High Court of Justice in 1989 made Messianic Jews Israel's refuseniks — the only Jews in the world not to be considered Jews for purposes of Israel's Law of Return, which allows any Jew anywhere to immigrate to Israel and be a citizen.)
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

They ought to have been here
Now Paul reached the heart of his defense, for it was required by Roman law that the accusers face the accused at the trial, or else the charges would be dropped. Ananias had wisely not brought any of the Hellenistic Jews with him, for he was sure that their witness would fall down under official examination. These men were good at inciting riots; they were not good at producing facts. Paul closed his defense by replying to the members of the Jewish council (Acts 24:20-21). Instead of giving him a fair hearing, the high priest and the Sanhedrin had abused him and refused to hear him out Ananias was no doubt grateful that Paul said nothing about his slap in the face, for it was not legal for a Roman citizen to be treated that way.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

They were the proper witnesses, and as they had staid away it showed that they were not prepared to undergo a strict examination. They alone could testify as to anything that occurred in the temple; and as they were not present, that charge ought to be dismissed.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(17)  Now after several years I came up [to Jerusalem] to bring to my people contributions of charity and offerings.
(18)  While I was engaged in presenting these, they found me [occupied in the rites of purification] in the temple, without any crowd or uproar. But some Jews from [the province of] Asia [were there],
(19)  Who ought to be here before you and to present their charges, if they have anything against me.

Acts 24:20 & 21
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(20)  Or else let those who are here themselves say if they found any wrongdoing in me while I stood before the council,

Or let these men themselves say, if they found in me any iniquity, when standing before the council,

(21)  unless it is for this one statement which I cried out, standing among them, 'Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am being judged by you this day.'"

Except it be for this one voice only that I cried, standing among them, Concerning the resurrection of the dead am I judged this day by you.


Do we detect a bit of holy sarcasm in Paul's closing statement? We might paraphrase it "If I have done anything evil, it is probably this: I reminded the Jewish council of our great Jewish doctrine of the Resurrection." Remember, the Book of Acts is a record of the early church's witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:22). The Sadducees had long abandoned the doctrine, and the Pharisees did not give it the practical importance it deserved. Of course, Paul would have related this doctrine to the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the Sanhedrin did not want that. They had accused Paul of being anti-Jewish and anti-Roman, but they could not prove their charges. If the Jewish leaders had further pursued any of these charges, their case would have collapsed. But there was enough circumstantial evidence to plant doubts in the minds of the Roman officials, and perhaps there was enough race prejudice in them to water that seed and encourage it to grow. After all, had not the Emperor Claudius removed the Jews from Rome? (Acts 18:2) Perhaps Paul would bear watching.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Roman magistrates would view this as a matter of internal Jewish religious disputes, nothing on which to judge a case of Roman law.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

This was what Paul had said before the council-the main thing on which he had insisted, and he calls on them to testify to this, and to show, if they could, that in this declaration he had been wrong. Chubb and other infidels have supposed that Paul here acknowledges that he was wrong in the declaration which he made when he said that he was called in question for the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead (Acts 23:6), and that his conscience reproached him for appearing to be time-serving, for concealing the true cause of offence against him, and for attempting to take advantage of their divisions of sentiment, thus endeavoring to produce discord in the council. But against this supposition we may urge the following considerations:
(1) Paul wished to fix their attention on the main thing which he had said before the council.
(2) It was true that this was the principal doctrine which Paul had been defending.
(3) If they were prepared to witness against him for holding and teaching the resurrection of the dead as a false or evil doctrine, he called on them to do it. As this had been the only thing which they had witnessed before the council, he calls on them to testify to what they knew only, and to show, if they could, that this was wrong.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

It would be as if Ferdinand Magellan's crew were to stand trial for claiming to have circumnavigated the globe before judges who differed on whether the earth is round or flat. The principle can be applied today. For example, if a group of people, Jewish or not, is divided over whether or not the Bible is God's inspired word to humanity, with most “right-wing” people, e.g., Orthodox Jews and Evangelical Christians, saying it is, and most “left-wing” people, e.g., Reform Jews, Liberal Christians and secularists, saying it is not or hedging, it would be confounding issues for a Messianic Jew to try to defend his faith before them all together; since they would already, for their own reasons, be in disagreement over a point that Messianic Judaism takes as given.
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Note:
I believe that every one who is born of Abraham through Jacob in the Jewish race, is a Jew, whether he or she accepts the Messiah of God, Jesus Christ or not. But I do not believe that the unbelieving Jews or the unbelieving Gentile will make heaven there home because of race or anything else apart from the blood of  the Messiah, Jesus Christ.     Paul the Learner

Having made confession of his faith, he gives a plain and faithful account of his case, and of the wrong done him by his persecutors. Twice he had been rescued by the chief captain out of the hands of the Jews, when they were ready to pull him to pieces, and he challenges them to prove him guilty of any crime either time.
1. In the temple.
Here they fell furiously upon him as an enemy to their nation and the temple, ch. 21:28. But was there any color for the charge? No, but evidence sufficient against it,
(1) It was very hard to accuse him as an enemy to their nation, when after long absence from Jerusalem he came to bring alms to his nation, money which (though he had need enough himself of it) he had collected among his friends, for the relief of the poor at Jerusalem.
(2) It was very hard to accuse him of having profaned the temple when he brought offerings to the temple, and was himself at charges therein (ch. 21:24), and was found purifying himself in the temple, according to the law (v. 18), and that in a very quiet decent manner, neither with multitude nor with tumult.
2.  In the council:
"Since the Jews of Asia are not here to prove any thing upon me done amiss in the temple, let these same that are here, the high priest and the elders, say whether they have found any evil doing in me, or whether I was guilty of any misdemeanor when I stood before the council, when also they were ready to pull me in pieces.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible, PC Study Bible Formatted Electronic Database Copyright © 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All Rights reserved.)

Paul claimed that no proof had been brought of any wrongdoing on his part and that the only real charge brought against him was a doctrinal one concerning the resurrection of the dead. This was a matter in which a Roman court would have no interest or jurisdiction.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1962 by Moody Press. All rights reserved.)

HISTORICAL OUTLOOK FROM 400 A. D. BY ARCHBISHOP JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
Homily 50 - Acts 24:10-21
What then says Paul? "Then Paul; after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a just judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself." (v. 10.)This is not the language of flattery, his testifying to the judge's justice: no, the adulation was rather in that speech of the orator, "By thee we enjoy great quietness." If so, then why are ye seditious? What Paul sought was justice. "Knowing thee to be a just judge, I cheerfully," says he, "answer for myself." Then also he enforces this by the length of time: that (he had been judge) "of many years. Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship." (v. 11)
And what is this? (It means), "that I could not immediately have raised a commotion." Because the accuser had nothing to show (as done) in Jerusalem, observe what he said: "among all the Jews throughout the world." Therefore it is that Paul here forcibly attracts him-" to worship," he says, "I came up," so far am I from raising sedition-and lays a stress upon this point of justices being the strong point. "And they neither found me in the Temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city" (v. 12); which in fact was the truth. And the accusers indeed use the term "ringleader," as if it were a case of fighting and insurrection; but see how mildly Paul here answers. "But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and the Prophets: and have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust." (v. 14, 15.)
The accusers were separating him (as an alien), but he identifies himself with the Law, as one of themselves. "And in this," says he, "do I exercise my self, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men. Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings. In which they found me purified in the temple, not with multitude, neither with tumult." (v. 16, 17, 18.) Why then camest thou up? What brought thee hither? To worship, says he; to do alms. This was not the act of a factious person. Then also he casts out their person: "but," says he, (they that found me, were) "certain Jews from Asia, who ought to have been here before thee, and object, if they had ought against me. Or else let these same here say, if they have found any evil doing in me while I stood before the council, except it be for this one voice, that I cried, standing among them, Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day." (v. 19, 20, 21.)
(from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 1, Volume 11, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Note:
The statements of John Chrysostom are his own, there may be other thoughts on a passage of Scripture found in the early church fathers, that I have not found or even looked at. The reason why I am using his thoughts is because I find them quite refreshing and useful.     Paul the Learner

From the Amplified Bible
(20)  Or else let these men themselves tell of what crime or wrongdoing they found me guilty when I appeared before the council (Sanhedrin),
(21)  Unless it be this one sentence which I cried out as I stood among them, In regard to the resurrection of the dead I am indicted and on trial before you this day!



FELIX  PROCRASTINATES

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Acts 24:22 & 23
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(22)  But when Felix heard these things, having more accurate knowledge of the Way, he adjourned the proceedings and said, "When Lysias the commander comes down, I will make a decision on your case."

And Felix put them off, having most certain knowledge of this way, saying : When Lysias the tribune shall come down, I will hear you.

(23)  So he commanded the centurion to keep Paul and to let him have liberty, and told him not to forbid any of his friends to provide for or visit him.

And he commanded a centurion to keep him, and that he should be easy, and that he should not prohibit any of his friends to minister unto him.


Accurate knowledge of The Way
How Felix knew about Christianity can only be surmised. Probably he heard about it from Drusilla, his wife, who was a daughter of Herod Agrippa I and a sister of Herod Agrippa II. Because she was a Jewess (v. 24) she would know about the Way. Besides this, Felix could scarcely have ruled in Judea for several years without learning something about the faith of the early church.
(from Bible Knowledge Commentary/Old Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries; Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries. All rights reserved.)

"Knowing" (second perfect active participle of  oida) "more accurately" (comparative of adverb akriboos). More accurately than what? Than the Sanhedrin supposed he had "concerning the Way,"  the things concerning the Way, common in Acts for Christianity). How Felix had gained this knowledge of Christianity is not stated.
Philip the Evangelist lived here in Caesarea and there was a church also.
Drusilla was a Jewess and may have told him something.
Besides, it is wholly possible that Felix knew of the decision of Gallio in Corinth that Christianity was a religio licita as a form of Judaism.
As a Roman official he knew perfectly well that the Sanhedrin with the help of Tertullus had failed utterly to make out a case against Paul. He could have released Paul and probably would have done so but for fear of offending the Jews whose ruler he was and the hope that Paul might offer him bribes for his liberty.
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright © 1985 by Broadman Press.)

When Lysias comes
The probability is, that while unable to condemn - being convinced of the futility of the charges against him - yet unwilling to enrage the Jews by an acquittal, he made his desire to confer with Lysias a pretext for delaying judgment.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Lysias, the commander, is the independent witness, who would not be expected to have bias for either side. Neither Paul nor his accusers mention Jesus, and Paul's words are acceptable Pharisaism; but Felix recognizes the religious issue involved. It would have been difficult for Felix not to have known of the massive Judean Jesus movement (Acts 21:20), but he and the Romans by this period were treating it as politically innocuous; the difference between Christians and the brigands who were assassinating people was finally clear.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

There is no evidence that he ever did. Felix is simply putting off a decision in Sha’ul's favor that would alienate the leaders of the people he is ruling. See verse 26 for a clearer picture of Felix's motives.
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Let him have liberty
Felix already had a rather accurate knowledge (RSV) of this new sect in Judaism called the Way. Perhaps he had obtained this knowledge from his wife Drusilla (see v. 24). However, the statements of Tertullus and Paul embodied conflicting testimony, and therefore he adjourned the hearing until Lysias, the Roman tribune, should come to Caesarea, at which time he promised to decide the case (RSV). Paul was placed in a custody that allowed him considerable liberty and permitted his friends to minister to his needs. Luke does not inform us whether Lysias came to Caesarea and whether the promised hearing was conducted.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1962 by Moody Press. All rights reserved.)

Paul is probably still kept in the procurator's own palace (Acts 23:35), making it easy for Felix to visit him — and also for Paul's friends to provide him money, some of which might later be used to Felix's advantage (verse 26). Corrupt officials might keep someone imprisoned for their own ends; a later but partly analogous story is told of the Roman emperor Domitian acquitting a philosopher for his wisdom — then retaining him in detention so he could question him in private.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

It is evident from this verse that Felix was disposed to show Paul all the favors that were consistent with his safe keeping. He esteemed him to be a persecuted man, and doubtless regarded the charges against him as entirely malicious. What was Felix's motive in this cannot be certainly known. It is not improbable; however, that he detained him:
(1) To gratify the Jews by keeping him in custody as if he were guilty, and,
(2) That he hoped the friends of Paul would give him money to release him. Perhaps it was for this purpose that he gave orders that his friends should have free access to him that thus Paul might be furnished with the means of purchasing his freedom.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

If ever a man failed both personally and officially, that man was Felix, procurator of Judea. He certainly could not plead ignorance of the facts, because he was "well acquainted with the Way" (NIV). His wife, Drusilla, was a Jewess and perhaps kept him informed of the activities among her people, and as a Roman official, he would carefully (if privately) investigate these things. He saw the light, but he preferred to live in the darkness. Felix saw to it that Paul was comfortably cared for while at the same time safely guarded. "Liberty" in Acts 24:23 means that he was not put in the common jail or kept in close confinement He had limited freedom in the palace, chained to a soldier. (The guards were changed every six hours, a perfect captive congregation!) Paul's friends were permitted to minister to him (Greek: "wait on him as personal servants"), so people could come and go to meet his needs. What Paul's ministry was during those two years in Caesarea, we do not know, but we can be sure he gave a faithful witness for the Lord.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

From the Amplified Bible
(22)  But Felix, having a rather accurate understanding of the Way [of the Lord], put them off and adjourned the trial, saying, When Lysias the commandant comes down, I will determine your case more fully.
(23)  Then he ordered the centurion to keep [Paul] in custody, but to treat him with indulgence [giving him some liberty] and not to hinder his friends from ministering to his needs and serving him.

Acts 24:24 & 25
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(24)  And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.

And after some days, Felix, coming with Drusilla his wife, who was a Jew, sent for Paul, and heard of him the faith, that is in Christ Jesus.

(25)  Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, "Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you."

And as he treated of justice, and chastity, and of the judgment to come, Felix being terrified, answered : For this time, go thy way : but when I have a convenient time, I will send for thee.


Drusilla
Drusilla was Herod Agrippa I's youngest daughter and Agrippa II's sister. She married the king of a small region in Syria, but at the age of sixteen divorced him at Felix's instigation to marry him instead. Although it violated normal Roman policy for a governor to marry a woman from his province, Felix had much power as long as his brother Pallas remained in favor in Rome. Drusilla is about twenty years old here, and her Jewish faith may help influence her husband to listen to Paul.

Drusilla was the daughter of Herod Agrippa the elder.
She was engaged to be married to Epiphanes, the son of King Antiochus, on condition that he would embrace the Jewish religion; but as he afterward refused to do that, the contract was broken off.
Afterward she was given in marriage, by her brother Agrippa the younger, to Azizus, king of Emesa, upon his consent to be circumcised.
When Felix was governor of Judea, he saw Drusilla and fell in love with her, and sent to her Simon, one of his friends, a Jew, by birth a Cyprian, who pretended to be a magician, to persuade her to forsake her husband and to marry Felix. Accordingly, in order to avoid the envy of her sister Bernice, who treated her ill on account of her beauty, "she was prevailed on," says Josephus, "to transgress the laws of her forefathers, and to marry Felix" (Josephus, Antiq., book 20, chapter 7, sections 1 and 2).
She was, therefore, living in adultery with him, and this was probably the reason why Paul dwelt in his discourse before Felix particularly on "temperance," or chastity.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

He reasoned

Dialegoménou  (NT:1256) - to say thoroughly, i.e. discuss (in argument or exhortation)

 
Righteousness dikaiosúnees (NT:1343) Right with God
  The character or quality of being right or just;
 
Self-Control engkrateías  (NT:1466) Temperance
  The virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites.
The right use demands the controlling power of the will under the operation of the Spirit of God.
 
Judgment krímatos  (NT:2917) Condemnation of wrong.
  The decision of the judge, usually unfavorable.
The judgment in which God declared sin to be punishable with death.

The record of one such witness is given by Luke, and it makes Felix's guilt even greater. Not only was Felix's mind informed, but his heart was moved by fear, and yet he would not obey the truth. It is not enough for a person to know the facts about Christ, or to have an emotional response to a message, He or she must willingly repent of sin and trust the Savior. "But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life" (John 5:40, NKJV). It must have been the curiosity of his wife, Drusilla, that prompted Felix to give Paul another hearing. She wanted to hear Paul; for, after all, her family had been involved with "the Way" on several occasions. Her great-grandfather tried to kill Jesus in Bethlehem (Matthew 2); her great-uncle killed John the Baptist and mocked Jesus (Luke 23:6-12); and Acts 12:1-2 tells of her father killing the Apostle James.

Dr. Luke has given us only the three points of Paul's sermon to this infamous couple: righteousness, self-control; and the judgment to come. But what an outline! Paul gave them three compelling reasons why they should repent and believe on Jesus Christ.
RIGHTEOUSNESS - Yesterday's Sin
First they had to do something about yesterday's sin ("righteousness").
In 1973, Dr. Karl Menninger, one of the world's leading psychiatrists, published a startling book, Whatever Became of Sin? He pointed out that the very word sin has gradually dropped out of our vocabulary, "the word, along with the notion." We talk about mistakes, weaknesses, inherited tendencies, faults, and even errors; but we do not face up to the fact of sin.
"People are no longer sinful," said Phyllis McGinley, noted American writer and poet "They are only miniature or underprivileged or frightened or, more particularly, sick."
But a holy God demands righteousness; that's the bad news. Yet the good news is that this same holy God provides His own righteousness to those who trust Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21-26 "...even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference"). We can never be saved by our own righteousness or good works. We can be saved only through Christ's righteousness made available by His finished work of salvation on the cross.
SELF-CONTROL - Today's Temptations
The second point in Paul's sermon dealt with self-control: we must do something about today's temptations. Man can control almost everything but himself. Here were Felix and Drusilla, prime illustrations of lack of self-control.
She divorced her husband to become Felix’s' third wife, and though a Jewess, she lived as though God had never given the Ten Commandments at Sinai.
Felix was an unscrupulous official who did not hesitate to murder, in order to get rid of his enemies and promote himself.
Self-control was something neither of them knew much about.
THE JUDGMENT TO COME - Tomorrow's Judgment
Paul's third point was the clincher. "judgment to come." We must do something about tomorrow's Judgment. Perhaps Paul told Felix and Drusilla what he told the Greek philosophers: God has "appointed a day, in which He will judge the world in righteousness" by the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 17:31).
Jesus Christ is either your Savior or your Judge.
How do we know that Jesus Christ is the Judge? "He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.". Once again, the Resurrection!
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Felix was afraid
Literally "Felix became terrified."

Roman leaders prided themselves in their ability to be stoical and restrain their emotions under all circumstances, but a conviction from God gripped Felix's heart, and he could not hide it. Paul had diagnosed the case and offered the remedy. It was up to Felix to receive it. What did Felix do? He procrastinated! "When I have a convenient time, I will call for you," he told the apostle. "Procrastination is the thief of time," wrote Edward Young. Perhaps he was thinking about the English proverb, "One of these days is none of these days." Procrastination is also the thief of souls. The most "convenient season" for a lost sinner to be saved is right now. "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Consider Felix's foolish attitudes.
1. He had a foolish attitude toward God's Word.
Thinking that he could "take it or leave it." But God "now commands all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30). When God speaks, men and women had better listen and obey.
2. Felix had a foolish attitude toward his sins.
He knew he was a sinner, yet he refused to break with his sins and obey the Lord.
3. He had a foolish attitude toward God's grace.
The Lord had been long-suffering toward Felix, yet the governor would not surrender. Felix was not sure of another day's life, yet he foolishly procrastinated. "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth" (Proverbs 27:1).
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Although wealthy households often kept philosophers around for their interesting insights, God's prophets were not quite as pleasant as most philosophers (Jeremiah 38:14-23). Self-control was one of the favored topics of many moralists, but the future judgment was strictly Jewish teaching and probably not the side of Jewish teaching the procurator was accustomed to hearing. (Although there were Egyptian Jewish judgment oracles, most upper-class Jews under Greek influence would think like Sadducees or like a handful of aristocratic Pharisees such as Josephus [who could accommodate Platonic views of the afterlife] or like Philo, whose views accommodated Hellenism to the furthest possible extent.)
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

Sha’ul delivered a complete salvation message suited to the condition of his hearer:
1. The past, when Yeshua through his atoning death made righteousness available to everyone.
Romans 3:21-26
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.      (NKJV)
Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.       (NKJV)
2. The present, when the Holy Spirit empowers believers to lead increasingly holy lives, with self-control being not only necessary but possible.
Gal 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.       (NKJV)
3. The future, when everyone — including Felix, you and me — will be judged.
1 Corinthians 3:10-15
According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.       (NKJV)
John 5:28-29
For the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth — those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.       (NKJV)
Felix was frightened enough not to want to hear more about judgment, but not frightened enough to believe the Gospel, which offers an alternative to the divine penalty for sin, death. “How will we escape if we ignore such a great deliverance?” (Hebrews 2:3)
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

From the Amplified Bible
(24)  Some days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess; and he sent for Paul and listened to him [talk] about faith in Christ Jesus.
(25)  But as he continued to argue about uprightness, purity of life (the control of the passions), and the judgment to come, Felix became alarmed and terrified and said, Go away for the present; when I have a convenient opportunity, I will send for you.

Acts 24:26 & 27
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(26)  Meanwhile he also hoped that money would be given him by Paul, that he might release him. Therefore he sent for him more often and conversed with him.

Hoping also withal, that money should be given him by Paul : for which cause also oftentimes sending for him, he spoke with him.

(27)  But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound.

But when two years were ended, Felix had for successor Portius Festus. And Felix being willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.


Hoped money would be given him
This shows the character of Felix. He was desirous of procuring a bribe. Paul had proven his innocence, and should have been at once discharged. But Felix was influenced by avarice, and he therefore detained Paul in custody with the hope that, wearied with confinement, he would seek his release by a bribe. But Paul offered no bribe. He knew what justice was, and he would not be guilty, therefore, of attempting to purchase what was his due, or of gratifying a man who prostituted his high office for the purposes of gain. The Roman governors in the provinces were commonly rapacious and avaricious, like Felix. They usually took the office for its pecuniary advantage, and they consequently usually disregarded justice, and made the procuring of money their leading object.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

It may seem remarkable that he did not fear that he would again become alarmed. But the hope of money overcame all this. Having once resisted the reasoning of Paul, and the strivings of the Spirit of God, he seems to have had no further alarm or anxiety. He could again hear the same man, and the same truth, unaffected. When sinners have once grieved God's Spirit, they often sit with unconcern under the same truth which once alarmed them, and become entirely hardened and unconcerned.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Sent for him more often
Instead of listening to Paul, Felix tried to is use Paul as a political pawn, either to get money from the church or to gain favor with the Jews. The fact that Felix had further discussions with Paul is no indication that his heart was interested in spiritual things. Paul's friends were coming and going, and perhaps some of them had access to the large offering sent by the Gentile churches. Certainly Paul gave further witness to the governor, but to no avail. When Felix was replaced, he left Paul a prisoner, but it was Felix who was really the prisoner. The governor's mind was enlightened (Acts 24:22), his emotions were stirred (Acts 24:25), but his will would not yield. He tried to gain the world, but as far as we know, he lost his soul. He procrastinated himself into hell.

Dr. Clarence Macartney told a story about a meeting in hell. Satan called his four leading demons together and commanded them to think up a new thing that would trap more souls.
1. "I have it!" one demon said. "Ill go to earth and tell people there is no God."
"It will never work," said Satan. "People can look around them and see that there is a God."
2.  "I'll go and tell them there is no heaven!" suggested a second demon,
but Satan rejected that idea. "Everybody knows there is life after death and they want to go to heaven."
3. "Let's tell them there is no hell!" said a third demon.
"No, conscience tells them their sins will be judged," said the devil. "We need better than that."
4. Quietly, the fourth demon spoke. "I think I've solved your problem," he said. "I'll go to earth and tell everybody there is no hurry."
The best time to trust Jesus Christ is now! And the best time to tell others the Good News of the Gospel is - now!
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Two years
At the end of two years, the governor was recalled to Rome by the emperor Nero under accusation by the Jews of bad administration. Though Felix knew that justice required Paul's dismissal, he left him in prison because he saw that he could thereby ingratiate himself with the Jews. While this two-year incarceration must have been very trying to Paul, one redeeming feature was that throughout this entire time Luke was in Palestine with the apostle. Quite certainly Luke used this time to gather information about the life and ministry of Jesus and to compile notes about the life of the early church. This material later appeared in the Gospel of Luke and in the Acts.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1962 by Moody Press. All rights reserved.)

When Felix was being replaced by Porcius Festus (probably summer of A.D. 59 A.D.), Jewish leaders from Caesarea finally went to Rome and accused him (Roman law had permitted provincials to accuse their governors since 149 B.C.). Fortunately for his sake, his powerful brother Pallas, although no longer in power in Nero's court, may have retained sufficient influence to protect him from Jewish retribution. "Wishing to do the Jews a favor" here may mean that he needs all the Jewish mercy he can get.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

Porcius Festus
The successor of Felix as procurator of Judea, He assumed this office at Nero's appointment in A.D. 60. He held it until his death in A.D. 62.
(from Holman Bible Dictionary. Copyright © 1991 by Holman Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.)

The only sources of information concerning Festus are the NT and Josephus.
Josephus' writings picture Festus as a prudent and honorable governor. Felix's maladministration bequeathed to Festus the impossible task of restoring order to a province embroiled in political strife and overrun by robbers. The Sicarii (assassin zealots), as the robbers were called on account of the small swords they carried, would come upon a village, plunder it, set it on fire, and murder whom-ever they wished. Through the use of an impostor, Festus succeeded in ridding the province of many of these criminals (Ant. xx.8 .10 [185-88]). But his procuratorship was too short to undo the legacy of his predecessor, and under his successor, Albinus, the situation rapidly deteriorated once again (BJ ii.14 .1 [271-76]).
(from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, revised edition, Copyright © 1979 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. All rights reserved.)

Festus sided with Agrippa against the Jews as to the high wall they built to prevent Agrippa seeing from his dining room in the palace into the temple court, for it hindered the Roman guard also from seeing the temple from the castle of Antonia during the great feasts. The Roman emperor under the influence of Poppaea, a proselyte, decided on appeal in favor of the Jews. Festus after a procuratorship of less than two years died in the summer of A.D. 62.
(from Fausset's Bible Dictionary, Electronic Database Copyright © 1998, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

The Porcia family had attained senatorial rank in Rome centuries earlier.
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Left Paul bound
Left him in custody to the charge of his successor. His object in this was to conciliate the Jews; that is, to secure their favor, and to prevent them, if possible, from accusing him for the evils of his administration before the emperor. The account which Luke gives here coincides remarkably with what Josephus has given. He says that Porcius Festus was sent as successor to Felix by Nero. He does not, indeed, mention Paul, or say that Felix sought to conciliate the favor of the Jews, but he gives such an account as to make the statement by Luke perfectly consistent with his character while in office. He informs us that Felix was unpopular, and that there was reason to apprehend that the Jews would accuse him before the emperor; and, therefore, the statement in the Acts that he would be willing to show the Jews a favor, is in perfect keeping with his character and circumstances, and is one of those undesigned coincidences which show that the author of the Acts was fully acquainted with the circumstances of the time and that his history is true.

The account in Josephus is, that "when Porcius Festus was sent as successor to Felix by Nero, the principal inhabitants of Caesarea went up to Rome to accuse Felix; and he had been certainly brought to punishment unless Nero had yielded to the importunate solicitations of his brother Palias, who was at that time had in the greatest honor by him" (Antiq., book 20, chapter 8, section 9). The plan of Felix, therefore, in suppressing the enmity of the Jews, and conciliating their favor by injustice to Paul, did not succeed, and is one of those instances, so numerous in the world, where a man gains nothing by wickedness.
Felix sought money from Paul by iniquity, and failed;
Felix sought by injustice to obtain the favor of the Jews, and failed in that also.
And the inference from the whole transaction is, that "honesty is the best policy," and that men in any office should pursue a course of firm, constant, and undeviating integrity.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

HISTORICAL OUTLOOK FROM 400 A. D. BY ARCHBISHOP JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
Homily 51 - Acts 24:22-27
See how much close investigation is made by the many in a long course of time, that it should not be said that the trial was hurried over. For, as the orator had made mention of Lysias, that he took "him away with violence, Felix," he says, "deferred them. Having knowledge of that way:" that is, he put them off on purpose: not because he wanted to learn, but as wishing to get rid of the Jews. On their account, he did not like to let him go: to punish him was not possible; that would have been (too) barefaced. "And to let him have liberty, and to forbid none of his acquaintance to minister to him." So entirely did he too acquit him of the charges. Howbeit, to gratify them, he detained him, and besides, expecting to receive money, he called for Paul.
"And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance (i.e. self-control or chastity), and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him; wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him. But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix's room: and Felix, willing to show the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound." See how close to the truth are the things written. But he sent for him frequently, not that he admired him, nor that he praised the things spoken, nor that he wished to believe, but why? "Expecting," it says, "that money should have been given him."
Observe how he does not hide here the mind of the judge. "Wherefore he sent for him," etc. And yet if he had condemned him, he would not have done this, nor have wished to hear a man, condemned and of evil character. And observe Paul, how, though reasoning with a ruler, he says nothing of the sort that was likely to amuse and entertain, but ("he reasoned," it says,) "of righteousness, and of the coming judgment," and of the resurrection. And such was the force of his words, that they even terrified the governor. This man is succeeded in his office by another, and he leaves Paul a prisoner: and yet he ought not to have done this; he ought to have put an end to the business: but he leaves him, by way of gratifying them. They however were so urgent, that they again besought the judge. Yet against none of the Apostles had they set themselves thus pertinacious; there, when they had attacked, anon they desisted. So providentially is he removed from Jerusalem, having to do with such wild beasts.
(from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 1, Volume 11, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

‘But the lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bar my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.’ Acts 9:15  (KJV)

From the Amplified Bible
(26)  At the same time he hoped to get money from Paul, for which reason he continued to send for him and was in his company and conversed with him often.
(27)  But when two years had gone by, Felix was succeeded in office by Porcius Festus; and wishing to gain favor with the Jews, Felix left Paul still a prisoner in chains.




(End of Chapter Twenty Four)

  

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