Acts 25:21
But when Paul had appealed to be reserved to the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) Unto the hearing of Augustus.—The title is the Greek equivalent, as seen in the name Sebaste (= Augusta) given to Samaria, for the epithet which, like our “his majesty,” had become a kind of official title of the Roman emperor. It had first been given by the Senate to Octavianus (Sueton. Aug. c. 7), and was adopted by his successors. As connected with “augur, it had originally, like Sebastos, a religious connotation. The month of August, dedicated to the first emperor as July had been dedicated to Julius, and the names of Augsburg and Sebastopol, arc interesting as perpetuating its memory. The word for “hearing” (the same as our medical term diagnosis) corresponds rather to our thorough investigation.

25:13-27 Agrippa had the government of Galilee. How many unjust and hasty judgments the Roman maxim, ver. 16, condemn! This heathen, guided only by the light of nature, followed law and custom exactly, yet how many Christians will not follow the rules of truth, justice, and charity, in judging their brethren! The questions about God's worship, the way of salvation, and the truths of the gospel, may appear doubtful and without interest, to worldly men and mere politicians. See how slightly this Roman speaks of Christ, and of the great controversy between the Jews and the Christians. But the day is at hand when Festus and the whole world will see, that all the concerns of the Roman empire were but trifles and of no consequence, compared with this question of Christ's resurrection. Those who have had means of instruction, and have despised them, will be awfully convinced of their sin and folly. Here was a noble assembly brought together to hear the truths of the gospel, though they only meant to gratify their curiosity by attending to the defence of a prisoner. Many, even now, attend at the places of hearing the word of God with great pomp, and too often with no better motive than curiosity. And though ministers do not now stand as prisoners to make a defence for their lives, yet numbers affect to sit in judgment upon them, desirous to make them offenders for a word, rather than to learn from them the truth and will of God, for the salvation of their souls But the pomp of this appearance was outshone by the real glory of the poor prisoner at the bar. What was the honour of their fine appearance, compared with that of Paul's wisdom, and grace, and holiness; his courage and constancy in suffering for Christ! It is no small mercy to have God clear up our righteousness as the light, and our just dealing as the noon-day; to have nothing certain laid to our charge. And God makes even the enemies of his people to do them right.But when he had appealed - Acts 25:11.

To be reserved - To be kept; not to be tried at Jerusalem, but to be sent to Rome for trial.

Unto the hearing - Margin, "the judgment." That Augustus might hear and decide the cause.

Of Augustus - The reigning emperor at this time was Nero. The name Augustus Σεβαστός Sebastos properly denotes "what is venerable, or worthy of honor and reverence." It was first applied to Caesar Octavianus, who was the Roman emperor in the time when our Saviour was born, and who is usually nailed Augustus Caesar. But the title continued to be used of his successors in office, as denoting the veneration or reverence which was due to the rank of emperor.

21. the hearing of Augustus—the imperial title first conferred by the Roman Senate on Octavius. Augustus: the emperor who now reigned, and to whom Paul appealed, was Nero, who was called Augustus; this title being at first appropriated to Octavius, who succeeded Julius Caesar; but out of honour unto him, or because of its signification, it became an appellative, and was given unto all the emperors successively: nay, the emperor of Germany to this day is called Semper Augustus.

Caesar; as from Octavius the emperors of Rome had the name of Augustus, so from the first emperor, Julius, they have the name of Caesars. This word Caesar, which was the proper name of the first emperor, is, in acknowledgment of him, made an appellative to all his successors. But when Paul had appealed to be reserved,.... In custody at Caesarea:

unto the hearing of Augustus; to have his cause heard, tried, and judged of, by the Roman Emperor Nero, here called Augustus; for as it was usual for a Roman emperor to be called Caesar, from Julius Caesar, the first of them, so to be called Augustus, from Octavius Augustus, the second emperor: his original surname was Thurinus, but this being objected to him as a reproachful one, he afterwards took the name of Caesar, and then of Augustus; the one by the will of his great uncle, the other by the advice of Munatius Plancus; when some thought he ought to be called Romulus, as if he was the founder of the city, it prevailed that he should rather be called Augustus; not only this surname being new, but more grand, seeing religious places, and in which anything was consecrated by soothsaying, were called "Augusta, ab auctu, vel ab avium gestu, gustuve", according to Ennius (t): in the Greek text the name is Sebastos, which signifies venerable and worshipful.

I commanded him to be kept; in Caesarea, by a centurion, and not sent to Jerusalem:

till I might send him to Caesar: till he could have an opportunity of sending him to Rome, to take his trial before the emperor.

(t) Suetonius in Vit. Octav. c. 7.

But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 25:21. After, however, Paul had appealed to be kept in ward (Acts 25:4) for the cognizance (judicial decision, Wis 3:18, and often in the classical writers) of Augustus, etc.

τηρηθῆναι] is not equivalent to εἰς τὸ τηρηθ. (Grotius, Wolf, Heinrichs, and others), but is the contents of the expressed appeal, namely, the legal demand which it contained. After this appeal had been in law validly made, no further proceedings might be taken by the authorities at their own instance against the appellant. See Wetstein on Acts 25:11.

αὐτόν] is not to be written αὑτόν, as there is no reflexive emphasis.

Σεβαστός] Venerandus, the Lat. Augustus, the well-known title of the emperors since the time of Octavianus[157] (αὐτὸς γενόμενος ἀρχὴ σεβασμοῦ καὶ τοῖς ἔπειτα, Philo, Leg. ad Caium, p. 1012). Vell. Paterc. ii. 91; Dio Cass. liii. 16; Herodian, ii. 10. 19, iii. 13. 7; Strabo, vii. p. 291.

ἕως οὗ ἀναπέμψω (see the critical remarks[158]) is direct address. Comp. on Acts 23:12.

[157] See generally, Fincke, de appellationib. Caesarum honorif. et adulator. usque ad Hadrian., Regiom. 1867.

[158] On ἀναπέμπειν, to send up, of the transport of prisoners to Rome, comp. Polyb. i. 7. 12, xxix. 11. 9; Lucian, Tox. 17; and Jacob in loc. See also on Luke 23:7.Acts 25:21. ἐπικ. τηρηθῆναι αὐτὸν: on the construction after words of request or command of the infinitive passive see Simcox, Language of the N. T., p. 121, and also Blass, Gram., p. 222.—εἰς τὴν τοῦ Σεβαστοῦ διάγνωσιν: “for the decision of the Emperor,” R.V., “the Augustus,” margin; cf. Acts 24:22, and for the noun Wis 3:18.—Σεβ.: here and in Acts 25:25 rendered “Emperor,” R.V.—the title Augustus, A.V., might lead to confusion. The Cæsar Augustus in Luke 2:1 was Octavian, upon whom the title of Augustus was first conferred, Suet., Aug[394], 7, B.C. 27. The title was inherited by his successors, and thus it is ascribed to Nero here and in Acts 25:25. The divine sacredness which the title seemed to confer (cf. its Greek form, and the remark of Dio Cassius, liii., 16, 18, that Augustus took the title as being himself something more than human) excited the scruples of Tiberius, but succeeding emperors appear to have adopted it without hesitation.—πέμψω, see critical notes; the reading ἀναπέμψω would mean, literally, “till I should send him up,” i.e., to a higher authority, cf. Luke 23:7, where it is used of “referring” to another jurisdiction, and in Acts 25:11; Acts 25:15, of “sending back” (Philemon 1:12); see Plummer’s note. For the use of this word in its technical sense of sending to a higher authority (as it is used in Plut., Phil., Jos., Polyb.) see further instances from inscriptions, Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien, ii., 56. The verb is only used by Luke and Paul.—Καίσαρα: in N.T. the name is always official, never personal. It was first assumed as an official title by Octavius, the nephew of Julius Cæsar (see above), who doubtless took it on account of the fame of his uncle, and as a name not likely to be hated and despised by the Romans like that of “king”. After the death of Gaius Cæsar, the last of the Julian stock, it was adopted by Claudius and by succeeding emperors, Tac., Hist., ii., 80, until the third century, when the title Augustus was reserved for the supreme ruler, and that of Cæsar was adopted for those who shared his government as his possible heirs, as earlier still it had been conferred upon the heir presumptive: “Cæsar,” Hastings’ B.D. and B.D.2.

[394] Augustine.21. to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus] Rev. Ver. “to be kept for the decision of the Emperor.” The verb is that which occurs Acts 24:23 where the centurion was commanded to “keep” Paul. He desired to be under the care of the Roman authorities until his case could be properly heard. “Augustus,” the title given first to Octavianus, was afterwards conferred on his successors, and so came to mean “His Imperial Majesty,” whoever might be on the throne. The present “Augustus” was Nero. In the noun rendered “hearing” we have a word which implies “thorough inquiry.”Acts 25:21. Τηρήθηναι, to be kept) By this verb Festus betrays that he had wished to have given up Paul to the will of the Jews.—Σεβαστοῦ) Augustus.Verse 21. - To be kept for the decision of the emperor for to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, A.V.; should for might, A.V. The decision; διαγνῶσις, here only in the New Testament; but it is used in this sense in Wisd. 3:18 ("the day of trial," or "hearing," A.V.), and by Josephus ('Ant. Jud.,' 15. 3:8). For the verb διαγινώσκω, see Acts 23:15; Acts 24:22, notes. The emperor (τοῦ Σεβαστοῦ); rather, as the A.V., Augustus. Augustus was the title conferred by the senate upon Octavius Caesar, B.C. 27, whom we commonly designate Augustus Caesar. It became afterwards the distinctive title of the reigning emperor, and, after the end of the second century, sometimes of two or even three co-emperors, and was now berne by Nero. Its Greek equivalent was Σεβαστός. Augustus may be derived, as Ovid says, from augeo, as faustus from farce, and be kindred with augur, and mean one blest and aggrandized of God, and so, full of majesty. It is spoken of all holy things, temples and the like, "Et queocunque sua Jupiter auget ope" (Ovid, 'Fast.,' 1:609); and, as Ovid says in the same passage, is a title proper to the gods. For, comparing it with the names of the greatest Roman families, Maximus, Magnus, Torquatus, Corvus, etc., their names, he says, bespeak human honors, but of Augustus, he says, "Hie socium summo cum Jove nomen habet." And so the Greek Σεβαστός bespeaks a veneration closely akin to adoration. Caesar, originally the name of a family of the Juliagens, became the name of Octavius Caesar Augustus, as the adopted son of Julius Caesar; then of Tiberius, as the adopted son of Augustus; and then of the successors of Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero, who had by descent or adoption some relationship to C. Julius Caesar the great dictator. After Nero, succeeding emperors usually prefixed the name of Caesar to their other names, and placed that of Augustus after them. AElius Verus, adopted by Hadrian, was the first person who bore the name of Caesar without being emperor. From this time it became usual for the heir to the throne to bear the name; and later, for many of the emperor's kindred to be so called. It was, in fact, a title of honor conferred by the emperor. Of the Emperor (τοῦ Σεβαστοῦ)

Lit., the august one; hence a translation of Augustus, which was not a proper name, but a title of the Roman emperors.

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