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1THREE days after taking up his appointment, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem,

2where the chief priests and the Jewish leaders laid before him their charge against Paul.

3They urged Festus to support them in their case and have Paul sent to Jerusalem, for they were plotting to kill him on the way.

4Festus, however, replied, “Paul is in safe custody at Caesarea, and I shall be leaving Jerusalem shortly myself;

5so let your leading men come down with me, and if the man is at fault in any way, let them prosecute him.”

6After spending eight or ten days at most in Jerusalem, he went down to Caesarea, and next day he took his seat in court and ordered Paul to be brought before him.

7When he appeared, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood round bringing many grave charges, which they were unable to prove.

8Paul protested: “I have committed no offence against the Jewish law, or against the temple, or against the emperor.”

9Festus, anxious to ingratiate himself with the Jews, turned to Paul and asked, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial on these charges before me there?”

10But Paul said, “I am now standing before the emperor's tribunal; that is where I ought to be tried. I have committed no offence against the Jews, as you very well know.

11If I am guilty of any capital crime, I do not ask to escape the death penalty; if, however, there is no substance in the charges which these men bring against me, it is not open to anyone to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!”

12Then Festus, after conferring with his advisers, replied, “You have appealed to Caesar: to Caesar you shall go!”

13Some days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea on a courtesy visit to Festus.

14They spent some time there, and during their stay Festus raised Paul's case with the king. “There is a man here”, he said, “left in custody by Felix;

15and when I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and elders of the Jews brought a charge against him, demanding his condemnation.

16I replied that it was not Roman practice to hand a man over before he had been confronted with his accusers and given an opportunity of answering the charge.

17So when they had come here with me I lost no time, but took my seat in court the very next day and ordered the man to be brought before me.

18When his accusers rose to speak, they brought none of the charges I was expecting;

19they merely had certain points of disagreement with him about their religion, and about someone called Jesus, a dead man whom Paul alleged to be alive.

20Finding myself out of my depth in such discussions, I asked if he was willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial there on these issues.

21But Paul appealed to be remanded in custody for his imperial majesty's decision, and I ordered him to be detained until I could send him to the emperor.”

22Agrippa said to Festus, “I should rather like to hear the man myself.” “You shall hear him tomorrow,” he answered.

23Next day Agrippa and Bernice came in full state and entered the audience- chamber accompanied by high-ranking officers and prominent citizens; and on the orders of Festus, Paul was brought in.

24Then Festus said, “King Agrippa, and all you who are in attendance, you see this man: the whole body of the Jews approached me both in Jerusalem and here, loudly insisting that he had no right to remain alive.

25It was clear to me, however, that he had committed no capital crime, and when he himself appealed to his imperial majesty, I decided to send him.

26As I have nothing definite about him to put in writing for our sovereign, I have brought him before you all and particularly before you, King Agrippa, so that as a result of this preliminary enquiry I may have something to report.

27There is no sense, it seems to me, in sending on a prisoner without indicating the charges against him.”

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