on Acts 25 :10
I stand at Caesar's judgment seat - Every procurator represented the person of the emperor in the province over which he presided; and, as the seat of government was at Caesarea, and Paul was now before the tribunal on which the emperor's representative sat, he could say, with the strictest propriety, that he stood before Caesar's judgment seat, where, as a freeman of Rome, he should be tried.
As thou very well knowest - The record of this trial before Felix was undoubtedly left for the inspection of Festus; for, as he left the prisoner to his successor, he must also leave the charges against him, and the trial which he had undergone. Besides, Festus must be assured of his innocence, from the trial through which he had just now passed.
on Acts 25 :10
Then said Paul ... - The reasons why Paul declined the proposal to be tried at Jerusalem are obvious. He had experienced so much violent persecution from his countrymen, and their minds were so full of prejudice, misconception, and enmity, that he had neither justice nor favor to hope at them hands. He knew, too, that they had formerly plotted against his life, and that he had been removed to Caesarea for the purpose of safety. It would be madness and folly to throw himself again into their hands, or to give them another opportunity to form a plan against his life. As he was, therefore, under no obligation to return to Jerusalem, and as Festus did not propose it because it could be supposed that justice would be promoted by it, but to gratify the Jews, Paul prudently declined the proposal, and appealed to the Roman emperor.
I stand at Caesar's judgment seat - The Roman emperors after Julius Caesar were all called "Caesar"; thus, Augustus Caesar, Claudius Caesar, etc., as all the kings of Egypt were called "Pharaoh," though they each had his proper name, as Pharaoh Necho, etc. The emperor at this time (60 a.d.) was Nero, one of the most cruel and impious men that ever sat on a throne. It was under him that Paul was afterward beheaded. When Paul says, "I stand at Caesar's judgment seat," he means to say that he regarded the tribunal before which he then stood, and on which Festus sat, as really the judgment seat of Caesar. The procurator, or governor, held his commission from the Roman emperor, and it was, in fact, his tribunal. The reason why Paul made this declaration may be thus expressed: "I am a Roman citizen. I have a right to justice. I am under no obligation to put myself again in the hands of the Jews. I have a right to a fair and impartial trial; and I claim the protection and privileges which all Roman citizens have before their tribunals - the right of a fair and just trial." It was, therefore, a severe rebuke of Festus for proposing to depart from the known justice of the Roman laws, and, for the sake of popularity, proposing to him to put himself in the hands of his enemies.
Where I ought to be judged - Where I have a right to demand and expect justice. I have a right to be tried where courts are usually held, and according to all the forms of equity which are usually observed.
Have I done no wrong - I have not injured their persons, property, character, or religion. This was a bold appeal, which his consciousness of innocence and the whole course of proceedings enabled him to make without the possibility of their gainsaying it.
As thou very well knowest - Festus knew, probably, that Paul had been tried by Felix, and that nothing was proved against him. He had now seen the spirit of the Jews, and the cause why they arraigned him. He had given Paul a trial, and had called on the Jews to adduce their "able" men to accuse him, and after all nothing had been proved against him. Festus knew, therefore, that he was innocent. This abundantly appears also from his own confession, Acts 25:18-19. As he knew this, and as Festus was proposing to depart from the regular course of justice for the sake of popularity, it was proper for Paul to use the strong language of rebuke, and to claim what he knew Festus did not dare to deny him, the protection of the Roman laws. Conscious innocence may be bold; and Christians have a right to insist on impartial justice and the protection of the laws. Alas! how many magistrates there have been like Festus, who, when Christians have been arraigned before them, have been fully satisfied of their innocence, but who, for the sake of popularity, have departed from all the rules of law and all the claims of justice.
on Acts 25 :10