Acts 25:7

ESV When he had arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him that they could not prove.
NIV When Paul came in, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him. They brought many serious charges against him, but they could not prove them.
NASB After Paul arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many, and serious, charges against him which they could not prove,
CSB When he arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him and brought many serious charges that they were not able to prove.
NLT When Paul arrived, the Jewish leaders from Jerusalem gathered around and made many serious accusations they couldn’t prove.
KJV And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove.

What does Acts 25:7 mean?

Paul is facing a new trial before the new governor, Festus. We aren't told what the charges are this time, but Festus later gives King Agrippa II a summary: "They had certain points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive" (Acts 25:19). Festus then tells the leaders and nobles of Caesarea that the Jews shouted that Paul deserved death (Acts 25:24).

Paul's rebuttal also gives us clues. He defends himself against breaking the Jewish law, desecrating the temple, and breaking the Roman law (Acts 25:8).

The whole thing started two years prior when Paul returned to Jerusalem after several years in the province of Asia in modern-day southwest Turkey and in cities around the Aegean Sea. When he arrived, persons unknown falsely claimed he taught Jews they didn't have to obey the Mosaic law (Acts 21:20–21).

A week later, Jews from Asia erroneously accused him of desecrating the temple by bringing Trophimus, an Ephesian Gentile, inside (Acts 21:27–29). Tertullus, the spokesman hired by the Sanhedrin, included this charge in their hearing before Felix (Acts 24:6). The charge was an honest mistake (if poorly managed) as Paul had been with Trophimus earlier but did not bring him into the temple. Paul certainly didn't deserve to be drug outside and beat half to death (Acts 21:23–36).

Paul is charged with breaking Roman law in at least two ways. The first accusation is bringing a Gentile into the temple. Beyond being a serious offense against the Mosaic law, it was against Roman law to disrespect a religious place of worship.

The second charge is "stir[ring] up riots among all the Jews throughout the world," as Tertullus put it (Acts 24:5). Although Paul was well known for eliciting passionate responses to his church-planting activities (Acts 13:45–52; 14:4–7, 19–20), the only recorded "riot" involving Jews was in Thessalonica in Macedonia (Acts 17:5–8), not in the province of Asia. The riot in Asia was caused by an Ephesian silversmith and a crowd that didn't even know what they were supposed to be upset about (Acts 19:21–41). And the only "riot" in Festus's jurisdiction, besides the mob that beat Paul, was a fist fight in the Sanhedrin (Acts 23:6–10).
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