Acts 25:13 MEANING

Acts 25:13
(13) King Agrippa and Bernice.--Each of the characters thus brought on the scene has a somewhat memorable history. (1) The former closes the line of the Herodian house. He was the son of the Agrippa whose tragic end is related in Acts 12:20-23, and was but seventeen years of age at the time of his father's death, in A.D. 44. He did not succeed to the kingdom of Judaea, which was placed under the government of a procurator; but on the death of his uncle Herod, the king of Chalcis, in A.D. 48, received the sovereignty of that region from Claudius, and with it the superintendence of the Temple and the nomination of the high priests. Four years later he received the tetrarchies that had been governed by his great-uncles Philip and Lysanias (Luke 3:1), with the title of king. In A.D. 55 Nero increased his kingdom by adding some of the cities of Galilee (Jos. Ant. xix. 9, ? 1; xx. 1, ? 3; 8, ? 5). He lived to see the destruction of Jerusalem, and died under Trajan (A.D. 100) at the age of seventy-three. (2) The history of Bernice, or Berenice (the name seems to have been a Macedonian form of Pherenice) reads like a horrible romance, or a page from the chronicles of the Borgias. She was the eldest daughter of Herod Agrippa I., and was married at an early age to her uncle the king of Chalcis. Alliances of this nature were common in the Herodian house, and the Herodias of the Gospels passed from an incestuous marriage to an incestuous adultery. (See Note on Matthew 14:1.) On his death Berenice remained for some years a widow, but dark rumours began to spread that her brother Agrippa, who had succeeded to the principality of Chalcis, and who gave her, as in the instance before us, something like queenly honours, was living with her in a yet darker form of incest, and was reproducing in Judaea the vices of which his father's friend, Caligula, had set so terrible an example (Sueton. Calig. c. 24). With a view to screening herself against these suspicions she persuaded Polemon, king of Cilicia, to take her as his queen, and to profess himself a convert to Judaism, as Azizus had done for her sister Drusilla (see Note on Acts 24:24), and accept circumcision. The ill-omened marriage did not prosper. The queen's unbridled passions once more gained the mastery. She left her husband, and he got rid at once of her and her religion. Her powers of fascination, however, were still great, and she knew how to profit by them in the hour of her country's ruin. Vespasian was attracted by her queenly dignity, and yet more by the magnificence of her queenly gifts. His son Titus took his place in her long list of lovers. She came as his mistress to Rome, and it was said that he had promised her marriage. This, however, was more than even the senate of the empire could tolerate, and Titus was compelled by the pressure of public opinion to dismiss her, out his grief in doing so was matter of notoriety, "Dimisit invitus invitam" (Sueton. Titus, c. 7 Tacit. Hist. ii. 81; Jos. Ant. xx. 7, ? 3). The whole story furnished Juvenal with a picture of depravity which stands almost as a pendent to that of Messalina (Sat. vi. 155?9).

To salute Festus.--This visit was probably, as the word indicates, of the nature of a formal recognition of the new procurator on his arrival in the province.

Verse 13. - Now when certain days were passed for and after certain days, A.V.; Agrippa the king and Bernice arrived at for King Agrippa and Bernice came unto, A.V.; and saluted for to salute, A.V. and T.R. Agrippa the king. Herod Agrippa II., son of Herod Agrippa I. (Acts 12.), and consequently brother of Drusilla (Acts 24:24). He was only seventeen at his father's death, and so not considered by Claudius a safe person to entrust his father's large dominions to. But he gave him Chalets, and afterwards, in exchange for it, other dominions. It was he who made Ismael the son of Phabi high priest, and who built the palace at Jerusalem which overlooked the temple, and gave great offence to the Jews. He was the last of the Herods, and reigned above fifty years. Bernice was his sister, but was thought to be living in an incestuous intercourse with him. She had been the wife of her uncle Herod, Prince of Chalets; and on his death lived with her brother. She then for a while became the wife of Polemo, King of Cicilia, but soon returned to Herod Agrippa. She afterwards became the mistress of Vespasian and of Titus in succession (Alford). And saluted; ἀσπασόμενοι, which reading Meyer and Alford both retain. The reading of the R.T. is ἀσπασάμενοι. It is quite in accordance with the position of a dependent king, that he should come and pay his respects to the new Roman governor at Caesarea.

25:13-27 Agrippa had the government of Galilee. How many unjust and hasty judgments the Roman maxim, ver. 16, condemn! This heathen, guided only by the light of nature, followed law and custom exactly, yet how many Christians will not follow the rules of truth, justice, and charity, in judging their brethren! The questions about God's worship, the way of salvation, and the truths of the gospel, may appear doubtful and without interest, to worldly men and mere politicians. See how slightly this Roman speaks of Christ, and of the great controversy between the Jews and the Christians. But the day is at hand when Festus and the whole world will see, that all the concerns of the Roman empire were but trifles and of no consequence, compared with this question of Christ's resurrection. Those who have had means of instruction, and have despised them, will be awfully convinced of their sin and folly. Here was a noble assembly brought together to hear the truths of the gospel, though they only meant to gratify their curiosity by attending to the defence of a prisoner. Many, even now, attend at the places of hearing the word of God with great pomp, and too often with no better motive than curiosity. And though ministers do not now stand as prisoners to make a defence for their lives, yet numbers affect to sit in judgment upon them, desirous to make them offenders for a word, rather than to learn from them the truth and will of God, for the salvation of their souls But the pomp of this appearance was outshone by the real glory of the poor prisoner at the bar. What was the honour of their fine appearance, compared with that of Paul's wisdom, and grace, and holiness; his courage and constancy in suffering for Christ! It is no small mercy to have God clear up our righteousness as the light, and our just dealing as the noon-day; to have nothing certain laid to our charge. And God makes even the enemies of his people to do them right.And after certain days,.... Several days after the above appeal made by Paul:

King Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus: this King Agrippa was the son of Herod Agrippa, who killed James the brother of John, and of whose death mention is made in Acts 12:1 the Jewish chronologer (h) calls him Agrippa the Second, the son of Agrippa the First, the fifth king of the family of Herod: he was not king of Judea, this was reduced again into a province by Claudius; and upon the death of his uncle Herod, king of Chalcis, he was by the said emperor made king of that place, who afterwards removed him from thence to a greater kingdom, and gave him the tetrarchy, which was Philip's, his great uncle's; namely, Batanea, Trachonitis, and Gaulanitis, to which he added the kingdom of Lysanias; (see Luke 3:1) and the province which Varus had; and to these Nero added four cities, with what belonged to them; in Peraea, Abila and Julias, and in Galilee, Tarichea and Tiberias (i). The Jewish writers often make mention of him, calling him, as here, King Agrippa; See Gill on Acts 26:3, and so does Josephus (k). According to the above chronologer (l) he was had to Rome by Vespasian, when he went to be made Caesar; and was put to death by him, three years and a half before the destruction of the temple; though others say he lived some years after it: and some of the Jewish writers affirm, that in his days the temple was destroyed (m). Agrippa, though he was a Jew, his name was a Roman name; Augustus Caesar had a relation of this name (n), who had a son of the same name, and a daughter called Agrippina; and Herod the great being much obliged to the Romans, took the name from them, and gave it to one of his sons, the father of this king: the name originally was given to such persons, who at their birth came forth not with their heads first, as is the usual way of births, but with their feet first, and which is accounted a difficult birth; and "ab aegritudine", from the grief, trouble, and weariness of it, such are called Agrippas (o). Bernice, who is said to be with King Agrippa, is not the name of a man, as some have supposed, because said to sit in the judgment hall with the king, but of a woman; so called, in the dialect of the Macedonians, for Pheronice, which signifies one that carries away the victory; and this same person is, in Suetonius (p), called Queen Beronice, for whom Titus the emperor is said to have a very great love, and was near upon marrying her: she was not wife of Agrippa, as the Arabic version reads, but his sister; his father left besides him, three daughters, Bernice, Mariamne, and Drusilla, which last was the wife of Felix, Acts 24:24. Bernice was first married to her uncle Herod, king of Chalcis (q), and after his death to Polemon, king of Cilicia, from whom she separated, and lived in too great familiarity with her brother Agrippa, as she had done before her second marriage, as was suspected (r), to which incest Juvenal refers (s); and with whom she now was, who came together to pay a visit to Festus, upon his coming to his government, and to congratulate him upon it.

(h) Ganz Tzemach David, par. 1. fol. 26. 1.((i) Joseph. de Bello Jud. l. 2. c. 11. sect. 5. & c. 12. sect. 1. 8. & c. 13. sect. 2.((k) Antiqu. l. 20. c. 8. sect. 1.((l) Tzemach David, ib. Colossians 2. (m) Jarchi & Bartenora in Misn. Sota, c. 7. sect. 8. (n) Sueton. in Vita Augusti, c. 63, 64. (o) A. Gell. Noct. Attic. l. 16. c. 16. (p) In Vita Titi, c. 7. (q) Joseph. Antiqu. l. 19. c. 5. sect. 1. & c. 9. sect. 1. & de Bello Jud. l. 2. c. 11. sect. 5, 6. (r) Antiqu. l. 20. c. 6. sect. 3.((s) Satyr 6.

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