Today we continue learning about Agrippa. Agrippa is always mentioned with “Bernice” who was both his sister and his lover. Their incestuous relationship was the subject of great scandal. Their other sister “Drusilla” was the wife of former governor Felix.
Agrippa controlled the temple treasury and had the right to appoint the high priest. The Romans considered him an expert in Jewish affairs. Agrippa and Bernice “came unto Caesarea to salute Festus” and welcome him to the region. They stayed “many days” no doubt discussing the politics of Rome. During this time, “Festus declared Paul’s cause unto the king” and sought his expert counsel (verse 14b-21).
Agrippa was obviously intrigued by the case (verse 22) and said, “I would also hear the man myself.” So they set an informal, unofficial hearing up for the next day.
What a scene it was as “Agrippa and Bernice” came into the “auditorium” “with great pomp” and pageantry. The splendor and power of Rome was evident in the presence of the “chief captains.” Along with them stood the wealthy and “principal (prominent) men of the city.”
When everyone was seated, “at Festus’ commandment Paul was brought forth.” Scholars believe Paul was a small bald man with very poor eyesight. His sufferings were etched on his body. He wore the garb of a prisoner and stood before the august assembly in chains. What a contrast! Can you envision the setting? Paul is about to go on trial for the crime of sharing the gospel? Could this ever happen in the USA?