Acts 26:24-32 — Festus and Agrippa Respond

24 Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!”

25 But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason.

26 For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner.

27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.”

28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”

29 And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.”

30 When he had said these things, the king stood up, as well as the governor and Bernice and those who sat with them;

31 and when they had gone aside, they talked among themselves, saying, “This man is doing nothing deserving of death or chains.”

32 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”

Festus thought it unbelievable that Christ could rise from the dead (v.24). His interruption probably wasn’t simple rudeness but astonishment at what Paul had been saying, perhaps mixed with concern about how it would sound to Agrippa.

much learning (v.24) = lit. “much writing” — Festus may have been referring to the writing Paul was doing in prison. In any case, he could tell Paul was well-educated.

is driving you (v.24) = lit. “is turning you upside-down”

soberness (v.25) — the opposite of madness

Agrippa professed to believe the prophets (v.27), and he certainly knew about Jesus Christ and about Paul’s ministry. Paul urged him to put these facts together and arrive at the obvious conclusion.

you almost persuade me (v.28) — Agrippa probably said this half-in-jest to parry Paul’s question. It could be translated, “With a little persuasion would you try to make a Christian of me!”

might have been set free (v.32) — Thus Festus’s acknowledgement that Paul was innocent from the point of view of Roman law (Acts 25:25) is confirmed by the decision of Agrippa, speaking from the Jewish point of view. The appeal to Caesar, however, had taken the matter out of local jurisdiction. Possibly, Agrippa’s opinion influenced the terms of the letter which Festus drafted to Rome about Paul’s case. — Walker, page 542.

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