The Roman custom of face to face accusations (Acts 25:16)

“I told them

That it was not the custom

Of the Romans

To hand over anyone

Before the accused

Met the accusers

Face to face,

And had been given

An opportunity

To make a defense

Against the charge.”

πρὸς οὓς ἀπεκρίθην ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ἔθος Ῥωμαίοις χαρίζεσθαί τινα ἄνθρωπον πρὶν ἢ ὁ κατηγορούμενος κατὰ πρόσωπον ἔχοι τοὺς κατηγόρους τόπον τε ἀπολογίας λάβοι περὶ τοῦ ἐγκλήματος.

The author of Acts indicated that Festus told King Agrippa II and Bernice that he told the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem (πρὸς οὓς ἀπεκρίθην) that it was not the custom of the Romans (ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ἔθος Ῥωμαίοις) to hand over anyone (χαρίζεσθαί τινα ἄνθρωπον) before the accused (πρὶν ἢ ὁ κατηγορούμενος) had met the accusers face to face (κατὰ πρόσωπον ἔχοι τοὺς κατηγόρους).  Paul should be given an opportunity to make a defense (τόπον τε ἀπολογίας λάβοι) against the charges (περὶ τοῦ ἐγκλήματος).  Acts was the only Greek biblical writing that used this word ἐγκλήματος, that means an accusation or a charge.  Governor Porcius Festus reiterated to King Agrippa II and Bernice what he had told the leaders in Jerusalem.  He told them that it was the Roman custom that the accused had the opportunity to face their accusers, so that they can make a defense.  Do you think that people accused of anything should face their accusers?

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