(f2057) We assume that Festus succeeded Felix in the year 60. In support of this opinion we must refer to the note (C) upon the Chronological Table, Appendix III.
(f2058) Agrippa II. was made king of Chalcis A. D. 48 — he received a further accession of territory A. D. 53, and died, at the age of 70, A. D. 99. He was intimate with Josephus, and was the last prince of the Herodian house.
(f2059) Titus seems to have been only prevented from marrying this beautiful and profligate princess by the indignant feeling of the Romans. See Dio Cass. 66:15. The name of Berenice is so mixed up with the history of the times, and she is so often mentioned, both by Josephus and by Roman writers, that it is desirable to put together here some of the principal notices of her life and character. She was first married to her uncle, Herod, king of Chalcis; and after his death she lived with her brother, Agrippa, not without suspicion of the most criminal intimacy. (Joseph. Ant. 20:7, 3.) Compare Juvenal, 6:155.
It was during this period of her life that she made that marriage with Polemo, king of Cilicia, which has been alluded to in the earlier part of this work. (p. 23.) Soon she left Polemo, and returned to her brother: and then it was that St. Paul was brought before them at Caesarea. After this time, she became a partisan of Vespasian. Tac. Hist. 2:81. Her connection with Vespasian’s son is mentioned by Suetonius and by Tacitus, as well as by Dio Cassius. The one redeeming passage in her life is the patriotic feeling she displayed on the occasion alluded to, p. 625. (See Joseph. War, 2:15, 16.)
(f2060) Joseph. Ant. 19:9, 20:5, 1. War, 2:11, 6.
(f2061) Joseph. Ant. 20:5, 2.
(f2062) War, v. 1, 6. Compare 2:18, 7; and iv 10, 6.
(f2063) Juv. 1:129.
(f2064) Ant. 20:5, 2. War, 2:12, 1.
(f2065) Milman’s Hist. of the Jews, 2:203.
(f2066) See the preceding chapter, p. 635. For Beth-Horon, see p. 647, n. 7.
(f2067) Ant. 20:6. War, 2:12.
(f2068) Josephus and Tacitus differ as to the circumstances of his first coming into the East. According to one account, he was joint-procurator for a time with Cumanus, the latter holding Galilee, the former Samaria. From the circumstance of his being called Antonius Felix, it has been supposed that he was manumitted by Antonia, the mother of Claudius.
(f2069) Hist. v. 9. See Ant. 12:54.
(f2070) War, 2:13, 2.
(f2071) Ant. 20:8, 6. War, 2:13, 5.
(f2072) See the preceding chapter.
(f2073) Ant. 20:8, 5. His treachery to Eleazar the arch-robber, mentioned by Josephus in the same section, should not be unnoticed.
(f2074) See p. 74, n. 3.
(f2075) We may add here, that the division of the provinces under the Emperors arose out of an earlier division under the Republic, when a Proconsul with a large military force was sent to some provinces, and a Propraetor with a smaller force to others.
(f2076) In the time of Augustus we find four legions in the neighborhood of the Euphrates, eight on the Rhine frontier, and six along the Danube (two in Moesia, two in Pannonia, and two in Dalmatia). In that of Hadrian, the force on each of these rivers was considerably greater.
(f2077) Antiquarians acquainted with the monuments of Chester are familiar with the letters LEG. 20:v. v. (Valens Victrix).
(f2078) In the History of Tacitus (V. 1) these three legions are expressly mentioned. Compare 1:10, 2:4. The same legions are mentioned by Josephus. See, for instance, War, v. 1, 6, v. 2, 3. We have also notices of them on Syrian coins and inscriptions.
It should be noticed that the passages just adduced from Josephus and Tacitus refer to the time when the Jewish war was breaking out. Judaea may have been garrisoned, not by legions, but by detached cohorts, during the rule of Felix and Festus.
(f2079) At first under the Republic all Roman soldiers were Roman citizens. "But in proportion as the public freedom was lost in extent of conquest, war was gradually improved into an art and degraded into a trade." The change began with Marius. The alauda of Caesar was formed of strangers: but these troops afterwards received the Roman citizenship. With the distinction between the Praetorian and legionary soldiers, all necessary connection between citizenship and military service ceased to exist. In strict conformity with this state of things. we find that Claudius Lysias was a citizen by purchase, not because he was a military officer.
(f2080) Ant. 14:15, 10. War, 1:17, 1.
(f2081) Joshua Ant. 14:10, 11-19.
(f2082) What is written here and in the preceding chapter is based on the assumption that the cohort under the command of Claudius Lysias was a legionary cohort. But it is by no means certain that it was not an independent cohort like those called "Augustan" and "Italic." It appears that such cohorts really contained 1,000 men each.
(f2083) It must be borne in mind that some of the soldiers mentioned in the Gospels belonged to Herod’s military force: but since his troops were disciplined on the Roman model, we need hardly make this distinction.
(f2084) War, 3:5.
(f2085) Under Augustus there were nine cohorts. Under Tiberius they were raised to ten. The number was not increased again till after St. Paul’s time.
(f2086) Such a general rule would have exceptions, — as in the case of our own Guards at Waterloo and Sebastopol.
(f2087) This is a question of some difficulty. Two opinions held by various commentators may, we think, readily be dismissed. 1. This cohors Augusta was not a part of any legio Augusta. 2. It was not identical with the Sebasteni (so named from Sebaste in Samaria) mentioned by Josephus: for, in the first place, this was a troop of horse; and secondly, we should expect a different term to be used.
Wieseler thinks this cohort was a special corps enrolled by Nero under the name of Augustani. They were the elite of the Praetorians, and accompanied Nero to Greece. The date of their enrolment constitutes a difficulty. But might not the cohort in question be some other detachment of the Praetorian Guards 1
It appears from Joseph. War, 3:4, 2, that five cohorts (independently of the legions) were regularly stationed at Caesarea, and the Augustan cohort may very well have been one of them. But we are not by any means limited to those. Dean Alford remarks, very justly, that we must not assume, as too many commentators have done, that this cohort was resident at Caesarea.
(f2088) See p. 26, n. 4, also p. 108, n. 3, (in the account of Cornelius,) where it is shown that this corps cannot have been a cohort of Nero’s Legio prima Italica. One objection to the view of Meyer, who identifies the two, is that Judaea was not under procurators at the time of the conversion of Cornelius. But there is great obscurity about the early dates in the Acts. If the "Augustan cohort" is identical with the Augustani of Nero, it is clear that the "Italic cohort" is not the same.
(f2089) The argument is given in full by Wieseler.
(f2090) Thus Dr. Robinson was prevented from visiting or describing what remains. The fullest account is perhaps that in Buckingham’s Travels (1:197-215). See also Irby and Mangles, and Lamartine. There is an excellent description of the place, with illustrations, at the end of the first volume of Dr. Traill’s Josephus. We may refer now to the views in Van de Velde’s Pays d’Israel.
(f2091) Antiq. 15:9, 6. War, 1:21, 5-8.
(f2092) The buildings were of white stone.
(f2093) It contained both a theatre and an amphitheatre. The former possesses great interest for us as being the scene of the death of Agrippa (p. 119). Some traces of it are said to remain.
(f2094) The arrangement of the sewers is particularly mentioned by Josephus. The remains of the aqueducts are still visible.
(f2095) This is the comparison of Josephus, Antiq. In the "War" he says it was greater than the Piraeus.
(f2096) Most of the stones were 50 feet long, 18 feet broad, and 9 feet deep. Josephus, however, is not quite consistent with himself in his statement of the dimensions.
(f2097) This breakwater has been compared to that of Plymouth: but it was more like that of Cherbourg, and the whole harbor may more fitly be compared to the harbors of refuge now (1852) in construction at Holyhead and Portland.
(f2098) Josephus particularly says that the places on this part of the coast were "bad for anchorage on account of the swell towards (i.e. from) the S. W." — a passage which deserves careful attention, as illustrating Acts 27:12.
(f2099) He was the first biblical geographer (as Forbiger remarks in his account of Caesarea), and to him we owe the Onomasticon, translated by Jerome. This place was also one of the scenes of Origen’s theological labors.
(f2100) See the Appendix of Dr. Traill’s Josephus, vol. I. xlix-lvi, where a very copious account is given of the existing state of Caesarea. Its ruins are described as "remains from which obtrude the costly materials of a succession of structures, and which furnish a sort of condensed commentary upon that series of historical evidence which we derive from books." Of late years they have been used as a quarry, furnishing shafts and ready-wrong blocks, &c, for public buildings at Acre and elsewhere.
(f2101) We are inclined to think that the "praetorium" or "palace" of Herod (Acts 23:35) was a different building from the official residence of Felix and Festus. This seems to be implied in Acts 24:24 and Acts 25:23. We shall have occasion again to refer to the word praitwrion , Acts 26.
(f2102) See above on the Augustan cohort.
(f2103) This temple has been alluded to before, p. 107. Josephus says that in the temple were two statues, one of Rome and one of Caesar. Ant. In War, he says that the statues were colossal, that of Caesar equal in size to the Olympian Jupiter, and that of Rome to the Argive Juno.
(f2104) We find this term on coins of Agrippa I. One of them is given in our larger editions.
(f2105) So it is called by Josephus. Ant. 15:1, 51.
(f2106) Lightfoot on Acts 6:1. See p. 34, n. 3
(f2107) Ant. 20:8, 7. War, 2:13, 7.
(f2108) War, 2:18, 1. See p. 665.
(f2109) It is most natural to reckon these five days from the time of St. Paul’s departure from Jerusalem.
(f2110) "With the Elders;" by which we are to understand representatives or deputies from the Sanhedrin.
(f2111) The accuser and the accused could plead in person, as St. Paul did here: but advocati (rJhtorev) were often employed. It was a common practice for young Roman lawyers to go with consuls and praetors to the provinces, and to "qualify themselves by this provincial practice for the sharper struggles of the forum at home." We have an instance in the case of Caelius, who spent his youth in this way in Africa. Cic. pro Coel. 30. It must be remembered that Latin was the proper language of the law courts in every part of the Empire See p. 2.
(f2112) See again p. 2, for remarks on Tertullus and the peculiarly Latin character of the speech here given.
(f2113) "They laid information before the governor against Paul," Acts 24:1. See Acts 25:2.
(f2114) "When he was summoned," v. 2. The presence of the accused was required by the Roman law.
(f2115) See above. It is worth while to notice here one phrase which is exactly the Latin tua providentia. It may be illustrated by the inscription: PROVID. AUG. on the coin of Commodus in the titlepage of this edition.
(f2116) A mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world.
(f2117) A ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes On the word for sect, see below, note, on v. 14 The Authorized Version unfortunately renders the same Greek word, in one case by "sect," in the other "heresy," and thus conceals the link of connection. As regards "Nazarene," this is the only place where it occurs in this sense. In the mouth of Tertullus it was a term of reproach, as "Christian" below (Acts 26:28) in that of Agrippa.
(f2118) Who hath also gone about to profane the Temple.
(f2119) We have before observed that the Sanhedrin was still allowed to exercise criminal jurisdiction over ecclesiastical offenders.
(f2120) Compare the two attempts, Acts 23:15 and Acts 25:3.
(f2121) V. 10. It is some help towards our realizing the scene in our imagination, if we remember that Felix was seated on the tribunal (bhma) like Gallio (Acts 18:12) and Festus (Acts 25:6).
(f2122) In reckoning these twelve days (v. 11) it would be possible to begin with the arrival in Jerusalem instead of the departure for Caesarea, — or we might exclude the days after the return to Caesarea. Wieseler’s arrangement of the time is as follows. 1st day; Departure from Caesarea. 2d: Arrival at Jerusalem. 3d: Meeting of the Elders. 4th (Pentecost):Arrest in the Temple. 5th: Trial before the Sanhedrin. 6th (at night):Departure to Caesarea. 7th: Arrival. 12th (five days after):Ananias leaves Jerusalem. 13th: Ananias reaches Caesarea. Trial before Felix.
(f2123) It has been well observed that the classical phrase "our hereditary God" (v. 14) was judiciously employed before Felix. "The Apostle asserts that, according to the Roman law which allowed all men to worship the gods of their own nation, he is not open to any charge of irreligion." Humphry.
(f2124) If these events took place in the year 58 A. D., he had been governor six years.
(f2125) Acts 10, Besides other means of information, we must remember that Drusilla, his present wife, was a Jewess.
(f2126) Such is the turn given to the words by some of the best commentators. Or they may be taken to denote that he was too well informed concerning the Christian religion to require any further information that might be elicited by the trial: it was only needful to wait for the coming of Lysias.
(f2127) This is more correct than the A. V.
(f2128) Not "a centurion," as in A. V. A natural inference from the use of the article is, that it was the same centurion who had brought St. Paul from Antipatris (see above), and Mr. Birks traces here an undersigned coincidence. But no stress can be laid on this view. The officer might be simply the centurion who was present and on duty at the time.
(f2129) See below.
(f2130) V. 23.
(f2131) V. 24.
(f2132) We must understand that Felix and Drusilla came to some place convenient for an audience, probably the hall mentioned below (Acts 25:23) where the Apostle spoke before Festus with Drusilla’s brother and sister, Agrippa and Berenice.
(f2133) Observe the force of being a Jewess. We should also notice the phrase by which the Gospel is here described, the faith in Christ or the Messiah The name "Christian" was doubtless familiarly known at Caesarea. And a Jewish princess must necessarily have been curious to hear some account of what professed to be the fullfillment of Jewish prophecy. Compare Acts 25:22.
(f2134) Albinus, who succeeded Festus, is said to have released many prisoners, but those only from whom he received a bribe. Joseph. Ant. 20:8, 5. War, 2:14, 1.
(f2135) This suggestion is made by Mr. Birks. For the contributions which St. Paul had recently brought to Jerusalem, see above.
(f2136) We may contrast the verb here (v. 26) with that for continuous address (v. 25), as we have done before in the narrative of the night-service at Troas, Acts 20:9, 11.
(f2137) It is allowable here to refer to the words in which Socrates refused the aid of his friends, who urged him to escape from prison: while in comparing the two cases we cannot but contrast the vague though overpowering sense of moral duty in the Heathen philosopher with the clear and lofty perception of eternal realities in the inspired Apostle.
(f2138) See pp. 89, 90.
(f2139) It is well known that some have thought that the Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon were written here. This question will be considered hereafter.
(f2140) Acts 24:23. Meyer and De Wette have understood this as though St. Paul was committed to the custodia libera; but we have seen that this kind of detention was only employed in the case of men of rank, and moreover the mention of the centurion excludes it. But besides this, it is expressly stated (Acts 24:27) that Felix left Paul chained. The same Greek word (meaning relaxation) is applied to the mitigation of Agrippa’s imprisonment (Joshua Ant. 18:6, 10) on the accession of Caligula, although Agrippa was still left under custodia militaris, and still bound with a chain. We shall have occasion to refer again to this relaxation of Agrippa’s imprisonment as illustrating that of St. Paul at Rome. There was, indeed, a lighter form of custodia militaris sometimes employed, under the name of observatio, when the soldier kept guard over his prisoner, and accompanied him wherever he went, but was not chained to him. To this we might have supposed St. Paul subjected, both at Caesarea and at Rome, were not such an hypothesis excluded as to Caearea by Acts 24:27, 26:29, and as to Rome by Ephesians 6:20, Philippians 1:13. Compare Acts 28:16, 31.
(f2141) Such seems the meaning of "relaxation at to eating" in the passage of Josephus, referred to in the preceding note.
(f2142) Albinus. See above, p. 664. Josephus says that, though he received bribes for opening the prisons, he wished by this act to make himself popular, when he found he was to be superseded by Gessius Floras.
(f2143) See v. 2 and v. 15. We should compare St. Luke’s statement with the two accounts given by Festus himself to Agrippa, below.
(f2144) Again we should compare v. 2 and v. 15. Thus the accusers were again representatives of the Sanhedrin.
(f2145) See the second account given by Festus himself to Agrippa, below, v. 24. "All the multitude of the Jews dealt with me, both in Jerusalem and also here, crying that he ought not to live any longer."
(f2146) V. 3. See v. 16.
(f2147) Compare the conduct of Albinus and Agrippa I., alluded to before.
(f2148) V. 3.
(f2149) The English version "should be kept" is rather too peremptory. Festus doubtless expresses this decision, but in the most conciliating form.
(f2150) See above, v. 11. Compare the case of Pilate and Barabbas.
(f2151) V. 16. Compare the following passages Acts 23:30, 24:19, 25:5.
(f2152) V. 5.
(f2153) The course of the narrative shows that they went immediately. This is also asserted in the phrase "go down with me," which does not necessarily imply that they went down in the same company with Festus.
(f2154) "The next day," v. 6.; "without any delay on the morrow," v. 17.
(f2155) See again vv. 6, 17.
(f2156) V. 7.
(f2157) See v. 24, where the demand for his death is said to have taken place both at Jerusalem and Caearea.
(f2158) At this period, an accused person might be kept in prison indefinitely, by the delay of the accuser, or the procrastination of the magistrate. See our remarks on this subject, at the beginning of Ch. 25.
(f2159) Acts 25:8, (1) "the Law," (2) "the Temple," (3) "Caesar."
(f2160) V. 9. In v. 20 this is omitted.
(f2161) V. 10.
(f2162) "Wilt thou," &c.
(f2163) The expression here used (equivalent to the Latin appellare) was the regular technical phrase for lodging an appeal. The Roman law did not require any written appeal to be lodged in the hands of the Court; pronunciation of the single word Appello was sufficient to suspend all further proceedings.
(f2164) We must not confound this right of Appellatio to the Tribunes with the right of appeal (Provocatio) to the Comitia, which belonged to every Roman citizen. This latter right was restricted, even in the Republican era, by the institution of the Quoestiones Perpetuoe; because, the judices appointed for those Quaestiones being regarded as representatives of the Comitia, there was no appeal from their decisions. In the time of the Emperors, the Comitia themselves being soon discontinued, this right of Provocatio could be no longer exercised.
(f2165) According to Dio, this was already the case as early as the time of Augustus. It may be doubted whether the Emperor at first claimed the right of reversing the sentences pronounced by the judices of the Quaestiones Perpetuae, which were exempt from the Intercessio of the Tribune. But this question is of less importance, because the system of Quaestiones Perpetuae was soon superseded under the Empire, as we shall afterwards have an opportunity of remarking.
(f2166) For a notice of such consiliarii in a province, see Sueton. Tib. 33. Their office was called assessura. Sueton. Galb. 14.
(f2167) The sentence is not interrogative, as in A. V., but the words express a solemn decision of the Procurator and his Assessors.
(f2168) This report was termed Apostoli, or litaroe Jimissorioe.
(f2169) Some illustrations of peculiar interest from Josephus, as regards both the complimentary character of this visit and the position of Berenice in the matter, are pointed out by the lamented Prof. Blunt, in his Scriptural Coincidences, pp. 358-360.
(f2170) See above, p. 653.
(f2171) Vv. 14-21.
(f2172) The form of the verb implies this reiteration.
(f2173) The tense (v. 22) might seem to imply that he had long wished to see St. Paul.
(f2174) For the audience-hall, see above We may remark that the presence of several Chiliarchs implies that the military force at Caesarea was considerable. The five resident cohorts mentioned by Josephus have been noticed above, p. 657, n. 5.
(f2175) Vv. 24-27.
(f2176) The title Lord applied here to the Emperor should be noticed. Augustus and Tiberius declined a title which implied the relation of master and slave, but their successors sanctioned the use of it, and Julian tried in vain to break through the custom.
(f2177) Observe the mention of the "loud voice," coupled with the fact that Paul "was speaking for himself." Both expressions show that he was suddenly interrupted in the midst of his discourse.
(f2178) The original has the definite article here.
(f2179) See again v. 27, where St. Paul appeals again to the prophets, the writings to which he had alluded before.
(f2180) 2Timothy 4:13. These, we may well believe, would especially be the Old
Testament Scriptures, — perhaps Jewish commentaries on them, and possibly also the works of Heathen poets and philosophers.
(f2181) The phrase here cannot mean "almost," as it is in the Authorized Version. It might mean either "in few words
" (Ephesians 3:3), or "
in a small measure," or "in a small time." The latter meaning agrees best with the following, "in little or in much." We might render the passage thus:"Thou thinkest to make me a Christian with little persuasion." We should observe that the verb is in the present tense, and that the title "Christian" was one of contempt. See
(f2182) V. 30.
(f2183) V. 31.
(f2184) Again the expression is contemptuous. See the remarks on Acts 16:35 (p.
268). Caludius Lysias uses a similar expression in his letter to Felix, 23:27.
(f2185) Compare Acts 28:18.
(f2186) From the British Museum. Mr. Akerman describes it thus. "This prince, notwithstanding the troubles which now began to afflict his ill-fated country, spent large sums in improving and beautifying Jerusalem, Berytas, and Caesarea Philippi. Of the latter there is a coin extant, bearing the head of Nero: reverse EPI BASILE AGRIPPA NERWNIE, within a laurel garland, confirming the account of Josephus (Ant. 20:9, 8), who says Herod enlarged and called the city Neronias, in honor of the Emperor." Numbers Ill. p. 57.