Appeal to Caesar
1Three days after Festus arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea.25:1 Ac 8:40; 23:34
2The chief priests and the leaders of the Jews presented their case against Paul to him; and they appealed,25:2 Ac 24:1; 25:15
3asking for a favor against Paul, that Festus summon him to Jerusalem. They were, in fact, preparing an ambush along the road to kill him.
4Festus, however, answered that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself was about to go there shortly.25:3–4 Ac 9:24; 24:23
5“Therefore,” he said, “let those of you who have authority go down with me and accuse him, if he has done anything wrong.”
6When he had spent not more than eight or ten days among them, he went down to Caesarea. The next day, seated at the tribunal, he commanded Paul to be brought in.25:6 Mt 27:19; Ac 25:10,17
7When he arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him and brought many serious charges that they were not able to prove.25:7 Mk 15:3; Lk 23:2,10; Ac 24:5,13
8Then Paul made his defense: “Neither against the Jewish law,25:8 Ac 6:13; 24:12; 28:17 nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I sinned in any way.”
9But Festus, wanting to do the Jews a favor,25:9 Ac 24:27; 25:20 replied to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem to be tried before me there on these charges?”
10Paul replied, “I am standing at Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as even you yourself know very well.
11If then I did anything wrong and am deserving of death, I am not trying to escape death; but if there is nothing to what these men accuse me of, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar!” 25:11 Ac 25:21,25; 26:32; 28:19
12Then after Festus conferred with his council, he replied, “You have appealed to Caesar; to Caesar you will go.”
King Agrippa and Bernice Visit Festus
13Several days later, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea and paid a courtesy call on Festus.
14Since they were staying there several days, Festus presented Paul’s case to the king, saying, “There’s a man who was left as a prisoner by Felix.
15When I was in Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews presented their case and asked that he be condemned.25:14–15 Ac 24:27; 25:2
16I answered them that it is not the Roman custom to give someone up25:16 Other mss add to destruction before the accused faces the accusers and has an opportunity for a defense against the charges.25:16 Ac 23:30; 24:4–5
17So when they had assembled here, I did not delay. The next day I took my seat at the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought in.
18The accusers stood up but brought no charge against him of the evils I was expecting.
19Instead they had some disagreements25:19 Ac 18:15; 23:29 with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, a dead man Paul claimed to be alive.
20Since I was at a loss in a dispute over such things, I asked him if he wanted to go to Jerusalem and be tried there regarding these matters.
21But when Paul appealed to be held for trial by the Emperor,25:21 Lit his majesty, also in v. 25 I ordered him to be kept in custody until I could send him to Caesar.”
22Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear the man myself.”
“Tomorrow you will hear him,” he replied.25:20–22 Ac 9:15; 25:9,11
Paul before Agrippa
23So the next day, Agrippa and Bernice25:23 Ac 25:13; 26:30 came with great pomp and entered the auditorium with the military commanders and prominent men of the city. When Festus gave the command, Paul was brought in.
24Then Festus said, “King Agrippa and all men present with us, you see this man. The whole Jewish community has appealed to me concerning him, both in Jerusalem and here, shouting that he should not live any longer.25:24 Ac 22:22; 25:2,7
25I found that he had not done anything deserving of death, but when he himself appealed to the Emperor, I decided to send him.25:25 Ac 23:29; 25:11–12
26I have nothing definite to write to my lord about him. Therefore, I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that after this examination is over, I may have something to write.
27For it seems unreasonable to me to send a prisoner without indicating the charges against him.”