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Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible - New Testament

Acts of the Apostles 25 (Chapter XXV Study)

 

Acts of the Apostles Exposition: Index | Introduction to the book of Acts of the Apostles | Acts of the Apostles 1 | Acts of the Apostles 2 | Acts of the Apostles 3 | Acts of the Apostles 4 | Acts of the Apostles 5 | Acts of the Apostles 6 | Acts of the Apostles 7 | Acts of the Apostles 8 | Acts of the Apostles 9 | Acts of the Apostles 10 | Acts of the Apostles 11 | Acts of the Apostles 12 | Acts of the Apostles 13 | Acts of the Apostles 14 | Acts of the Apostles 15 | Acts of the Apostles 16 | Acts of the Apostles 17 | Acts of the Apostles 18 | Acts of the Apostles 19 | Acts of the Apostles 20 | Acts of the Apostles 21 | Acts of the Apostles 22 | Acts of the Apostles 23 | Acts of the Apostles 24 | Acts of the Apostles 25 | Acts of the Apostles 26 | Acts of the Apostles 27 | Acts of the Apostles 28

Acts of the Apostles full text: Acts of the Apostles 1 | Acts of the Apostles 2 | Acts of the Apostles 3 | Acts of the Apostles 4 | Acts of the Apostles 5 | Acts of the Apostles 6 | Acts of the Apostles 7 | Acts of the Apostles 8 | Acts of the Apostles 9 | Acts of the Apostles 10 | Acts of the Apostles 11 | Acts of the Apostles 12 | Acts of the Apostles 13 | Acts of the Apostles 14 | Acts of the Apostles 15 | Acts of the Apostles 16 | Acts of the Apostles 17 | Acts of the Apostles 18 | Acts of the Apostles 19 | Acts of the Apostles 20 | Acts of the Apostles 21 | Acts of the Apostles 22 | Acts of the Apostles 23 | Acts of the Apostles 24 | Acts of the Apostles 25 | Acts of the Apostles 26 | Acts of the Apostles 27 | Acts of the Apostles 28

Some think that Felix was turned out, and Festus succeeded him, quickly after Paul's imprisonment, and that the two years mentioned in the close of the foregoing chapter are to be reckoned from the beginning of Nero's reign; but it seems more natural to compute them from Paul's being delivered into the hands of Felix. However, we have here much the same management of Paul's case as we had in the foregoing chapter; cognizance is here taken of it, I. By Festus the governor; it is brought before him by the Jews, ver. 1-3. The hearing of it is appointed to be, not at Jerusalem, as the Jews desired, out at Csarea, ver. 4-6. The Jews appear against Paul and accuse him (ver. 7), but he stands upon his own innocency (ver. 8); and to avoid the removing of the cause to Jerusalem, to which he was pressed to consent, he at length appeals to Csar, ver. 9-12. II. By king Agrippa, to whom Festus relates his case (ver. 13-21), and Agrippa desires he might have the hearing of it himself, ver. 22. The court is accordingly set, and Paul brought to the bar (ver. 23), and Festus opens the cause (ver. 24-27), to introduce Paul's defence in the next chapter.

Paul Arraigned before Festus; Paul's Fourth Defence; Paul Appeals to Csar.

1 Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Csarea to Jerusalem. " alt="St-Takla.org Image: The next day Agrippa and Bernice arrived at the auditorium, accompanied by military officers and prominent men of the city. Paul was brought in. Festus announced, This is the man whose death is demanded by all the Jews, but in my opinion he has done nothing deserving death. However, since he appealed his case to the emperor, I have decided to send him to Rome. But what charge shall I make against him? (Acts 25: 23-27) - "Paul's trial before Festus and Agrippa" images set (Acts 25:1 - Acts 26:32): image (6) - Acts, Bible illustrations by James Padgett (1931-2009), published by Sweet Media صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: "ففي الغد لما جاء أغريباس وبرنيكي في احتفال عظيم، ودخلا إلى دار الاستماع مع الأمراء ورجال المدينة المقدمين، أمر فستوس فأتي ببولس. فقال فستوس: أيها الملك أغريباس والرجال الحاضرون معنا أجمعون، أنتم تنظرون هذا الذي توسل إلي من جهته كل جمهور اليهود في أورشليم وهنا، صارخين أنه لا ينبغي أن يعيش بعد. وأما أنا فلما وجدت أنه لم يفعل شيئا يستحق الموت، وهو قد رفع دعواه إلى أوغسطس، عزمت أن أرسله. وليس لي شيء يقين من جهته لأكتب إلى السيد. لذلك أتيت به لديكم، ولا سيما لديك أيها الملك أغريباس، حتى إذا صار الفحص يكون لي شيء لأكتب. لأني أرى حماقة أن أرسل أسيرا ولا أشير إلى الدعاوي التي عليه" (أعمال الرسل 25: 23-27) - مجموعة "محاكمة بولس أمام فستوس وأغريباس" (أعمال الرسل 25: 1 - أعمال الرسل 26: 32) - صورة (6) - صور سفر أعمال الرسل، رسم جيمز بادجيت (1931-2009)، إصدار شركة سويت ميديا" width="640" height="463">

St-Takla.org Image: The next day Agrippa and Bernice arrived at the auditorium, accompanied by military officers and prominent men of the city. Paul was brought in. Festus announced, This is the man whose death is demanded by all the Jews, but in my opinion he has done nothing deserving death. However, since he appealed his case to the emperor, I have decided to send him to Rome. But what charge shall I make against him? (Acts 25: 23-27) - "Paul's trial before Festus and Agrippa" images set (Acts 25:1 - Acts 26:32): image (6) - Acts, Bible illustrations by James Padgett (1931-2009), published by Sweet Media

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: "ففي الغد لما جاء أغريباس وبرنيكي في احتفال عظيم، ودخلا إلى دار الاستماع مع الأمراء ورجال المدينة المقدمين، أمر فستوس فأتي ببولس. فقال فستوس: أيها الملك أغريباس والرجال الحاضرون معنا أجمعون، أنتم تنظرون هذا الذي توسل إلي من جهته كل جمهور اليهود في أورشليم وهنا، صارخين أنه لا ينبغي أن يعيش بعد. وأما أنا فلما وجدت أنه لم يفعل شيئا يستحق الموت، وهو قد رفع دعواه إلى أوغسطس، عزمت أن أرسله. وليس لي شيء يقين من جهته لأكتب إلى السيد. لذلك أتيت به لديكم، ولا سيما لديك أيها الملك أغريباس، حتى إذا صار الفحص يكون لي شيء لأكتب. لأني أرى حماقة أن أرسل أسيرا ولا أشير إلى الدعاوي التي عليه" (أعمال الرسل 25: 23-27) - مجموعة "محاكمة بولس أمام فستوس وأغريباس" (أعمال الرسل 25: 1 - أعمال الرسل 26: 32) - صورة (6) - صور سفر أعمال الرسل، رسم جيمز بادجيت (1931-2009)، إصدار شركة سويت ميديا

[2.] But to his great surprise he finds the matter is neither so nor so; they had certain questions against him, instead of proofs and evidences against him. The worst they had to say against him was disputable whether it was a crime or no-moot-points, that would bear an endless debate, but had no tendency to fasten any guilt upon him, questions fitter for the schools than for the judgment-seat. And they were questions of their own superstition, so he calls their religion; or, rather, so he calls that part of their religion which Paul was charged with doing damage to. The Romans protected their religion according to their law, but not their superstition, nor the tradition of their elders. But the great question, it seems, was concerning one Jesus that was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. Some think the superstition he speaks of was the Christian religion, which Paul preached, and that he had the same notion of it that the Athenians had, that it was the introducing of a new demon, even Jesus, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. See how slightly this Roman speaks of Christ, and of his death and resurrection, and of the great controversy between the Jews and the Christians whether he were the Messiah promised or no, and the great proof of his being the Messiah, his resurrection from the dead, as if it were no more than this, There was one Jesus that was dead, and Paul affirmed he was alive. In many causes issue is joined upon this question, whether such a person that has been long absent be living or dead, and proofs are brought on both sides; and Festus will have it thought that this is a matter of no more moment. Whereas this Jesus, whom he prides himself in being thus ignorant of, as if he were below his notice, is he that was dead, and is alive, and lives for evermore, and has the keys of hell and of death, Rev. i. 18. What Paul affirmed concerning Jesus, that he is alive, is a matter of such vast importance that if it be not true we are all undone.

(6.) That therefore he had proposed to Paul that the cause might be adjourned to the Jewish courts, as best able to take cognizance of an affair of this nature (v. 20): "Because I doubted of such manner of questions, and thought myself unfit to judge of things I did not understand, I asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, appear before the great sanhedrim, and there be judged of these matters." He would not force him to it, but would be glad if Paul would consent to it, that he might not have his conscience burdened with a cause of this nature.

(7.) That Paul had chosen rather to remove his cause to Rome than to Jerusalem, as expecting fairer play from the emperor than from the priests: "He appealed to be reserved to the hearing of Augustus (v. 21), having no other way to stop proceedings here in this inferior court; and therefore I commanded him to be kept a close prisoner till I might send him to Csar, for I did not see cause to refuse his appeal, but rather was pleased with it."

III. The bringing of him before Agrippa, that he might have the hearing of his cause.

1. The king desired it (v. 22): "I thank you for your account of him, but I would also hear the man myself." Agrippa knows more of this matter, of the cause and of the person, than Festus does; he has heard of Paul, and knows of what vast concern this question is, which Festus makes such a jest of, whether Jesus be alive or no. And nothing would oblige him more than to hear Paul. Many great men think it below them to take cognizance of the matters of religion, except they can hear them like themselves in the judgment-seat. Agrippa would not for all the world have gone to a meeting to hear Paul preach, any more than Herod to hear Jesus; and yet they are both glad to have them brought before them, only to satisfy their curiosity. Perhaps Agrippa desired to hear him himself, that he might be in a capacity to do him a kindness, and yet did him none, only put some credit upon him.

2. Festus granted it: To-morrow thou shalt hear him. There was a good providence in this, for the encouragement of Paul, who seemed buried alive in his imprisonment, and deprived of all opportunities of doing good. We know not of any of his epistles that bore date from his prison at Csarea. What opportunity he had of doing good to his friends that visited him, and perhaps to a little congregation of them that visited him every Lord's-day, was but a low and narrow sphere of usefulness, so that he seemed to be thrown by as a despised broken vessel, in which there was no pleasure; but this gives him an opportunity of preaching Christ to a great congregation, and (which is more) to a congregation of great ones. Felix heard him in private concerning the faith of Christ. But Agrippa and Festus agree he shall be heard in public. And we have reason to think that his sermon in the next chapter, though it might not be so instrumental as some other of his sermons for the conversion of souls, redounded as much to the honour of Christ and Christianity as any sermon he ever preached in his life.

3. Great preparation was made for it (v. 23): The next day there was a great appearance in the place of hearing, Paul and his cause being much talked of, and the more for their being much talked against.

(1.) Agrippa and Bernice took this opportunity to show themselves in state, and to make a figure, and perhaps for that end desired the occasion, that they might see and be seen; for they came with great pomp, richly dressed, with gold and pearls, and costly array; with a great retinue of footmen in rich liveries, which made a splendid show, and dazzled the eyes of the gazing crowd. They came meta polles phantasiaswith great fancy, so the word is. Note, Great pomp is but great fancy. It neither adds any read excellency, nor gains any real respect, but feeds a vain humour, which wise men would rather mortify than gratify. It is but a show, a dream, a fantastical thing (so the word signifies), superficial, and it passeth away. And the pomp of this appearance would put one for ever out of conceit with pomp, when the pomp which Agrippa and Bernice appeared in was, [1.] Stained by their lewd characters, and all the beauty of it sullied, and all virtuous people that knew them could not but contemn them in the midst of all this pomp as vile persons, Ps. xv. 4. [2.] Outshone by the real glory of the poor prisoner at the bar. What was the honour of their fine clothes, compared with that of his wisdom, and grace, and holiness, his courage and constancy in suffering for Christ! His bonds in so good a cause were more glorious than their chains of gold, and his guards than their equipage. Who would be fond of worldly pomp that here sees so bad a woman loaded with it and so good a man loaded with the reverse of it?

(2.) The chief captains and principal men of the city took this opportunity to pay their respects to Festus and to his guests. It answered the end of a ball at court, it brought the fine folks together in their fine clothes, and served for an entertainment. It is probable that Festus sent Paul notice of it overnight, to be ready for a hearing the next morning before Agrippa. And such confidence had Paul in the promise of Christ, that it should be given him in that same hour what he should speak, that he complained not of the short warning, nor was put into confusion by it. I am apt to think that those who were to appear in pomp perplexed themselves more with care about their clothes than Paul, who was to appear as a prisoner, did with care about his cause; for he knew whom he had believed, and who stood by him.

IV. The speech with which Festus introduced the cause, when the court, or rather the audience, was set, which is much to the same purport with the account he had just now given to Agrippa. 1. He addressed himself respectfully to the company: "King Agrippa, and all men who are here present with us." He speaks to all the menpantes andres, as if he intended a tacit reflection upon Bernice, a woman, for appearing in a meeting of this nature; he does not refer any thing to her judgment nor desire her counsel; but, "All you that are present that are men (so the words are placed), I desire you to take cognizance of this matter." The word used is that which signifies men in distinction from women; what had Bernice to do here? 2. He represents the prisoner as one that the Jews had a very great spite against; not only the rulers, but the multitude of them, both at Jerusalem and here at Csarea, cry out that he ought not to live any longer, for they think he has lived too long already, and if he live any longer it will be to do more mischief. They could not charge him with any capital crime, but they wanted to have him out of the way. 3. He confesses the prisoner's innocency; and it was much for the honour of Paul and his bonds that he had such a public acknowledgement as this from the mouth of his judge (v. 25): I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death. Upon a full hearing of the case, it appeared there was no evidence at all to support the indictment: and therefore, though he was inclinable enough to favour the prosecutors, yet his own conscience brought in Paul not guilty. And why did he not discharge him then, for he stood upon his deliverance? Why, truly, because he was so much clamoured against, and he feared the clamour would turn upon himself if he should release him. It is a pity but every man that has a conscience should have courage to act according to it. Or perhaps because there was so much smoke that he concluded there could not but be some fire, which would appear at last, and he would detain him a prisoner in expectation of it. 4. He acquaints them with the present state of the case, that the prisoner had appealed to the emperor himself (where by he put ann honour upon his own cause, as knowing it not unworthy the cognizance of the greatest of men), and that he had admitted his appeal: I have determined to send him. And thus the cause now stood. 5. He desires their assistance in examining the matter calmly and impartially, now that there was no danger of their being interrupted, as he had been with the noisiness and outrage of the prosecutors-that he might have at least such an insight into the cause as was necessary to his stating it to the emperor, v. 26, 27. (1.) He thought it unreasonable to send a prisoner, especially so far as Rome, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him, that the matter might be prepared as much as possible, and put in a readiness for the emperor's determination; for he is supposed to be a man of great business, and therefore every affair must be laid before him in as little compass as possible. (2.) He could not as yet write any thing certain concerning Paul; so confused were the informations that were given in against him, and so inconsistent, that Festus could make nothing at all of them. He therefore desired Paul might thus be publicly examined, that he might be advised by them what to write. See what a great deal of trouble and vexation those were put to, and to what delay, nay, and to what hazard, in the administration of public justice, who live at such a distance from Rome, and yet were subject to the emperor of Rome. The same was this nation of ours put to (which is about as far distant from Rome the other way) when it was in ecclesiastical affairs subject to the pope of Rome, and appeals were upon all occasions made to his court; and the same mischiefs, and a thousand worse, would those bring upon us who would again entangle us in that yoke of bondage.

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Other commentaries and interpretations on the Book of Acts of the Apostles:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28

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