Acts 25:21-27
Acts 25:21 (KJB)
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.
Next Festus had told Agrippa that Paul had refused to go to Jerusalem. Paul knew that he would not receive a fair trial before the Sanhedrin, even if he would make it there alive since the vow to kill him was still active. So Festus had kept Paul under guard until he would be able to be sent to Rome. He was kept under guard not because he was a criminal but it was for his safety in case those zealots decided to go after him in Caesarea which was not that far from Jerusalem.
Acts 25:22 (KJB)
Then Agrippa said unto Festus, I would also hear the man myself. To morrow, said he, thou shalt hear him.
Agrippa no doubt had heard of Paul and the Lord Jesus Christ. So while he was here, he was not going to miss the opportunity to speak to him and maybe shed some light on the situation. It might also have been out of curiosity that he wanted to speak with him the same way Herod Antipas wanted to speak with Jesus and see a miracle. (Luke 23:8 KJV) And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. The next day Agrippa would have his chance.
Acts 25:23 (KJB)
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.
Pomp - Parade or appearance, or show of magnificence as a Roman general returning from victory in battle.
Place of hearing - An Auditorium
They took the opportunity to show the entire city of Caesarea the glory of a Jewish King. Wherever they had stayed at night, the next day a great parade was orchestrated for them to go to the place of hearing. Festus had a large audience hall and they paraded to that place with all the chief captains and city officials. Caesarea had a large population of Jews, Gentiles, Christians, Romans and many Syrians. They had a theater, an amphitheater, and a Roman temple all built by Herod the Great. After Agrippa and Festus had taken their place, then Festus issued the commandment to bring Paul out.
Acts 25:24 (KJB)
And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men which are here present with us, ye 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.
Once Paul was brought into the hall, Festus then began to address King Agrippa concerning the Jews and Paul. He told him that this is the man whom all the Jews both in Jerusalem and in Caesarea desired to have put to death. Festus was embellishing the truth here because it was not all the Jews in Jerusalem that wanted him dead, just those who were in the temple area that were stirred up by the Jews from Asia. It was really the Sanhedrin and the chief priests who wanted the death of Paul, in fact, it was only those who were of the Sadducees on the Sanhedrin who wanted Paul dead.
Acts 25:25 (KJB)
But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and that he himself hath appealed to Augustus, I have determined to send him.
Festus then once again states that after examining Paul, he had determined there was no guilt of anything in him, never mind any guilt worthy of death. In ancient times, many of the rulers would pander to those who could further their career. He probably would have handed Paul over to the Jews without even a bit of conscience but once Paul appealed to Caesar, he had no alternative but it send him according to Roman law. He attempts to present himself in a favorable light before Agrippa. Festus knew all along that Paul did not commit anything worthy of death but was probably trying to work the situation to his advantage which ceased when Paul appealed to Caesar.
Acts 25:26 (KJB)
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.
Festus was in a quandary because he had nothing to write to Nero concerning any formal charges against Paul. Here Paul was not on trial but it was basically an informal hearing by Agrippa’s request. Since this was a theological debate, the Roman rulers may not have understood the details of what they would be discussing. Festus had hoped that after King Agrippa had a chance to examine and discuss with Paul his teachings, then maybe Festus might have something to be able to write to Nero concerning Paul. This would be a situation like somebody being arrested and then arraigned in court and the Prosecutor reads the charges against the person. “Your honor, this man was arrested and caught doing nothing wrong.” How do you think the Judge would react? He would be livid since the court’s time and expenses would have been wasted on nothing. Just think how much it cost Rome to feed and house Paul for over two years without him even committing a crime worthy of house arrest. Political appeasement can be very expensive.
Acts 25:27 (KJB)
For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.
Unreasonable - Absurd or irrational
Festus then further emphasizes that it borders on the absurd to forward a prisoner to Nero and have absolutely no charges against him. If there were no charges against him, Nero might send for Festus and see if he is in his right mind. Paul had successfully defended himself against all the false charges and by doing this, exonerated himself without a verdict from the Governor. The letter would not be the only thing which would accompany Paul, but his accusers must also go to Rome and present their case. A letter in a favorable light from Festus would go a long way in the court in Rome.