1. Three days after his arrival in the province, Festus went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea.
2. The chief priests and leaders of the Jews informed him of the case against Paul,
3. urgently asking him to support them against him, and to have him transferred to Jerusalem. They were preparing an ambush to murder him on the way.
4. But Festus replied that Paul was in custody in Caesarea, and that he would be going back there shortly himself.
5. He said, 'Let your authorities come down with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, they can bring a charge against him.'
6. After staying with them for eight or ten days at the most, he went down to Caesarea and the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and had Paul brought in.
7. As soon as Paul appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem surrounded him, making many serious accusations which they were unable to substantiate.
8. Paul's defence was this, 'I have committed no offence whatever against either Jewish law, or the Temple, or Caesar.'
9. Festus was anxious to gain favour with the Jews, so he said to Paul, 'Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and be tried on these charges before me there?'
10. But Paul replied, 'I am standing before the tribunal of Caesar and this is where I should be tried. I have done the Jews no wrong, as you very well know.
11. If I am guilty of committing any capital crime, I do not ask to be spared the death penalty. But if there is no substance in the accusations these persons bring against me, no one has a right to surrender me to them. I appeal to Caesar.'
12. Then Festus conferred with his advisers and replied, 'You have appealed to Caesar; to Caesar you shall go.'
13. Some days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea and paid their respects to Festus.
14. Their visit lasted several days, and Festus put Paul's case before the king, saying, 'There is a man here whom Felix left behind in custody,
15. and while I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and elders of the Jews laid information against him, demanding his condemnation.
16. But I told them that Romans are not in the habit of surrendering any man, until the accused confronts his accusers and is given an opportunity to defend himself against the charge.
17. So they came here with me, and I wasted no time but took my seat on the tribunal the very next day and had the man brought in.
18. When confronted with him, his accusers did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected;
19. but they had some argument or other with him about their own religion and about a dead man called Jesus whom Paul alleged to be alive.
20. Not feeling qualified to deal with questions of this sort, I asked him if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem to be tried there on this issue.
21. But Paul put in an appeal for his case to be reserved for the judgement of the emperor, so I ordered him to be remanded until I could send him to Caesar.'
22. Agrippa said to Festus, 'I should like to hear the man myself.' He answered, 'Tomorrow you shall hear him.'
23. So the next day Agrippa and Bernice arrived in great state and entered the audience chamber attended by the tribunes and the city notables; and Festus ordered Paul to be brought in.
24. Then Festus said, 'King Agrippa, and all here present with us, you see before you the man about whom the whole Jewish community has petitioned me, both in Jerusalem and here, loudly protesting that he ought not to be allowed to remain alive.
25. For my own part I am satisfied that he has committed no capital crime, but when he himself appealed to the emperor I decided to send him.
26. But I have nothing definite that I can write to his Imperial Majesty about him; that is why I have produced him before you all, and before you in particular, King Agrippa, so that after the examination I may have something to write.
27. It seems to me pointless to send a prisoner without indicating the charges against him.'