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Paul Asks to See Caesar

25 1Festus became governor, and three days later he went from Caesarea to Jerusalem. 2The leading priests and the important Jewish leaders made charges against Paul before Festus. 3They asked Festus to do something for them; the Jews wanted Festus to send Paul back to Jerusalem. They had a plan to kill Paul on the way. 4But Festus answered, "No! Paul will be kept in Caesarea. I myself will go to Caesarea soon. 5Some of your leaders should go with me. They can accuse the man (Paul) there in Caesarea, if he has really done something wrong." 6Festus stayed in Jerusalem another eight or ten days. Then he went back to Caesarea. The next day Festus told the soldiers to bring Paul before him. Festus was seated on the judgment seat. 7Paul came into the room. The Jews who had come from Jerusalem stood around him. The Jews said that Paul had done many wrong things. But they could not prove any of these things. 8This is what Paul said to defend himself: "I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law, against the temple,* or against Caesar.*" 9But Festus wanted to please the Jews. So he asked Paul, "Do you want to go to Jerusalem? Do you want me to judge you there on these charges?" 10Paul said, "I am standing at Caesar's* judgment seat now. This is where I should be judged! I have done nothing wrong to the Jews; you know this is true. 11If I have done something wrong, and the law says I must die, then I agree that I should die. I don't ask to be saved from death. But if these charges are not true, then no person can give me to these Jews. No! I want Caesar* to hear my case!" 12Festus talked about this with his advisers. Then he said, "You have asked to see Caesar,* so you will go to Caesar!"

Paul Before Herod Agrippa

13A few days later King Agrippa* and Bernice* came to Caesarea to visit Festus. 14They stayed there many days. Festus told the king about Paul's case. Festus said, "There is a man that Felix left in prison. 15When I went to Jerusalem, the leading priests and the older Jewish leaders there made charges against him. These Jews wanted me to order his death. 16But I answered, 'When a man is accused of doing something wrong, Romans don't give the man to other people to judge. First, the man must face the people that are accusing him. And he must be allowed to defend himself against their charges.' 17So these Jews came here [to Caesarea] for the trial. And I did not waste time. The next day I sat on the judgment seat and commanded that the man (Paul) be brought in. 18The Jews stood up and accused him. But the Jews did not accuse him of any bad crimes. I thought they would. 19The things they said were about their own religion and about a man named Jesus. Jesus died, but Paul said that he is still alive. 20I did not know much about these things, so I did not ask questions. But I asked Paul, 'Do you want to go to Jerusalem and be judged there?' 21But Paul asked to be kept in Caesarea. He wants a decision from the Emperor (Caesar*). So I commanded that Paul be held until I could send him to Caesar [in Rome]." 22Agrippa* said to Festus, "I would like to hear this man, too." Festus said, "Tomorrow you can hear him!" 23The next day Agrippa* and Bernice* appeared. They dressed and acted like very important people. Agrippa and Bernice, the army leaders, and the important men of Caesarea went into the judgment room. Festus commanded the soldiers to bring Paul in. 24Festus said, "King Agrippa and all of you men gathered here with us, you see this man (Paul). All the Jewish people, here and in Jerusalem, have complained to me about him. When they complain about him, they shout that he should be killed. 25When I judged him, I could find nothing wrong. I found no reason to order his death. But he asked to be judged by Caesar.* So I decided to send him [to Rome]. 26But I don't really know what to tell Caesar that this man has done wrong. So I have brought him before all of you--especially you, King Agrippa. I hope that you can question him and give me something to write to Caesar. 27I think it is foolish to send a prisoner [to Caesar] without making some charges against him."

temple The special building in Jerusalem for Jewish worship. Caesar The name given to the emperor (ruler) of Rome. Agrippa Herod Agrippa II, great-grandson of Herod the Great. Bernice Agrippa's sister. She was the oldest daughter of Herod Agrippa I.

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