Acts 23:23 - 35
ESV - 23 Then he called two of the centurions and said, "Get ready two hundred soldiers, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go as far as Caesarea at the third hour of the night. 24 Also provide mounts for Paul to ride and bring him safely to Felix the governor.
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Marcus Antonius Felix (born between AD 5-10) was the Roman procurator of Judea (the position previously held by Pontius Pilate during Jesus' ministry) from AD 52-60. He was appointed to that position by the Roman emperor Claudius through the influence of Felix's older brother, Marcus Antonius Pallas, who had served as the secretary of the treasury under Claudius. Felix was both cruel and willing to be bribed, which led to a great increase in crime during his rule, as well as riots and other civil disturbances, which Felix put down with severity. Felix hired assassins to murder the Jewish high priest Jonathan (even though Jonathan had also helped to arrange for Felix's appointment as procurator) because Jonathan had threatened to report Felix to Caesar if Felix did not do Jonathan's bidding or if he otherwise displeased him. As indicated in Acts 24, during the judicial proceedings against the apostle Paul after Paul's arrest, Felix was willing to listen to Paul at length, but it was apparently in the hope that Paul would offer Felix a bribe for his release, rather than from a genuine interest on Felix's part in Paul's religious teachings. When Felix was replaced as procurator, he left Paul in prison (where he had already been for two years) as a gesture of favor toward the Jewish authorities who opposed Paul. After returning to Rome, Felix was accused of using a dispute between the Jews and Syrians of Caesarea as a pretext to slay and plunder the inhabitants. However, once again through the intercession of his brother, who also had great influence with the new emperor (Nero), Felix escaped unpunished. Felix is believed to have subsequently contracted tuberculosis. The date of his death is uncertain.
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