Acts 28:19
But when the Jews spoke against it, I was constrained to appeal to Caesar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
28:17-22 It was for the honour of Paul that those who examined his case, acquitted him. In his appeal he sought not to accuse his nation, but only to clear himself. True Christianity settles what is of common concern to all mankind, and is not built upon narrow opinions and private interests. It aims at no worldly benefit or advantage, but all its gains are spiritual and eternal. It is, and always has been, the lot of Christ's holy religion, to be every where spoken against. Look through every town and village where Christ is exalted as the only Saviour of mankind, and where the people are called to follow him in newness of life, and we see those who give themselves up to Christ, still called a sect, a party, and reproached. And this is the treatment they are sure to receive, so long as there shall continue an ungodly man upon earth.The Jews spake against it - Against my being set at liberty.

I was constrained - By a regard to my own safety and character.

To appeal unto Caesar - See the notes on Acts 25:11.

Not that I had aught ... - I did it for my own preservation and safety, not that I wished to accuse my countrymen. Paul had been unjustly accused and injured; yet, with the true spirit of the Christian religion, he here says that he cherished no unkind feelings toward those who had done him wrong.

19. I was constrained to appeal … not that I had aught to accuse my nation of—"I am here not as their accuser, but as my own defender, and this not of choice but necessity." His object in alluding thus gently to the treatment he had received from the Jews was plainly to avoid whatever might irritate his visitors at the first; especially as he was not aware whether any or what information against him had reached their community. The Jews spake against it; the Jews used all their oratory and interest against Paul, both before Felix and Festus. And had it been in Festus’s power, (which after Paul’s appeal it was not), he would have sacrificed Paul to the malice of the Jews; and by that means got their favour, whom he had so incensed against them.

Not that I had aught to accuse my nation of; Paul did not so much want matter, as mind, to accuse the Jews; and he declares, that whatsoever he had suffered, his intentions were not to calumniate them, but to vindicate himself. But when the Jews spake against it,.... His being cleared and dismissed, and desired he might be sent back to Jerusalem, to be tried and judged there, to which Festus seemed inclined:

I was constrained to appeal to Caesar; to prevent the design of the Jews upon him, which was to way lay him and kill him, or by what ways they could, right or wrong, take away his life; and to provide for his own safety:

not that I had ought to accuse my nation of; meaning, that he had no ill design in this appeal against his country, to expose them, and bring them under reproach and censure, but to vindicate himself, defend his own innocence, and preserve his character and life; suggesting, that what he did was not of choice, but by constraint, and with reluctance; being no friend to Heathen tribunals, nor any enemy to the Jewish nation.

{11} But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of.

(11) We may use the means which God gives us, but in such a way that we seek the glory of God, and not of ourselves.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 28:19. ἀντιλ.: the word is a mild one to describe the bitter enmity of the Jews (“clementer dicit,” Bengel); they are not actually represented as speaking against Paul’s acquittal, although they are evidently presupposed as doing so by the proposal of Festus, Acts 25:9, and by the belief that sooner or later he would fall a victim to their plots the Apostle was no doubt compelled (ἠναγκάσθην) to appeal. Holtzmann seems to forget the part played by the Jews, and their bitter enmity, when he says that in reality Paul was compelled to appeal not by the Jews, but by Festus; see also critical note.—τοῦ ἔθνους μου: they were still his nation, and he was not ashamed to call them so, as a true patriot, when he stood before a foreign tribunal; cf. Acts 24:17, Acts 26:4, “see what friendliness of expression, he does not hold them in odium,” Chrysostom.19. not that I had ought to accuse my nation of] St Paul shews himself the patriotic Jew. He knew how many things his fellow-countrymen had suffered at the hands of the Roman power, and he did not wish in any way to bring on them any more trouble. He therefore explains that he had taken the course of appealing to Cæsar only because he saw no other means of obtaining his release. If that were secured he wished to lay no charge at the door of his accusers or their brethren in Rome.Acts 28:19. Ἀντιλεγόντων, when the Jews spake against it) He speaks mildly: for they had tried, by a plot for murdering Paul, to put an end to his speaking in Palestine.Verse 19. - When the Jews spake against it. This is a detail not expressly mentioned in the direct narrative in Acts 25, but which makes that narrative clearer. It shows us that Festus's proposal in Acts 25:9 was made in consequence of the opposition of the Jews to the acquittal which he was disposed to pronounce. I was constrained to appeal. Nothing can be more delicate, more conciliatory, or more truly patriotic than Paul's manner of addressing the Jews. Himself a Hebrew of the Hebrews, devoted to his kinsmen according to the flesh, never even putting forward his own privilege as a Roman citizen till the last necessity, he shows himself the constant friend of his own people in spite of all their ill usage. Undazzled by the splendor of Rome and the power of the Roman people, his heart is with his own despised nation, "that they might be saved." He wishes to he well with them; he wants them to understand his position; he speaks to them as a kinsman and a brother. His appeal to Caesar had been of necessity - to save his life. But he was not going to accuse his brethren before the dominant race. His first desire was that they should be his friends, and share with him the hope of the gospel of Christ.
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