25:1Three days after Festus arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea.25:2The ruling priests and leading Judeans there informed him of their complaint against Paul,25:3and they asked him a favor: to transfer Paul to Jerusalem. (They had planned to kill him in an ambush along the way.)25:4But Festus told them that Paul would be kept in Caesarea, though he himself was about to return there at once.25:5And he added, “Whoever is able may go with me, and if there is anything about the man that doesn’t add up, let them submit a charge.”
25:6After staying with them for no more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea. The next day he took his seat to hold court and summoned Paul to be brought in.25:7When he arrived, the Judeans who came down from Jerusalem stood around him and hurled many serious charges at him, but they could not prove any of them.25:8In his defense Paul stated, “I have committed no crime against the law of the Judeans, against the temple compound, or against Caesar.”
25:9Now since Festus wanted to curry favor with the Judeans, he responded to Paul by asking, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem to face trial there concerning these charges?”
25:10“I am standing in the court of Caesar where I should be judged,” Paul replied. “I have wronged none of the Judeans, which you know better than anyone.25:11But if I have in fact done wrong and committed something worthy of death, I do not refuse to die. Yet if there is nothing to these accusations they are bringing against me, no one can hand me over to them as a favor. I appeal to Caesar!"
25:12Then Festus, after consulting the council, said, “You have appealed to Caesar; to Caesar you will go!”
25:13After a few days had passed, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea and greeted Festus.25:14After they had been there for a few days, Festus brought Paul’s case to the king’s attention: “There is a certain man who was left here as a prisoner by Felix.25:15When I came to Jerusalem the ruling priests and Judean elders brought charges against him and asked for a conviction.25:16But I replied that Romans are not in the habit of surrendering someone as a favor, without first giving the accused a chance to face their accusers and give a defense against the charges.25:17So when they gathered in this place, I wasted no time but convened the court the next day and took my seat, and then I summoned him.
25:18“But when his accusers stood around him, they did not bring up even one of the terrible charges I had expected.25:19Instead, it was all about violations of their own religion, and it concerned a certain Jesus who died but who Paul claimed was alive.25:20Now since I had no understanding of such questions, I asked whether he’d be willing to go to Jerusalem to face trial over this.25:21But when Paul appealed to have his case examined by the imperial court, I ordered that he be held until I can send him to Caesar.”
25:22Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I’d like to hear this person myself.”
“You will hear him tomorrow,” he replied.
25:23The next day Agrippa and Bernice arrived with much pageantry, entering the audience hall accompanied by legion commanders and prominent citizens. At Festus’ command, Paul was brought in,25:24and then Festus began to speak:
“King Agrippa, and all ladies and gentlemen here with us! You see before you this one about whom all the Judeans have interceded with me, both here and in Jerusalem, to be put to death.25:25I determined that he had done nothing worthy of death, but since he appealed to the imperial court, I decided to send him there.
25:26“But I have nothing specific to write to the Sovereign.1 So I have put him before you all, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that through further examination I may find something to write.25:27For it seems pointless to me to send off a prisoner without listing specific charges against him.”
- 1The word rendered “sovereign” is literally “lord” or “master.”