Festus said that he will judge Paul in Caesarea
Festus started to be the new government boss over that country, then 3 days later, he left Caesarea and went to Jerusalem. The bosses of the Jewish ceremonies and the other Jewish leaders talked to him there in Jerusalem. They blamed Paul and reckoned he did bad things. Then they asked Festus, “Can you tell your soldiers to bring Paul to Jerusalem right now, and judge him here?” You see, they were going to secretly hide near the road and wait for Paul to come along, then jump up and kill him.
But Festus said, “Paul is in Caesarea, and my soldiers are guarding him there. I’ll be going back to Caesarea in a few days, so you pick some of your leaders to come with me. They can blame Paul in my court there.”
Paul asked for Caesar, the biggest boss, to judge him
About 8 or 10 days later, the Jewish leaders went with Festus back to Caesarea, and the next day, Festus sat on the judge’s seat in the court house there. He told his soldiers, “Bring Paul in now.”
They brought Paul into that room, then the Jewish leaders from Jerusalem stood up and blamed him. They told Festus, “Paul did a lot of bad things.” But they couldn’t show him that their story was true.
Then Paul talked to everyone there and said that he was not guilty. He said, “I haven’t done anything wrong. I didn’t break the Jewish law, and I didn’t break the rules about God’s ceremony house, and I didn’t break the Roman laws.”
But Festus wanted the Jewish leaders to be happy, so he asked Paul, “How about this? I can send you to Jerusalem, and I can judge you there. Will that be all right?”
10 Paul said, “No, I don’t want to go to Jerusalem. Look, the biggest Roman boss is Caesar, and he made you the judge here, so this is the right place for you to judge me. You know I didn’t do anything wrong to the Jewish people. 11 If I did something bad so that your law says you have to kill me, I will let you kill me. But I didn’t do anything bad like that. So nobody can give me to this mob and let them kill me. No. Instead of that, I want you to send me to Caesar, the biggest Roman boss. Then he can judge me in his big city, Rome.”
12 Festus had some special men that always helped him work out what to do, so he talked with them. Then he said to Paul, “All right. You want me to send you to Caesar, and I will do that. I’ll send you to Caesar, and he can judge you there in Rome.”
Festus told Agrippa about Paul
13 After a few days, another country’s big boss came to Caesarea. His name was Agrippa. And his young sister came with him. Her name was Bernice. They came to say hello to Festus, and to say, “We are happy because you are the new government boss over this country.”
14 While they were there at Caesarea, Festus told Agrippa about Paul. He said, “I want to tell you about a prisoner here. Felix left him in jail here, and I’m not sure what to do with him. 15 You see, I went to Jerusalem, and the Jewish ceremony bosses and elders there, they told me that this man did a lot of bad things. They asked me to say he is guilty, and to tell my soldiers to kill him.
16 But I told them, ‘Thats not how we Romans judge people. If somebody blames another person, we don’t say that person is guilty until after we get them in front of a judge with the people that are blaming them. And we let that person say why they reckon they are not guilty.’
17 So those Jewish leaders came here to Caesarea with me. I didn’t waste any time. The next day, I sat down on the judge’s seat, and I told some soldiers to bring Paul in. 18 The Jewish leaders stood up and blamed him, but they didn’t blame him for anything really bad, like I thought they would. 19 They only talked about things that some Jews believe, but that other Jews don’t believe. They argued about a dead man that Paul says is alive. His name is Jesus.
20 I didn’t know how to find out the true story, and I didn’t know how to judge Paul, so I said to him, ‘How about this? I can send you to Jerusalem, and I can judge you there. Will that be all right?’
21 But Paul said, ‘No, I don’t want to go to Jerusalem. I want Caesar to judge me, that biggest boss in Rome.’ So I told my soldiers to guard Paul here, until I can send him to Caesar.”
22 Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I want to hear that man myself.”
Festus said, “All right, I’ll let you hear him tomorrow.”
Festus wanted Agrippa to help him write a letter about Paul
23 The next day, Agrippa and his young sister Bernice came into the big room that had the judge’s seat. There was a lot of ceremony for them as they came in. Some boss soldiers came with them, and the leaders of Caesarea came with them too.
Then Festus told his soldiers, “Bring Paul in here now.” So they brought him in. 24 Then Festus said, “Big Boss Agrippa, and all of you that are here now, look at this man. A lot of Jews in Jerusalem, and the Jews here in Caesarea too, they want me to say that this man is guilty. They shouted at me. They said, ‘You have to kill him now.’
25 So I asked them, ‘What did he do?’ And I found out that he didn’t do anything bad, so we can’t kill him. But then he asked me to send him to Rome, for our biggest boss to judge him, so I will send him to Rome. 26 But I can’t think of anything to write about him, I don’t know any bad things he did to tell our big boss about. So I brought him here. I want you all to hear him tell his story, and I especially want you, Agrippa, to hear him. Then we can ask him some questions, and maybe I will find out something to write about him. 27 You see, I reckon it’s not right to send a prisoner to Rome without telling our biggest boss what people are blaming that prisoner for.”