Bible Gemz 1850 - The Next Step in this Bizarre Case (Acts 25:13-27)

A few days later King Agrippa arrived with his sister, Bernice, to pay their respects to Festus.

During their stay of several days, Festus discussed Paul’s case with the king. “There is a prisoner here,” he told him, “whose case was left for me by Felix.

When I was in Jerusalem, the leading priests and Jewish elders pressed charges against him and asked me to condemn him.

I pointed out to them that Roman law does not convict people without a trial. They must be given an opportunity to confront their accusers and defend themselves.

“When his accusers came here for the trial, I didn’t delay. I called the case the very next day and ordered Paul brought in.

But the accusations made against him weren’t any of the crimes I expected.

Instead, it was something about their religion and a dead man named Jesus, who Paul insists is alive.

I was at a loss to know how to investigate these things, so I asked him whether he would be willing to stand trial on these charges in Jerusalem.

But Paul appealed to have his case decided by the emperor. So I ordered that he be held in custody until I could arrange to send him to Caesar.”

“I’d like to hear the man myself,” Agrippa said. And Festus replied, “You will—tomorrow!”

So the next day Agrippa and Bernice arrived at the auditorium with great pomp, accompanied by military officers and prominent men of the city. Festus ordered that Paul be brought in.

Then Festus said, “King Agrippa and all who are here, this is the man whose death is demanded by all the Jews, both here and in Jerusalem.

But in my opinion he has done nothing deserving death. However, since he appealed his case to the emperor, I have decided to send him to Rome.

“But what shall I write the emperor? For there is no clear charge against him. So I have brought him before all of you, and especially you, King Agrippa, so that after we examine him, I might have something to write.

For it makes no sense to send a prisoner to the emperor without specifying the charges against him!” (Acts 25:13-27)

Anyone else want to see? We could sell tickets.

While I leave you to ponder this passage and ask your questions, allow me to give you some background about the two new players who were offered the chance to “hear Paul for themselves”.

Herod Agrippa II

Herod Agrippa II was the son of Herod Agrippa I and Cypros. When his father died in 44 ad he was a youth of only 17 years and considered too young to assume the government of Judea. Claudius therefore placed the country under the care of a procurator. Agrippa had received a royal education in the palace of the emperor himself (Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews XIX, ix, 2). But he had not wholly forgotten his people, as is proven by his intercession in behalf of the Jews, when they asked to be permitted to have the custody of the official highpriestly robes, till then in the hands of the Romans and to be used only on stated occasions (Antiquities XX, i, 1). On the death of his uncle, Herod of Calchis, Claudius made Agrippa II “tetrarch” of the territory, 48 ad (Antiquities XX, v, 2). As Josephus tells us, he espoused the cause of the Jews whenever he could (Antiquities XX, vi, 3). Four years later (52 ad), Claudius extended the dominion of Agrippa by giving him the old “tetrarchies” of Philip and Lysanias. Even at Calchis they had called him king; now it became his official title (Antiquities XX, vii, 1). Still later (55 ad), Nero added some Galilean and Perean cities to his domain. His whole career indicates the predominating influence of the Asmonean blood, which had shown itself in his father's career also. If the Herodian taste for architecture reveals itself here and there (Antiquities XX, viii, 11; IX, iv), there is a total absence of the cold disdain wherewith the Herods in general treated their subjects. The Agrippas are Jews.

Herod Agrippa II figures in the New Testament in Acts 25:13ff and Acts 26:32). Paul there calls him “king” and appeals to him as to one knowing the Scriptures. As the brother-in-law of Felix he was a favoured guest on this occasion. His relation to Bernice his sister was a scandal among Jews and Gentiles alike (Antiquities XX, vii, 3). In the fall of the Jewish nation, Herod Agrippa's kingdom went down. Knowing the futility of resistance, Agrippa warned the Jews not to rebel against Rome, but in vain. When the war began he boldly sided with Rome and fought under its banners, getting wounded by a sling-stone in the siege of Gamala. The oration by which he sought to persuade the Jews against the rebellion is a masterpiece of its kind and became historical. When the inevitable came and when with the Jewish nation also the kingdom of Herod Agrippa II had been destroyed, the Romans remembered his loyalty. With Bernice his sister he removed to Rome, where he became a praetor and died in the year 100 ad, at the age of 70 years, in the beginning of Trajan's reign.

Bernice

One of the shameless women of the Bible, mentioned in Acts 25:13, 25:23, 26:30. She was the eldest daughter of Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12:1 – 21) who ruled from 38-45 AD. Her whole life from the Jewish standpoint was incestuous. Its story is told by Josephus (Antiquities XIX, v, 1; XX, vii, 1-3), also by Juvenal (6, 156). Her first husband was her own uncle, Herod of Calchis. After his death she consorted with her own brother Agrippa II, with whom she listened to the impassioned defense of Paul at Caesarea before Felix. For a while she was married to King Ptolemy or Polemo of Sicily, who for her sake embraced Judaism, by the rite of circumcision. But she left him soon to return to Agrippa. Later on she figures shamefully in the lives of Vespasian and Titus, father and son. If heredity stands for anything, its lessons are forcibly taught in the history of the Herodian family.

The most valuable thing that comes from any experience is the ability to learn from it the lessons of life. Ian

Life is not separated into winners or losers; it's separated into learners and non-learners. LaRae Quy

But the thing that scares me the most about this so called enlightened age is the way everything is redefined. Ian

What used to be called DISGUSTING is now called ADULT.

SELF-INDULGENCE SELF FULFILMENT.

MORAL IRRESPONSIBILITY BEING FREED UP.

CHRISTIAN DISCIPLINE UNHEALTHY REPRESSION.

LIVING IN SIN A MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIP.

PERVERSION AN ALTERNATE LIFESTYLE.

DEPRAVITY CREATIVE SELF- EXPRESSION.

Dr. Stephen T. Olford (1993) Los Angeles

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