Acts 25 Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV)
Paul on Trial Before Festus
25 Three days after Festus arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. 2 Then the high priests and the leaders of the Jews brought formal charges against Paul 3 and asked Festus for the favor of transferring Paul’s case to Jerusalem. Their plan was to ambush and kill Paul along the way.
4 However, Festus replied that Paul was being held in custody at Caesarea and that he himself intended to go there soon. 5 “Therefore,” he said, “let some of your leaders go down with me and press charges against him, if there is anything evil about the man.”
6 After spending no more than eight or ten days among them, he went down to Caesarea. The next day, he sat on the judicial bench and ordered Paul to be brought in.
7 When he arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him and brought many serious charges that they could not prove. 8 Paul said in his defense, “I have not committed any offense against the Jewish law, against the temple, or against Caesar.”
9 But since Festus wanted to do the Jews a favor, he said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?”
10 But Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar’s judicial bench, where I ought to be tried. I have done nothing wrong to the Jews, as also you yourself know very well. 11 If I am guilty and have done something worthy of death, I am not trying to escape death. But if there is nothing to the charges they are making against me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!”
12 After Festus conferred with his council, he answered, “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!”
Paul’s Hearing Before Agrippa
13 Some days later, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus. 14 Since they were going to stay there a number of days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king. He said, “There is a man who was left as a prisoner by Felix. 15 When I was in Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews brought charges against him and asked for a sentence of condemnation against him.
16 “I answered them that it is not the Roman custom to hand over any man[a] before the accused has met the accusers face to face and has had an opportunity to make a defense against the accusation.
17 “Therefore, after they came back here with me, I did not delay. On the next day I took my place on the judicial bench and ordered the man to be brought in. 18 When the accusers stood up, they charged him with none of the crimes I was expecting. 19 Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus who was dead, but who Paul claimed is alive. 20 Since I was at a loss how to investigate these issues, I asked if he was willing to go to Jerusalem to be tried there concerning these charges. 21 But when Paul appealed to be kept in custody until his majesty the emperor would decide his case, I ordered him to be held until I could send him to Caesar.”
22 Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear the man myself.”
“Tomorrow,” he said, “you will hear him.”
23 So the next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp and entered the courtroom together with the commanders and the most prominent men of the city. When Festus gave the order, Paul was brought in.
24 Festus said, “King Agrippa and all the men who are present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Jewish crowd petitioned me, both in Jerusalem and here, shouting that he ought not to live any longer. 25 But I found that he has done nothing that deserves death. Yet, since he appealed to his majesty the emperor, I decided to send him. 26 But I have nothing definite to write to my lord about him. Therefore, I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that after this preliminary hearing I may have something to write. 27 Indeed, it seems unreasonable to me to send a prisoner without clearly indicating what the charges are against him.”