The Roman Procurator from 60-62 was Festus. To Paul: "You have appealed to Caesar, to Caesar you shall go." Though a just man, Festus was powerless to remedy the evils promoted by his predecessor, Felix. Festus was a different type from Felix; we know very little about him, but that he was a just and upright man. Festus ruled more justly, but died in the attempt and succeeded by Albinus. Festus died after only 2 years in office with an untainted name.

On assuming the government Festus found the priests at war with each other concerning their share of the tithes. A dispute between the Syrian and Jewish inhabitants of Caesarea, which had begun before the recall of Felix, led to a decision by the emperor denying to the Jews the rights of citizenship in the city founded by Herod. Before the arrival of Festus, Jerusalem was in a state of complete anarchy. The high priest Hanan improved the opportunity by instituting judicial procedure against his enemies and having them stoned to death. He was speedily removed from office by Agrippa. Finding how greatly robberies abounded in Judea, Festus very diligently pursued the thieves; and he also suppressed a magician, who drew the people after him into the desert.

"Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem. Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him, and desired favor against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him. But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would depart shortly thereafter. Let them therefore, said he, which among you are able, go down with me, and accuse this man, if there be any wickedness in him. And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto Caesarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought. And when he came, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove. While he answered for himself, neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all. But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Will you go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me? Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as you very well know. For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof they accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar. Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Have you appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt you go. And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus. And when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul's cause unto the king, saying, There is a certain man left in bonds by Felix: About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, desiring to have judgment against him. To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have licence to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him. Therefore, when they were come hither, without any delay on the morrow I sat on the judgment seat, and commanded the man to be brought forth. Against whom when the accusers stood up, they brought no accusation of such things as I supposed: But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. And because I doubted of such manner of questions, I asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters. But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar. Then Agrippa said unto Festus, I would also hear the man myself. Tomorrow, said he, you shall hear him. And on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp, and was entered into the place of hearing, with the chief captains, and principal men of the city, at Festus' commandment Paul was brought forth. And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men which are here present with us, you see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and also here, crying that he ought not to live any longer. But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and that he himself has appealed to Augustus, I have determined to send him. Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and specially before thee, O king Agrippa, that, after examination had, I might have somewhat to write. For it seemed to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him."... [Paul relates his conversion to King Agrippa and then speaks again to Festus.] And as he thus spoke for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, you art beside yourself; much learning does make you mad. But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. For the king knows of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, believe you the prophets? I know that you believe. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost you persuade me to be a Christian. And Paul said, I would to God, that not only you, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds. And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them: And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man does nothing worthy of death or of bonds. Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar."

The Jews tried to take advantage of Festus by appealing to the governor to send for Paul to come to Jerusalem, once again they had plotted to assassinate Paul on the way. But Festus was a Roman with the Roman instinct for justice, he told them to come to Caesarea and to plead their case there. The Jews accused Paul of heresy, sacrilege and sedition.

Festus died when scarcely two years in office, in Judea probably in the summer of 62. Josephus speaks well of his brief administration.
[334, 08, 376, BD, 380, Acts 25]

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