| || |The Berean Expositor
Volume 28 - Page 137 of 217 Index | Zoom | |
When Felix came back to Jerusalem we read that "he came with his wife Drusilla,
which was a Jewess", and that he "sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in
Christ" (Acts 24: 24). We do not know what line of testimony the Apostle followed.
For the sake of the Jewish Drusilla, he may have expounded the O.T. Scriptures and
proved that Jesus was the Christ, as he is seen doing elsewhere in the Acts, but whether
this is so or not, we know that he applied the truth to the guilty consciences of the two
before whom he stood:
"And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix
trembled" (Acts 24: 25).
The more convenient season of which Felix spoke never came, and his sordid love of
gain kept Paul a prisoner for two years. Then, wishing to gain all the influence possible
in his favour on his return to Rome "Felix, willing to show the Jews a pleasure, left Paul
bound" (Acts 24: 27).
The Jews, however, were not to be so easily disposed of, and sent a deputation to
accuse him to the Emperor:
"And he had certainly been brought to punishment, unless Nero had yielded to the
importunate solicitations of his brother Pallas, who was at that time had in greatest
honour by him" (Josephus Ant. 20: 8: 9).
Festus, who succeeded Felix in A.D.60, died the following year, and so provides
another definite date in the chronology of the Acts--the other dated event, which has not
yet been brought forward in this series, being the death of Herod in A.D.44 (Acts 12:).
There is little to be said of Festus that would be of service to the Bible student, and the
conduct of Paul's case before him and Agrippa will come before us when we are
considering the procedure of the Roman trial.
We pass on, therefore, to the Centurion, Julius, to whose care Paul was consigned in
Acts 27: 1. Some years ago a full-length effigy of a centurion was unearthed at
Colchester, showing the breastplate, girdle and greaves, shoes, and military cloak and
sword--equipment which figures in the imagery of Eph. 6:
Prisoners who came to Rome in order to appeal to the Emperor were delivered to the
care of the Prefect of the Prętorium. The nature of the prisoner's treatment while in
custody depended a good deal on the character of the charges against him. Some of them
would be fastened by a chain round the right wrist to the left wrist of a soldier, but would
otherwise enjoy a certain measure of liberty, and within prescribed limits would be
permitted to hire a room for themselves. Such appears to have been the treatment meted
out to Paul.
It was usual for two Prefects to be in charge of the Prętorian guards, but during the
year in which Paul arrived at Rome, there was only one, Burrhus. For the first five years
of Nero's reign the government was directed by Seneca and Burrhus, the latter bearing
the character of a bluff, honest soldier. His treatment of Paul, the prisoner, would have