Paul Is Transferred to Caesarea

Acts 21-26

After arriving in Jerusalem at the end of his third missionary journey, Paul went up to the Temple, but some Jews there started a riot, because they thought he had brought a Gentile into the Temple area and was teaching people to disregard the law of Moses. The Roman commander stationed there arrested Paul to rescue him from the crowd, and he arranged for the Sanhedrin to come and clarify why the crowd was angry with Paul. As Paul responded to the Sanhedrin’s accusations, some Jews made plans to ambush him if he was brought before the leaders again. But Paul’s nephew found out about the plot and informed the commander, who transferred Paul to Caesarea during the night under heavy guard–two hundred soldiers, seventy calvary, and two hundred spearmen. This large detachment escorted Paul to Antipatris, and then the soldiers returned, leaving the cavalry to escort Paul the rest of the way to Caesarea. The Roman governor, Felix, resided in Caesarea, which was the main headquarters of the Roman forces in Palestine. Felix ordered Paul to be held in Herod’s palace until his accusers arrived for his trial. Five days later the high priest Ananias and several others came and made their case against Paul. Felix adjourned the proceedings without issuing judgment, and over the two years that Paul remained in prison Felix often listened to him and waited for a bribe. It is possible that during this time Paul also wrote the Prison Epistles (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon). Eventually Felix was replaced by Festus, and once again the Jewish leaders requested to have Paul transferred back to Jerusalem, because they were plotting to ambush him along the way. But Festus required them to come to Caesarea to make their case against Paul. After the leaders finished making their case, however, Festus asked Paul if he would be willing to stand trial in Jerusalem, but Paul invoked his right as a Roman citizen to appeal his case to Caesar. As Paul awaited transfer to Rome, Herod Agrippa II and his sister Berenice came to Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus, and Festus requested their help to better understand the charges against Paul, since they were familiar with Jewish law. So Paul was brought before them and made his case once again.

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