Acts 25:4
But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would depart shortly thither.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Acts 25:4-5. But Festus — Knowing their design; answered, that Paul should be kept at Cesarea — So Festus’s care to preserve the imperial privileges was the means of preserving Paul’s life! By what invisible springs does God govern the world! With what silence, and yet with what wisdom and energy! Nevertheless, Festus was willing to do them the justice of hearing what they had to say against Paul, if they would go down with him to Cesarea, and appear against him there. Let them, said he, which among you are able — Who are best able to undertake the journey, and to manage the cause; go down with me, and accuse this man — In my hearing: or, let those go and give in their evidence that are competent witnesses, and are able to prove any thing criminal upon him; if there be any wickedness in him — For which he ought to be punished according to the Roman laws. So he does not pass sentence before he hears the cause, nor take it for granted that there was wickedness in him till it should be proved upon him, and he had been heard in his own defence.25:1-12 See how restless malice is. Persecutors deem it a peculiar favour to have their malice gratified. Preaching Christ, the end of the law, was no offence against the law. In suffering times the prudence of the Lord's people is tried, as well as their patience; they need wisdom. It becomes those who are innocent, to insist upon their innocence. Paul was willing to abide by the rules of the law, and to let that take its course. If he deserved death, he would accept the punishment. But if none of the things whereof they accused him were true, no man could deliver him unto them, with justice. Paul is neither released nor condemned. It is an instance of the slow steps which Providence takes; by which we are often made ashamed, both of our hopes and of our fears, and are kept waiting on God.But Festus answered ... - What induced Festus to refuse their request is not known. It is probable, however, that he was apprised that Paul was a Roman citizen, and that his case could not come before the Jewish Sanhedrin, but must be heard by himself. As Caesarea was also at that time the residence of the Roman governor, and the place of holding the courts, and as Paul was lodged there safely, there did not appear to be any sufficient reason for removing him to Jerusalem for trial. Festus, however, granted them all that they could reasonably ask, and assured them that he should have a speedy trial. 4-6. answered that Paul should be kept—rather, "is in custody."

at Cæsarea, and … himself would depart shortly thither.

It is most probable that Festus had been informed by Felix of the Jews’ malice against Paul; for Felix having been accused by the Jews unto the emperor, might be supposed to have recriminated wheresoever he had any opportunity; and in all the time of his government they were not guilty of a worse fact than their design against Paul, it being sedition, and intended murder of one who had the privilege of a Roman citizen.

He himself would depart shortly thither; the governors kept their courts wheresoever they came. But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea,.... Or that he was kept there, and was in proper custody, under the care of a centurion, and should continue there; nor was there any reason why he should be removed, especially since he should return thither speedily, as he adds:

and that he himself would depart shortly thither; the answer was a very wise and prudent one, and the reasons given were just and strong; as that Paul had been sent to Caesarea, was left bound by his predecessor there; there he found him, and there he was under a proper guard, and there it was right for him to continue; and besides, he himself should make no stay in Jerusalem, but should depart for Caesarea in a few days, and therefore it was very improper to send for Paul thither.

But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would depart shortly thither.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 25:4. For the reasons of the decision, see Acts 25:16.

By τηρεῖσθαιἐκπορεύεσθαι, the reply of refusal: “Paul remains at Caesarea,” is expressed indirectly indeed, but with imperative decidedness. Observe in this case the τηρεῖσθαι emphatically prefixed in contrast to μεταπέμψ., Acts 25:3.

εἰς Καισάρ.] In Caesarea, whither he was brought in custody, Acts 19:22, Acts 21:13.

Notice the contrast between the Jewish baseness and the strict order of the Roman government.Acts 25:4. μὲν οὖν: no antithesis expressed; but Rendall, Appendix on μὲν οὖν, Acts, p. 162, holds that two phases of events are here contrasted: Festus refused to bring Paul away from Cæsarea, but he undertook to hear the charges of the Jews there.—ἐν Και., see critical note, perhaps here εἰς simply = ἐν, so Blass, and Simcox, cf. Mark 13:9, Acts 19:22. On the other hand cf. Weiss on the frequent force of εἰς peculiar to Acts 8:40; Acts 9:21 (where he reads ἐις), intimating that Paul had been brought to Cæsarea with the purpose that he should be kept there. The Jews had asked Festus ὅπως μεταπέμψ. α. εἰς Ἰ., but Festus intimates that the prisoner was in custody at Cæsarea, and that as he was himself going there, the prisoner’s accusers should go there also; in other words, he returns a refusal to their request, cf. Acts 25:16.—ἐν τάχει, Luke 18:8, and three times in Acts 12:7; Acts 22:18, not in the other Evangelists; Romans 16:20, 1 Timothy 3:14, Revelation 1:1; Revelation 22:6.—ἐκπορ.: for the verb used absolutely as here cf. Luke 3:7.4. But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept, &c.] This hardly gives the force of the original, which is better rendered in the Rev. Ver., “that Paul was kept in charge at Cæsarea.” The governor’s position was that the prisoner had been placed by his predecessor in a certain state of custody, and that this could not be interfered with.

would (R. V. was about to) depart shortly thither] A governor newly arrived must move about actively, and could not remain long even in the capital. To have waited till all the arrangements, which the accusing party were supposed to be ready to make, were complete, would have consumed time, which must be occupied in learning the details of his provincial charge.Acts 25:4. Ἀπεκρίθη, answered) The zeal of Festus in defending the Imperial rights proves advantageous to Paul. Luke skilfully portrays the mind of the procurator, a novice, and therefore haughty.—ἐν τάχει, speedily) See Acts 25:6.—μέλλειν ἐκπορεύεσθαι) that he is about to go forth, to give sentence in the case.Verse 4. - Howbeit for but. A.V.; was kept in charge for should be kept, A.V.; was about to depart thither shortly for would depart shortly thither, A.V. Was kept in charge. Festus did not merely mention the fact, which the Jews knew already, that Paul was a prisoner at Caesarea, but his determination to keep him there till he could go down and try him. The A.V. gives the meaning. Either δεῖν is to be understood, as if Foetus should say, "Paul is a Roman citizen; Caesarea is the proper place for him to be tried at before the procurator, and therefore he must be kept in custody there," or some such words as, "I have given orders" must be understood before "that Paul should be kept." Should be kept (τηρεῖσθαι)

This puts it as a peremptory denial of the Jews' request by Festus; whereas it is only his statement of a fact. Render, as Rev., that Paul was kept in charge. Festus' reply is conciliatory, and is put on the ground of convenience.

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