the province: That is, the Roman province of Judea, with Caesarea serving as the governor’s residence. The Greek expression rendered arriving in . . . and taking charge is understood to refer to Festus’ taking up his office as governor in the province.
Caesar: Or “the Emperor.” The Roman emperor during Jesus’ earthly ministry was Tiberius, but the term was not restricted to the ruling emperor. “Caesar” could refer to the Roman civil authority, or the State, and its duly appointed representatives, who are called “the superior authorities” by Paul, and “the king” and his “governors” by Peter.—Ro 13:1-7; 1Pe 2:13-17; Tit 3:1; see Glossary.
Caesar: Or “the Emperor.” The Roman emperor at this time was Nero. His rule began in 54 C.E. and ended in 68 C.E. when he committed suicide at about the age of 31. All references to Caesar in Acts chapters 25 through 28 apply to Nero.—See study notes on Mt 22:17; Ac 17:7 and Glossary.
we are Romans: That is, Roman citizens. Paul and apparently also Silas were Roman citizens. Roman law stated that a citizen was always entitled to a proper trial and was never to be punished in public uncondemned. Roman citizenship entitled a person to certain rights and privileges wherever he went in the empire. A Roman citizen was subject to Roman law, not to the laws of provincial cities. When accused, he could agree to be tried according to local law; yet, he still retained the right to be heard by a Roman tribunal. In the case of a capital offense, he had the right to appeal to the emperor. The apostle Paul preached extensively throughout the Roman Empire. He made use of his rights as a Roman citizen on three recorded occasions. The first is here in Philippi when he informed the Philippian magistrates that they had infringed on his rights by beating him.—For the other two occasions, see study notes on Ac 22:25; 25:11.
a Roman: That is, a Roman citizen. This is the second of three recorded instances in which Paul made use of his rights as a Roman citizen. Roman authorities usually interfered little in Jewish affairs. However, the Romans got involved in Paul’s case not only because a riot erupted when he visited the temple but also because he was a Roman citizen. Citizenship afforded a person certain privileges that were recognized and honored throughout the empire. It was illegal, for example, to bind or beat an uncondemned Roman, since such treatment was considered fit for slaves only.—For the other two occasions, see study notes on Ac 16:37; 25:11.
I appeal to Caesar!: In the Bible record, this is the third time that Paul made use of his rights as a Roman citizen. (For the other two occasions, see study notes on Ac 16:37; 22:25.) Such an appeal to Caesar could be made either after the pronouncement of judgment or at any earlier point in the trial. Festus gave evidence of not wanting to decide the matter himself, and a trial in Jerusalem held virtually no hope of justice. So Paul made this formal petition to be judged by the highest court of the empire. It appears that in some cases the appeal could be denied, for example, in the case of a thief, a pirate, or a seditionist caught in the act. Likely for this reason, Festus conferred with “the assembly of counselors” before admitting the appeal. (Ac 25:12) The subsequent hearing with the visiting Herod Agrippa II was held in order that Festus might have clearer information to submit when transmitting Paul’s case to “the August One,” Nero. (Ac 25:12-27; 26:32; 28:19) Paul’s appeal also served the purpose of taking him to Rome, fulfilling an intention expressed earlier. (Ac 19:21) Jesus’ prophetic promise to Paul as well as the angelic message that he later received shows divine direction in the matter.—Ac 23:11; 27:23, 24.
Bernice: The sister of Herod Agrippa II but living incestuously with him. She later became the mistress of Titus before he became Roman emperor.
elders: Lit., “older men.” In the Bible, the Greek term pre·sbyʹte·ros refers primarily to those who hold a position of authority and responsibility in a community or a nation. Although the term sometimes refers to physical age (as at Lu 15:25; Ac 2:17), it is not limited to those who are elderly. Here it refers to the leaders of the Jewish nation who are often mentioned together with chief priests and scribes. The Sanhedrin was made up of men from these three groups.—Mt 21:23; 26:3, 47, 57; 27:1, 41; 28:12; see Glossary, “Elder; Older man.”
elders: Here referring to leaders of the Jewish nation who are often mentioned together with chief priests and scribes.—See study note on Mt 16:21.
Caesar: Or “Emperor.” The Greek word Kaiʹsar corresponds to the Latin term Caesar. (See Glossary.) The name Augustus, a Latin word meaning “August One,” was first given by the Roman Senate as a title to Gaius Octavius, the first Roman emperor, in the year 27 B.C.E. He thus became known as Caesar Augustus. His decree resulted in Jesus’ being born in Bethlehem, in fulfillment of Bible prophecy.—Da 11:20; Mic 5:2.
the August One: A title for the Roman emperor. The Greek word Se·ba·stosʹ means “worthy of reverence; revered; august” and is a translation of the Latin title Augustus. Some translations use such expressions as “His Majesty the Emperor” or “His Imperial Majesty.” In this case, it is the title of Caesar Nero (54-68 C.E.), the fourth in succession from Octavian (Octavius), who first held this title.—See study note on Lu 2:1.
This gold coin, minted about 56-57 C.E., shows a bust of Nero, who ruled the Roman Empire from 54 to 68 C.E. Nero was the Caesar to whom Paul appealed after his unjust arrest in Jerusalem and subsequent incarceration in Caesarea from about 56 to about 58 C.E. It appears that after Paul was first imprisoned in Rome, about 59 C.E., he was pronounced innocent and released about 61 C.E. However, in 64 C.E. a fire destroyed a quarter of the city of Rome, and some blamed Nero for the disaster. To deflect suspicion, Nero accused the Christians, prompting a wave of violent persecution by the government. It is likely that about this time (65 C.E.), Paul was imprisoned in Rome for the second time and was executed thereafter.