THE STORY THAT PAUL TOLD TO THE KING
Acts xxv: 1, to xxvi: 32.
HEN Festus came to rule over the land of Judea, in the
place of Felix, who had kept Paul in prison so long, he
went up to Jerusalem to visit that city. There the
chief priests and the leading men spoke to him against
Paul, and they asked that he might be sent to Jerusalem
to be tried. It was their plan to kill Paul on the
way. But Festus told them that Paul should be kept at
Caesarea, and that he himself would soon go there.
"Let some of your leaders go down with me," said
Festus, "and bring your charges against him, if you
When Festus came down to Caesarea he called them all
together, and sat upon the judge's seat, and commanded
Paul to be brought. Then the Jews said evil things
about Paul, declaring that he had done wickedly. But
they could not prove any of the things which they spoke
against him. And Paul said, "I have done no wrong
against the law of the Jews, nor against the Temple,
nor against the rule of Caesar the emperor."
Festus wished to please the Jews, for he did not know
their secret purpose to kill Paul. He said, "Are you
willing to go up to Jerusalem, and there be tried upon
these charges before me?"
But Paul said, "I am standing before the Roman court
where I ought to be judged. I have done no wrong to
the Jews, as thou knowest very well, and no man shall
give me into their hands. I ask for a trial before
Caesar, the emperor at Rome."
It was the law throughout the Roman lands that any
citizen of Rome, as Paul was, could ask to be tried at
Rome before Caesar, the emperor. When Festus heard
Paul's words, he said, "Do you ask to be tried before
Caesar? Then unto Caesar you shall go."
Paul was taken back to the prison at Caesarea to be
sent to Rome when his time should come. A few days
after this a Jewish ruler named Agrippa, with his
sister Bernice, came to visit Festus. He was called
"King Agrippa" and he ruled over a part of the land on
the east of the river Jordan. While Agrippa and
Bernice were at Caesarea, Festus said to them, "There
is a certain man left a prisoner by Felix, of whom the
chief priests and elders of the Jews asked, when I was
at Jerusalem, that I should give orders to have him put
to death, or given into their hands. I told them
that the Romans never give judgment against any man
until he stands face to face before his enemies, and
can make answer to their charges. When they came down
to this place, and the man was brought before them,
their charges were not the wicked acts that I expected
to hear of; but they had some questions about their
ways of worship, and about somebody
 named Jesus,
who was dead, but who Paul said was alive. As I could
not understand these questions, I asked Paul whether he
would go up to Jerusalem, and there be tried. But Paul
asked for a trial before Caesar, and I am keeping him
to be sent to the emperor at Rome."
"I would like," said Agrippa, "to hear this man
"To-morrow," said Festus, "you shall hear him."
So on the next day, Agrippa and his sister, Bernice,
and Festus, with the chief men of the city and the
officers of the army, came in great state to the hall
of judgment, and Paul was brought before them, chained
to a Roman soldier. And after a few words by Festus,
Agrippa said to Paul, "You may now speak for
Then Paul spoke in words like these:
"I think myself happy, King Agrippa, to give answer
before thee of all the things charged against me by the
Jews, because I am sure that thou dost know all the
Jewish ways and the questions about the law. I ask
thee, then, to hear me. My way of life from my youth
all the Jews know, for I have lived among them; and if
they tell the truth, they would say that I was of those
who kept the laws of our people most carefully. And
now I stand here to be judged for the sake of the
promise which God made to our fathers; that promise to
which our twelve tribes, serving God day and night,
hope to come. And on account of this hope, O king, the
Jews charge me with doing evil; because I believe that
Jesus Christ rose from the dead to be the King of
Israel. Why should it be something thou canst not
believe, that God does raise the dead to life?
PAUL BEFORE AGRIPPA
"In former times I really thought with myself that I
ought to do many things against the name of Jesus of
Nazareth. And this I did in Jerusalem; for I shut up
many good men and women in prisons, and when they were
put to death I gave my voice against them. I caused
them to be beaten, and I tried to make them curse the
name of Jesus; and being exceedingly mad against them,
I sought for them even in cities far away.
"And as I journeyed to Damascus with letters from the
chief priests, at mid-day, O king, I saw on the way a
light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun,
shining around me and those who were with me. And as
we all fell down upon the ground, I heard a voice
saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you fighting against
"And I said, 'Who art thou, Lord?'
the Lord said, 'I am Jesus, whom you are trying to
destroy. But rise up, and stand upon your feet, for I
have shown myself to you to make you my servant and my
messenger to tell of what you have seen, and of what I
will show you. I will keep you safe from the Jewish
people and from the Gentiles, to whom I send you, to
open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to
light, and from the power of Satan, the evil one, to
God, that their sins may be forgiven, and that they may
receive a reward among those that are made holy by
faith in me.
"O King Agrippa, I did not disobey the voice from
heaven, but first at Damascus, and then at Jerusalem
and throughout all the land of Judea, and also among
the Gentiles, I have spoken, telling men to turn from
sin to God, and to show deeds of right-doing. This is
the cause why the Jews seized me in the Temple and
tried to kill me. Having gained help from God, I stand
unto this day, speaking to people, small and great,
saying only what is given in the law of Moses and in
the prophets: that the Christ must suffer and die, and
that he by rising from the dead should give light to
our people and to the Gentiles."
While Paul was speaking, Festus said with a loud voice,
"Paul, you are mad! Your great learning has turned you
For Festus, being a Roman, knew nothing of Jesus or of
the truths which Paul spoke.
But Paul said to him, "I am not mad, most noble
Festus. I speak only sober and truthful words. The
king knows of these things, and I speak freely to him.
None of these things are hidden from him, for these
things were not done in secret. King Agrippa, dost
thou believe the prophets? I know that thou dost
And Agrippa said to Paul, "A little more and you will
persuade me to become a Christian!"
And Paul said, "I would before God, that whether with
little or with much, that not only thou, but also all
that hear me this day, might become such as I am,
except these chains!"
After these words, King Agrippa, and Bernice, and
Festus the governor, and those who were there, went
away by themselves, and they said to each other, "This
man has done nothing deserving death or prison."
And Agrippa said to Festus, "This man might have been
set free if he had not asked to be tried before