Acts 24:2
(2) Seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness.--The orator had, it would seem, learnt the trick of his class, and begins with propitiating the judge by flattery. The administration of Felix did not present much opening for panegyric, but he had at least taken strong measures to put down the gangs of sicarii and brigands by whom Palestine was infested (Jos. Ant. xx. 8, ? 5; Wars, ii. 13, ? 2), and Tertullus shows his skill in the emphasis which he lays on "quietness." By a somewhat interesting coincidence, Tacitus (Ann. xii. 54), after narrating the disturbances caused by a quarrel between Felix, backed by the Samaritans, and Ventidius Cumanus, who had been appointed as governor of Galilee, ends his statement by relating that Felix was supported by Quadratus, the president of Syria, "et quies provinciae reddita."

That very worthy deeds . . .--Better, reforms, or improvements; the better MSS. giving a word which expresses this meaning, and the others one which implies it. This, as before, represents one aspect of the procurator's administration. On the other hand, within two years of this time, he was recalled from his province, accused by the Jews at Rome, and only escaped punishment by the intervention of his brother Pallas, then as high in favour with Nero as he had been with Claudius (Jos. Ant. xx. 8, ? 10).

By thy providence . . .--The Greek word had at this time, like the English, a somewhat higher sense than "prudence" or "forethought." Men spoke then, as now, of the "providence" of God, and the tendency to clothe the emperors with quasi-divine attributes led to the appearance of this word--"the providence of Caesar"--on their coins and on medals struck in their honour. Tertullus, after his manner, goes one step further, and extends the term to the procurator of Judaea.

Verse 2. - Called for called forth, A.V.; much peace for great quietness, A.V.; evils are corrected for for very worthy deeds are done unto, A.V. and T.R.; there is also a change in the order of the words, by thy providence is placed at the beginning instead of at the end of the sentence. When he was called. We see here the order of the trial. As soon as the charge is laid against, the prisoner, he is called into court, to hear what his accusers have to say against him, and as it follows at ver. 10, to make his defense (see Acts 25:16). We enjoy much peace. The groan flattery of this address of the hired orator, placed at the beginning of his speech, in order to win the favor of the judge, is brought into full light by comparing Tacitus's account of the misconduct of Felix in Samaria in the reign of Claudius, who he says, thought he might commit any crime with impunity, and by his proceedings nearly caused a civil war ('Annah,' 12:54); and his character of him as a ruler of boundless cruelty and profligacy, using the power of a king with the temper of a slave ('Hist' 5. 9.); and Josephus s statement that no sooner was Felix recalled from his government than the chief men among the Jews at Caesarea went up to Rome to accuse him before Nero, when he narrowly escaped punishment through the influence of his brother Pallas. By thy providence. "Providentia Caesaris" is a common legend on Roman coins (Alford). Evils are corrected. The reading of the R.T., διορθώματα, meaning "reforms," occurs only here, but, like the kindred κατορθώματα of the T.R., is a medical term. Διόρθωσις, reformation, is found in Hebrews 9:10. The κατορθώματα of the T.R. (which also occurs nowhere else in the New Testament) means, in its classical use, either "successful actions" or "right actions;" κατορθόω is to "bring things to a successful issue." Possibly Tertullus may have had in view the successful attack on the Egyptian impostor (see Acts 21:38, note), or the wholesale crucifixion of Sicarii and other disturbers of the public peace.

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 when he was called forth,.... Not Tertullus the orator; for this is not to be understood of him, and of his being admitted to speak, as is thought by some, but the Apostle Paul; which is put out of doubt by the Vulgate Latin version, which reads, "and Paul being cited"; he was ordered to be brought out of custody into the court, to hear his indictment, and answer for himself:

Tertullus began to accuse him; to set forth his crimes, which he introduced with a flattering preface to Felix:

saying, seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence; very likely he might refer to his purging the country of robbers; he took Eleazar, the chief of them, who had infested the country for twenty years, and many others with him, whom he sent bound to Rome, and others of them he crucified; and whereas there arose up another set of men, under a pretence of religion, who led people into the wilderness, signifying, that God would show them some signs of liberty; these seemed, to Felix, to sow the seeds, and lay the foundation of division and defection, which showed his sagacity, and which Tertullus here calls "providence"; wherefore, foreseeing what would be the consequence of these things, if not timely prevented, he sent armed men, horse and foot, and destroyed great numbers of them; and particularly he put to flight the Egyptian false prophet, who had collected thirty thousand men together, and dispersed them (n); and yet his government was attended with cruelty and avarice; witness the murder of Jonathan the high priest, by a sort of cut throats, who were connived at by him; particularly by the means of Dora his friend, whom he corrupted; and the pillaging of many of the inhabitants of Caesarea (o): so that this was a piece of flattery, used by Tertullus, to catch his ear, and gain attention, and insinuate himself into his affections.

(n) Joseph. Antiqu. l. 20. c. 7. (o) De Bello, l. 2. c. 13. sect. 7.

Acts 24:1
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