Blaine Robison, M.A.
Published 4 March 2021; Revised 12 August 2021
Scripture Text: The Scripture text used in this commentary is prepared by Blaine Robison and based on the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. The essentially literal translation seeks to reflect the Jewish character of the author and writing. See my web article The Jewish New Testament. Scripture quotations may be taken from different versions. Click here for abbreviations of Bible versions. Quotations marked with the initials "BR" indicate the translation of the commentary author.
Sources: Bibliographic data for works cited may be found at the end of the chapter commentary. Works without page numbers are cited ad loc. Important Jewish sources include the following:
● DSS: Citations marked as "DSS" are from the Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of Jewish manuscripts of Scripture and sectarian documents found in the Qumran caves. Most of the Qumran MSS belong to the last three centuries BC and the first century AD. Online DSS Bible.
● LXX: The abbreviation "LXX" ("70") stands for the Septuagint, the Jewish translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, which was in use among Jews by the mid-2nd century B.C. Online.
● Josephus: Citations for Josephus, the first century Jewish historian (Yosef ben Matityahu), are from The Works of Flavius Josephus (c. 75–99 A.D.) trans. William Whiston (1737). Online.
● MT: The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Tanakh for Rabbinic Judaism. Work on developing a uniform Hebrew Bible began in the 2nd century under Rabbi Akiva, but completed by Jewish scholars known as the Masoretes between the 7th and 10th centuries A.D. The oldest extant manuscripts date from around the 9th century A.D. Online.
● Talmud: Unless otherwise indicated references to the Talmud are from the Soncino Babylonian Talmud (1948); available online at Halakhah.com. The Jerusalem Talmud, identified with "TJ," may be found here. Click here for Talmud abbreviations.
● Targums: The targums are early Aramaic translations of the Hebrew text with commentary: Targum Jerusalem (1st c. AD), Targum Neofiti (1st c. AD), Targum Onkelos (c. 35–120 AD) and Targum Jonathan (2nd c. AD). See an index of targum texts here.
Syntax: Unless otherwise noted the meaning of Greek words is from F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (2009), and the meaning of Hebrew words is from The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (1981), abbreviated as "BDB." See the Greek Guide for the meaning of grammar abbreviations and pronunciation of Greek words. Parsing data for Greek words is from Anthony J. Fisher, Greek New Testament. The numbering system of the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible is identified with "SH" (Strong's Hebrew number) and "SG" (Strong's Greek number). Strong's Online.
Terminology: In order to emphasize the Jewish nature of the apostolic canon and its central figure I use the terms ADONAI (for 'LORD' when quoting a Tanakh source), Yeshua (Jesus), Messiah (Christ), Tanakh (Old Testament), and Besekh (New Testament).
See the article Introduction to Acts for background information on Luke and the book of Acts. For a suggested timeline of Acts see the dating chart of George Edmundson. All dates given for the narrative of Acts are estimates.
Chapter Twenty-Four continues the narrative of the previous chapter and describes a formal hearing conducted by the governor Felix in which charges were presented against Paul. The accusers included the high priest Ananias, some temple elders and Tertullus, a legal advocate. Three charges were presented against Paul: (1) he was an instigator of dissension among Jews throughout the world; (2) he was a leader of the Nazarenes; and (3) he attempted to desecrate the temple.
Paul boldly faced his accusers and provided an articulate defense and responded to the charges in order. He declared that his accusers had no evidence that he had committed any capital crime and in fact the real accusers, certain Jews from Asia, were not even present. Regarding the first charge Paul pointed out that the Jewish leaders did not find him disputing with anyone nor inciting any crowd, either in the synagogue or in the city. Regarding the second charge Paul corrected the record by declaring that he worshipped the God of Israel according to followers of the Way (i.e., disciples of Yeshua), and believed all the things written in the Torah and the Prophets, including the hope of the resurrection of the dead.
Regarding the third charge, Paul stated that he had returned to Jerusalem after many years to bring alms and offerings to his nation. When certain Jews from Asia found Paul in the temple, he had done nothing to cause defilement. The only statement of Paul that could have been objectionable was when he had cried out among them, "I am being judged concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead!"
Felix apparently had a "more accurate knowledge of the Way," and adjourned the proceedings. He stated that he would make a decision on the case when Lysias the commander came to Caesarea. Paul was kept in the custody of a centurion, but was given certain liberties. Later, Felix and his Jewish wife, Drusilla, called for Paul and gave him an opportunity to share the message of the Messiah. Speaking about the judgment to come caused Felix to become afraid. He sent Paul away, saying he would call for him at a more convenient time. Felix hoped for a bribe from Paul to release him, and often sent for Paul. Wishing to do the Jewish leaders a favor, Felix left Paul in custody for the rest of his term without a final disposition of the case.
Not mentioned by Luke was a change in the office of High Priest while Paul was waiting in Caesarea. According to Josephus a high priest named Jonathan succeeded Ananias (Ant. XX, 8:5), but this Jonathan so annoyed Felix that the governor arranged to have him assassinated. A new high priest, Ishmael, was then appointed by King Agrippa (Ant. XX, 8:8), perhaps in the transition period of the end of the term of Felix and the beginning of the term of the new governor, Porcius Festus.
Arrival of the Accusers: 24:1
Tertullus: Opening Statement, 24:2-4
Tertullus: Accusations Against Paul, 24:5-9
Paul: Opening Statement, 24:10
Paul: Answer to the First Charge, 24:11-13
Paul: Answer to the Second Charge, 24:14-16
Paul: Answer to the Third Charge, 24:17-21
Delay of Trial, 24:22-27
Rome: Caesar Nero (AD 54-68)
Procurator of Judaea: Marcus Antonius Felix (AD 52-59)
High Priest in Jerusalem: Ananias, son of Nebedaius (AD 46-58)
High Priest in Jerusalem: Jonathan (AD 58)
High Priest in Jerusalem: Ishmael b. Phiabi II (AD 58-61)
Date: Tuesday, 7 June 57
Arrival of the Accusers: 24:1
1 Then after five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders, and a certain advocate Tertullus, who brought charges to the governor against Paul.
Then: Grk. de, conj. used to indicate (1) a contrast to a preceding statement; (2) a transition in presentation of subject matter; or (3) a continuation of thought, sometimes with emphasis. The second meaning applies here. after: Grk. meta, prep. with a root meaning of "in the midst of" (DM 107), may be used (1) as a marker of association; with, among; or (2) as a sequential marker; after, behind. The second usage is intended here. five: Grk. pente, adj., the number five. days: pl. of Grk. hēmera, day, normally either (1) the daylight hours from sunrise to sunset, or (2) the civil or legal day that included the night. The second usage is intended here.
In the LXX hēmera translates Heb. yom (SH-3117), day, first in Genesis 1:5. Meyer comments that the common mode of expression "after five days" does not necessarily denote that the fifth day had already elapsed, but may just as well denote on the fifth day (cf. "after three days," Mark 8:31). The fifth day could be measured from when Lysias ordered the "accusers" to appear before Felix (2 Jun) or from Paul's arrival in Caesarea (3 June). Luke identifies the following persons from Jerusalem who came to Caesarea in response to the order of Lysias.
the high priest: Grk. ho archiereus, a high or chief priest. In the LXX archiereus occurs only two times in the canonical books (Lev 4:3; Josh 24:33), but 41 times in the Apocrypha (DNTT 3:35). In the Tanakh the Hebrew title is Hakohen Hagadol, 'the high [or great] priest,' which occurs 11 times (e.g., Lev 21:10; Num 35:25, 28), but in all of these passages the title is translated in the LXX by Grk. ho hierus ho megas, 'the great priest.' The office of high priest was established by God to be a descendant of Aaron (Ex 27:21; 30:30). The high priest was the chief executive officer over all the priests and all Temple rites and ceremonies. An important privilege of the ruling high priest was serving as ex-officio president of the Great Sanhedrin.
Ananias: Grk. Ananias, a poor transliteration of Heb. Chananyah ("Yah has been gracious"). Under Roman rule the office of high priest was no longer strictly hereditary. The office was manipulated by the Romans for political purposes and high priests were approved and deposed by the Roman governor. Josephus said that Herod, king of Chalcis and younger brother of King Herod Agrippa I, removed Joseph Caiaphas from the high priesthood, and made Ananias, the son of Nebedæus, his successor in the year 47 (Ant. XX, 5:2). Josephus called Ananias a "great hoarder of money" (Ant. XX, 9:2) and was conspicuous for his cruelty and injustice.
Bruce notes a parody of Psalm 24:7 preserved in the Talmud lampooning the greed of Ananias:
"Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and let Yohanan ben Narbai, the disciple of Pinqai, may enter and fill his stomach with the divine sacrifices." (Pesachim 57a) NOTE: 'Narbai' is a corruption of 'Nebedæus.' 'Pinqai' is perhaps a nickname formed by a play on words from 'pinqa,' being a meat-dish, an allusion to greed.
Five years previous to this time Ananias had been sent to Rome for trial and accused by Quadratus, the legate of Syria, of fomenting civil unrest between Judeans and Samaritans and undermining Roman authority (Ant. XX, 6:2-3). He had been acquitted of the charge, thanks to the mediation of Agrippa, and returned to Judea. The pro-Roman policies of Ananias eventually made him an enemy of the zealots and when war with Rome broke out in the year 66, he was assassinated (Wars II, 17:9).
came down: Grk. katabainō, aor., to proceed in a direction that is down; go down, come down, descend. The verb depicts the change in elevation coming from Jerusalem located in hill country to the coastal plain. with: Grk. meta, prep. certain ones: pl. of Grk. tis, indefinite pronoun; a certain one, someone, anyone, anything. This pronoun is often used to distinguish someone of consequence in contrast to others, or to denote a collective commonality of those in a group, the former in this instance. elders: pl. of Grk. presbuteros, may mean (1) ranked as superior in age, older, older one; or (2) ranked in terms of official responsibility, elder. The second meaning applies here.
In the LXX presbuteros translates Heb. zaqen ("zaw-kane", SH-2205), old, advanced in days (Gen 18:11), as well as a technical term for a man with official authority (Ex 17:5). In the Tanakh elders as a group are found in tribes, communities and in the body of seventy appointed by Moses. In the Besekh the term was used for the Jewish Sages (Matt 15:2), for members of the temple ruling council in Jerusalem (Matt 16:21; cf. John 11:47), and for officers in a synagogue (Luke 7:3). Luke does not offer any other information on these elders, but they were specially selected for their support of the prosecution's case.
and: Grk. kai, conj. that marks a connection or addition. Kai has three basic uses: (1) continuative – and, also, even; (2) adversative – and yet, but, however; or (3) intensive – certainly, indeed, in fact, really, verily, yea (DM 250f). The first use applies here. Kai is used in the LXX to translate the vav (ו) character added to words for conjunctive effect. a certain: Grk. tis. The pronoun is used to mark the following person as someone of distinction. advocate: Grk. rhētōr, a public speaker engaged in persuasive oratory, often in a judicial context; advocate, orator. The majority of versions translate the noun as "attorney" or "lawyer" as a modern correlation. Two versions have "prosecuting attorney" (MRINT, TPT), which is an appropriate interpretation for the role.
Tertullus: Grk. Tertullos, a personal name. Many commentators assume Tertullus was a Roman, but Nicoll points out that it does not follow from the name that Tertullus was a Roman, as both Greeks and Jews often bore Roman names. Tertullus was apparently one of the class of hired pleaders, often employed in the provinces by those who were themselves ignorant of Roman law. The trial was probably conducted in Greek.
who brought charges: Grk. emphanizō, aor., 3p-pl., may mean (1) make visible; appear; or (2) provide information; disclose, inform, make known, report. The second meaning is intended here. The verb is used here as a technical term to indicate laying formal information before a judge. Most commentators say that Tertullus brought three charges, which are listed in verses 5-6. to the governor: Grk. hēgemōn, lit., "a leader," but in this context a 'legatus Caesaris,' an officer administering a province in the name and with the authority of the Roman emperor; the procurator of a province. against: Grk. kata, prep., down, against, according to. Here the preposition can mean "with regard to" (Thayer).
Paul: Grk. ho Paulos, from the Latin cognomen or surname Paulus ("small" or "humble"). The definite article probably signifies "the one called." The name Paulos first appears in Acts 13:9. The name Paulus was probably taken from the patron who made Roman citizenship possible for Paul's father or grandfather (see Acts 22:28). Paul was born in Tarsus of Cilicia to traditional Jewish parents of the tribe of Benjamin, given the Hebrew name Sha'ul, and lived as a devout Pharisee (Acts 22:3; 23:6; 26:5; Php 3:5). Paul was called by Yeshua to be an apostle and to proclaim the good news to the nations and the sons of Israel (Acts 9:15). For a biography of Paul see my article The Apostle from Tarsus.
The CJB, in deference to its intended audience, substitutes the Hebrew name Sha'ul for "Paul" to emphasize the fact that the apostle never surrendered his Jewish identity (Stern 267). We should note that "Paul" is the only name by which the apostle refers to himself in his writings and those were sent to congregations with largely Jewish membership, as well as to Jewish congregational leaders. In addition, the OJB, which also has Sha'ul, adds the title "Rav" in direct violation of Yeshua's instruction (Matt 23:8). Paul never used the honorific of himself and no one ever addressed Paul as "Rabbi."
Date: Wednesday, 8 June 57
Tertullus: Opening Statement, 24:2-4
2 And him having been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse, saying, "Great peace we are attaining through you, and reforms are happening to this nation through your forethought,
And: Grk. de, conj. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun used to distinguish a person or thing from or contrast it with another, or to give him (it) emphatic prominence. The pronoun may mean (1) self, (2) he, she, it, or (3) the same. The second meaning applies here. The pronoun alludes to Paul and many versions insert his name here. having been summoned: Grk. kaleō, aor. part., may mean (1) express something aloud; say, call, summon; (2) solicit participation; call, invite; or (3) identify by name or give a term to, call. The first meaning applies here. Paul was brought from the Praetorium to the courtroom of Felix.
Tertullus: Grk. ho Tertullos. See the previous verse. began: Grk. archō, aor. mid., can mean either (1) in the active voice 'to rule,' or (2) in the middle voice (as here) 'to begin' something. The verb had wide Jewish usage, including Aristeas, Philo and Josephus (BAG). All three writers used the verb with the first meaning and Josephus frequently used the verb with the second meaning. to accuse: Grk. katēgoreō, pres. inf., a technical legal term meaning to charge with an offense; accuse. The infinitive is used here to express purpose. The clause "began to accuse" does not mean that Tertullus began his speech with a specific accusation, which are actually listed in verses 5-6. Rather the clause points to the immediate quotation as being an opening statement that will lead to making an accusation.
saying: Grk. legō, pres. part., to make a statement or utterance, whether mentally, orally or in writing, often used to introduce quoted material. The focus of the verb may be declarative, interrogative or imperative; answer, ask, declare, enjoin, order, say, speak, tell, told, refer to, talk about. In the LXX legō translates Heb. amar (SH-559), to utter, say, shew, command or think. The Greek verb "say" functions here as quotation marks for the text following since ancient writings did not contain punctuation. Bruce and Stern note that it was customary to begin a presentation in court with a compliment of the ruler. However, in this case the flattery is so excessive as to grossly contradict reality.
Great: Grk. polus, adj., extensive in scope, whether in quantity or quality, here the latter. The adjective is probably intended as equivalent to 'abundant.' peace: Grk. eirēnē, peace, which may refer to either (1) a state of harmony as a result from cessation of hostilities, whether in political or personal relationships; or (2) a state of well-being, a characteristic of the Messianic age and divine favor. The first meaning is intended here. In the LXX eirēnē translates Heb. shalom (SH-7965), completeness, soundness, welfare, or peace (BDB 1022). In Jewish culture shalom is never peace in the negative sense, the absence of conflict, but the possession of everything that makes for man's highest good.
However, Tertullus probably uses the word "peace" as Felix would understand the term, the Pax Romana ("peace of Rome"). The term Pax Romana referred to the Empire in its glorified prime, beginning with the accession of Augustus in 27 BC, and lasting until 180 AD and the death of Marcus Aurelius. The Roman legal system brought law and order to the provinces. The Legions patrolled the borders with success and kept the internal empire free from major invasion, piracy or social disorder on any grand scale. Indeed the sword assured the absence of threats that would adversely affect Roman governance. See the article on the Pax Romana at the UNRV website.
For conquered peoples, however, the Pax Romana didn't bring true peace or tranquility, since the Roman idea of peace was to eliminate dissent and opposition to government policies. we are attaining: Grk. tugchanō, pl. pres. part., lit. "hit the mark" (HELPS), may mean (1) be privileged to receive a benefit; attain, obtain, reach; or (2) meet up with something in ordinary experience; come upon, happen. The first meaning applies here.
through: Grk. dia, prep. used as a prefix to a statement, which may express (1) instrumentality; through, by means of; or (2) causality; on account of, because of. The first usage applies here. you: Grk. su, second person pronoun. Bruce comments that many Judeans would characterize the "great peace" of Felix to the epigram about the Roman invasion of Britain that Tacitus puts into the mouth of the Caledonian hero Cnaeus Julius Agricola: "they make a desert and call it peace" (Agricola 39).
and: Grk. kai, conj. reforms: pl. of Grk. diorthōma, making straight, setting right, thus effecting correction, used of political decisions benefiting a constituency; reform. Tertullus does not specify the "reforms" undertaken by Felix to benefit Israel. Ellicott suggests that Tertullus may have alluded to the strong measures taken to put down the gangs of sicarii and brigands by whom the land was infested. are happening: Grk. ginomai, pl. pres. pass. part., to become, and used here as equivalent to come to pass or happen, used of historical events or something happening to someone; take place, happen, occur, arise. The third meaning applies here. In the LXX ginomai translates Heb. hayah (SH-1961; BDB 224), to fall out, come to pass, become, be (first in Gen 1:3).
to this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun signifying a person or thing set forth in narrative that precedes or follows it; this. nation: Grk. ethnos, humans belonging to a people group. In the LXX ethnos generally translates Heb. goy (SH-1471), nation, people (DNTT 2:790). The term ethnos is first used in Genesis 10 to describe the list of seventy nations, then descendants of Abraham (Gen 12:2) and then specifically of Israel (Ex 19:6). In the Besekh ethnos in the singular may refer generally to any people distinguished by language and culture (Acts 10:35), including Israel (Luke 23:2). In a colloquial sense "this nation" probably means "the Jewish people," since Israel did not have an independent political identity.
through: Grk. dia. your: Grk. sos, possessive second person pronoun. forethought: Grk. pronoia, forethought, make provision for, whether of self-interest or public interest, here the latter (so Danker). In Greek literature pronoia was used to mean perceiving beforehand, foresight, and foreknowledge, as well as divine providence (LSJ). Athena, under which name she was worshipped at Delphi, was considered the goddess of Forethought. Thus, the use of this term by Tertullus to describe Felix seems to attribute a quasi-divine attribute to Felix, a term ordinarily only applied to Caesar.
also: Grk. te, conj. used to connect an idea closely to another in a manner that is tighter than with kai; also, both. in every way: Grk. pantē, adv., at every opportunity, in every way, entirely. The adverb occurs only here in the Besekh. and: Grk. kai, conj. everywhere: Grk. pantachou, adv., in any and every direction; everywhere, in all places. we gladly welcome it: Grk. apodechomai, pres. mid., 1p-pl., receive hospitably; welcome, receive, used here in regard to political blessings. The first clause of this verse is very over-the-top flattery that belies the truth of how Jews in the Roman province of Judaea viewed Roman tyranny.
most excellent: Grk. kratistos, strongest, noblest, most excellent. The term was an official epithet, used in Roman culture of addressing someone of high rank. The title "most excellent" may have indicated membership in the equestrian order in Roman society, or order of "knights," which ranked next after the senatorial order.
Felix: Grk. Phēlix, third name of Marcus Antonius Felix. He was a freedman of Claudius and his mother Antonia, and the brother of Pallas, the powerful favorite of the emperor. He had a total of three wives, the first of which was Drusilla, the granddaughter of Cleopatra and Antony (Suetonius, Life of Claudius, 28). Nothing is known of the second wife. Afterward he married Drusilla, the daughter of Herod Agrippa (Acts 24:17). See the article on Felix at Livius.org.
Felix was the procurator of the Roman province of Judaea (c. A.D. 52‑59). According to Tacitus (The Annals, XII, 54), Felix had shared power with the previous procurator, Ventidius Cumanus (48–52), having control over Samaria while Cumanus governed Galilee. Felix quarreled with Cumanus over his handling of violent rioting between the Galileans and Samaritans. Caesar recalled Cumanus for his poor handling of the conflict and appointed Felix in his place.
Felix was noted for persecuting the Jews and flagrantly used bribes, unethical informers, and torture. He methodically hunted down the leaders of the Zealots to severely punish them, as well as any Jewish group he considered "seditious" (HELPS). According to Tacitus, "by his cruelty and injustice he stimulated the rage of the turbulent Jews against the Roman rule." When he had retired from the province and come to Rome, the Jews of Caesarea accused him before the emperor, but through the intercession of his brother Pallas he was acquitted by Nero. Historical references to Felix may be found in Josephus, Antiquities XX, 7:1-2; 8:5-9; Wars II, 12:8; 13:2-7.
with: Grk. meta, prep. See verse 1 above. all: Grk. pas, adj., comprehensive in scope, but without statistical emphasis; all, every. thankfulness: Grk. eucharistia, may mean (1) a quality indicative of appropriate attitude toward a benefactor, 'gratitude;' or (2) an expression of thankfulness, 'thanksgiving,' perhaps in prayer. The first meaning applies here. The expression of thankfulness is in relation to the supposed "great peace" and "reforms" accomplished by Felix.
4 But, so that I may not impose on you further, I urge you to hear us briefly, by your graciousness.
But: Grk. de, conj. so that: Grk. hina, conj. used to add an idea that completes an intention expressed, in order that, so that, that. I may not: Grk. mē, adv. impose: Grk. egkoptō, pres. subj., may mean (1) cause interruption or hindrance, delay; or (2) put on hold, detain, impose on. The second meaning applies here. on: Grk. epi, prep., on, upon. you: Grk. su, second person pronoun. further: Grk. pleiōn, adj., the comparative form of polus (verse 2 above), greater in quantity, used here of time; i.e., 'longer than proper' (Thayer). Tertullus essentially means "we know your time is precious."
I urge: Grk. parakaleō, pres. (from para, "beside," and kaleō, "to call"), may mean (1) call to be at one's side; (2) hearten in time of trouble; or (3) encourage performance; urge, exhort, encourage. The third meaning applies here. In the LXX parakaleō is chiefly used for Heb. nacham (SH-5152), be moved to pity, console, comfort, have compassion, first in Genesis 24:67. you: Grk. su. to hear: Grk. akouō, aor. inf., to hear aurally, often with the focus on willingness to listen or to heed the substance of what is said.
us: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person. The plural pronoun alludes to the entire prosecution team from Jerusalem, although Tertullus is the only one with a recorded speech. briefly: Grk. suntomōs, adv., in a constricted or minimal manner, used here of speech; briefly, concisely. by your: Grk. sos, possessive pronoun of the second person. graciousness: Grk. epieikeia, quality of reasonable dealing with a person without insisting on strict legal or personal rights; clemency, graciousness, restraint, tolerance. Tertullus implies that he is hoping for the favoritism of the governor.
5 For having found this man a pestilence and stirring up dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, also a leader of the sect of the Nazarenes.
For: Grk. gar, conj., a contraction of ge ("yet") and ara ("then"), and in a broad sense means "certainly it follows that; for." The conjunction has four uses: (1) explanatory, (2) expressive of astonishment, (3) causal and, (4) inferential. The first use is intended here. having found: Grk. heuriskō, aor. part., may mean (1) to come upon a person or thing by seeking; (2) to discover or reach a conclusion by inquiry, examination, scrutiny, observation, or hearing; or (3) to find for oneself, to acquire, get, obtain, or procure (Thayer). The second meaning is intended here in the sense of a legal conclusion. Tertullus implies than an exhaustive investigation had been carried out and determined Paul to be guilty of the following charges.
this: Grk houtos, demonstrative pronoun. See verse 2 above. man: Grk. anēr, an adult man without regard to marital status. In the LXX anēr translates several Heb. words, but primarily ish, man or husband, Gen 2:23 (DNTT 2:562). a pestilence: Grk. loimos, pestilence or plague. A pestilence is a deadly or virulent epidemic disease that often originates from an infected unclean animal (such as fleas, rodents, pigs, etc.) or contact with a dead animal (cf. Lev 11:39; 17:15; 22:8). Some versions translate the noun as "pest" (AMPC, CJB, CEV, ISV, NASB-95, TLV), which can minimize its intended use. In modern English "pest" can just mean "annoying."
The noun loimos occurs only twice in the Besekh (also Luke 21:11), but is of frequent use in the LXX, first for Heb. beliyyaal (SH-1100), worthlessness, generally used of wicked men (1Sam 1:16; 2:12; 10:27; 25:17, 25; 30:22; 2Sam 20:1; 2Chr 13:7). The noun loimos is also used translate the Qal participle of Heb. luts, (SH-3887), to scorn, to make a mock, to have in derision (Ps 1:1; Prov 19:25; 21:24; 22:10; 24:9). The mocker or scoffer is to be cast out of the community. Loimos is also used of wicked men in the Apocrypha (1Macc. 10:61; 15:3, 21). Bruce suggests that calling Paul a pestilence was a general characterization and the three specific charges that follow demonstrate his point. Paul was a menace to society.
and: Grk. kai, conj. stirring up: Grk. kineō, pres. part., may mean (1) cause a change in position, move, remove; (2) cause to be in motion, agitate, incite, stir up; or (3) be in motion, move around. The second meaning is intended here. dissension: Grk. stasis may mean (1) a position or stance that challenges public order, an uprising, sedition or insurgency; or (2) a circumstance characterized by counter-positioning; dissension, discord. Applying the first meaning would imply fomenting open rebellion against Roman authority, whereas applying the second meaning would imply provoking internal strife within Jewish communities. Lexicons are divided over the meaning Tertullus intended with Mounce and Thayer favoring the first meaning and BAG and Danker favoring the second meaning.
Bible versions are likewise divided, some adopting a translation that reflects the first meaning, e.g., "mover/instigator of insurrections," "mover of sedition," or "stirring up riots" (CEB, ESV, GNB, KJV, TLB, MSG, NET, NIV, NLT, OJB, TLV, WEB) and other versions adopting the second meaning with "agitator," "causes trouble," "creator of dissension," "setting in motion disputes," "starts quarrels," or "troublemaker" (CEV, CJB, CSB, ERV, GW, NOG, NASB, NCV, NIRV, NKJV, NRSV).
Most commentators accept the first meaning of stasis and treat the verbal description as an example of being a "pestilence." Barnes comments that a pestilent man is an exciter of sedition. Ellicott and Lumby comment that Tertullus lays stress on the fact that Paul is charged with the very crimes which Felix prided himself on repressing. Paul might not have looked like a sicarii or brigand, but Tertullus could not have used stronger language to convey this false charge. Gill and Longenecker likewise interpret the charge as stirring up political sedition against Rome. Similarly, Bruce views the charge as one of treason against Caesar, which Paul will rebut on a later occasion before Festus (Acts 25:8).
among all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. See verse 3 above. the Jews: pl. of Grk. ho Ioudaios (derived from Ioudas, "Judah"). See the explanatory note on 2:5. Among Gentiles the ethnic term did not distinguish between members of the twelve tribes of Israel or parties of Judaism. However, among Jews in the first century Ioudaios was only used to distinguish devout Jews whose tenets and practices conformed to Pharisee beliefs and traditions (Matt 23:2-3; Mark 7:3; Acts 2:5; 10:28).
throughout: Grk. kata, prep. See verse 1 above. The preposition as used here has a distributive sense. the world: Grk. ho oikoumenē, the world as an inhabited area, often with focus on its populace. In the Roman period since the conquest of the East (2nd c. BC), the term was used of lands under Roman rule (DNTT 1:518). By the first century A.D. there were numerous Jewish settlements in every part of the Roman empire, including Asia Minor, Egypt, Greece, Italy and the islands of the Aegean, that had resulted from emigration (sometimes voluntary and sometimes forced) from Babylon (Tarn & Griffith 219).
Against the general consensus of Bible commentators is the fact that Tertullus did not complete the charge as interpreted. He did not say "Paul incites insurrection against Caesar." If Tertullus had said, "Paul is a Zealot," the trial could have been over. Rather, the charge focuses on what had been happening in Jewish communities, and this is the charge Paul answers (verse 12 below). Brown, Exell and Nicoll stand out among commentators in pointing out this distinction. The Romans were concerned about strife within the Jewish quarter of cities because it affected their ability to maintain law and order. Caesar Claudius had expelled some Jews from Rome because of internal conflict over the Messianic message (Acts 18:2).
Tertullus may have learned of disturbances and even riots among Jews that occurred because of Paul: in Damascus (Acts 9:23), in Jerusalem (Acts 9:29), in Paphos (Acts 13:6-8), in Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:45), in Iconium (Acts 14:2,5), in Lystra (Acts 14:19), in Thessalonica (Acts 17:5-7), in Berea (Acts 17:13), in Corinth (Acts 18:5-6; 20:3), in Ephesus (Acts 19:23; 20:19) and again in Jerusalem (Acts 21:30). Only in Philippi (Acts 16:21) and Thessalonica (Acts 17:7) was Paul accused of acting against Roman authority. In all these cases the disturbances were actually caused by unbelieving Jews who opposed Paul and the Messianic message.
Whether Felix knew of these events is unknown, and Tertullus mentions no specific incidents. Stern notes that Felix not being Caesar did not have jurisdiction beyond his own district. Tertullus knew that no "wanted poster" existed seeking Paul's arrest for high crimes against Caesar. So, Tertullus offers a vague and misleading generalization to characterize Paul as a threat to civil order. As stated this is not an indictable crime.
also: Grk. te, conj. a leader: Grk. prōtostatēs (from prōtos, "chief, first," and histēmi, "to stand"), one who stands in the front rank, a front-rank man (used of soldiers), a leader, chief, champion. The noun occurs only here in the Besekh. of the sect: Grk. ho hairesis, choice of association based on shared principles or beliefs, ordinarily of a subgroup with views or beliefs that deviate in certain respects from those of the larger membership; party, faction. The noun is used of the Sadducees in Acts 5:17, the Pharisees in Acts 15:5. The use of the term here in reference to the Yeshua movement has a pejorative tone, thus "sect" is appropriate.
of the Nazarenes: pl. of Grk. ho Nazōraios, derived from the title given to Yeshua (Matt 2:23). See my commentary there. The title Nazōraios, being derived from Heb. netzer (Isa 11:1), was not intended as a home town reference as commonly assumed, but conveys the important message that Yeshua is the humble shoot of Jesse who fulfilled the covenantal promise made to David and will sit on his throne (Luke 1:32-33; cf. 2Sam 7:12-14; Isa 9:6). The great majority of Bible versions translate the plural noun as "Nazarenes," but Bruce prefers "Nazoreans" as a more exact rendering, and this spelling is found in two versions (NABRE, NTE).
The CJB and TLV translate the plural Greek term as Heb. Natzratim. The Hebrew name was apparently coined by unbelieving Judean religious leaders to express their contempt for Jewish followers of Yeshua. The term was merely an extension of their contempt for Yeshua. Yet, the name represented the confidence of disciples that Yeshua is the son of David, Messiah and King of Israel. In the context of this chapter "Nazarenes" would be a functional synonym for "the Way" (verses 14 and 22 below).
In modern culture "sect" is a pejorative term designating a group as heretical. There had been no formal decree of the Great Sanhedrin declaring the Yeshua movement to be heretical, even though the persecution of disciples in AD 31 had been sanctioned by the high priest. Once Paul had become a follower of Yeshua and left the area, the Yeshua movement enjoyed peace (Acts 9:31) and remained undisturbed by non-believing Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. However, Tertullus implied that any group supporting a Messiah would be loyal to a different king and subversive of Roman hegemony. Therefore the Nazarenes should be treated as enemies of the State.
As early as A.D. 29 unbelieving Judean authorities had decided that if anyone should confess Yeshua to be the Messiah, he should be banned from any religious assembly (John 9:22; cf. Matt 18:17). Thus, followers of Yeshua were to be considered outside of mainstream Judaism. Official Jewish sanction against Messianic Jews was not taken until about A.D. 90 when the general council of rabbis enacted the Birkat HaMinim ("Benediction against the heretics") (Berachot 28b). The declaration was added to the twelfth benediction to the Shemoneh Esreh, the daily Jewish prayer.
"Let there be no hope for informers, and may all wickedness instantly perish; may all the enemies of Your people be swiftly cut off; and may You quickly uproot, crush, rout and subdue the insolent, speedily in our days. Blessed are You Adonai, Crusher of enemies and Subduer of the insolent."
The benediction of rejection would effectively motivate Messianic Jews to leave the synagogues since they would not pray a curse on themselves. Unfortunately, the Nazarenes were also rejected in by church leaders in the following centuries. Augustine, speaking for the Catholic Church (c. A.D. 400), disavowed the Nazarenes as true Christians since they practiced infant circumcision (Anti-Donatist Writings, Book VII.1). The Second Council of Nicea (787) then banned all Jewish life in Yeshua, so if a Jew wanted to be a "Christian" he had to totally surrender his Jewish identity (Canon VIII).
6 who even attempted to profane the temple; whom also we seized
who: Grk. hos, relative pronoun used to give significance to the mention of a person, thing, or piece of information that precedes; who, which, what, that. even: Grk. kai, conj. attempted: Grk. peirazō, aor., may mean (1) make an effort to do something in the face of uncertainty about the outcome; try, attempt; or (2) make a trial of the quality or state of someone's character; tempt, test. The first meaning applies here. to profane: Grk. bebēloō, aor. inf., treat as not sacred; desecrate, profane, violate.
the temple: Grk. ho hieron, sanctuary or temple, here referring to the entire 35-acre complex of the Jerusalem temple with its courts, rooms, and chambers, in contrast to naios, the holy place where priests performed their sacrifices. For a description of the construction and characteristics of the temple see my comment on Mark 11:11. Stern notes that attempted profanation of the Temple is a reduced charge from the original charge of actual defiling (Grk. koinoō) the temple (Acts 21:28).
whom: Grk. hos. also: Grk. kai. we seized: Grk. krateō, aor., 1p-pl., may mean (1) gain control of; secure, arrest, seize; or (2) have firm hold on; take hold of, hold fast, hold to. The first meaning applies here. Tertullus presents a falsehood here. According to Luke's narrative certain Jews from Asia "laid hands" on Paul in the Temple (21:27) and a provoked mob that dragged Paul out of the Temple intending to kill him (21:30-31). The only "arrest" of Paul was made by the Romans (27:33).
Some MSS (referred to as the Western Text) add narrative to verses 6 through 8 that passed into the Textus Receptus and is reproduced in some versions (JUB, KJV, NKJV, NMB, RGT, WE, YLT):
"6 according to our own law we wished to judge, 7 but having come up Lysias the commander with great violence took him away out of our hands, 8 ordering his accusers to come before you."
The additional text is not found in the earliest and best MSS (GNT 512). Metzger comments that the revisers apparently believed the abruptness of the verb "we seized" required some sequel and therefore the information was added for completeness. However, it is difficult to account for the omission of the additional narrative in the earliest MSS if they were original. Thus the committees for the UBS-4 and NA-28 Greek texts determined that the additional narrative should not be included.
Some versions include the additional text in brackets (AMP, DARBY, EXB, HCSB, ICB, NASB-95, NCV, OJB, VOICE) and some versions combine verses 6 and 8 (CSB, CEV). Most modern versions omit verse 7. Stern notes that even in the manuscripts which provide this additional information Tertullus avoids mentioning why Lysias the commander intervened, namely, to save Paul from the plot on his life (23:12–24).
8 from whom you will be able yourself having examined him to learn about all these things of which we accuse him.
from: Grk. para, prep. indicating close proximity and with the following pronoun in the genitive case, the preposition would mean "from" (Thayer). whom: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. you will be able: Grk. dunamai, fut. mid., to be capable of doing or achieving; be able. yourself: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. having examined him: Grk. anakrinō, aor. part., to engage in careful inquiry, make a close study of, ask questions about, to examine or investigate. to learn: Grk. epiginōskō, aor. inf., 'to know about,' here with the focus on acquisition of knowledge, find out. about: Grk. peri, prep.
all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj. these things: pl. of Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. of which: Grk. hos. we: Grk. hēmeis, pl. pronoun of the first person. accuse: Grk. katēgoreō, pres., 1p-pl. See verse 2 above. him: Grk. autos. Tertullus is so certain of his case that he believes interrogation by Felix will bring forth a confession of guilt from Paul. It's possible that Tertullus may not have been informed of the true facts of all that had happened and has simply presented the case as the high priest directed.
9 Then the Jewish leaders also joined in the accusation, alleging these things to be so.
Then: Grk. de, conj. the Jewish leaders: pl. of Grk. Ioudaios. See verse 5 above. In the context of this verse the noun refers to the high priest and temple elders that had come with Tertullus. also: Grk. kai, conj. joined in the accusation: Grk. sunepitithēmi (from sun, "together, with" and epitithēmi, "to lay upon, to set upon"), aor., to help in putting on. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. Mounce defines the verb as "to set upon along with, join with others in an attack; to unite in impeaching." The verb occurs six times in the LXX to translate various Hebrew constructions that generally convey joining together for an evil purpose (Num 12:11; Deut 32:27; Ps 3:6; Obad 1:13; Zech 1:15).
The verb also occurs in Josephus in his narrative of the second attack of the Babylonians on Jerusalem (Ant. X, 7:4). While the KJV and NKJV emptied the verb of its emotional content with the translation of "assented," a number of versions offer the strong translation of "joined in the attack" (AMP, CSB, DLNT, EHV, LEB, MJLT, MRINT, MW, NABRE, NASB, NET, OJB, TLV, TPT, WEB). Two versions qualify this translation with "verbal attack" (NET, TPT). In my view a better translation is "joined in the accusation/charge" (AMPC, ASV, CJB, ESV, GNB, NIV, NRSV, RSV). This translation is preferable to avoid the implication of a physical assault.
alleging: Grk. phaskō, pl. pres. part., state with assurance or confidence; affirm, allege, assert, claim. The verb in this context describes the presentation of allegations, not actual evidence. these things: pl. of Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. The plural pronoun alludes to the four "charges" presented by Tertullus. to be: Grk. echō, pres. inf., to have, hold or possess with a wide range of application. In this verse the verb has the sense of viewing something in a particular way, "hold to be." so: Grk. houtōs, adv., in this manner, in this way or fashion, in accordance with this description (HELPS); in this manner, thus, so. The last clause reflects the insistence that the charges hold validity.
Paul: Opening Statement, 24:10-13
10 And Paul answered, the governor having nodded to him to speak, "Knowing you being a judge to this nation from many years, with confidence I make a defense about myself,
And: Grk. te, conj. Paul: Grk. ho Paulos. See verse 1 above. answered: Grk. apokrinomai, aor., to answer or reply to someone, whether to a question, request, exhortation, command, etc. In the LXX apokrinomai translates Heb. anah (SH-6030), to answer or respond to something said in conversation (Gen 18:27); to respond to an occasion and speak in view of circumstances (Dan 2:15) or to respond as a witness in a legal proceeding (1Sam 12:3) (BDB 772). In practical terms the verb indicates answering the charges that had been presented. the governor: Grk. hēgemōn. See verse 1 above.
having nodded: Grk. neuō, aor. part., send a signal by gesture; nod. In other words, the motion involved movement of the head. The verb occurs only twice in the Besekh (also John 13:24). to him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun; i.e., Paul. to speak: Grk. legō, pres. inf. See verse 2 above. In some respects Paul's opening statement imitates that of Tertullus, but without the excessive false flattery. Knowing: Grk. epistamai, pres. mid. part., may mean (1) grasp mentally, understand; or (2) acquire information about something, know. The second meaning applies here. you: Grk. su, second person pronoun.
being: Grk. eimi, pres. part., to be, a function word used primarily to declare a state of existence, whether in the past ('was, were'), present ('are, is') or future ('will be'), often to unite a subject and predicate (BAG). The participle emphasizes possession of a role by Felix. a judge: Grk. kritēs, judge or magistrate, generally in reference to an official office of one presiding over a court. The office of governor gave Felix the authority to serve as a judge in legal matters. to this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. nation: Grk. ho ethnos. See verse 2 above. The reference to "this nation" marks a political relationship to the Roman Empire, not as the chosen people of God.
from: Grk. ek, prep. used to denote derivation or separation, here the former alluding to a starting point. Ek has a two-layered meaning, "out from" and "to," which makes it out-come oriented. many: pl. of Grk. polus, adj., used here of quantity. See verse 2 above. years: pl. of Grk. etos, a period of twelve months. Felix had been governor of Judaea since AD 52, so Felix was in his sixth year. Nicoll notes that in view of the constant change of procurators a period of five to seven years would quite justify Paul's words. If "many years" is intended to denote a longer period, then it would probably include the time that Felix had exercised authority in Samaria under the previous procurator (48–52).
with confidence: Grk. euthumos, adv., with confidence, having good courage. Many versions translate the adverb as "cheerfully" or "gladly," which seems inappropriate for the judicial setting. A few versions have "with courage" or "confidence/confidently" (DRA, MACE, MJLT, NEB, NET, PHILLIPS, TLB). Lumby suggests Paul could have good courage, because the experience of Felix, and his knowledge of Jewish manners and customs would enable him to appreciate the statements which related to the apostle's presence in Jerusalem.
I make a defense: Grk. apologeomai, aor., to speak in one's own defense. HELPS adds "to make a compelling defense with sound logic." In the LXX apologeomai translates Heb. rib (SH-7378), to plead for justice (Jer 12:1) and Heb. galah (SH-1540), to make known a cause to (Jer 20:12). about: Grk. peri, prep. See verse 8 above. myself: Grk. emautou, reflexive pronoun of the first person. Paul was alone without supporting witnesses to argue in his behalf, but the Lord was on his side.
Yeshua had prophesied to his disciples that they would stand before governors (Matt 10:18; Mark 13:9; Luke 21:12). Paul was also destined to answer to Gentile leaders (Acts 9:15). Yeshua's exhortation concerning what to do on such an occasion certainly applied to Paul before Felix:
"do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. 20 For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you." (Matt 10:19-20 NASB)
Paul then addresses the four charges in order, the first two in verses 11-13, the third charge in verses 14-16 and the fourth charge in verses 17-21.
Paul: Answer to the First Charge, 24:11-13
11 you being able to learn that it is not more than twelve days to me, from which I went up to Jerusalem to worship.
Paul answers the first charge of causing dissension among Jews. The rebuttal takes the form of explaining what he did and what he did not do.
you: Grk. su, pronoun of the second person. being able: Grk. dunamai, pres. part. See verse 8 above. to learn: Grk. epiginōskō, aor. inf. See verse 8 above. Paul echoes the statement of Tertullus, and then specifies what Felix can verify. that: Grk. hoti, conj., that, because, and may be used to (1) define a demonstrative pronoun; that; (2) introduce a subordinate clause as complementary of a preceding verb; (3) introduce a direct quotation and function as quotation marks; or (4) indicate causality with an inferential aspect. The second usage applies here.
it is: Grk. eimi, pres. See the previous verse. not: Grk. ou, adv., a particle used in an unqualified denial or negation; not. more than: Grk. pleiōn, adj. See verse 4 above. twelve: Grk. dōdeka, the number twelve. days: pl. of Grk. hēmera. See verse 1 above. to me: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. The pronoun could be idiomatic for "by my reckoning." Some versions translate the time reference as "no more than twelve days ago" (e.g., NASB, NIV, NLT). from: Grk. apo, prep. used generally as a marker of separation, here denoting place of origin; from. which: Grk. hos, relative pronoun, used here as a temporal reference.
I went up: Grk. anabainō, aor., to proceed in a direction that is up, go up. The verb depicts the change in elevation from the coast to the hill country of Judea. to: Grk. eis, prep. Jerusalem: Grk. Ierousalēm, which transliterates Heb. Yerushalaim (SH-3389) in the LXX, first in Joshua 10:1 (DNTT 2:324). See the note on "Jerusalem" in 1:4. Paul alludes to his departure from Caesarea on 25 May and arrival in Jerusalem on 27 May (Acts 21:15-17). to worship: Grk. proskuneō, fut. part., may mean either (1) to recognize another's rank by offering honor, ordinarily through kneeling or prostration; or (2) to demonstrate honor and adoration to God, ordinarily in a religious sense; worship. The second meaning applies here.
In the LXX proskuneō primarily translates Heb. shachah (SH-7812), to bend down, which is used both of bowing down before men of higher rank (Gen 18:2) and of worship toward God (Gen 22:5) (DNTT 2:876). Jerusalem was the center for Jewish worship and in this instance Paul had traveled to Jerusalem to observe Shavuot (Pentecost, Acts 20:16), which occurred on 29 May. Paul's declaration is straightforward, "I went to Jerusalem to worship, not to instigate rebellion against authority as the Zealots do."
Paul's mention of "not more than twelve days" may be accounted for in the following timeline:
Day 1 (Friday, 27 May): arrival in Jerusalem, Acts 21:17.
Day 2 (Saturday, 28 May): meeting with Jacob and elders, Acts 21:18-19.
Day 3 (Sunday, 29 May): Shavuot observance.
Day 4 (Monday, 30 May): entrance into temple to complete purification vow, Acts 21:26.
Day 5 (Tuesday, 31 May): seized by mob in temple; rescued by Romans; interviewed by Roman commander; speech by Paul to crowd, Acts 21:27-40; 22:1-21.
Day 6 (Wednesday, 1 Jun): appearance before the Council, Acts 22:30; 23:1.
Day 7 (Thursday, 2 Jun): revelation of conspiracy to kill Paul and escort of Paul to Antipatris that night, Acts 23:12, 31.
Day 8 (Friday, 3 Jun): arrival in Caesarea, Acts 23:32-33.
Day 9 (Saturday, 4 Jun): awaiting accusers, Acts 24:1.
Day 10 (Sunday, 5 Jun): awaiting accusers, Acts 24:1.
Day 11 (Monday, 6 Jun): awaiting accusers, Acts 24:1.
Day 12 (Tuesday, 7 Jun): arrival of accusers, Acts 24:1.
Day 13 (Wednesday, 8 Jun): present time of Paul's speech.
12 and neither did they find me disputing with anyone or causing a disturbance of a crowd in the temple, nor in the synagogues, nor anywhere the city.
and: Grk. kai, conj. neither: Grk. oute, conj. functioning as a negative particle, dismissing an activity or thing that follows the particle and often coupled formulaically with another oute, "neither…nor." did they find: Grk. heuriskō, aor., 3p-pl. See verse 5 above. me: Grk egō, first person pronoun. disputing: Grk. dialegomai (from dia, "through," and legō, "to speak"), pres. mid. part., may refer either to (1) a speech exchange; argue, debate, dispute; or (2) presenting a reasoned position in public; address, make a speech, speak. The first usage is intended here.
with: Grk. pros, prep., lit. "near or facing" (DM 110), to, towards, with. Here the preposition denotes association or being in company with others and speaking face to face. anyone: Grk. tis, indefinite pronoun. Paul offers a general denial of the first charge that he had instigated dissension among Jews throughout the empire. or: Grk. ē, conj. used to denote (1) an alternative, 'or,' or (2) a comparative function, 'than.' The first usage applies here. causing: Grk poieō, pres. part., a verb of physical action, may mean (1) to produce something material or bring something into existence; or (2) to express by deeds the feelings and thoughts of the mind; act, do, perform (Thayer). The second meaning applies here.
a disturbance: Grk. episustasis, condition marked by volatile excitement. Thayer defines the noun as a hostile banding together and in particular to excite a riotous gathering of the people, make a mob; disturbance, tumult, uprising. In the LXX the noun occurs in Numbers 16:40 without Hebrew equivalent to refer to companions of Korah as co-conspirators in rebelling against Moses; and then translating an infinitive construct of Heb. natsah (SH-5327), "to engage in struggle against," and used to describe Dathan and Abiram who contended against Moses and against Aaron in the company of Korah (Num 26:9).
of a crowd: Grk. ochlos, an aggregate of people or an assembled company of people; crowd, multitude, great number. In many passages the term denotes common people in contrast to the ruling classes and religious elite. Paul declares that at no time did he show disrespect toward Jewish authorities much less form a mob and instigate an uprising against them. Paul then mentions three distinct locations he visited in the past. Each of these locations could represent different groups of Jews.
in: Grk. en, prep. generally used to mark position, lit. "in," "within" or "among." the temple: Grk. ho hieron. See verse 6 above. The temple was the location for religious Jews to fulfill ritual requirements of the Torah. The temple was also the center of power for the Sadducees. Stern comments that Paul raised no commotion in the Temple but went about his business quietly, in a manner consistent with his purpose of placating the Messianic Jews who were "zealous for the Torah" (21:20-22). It would have been counterproductive for him to have done anything which did not demonstrate that he "keeps the Torah" (21:24).
nor: Grk. oute. in: Grk. en. the synagogues: pl. of Grk. sunagōgē, a gathering-place or place of assembly. In the Besekh the term refers to the place at which Jews gathered for worship and learning. The term does not necessarily mean a manufactured structure as the word "church" can mean (cf. Acts 16:13). In the LXX sunagōgē is generally used to translate the Heb. words edah (SH-5712), congregation (Ex 12:3) and qahal (SH-6951), assembly, convocation, or congregation (Ex 16:3) (DNTT 1:292ff). The synagogue was the central institution of Jewish life where education, study, worship, celebration, and various other kinds of meetings took place.
The synagogue was the place where the Pharisees exercised the greatest influence. There were many synagogues in Jerusalem, but Paul caused no disturbance in any of them. No synagogue officials brought any complaints against Paul. As Luke's narrative indicates Paul did not even have an occasion to visit a synagogue while in Jerusalem. Any planned visit was overcome by events.
nor: Grk. oute. anywhere in: Grk. kata, prep., lit. "down through" (Thayer). See verse 1 above. The preposition as used here denotes the place through which anything is done or is extended. the city: Grk. ho polis, a population center whose size or number of inhabitants could range broadly, a city or town. The singular form of "the city" could refer to Jerusalem, but the use of kata could signal "according to each city I have visited." In addition, the location reference could allude to non-religious Jews. Causing a disturbance in the streets or market places of Jerusalem would have brought the attention of the Roman military, and of course the only time Paul came to their attention was when the unbelieving Jews from Asia incited a mob to kill him.
13 nor are they able to present proof to you about the things of which they now accuse me.
nor: Grk. oute, conj. See the previous verse. are they able: Grk. dunami, pres. mid., 3p-pl. See verse 8 above. to present proof: Grk. paristēmi, aor. inf., may mean (1) to place beside; present, put at one's disposal, make available; or (2) be in a position beside; stand near or stand by. The first meaning applies here in the sense of presenting evidence. to you: Grk. su, second person pronoun. Paul reminds Felix that both Jewish law and Roman law required actual evidence to convict of a crime, not hearsay allegations. The delegation from Jerusalem brought no witnesses to substantiate the fabricated charges. Under the Torah establishing the fact of a capital crime required the testimony of two or three witnesses (Deut 17:6; 19:15).
about: Grk. peri, prep. See verse 8 above. the things of which: pl. of Grk. hos, relative pronoun. See verse 6 above. Paul alludes to the four charges presented by Tertullus (verses 5 and 6 above). they now: Grk. nuni, adv., emphatic marker of time in the present, at this very moment. accuse: Grk. katēgoreō, pres., 3p-pl. See verse 2 above. me: Grk. egō, first person pronoun. Paul emphasizes that the elders brought no charges when he appeared before them in Jerusalem.
14 But I affirm this to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect so I serve the God of our fathers, believing all things in accordance with the Torah and that written in the Prophets;
But: Grk. de, conj. I affirm: Grk. homologeō, pres., to express oneself openly and firmly about a matter; affirm, confess, declare, inform, profess. The verb has a range of meaning: (1) to promise or assure; (2) to agree with or admit something; (3) to confess in a judicial sense; (4) to declare or acknowledge publicly; or (5) to praise (BAG). The fourth meaning is intended here. From a legal standpoint the verb is equivalent to a public statement made under oath. this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. The pronoun introduces the following powerful declaration of faith.
to you: Grk. su, second person pronoun; i.e., Felix the governor and judge. Paul's profession of faith not only served his immediate legal interests, but also provides a standard to measure the authentic disciple of Yeshua. Liberman notes that unlike the two previous charges Paul readily admits that the third charge is true, but at the same time he wants to be rightly understood. His accusers have slandered his religious devotion and he wants to set the record straight.
that: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 11 above. according to: Grk. kata, prep. the Way: Grk. ho hodos (for Heb. derek, SH-1870), with the focus on the concept of going the word typically has the sense of a route for traveling, hence a way, a road or a highway. It can also refer to the act of traveling; journey, way, trip. The shorthand label appears five times in Acts to designate the Messianic movement or disciples of Yeshua (Acts 9:2; 19:9; 22:4; 24:14, 22). In contrast the label "Christian" (= Messianic) appears only two times (Acts 11:26; 26:28) and "Nazarenes" only once (verse 5 above). The origin of the label "the Way" is never stated, but there is a natural association with Yeshua's self-description as "the Way" (John 14:6).
Yeshua's use of the label is grounded in the Tanakh, being derived from the expression "way of the LORD" (Heb. derek YHVH), which first occurs in Genesis 18:19, where it refers to the expectation of Abraham and his seed doing righteousness and justice in contrast to the wickedness of Sodom. The "way of YHVH" was later codified in the commandments God gave to Israel as part of His covenant (Deut 8:6; 26:17; 30:16). Then Yochanan the Immerser proclaimed that he was sent to call Israel to repent and return to "the way of YHVH," quoting Isaiah 40:3 (Mark 1:3; cf. Acts 18:25).
Later, Yeshua identified himself with YHVH (John 8:58). So the "way of YHVH" is equivalent to the "way of Yeshua," which all disciples are commanded to obey (Matt 28:19; cf. 1Pet 2:21-24). By using the label "the Way," disciples declared their identification with Yeshua as the only means of salvation (Acts 16:17), and their devotion to living by his teachings.
which: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. they call: Grk. legō, pres., 3p-pl. See verse 2 above. a sect: Grk. hairesis. See verse 5 above. The clause "which they call a sect" is meant to show the pejorative viewpoint the accusers held concerning the Yeshua movement. so: Grk. houtōs, adv. See verse 9 above. I serve: Grk. latreuō, pres., to minister or serve God, often in the context of religious activity at the sanctuary. The verb can also mean being committed and devoted to God beyond religious activities.
the God: Grk. ho theos, properly, God, the Creator and owner of all things (John 1:1-3). The definite article probably signifies "the one called." In the LXX the singular theos translates the plural Heb. Elohim (SH-430), when used of the true God, the God of creation (Gen 1:1). In Hebrew thought the plural form represents fullness (DNTT 2:67), which excludes the possible existence of any other deity (Isa 44:6; 45:5-6; 46:9). Also, theos is not a philosophical construct for monotheism. God is a Person, and in the apostolic narratives He is particularly the God of the patriarchs and Israel (Matt 22:32; Luke 1:68).
of our fathers: Grk. patrōos, adj., ancestral, hereditary, of one's fathers, received from one's fathers. The adjective is singular in form since it modifies the singular theos, but in reality it is plural in number. The phrase "God of our fathers" is common in Jewish literature (1Esdras 1:50; 9:8; 2Macc 6:1; 3Macc 7:16; 4Macc 12:17; Judith 10:8; Tobit 8:5; Wis. of Sol. 9:1). Paul may have intended the phrase as an allusion to the patriarchs (Gill). Indeed, Stern points out that the phrase is found in the first blessing of the Amidah, the central synagogue prayer, "Blessed are you, O Lord our God and God of our fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob."
Paul might also have intended the phrase to denote the ancestors that faithfully served God, such as those he will later list in Hebrews 11. In any event, Paul's aim is to show that he had not severed himself from the ancestral faith of the Hebrew people, nor was he the author of a new religion. Rather, he faithfully maintained the spiritual inheritance of his forefathers. While some Jewish leaders considered "The Way" of the Nazarene to be heresy, Paul insists that he worshipped the same God, the God of Israel, as his accusers.
believing: Grk. pisteuō (derived from pistis, trust, faithfulness), pres. part., to have confidence in the reliability or trustworthiness of some thing or someone. In the LXX pisteuō translates Heb. aman (SH-539), to be reliable, to stand firm, trust, believe, be faithful, first used in Genesis 15:6 where it describes Abraham's response to God. all things: pl. of Grk. ho pas, adj. See verse 3 above. in accordance with: Grk. kata, prep. Many versions translate the preposition as "in," but if that had been Paul's intent he would have used the preposition "en." The preposition kata has an important function here. With the accusative case of the following noun kata could mean either (1) with regard to; in reference to; or (2) in agreement with or conformity to. Paul most likely intended the second meaning.
Paul then defines that what he believes is drawn from Scripture, which he describes by two of the main divisions of the Tanakh. the Torah: Grk. ho nomos (from nemō, distribute; 'that which is generally recognized as customary') may mean either (1) a principle or standard relating to behavior or (2) codified legislation, i.e. law. The second meaning applies here. In the LXX nomos generally corresponds to Heb. torah (SH-8451), which means "direction," "teaching" or "instruction" (BDB 435f), first in Genesis 26:5.
In the Pentateuch torah refers primarily to commandments decreed by God to Israel. Torah sets forth the way to live in an ethical way in order to enjoy life to the full and to please God. In the Besekh nomos is used for the commandments given to Israel at Sinai and Moab (Matt 12:5; John 8:5) or the entire Pentateuch, especially when used in combination with "the Prophets" (Matt 22:40; John 1:45). This declaration rebuts the claim that Paul believed Yeshua put an end to the authority of the Torah. (See my comment on Romans 10:4.)
and: Grk. kai, conj. Paul then defines what he believes by mentioning the second of two main divisions of the Tanakh. that: Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. written: Grk. graphō, perf. pass. part., to write or inscribe as a physical act, generally in reference to a document. The phrase "it is written" is the standard formula in the Besekh for attesting an assertion of truth and divine inspiration of Scripture, normally followed by a quote from the Tanakh. in: Grk. en, prep. the Prophets: pl. of Grk. ho prophētēs, one who is gifted with the ability for interpretation or revelation transcending normal insight or awareness, i.e., a prophet.
In the LXX prophētēs translates Heb. nabi (SH-5030), spokesman, speaker, or prophet; first in Genesis 20:7 where it is used of Abraham. In Scripture the term refers to one who spoke on God's behalf, whether in foretelling or forth-telling. The Hebrew prophets were a diverse group, but they all spoke for God under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2Pet 1:21). The literary works of the prophets in the Tanakh are authoritative Scripture (Matt 5:17-19; Luke 24:44-45; 2Tim 3:16-17). Paul's use of the plural "prophets" refers to the portion of the Tanakh known as the Neviim, which included the Early Prophets (Joshua–Kings) and the Latter Prophets (Isaiah–Malachi).
The clause "that written in the Prophets" alludes to prophecies of the Messiah contained in the Neviim. See my article The Messiah in the Prophets. This statement serves as a rebuke of Ananias and the Sadducean elders that did not accept the authority of the Prophets. Many versions associate the verb "written" with both the Torah and the Prophets (CEV, CSB, DRA, GNB, ISV, JUB, KJV, NKJV, NLV, TLV), but the verb occurs at the end of the verse and would be associated with the Prophets. Paul is saying two different things. Regarding the Torah, he not only believes what God revealed about the Messiah in the Pentateuch, but his practices are in accordance with Torah commandments and principles as interpreted and applied by Yeshua (cf. Matt 5:17-19; 1Cor 9:21; Gal 6:2).
Whatever traditions he practiced he could point to the verses in the Torah on which they were based. (How many Christians can say that about their practices?) Regarding the Prophets, he pointed out that the Sadducean high priest and elders did not recognize the inspiration or authority of the Prophets and thereby denied the Messianic prophecies contained therein. Denying the authority of the Neviim portion of the Tanakh would mark any Jew as apostate.
Paul's testimony is a strong rebuke of Replacement Theology and the tenets of liberal Christianity that has denied the historicity of Tanakh narratives and the absolute nature of God's moral standards.
15 having a hope in God, which also they themselves await, that there is about to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.
having: Grk. echō, pres. part. See verse 9 above. a hope: Grk. elpis may refer to (1) a state of looking forward to something that is desirable, or (2) the basis of firm expectation. The second usage applies here. in: Grk. eis, prep., lit. "into." God: Grk. ho theos. See the previous verse. Paul spoke of the hope of the dead when he appeared before the council in Jerusalem (23:6), but now he personalizes this hope. The "blessed hope" is the expectation of life after death in the presence of God.
which: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. also: Grk. kai, conj. they: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. See verse 2 above. themselves: pl. of Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun, lit. "these ones." See verse 2 above. The double pronoun would include the entire delegation from Jerusalem. await: Grk. prosdechomai, pres. mid., 3p-pl., may mean (1) take up, receive, welcome; or (2) to wait for, expect. The first meaning is intended here. HELPS defines the verb as expressing expectant waiting where a person is ready and willing to receive all that is hoped for.
that there is about: Grk. mellō, pres. inf., a future oriented verb with a pending aspect, being in the offing, be about to. to be: Grk. eimi, fut. inf. See verse 10 above. The double verbs emphasize the certainty of Paul's belief, but also may reflect a belief in the immanence of the end of the age. a resurrection: Grk. anastasis (from ana, 'up, again' and histēmi, 'to stand'), a raising up or a standing up, and here means a rising from the condition of death; resurrection. Anastasis is the principal Greek word in the Besekh for resurrection, with references divided between the resurrection of Yeshua and the resurrection at the end of the age. Paul affirmed his belief in the resurrection when he appeared before the council in Jerusalem (Acts 23:6).
of both: Grk. te, conj. See verse 3 above. the righteous: Grk. dikaios, adj., being in accord with God's standards expressed in Torah for acceptable behavior; upright or just. In the LXX dikaios translates Heb. tsaddiq (SH-6682), 'just or righteous' (BDB 843). In Scripture a just man is one who is blameless or innocent of wrongdoing, one who follows the ethical demands of Torah. When Yeshua spoke to individuals about the resurrection, it was generally in reference to the resurrection of the righteous (Luke 14:14; 20:36; John 11:24-25). Paul had already written much on the subject of the resurrection of the righteous (1Cor 15:1-57; 1Th 4:12-17).
and: Grk. kai. the unrighteous: Grk. adikos, adj., not in accord with what is right and approved; one who lives in violation of God's standards as set forth in the Torah. Paul echoes the teaching of Daniel (Dan 12:2) and Yeshua (John 5:29) that not only will righteous people be resurrected, but so will unrighteous people. The concept of the dual resurrection is implied in the gathering and separation described in the kingdom parables (Matt 13:24-30, 36-43, 47-50; 22:1-14; 25:1-29) and in passages describing the future judgment of the Messiah (Matt 8:11-12; 24:29-31, 45-51; 25:31-46; Rom 2:3-5; 14:10; 2Cor 5:10). In these passages the gathering of the good and bad is presented as a concurrent event.
This presents a conundrum since Yeshua's revelation to John depicts a thousand year interval between the two resurrections, the first before the millennial reign of the Messiah (Rev 20:4) and the second after the millennium (Rev 20:5). However, the description of the two resurrections in Revelation are of specific groups. The first resurrection is of the martyrs of the great tribulation. The second resurrection is of "the rest of the dead," all those who have died since creation. For the first resurrection no mention is made of those alive when Yeshua returns (cf. 1Th 4:15). The kingdom parables of Yeshua recounted in Matthew also focus on those who are alive, both good and bad, when Yeshua returns. Thus, the first resurrection will also include the living unrighteous.
Paul's phrasing might imply that there were Pharisees among the elders from Jerusalem. The Pharisees believed in the resurrection but the Sadducees did not (Acts 23:8). On the other hand if there were no Pharisees among the accusers, then Paul means that these men await the resurrection in spite of their disbelief. The implication is that the Sadducean accusers will be included in the resurrection of the unrighteous.
16 In this also I myself strive through everything to have a clear conscience towards God and men.
Paul then repeats the testimony he gave to the council (23:1). In: Grk. en, prep. this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. The pronoun refers to Paul's affirmation of his serving God according to the precepts of the Way and his awareness of the dual resurrection. also: Grk. kai, conj. I myself: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. The pronoun serves to contrast his practice with that of his accusers. strive: Grk. askeō, pres., apply oneself carefully in an enterprise; endeavor, make every effort, strive. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. through: Grk. dia, prep. everything: Grk. pas, adj. to have: Grk. echō, pres. inf. See verse 9 above.
a clear: Grk. aproskopos, adj., may mean either (1) not stumbling; without offence, blameless; or (2) not causing to stumble. The first meaning is intended here. conscience: Grk. suneidēsis, sensitivity to moral or ethical expectations; properly, joint-knowing, i.e. conscience which joins moral and spiritual consciousness as part of being created in the divine image (HELPS). In the LXX suneidēsis occurs twice, first in Ecclesiastes 10:20 where it translates Heb. madda (SH-4093), knowledge, thought; and then in the Apocrypha (Wisdom 17:11).
This term occurs 30 times in the Besekh and all but three are found in Paul's speeches (here; Acts 24:16), and in his letters. The conscience only functions best as an internal awareness of right and wrong when guided by knowledge of God's commandments (Rom 2:15; cf. 1Cor 8:7; Heb 10:2). towards: Grk. pros, prep. See verse 12 above. God: Grk. ho theos. See verse 14 above. and: Grk. kai. men: pl. of Grk. ho anthrōpos, human being, man or mankind. In the LXX anthrōpos translates three Hebrew words: (1) adam (Gen 1:26-27); (2) ish (Gen 2:23-24) and (3) enosh (Ps 8:4-5), which are generally used for an adult male, husband, a human in contrast to animals or mankind (DNTT 2:564).
Paul repeatedly affirmed that he served God with a good conscience (Acts 24:16; 1Cor 4:4; 2Cor 1:12; 2Tim 1:3; Heb 13:18). Stern observes that Paul makes a point of always having a clear conscience precisely because he is very aware of the coming judgment and the dual resurrection. Paul's confident affirmation of how he lived is not intended to convey arrogance as if he were faultless before God. Rather he means what he said in his Corinthian letter: "For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord" (1Cor 4:4 NASB).
Paul: Answer to the Third Charge, 24:17-21
17 Now after many years I arrived to do almsgiving for my nation and offerings;
Now: Grk. de, conj. after: Grk. dia, prep., lit. "through." many: pl. of Grk. pleiōn, adj. See verse 4 above. years: pl. of Grk. etos. See verse 10 above. Paul had not been to Jerusalem in over ten years (cf. Acts 11:29-30). I arrived: Grk. paraginomai, aor. mid., to make one's way so as to be present; come, arrive, be present. to do: Grk. poieō, fut. part. See verse 12 above. almsgiving: Grk. eleēmosunē, merciful disposition, regard for the needs of others; benevolence, kindness, charity, specifically gifts of alms. In the LXX eleēmosunē translates two important Hebrew words: First, Heb. chesed (SH-2617), goodness, favor, kindness, first in Genesis 47:29.
Chesed means proper covenant behavior, what partners in the covenant owe one another. Second, Heb. tsedaqah (SH-6666), righteousness, first in Deuteronomy 6:25. Mercy in the form of charity is righteousness because it conforms to the standards of Torah. Righteousness, as applied by pious Jews meant helping those in need, which is viewed as an act of social justice. Almsgiving for the poor is strongly advocated in the Tanakh (Deut 15:7, 11; Prov 14:21; 21:13; Isa 58:6-7; Dan 4:27), as well as other Jewish literature (Sirach 3:14; 7:10; 12:3; 17:22; 29:8, 12; 34:2; 40:17, 24; Tobit 4:7-11; 12:8-9; 14:11). Almsgiving was considered the best good work a person could do.
for: Grk. eis, prep. my: Grk. egō, first person pronoun. nation: Grk. ethnos. See verse 2 above. Paul's almsgiving is in line with the principle he advocated that the people of God should have priority in receiving charitable gifts (Gal 6:10). The last time Paul visited Jerusalem was to bring an offering in a time of famine. This time he brought an offering which he had collected from Diaspora congregations for the brethren in Judea (Rom 15:26; 1Cor 16:1-2; 2Cor 8:1-5; 9:1-15). Stern comments that the gift was not only for Messianic Jews but for unbelieving Jews as well, since they are included in "my nation" (cf. Rom 15:25–31; Gal 2:10).
and: Grk. kai, conj. offerings: pl. of Grk. prosphora may mean (1) the act of bringing or presenting offering; or (2) that which is brought, a gift, an offering or a sacrifice. The second meaning is intended here. In the LXX prosphora is used of sacrificial offerings made to God (Ps 40:6; Sir 14:11; 34:18-19; 35:1; 46:16; 50:13-14; Test. Levi 14:5). In Psalm 40:6 prosphora translates Heb. minchah (SH-4503), gift, tribute or sacrificial offering, first in Psalm 40:6. In divine instructions minchah is associated with the grain or meal offering that typically accompanied burnt offerings and sin offerings (Ex 29:41; cf. Sir 38:11).
The term prosphora occurs nine times in the Besekh, and could be viewed as Pauline, since outside of Acts the term occurs only in Paul's letters (Rom 15:16; Eph 5:2; Heb 10:5, 8, 10, 14, 18). The term occurs first in Acts 21:26 where it refers to the offering to be presented on behalf of the four men under the Nazirite vow and some commentators apply that plan to this verse. Yet, he couldn't have known about Jacob's plan before his arrival. Instead, Paul uses the plural term here for offerings he planned before his arrival in Jerusalem. Bruce applies the "offerings" to the donation Paul had collected from the congregations, citing 2Corinthians 8:1–9:15, but the context and the use of prosphora does not justify this interpretation.
Gill, Meyer and Nicoll suggest that Paul's offerings could include what he planned to present on Shavuot (cf. Lev 23:16,17; Num 28:26), since that would have been part of his intent to worship on the festival day (cf. verse 11 above; Acts 20:16). Another possible reason for the offerings was his own vow of consecration in which he had his hair cut (Acts 18:18). Pharisee tradition required that a Nazirite vow undertaken in the Diaspora had to be repeated within the land of Israel (Nazir 19b). The multiple offerings required were a sin offering, a burnt offering, a peace offering, a bread offering and a drink offering (Num 6:13-18). This trip to Jerusalem was Paul's first opportunity to complete what he viewed as an obligation.
18 in which they found me in the temple, having been purified, not with a crowd nor with a tumult.
in: Grk. en, prep. which: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. they found: Grk. heuriskō, aor., 3p-pl. See verse 5 above. Paul repeats and rebuts the claim of Tertullus who implied members of the temple council had found Paul committing the third offense of which he was accused. me: Grk. egō, first person pronoun. in: Grk. en. the temple: Grk. hieron. See verse 6 above. having been purified: Grk. hagnizō, perf. pass. part., to cleanse in such a way that one is purified. The verb ordinarily refers to cleansing from pollution or uncleanness by means of prayers, abstinence, washings, and/or sacrifices. The passive voice has a reflexive force, to take upon oneself a purification.
In the LXX hagnizō is used to describe the measures taken to achieve eligibility for religious rituals (DNTT 3:101). Hagnizō translates three Hebrew verbs: (1) qadash (SH-6942), to be set apart or consecrated (Ex 19:10; Num 11:18), manifested by washing of garments. (2) nazar (SH-5144), to dedicate or consecrate, manifested by abstinence from alcohol (Num 6:3); and (3) chata (SH-2398), purify oneself from uncleanness, manifested by presenting a sin offering (Num 8:21; 19:12). Paul purified himself by both washing and sacrifice. The idea that a person who came to Jerusalem to worship (verse 11 above) and purified himself in order to worship would then attempt to defile the temple is nonsensical.
not: Grk. ou, adv. See verse 11 above. The negative particle constitutes a strong denial. with: Grk. meta, prep. See verse 1 above. a crowd: Grk. ochlos. See verse 12 above. Paul had not followed a crowd into the temple nor joined a crowd after entering. Those who found Paul in the temple could not testify that he was with a crowd. He was only there with the four men completing their Nazirite vow. nor: Grk. oude, a neg. disjunctive conjunction, compounded of ou and de (properly "but not"), that links a negative statement as complementary to a preceding negative; neither, not even, nor.
with: Grk. meta. a tumult: Grk. thorubos, noisy disruptive activity, uproar, clamor or tumult. The noun occurs only in the apostolic narratives and is used of persons wailing (Mark 5:38); of a clamorous multitude (Matt 27:24); of riotous persons (Acts 20:1; 21:34); and a tumult, as a breach of public order (Matt 26:5; Mark 14:2), which is the meaning here. Paul firmly denies that he created any disturbance of any kind to the worship decorum of the temple.
19 But certain Jews from Asia who ought to be present before you and to make accusation, if they may have anything against me.
But: Grk. de, conj. certain: pl. of Grk. tis, indefinite pronoun. See verse 1 above. Jews: pl. of Grk. Ioudaios. See verse 5 above. from: Grk. apo, prep. See verse 11 above. Asia: Grk. ho Asia refers to the Roman proconsular province of Asia, roughly the western third of Asia Minor, of which Ephesus was the capital. See the Bible map of Asia here. Paul "corrects the record" and identifies the subject of the verb "they found" in the previous verse as certain unbelieving Jews from Asia (Acts 21:27). These hostile Jews were pilgrims attending the festival (cf. Acts 19:9; 21:29). They probably were among those in the synagogue of Ephesus that were disbelieving and spoke evil of the Way (Acts 19:9), so they knew Paul by sight. When they saw him in the temple they went berserk.
who: pl. of Grk. hos, relative pronoun. ought: Grk. dei, impf., conveys the idea of something that's necessary, something that must or needs to happen; must, necessary, ought. to be present: Grk. pareimi, pres. inf., to be present, to be here. before: Grk. epi, prep. you: Grk. su, second person pronoun. and: Grk. kai, conj. to make accusation: Grk. katēgoreō, pres. inf. See verse 2 above. if: Grk. ei, conj., a contingency marker, generally used to express a condition thought of as real. they may have: Grk. echō, pres. opt. See verse 9 above. anything: Grk. tis. against: Grk. pros, prep. me: Grk. egō, first person pronoun. Since the Asiatic Jews were the ones who alleged that Paul defiled the temple (a lie), they should be legally compelled to bring their testimony. In so doing, they could be charged with perjury.
The clause "But some Jews from Asia" occurs at the end of verse 18 in the Textus Receptus (1516) and the Westcott-Hort Greek Text (1881) and its presence in verse 18 is preserved in some versions (AMP, ASV, CSB, ESV, KJV, TLB, NASB, NEB, NKJV, RSV). However, its position in verse 18 represents an incomplete thought so modern Greek texts moved the clause to the beginning of verse 19. Verse divisions are not inspired.
20 Or let these same men explain these things, what wrongdoing did they find when I stood before the Council,
Or: Grk. ē, conj. let these same men: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. See verse 2 above. explain: Grk. legō, aor. imp., 3p-pl. See verse 2 above. these things: pl. of Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. See verse 2 above. what: Grk. tís, interrogative pronoun indicating interest in establishing something definite; who, which, what, why. wrongdoing: Grk. adikēma (from adikia, unrighteousness), a violation of a standard of uprightness; wrongdoing, crime. The word was used in classical Greek of a breach of law. did they find: Grk. heuriskō, aor., 3p-pl. See verse 5 above.
when I: Grk. egō, first person pronoun. stood: Grk. histēmi, aor. part., may mean (1) cause to be in a place or position; or (2) be in an upright position, used of bodily posture. The second meaning applies here. Paul contrasts his bodily position with the fact that his audience was seated. before: Grk. epi, prep. the Council: Grk. ho sunedrion (from sún, "with" and hedra, "a convening, sitting together"), a council of leading Jews (HELPS). Sunedrion is used in the apostolic narratives of (1) a local Jewish court (Matt 10:17); (2) a principal judicial body in Jerusalem (Acts 5:21, 27, 34, 41); and (3) the meeting room of a council (Acts 4:15) (DNTT 1:363).
In the LXX sunedrion translates Heb. math (SH-4962), male, man, men (Ps 26:4 as a deliberative body); Heb. qahal (SH-6951), assembly, congregation (Prov 26:26); and Heb. sôd (SH-5475), council, counsel (Jer 15:17). The Greek term also occurs several times in Proverbs (11:13; 15:22; 20:19; 22:10; 24:7; 27:22; 31:23) without Heb. equivalent for those sitting in the gate for counsel or judgment. The usage of sunedrion in the LXX denotes small groups of elders who acted as counselors and judges.
Most versions translate sunedrion here with "council," but a number have the capitalized "Sanhedrin," implying the full seventy-one members of the Supreme Court. However, this interpretive translation is open to question. Josephus uses the term sunedrion for an ad hoc group assembled for a special purpose or task (Ant., XX, 9:1, 6). Flusser says that the Temple was supervised by a council consisting of chief priests, scribes and elders (142). The council before which Paul stood consisted of Sadducees and Pharisees (Acts 23:6).
Paul essentially presents a formal complaint against the Jerusalem delegation. The chief priests knew the allegations against Paul, including the lies that had been spread about his ministry. Yet, when the council convened at the order of the Roman commander no formal charges were presented against him nor was a trial commenced according to Jewish law. Indeed many members of the council considered Paul to be innocent of any wrongdoing (23:9). Paul knew that if Tertullus and the high priest were forced to answer his complaint, there would be no reason to continue the trial before Felix.
21 other than concerning this one statement which I cried out while standing among them that, 'Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am being judged by you today.'"
other than: Grk. ē, conj. The conjunction introduces a speculation. concerning: Grk. peri, prep. See verse 8 above. this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. See verse 2 above. one: Grk. heis, the numeral one. statement: Grk. phōnē can mean (1) an auditory impression, sound or tone defined in the context; or (2) voice, the sound of uttered words. The second meaning applies here. In the LXX phōnē generally translates Heb. qôl (sound, voice, BDB 876), the first usage of which is God's voice (Gen 3:8), and second the human voice (Gen 3:17), and these usages occur frequently in the Tanakh with various kinds of expression (DNTT 3:113).
which: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. See verse 6 above. I cried out: Grk. krazō, aor., to cry, i.e. call out aloud, speak with a loud voice. Paul meant that he raised his voice to be heard. while standing: Grk. histēmi, perf. part. See the previous verse. among: Grk. en, prep. See verse 12 above. them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. See verse 2 above. Paul actually stood in the middle of the room (23:10). that: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 11 above. The conjunction is used here to introduce a quotation. Most versions don't translate the conjunction. Paul repeats the declaration he made in the council meeting (23:6), but omits "the hope" from his repetition.
Concerning: Grk. peri. the resurrection: Grk. anastasis (from ana, 'up, again' and histēmi, 'to stand') may mean either (1) rise, which may be bringing to a higher position in a physical sense or a higher status in a relational sense; or (2) a rising from the condition of death; i.e., brought back to life after death. The second meaning is intended here. Anastasis is the principal Greek word in the Besekh for resurrection, with references divided between the resurrection of Yeshua and the resurrection at the end of the age.
of the dead: pl. of Grk. nekros, adj., may be used as (1) a noun, corpse or (2) adj., without life in the physical sense, being dead. The plural form indicates people who have died. Traditional Jews believed not only in life after death, but had an expectation that those who have died will live again (cf. Job 19:26; Ps 16:10; 49:15; 73:24; John 11:23). The expected "resurrection of the dead" will take place at the end of the present age (Dan 12:13; John 6:39-40, 44, 54; 11:24). See my web article The Mystery of the Resurrection.
I: Grk. egō, first person pronoun. am being judged: Grk. krinō, pres. mid., to separate or distinguish between options, i.e. judge; to come to a decision by making a judgment, either positive (a verdict in favor of) or negative (which rejects or condemns) (HELPS). In the LXX krinō is used to translate three Hebrew words: din, rib and shaphat, generally of issuing a judgment in a legal context (DNTT 2:363). by: Grk. epi, prep. you: Grk. humeis, pl. second person pronoun. today: Grk. sēmeron, today, this day, now.
Paul does not use the verb "being judged" to refer to a formal trial, since none was conducted. Rather, their judging was a matter of attitude. The conclusion to Paul's argument might have been intended as facetious, that maybe his crime was declaring his belief in the resurrection. Stern comments that according to Paul's point of view a Jewish community divided on whether resurrection takes place at all is in no condition to judge him or other Messianic Jews on whether Yeshua is the Messiah. 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.
Delay of Trial, 24:22-27
22 But Felix, knowing accurately concerning the things of the Way, postponed them, having said, "When Lysias the commander might come down, I will decide the case against you."
But: Grk. de, conj. Felix: Grk. ho Phēlix. See verse 3 above. knowing: Grk. oida, perf. part., to have seen or perceived, hence to know. The verb is used for experiential knowledge. The perfect tense denotes action completed in the past with continuing results into the present. A participle is a verbal adjective and in this context describes something about Felix. The verb could be translated "having gained knowledge." In the LXX oida occurs frequently to render Heb. yada (SH-3045), to know, (e.g., Gen 3:5; 4:1), which in most occasions refers to a personal knowledge, primarily by experience but also by learning (DNTT 2:395).
accurately: Grk. akribōs, adv., diligently or carefully, i.e., be really thorough, with exactness. The adverb implies gaining exact information with the highest level of accuracy, acquired by probing investigation with a strict adherence to the facts (HELPS). concerning: Grk. peri, prep. the things: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article, but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. of the Way: Grk. ho Hodos. See verse 14 above. The phrase "things of the Way" probably alludes to the belief system and lifestyle of those in the Yeshua movement. Luke implies that Felix had purposely sought knowledge of the Jewish Messianic party known as "the Way," probably in an effort to understand the differences between the various Jewish parties in the province of Judaea.
There was history of the Yeshua movement in Caesarea with the founding of a Messianic congregation by Philip (Acts 8:40; 18:22; 21:8) and the later conversion of Cornelius, the Roman centurion, and his friends (Acts 10:24). Felix knew more about the Way (aka "the Nazarenes") than he had been told by the Jewish leaders and his knowledge was probably confirmed or increased by the presentation of Paul. As a result Felix knew that Paul was no sicarii and "the Way" was not an anti-Roman zealot movement. Felix's knowledge made him less inclined to believe the accusations of Tertullus.
postponed: Grk. anaballō, aor., to put off, defer, postpone. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. them: pl. of Grk. autos, personal pronoun. The plural pronoun alludes to the delegation from Jerusalem. Felix was not ready to decide Paul's fate and adjourned the hearing, perhaps with the formula Amplius ("judgment reserved") (Bruce). having said: Grk. legō, aor. part. See verse 2 above. Felix then presented a contingency plan, which he addressed to Paul. When: Grk. hotan, conj., a temporal marker indicating 'when' or 'whenever.' Lysias: Grk. Lusias, a personal name introduced in 23:26. the commander: Grk. ho chiliarchos, lit., "leader of a thousand," a Roman tribune that had command of a subdivision of a legion. Lysias commanded the Roman military forces in Jerusalem.
might come down: Grk. katabainō, aor. subj. See verse 1 above. I will decide: Grk. diaginōskō, fut. mid., know one from the other in a legal sense, distinguish, decide, determine. the case: pl. of Grk. ho, lit. "the things." against: Grk. kata, prep. you: Grk. su, second person pronoun. He would wait for the Roman commander to come, although there is no indication that Felix summoned him and there is no evidence that Lysias ever came. The postponement would certainly not be pleasing to the Jewish chief priests who were hoping to be rid of the "pestilence." Like the unjust treatment of Yeshua they wanted Paul convicted and crucified.
23 having ordered the centurion to watch over him; also to let him have freedom, and not one to prevent his own to attend to him.
having ordered: Grk. diatassō, aor. part., to make appropriate arrangement for accomplishing an objective; give orders to, prescribe, arrange, take care of. the centurion: Grk. ho hekatontarchēs (from hekaton, "a hundred," and archō, to rule), ordinarily a commander of a century (Latin centuria), consisting of 80 fighting men (Latin milites) and 20 military servants (Latin calones). This centurion was either an officer in whose custody he had been placed by Lysias, or one who had the special charge of prisoners awaiting trial in Caesarea (Ellicott). to watch over: Grk. tēreō, pres. mid. inf., to guard, keep or watch over, and properly means to maintain or preserve intact (HELPS).
him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun; i.e., Paul. The verbal command implies attending to Paul's needs. Paul was still a guest in the Praetorium and not a convicted criminal. also: Grk. te, conj. See verse 3 above. to let him have: Grk. echō, pres. inf. See verse 9 above. freedom: Grk. anesis, a loosening, relaxation or freedom; here some leniency during custody. and: Grk. kai, conj. The conjunction could mean "even," in the sense of defining the freedom granted. not one: Grk. mēdeis, adj. (from mē, "not" and heis, "one"), not even one, nothing, none; i.e. no one who worked for the governor. to prevent: Grk. kōluō, pres. inf., to stop someone from doing something; hinder, prevent.
his: Grk. autos. own: Grk. ho idios, adj., belonging to oneself, one's own. Many versions translate the adjective with "friends," but the term could also allude to relatives (Acts 23:16). to attend: Grk. hupēreteō, pres. inf., render service in varying capacity. to him: Grk. autos. The visitation allowance would permit members of the local Messianic congregation to visit Paul, as well as disciples from Jerusalem. The unusual lenient treatment Felix directed was no doubt in recognition of Paul's status as a Roman citizen, but also implies that he was not convinced of Paul's guilt of any capital crime.
24 But after some days Felix, having arrived with Drusilla, his own wife, being Jewish, summoned Paul and heard him concerning faith in Messiah Yeshua.
But: Grk. de, conj. after: Grk. meta, prep. See verse 1 above. some: pl. of Grk. tis, indefinite pronoun. See verse 1 above. days: pl. of Grk. hēmera. See verse 1 above. Felix: Grk. ho Phēlix. See verse 3 above. having arrived: Grk. paraginomai, aor. part. See verse 17 above. The verb intends only having come from his residence and accompanied by the following named person. with: Grk. sun, prep. used to denote association or close identification. Drusilla: Grk. Drousilla, a personal name, born c. A.D. 39 and daughter of Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12:1) and sister of Bernice (Acts 25:13) and Marcus Julius Agrippa II. his own: Grk. ho idios, adj. See the previous verse.
wife: Grk. gunē, an adult female person, without respect to age, marital or social status except as defined in the context. In the LXX gunē translates Heb. ishshah (SH-802), woman, wife (Gen 2:22). being: Grk. eimi, pres. part. See verse 10 above. Jewish: Grk. Ioudaios, adj. See verse 5 above. Josephus says that Drusilla was a very beautiful woman who married Felix in contempt of the Torah (Ant. XX, 7:2). The pejorative viewpoint is because when Felix met Drusilla she was already married (to Azizus, king of Emesa, a minor state in Syria), and Felix persuaded Drusilla to leave her husband to marry him. She was only 16 at the time (Bruce). She bore Felix a son named Agrippa, who died later in the eruption of Vesuvius in A.D. 79.
Luke refers to Drusilla as being Jewish because the Herodian family was Jewish as far as a national identity. According to Josephus, Herod the Great was an Idumean (Edomite) on his father's side and an Arabian on his mother's (Ant. XIV, 1:3 and 7:3). The Idumeans were the descendants of Esau, and inhabited the Sinai peninsula south of the Dead Sea. The Edomites had been constant enemies of the Jews, but they were finally subjugated by John Hyrcanus, a Hasmonean leader of the 2nd century BC. He left them in possession of their land, but compelled them to undergo circumcision and adopt the Jewish law (cf. Ant. XIII, 9:1; XV 7:9; Wars IV, 5:5).
summoned: Grk. metapempō, aor. mid., dispatch for someone's presence; send after, send for, summon. Paul: Grk. ho Paulos. See verse 1 above. Bruce says there is a tradition preserved in the Western Text (a marginal note in the Harclean Syriac) that the summoning was at the request of Drusilla and Felix did so to satisfy her. The tradition may have come about to justify Luke's mention of her presence. However, Felix may have had his own reasons for summoning Paul, perhaps to further understand the man that had been brought to him for trial.
and: Grk. kai, conj. heard: Grk. akouō, aor. See verse 4 above. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. concerning: Grk. peri, prep. faith: Grk. ho pistis has two facets of meaning: (1) that which causes trust and faith, i.e., faithfulness or reliability, and (2) trust or confidence in an active sense (BAG). The noun signifies a confident reliance on God, as opposed to mere mental assent. In the LXX pistis translates the Heb. emun word group (SH-529; 530), which essentially means 'faithfulness' (Deut 32:20). The LXX usage emphasizes that the intended meaning of pistis is faithfulness. in: Grk. eis, prep., lit. "into." The preposition denotes entrance into a relationship.
Messiah: Grk. Christos (from chriō, "anoint with olive oil"), the expected fulfiller of the promises given to Israel for a deliverer and Davidic King, the Messiah. The English "Christ" found in the majority of Christian versions transliterates the Greek title, but does not translate it. Jewish translators of the LXX chose Christos to render Heb. Mashiach (SH-4899), "Anointed One," and in so doing infused new meaning into the Greek word. Mashiach is used in the Tanakh for the Davidic king (Ps 2:2; Dan 9:25-26cf. 2Sam 7:12-13; John 1:49). For a discussion of Jewish hope and expectation of the Messiah see my article The Messiah.
Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous, a transliteration of the Hebrew name Yeshua, "Jesus" in Christian Bibles. The English spelling of "Jesus" was introduced by the Mace New Testament in 1729. Yeshua is a contraction of the Hebrew name Y’hoshua ("Joshua"), which means "YHVH [the LORD] is salvation" (BDB 221). The meaning of his name is explained to Joseph by an angel, "you shall call His name Yeshua, for He will save His people from their sins" (Matt 1:21 TLV). For more information on the meaning of his name and his titles, see my article Who is Yeshua?
The mixed Gentile-Jewish audience would give Paul the opportunity to share both the "Jewish Gospel" and the "Gentile Gospel," each of which has distinctive elements. For a discussion of the differences in the message of the good news depending on the audience see my article The Original Gospel.
Additional Note: Faith
Some versions translate ho pistis as "the faith" (KJV, NKJV), which might imply a body of belief, i.e., doctrine. However, the objectivizing of pistis owes more to later Christian misunderstanding of the use of the definite article ho (the) with pistis than apostolic intention. The Greek of the apostolic writings is really Jewish Greek, that is, it communicates the Hebrew language of the apostles. In Hebrew the definite article ha with a noun only serves to specify the noun in a sentence or make the noun more emphatic (Ross 59). So, too, the function of the definite article in Greek is to point out an object or to draw attention to it (DM 137). The definite article does not change the definition of the noun.
25 But of his speaking about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix having become frightened, answered, "being the present, go away, then having found time I will summon you."
But: Grk. de, conj. of his: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. speaking: Grk. dialegomai, pres. part. See verse 12 above. about: Grk. peri, prep. Paul not only proclaimed the good news but addressed issues of conduct pertinent to both Felix and Drusilla. righteousness: Grk. dikaiosunē, a state that is in accord with standards prescribed in the Torah for acceptable and expected behavior; uprightness, righteousness, justice. In the LXX dikaiosunē is used for a dozen different terms, primarily Heb. tzedaqah (SH-6666), ethically and morally right, righteousness, justice, truthfulness, or vindication; first in Genesis 15:6 (DNTT 3:354).
Paul held the plumb line of God's standards and pointed out at least in a general way the shortcomings of the couple. Their decision to marry was clearly contrary to Torah. Felix had sought Drusilla out of lust and she had agreed to the marriage for selfish reasons. In addition, Felix's capricious treatment of Jews violated the standard of justice God expects of rulers. Tacitus, the Roman historian, said that Felix thought that he could do any evil act with impunity, backed up as he was by the power of his office (The Annals XII, 54).
and: Grk. kai, conj. self-control: Grk. egkrateia (from en, "inside, within," and kratos, dominion), self-mastery, self-restraint, self-control. As a spiritual issue "self-control" alludes to the conflict between walking according to the flesh (i.e., living by personal desires) contrasted with walking according to the Spirit (i.e., living by God's will). Paul had written at length on this subject in his letter to the Roman congregation (Rom 8:3-13). Tacitus says the reign of Felix was characterized by barbarity and lust (The Histories, V.9).
and: Grk. kai. the coming: Grk. ho mellō, pres. part. See verse 15 above. judgment: Grk. ho krima may refer to a judicial decision, decree or verdict, or a sentence of condemnation and the subsequent punishment itself. The term is used here of the judgment of God or more specifically the judgment of the Messiah (John 5:22; 2Cor 5:10). This is the second time Paul warned a Gentile about the coming judgment (cf. Acts 17:31). The three subjects reflect the three issues Yeshua identified as matters which the Holy Spirit will convict the world (John 16:8) and in Paul's list the lack of "self-control" could easily substitute for "sin."
Felix: Grk. ho Phēlix. See verse 3 above. having become: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid. part. See verse 2 above. frightened: Grk. emphobos, adj., in a state of fear; frightened, terrified. The verbal description indicates that Felix experienced conviction by the Holy Spirit and he knew that he stood condemned before God. answered: Grk. apokrinomai, aor. pass. See verse 10 above. being: Grk. ho echō, pres. part. See verse 9 above. the present: Grk. nun, adv. of time in the present, 'now' or more emphatically 'right now.' This incomplete Greek phrase probably represents an excuse, "Would you look at the time."
go away: Grk. poreuomai, pres. mid. imp., may mean (1) to physically move from one area to another; or (2) in an ethical sense, to conduct one's life. The first meaning applies here. It's interesting that Felix addresses this verb to Paul, rather than directing the centurion to remove Paul. then: Grk. de. having found: Grk. metalambanō, aor. part., to have or get a share, to partake, here meaning to have or find. time: Grk. kairos may refer to (1) an appropriate or set temporal segment of time; or (2) a period, definite or approximate, in which an event takes place. The second meaning applies here. "When I find time in my busy schedule."
I will summon: Grk. metakaleō, fut. mid., call from one place to another; call for, send for, summon. you: Grk. su, second person pronoun. The promise of another meeting in the future probably was intended to sound apologetic and feign interest in hearing more about spiritual issues.
26 at the same time also hoping that money would be given to him by Paul. Therefore also, often summoning him, he would converse with him.
at the same time: Grk. hama, adv. primarily signifying simultaneity; at the same time. In other words, concurrently with saying, "go away until I find another time to hear you." also: Grk. kai, conj. hoping: Grk. elpizō, pres. part., to look for; hope, expect. The verb is not used to express mere wishful thinking. The present participle emphasizes a continual condition, a state of hoping. that: Grk. hoti, conj. See verse 11 above. money: pl. of Grk. chrēma, that which is a resource for well-being, money, possessions, or riches. Here the term most likely indicates money, i.e., a bribe. In the LXX chrēma translates Heb. keseph (SH-3701), silver (Job 27:17) and nekes (SH-5233), riches (Josh 22:8; 2Chr 1:11) (Thayer).
would be given: Grk. didōmi, fut. pass., generally to give something to someone, often with the focus on generosity, but may be used to mean bestow or hand over. to him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. by: Grk. hupo, prep., properly, "under," often meaning "under authority" of someone (HELPS), and used here to indicate the efficient cause. Paul: Grk. ho Paulos. See verse 1 above. Felix did not expect Paul to produce the money himself, but he must have friends who could pay the money at his request. Stern suggests that Paul's mention of bringing alms to Jerusalem may have piqued his interest. Perhaps people that contributed to the welfare of Jews in Judea would be moved to buy Paul's freedom.
Ramsay, on the other hand, suggests that Paul was actually of man of wealth (177f). After all, he had the means to pay the expenses of the four men under a Nazirite vow (Acts 21:23). Being housed in the governor's palace for four years and engaging in a long lawsuit are expensive. Paul did not appear before the world as a penniless wanderer, living by the work of his hands. A person in that position would not be treated with such marked respect as was certainly paid to Paul. The governor Felix and his wife, the Princess Drusilla, accorded him an interview and private conversation. He will also be granted an audience with King Agrippa and Queen Bernice. A poor man never receives such attentions, or rouses such interest.
Moreover, Felix hoped for a bribe from him; and a rich Roman official did not look for a small gift. Paul, therefore, wore the outward appearance of a man of means, like one in a position to bribe a Roman procurator. The minimum in the way of personal attendants that was allowable for a man of respectable position was two slaves and, Ramsay thus asserts that Paul was attended by two slaves. While at Caesarea and housed in the Praetorium he had to live, to maintain two attendants, and to keep up a respectable appearance. Many comforts, which are almost necessities, would be given by the guards, so long as they were kept in good humor, and it is expensive to keep guards in good humor.
Therefore: Grk. dio, inferential conj., for this reason, on which account, therefore, wherefore. also: Grk. kai. often: Grk. puknos, adj., in reference to time often occurring; frequent, often. summoning: Grk. metapempō, pres. mid. part. See verse 24 above. him: Grk. autos. he would converse with: Grk. homileō, impf., spending time with someone, here with the focus on verbal exchange; converse with. him: Grk. autos, i.e., Paul. Felix kept his promise to summon Paul for further conversations. Luke is careful not to say that Felix moved from hoping for a bribe to requesting a bribe, because as a Roman citizen Paul would have the grounds then for a legal complaint. However, Felix probably hoped in the frequent visits that Paul would take the hint and conclude he could bring these meetings to an end by some payment.
But: Grk. de, conj. two years: Grk. dietia, a space of two years. According to ancient practice the time reference can mean any period between one and two years. In the LXX dietia translates the Heb. construction s'natayim yamim ("two years," Gen 41:1), the time that Joseph was left in prison. having been completed: Grk. plēroō, aor. pass. part., may mean (1) cause to abound in content to a maximum, fill; or (2) to bring to fruition or completion, complete, fulfill, fill up, carry out. The second meaning is intended here. The verb implies two full years or 24 months had passed. Felix: Grk. ho Phēlix. See verse 3 above. received: Grk. lambanō, aor. The verb marks the transit of a person or thing from a position to another person; to take or receive.
a successor: Grk. diadochos, one succeeding a court official, a successor. The noun occurs only here in the Besekh. Porcius: Grk. Porkios, a middle name. The noun occurs only here in the Besekh. Stern notes that the Porcia family had attained senatorial rank in Rome centuries earlier. Festus: Grk. Phēstos, a surname. Festus served as procurator of Judaea for two years. He is mentioned by Josephus (Ant. XX, 8:9; Wars II, 14:1) and is featured in the next two chapters of Acts. Bible scholars are divided over the year of the change in governors, most assigning A.D. 59 (Bruce, Edmundson, Polhill, Ramsay, Stern), but others A.D. 60 (Ellicott, Lumby, Marshall).
Bruce notes that a reliable pointer to the date of Felix's replacement has been found in a change in the Judaean provincial coinage attested for Nero's fifth year (AD 58-59); this coin issue is more likely to be the work of a new procurator than of an outgoing one who had already minted a large issue (fn 44, 449).
also: Grk. te, conj. wishing to gain: Grk. katatithēmi, aor. mid. inf., to lay up for one's disposal, to do something in order to gain something in return, here for the sake of political advantage, a quid pro quo. favor: Grk. charis, disposition marked by inclination to generosity, frequently unmotivated by the worth of the recipient; thus, grace, gracefulness, graciousness, favor, thanks or gratitude. with the Jewish leaders: pl. of Grk. Ioudaios. See verse 5 above. The plural noun probably does not refer so much to the Jewish people as the representatives of the Jewish leaders that had presented charges against Paul. Felix: Grk. ho Phēlix.
left: Grk. kataleipō, aor., to leave or leave behind and used to indicate (1) departure from a person or thing; (2) abandonment or forsaking; (3) leaving someone behind who cannot be taken with the one departing. The third meaning applies here. The verb points to a condition existing at the end of Felix's term of office. Paul: Grk. ho Paulos. See verse 1 above. bound: Grk. deō, perf. pass. part., may mean (1) to bind, tie or fasten, normally used of physical restraint; or (2) as a legal term, forbid. The first meaning applies here. Some versions translate the verb as "in prison," but Paul was not incarcerated in a dungeon or prison. He was given quarters in the Praetorium, the governor's residence (Acts 23:35). The verb alludes to the fact that Paul was kept bound to a Roman soldier (cf. Acts 22:29; 26:29; 28:20; Eph 6:20).
Ant.: Flavius Josephus (c. 37–100 A.D.), Antiquities of the Jews (Latin Antiquitates Judaicae). trans. William Whiston (1737). Online.
BAG: Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. trans. W.F. Arndt & F.W. Gingrich. The University of Chicago Press, 1957.
Barnes: Albert Barnes (1798-1870), Notes on the Whole Bible (1834). Baker Book House, 1949. Online.
BDB: The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Oxford University Press, 1907. Reprinted by Associated Publishers and Authors, Inc., 1981.
Brown: David Brown (1803-1897), The Acts of the Apostles, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (1871), 2 vols., by Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown. Online.
Bruce: F.F. Bruce, The Book of the Acts. Rev. ed. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1988. (New International Commentary on the New Testament)
Chrysostom: John Chrysostom (347-407), Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles. Oxford Edition. trans. J. Walker, et. al. (Online)
Danker: Frederick William Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. The University of Chicago Press, 2009.
DM: H.E. Dana & Julius R. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament. The Macmillan Co., 1955.
Delitzsch: Franz Delitzsch (1813-1890), Hebrew New Testament. Leipzig, 1877. Online. (Translation into biblical Hebrew.)
DNTT: Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 3 vols., ed. Colin Brown. Zondervan Pub. House, 1975.
Dorotheus: Dorotheus (255-362), Bishop of Tyre, The Choosing of the Seventy Holy Apostles. Online.
Edmundson: Charles Edmundson, The Church in Rome in the First Century. Longmans, Green and Co., 1913. Online.
Ellicott: Charles John Ellicott (1819–1905), Commentary for English Readers (1878). Online.
Exell: Joseph S. Exell, ed. (1849–1910), Acts, The Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 18. Hendrickson Pub., 1985. Online.
Flusser: David Flusser, Jewish Sources in Early Christianity, Adama Books, 1987.
Gill: John Gill (1697-1771), Exposition of the Entire Bible. Online.
GNT: The Greek New Testament, eds. Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Bruce M. Metzger, & Allen Wiegren. American Bible Society, 1966. [NA25]
HELPS: Gleason L. Archer and Gary Hill, eds., The Discovery Bible New Testament: HELPS Word Studies. Moody Press, 1987, 2011. (Online at BibleHub.com)
Hippolytus: Hippolytus of Rome (170-236), On the Seventy Apostles. Online.
Longenecker: Richard D. Longenecker, The Acts of the Apostles, Vol. 9, Expositor's Bible Commentary, Software version 2.6. Zondervan Corp, 1989-1999.
LSJ: Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott, An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon (1889). rev. by Sir Henry Stuart Jones. Clarendon Press, 1940. Online
Lumby: J. Rawson Lumby, Acts, The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. Cambridge University Press, 1891. Online.
Marshall: I. Howard Marshall, Acts. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. InterVarsity Press, 1980.
Meyer: Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer (1800-1873), Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (1859). 21 vols. T&T Clark, 1880. Online.
Nicoll: W. Robertson Nicoll (1851–1923), The Expositor's Greek Testament (1897), 5 vols. Online.
Polhill: John B. Polhill, Paul and His Letters. B & H Academic, 1999.
Ramsay: Sir William Mitchell Ramsay (1851-1939), St. Paul the Traveler and the Roman Citizen, 10th ed., Hodder & Stoughton, 1907. Online.
Ross: Allen P. Ross, Introducing Biblical Hebrew. Baker Academic, 2001.
Stern: David Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary. Jewish New Testament Publications, 1996.
Tarn & Griffith: Sir William Tarn and G.T. Griffith, Hellenistic Civilization. 3rd Edition. Edward Arnold Publishers, Ltd., 1952.
Thayer: Joseph Henry Thayer (1828-1901), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Harper Brothers, 1889. Website HTML 2011 by Biblesoft, Inc. Online.
Wars: Flavius Josephus (c. 37–100 A.D.), Wars of the Jews (Latin De Bello Judaico). trans. William Whiston (1737). Online.
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