What does Acts 25:15 mean?
ESV: and when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews laid out their case against him, asking for a sentence of condemnation against him.
NIV: When I went to Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews brought charges against him and asked that he be condemned.
NASB: and when I was in Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews brought charges against him, asking for a sentence of condemnation against him.
CSB: When I was in Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews presented their case and asked that he be condemned.
NLT: When I was in Jerusalem, the leading priests and Jewish elders pressed charges against him and asked me to condemn him.
KJV: About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, desiring to have judgment against him.
NKJV: about whom the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, when I was in Jerusalem, asking for a judgment against him.
Verse Commentary:
Governor Festus is explaining Paul's case to Agrippa II in hopes the king can help.

A few weeks before, three days after Festus arrived at his new assignment, he traveled to Jerusalem to meet the Sanhedrin—the ruling Jewish council. They asked him to send Paul to Jerusalem so they could try him for crimes against the Mosaic law. Festus reversed the invitation, telling them to send representatives to Caesarea Maritima to present their evidence. They did so (Acts 25:1–5).

They claimed Paul had started riots all over the Roman Empire, that he desecrated a religious structure, and that he leads an illegal cult (Acts 24:5–6). All of these were crimes against the Roman law and could be capital offenses. Paul countered by simply saying no, he didn't do any of that. Since the Sanhedrin provided no witness or evidence, Festus knew Paul was innocent, but he wanted to please the Sanhedrin, so he asked Paul if he wouldn't mind going to Jerusalem for trial. Since Paul was a Roman citizen, he had the right to choose whether to have the trial in the city where the crimes allegedly took place—Jerusalem, the city where the judge resides—Caesarea, or his home city—Tarsus. Festus happens to have jurisdiction in all three places and Paul had no desire to move and be the target of another assassination attempt (Acts 23:12–15; 25:3). He chastised Festus for not taking responsibility for his office and appealed his case to Caesar (Acts 25:6–12).

Now, Festus must send Paul to Caesar in Rome as a prisoner prepared for trial, but Paul has committed no crime. Festus asks Agrippa for help: what should he say Paul has done?

The Sanhedrin is the group of priests, scribes, and elders who regulate and judge the application of the Mosaic law. The council is often identified as "the Jews" or "the chief priests and elders."

"Chief priest" is not a God-ordained designation. God established the priests as the qualified descendants of Aaron and the high priest as the single man in authority. During the time between the Old and New Testaments, the office of priest became politicized and "chief priest" became a title of a priest who had significant authority, often because of family ties.

An "elder" was often a prominent businessman from around Jerusalem. Moses used a version of this office on the advice of his father-in-law to see to minor interpersonal issues that needed to be judged but didn't require Moses' direct intervention (Exodus 18). Elders of cities and villages typically made themselves available at city gates for the people to seek their advice or supervise legal transactions (Ruth 4:1–2).
Verse Context:
Acts 25:13–22 relates how the new governor, Festus, draws King Agrippa II into his conundrum. Festus wants to be on good terms with the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, but they want to try Paul for crimes that are obviously baseless. While Festus ponders what to do, Paul appeals his case to Caesar (Acts 25:1–12). But Festus can't send Paul to Rome without formal charges. Agrippa is intrigued and agrees to hear what Paul has to say.
Chapter Summary:
In Acts 25, the new governor, Festus, must clean up Felix's mess. He tries to ingratiate himself with the Sanhedrin but when they ask him to bring Paul to Jerusalem for trial, he refuses. The Sanhedrin agrees to come to Caesarea Maritima, instead, to present their accusations. Festus quickly realizes they don't have a case. Yet when he hesitates to dismiss the charges, Paul appeals the case to a higher court. Festus then invites King Agrippa II, the king's sister Bernice, and the city leaders to hear Paul and determine how to justify Paul's presence before Caesar.
Chapter Context:
When Felix is called back to Rome to answer for his cruelty, he leaves a bit of a mess. Paul is still under house arrest without charges (Acts 24). When the new governor Festus refuses to exonerate him, Paul appeals to a higher court. Paul is a Roman citizen, so Festus must send him. Yet he still has no formal charges. After inviting King Agrippa II and the city leaders to hear Paul's testimony, they realize Paul has done nothing wrong and should have been released. Paul and Luke survive a harrowing sea voyage but finally arrive at Rome (Acts 27—29).
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
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