An Arbitrary Hope for Selfish Gain

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

“He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul that he might loose him; wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.” (Acts 24:26/KJV).

Here again, we find the same Greek word for “to hope” as in 1 Corinthians 13:7. “Elpizo” can also take the meaning of “to confide”. Thus we might conclude that the governor Felix somehow confidentially intimated to Paul that he might set him free upon receiving a certain sum of money from Paul.

You might use this incident for a discussion of the Roman administration in general or of the character of individual officials of that world power. In Western nations today administering justice only upon receiving a bribe would be considered a corrupt practice. Of course, also the Old Testament Laws of ancient Israels emphasized that a judge ought to do his job objectively and without considering selfish gain.

Paul was in custody in Caesarea. He had been moved from Jerusalem to that place after the authorities had been informed that certain Jews had pledged not to eat or drink before having killed Paul.

The Jewish religious leaders had come to Caesarea and had severely accused Paul. The governor Felix, however, had postponed a decision. He had heard about the teachings of the Christians. Probably these accusations did not convince him that Paul in person was guilty of insurrection or something of the kind.

Of course, the accusers were much more concerned with issues of the Jewish Religion than with aspects of the Roman Law. However, these men were the leaders of the Jews also by the grace of and in the interest of the Roman Empire. The Romans generally did admit a measure of self-administration to the nations they had subdued. This was a method to pacify these countries which henceforth were parts of the Roman dominion.

Obviously, Roman governors generally were expected to be at peace with the national authorities. Thus perhaps it was not necessarily Felix’s task to strongly oppose the Jews and rule on behalf of Paul.

Felix thought of an unofficial solution. He hoped for a financial gift from Paul and would then dismiss him from custody.

Paul was not a rich man. As a prisoner likely he would not have been able to make earnings by his tentmaking skills.

We also must remember that being set free on uncertain premises would not really have solved Paul’s problems. Some Jewish fanatics might have waited behind some decent hedge to attack and kill him on any subsequent missionary journey.

Anyhow, Felix is an example of a man who entertained some hope that was disappointed. He did not recieve a monetarian gift from Paul.

To read my other posts on this part of 1 Corinthians 13:7, please follow my blog or check out the categories on my site.

About christenfindenruhe

Auf meinem deutschen Blog möchte ich kurze Texte über Matthäus 11 Verse 28 bis 30 veröffentlichen und die frohe Botschaft von Jesus Christus anschaulich machen. Es lohnt sich, Jesus Christus zu vertrauen. On my new English blog "Motivation of Christian Love" I am sharing my thoughts on 1 Corinthians 13 and other biblical texts.
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