Acts  ◦   Chapter 25

1Three days after his arrival in the province, Festus traveled from Caesarea to Jerusalem,2where the chief priests and Jewish leaders assembled before him and presented their charges against Paul.3They desperately wanted Festus to transfer Paul to Jerusalem, because they were plotting an ambush to kill him on the way; so they requested Festus to do them a favor and transfer Paul to Jerusalem.4But Festus told them, "Paul is secure in Caesarea, and I will soon be heading there.5If he has done anything wrong, then arrange for some of your leaders to come with me and present your charges there."

6About eight to ten days later, Festus returned to Caesarea. The next day he opened court and ordered that Paul be brought before him.7With Paul in court, the Jews who had come from Jerusalem surrounded him and began making all types of serious charges against him, none of which they could prove.

8Then Paul defended himself: "I haven't done anything wrong. I haven't broken any Jewish civil law, temple law, or Roman law."

9Festus, wanting to gain favor with the Jews, asked Paul, "Are you willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there?"

10Paul answered, "Am I not now standing before Caesar's justice? Is it not here that my case should be tried? I have committed no crime against the Jews, as you very well know.11If I were guilty of a capital crime, I would not refuse to die. But I am not guilty of any of the charges brought against me by these Jews, therefore it is not right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!"

12After Festus consulted with his advisors, he declared, "Since you have appealed to Caesar, then to Caesar you will go!"

13Several days later, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to welcome Festus.14After spending several days there, Festus brought up Paul's case with them. He said, "I have a man in prison whose case Felix never decided.15When I was in Jerusalem, the chief priests and Jewish leaders brought a variety of charges against him and asked me to condemn him.

16"I told them that Romans don't condemn people without a trial and without an opportunity to face their accusers and present a defense.17When they returned here with me, I wanted this case determined quickly, so I convened court the very next day and ordered the man to be brought in.18When his accusers presented their complaint, they didn't charge him with any crime I expected.19Instead, they disagreed with him on some religious issues and a dead man named Jesus, who Paul claimed was alive.20Not being familiar with Jewish culture and religion, I was at a loss how to resolve the matter, so I asked the man if he would be willing to stand trial on these charges before me in Jerusalem.21Paul appealed his case to the Emperor, so I ordered that he be held until I could send him to Caesar."

22Agrippa was intrigued and said to Festus, "I would like to hear for myself what this man has to say." Festus replied, "Very well, I will arrange it for tomorrow."

23The next day, with a great show of wealth and rank, Agrippa and Bernice entered the courtroom along with high-ranking officials in the military and government. At Festus' command, Paul was brought in.24Then Festus said: "King Agrippa, and honored guests present here today, take a look at this man! The Jews have been in an uproar about him. They have petitioned me in Jerusalem and here in Caesarea, shouting that he deserves to die.25But my investigation found that he has committed no crimes and doesn't deserve to die. Because he appealed his case to the Emperor, I decided to send him to Rome,26but I don't have any specific charges or facts to write to His Majesty about him. Therefore I have brought him before you and would like your input, especially yours, King Agrippa, so that after this inquiry I might have something specific to write.27For it seems unreasonable to me to send him as a prisoner without some specific charges against him."