The trial before Festus
25 1 Three days after Festus arrived in the province, he went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem. 2 There the chief priests and the elders accused Paul again. 3 In a very hypocritical way, they asked as a favor from Festus that Paul be brought to Jerusalem; but they were planning to kill him on the way. 4 Festus answered that Paul was under custody in Caesarea and, as he himself had to go there shortly, he added, 5 “Let those of you who have the authority go down with me to Caesarea, and if this man has done anything wrong, let them accuse him.”
6 Festus did not stay in Jerusalem for more than eight or ten days, and then he went to Caesarea. The next day, he took his seat on the tribunal and sent for Paul. 7 When Paul arrived, the Jews who came from Jerusalem stood around him and presented many serious charges that they could not prove. 8 Paul defended himself from all these saying, “I have not committed any offense against the Law of the Jews, or against the Temple or against Caesar.”
9 Then Festus, who wanted to please the Jews, asked Paul: “Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem to be tried before me?” 10 Paul answered, “I am on trial before Caesar’s tribunal; here I have to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews: you yourself know this very well. 11 If I have committed any crime which deserves death, I accept death. But if I have not done anything of which they accuse me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar.”
12 So Festus, after conferring with his council, answered, “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you shall go.”
13 Some days later King Agrippa and his sister Bernice arrived in Caesarea to greet Festus. As they were to stay there several days, Festus told the king about Paul’s case and said to him,
14 “We have here a man whom Felix left as a prisoner. 15 When I was in Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews accused him and asked me to sentence him. 16 I told them that it is not the custom of the Romans to hand over a man without giving him an opportunity to defend himself in front of his accusers. 17 So they came and I took my seat without delay on the tribunal and sent for the man.
18 When the accusers had the floor, they did not accuse him of any of the crimes that I was led to think he had committed; 19 instead they quarreled with him about religion and about a certain Jesus who has died but whom Paul asserted to be alive. 20 I did not know what to do about this case, so I asked Paul if he wanted to go to Jerusalem to be tried there. 21 But Paul appealed to be judged by the emperor. So I ordered that he be kept in custody until I send him to Caesar.” 22 Agrippa said to Festus: “I would like to hear that man.” Festus answered him: “Tomorrow you shall.”
23 On the following day, Agrippa and Bernice arrived with great ceremony and entered the audience hall with the commanders and the elders of the city. Festus ordered that Paul be brought in and said:
24 “King Agrippa and all here present, here you see this man about whom the whole community of the Jews came to see me, in Jerusalem as well as here, protesting loudly that he must not live. 25 I, for my part, am convinced that he has not done anything that deserves death. But after he appealed to be judged by the emperor, I decided to send him on. 26 Well, if I have no definite information, what can I write to Caesar about him? Therefore I present him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, that you may examine him and that I may know what to write. 27 For it seems absurd to me to send a prisoner without indicating the charges against him.”
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