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  • ROBERTSON'S NT WORD STUDIES
    & BIBLE COMMENTARY - ACTS 26

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    26:1 {Thou art permitted} (epitrepetai soi). Literally, It is permitted thee. As if Agrippa were master of ceremonies instead of Festus. Agrippa as a king and guest presides at the grand display while Festus has simply introduced Paul. {For thyself} (huper seautou). Some MSS. have peri (concerning). Paul is allowed to speak in his own behalf. No charges are made against him. In fact, Festus has admitted that he has no real proof of any charges. {Stretched forth his hand} (ekteinas ten ceira). Dramatic oratorical gesture (not for silence as in #12:17; 13:16) with the chain still upon it (verse #29) linking him to the guard. First aorist active participle of ekteinw, to stretch out. {Made his defence} (apelogeito). Inchoative imperfect of apologeomai (middle), "began to make his defence." this is the fullest of all Paul's defences. He has no word of censure of his enemies or of resentment, but seizes the opportunity to preach Christ to such a distinguished company which he does with "singular dignity" (Furneaux). He is now bearing the name of Christ "before kings" (#Ac 9:15). In general Paul follows the line of argument of the speech on the stairs (chapter #Ac 22).

    26:2 {I think myself happy} (hegemai emauton makarion). See on ¯Mt 5:3 for makarios. Blass notes that Paul, like Tertullus, begins with _captatio benevolentiae_, but _absque adulatione_. He says only what he can truthfully speak. For hegemai see #Php 3:7; 1Ti 6:1 (perfect middle indicative of hegeomai), I have considered. {That I am to make my defence} (mellwn apologeisqai). Literally, "being about to make my defence." {Whereof I am accused} (hwn egkaloumai). Genitive with egkaloumai as in #19:40 or by attraction from accusative of relative (ha) to case of antecedent (pantwn).

    26:3 {Especially because thou art expert} (malista gnwsten onta se). Or like the margin, "because thou art especially expert," according as malista is construed. gnwsten is from ginwskw and means a knower, expert, connoisseur. Plutarch uses it and Deissmann (_Light_, etc., p. 367) restores it in a papyrus. Agrippa had the care of the temple, the appointment of the high priest, and the care of the sacred vestments. But the accusative onta se gives trouble here coming so soon after sou (genitive with epi). Some MSS. insert epistamenos or eidws (knowing) but neither is genuine. Page takes it as "governed by the sense of thinking or considering." Knowling considers it an anacoluthon. Buttmann held it to be an accusative absolute after the old Greek idiom. tucon is such an instance though used as an adverb (#1Co 16:6). It is possible that one exists in #Eph 1:18. See other examples discussed in Robertson's _Grammar_, pp. 490f. {Customs and questions} (eqwn te kai zetematwn). Both _consuetudinum in practicis_ and _quaestionum in theoreticis_ (Bengel). Agrippa was qualified to give Paul an understanding and a sympathetic hearing. Paul understands perfectly the grand-stand play of the whole performance, but he refused to be silent and chose to use this opportunity, slim as it seemed, to get a fresh hearing for his own case and to present the claims of Christ to this influential man. His address is a masterpiece of noble apologetic. {Patiently} (makroqumws). Adverb from makroqumos. Only here in the N.T., though makroqumia occurs several times. Vulgate has _longanimiter_. Long spirit, endurance, opposite of impatience. So Paul takes his time.

    26:4 {My manner of life} (ten men oun biwsin mou). With men oun Paul passes from the _captatio benevolentiae_ (verses #1,2) "to the _narratio_ or statement of his case" (Page). biwsis is from biow (#1Pe 4:2) and that from bios (course of life). this is the only instance of biwsis yet found except the Prologue (10) of Ecclesiasticus and an inscription given in Ramsay's _Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia_, Vol II, p. 650. {Know} (isasi). Literary form instead of the vernacular _Koin‚_ oidasin. Paul's early life in Tarsus and Jerusalem was an open book to all Jews.

    26:5 {Having knowledge of me from the first} (proginwskontes me anwqen). Literally, "knowing me beforehand" (both pro and anwqen), from the beginning of Paul's public education in Jerusalem (Knowling). Cf. #2Pe 3:17. {If they be willing to testify} (ean qelwsin marturein). Condition of third class (ean and subjunctive). A neat turning of the tables on the distinguished audience about Paul's Jerusalem reputation before his conversion. {After the straitest sect} (ten akribestaten hairesin). this is a true superlative (not elative) and one of the three (also hagiwtatos, #Jude 1:20, timiwtatos #Re 18:12; 21:11) superlatives in -tatos in the N.T. (Robertson, _Grammar_, pp. 279f., 670), though common enough in the LXX and the papyri. hairesin (choosing) is properly used here with Pharisees (Josephus, _Life_, 38). {Religion} (qreskeias). From qreskeuw and this from qreskos (#Jas 1:26), old word for religious worship or discipline, common in the papyri and inscriptions (Moulton and Milligan's _Vocabulary_) for reverent worship, not mere external ritual. In N.T. only here, #Jas 1:26f.; Col 2:18. {I lived a Pharisee} (ezesa farisaios). Emphatic position. Paul knew the rules of the Pharisees and played the game to the full (#Ga 1:14; Php 3:5f.). The Talmud makes it plain what the life of a Pharisee was. Paul had become one of the leaders and stars of hope for his sect.

    26:6 {And now} (kai nun). Sharp comparison between his youth and the present. {To be judged for the hope} (ep' elpidi--krinomenos). The hope of the resurrection and of the promised Messiah (#13:32). Page calls verses #6-8 a parenthesis in the course of Paul's argument by which he shows that his life in Christ is a real development of the best in Pharisaism. He does resume his narrative in verse #9, but verses #6-8 are the core of his defence already presented in #Ga 3; Ro 9-11 where he proves that the children of faith are the real seed of Abraham.

    26:7 {Our twelve tribes} (to dwdekafulon hemwn). A word found only here in N.T. and in Christian and Jewish writings, though dwdekamenon (twelve month) is common in the papyri and dekafulos (ten tribes) in Herodotus. Paul's use of this word for the Jewish people, like #Jas 1:1 (tais dwdeka fulais, the twelve tribes), shows that Paul had no knowledge of any "lost ten tribes." There is a certain national pride and sense of unity in spite of the dispersion (Page). {Earnestly} (en ekteneiai). A late word from ekteinw, to stretch out, only here in N.T., but in papyri and inscriptions. Page refers to Simeon and Anna (#Lu 2:25-28) as instances of Jews looking for the coming of the Messiah. Note the accusative of nukta kai hemeran as in #20:31. {Hope to attain} (elpizei katantesai). this Messianic hope had been the red thread running through Jewish history. Today, alas, it is a sadly worn thread for Jews who refuse to see the Messiah in Jesus. {I am accused by Jews} (egkaloumai hupo ioudaiwn). The very word used in #23:28 (enekaloun) which see, and by Jews of all people in the world whose mainspring was this very "hope." It is a tremendously effective turn.

    26:8 {Incredible with you} (apiston par' humin). this old word apiston (a privative and pistos) means either unfaithful (#Lu 12:46), unbelieving (#Joh 20:27), or unbelievable as here). Paul turns suddenly from Agrippa to the audience (par' humin, plural), most of whom were probably Gentiles and scouted the doctrine of the resurrection as at Athens (#17:32). {If God doth raise the dead} (ei ho qeos nekrous egeirei). Condition of the first class assuming that God does raise dead people. Only God can do it. this rhetorical question needs no answer, though the narrative resumed in verse #9 does it in a way.

    26:9 {I verily thought with myself} (egw men oun edoxa emautwi). Personal construction instead of the impersonal, a touch of the literary style. Paul's "egoism" is deceived as so often happens. {I ought} (dein). Infinitive the usual construction with dokew. Necessity and a sense of duty drove Paul on even in this great Sin (see on ¯23:1), a common failing with persecutors. {Contrary} (enantia). Old word (adjective), over against, opposite (#Ac 27:4), qen hostile to as here.

    26:10 {I both shut up many} (pollous te katekleisa). Effective aorist active of katakleiw, old word to shut down like a trap door, in N.T. only here and #Lu 3:20. Double use of te (both--and). {Having received authority from the chief priests} (ten para twn arcierewn exousian labwn). "The authority," he says. Paul was the official persecutor of the saints under the direction of the Sanhedrin. He mentions "chief priests" (Sadducees), though a Pharisee himself. Both parties were co-operating against the saints. {And when they were put to death} (anairoumenwn te autwn). Genitive absolute with present passive participle of anairew. {I gave my vote against them} (katenegka yefon). "I cast down my pebble" (a black one). The ancient Greeks used white pebbles for acquittal (#Re 2:17), black ones for condemnation as here (the only two uses of the word in the N.T.). Paul's phrase (not found elsewhere) is more vivid than the usual katayefizw for voting. They literally cast the pebbles into the urn. Cf. sumyefizw in #Ac 19:19, sugkatayefizo in #Ac 1:26. If Paul's language is taken literally here, he was a member of the Sanhedrin and so married when he led the persecution. That is quite possible, though he was not married when he wrote #1Co 7:7f., but a widower. It is possible to take the language figuratively for approval, but not so natural.

    26:11 {Punishing} (timwrwn). Old word timwrew originally to render help, to succor (timwros, from time and ouros), qen to avenge (for honor). In N.T. only here and #22:5. {I strove to make them blaspheme} (enagkazon blasfemein). Conative imperfect active of anagkazw, old verb from anagke (necessity, compulsion). The tense, like the imperfect in #Mt 3:14; Lu 1:59, leaves room to hope that Paul was not successful in this effort, for he had already said that he brought many "unto death" (#22:4). {I persecuted} (ediwkon). Imperfect active again, repeated attempts. The old verb diwkw was used to run after or chase game and qen to chase enemies. The word "persecute" is the Latin _persequor_, to follow through or after. It is a vivid picture that Paul here paints of his success in hunting big game, a grand heresy hunt. {Even unto foreign cities} (kai eis exw poleis). We know of Damascus, and Paul evidently planned to go to other cities outside of Palestine and may even have done so before the fateful journey to Damascus.

    26:12 {Whereupon} (en hois). "In which things" (affairs of persecution), "on which errand." Cf. #24:18. Paul made them leave Palestine (#11:19) and followed them beyond it (#9:2). {With the authority and commission} (met' exousias kai epitropes). Not merely "authority" (exousia), but express appointment (epitrope, old word, but here only in N.T., derived from epitropos, steward, and that from epitrepw, to turn over to, to commit).

    26:13 {At midday} (hemeras meses). Genitive of time and idiomatic use of mesos, in the middle of the day, more vivid than mesembrian (#22:6). {Above the brightness of the sun} (huper ten lamproteta tou heliou). Here alone not in #Ac 9; 22, though implied in #9:3; 22:6, "indicating the supernatural character of the light" (Knowling). Luke makes no effort to harmonize the exact phrases here with those in the other accounts and Paul here (verse #16) blends together what Jesus said to him directly and the message of Jesus through Ananias (#9:15). The word lamprotes, old word, is here alone in the N.T. {Shining round about me} (perilamyan me). First aorist active participle of perilampw, common _Koin‚_ verb, in N.T. only here and #Lu 2:9.

    26:14 {When we were all fallen} (pantwn katapesontwn hemwn). Genitive absolute with second aorist active participle of katapiptw. In the Hebrew language (tei ebraidi dialektwi). Natural addition here, for Paul is speaking in Greek, not Aramaic as in #22:2. {It is hard for thee to kick against the goad} (skleron soi pros kentra laktizein). Genuine here, but not in chapters #9,22. A common proverb as Aeschylus _Ag_. 1624: pros kentra me laktize. "It is taken from an ox that being pricked with a goad kicks and receives a severer wound" (Page). Cf. the parables of Jesus (#Mt 13:35). Blass observes that Paul's mention of this Greek and Latin proverb is an indication of his culture. Besides he mentions (not invents) it here rather than in chapter #22 because of the culture of this audience. kentron means either sting as of bees (II Macc. 14:19) and so of death (#1Co 15:55) or an iron goad in the ploughman's hand as here (the only two N.T. examples). Note plural here (goads) and laktizein is present active infinitive so that the idea is "to keep on kicking against goads." this old verb means to kick with the heel (adverb lax, with the heel), but only here in the N.T. There is a papyrus example of kicking (laktizw) with the feet against the door.

    26:16 {Arise and stand} (anasteqi kai steqi). "Emphatic assonance" (Page). Second aorist active imperative of compound verb (anistemi) and simplex (histemi). "Stand up and take a stand." {Have I appeared unto thee} (wfqen soi). First aorist passive indicative of horaw. See on ¯Lu 22:43. {To appoint thee} (proceirisasqai se). See #3:30; 22:14 for this verb. {Both of the things wherein thou hast seen me} (hwn te eides me). The reading me (not in all MSS.) makes it the object of eides (didst see) and h"n is genitive of ha (accusative of general reference) attracted to the case of the unexpressed antecedent toutwn. Paul is thus a personal eyewitness of the Risen Christ (#Lu 1:1; 1Co 4:1; 9:1). {And of the things wherein I will appear unto thee} (hwn te ofqesomai soi). Here again h"n is genitive of the accusative (general reference) relative ha attracted to the case of the antecedent toutwn or ekeinwn as before. But ofqesomai is first future passive of horaw and cannot be treated as active or middle. Page takes it to mean "the visions in which I shall be seen by you," the passive form bringing out the agency of God. See those in #Ac 18:9; 23:11; 2Co 12:2. The passive voice, however, like apekriqen and efobeqen, did become sometimes transitive in the _Koin‚_ (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 819).

    26:17 {Delivering thee} (exairoumenos se). Present middle participle of exairew, old verb and usually so rendered, but the old Greek also uses it for "choose" as also in LXX (#Isa 48:10). The papyri give examples of both meanings and either makes good sense here. God was continually rescuing Paul "out of the hands of Jews and Gentiles and Paul was a chosen vessel" (#9:15). Modern scholars are also divided.

    26:18 {To open} (anoixai). First aorist active infinitive of purpose. {That they may turn} (tou epistreyai). Another infinitive of purpose first aorist active (genitive case and articular), epexegetic to anoixai. {That they may receive} (tou labein). Another genitive articular infinitive of purpose subordinate (epexegetic) to tou epistreyai. {Sanctified by faith in me} (hegiasmenois pistei tei eis eme). Perfect passive participle of hagiazw, instrumental case of pistei, article before eis eme ("by faith, that in me"). These important words of Jesus to Paul give his justification to this cultured audience for his response to the command of Jesus. this was the turning point in Paul's career and it was a step forward and upward.

    26:19 {Wherefore} (hoqen). this relatival adverb (cf. #14:26; 28:13) gathers up all that Paul has said. {I was not disobedient} (ouk egenomen apeiqes). Litotes again, "I did not become (second aorist middle indicative of ginomai) disobedient" (apeiqes, old word already in #Lu 1:17). {Unto the heavenly vision} (tei ouraniwi optasiai). A later form of oyis, from optazw, in LXX, and in N.T. (#Lu 1:22; 24:23; Ac 26:19; 2Co 12:1). Only time that Paul uses it about seeing Christ on the Damascus road, but no reflection on the reality of the event.

    26:20 {But declared} (alla apeggellon). Imperfect active of apaggellw, repeatedly. {Throughout all the country of Judea} (pasan te tˆn ch"ran tˆs Ioudaias). The accusative here in the midst of the datives (tois en damaskwi, ierosolumois, tois eqnesin) seems strange and Page feels certain that eis should be here even though absent in Aleph A B. But the accusative of extent of space will explain it (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 469). {Doing works worthy of repentance} (axia tes metanoias erga prassontas). Accusative case of present active participle prassontas because of the implied autous with the present infinitive metanoein (repent) and epistrefein (turn), though the dative prassousin could have been used to agree with eqnesin (Gentiles). Cf. #Mt 3:8 for similar language used of the Baptist. Paul, the greatest of theologians, was an interesting practical preacher.

    26:21 {Assayed to kill me} (epeirwnto diaceirisasqai). Conative imperfect middle of peira", the old form of the later _Koin‚_ peirazw so common in the _Koin‚_, but in N.T. here only. Some MSS. have it in #Ac 9:26; Heb 4:15. The old verb diaceirizw, to take in hand, middle to lay hands on, to slay, occurs in N.T. only here and #5:30 which see.

    26:22 {Having therefore obtained} (oun tucwn). Second aorist active participle of old verb tugcanw. {The help that is from God} (epikourias tes apo tou qeou). Old word from epikourew, to aid, and that from epikouros, ally, assister. Only here in N.T. God is Paul's ally. All of the plots of the Jews against Paul had failed so far. {I stand} (hesteka). Second perfect of histemi, to place, intransitive to stand. Picturesque word (Page) of Paul's stability and fidelity (cf. #Php 4:1; Eph 6:13). {Both to small and great} (mikrwi te kai megalwi). Dative singular (rather than instrumental, taking marturoumenos middle, not passive) and use of te kai links the two adjectives together in an inclusive way. These two adjectives in the singular (representative singular rather than plural) can apply to age (young and old) or to rank (#Re 11:18) as is specially suitable here with Festus and Agrippa present. In #Ac 8:10 (#Heb 8:11) the phrase explains pantes (all). {Saying nothing but what} (ouden ektos legwn hwn). "Saying nothing outside of those things which." The ablative relative h"n is attracted into the case of the unexpressed antecedent toutwn and so ablative after ektos (adverbial preposition common in LXX, the papyri. In N.T. here and #1Co 6:18; 15:27; 2Co 12:2f.). Cf. #Lu 16:29 about Moses and the prophets.

    26:23 {How that the Christ must suffer} (ei paqetos ho cristos). Literally, "if the Messiah is subject to suffering." ei can here mean "whether" as in #Heb 7:15. this use of a verbal in -tos for capability or possibility occurs in the N.T. alone in paqetos (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 157). this word occurs in Plutarch in this sense. It is like the Latin _patibilis_ and is from _pasch"_. Here alone in N.T. Paul is speaking from the Jewish point of view. Most rabbis had not rightly understood #Isa 53. When the Baptist called Jesus "the Lamb of God" (#Joh 1:29) it was a startling idea. It is not qen "must suffer" here, but "can suffer." The Cross of Christ was a stumbling-block to the rabbis. {How that he first by the resurrection of the dead} (ei prwtos ex anastasews nekrwn). Same construction with ei (whether). this point Paul had often discussed with the Jews: "whether he (the Messiah) by a resurrection of dead people." Others had been raised from the dead, but Christ is the first (prwtos) who arose from the dead and no longer dies (#Ro 6:19) and proclaims light (fws mellei kataggellein). Paul is still speaking from the Jewish standpoint: "is about to (going to) proclaim light." See verse #18 for "light" and #Lu 2:32. {Both to the people and to the Gentiles} (twi te lawi kai tois eqnesin). See verse #17. It was at the word Gentiles (eqne) that the mob lost control of themselves in the speech from the stairs (#22:21f.). So it is here, only not because of that word, but because of the word "resurrection" (anastasis).

    26:24 {As he thus made his defence} (tauta autou apologoumenou). Genitive absolute again with present middle participle. Paul was still speaking when Festus interrupted him in great excitement. {With a loud voice} (megalei tei fwnei). Associative instrumental case showing manner (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 530) and the predicate use of the adjective, "with the voice loud" (elevated). {Thou art mad} (mainei). Old verb for raving. See also #Joh 10:20; Ac 12:15; 1Co 14:23. The enthusiasm of Paul was too much for Festus and qen he had spoken of visions and resurrection from the dead (verse #8). "Thou art going mad" (linear present), Festus means. {Thy much learning doth turn thee to madness} (ta polla se grammata eis manian peritrepei). "Is turning thee round." Old verb peritrepw, but only here in N.T. Festus thought that Paul's "much learning" (="many letters," cf. #Joh 7:15 of Jesus) of the Hebrew Scriptures to which he had referred was turning his head to madness (wheels in his head) and he was going mad right before them all. The old word mania (our mania, frenzy, cf. maniac) occurs here only in N.T. Note unusual position of se between polla and grammata (Robertson, _Grammar_, pp. 418, 420)

    26:25 {But speak forth} (alla apofqeggomai). Verb for dignified and elevated discourse, a word from the literary _Koin‚_, not the vernacular. In N.T. only here and #2:4,14 which see. It occurs three times in Vettius Valens in a "mantic" sense. Paul was not ruffled by the rude and excited interruption of Festus, but speaks with perfect courtesy in his reply "words of truth and soberness." The old word swfrosune (soundness of mind) from swfrwn (and that from s"s and fren) is directly opposed to "madness" (mania) and in N.T. occurs only here and #1Ti 2:15.

    26:26 {For the king knoweth of these things} (epistatai gar peri toutwn ho basileus). epistatai (present middle probably Ionic form of efistemi) is a literary word and suits well here (cf. #24:10). {Freely} (parresiazomenos). Present middle participle, speaking fully, making a clean breast of it. From parresia (pan, rhesis) (cf. #13:46). {Is hidden from him} (lanqanein auton). Escapes his notice. Infinitive in indirect discourse after peiqomai (I am persuaded).

    26:27 {I know that thou believest} (oida hoti pisteueis). Paul had "cornered" Agrippa by this direct challenge. As the Jew in charge of the temple he was bound to confess his faith in the prophets. But Paul had interpreted the prophets about the Messiah in a way that fell in with his claim that Jesus was the Messiah risen from the dead. To say, "Yes" would place himself in Paul's hands. To say "No" would mean that he did not believe the prophets. Agrippa had listened with the keenest interest, but he slipped out of the coils with adroitness and a touch of humor.

    26:28 {With but little persuasion thou wouldest fain make me a Christian} (en oligwi me peiqeis cristianon poiesai). The Authorized rendering is impossible: "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." en oligwi does not mean "almost." That would require oligou, par' oligon, or dei oligou. It is not clear, however, precisely what en oligoi does mean. It may refer to time (in little time) or a short cut, but that does not suit well en megalwi in verse #29. Tyndale and Crammer rendered it "somewhat" (in small measure or degree). There are, alas, many "somewhat" Christians. Most likely the idea is "in (or with) small effort you are trying to persuade (peiqeis, conative present active indicative) me in order to make me a Christian." this takes the infinitive poiesai to be purpose (Page renders it by "so as") and thus avoids trying to make poiesai like genesqai (become). The aorist is punctiliar action for single act, not "perfect." The tone of Agrippa is ironical, but not unpleasant. He pushes it aside with a shrug of the shoulders. The use of "Christian" is natural here as in the other two instances (#11:26; 1Pe 4:16).

    26:29 {I would to God} (euxaimen an twi qewi). Conclusion of fourth-class condition (optative with an), undetermined with less likelihood, the so-called potential optative (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 1021). Polite and courteous wish (first aorist middle optative of eucomai). {Whether with little or with much} (kai en mikrwi kai en megalwi). Literally, "both in little and in great," or "both with little and with great pains" or "both in some measure and in great measure." Paul takes kindly the sarcasm of Agrippa. {Such as I am} (toioutous hopoios kai egw eimi). Accusative toioutous with the infinitive genesqai. Paul uses these two qualitative pronouns instead of repeating the word "Christian." {Except these bonds} (parektos twn desmwn toutwn). Ablative case with parektos (late preposition for the old parek). Paul lifts his right manacled hand with exquisite grace and good feeling.

    26:30 {Rose up} (aneste). Second aorist active of anistemi (intransitive), agreeing only with "the king" (ho basileus). The entertainment was over.

    26:31 {They spake one to another} (elaloun pros allelous). Imperfect active, describing the eager conversation of the dignitaries about Paul's wonderful speech. {Nothing worthy of death or bonds} (ouden qanatou e desmwn axion). this is the unanimous conclusion of all these dignitaries (Romans, Jews, Greeks) as it was of Festus before (#25:25). But Paul had not won any of them to Christ. The conclusion leaves Festus in a predicament. Why had he not set Paul free before this ?

    26:32 { this man might have been set at liberty} (apolelusqai edunato ho anqrwpos houtos). Conclusion of the second class condition (determined as unfulfilled) without an as in #24:19 because of edunato (verb of possibility, Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 1014). Note perfect passive infinitive apolelusqai from apoluw. He certainly "could have been set free." Why was it not done? {If he had not appealed unto Caesar} (ei me epekekleto kaisara). Condition of the second class with the past perfect middle indicative (_op. cit._, p. 1015) of epikalew (cf. #25:11f.). But Paul _only_ appealed to Caesar after Festus had tried to shift him back to Jerusalem and had refused to set him free in Caesarea. Festus comes out with no honor in the case. Since Agrippa was a favorite at court perhaps Festus would be willing to write favorably to Caesar.

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