Appeal to Caesar
1Three days after Festus arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea.
2There the ruling kohanim and the leading Judeans brought charges against Paul. They were urging him,
3asking a favor—to have Paul sent to Jerusalem, planning an ambush to kill him on the road.
4Festus then answered that Paul was being guarded at Caesarea, and that he himself was about to go there shortly.
5“So then,” he said, “let the prominent men among you go down with me; and if there is any wrong in the man, let them accuse him.”
6After spending not more than eight to ten days with them, he went down to Caesarea. The next day, he sat on the judgment seat and ordered Paul to be brought in.
7When he arrived, the Judeans who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing against him many serious charges which they could not prove.
8Paul said in his defense, “I have committed no offense against the Torah of the Jewish people, or against the Temple, or against Caesar.”
9But Festus, wanting to do the Jewish leaders a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem to be tried before me?”
10But Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Judeans, as you very well know.
11If then I am in the wrong and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges, no one can turn me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!”
12Then when Festus had consulted with the council, he responded, “You have appealed to Caesar—to Caesar you shall go!”
Festus Seeks Agrippa’s Counsel
13Now after several days had passed, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus.
14While they were staying there several days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying, “There is a man left behind as a prisoner by Felix.
15When I was in Jerusalem, the ruling kohanim and elders of the Judeans brought charges against him, asking for a judgment against him.
16I answered them that it is not Roman practice to turn over anyone before the accused meets his accusers face to face and has an opportunity to make his defense concerning the charges.
17So when they came together here, I did not delay, but on the next day sat on the judgment seat and ordered the man to be brought in.
18When the accusers stood up, they were not bringing a charge of what crimes I suspected.
19Instead, they had certain issues with him about their own religion and about a certain Yeshua, who had died, whom Paul claimed to be alive.
20“Since I was at a loss as to how to investigate these matters, I asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem to be tried there in regard to them.
21But when Paul appealed to be held in custody for the decision of His Majesty the Emperor, I ordered him to be held until I could send him to Caesar.”
22Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow,” he said, “you shall hear him.”
23So on the next day, Agrippa and Bernice came with great pageantry. They entered the audience hall with the commanders and the most prominent men of the city. Then at the order of Festus, Paul was brought in.
24Festus said, “King Agrippa and all present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Judean population petitioned me, both in Jerusalem and here, shouting out that he ought not live any longer.
25But I found that he had done nothing deserving of death; and when he himself appealed to His Majesty the Emperor, I decided to send him.
26Yet I have nothing specific to write to my lord about him. Therefore I have brought him before you—and especially before you, King Agrippa—so that after the investigation has taken place, I might have something to write.
27For it seems illogical to me when sending a prisoner, not to report also the charges against him.”