Acts 25:23
And on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp, and was entered into the place of hearing, with the chief captains, and principal men of the city, at Festus' commandment Paul was brought forth.
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(23) When Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp.—The description may be noted as probably coming from one who had been an eye-witness of the stately parade, and was able to report with precision all that had passed. The fact was the first fulfilment of the promise that the Apostle was to bear His witness before “kings” as well as rulers (Acts 9:15). The Greek word for “pomp” (more literally, show) is not found elsewhere in the New Testament. There is an almost tragic pathos in the thought, which must have been present to the mind of the historian, and perhaps, also, to that of others, that this display of the pride of state was exhibited in the very city that had witnessed the terrible chastisement of a like display in his father. The vice was inherited: the lesson had not been learnt.

The chief captains.—Literally, chiliarchs, as in Acts 21:31.

Acts 25:23-27. On the morrow, &c. — Festus, accordingly, performed his promise to the king; and when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp — Of apparel, attendants, guards, &c.; Greek, μετα πολλης φαντασιας, with great show, or splendour. But all this pomp and show was far outshone by the real glory of the poor prisoner at the bar. What was the honour of their fine clothes, compared with his wisdom, grace, and holiness; his courage and constancy in suffering for Christ? His bonds in so good a cause were more glorious than their chains of gold, and his guards than their equipage. Who would be fond of worldly pomp, that here sees so bad a woman loaded with it, and so good a man loaded with the reverse of it? And was entered into the place of hearing, with the chief captains, χιλιαρχοις, the tribunes, and principal men of the city — Men of the greatest note and eminence, that is, the chief officers, both military and civil; at Festus’s commandment Paul was brought forth — Before this splendid audience. Then Festus said — Festus, rising up, made an elegant speech to the assembly, in which he declared that at the former trial no crime had been proved against the prisoner; but that as he had appealed to Cesar, he had brought him forth, that, after a second examination, he might have something more certain to write to the emperor concerning the crimes laid to the prisoner’s charge. For, says he, it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner — Especially so far as Rome; and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him — That the matter may be prepared as much as possible, and put in readiness, for the emperor’s determination.

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.With great pomp - Greek: "with much phantasy" φαντασίας phantasias; with much show, parade, and splendor. It was an occasion on which he could exhibit much of the splendor of royalty, and he chose to do it.

Into the place of hearing - The court-room, or the place where the judges heard and tried causes.

With the chief captains - Greek: the chiliarchs; the commanders of 1,000 men. It means here that the military officers were assembled. "The principal men of the city." The civil officers, or the men of reputation and influence.

23. when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp—in the same city in which their father, on account of his pride, had perished, eaten up by worms [Wetst].

with the chief captains—(See on [2113]Ac 21:32). Josephus [Wars of the Jews, 3.4.2] says that five cohorts, whose full complement was one thousand men, were stationed at Cæsarea.

principal men of the city—both Jews and Romans. "This was the most dignified and influential audience Paul had yet addressed, and the prediction (Ac 9:15) was fulfilled, though afterwards still more remarkably at Rome (Ac 27:24; 2Ti 4:16, 17) [Webster and Wilkinson].

With great pomp; the state, attire, and retinue used in this solemnity is much undervalued by the term the Holy Ghost here gives it (fantasia); intimating, that all worldly glory is but in opinion and appearance merely, and that as a show it passeth away.

Paul was brought forth; here is a great difference indeed between these great persons thus adorned and accompanied on the one side, and Paul, the prisoner, (desmiov, the chained, as he is called, Acts 23:18), on the other side; yet holy Paul, with great reason, prefers his condition before theirs. He does not desire to partake with them in their ease and splendour, but with Christ in his disgrace and sufferings, Philippians 3:10.

And on the morrow, when Agrippa was come,.... Into the hall, or court of judicature:

and Bernice; his sister, along with him:

with great pomp: in rich dress, with the "regalia", or ensigns of royalty carried before them, and attended with a large train and retinue of servants:

and was entered into the place of hearing; the causes that were tried in court, that particular part of the hall, which was assigned for that purpose; for as there were the proper places for the judge and council, and for the plaintiffs and defendants, so for those that came to hear:

with the chief captains; or tribunes, who had the command of the Roman soldiers; and who had each of them a thousand men under them, as their title signifies:

and principal men of the city; that is, of Caesarea; the magistrates, and chief inhabitants of the place:

at Festus's commandment Paul was brought forth; and became a spectacle to a vast number of men, as he himself says; and which in part fulfilled what Christ had foretold to his disciples, that they should be brought before kings and governors for his sake; see 1 Corinthians 4:9.

And on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great {e} pomp, and was entered into the place of hearing, with the chief captains, and principal men of the city, at Festus' commandment Paul was brought forth.

(e) Gorgeously, like a prince.

Acts 25:23. Φαντασία, show, pomp, παραπομπή (1Ma 9:37), ambitio (Nep. x. 2. 2). See Polyb. xv. 25. 5, xvi. 21. 1, xxxii. 12. 6; Diog. L. iv. 53; Jacobs, ad Del. epigr. p. 152; and Wetstein.

τὸ ἀκροατήριον (Plut. Moral. p. 45 F, 937 D, Cat. 22) is the audience-chamber appointed for the present occasion. That it was, as is assumed, just the usual judgment-hall, is at least not conveyed in the words.

σύν τε τοῖς κ.τ.λ.] τέ is placed after σύν, not after χιλιάρχ., because the σύν is again mentally supplied before ἀνδράσι. See Schoemann, ad Isae. p. 325 f.; Stallb. ad Plat. Crit. p. 43 B. By τοῖς χιλιάρχοις (there were five cohorts, and therefore five tribunes in Caesarea) and by ἄνδρασιπόλεως are meant the principal military and the prominent civil personages of the city.

Instead of τοῖς κατʼ ἐξοχὴν οὖσι, a classical writer would say τοῖς ἐξόχοις or ἐξοχωτάτοις. On the periphrastic κατά, see Winer, p. 396 [E. T. 528].

Acts 25:23. φαντασίας, Polyb., xv., 25, 15, etc.; Diod. Sic., xii., 83, and instances in Wetstein, cf. Herod., vii., 10. φαντάζεσθαι (Page); “in eadem urbe, in qua pater ipsorum a vermibus corrosus ob superbiam perierat” (Wetstein). The word here in the description may point to the presence of an eyewitness (Plumptre).—τὸ ἀκροατήριον: auditorium, but the article need not be pressed, as here the word may simply imply the chamber used on this occasion; it would scarcely have been the place of formal trial, as this was not in question.—χιλιάρχοις: there were five cohorts stationed at Cæsarea, Jos., B.J., iii., 4, 2, but see the remarks of Belser, Beiträge, pp. 138–140.—ἀνδράσι τοῖς κατʼ ἐξοχὴν: evidently from the context to be regarded as heathen. Both Jew and heathen in Cæsarea had equal civil rights, and had to conduct the public affairs in common; the expression here used does not mean that Jews were excluded from the government, although it is quite in accordance with the fact of the preponderating Gentile element mentioned by Josephus, B.J., iii., 9, 1; Schürer, Jewish People, div. ii., vol. i., p. 86, note, E.T.—κατʼ ἐξοχήν: here only in N.T., not in classical Greek in this sense; primarily of any prominence, cf. LXX, Job 39:28, ἐξόχως, 3Ma 5:31; cf. for its meaning here Cic., Ad Att., iv., 15, 7, in classical Greek ἔξοχος; for the phrase, Winer-Moulton, li., 2, g.

23. with great pomp] The children follow in the steps of their father, who formerly had sat on his throne in Cæsarea arrayed in royal apparel, to listen to the flatteries of the Tyrian deputation (Acts 12:21).

were entered] The A.V. of 1611 has “was entered,” and so it will in consequence be found printed in most English Bibles. The correction is required by the original which is plural. So Rev. Ver.

the place of hearing] The word is found nowhere else in N. T. It was no doubt some special room attached to the governor’s palace, where causes were tried. In classical Greek it signifies “a lecture-room.”

chief captains] The Greek word chiliarchos is constantly used in N. T. for the “prefect” of a Roman cohort.

23–27. Assembly of the Court and address of Festus

Acts 25:23. Φαντασίας, pomp) a crowd of attendants, ornament, and ceremony. [A great number of officers of higher and lower grade were present in attendance.—V. g.]—ἀκροατήριον the place of hearing) which was capacious, being the residence of the governor.—χιλιάρχοις, tribunes [chief captains]) viz. military tribunes.—ἄνδρασιπόλεως, principal men—of the city) These were the civil magistrates.—ὁ Παῦλος, Paul) To him so noble an occasion was a matter of joy.

Verse 23. - So for and, A.V.; they were for was, A.V.; the principal for principal, A.V.; the command of Festus for Festus commandment, A.V.;brought in for brought forth, A.V. With great pomp; μετὰ πολλῆς φαντασίας, here only in the New Testament. In Polybius it means "display," "show," "outward appearance," "impression," "effect," and the like. It is of frequent use among medical writers for the outward appearance of diseases. In Hebrews 12:21 τὸ φανταζόμενον is "the appearance," and φάντασμα (Matthew 14:26; Mark 6:49) is "an appearance," "a phantom." The place of hearing. The word ἀκροατήριον (from ἀκροάομαι το hear, whence ἀκροάτης, Romans 2:13; James 1:22, 23, 25) occurs only here in the New Testament. It is literally an "audience-hall," and means sometimes a "lecture-room." Here it is apparently the hall where cases were heard and tried before the procurator or other magistrate. Chief captains (χιλίαρχοι). Military tribunes, as Acts 21:31, and very frequently in the Acts. Meyer notes that, as there were five cohorts garrisoned in Caesarea, there would be five chiliarchs, or tribunes. At the command of Festus. These minute touches suggest that St. Luke was most likely in the hall, and saw the "great pomp," and heard Festus give the order lot Paul to be brought. Brought in (ἤχθη); see ver. 6, note. Acts 25:23
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