Chapter
Verse

Acts 24:4

ESV But, to detain you no further, I beg you in your kindness to hear us briefly.
NIV But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly.
NASB But, that I may not weary you further, I beg you to grant us a brief hearing, by your kindness.
CSB But, so that I will not burden you any further, I request that you would be kind enough to give us a brief hearing.
NLT But I don’t want to bore you, so please give me your attention for only a moment.
KJV Notwithstanding, that I be not further tedious unto thee, I pray thee that thou wouldest hear us of thy clemency a few words.

What does Acts 24:4 mean?

The Sanhedrin is before Governor Marcus Antonius Felix, presenting their accusations against Paul. Wisely, they have hired the lawyer Tertullus as their spokesman. Tertullus knows the customary method of presenting evidence in a Roman court: first, flatter the judge. Next, promise the testimony will be short, whether it actually is or not.

Tertullus's flattery of Felix is an odd mixture of contextualization and sincerity. Felix did attain "much peace" (Acts 24:2) during his term, but by violence and brutality. Ironically, the Sanhedrin followed his example by attempting to assassinate Paul (Acts 23:12–15).

If Acts 24:5–8 is the entirety of Tertullus's speech, it is, indeed, brief. He claims Paul is a public menace and a cult leader who tried to commit a capital offense against Roman law by defiling a religious structure. Tertullus should have been more thorough, however. Despite the affirmations of the high priest and some of the elders that these charges are true (Acts 24:9), he provides no evidence. No one there witnessed Paul's supposed menace and he didn't try to defile the temple. Paul asserts their problem isn't a physical threat, but rather his belief in the resurrection of the dead (Acts 24:21).

Felix agrees but, to placate the Jewish leaders, keeps him in custody until his term is over, two years later (Acts 24:27).
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