Acts 24

Acts chapter 24

    Home         Origin         Birth         John         Acts         Testimonials         Contact    
Acts 24

Acts 24:1-13

Acts 24:14-21 Sect
Acts 24:22-27 Felix
ACTS 24:1  1 Now after five days Ananias the high priest came down with the elders and a certain orator named Tertullus. These gave evidence to the governor against Paul.

Who came to Caesarea from Jerusalem with "Ananias the high priest" (Acts 24:1)?
Given the "great dissension" (Acts 23:10) that arose between the Pharisees and Sadducees over Paul, most if not all of "the elders" (Acts 24:1) who accompanied Ananias and stood behind the accusation "against Paul" (Acts 24:1) are likely to have been from the Sadducees faction of the Sanhedrin, the ruling council of Israel.

Who was "Tertullus" (Acts 24:1)?
He was an "orator" (Acts 24:1), a lawyer for the era. While his name is Roman, it wasn't uncommon for Jews and Greeks to take Roman names, so Tertullus may not have been a Roman. And while he speaks from a Jewish perspective (see below), it also wasn't uncommon for orators/lawyers to speak from the perspective of their clients, so Tertullus may not have been a Jew either. Regardless of his background, he had been deemed best able to present Ananias and company's case against Paul.

Why didn't Ananias present the "evidence" (Acts 24:1) himself?
Since this was a Roman trial, Ananias may have wanted to take no chances regarding Roman trial law and protocols. It probably was also conducted in Latin, which would have been Ananias' second language at best. And of course, he had no evidence to present.

ACTS 24:2-3  2 And when he was called upon, Tertullus began his accusation, saying: “Seeing that through you we enjoy great peace, and prosperity is being brought to this nation by your foresight, 3 we accept it always and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness.

Did the Jews in Judea "enjoy great peace" (Acts 24:2)?
If so, 472 Roman soldiers wouldn't have been needed to protect the transfer of one prisoner (see Paul's nephew). Judea was a hotbed of simmering rebellion that often boiled over, not a place of great peace.

Was "prosperity ... being brought to this nation" (Acts 24:2)?
If so, Paul's companions wouldn't have had to bring famine relief donations for the church in Jerusalem.

Did the Jews "accept it always and in all places ... with all thankfulness" (Acts 24:3)?
Paul had been sent to Caesarea because the Jews had plotted to kill him in Jerusalem, which would have required them to fight against and probably kill the Roman soldiers protecting Paul.

Was Felix "most noble" (Acts 24:3)?
No, see Felix.

What was Tertullus trying to achieve with his lies?
In Roman court, it was customary for orators to start with flattery to win the favor of the judge. In this case, however, Tertullus' flattery may also have been made and/or received with a veiled threat against the peace of the region, should Felix not side with the Jews.

ACTS 24:4  4 Nevertheless, not to be tedious to you any further, I beg you to hear, by your courtesy, a few words from us.

Why does Tertullus say he doesn't want to "be tedious to [Felix] any further" (Acts 24:4) and switch to making his accusation against Paul?
Felix may have started to roll his eyes at Tertullus' insincere flattery, or Tertullus may not have wanted to linger on a veiled threat if one had been issued and/or perceived, lest Felix gets upset.

ACTS 24:5  5 For we have found this man a plague, a creator of dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.

Why does Tertullus call Paul a ringleader of "the sect of the Nazarenes" (Acts 24:5)?
Because Jesus grew up in Nazareth (see Jesus of Nazareth), the Jews called Christians "the sect of the Nazarenes" in derogation.

ACTS 24:6  6 He even tried to profane the temple, and we seized him, and wanted to judge him according to our law.

Did Paul try to "profane the temple" (Acts 24:6) of Jerusalem?
To the contrary, he spent almost seven days in it in ritual purification (see Paul's Nazarite vow).

Did the Jews want to "judge him according to our law" (Acts 24:6)?
"They were seeking to kill him" (Acts 21:31) contrary to their law.

ACTS 24:7-9  7 But the commander Lysias came by and with great violence took him out of our hands, 8 commanding his accusers to come to you. By examining him yourself you may ascertain all these things of which we accuse him.” 9 And the Jews also assented, maintaining that these things were so.

Did the commander Lysius "with great violence" (Acts 24:7) take Paul out of their hands?
The Roman Commander Claudius Lysias took Paul from their great violence against him.

ACTS 24:10-13  10 Then Paul, after the governor had nodded to him to speak, answered: “Inasmuch as I know that you have been for many years a judge of this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself, 11 because you may ascertain that it is no more than twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 And they neither found me in the temple disputing with anyone nor inciting the crowd, either in the synagogues or in the city. 13 Nor can they prove the things of which they now accuse me.

What is missing from Paul's opening words?
The flattery. He simply acknowledges that Felix had "been for many years a judge of this nation" (Acts 24:10). Since Felix was at this time also married to Drusilla, one of Herod's daughters, he should have had at least some knowledge of Judaism and Christianity.

Had it really only been "no more than twelve days since [Paul] went up to Jerusalem" (Acts 24:11)?
A more literal translations of the Greek phrase translated "since" (Acts 24:11) is "be to me". Paul is talking about the 12 days he spent in Jerusalem, a period rather short to be organizing and committing all that he is accused of committing, especially since 3 of those 12 days were spent in Roman custody: "And when we had come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly (Day 1). On the following day (Day 2) Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present." (Acts 21:17-18) "Then Paul took the men, and the next day, having been purified with them, entered the temple ... Now when the seven days (Days 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) were almost ended, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him." (Acts 24:27) "The next day (Day 10), because he (commander Lysias) wanted to know for certain why he was accused by the Jews, he released him from his bonds, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down and set him before them." (Acts 22:30) "But the following night (Day 11) the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome." (Acts 23:11) "And when it was day (Day 12), some of the Jews banded together and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul." (Acts 23:12) Paul was escorted out of Jerusalem that night.

If you have questions, comments, corrections or suggestions for this page, please click here. To share this page with others, please link to it from your social media profile, blog or website. To quote from this page, please view the copyright notice. To translate this page into another language, please click here.