Acts 25:26
Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and specially before thee, O king Agrippa, that, after examination had, I might have somewhat to write.
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(26) To write unto my lord.—The Greek corresponds to the title of “Dominus,” which, though declined by Augustus and Tiberius (Sueton. Octav. c. 53; Tiber. c. 27), had been assumed by Caligula and Nero. The first of the emperors had rejected it as an “accursed and ill-omened title,” and had not allowed it to be used even by his children or grand-children, either seriously or in play. The name “Augustus,” with its religious associations, was enough for him.

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.Of whom - Respecting his character, opinions, and manner of life; and respecting the charges against him.

No certain thing - Nothing definite and well established. They had not accused Paul of any crime against the Roman laws; and Festus professes himself too ignorant of the customs of the Jews to inform the emperor distinctly of the nature of the charges and the subject of trial.

Unto my lord - To the emperor - to Caesar. This name Lord the Emperors Augustus and Tiberius had rejected, and would not suffer it to be applied to them. Suetonius (Life of Augustus, v. 53) says "the appellation of Lord he always abhorred as abominable and execrable." See also Suetonius' Life of Tiberius, v. 27. The emperors that succeeded them, however, admitted the title, and suffered themselves to be called by this name. Nothing would be more satisfactory to Nero, the reigning emperor, than this title.

I might have somewhat to write - As Agrippa was a Jew, and was acquainted with the customs and doctrine of the Jews, Festus supposed that, after hearing Paul, he would be able to inform him of the exact nature of these charges, so that he could present the case intelligibly to the emperor.

26. I have no certain—"definite"

thing to write my lord—Nero. "The writer's accuracy should be remarked here. It would have been … a mistake to apply this term ("lord") to the emperor a few years earlier. Neither Augustus nor Tiberius would let himself be so called, as implying the relation of master and slave. But it had now come (rather, "was coming") into use as one of the imperial titles" [Hacket].

My lord; Nero, the present emperor, whose deputy Festus was in this province; though some of the former emperors refused this name, as savouring of too much arbitratiness, the latter did accept of it.

Specially before thee; Agrippa, being brought up in the knowledge of the Jewish law, though it was not his business to judge Paul’s case, yet he might instruct and inform the judge about it.

Of whom I have no certain thing,.... No certain crime, charge, or accusation; nothing of any moment or consequence, no particular thing, nothing but a heap of confused notions, of I know not who or what:

to write unto my lord; meaning the Roman emperor, under whom he served as governor of Judea:

wherefore I have brought him before you; the whole company then present:

and especially before thee, O King Agrippa; as being not only a man of eminence, dignity, and authority, but of knowledge in such matters, which the Jews accused Paul of; see Acts 26:2.

That after examination had; of Paul, and his case;

I might have somewhat to write; concerning him, and the charges exhibited against him to the emperor.

Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my {f} lord. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and specially before thee, O king Agrippa, that, after examination had, I might have somewhat to write.

(f) To Augustus. Good princes refused this name at the first, that is, to be called lords, but afterwards they allowed it, as we read of Traianus.

Acts 25:26-27. Ἀσφαλές τι] something trustworthy, whereby the emperor (ὁ κύριος, Dominus, the appellation declined by Augustus and Tiberius, but accepted by their successors, see Wolf and Wetstein, also Dougt. Anal. p. 96; Fincke, l.c.) may inform himself certainly concerning the state of matters. Such a fixing of the real αἰτία had not been possible for the procurator, who had to draw up the literae dimissoriae, so long as the proceedings were constantly disturbed and confused by intentional fabrications of the Jews.

ἀνακρίσ.] A preliminary examination, “judicis edocendi causa,” Grotius. See also Heind. ad Plat. Phaedr. p. 277 E; Hermann, Staatsalterth. § 141. 1.

In σχῶ τὶ γράψω (see the critical remarks) γράψω is the future (see on Php 1:22): what I am to write.

ἄλογον] unreasonable, absurd, Thuc. vi. 85. 1; Plat. Gorg. p. 519 E, Apol. p. 18 C. Without εἶναι: see Sauppe, and Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. i. 1. 5.

τὰς κατʼ αὐτοῦ αἰτίας] This was just the ἀσφαλές, which was still wanting to the procurator. Without having made himself clear as to the contents of the charges brought against Paul, he would have been obliged frankly to report to the emperor that he was in ignorance of them. Olshausen, however, is hasty in holding that, with the placing of the apostle before Agrippa the prediction of the Lord (Matthew 10:18; Mark 13:9) was now for the first time fulfilled. We know far too little of the previous history of the other apostles to be able to take this ground. Perhaps the elder James and Peter had already stood before Herod (Agrippa I.), xii. 2, 3 f. But Paul stood here for the first time before a king, who, however, is by no means to be considered as the representative of the power of the heathen world (as Baumgarten supposes), as Agrippa was himself a Jew (see on Acts 25:14), ruled over the Jews, was by Paul addressed as a Jew (Acts 26:3; Acts 26:27), and was, in fact, even regarded as representative of the Jews (see παρʼ ὑμῖν, Acts 26:8).

Acts 25:26. ἀσφαλές τι γράψαι, Dig., xlix., 6. “Post appellationem interpositam litteræ dandæ sunt ab eo, a quo appellatum est, ad eum qui de appellatione cogniturus est, sive principem, sive quem alium, quas litt. dimissorias sive Apostolos appellant” (Wetstein and Blass).—τῷ κυρίῳ: title refused by Augustus and Tiberius because it savoured too much of the relationship between a master and a slave, and perhaps because it seemed a title more fitting to God (as Wetstein explains it), cf. Suet., Aug[397], 53, Tiber., 27, and Tacitus, Ann., ii., 87. It was accepted by Caligula and succeeding emperors (cf. Pliny’s Letter to Trajan with the frequent Dominus), although Alexander Severus forbade it to be applied to him; for other instances, and instances on inscriptions, see Wetstein, in loco, Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien, 44, and Bibelstudien, 77, 78, and Tert[398], Apol., 34, Polyc., Martyr., viii., 2, ix. 2, who refused to utter it with reference to Cæsar. For the due significance of the word in St. Luke, who uses it more frequently of Christ than the other Evangelists, see especially Wetstein, in loco.—ἀνακρίσεως: here not in its strictly legal and judicial sense of a preliminary inquiry, but an inquiry into the case, cf. Acts 25:22 (Acts 4:9), with a view to sending a report to the emperor as judge, Renan, Saint Paul, p. 544, and Zöckler, in loco. Festus knew what the charges were, but not their significance, and he hoped to obtain some definite information from Agrippa or Paul—he wanted something ἀσφαλές; Paul had contradicted the charge of treason, and what was left, Acts 25:19, seemed full of obscurity and absurdity.

[397] Augustine.

[398]ert. Tertullian.

26. unto my lord] Octavianus by an edict forbade the title “Lord” to be given to him. The practice had its rise from parasites. But you find “Dominus” often used in Pliny’s letters to Trajan. So that not many emperors were like Octavian.

before you] Spoken with a glance towards the chief priests and great persons who were present on the bench.

specially before thee] i.e. as one most likely to be able to clear up the difficulties which I feel about the prisoner.

Acts 25:26. Τῷ κυρίῳ, to my lord) Cæsar. Lately this, appellation, Lord, had arisen.

Verse 26. - King for O king, A.V.; may for might, A.V. My lord (τῷ κυτίῳ). Suetonius tells us ('Life of Augustus,' 53) that Augustus abhorred the title of "lord," and looked upon it as a curse and an insult when applied to himself. Tiberius also ('Life of Tiberius,' 27), being once called "lord" (dominus) by some one, indignantly repudiated the title. But it was frequently applied to Trajan by Pithy, and the later emperors seem to have accepted it. It was likely to grow up first in the East. Examination; ἀνακρίσεως, here only in the New Testament; but it is found in 3Macc. 7:4 in the same sense as here, viz. of a judicial examination (the complaint being that Jews were put to death ἄνευ πάσης ἀνακρίσεως καὶ ἐξετάσεως); specially the precious examination of the prisoner made for the information of the judge who was to try the case. At Athens the ἀνάκρισις was a preliminary examination held to decide whether an action at law should be allowed. The verb ἀνακρίνω, to examine, occurs six times in the Gospel of St. Luke and the Acts (Luke 23:14; Acts 4:9; Acts 12:19, etc.), and ten times in St. Paul's Epistles (see also Hist. of Susanna 48). Acts 25:26Lord (κυρίῳ)

An instance of Luke's accuracy. The title "lord" was refused by the first two emperors, Augustus and Tiberius. The emperors who followed accepted it. In the time of Domitian it was a recognized title. Antoninus Pius was the first who put it on his coins.

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