Acts 24:1

(1) After five days.--The interval may have just allowed time for messengers to go from Caesarea to Jerusalem, and for the priests to make their arrangements and engage their advocate. Possibly, however, the five days may start from St. Paul's departure from Jerusalem and this agrees, on the whole, better with the reckoning of the twelve days from the Apostle's arrival there, in Acts 24:11.

Descended.--Better, came down, in accordance with the usage of modern English.

A certain orator named Tertullus.--Men of this class were to be found in most of the provincial towns of the Roman empire, ready to hold a brief for plaintiff or defendant, and bringing to bear the power of their glib eloquence, as well as their knowledge of Roman laws, on the mind of the judge. There is not the slightest ground for supposing, as some have done, that the proceedings were conducted in Latin, and that while the chief priests were obliged to employ an advocate to speak in that language, St. Paul, who had never learnt it, was able to speak at once by a special inspiration. Proceedings before a procurator of Judaea and the provincials under him were almost of necessity, as in the case of our Lord and Pilate, in Greek. Had St. Paul spoken in Latin, St. Luke, who records when he spoke in Hebrew (Acts 21:40), and when in Greek (Acts 21:37), was not likely to have passed the fact over; nor is there any evidence, even on that improbable assumption, that St. Paul himself, who was, we know, a Roman citizen, had no previous knowledge of the language. The strained hypothesis breaks down at every point. The name of the orator may be noted as standing half-way between Tertius and Tertullianus.

Who informed the governor against Paul.--The word is a technical one, and implies something of the nature of a formal indictment.

Verse 1. - The high priest Ananias came down for Ananias the high priest descended, A.V.; certain elders for the elders, A.V. and T.R.; an orator, one Tertullus for a certain orator named Tertullus, A.V.; and they for who, A.V. After five days. Of which the first was the day on which St. Paul left Jerusalem, and the fifth that on which Ananias and his companions appeared before Felix (see ver. 11, note). Tertullus. A Latin name, formed from Tertius, as Lucullus from Lucius, Catullus from Catius, etc. Informed; ἐμφανίζω, in the sense of "laying an information" before a magistrate, only occurs elsewhere in Acts 25:2, 15 (see above, Acts 23:15, note).

24:1-9 See here the unhappiness of great men, and a great unhappiness it is, to have their services praised beyond measure, and never to be faithfully told of their faults; hereby they are hardened and encouraged in evil, like Felix. God's prophets were charged with being troublers of the land, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that he perverted the nation; the very same charges were brought against Paul. The selfish and evil passions of men urge them forward, and the graces and power of speech, too often have been used to mislead and prejudice men against the truth. How different will the characters of Paul and Felix appear at the day of judgement, from what they are represented in the speech of Tertullus! Let not Christians value the applause, or be troubled at the revilings of ungodly men, who represent the vilest of the human race almost as gods, and the excellent of the earth as pestilences and movers of sedition.And after five days Ananias the high priest descended with the elders,.... From Jerusalem to Caesarea: these five days are to be reckoned not from the seizing of Paul in the temple, but from his coming to Caesarea; the Alexandrian copy reads, "after some days", leaving it undetermined how many: the high priest, with the elders, the members of the sanhedrim, with "some" of them, as the same copy and the Vulgate Latin version read, came down hither; not merely as accusers, by the order of the chief captain, but willingly, and of their own accord, to vindicate themselves and their people, lest they should fall under the displeasure of the Roman governor, for encouraging tumults and riots: the high priest must be conscious to himself that he had acted in an illegal manner, in ordering Paul to be smitten on the mouth, in the midst of the council, in the presence of the chief captain; and if it had not been for the soldiers, Paul had been pulled to pieces in the council: and the elders knew what a hand they had in the conspiracy against his life; and they were sensible that this plot was discovered, and Paul was secretly conveyed away; and what the captain had wrote to the governor, they could not tell, and therefore made the more haste down to him, to set themselves right, and get Paul condemned:

and with a certain orator named Tertullus: this man, by his name, seems to have been a Roman; and because he might know the Roman, or the Greek language, or both, which the Jews did not so well understand, and was very well acquainted with all the forms in the Roman courts of judicature, as well as was an eloquent orator; therefore they pitched upon him, and took him down with them to open and plead their cause. The name Tertullus is a diminutive from Tertius, as Marullus from Marius, Lucullus from Lucius, and Catullus from Catius. The father of the wife of Titus, before he was emperor, was of this name (k); and some say her name was Tertulla; and the grandmother of Vespasian, by his father's side, was of this name, under whom he was brought up (l). This man's title, in the Greek text, is "Rhetor", a rhetorician; but though with the Latins an "orator" and a "rhetorician" are distinguished, an orator being one that pleads causes in courts, and a rhetorician a professor of rhetoric; yet, with the Greeks, the "Rhetor" is an orator; so Demosthenes was called; and so Cicero calls himself (m).

Who informed the governor against Paul; brought in a bill of information against him, setting forth his crimes, and declaring themselves his accusers; they appeared in open court against him, and accused him; for this is not to be restrained to Tertullus, but is said of the high priest, and elders with him; for, the word is in the plural number, though the Syriac version reads in the singular, and seems to refer it to the high priest.

(k) Sueton. in Vita Titi, l. 11. c. 4. (l) Ib. Vita Vespasian. c. 2.((m) De Oratore, l. 3. p. 225.

Acts 23:35
Top of Page
Top of Page