Acts 23:24
And provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor.
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(24) Felix the governor.—The career of the procurator so named is not without interest as an illustration of the manner in which the Roman empire was at this time governed. In the household of Antonia, the mother of the Emperor Claudius, there were two brothers, first slaves, then freed-men, Antonius Felix and Pallas. The latter became the chosen companion and favourite minister of the emperor, and through his influence Felix obtained the procuratorship of Judæa. There, in the terse epigrammatic language of Tacitus, he governed as one who thought, in his reliance on his brother’s power, that he could commit any crime with impunity, and wielded “the power of a tyrant in the temper of a slave” (Tacit. Ann. xii. 54; Hist. v. 9). His career was infamous alike for lust and cruelty. Another historian, Suetonius (Claud. c. 28), describes him as the husband of three queens, whom he had married in succession:—(1) Drusilla, the daughter of Juba, King of Mauritania and Selene, the daughter of Autonius and Cleopatra. (2) Drusilla, the daughter of Agrippa I. and sister of Agrippa II. (See Acts 23:24.) She had left her first husband, Azizus, King of Emesa, to marry Felix (Jos. Ant. xx. 7. § 1). Their son, also an Agrippa, died in an eruption of Vesuvius in A.D. 79 (Jos. Ant. xx. 7, § 2). The name of the third princess is unknown.

23:12-24 False religious principles, adopted by carnal men, urge on to such wickedness, as human nature would hardly be supposed capable of. Yet the Lord readily disappoints the best concerted schemes of iniquity. Paul knew that the Divine providence acts by reasonable and prudent means; and that, if he neglected to use the means in his power, he could not expect God's providence to work on his behalf. He who will not help himself according to his means and power, has neither reason nor revelation to assure him that he shall receive help from God. Believing in the Lord, we and ours shall be kept from every evil work, and kept to his kingdom. Heavenly Father, give us by thy Holy Spirit, for Christ's sake, this precious faith.And provide them beasts - One for Paul, and one for each of his attendants. The word translated "beasts" κτήνη ktēnē is of a general character, and may be applied either to horses, camels, or donkeys. The latter were most commonly employed in Judea.

Unto Felix the governor - The governor of Judea. His place of residence was Caesarea, about 60 miles from Jerusalem. See the notes on Acts 8:40. His name was Antonius Felix. He was a freedman of Antonia, the mother of the Emperor Claudius. He was high in the favor of Claudius, and was made by him governor of Judea. Josephus calls him Claudius Felix. He had married three wives in succession that were of royal families, one of whom was Drusilla, afterward mentioned in Acts 24:24, who was sister to King Agrippa. Tacitus (History, v. 9) says that he governed with all the authority of a king, and the baseness and insolence of a slave. "He was an unrighteous governor, a base, mercenary, and bad man" (Clarke). See his character further described in the notes on Acts 24:25.

24. beasts … set Paul on—as relays, and to carry baggage.

unto Felix, the governor—the procurator. See on [2103]Ac 24:24, 25.

What a strong guard and retinue does God by his providence get together for the safe guarding of Paul! None of all these intended the least good unto him; but God can make use of them as effectually as if they had had the greatest good will for him.

And provide them beasts,.... Horses or mules; the Syriac version reads in the singular number, "a beast": and one being sufficient for Paul, here may be a change of number; the Arabic and Ethiopic versions leave out these words, but the following clause makes them necessary:

that they may set Paul on; on the beast, or on one of the beasts provided; if more than one were provided, they might be for his companions, to go along with him:

and bring him safe unto Felix the governor; this man, of a servant, was made a freed man by Claudius Caesar (g), and by him appointed in the room of Cumanus governor of Judea (h); he was the brother of Pallas, who had the chief management of affairs under the emperor; and this Felix married three persons successively, that were of royal families; hence Suetonius (i) calls him the husband of three queens; one of these was Drusilla, afterwards mentioned in Acts 24:24 who was sister to King Agrippa. Tacitus calls him Antonius Felix (k) which name he had from Antonia the mother of Claudius', whose servant he was; Josephus (l) calls him Claudius Felix, which name he took from the Emperor Claudius, who from so low and mean condition raised him to such honour and dignity; his name Felix signifies "happy": according to Tacitus (m), when Felix was first sent into Judea, the government was divided between him and Cumanus; Felix had Samaria, and Cumanus the other part, which was called the nation of the Galilaeans; but Josephus takes no notice of any such division, he says (n), that Cumanus was banished; and after that Felix was sent by Caesar, governor of Judea, of Galilee, Samaria, and Peraea; and so he seems to be governor of the whole country at this time; he was now at Caesarea, and it is plain that Judea was under his government, since Paul, a prisoner at Jerusalem, is sent down unto him; and in this his government he continued during the life of Claudius; and when Nero became emperor, and added four cities to the kingdom of Agrippa, he constituted Felix governor of the rest of Judea (o); which character he bore till he thought fit to remove him, and put Festus in his room, of whom mention is made hereafter: after these words the following ones are added, in the Vulgate Latin version, "for he was afraid lest perhaps the Jews should take him by force and kill him, and afterwards he should bear the reproach, as if he had took money"; but they are not to be found in any Greek copies.

(g) Aurel. Victor. Epitome Imper. Rom. p. 324. Sueton. Vita Claudii, sect. 29. (h) Joseph. de Bello Jud. l. 2. c. 12. sect. 8. (i) Ut supra. ((g)) (k) Hist. 1. 5. (l) Antiqu. l. 20. c. 6. sect. 1.((m) Hist. l. 12. & 21. (n) Antiqu. l. 20. c. 5. sect. 3. & c. 6. sect. 1. De Bello Jud. l. 2. c. 12. sect. 7, 8. (o) De Bello Jud. l. 2. c. 13. sect. 2.

And provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor.
Acts 23:24. Κτήνη τε παραστῆσαι] still depends on εἶπεν, Acts 23:23. The speech passes from the direct to the indirect form. See on Acts 19:27.

κτήνη] sarcinaria jumenta, Caes. Bell. civ. i. 81. Whether they were asses or pack-horses, cannot be determined. Their destination was: that they (the centurions to whom the command was given) should make Paul mount on them, and so should bring him uninjured to Felix the procurator. The plural number of the animals is not, with Kuinoel, to be explained “in usum Pauli et militis ipsius custodis,” but, as ἵνα ἐπιβ. τ. Παῦλ. requires, only in usum Pauli, for whom, as the convoy admitted of no halt (Acts 23:31-32), one or other of the κτήνη was to accompany it as a reserve, in order to be used by him in case of need.

On Felix, the freedman of Claudius—by his third wife son-in-law of Agrippa I. and brother-in-law of Agrippa II., and brother of Pallas the favourite of Nero,—that worthless person, who “per omnem saevitiam ac libidinem jus regium servili ingenio in Judaea provincia exercuit” (Tac. Hist. v. 9), and after his procuratorship was accused to Nero by the Jews of Caesarea, but was acquitted through the intercession of Pallas, see Walch, Diss, de Felice Judaeor. procur. Jen. 1747; Ewald, p. 549 ff.; Gerlach, d. Röm. Statt-halter in Syr. u. Jud. p. 75 ff.

Acts 23:24. παραστῆσαι: depending on ειπεν, Acts 23:23; a change to indirect speech, cf. references in Acts 23:22.—κτήνη (κτάομαι): jumenta, Vulgate, almost always in plural, property in general, herds or flocks, cattle; in LXX, where it is very frequent, and in N.T. it is used of beasts of burden or for riding, cf. Luke 10:34, Revelation 18:13, sometimes quite generally in LXX, as in 1 Corinthians 15:39.—ἐπιβ.: only in Luke and Acts in N.T., Luke 10:34; Luke 19:35, in each case in same sense; so in classical Greek and LXX. The reason why the plural κτήνη is used vix satis perspicitur (Blass); the word has sometimes been taken to apply to the soldiers, as if they were all mounted, but taking the word in relation to Paul, one or more beasts might be required for relays or for baggage, so Weiss, Wendt, Hackett, or, as the prisoner was chained to a soldier, another κτήνος would be required (Kuinoel, Felten).—διασώσωσι: five times in Acts, once in Luke’s Gospel, only twice elsewhere in N.T., “ut . salvum perducerent,” Vulgate, frequent in LXX, cf. its use in Polyb. and Jos., see further on Acts 27:44.—φήλικα, see on Acts 24:3.—τὸν ἡγεμόνα: used of a leader of any kind, or of an emperor or king; in N.T. of the procurator, of Pilate, Felix, Festus, so by Josephus of Pilate, Ant., xviii., 3, 1, of governors more generally, Luke 21:12, 1 Peter 2:14, etc.

24. and provide them beasts] Here is an infinitive, in dependence on the verb in the previous verse, to mark which the Rev. Ver. inserts he bade them.

Felix the governor] He was made procurator of Judæa by Claudius in a.d. 53. He was the brother of Pallas, the favourite freedman of Claudius, and it was by the interest of his brother, that Felix was advanced, and retained in his position even after the death of Claudius. The character of Felix, as gathered both from Roman and Jewish historians, is that of a mean, profligate and cruel ruler, and even the troublous times in which he lived are not sufficient to excuse the severity of his conduct. After his return to Rome, on the appointment of Festus to be governor in his stead, Felix was accused by the Jews of Cæsarea and only saved by the influence which his brother Pallas had with Nero, as he had had with his predecessor. Felix was connected with the Herodian family by his marriage with Drusilla the daughter of Herod Agrippa I. He continued to hold office at Cæsarea for two years after St Paul’s coming there (Acts 24:27) and during the whole of that time the Apostle was his prisoner.

Acts 23:24. Κτήνη τε παραστῆσαι, and to get ready beasts) From the recitative style a transition is here made to the relative (narrative), differently from what had been begun with in Acts 23:22 : for in the recitative style the form of expression should be διασώζητε, that ye may bring him safe, not διασώσωσι, that they might bring him safe. Moreover the relative (narrative) style is appropriate to the subject itself: because the tribune (chief captain) did not immediately intimate what was the cause of their journey.—ἐπιβιβάσαντες, having set on) We read but once of Paul having been mounted on horseback, and that not of his own accord: comp. ch. Acts 20:13.—ἡγεμόνα, the governor) There is subjoined in more recent Latin copies, “Timuit enim, ne forte raperent eum Judæi et occiderent, et ipse postea calumniam sustineret, tanquam accepturus pecuniam.” And so the Germ. Bible of Mentz, printed in A.D. 1462, with these words omitted, “tanquam accepturus pecuniam.”[135]

[135] It is only later copies of Vulg. and the later Syr. with an asterisk which have this addition. Vulg. Amiatinus and the best MSS. are without it.—E. and T.

Verse 24. - He bade them provide for provide, A.V, (the infinitive παραστῆσαι); might for may, A.V.; thereon for on, A.V. Beasts (κτήνη); here "riding-horses," as Luke 10:34. In Revelation 18:13 it is applied to "cattle;" in 1 Corinthians 15:39 it means "beasts" generally. In the LXX. it is used for all kinds of beasts - cattle, sheep, beasts of burden, etc. Beasts is in the plural, because one or more would be required for those who guarded Paul. Acts 23:24Beasts (κτήνη)

See on Luke 10:34.

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