|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
23:25-35 God has instruments for every work. The natural abilities and moral virtues of the heathens often have been employed to protect his persecuted servants. Even the men of the world can discern between the conscientious conduct of upright believers, and the zeal of false professors, though they disregard or understand not their doctrinal principles. All hearts are in God's hand, and those are blessed who put their trust in him, and commit their ways unto him.
Verse 26. - Greeting for sendeth greeting, A.V. Governor; ἡγεμών, as ver. 24; propraetor of an imperial province, as distinguished from the ἀνθύπατος, or proconsul, who governed the provinces which were in the patronage of the senate. Sergius Paulus (Acts 13:7, 8) was a proconsul, and so was Gallio (Acts 18:10); Pontius Pilate (Matthew 27:2) and Felix were procurators, ἡγεμόνες, only in a looser sense, as the more exact name of their office was ἐπίτροπος procurator. Only, as they were appointed by the emperor, and often exercised the full functions of a legatus Caesaris, they were called ἡγεμόνες as well as proprietors. Felix, called by Tacitus, Antonius Felix ('Hist.,' 5:9), was the brother of Pallas, the freedman and favorite of Claudius. He as well as his brother Felix had originally been the slave of Antonia the mother of the Emperor Claudius; and hence the name Antonins Felix, or, as he was sometimes otherwise celled, Claudius Felix. Tacitus, after mentioning that Claudius appointed as governors of Judaea sometimes knights and sometimes freedmen, adds that among the last Autenius Felix ruled this province with boundless cruelty and in the most arbitrary manner, showing by his abuse of power his servile origin. He adds that he married Drusilla, the granddaughter of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, so that he was Mark Antony's grandson-in-law, while Claudius was Antony's grandson. But see Acts 24:24, note. In the 'Annals' (12. 5) Tacitus further speaks of the incompetence of Felix to govern, stirring up rebellions by the means he took to repress them, and of the utter lawlessness and confusion to which the province was reduced by the maladministration of Felix and his colleague, Ventidius Cumanus ("cut pars provinciae habebatur"). He adds that civil war would have broken out if Quadratus, the Governor of Syria, had not interposed, and secured the punishment of Cumanus, while Felix, his equal in guilt, was continued in his government. This was owing, no doubt, to the influence of Pallas. The same influence secured the continued government to Felix upon Nero's accession, Pallas being all-powerful with Agrippina. Such was "the most excellent governor Felix." For further accounts of him, see Josephus ('Bell. Jud.,' 2. 12:8; 13.), who ignores his share in the government as the partner of Cumauus, and dates his appointment subsequently to the con-detonation of Cumanus at Rome, and is also there silent as to his misdeeds. (For further accounts of Felix, see 'Ant. Jud.,' 20. 7:1, 2; 8:5-7, which relate his adulterous marriage with Drusilla, and some of his murders and cruelties.)
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Claudius Lysias, unto the most excellent Governor Felix,.... This is the inscription of the letter, and by it we learn the name of the chief captain, so often spoken of in this and the two preceding chapters, which was Claudius Lysias; the first of these names is a Roman one, and which he might take from the Emperor Claudius, for he was not a Roman born; and the latter seems to be a Greek name, and was his proper name, and, he himself very likely was a Greek, since he purchased his freedom with money; one of this name was Archon of Athens (p); and another is reckoned by Cicero (q), among the famous orators of Greece, and is often cited by Harpocratian (r); one of Antiochus's noblemen, and who was of the blood royal, and acted as a general against the Jews, was of this name (s).
"So he left Lysias, a nobleman, and one of the blood royal, to oversee the affairs of the king from the river Euphrates unto the borders of Egypt:'' (1 Maccabees 3:32)
The chief captain calls Felix the governor
the most excellent, which was a title of honour that belonged to him as a governor; the same is given to Theophilus, Luke 1:3 sendeth greeting; or wishes all health and prosperity.
(p) Fabrieii Bibliograph. Antiqu. p. 213. (q) De Claris Orator. vel Brutus, c. 32. (r) Lex Decem Orator. (s) 1 Maccab. iii. 32.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
26-30. Claudius—the Roman name he would take on purchasing his citizenship.
Lysias—his Greek family name.
the most excellent governor—an honorary title of office.
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