Some Jews Plan to Kill Paul
(1) Three days after arriving in the Roman province of Judea, Festus traveled up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, (2) where the Jewish chief priests and leaders appeared before him and presented their charges against Paul. (3) They asked Festus for the favor of moving Paul’s trial to Jerusalem, because they planned to attack and kill him along the road. (4) Festus said, “Paul is being held in prison at Caesarea, and I am going there soon. (5) Have some of your leaders go down with me, and if Paul has done anything wrong, they can press charges against him there.”
Paul’s Defense Before Festus
(6) After spending eight to ten days with them in Jerusalem, Festus traveled back to Caesarea. The next day he convened the court and ordered that Paul be brought before him.
(7) When Paul entered, the Jews who came from Jerusalem stood around him. They brought many serious charges against him, but they weren’t able to prove any of them. (8) Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against the Roman Emperor (Caesar).” (9) Festus, wanting to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?” (10) Paul said, “No, I am now standing before the Emperor’s court, where I should be on trial. I have not done anything wrong to the Jews, and you know what I am telling you is the truth. (11) However, if I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I will accept my penalty to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are false, then no one has the right to turn me over to them.
As a Roman citizen, I appeal to Emperor Nero in Rome!“ (12) After Festus had talked with his legal counsel, he said to Paul, “You have appealed to the Emperor Nero, so to Caesar you will go!”
Festus Tells Agrippa About Paul
(13) A few days later King Herod Agrippa and his younger sister Bernice arrived at Caesarea to show their respects to Festus as the new Roman governor of Judea. (14) Since they were staying for several days, Festus discussed Paul’s case with Agrippa. He said, “When I arrived in Caesarea I discovered that Felix had left a man in prison. (15) When I went to Jerusalem, the Jewish chief priests and elders brought charges against him and asked that he be sentenced to death.
(16) “I told them that it is against the Roman law to hand over anyone before they have faced their accusers and have had an opportunity to defend themselves against the charges. (17) When the Jews came to Caesarea with me, I did not delay the case, but convened the court the next day and ordered Paul to be brought in. (18) When his Jewish accusers spoke, they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. (19) Instead, they argued about their disagreements with him about the Jewish religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was now alive. (20) I did not know how to judge these religious issues, so I asked Paul if he was willing to stand trial in Jerusalem on these charges. (21) But when Paul refused to go to Jerusalem and made his appeal to be tried before Emperor Nero in Rome, I ordered him to remain in prison until I could send him to Rome.” (22) Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear this man myself.” Festus said, “You can hear him tomorrow.”
Paul Brought Before Agrippa
(23) The next day Herod Agrippa and Bernice entered the place of hearing with great ceremony, arriving with high-ranking military officers and the prominent men of Caesarea. Then Festus commanded that Paul be brought before them.
(24) Festus said, “King Agrippa and all our guests who are present, this is Paul! The whole Jewish community has petitioned me—both at Jerusalem and in Caesarea—shouting that he should be sentenced to death. (25) I determined that he had done nothing to deserve death, but because he appealed to Emperor Nero I decided to send him to Rome. (26) But I have no specific charges against him to write to His Majesty. Therefore I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that as a result of this investigation I will have something to write in my report. (27) For I think it is unreasonable to send a prisoner to the Emperor in Rome without detailing the specific charges against him.“