Jesus's Words

Chapter 15: Law Report.—Jews Versus Paul: Trials Five, With Observations

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Section 5: Trial IV. Place, Again, Cæsarea.—Acts 25:1-12

Scene, Cæsarea judicatory.—Judge, new Roman governor, Festus. Accusers, "Jews," not named, sent by the high priest and his colleagues from Jerusalem to Cæsarea for the purpose. Defendant still in the prison at Cæsarea: Roman judge, at Jerusalem. Prosecutors, the council there—petition to have Defendant brought thither. Judge chooses rather to go to him at Cæsarea, than thus send for him to Jerusalem.

According to the historian, it was for the purpose of causing Defendant to be murdered, in the way to the judicatory, that the prosecutors were so earnest as they were to obtain the habeas corpus: according to probability, it was for any purpose, rather than that of committing any such outrage upon the authority of their constituted superior, with an army at his command. Be this as it may, instead of sending for Defendant to Jerusalem, the judge returned himself to Cæsarea.

Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem. Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him, And desired favour against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him. But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would depart shortly thither. Let them therefore, said he, which among you are able, go down with me, and accuse this man, if there be any wickedness in him. And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto Caesarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought.Acts 25:1-6

Charges, not particularized: said of them, not so much as that they were the same as before. ...and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove.Acts 25:7 —such is the only account given of them.

Defence—points contained in it. As before, no offence, says ver. 8, against the law—no offence against "the temple." One point added, "Nor yet against Caesar." Good. But how comes this here? Here we have a defence, against what, it is plain, was never charged.

Festus—judge, to Defendant: Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me?Acts 25:9

Defendant to judge, I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged.Acts 25:10a meaning, as appears from the direct words of appeal in the next verse,—by a Roman, not by a Jewish judicatory, ought I to be tried. Against the being judged at Cæsarea, instead of Jerusalem, he could not naturally have meant to object: at least, if the historian speaks true, in what he says about the plot for murdering the prisoner on the road.

2. the Jews have I done no wrongActs 25:10b Thus far nothing more is said than Not Guilty. But now follows another trait of that effrontery, which was so leading a feature in Paul's eloquence, as thou very well knowest.Acts 25:10c Now what anybody may see is,—that Festus neither did know, nor could know, any such thing. Witness the historiographer himself, who, but eight verses after,(Acts 25:18-20.) makes Festus himself, in discourse with King Agrippa, declare as much. But the more audacious, the more in Defendant's character; and the greater the probability, that, in the conflict between the Law-Report and the narrative, truth is on the side of the Report.

3. Conclusion: ver. 11, defendant gives judge to understand, that if he, the Defendant, has done any of the things he has been charged with, he has no objection to be put to death: but in the same breath ends with saying, "I appeal to Caesar!" submitting thus to Festus's judgment, whatever it may be, and at the same time appealing from it.

Festus judge: Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council whoever they were, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.Acts 25:12 Here ends Trial IV.

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