Paul's Trial in Front of Festus
1Three days after Festus arrived, he went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem. 2There the chief priests and Jewish leaders came to him and brought their charges against Paul. 3They tried to get Festus to have Paul taken to Jerusalem. They asked for this as a favor. They were planning to hide and attack Paul along the way. They wanted to kill him. 4Festus answered, "Paul is being held at Caesarea. Soon I'll be going there myself. 5Let some of your leaders come with me. If the man has done anything wrong, they can bring charges against him there."
6Festus spent eight or ten days in Jerusalem with them. Then he went down to Caesarea. The next day he called the court together. He ordered Paul to be brought to him. 7When Paul arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him. They brought many strong charges against him. But they couldn't prove them.
8Then Paul spoke up for himself. He said, "I've done nothing wrong against the law of the Jews or against the temple. I've done nothing wrong against Caesar."
9But Festus wanted to do the Jews a favor. So he said to Paul, "Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem? Are you willing to go on trial there? Are you willing to face these charges in my court?"
10Paul answered, "I'm already standing in Caesar's court. This is where I should go on trial. I haven't done anything wrong to the Jews. You yourself know that very well. 11If I am guilty of anything worthy of death, I'm willing to die. But the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true. No one has the right to hand me over to them. I make my appeal to Caesar!"
12Festus talked it over with the members of his court. Then he said, "You have made an appeal to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!"
Festus Talks With King Agrippa
13A few days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea. They came to pay a visit to Festus. 14They were spending many days there. So Festus talked with the king about Paul's case. He said, "There's a man here that Felix left as a prisoner. 15When I went to Jerusalem, the Jewish chief priests and the elders brought charges against the man. They wanted him to be found guilty.
16"I told them that this is not the way Romans do things. We don't judge people before they have faced those bringing charges against them. They must have a chance to speak up for themselves. 17When the Jews came back with me, I didn't waste any time. I called the court together the next day. I ordered the man to be brought in. 18Those bringing charges against him got up to speak. But they didn't charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. 19Instead, they argued with him about their own beliefs. They didn't agree about a dead man named Jesus. Paul claimed Jesus was alive.
20"I had no idea how to look into such matters. So I asked Paul if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem. There he could be tried on these charges. 21But Paul made an appeal to have the Emperor decide his case. So I ordered him to be held until I could send him to Caesar."
22Then Agrippa said to Festus, "I would like to hear this man myself."
Festus replied, "Tomorrow you will hear him."
Paul Speaks to Agrippa
23The next day Agrippa and Bernice arrived. They acted like very important people. They entered the courtroom. The most important officers and the leading men of the city came with them. When Festus gave the command, Paul was brought in. 24Festus said, "King Agrippa, and all who are here with us, take a good look at this man! Both in Jerusalem and here in Caesarea a large number of Jews have come to me about him. They keep shouting that he shouldn't live any longer. 25I have found that he hasn't done anything worthy of death. But he made his appeal to the Emperor. So I decided to send him to Rome.
26"I don't have anything certain to write about him to His Majesty. So I have brought him here today. Now all of you will be able to hear him. King Agrippa, it will also be very good for you to hear him. As a result of this hearing, I will have something to write. 27It doesn't make sense to send a prisoner to Rome without listing the charges against him."
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