Easton's Bible Dictionary
The Roman procurator of Judea before whom Paul "reasoned" ( Acts
24:25 ). He appears to have expected a bribe from Paul, and therefore had
several interviews with him. The "worthy deeds" referred to in Acts
24:2 was his clearing the country of banditti and impostors.
At the end of a two years' term, Porcius Festus was appointed in the room of Felix
(A.D. 60), who proceeded to Rome, and was there accused of cruelty and malversation
of office by the Jews of Caesarea. The accusation was rendered nugatory by the
influence of his brother Pallas with Nero. (See Josephus, Ant. xx. 8,9.)
Drusilla, the daughter of Herod Agrippa, having been induced by Felix to desert
her husband, the king of Emesa, became his adulterous companion. She was seated
beside him when Paul "reasoned" before the judge. When Felix gave place to Festus,
being "willing to do the Jews a pleasure," he left Paul bound.
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
Smith's Bible Dictionary
A Roman procurator of Judea appointed by the emperor Claudius in A.D. 53. He ruled
the province in a mean, cruel and profligate manner. His period of office was
full of troubles and seditions. St. Paul was brought before Felix in Caesarea.
He was remanded to prison, and kept there two years in hopes of extorting money
from him. ( Acts
24:26 , 24:27
) At the end of that time Porcius Festus [FESTUS]
was appointed to supersede Felix, who, on his return to Rome, was accused by the
Jews in Caesarea, and would have suffered the penalty due to his atrocities had
not his brother Pallas prevailed with the emperor Nero to spare him. This was
probably about A.D. 60. The wife of Felix was Drusilla, daughter of Herod Agrippa
I., who was his third wife and whom he persuaded to leave her husband and marry
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
fe'-liks, an-to'-ni-us (Phelix, from Latin felix, "happy"):
A Roman procurator of Judea, appointed in succession to Cumanus by the emperor
Claudius. The event which led to the introduction of Felix into the narrative
of Acts was the riot at Jerusalem (Acts
21:27). There Paul, being attacked at the instigation of the Asiatic Jews
for alleged false teaching and profanation of the temple, was rescued with difficulty
by Lysias the chief captain. But Lysias, finding that Paul was a Roman citizen,
and that therefore the secret plots against the life of his captive might entail
serious consequences upon himself, and finding also that Paul was charged on religious
rather than on political grounds, sent him on to Felix at Caesarea for trial (Acts
23:34). On his arrival, Paul was presented to Felix and was then detained
for five days in the judgment hall of Herod, till his accusers should also reach
23:33 - 35).
The trial was begun, but after hearing the evidence of Tertullus (see TERTULLUS)
and the speech of Paul in his own defense, Felix deferred judgment (Acts
24:1 - 22).
The excuse he gave for delay was the non-appearance of Lysias, but his real reason
was in order to obtain bribes for the release of Paul. He therefore treated his
prisoner at first with leniency, and pretended along with Drusilla to take interest
in his teaching. But these attempts to induce Paul to purchase his freedom failed
ignominiously; Paul sought favor of neither Felix nor Drusilla, and made the frequent
interviews which he had with them an opportunity for preaching to them concerning
righteousness and temperance and the final judgment. The case dragged on for two
years till Felix, upon his retirement, "desiring to gain favor with the Jews ....
left Paul in bonds" (Acts
24:27). According to the Bezan text, the continued imprisonment of Paul was
due to the desire of Felix to please Drusilla.
Felix was the brother of Pallas, who was the infamous favorite of Claudius, and
who, according to Tacitus (Annals xiii. 14), fell into disgrace in 55 AD. Tacitus
implies that Felix was joint procurator of Judea, along with Cumanus, before being
appointed to the sole command, but Josephus is silent as to this. Both Tacitus
and Josephus refer to his succeeding Cumanus, Josephus stating that it was at
the instigation of Jonathan the high priest. There is some doubt as to the chronology
of Felix' tenure of office. Harnack and Blass, following Eusebius and Jerome,
place his accession in 51 AD, and the imprisonment of Paul in 54-56 AD; but most
modern commentators incline to the dates 52 AD and 56-58 AD. These latter interpret
the statement of Paul, "Thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation"
24:10), as referring to some judicial office, not necessarily that of co-procurator
(see Tacitus), previously held by Felix in the time of Cumanus, and argue that
this earlier connection of Felix with Judea supplied a reason for the advocacy
by Jonathan of Felix' claims to the procuratorship on the deposition of Gumanus.
The testimony of Acts as to the evil character of Felix is fully corroborated
by the writings of Josephus (BJ, II, xiii). Although he suppressed the robbers
and murderers who infested Judea, and among them the "Egyptian" to whom Lysias
21:38), yet "he himself was more hurtful than them all." When occasion offered,
he did not hesitate to employ the sicarii (see ASSASSINS) for his own ends. Trading
upon the influence of his brother at court, his cruelty and rapacity knew no bounds,
and during his rule revolts became continuous, and marked a distinct stage in
that seditious movement which culminated in the outbreak of 70 AD (so Schurer).
His leaving Paul in bonds was but a final instance of one who sacrificed duty
and justice for the sake of his Own unscrupulous selfishness. For more detailed
information as to dates, etc., compare Knowling (Expos Greek Test., II, 477).
C. M. Kerr
antonius felix, bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, bribe, define, drusilla, extorting money, felix, predecessor of porcius festus, procurator of judea, paul, roman