Acts 25:27
For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.
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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.For it seemeth to me unreasonable - Festus felt that he was placed in an embarrassing situation. He was about to send a prisoner to Rome who had been tried by himself, and who had appealed from his jurisdiction, and yet he was ignorant of the charges against him, and of the nature of his offences, if any had been committed. When prisoners were thus sent to Rome to be tried before the emperor, it would be proper that the charges should be all specified, and the evidence stated by which they were supported, Yet Festus could do neither, and it is not wonderful that he felt himself perplexed and embarrassed, and that he was glad to avail himself of the desire which Agrippa had expressed to hear Paul, that he might be able to specify the charges against him.

Withal - Also; at the same time.

To signify - To specify, or make them know. In concluding this chapter, we may observe:

(1) That in the case of Agrippa, we have an instance of the reasons which induce many people to hear the gospel. He had no belief in it; he had no concern for its truth or its promises; but he was led by curiosity to desire to hear a minister of the gospel of Christ. Curiosity thus draws multitudes to the sanctuary. In many instances they remain unaffected and unconcerned. They listen, and are unmoved, and die in their sins. In other instances, like Agrippa, they are almost persuaded to be Christians, Acts 26:28. But, like him, they resist the appeals, and die uninterested in the plan of salvation. In some instances they are converted, and their curiosity, like that of Zacchaeus, is made the means of their embracing the Saviour, Luke 19:1-9. Whatever may be the motive which induces people to desire to hear, it is the duty of the ministry cheerfully and thankfully, like Paul, to state the truth, and to defend the Christian religion.

(2) in Festus we have a specimen of the manner in which the great, and the rich, and the proud usually regard Christianity. They esteem it to be a subject in which they have no interest a question about "one dead Jesus," whom Christians affirm to be alive. Whether he be alive or not; whether Christianity be true or false, they suppose is a question which does not pertain to them. Strange that it did not occur to Festus that if he was alive, his religion was true; and that it was possible that it might be from God. And strange that the people of this world regard the Christian religion as a subject in which they have no personal interest, but as one concerning which Christians only should inquire, and in which they alone should feel any concern.

(3) in Paul we have the example of a man unlike both Festus and Agrippa. He felt a deep interest in the subject a subject which pertained as much to them as to him. He was willing not only to look at it, but to stake his life, his reputation, his all, on its truth. He was willing to defend it everywhere, and before any class of people. At the same time that he urged his rights as a Roman citizen, yet it was mainly that he might preach the gospel. At the same time that he was anxious to secure justice to himself, yet his chief anxiety was to declare the truth of God. Before any tribunal; before any class of people; in the presence of princes, nobles, and kings, of Romans and of Jews, he was ready to pour forth irresistible eloquence and argument in defense of the truth. Who would not rather be Paul than either Festus or Agrippa? Who would not rather be a prisoner. like him, than invested with authority like Festus, or clothed in splendor like Agrippa? And who would not rather be a believer of the gospel like Paul, than, like them, to be cold contemners or neglecters of the God that made them, and of the Saviour that died and rose again?

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].

So great a clamour, so hot a pursuit, and yet after all this the judge (who would willingly have condemned Paul, and gratified the Jews) knows not wherefore all this stir had been: but the more must he have been self-condemned, that durst not absolve or free a prisoner who was detained only by the power and multitude of his adversaries.

For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner,.... A man bound as if he was a malefactor, and guilty of some heinous crimes, to Rome, to be tried before Caesar:

and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him; for which he is a prisoner, and for which he is sent to the emperor: it seemed to Festus an absurd thing, and what might be justly looked upon by his master, a foolish, silly, and stupid piece of conduct, and void of common sense and reason, mere madness and folly; to send him a prisoner, and not signify in his letter to him, what was laid to his charge; and yet this was so dark and obscure, that he could not tell what to make of it, nor what to write to his lord about it; and hoped therefore, upon this re-examination of Paul before Agrippa, he should come to a more certain knowledge of this affair, and be better furnished to give Nero an account of it, to whom the apostle had appealed.

For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.
Acts 25:27. ἄλογον, cf. Thuc., vi., 85, Xen., Ages., xi., 1 (elsewhere in N.T., 2 Peter 2:12, Judges 1:10, cf. Wis 11:15-16, 3Ma 5:40 (A om.), 4Ma 14:14; 4Ma 14:18). It would seem from the verse that the procurator was not bound to send the litteræ dimissoriæ (O. Holtzmann).—πέμποντα: for construction cf. Hebrews 2:10, or the expression may be quite general “that any one sending,” etc.—σημᾶναι: here per litteras significare, as in classical Greek (Wetstein). This decisive turn given to events by Paul’s appeal is regarded by Weizsäcker (Apostolic Age, ii., 124, E.T.) as the most certain event in the whole history of the case; Paul as a prisoner could only be taken to Rome if he was to be brought before the emperor’s court, and this had to be done if he invoked such intervention. On Zeller’s and Weizsäcker’s attempt to see in the appearance of Paul before Agrippa a mere repetition of the episode of our Lord before Annas cf. Spitta’s reply, Apostelgeschichte, p. 281.

Verse 27. - In sending... not for to send... and not, A.V.; charges for crimes laid, A.V. Unreasonable; ἄλογον, only in 2 Peter 2:12 and Jude 1:10, "without reason," applied to the brute creation; but found in the LXX. of Exodus 6:12 and Wisd. 11:15; and also frequent in medical writers. The opposite phrase, κατὰ λόγον, "reasonably," in Acts 18:14, is also of very frequent use in medical writers. Ἄλογος ἀλόγως ἀλογία are also not uncommon in Polybius, and in classical Greek generally. The charges against him (τὰς κατ αὐτοῦ αἰτίας). The technical legal term for the "accusation" or "charge" formally made against the prisoner, and which was to form the subject of the trial (come. Matthew 27:37; Mark 15:26)

Acts 25:27Crimes (αἰτίας)

Rev., more correctly, charges.

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