1 NOW WHEN Festus had entered into his own province, after three days he went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem.
2 And [there] the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews laid charges before him against Paul, and they kept begging and urging him,
3 Asking as a favor that he would have him brought to Jerusalem; [meanwhile] they were planning an ambush to slay him on the way.
4 Festus answered that Paul was in custody in Caesarea and that he himself planned to leave for there soon.
5 So, said he, let those who are in a position of authority and are influential among you go down with me, and if there is anything amiss or criminal about the man, let them so charge him.
6 So when Festus had remained among them not more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea, took his seat the next day on the judgment bench, and ordered Paul to be brought before him.
7 And when he arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood all around him, bringing many grave accusations against him which they were not able to prove.
8 Paul declared in [his own] defense, Neither against the Law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in any way.
9 But Festus, wishing to ingratiate himself with the Jews, answered Paul, Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and there be put on trial [before the Jewish Sanhedrin] in my presence concerning these charges?
10 But Paul replied, I am standing before Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be tried. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you know better [than your question implies].
11 If then I am a wrongdoer and a criminal and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not beg off and seek to escape death; but if there is no ground for their accusations against me, no one can give me up and make a present of me [give me up freely] to them. I appeal to Caesar.
12 Then Festus, when he had consulted with the [men who formed his] council, answered, You have appealed to Caesar; to Caesar you shall go.
13 Now after an interval of some days, Agrippa the king and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus [to welcome him and wish him well].
14 And while they remained there for many days, Festus acquainted the king with Paul's case, telling him, There is a man left a prisoner in chains by Felix;
15 And when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me about him, petitioning for a judicial hearing and condemnation of him.
16 But I replied to them that it was not the custom of the Romans to give up freely any man for punishment before the accused had met the accusers face to face and had opportunity to defend himself concerning the charge brought against him.
17 So when they came here together, I did not delay, but on the morrow took my place on the judgment seat and ordered that the man be brought before me.
18 [But] when the accusers stood up, they brought forward no accusation [in his case] of any such misconduct as I was expecting.
19 Instead they had some points of controversy with him about their own religion or superstition and concerning one Jesus, Who had died but Whom Paul kept asserting [over and over] to be alive.
20 And I, being puzzled to know how to make inquiries into such questions, asked whether he would be willing to go to Jerusalem and there be tried regarding them.
21 But when Paul had appealed to have his case retained for examination and decision by the emperor, I ordered that he be detained until I could send him to Caesar.
22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, I also desire to hear the man myself. Tomorrow, [Festus] replied, you shall hear him.
23 So the next day Agrippa and Bernice approached with great display, and they went into the audience hall accompanied by the military commandants and the prominent citizens of the city. At the order of Festus Paul was brought in.
24 Then Festus said, King Agrippa and all the men present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Jewish people came to me and complained, both at Jerusalem and here, insisting and shouting that he ought not to live any longer.
25 But I found nothing that he had done deserving of death. Still, as he himself appealed to the emperor, I determined to send him to Rome.
26 [However] I have nothing in particular and definite to write to my lord concerning him. So I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that after [further] examination has been made, I may have something to put in writing.
27 For it seems to me senseless and absurd to send a prisoner and not state the accusations against him.