1Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.”
So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: 2 “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.
4 “The Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee. 6 And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. King Agrippa, it is because of this hope that these Jews are accusing me. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?
9 “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.
12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic,[a] ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’
“ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23 that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”
24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”
25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”
28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”
29 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”
30 The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them. 31 After they left the room, they began saying to one another, “This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.”
32 Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”
- Acts 26:14 Or Hebrew
1Mfalme Agripa akamwambia Paulo, “Unayo ruhusa kujite tea.” Paulo akanyoosha mkono wake, akaanza kujitetea akasema,
2 “Mfalme Agripa, najiona kuwa mwenye bahati kwamba ninatoa utetezi wangu mbele yako kuhusu mashtaka yote ya Wayahudi. 3 Kwa sababu nafahamu ya kuwa wewe unajua kwa undani mila na maswala yote ya mabishano kati ya Wayahudi. Kwa hiyo nakusihi unisikilize kwa uvumilivu.
4 “Wayahudi wote wanajua jinsi nilivyoishi kutoka utotoni, kwa maana tangu mwanzo wa maisha yangu niliishi katika nchi yangu na pia Yerusalemu. 5 Pia wamefahamu wakati wote, na wanaweza kushuhudia, ya kuwa nililelewa na kuishi kama Mfarisayo nikifuata masharti halisi ya madhehebu ya dini yetu. 6 Na hata sasa nasi mama hapa nikiwa nashtakiwa kwa sababu nashikilia tumaini ambalo Mungu aliwaahidi baba zetu. 7 Ahadi hii ndio inawafanya makabila kumi na mawili ya Israeli wamwabudu Mungu kwa bidii usiku na mchana wakitarajia kuipokea. Mtukufu Mfalme, ni kwa ajili ya tumaini hili Wayahudi wamenishtaki! 8 Sijui ni kwa nini watu wanadhani ni jambo la ajabu lisilowezekana, kwamba Mungu anawafu fua wafu.
9 Mimi mwenyewe nilikuwa nimeamini kabisa kwamba sina budi kufanya kila niwezalo kupinga jina la Yesu wa Nazareti. 10 Nami ndivyo nilivyofanya kule Yerusalemu. Nilipewa mamlaka na makuhani wakuu, nikawatia kifungoni watakatifu wengi na walipokuwa wakihu kumiwa kuuawa mimi nilipiga kura kuunga mkono hukumu hiyo. 11 Pia niliwaadhibu mara nyingi katika masinagogi nikajaribu kuwalazimisha wakane imani yao. Nilikuwa nimejawa na ghadhabu juu yao nikawafuatilia na kuwatesa hata katika miji ya mbali.
12 “Nilikuwa katika mojawapo ya safari hizi nikielekea Dameski, nikiwa na kibali na amri kutoka kwa makuhani wakuu. 13 Mtukufu Mfalme, nilipokuwa njiani, mnamo saa sita mchana, niliona mwanga mkali kuliko wa jua kutoka mbinguni, ukaniangazia mimi na wale niliokuwa nao, pande zote. 14 Na wote tulipokuwa tumeanguka chini nilisikia sauti ikisema nami kwa lugha ya Kie brania, ‘Sauli, Sauli! Mbona unanitesa? Unajiumiza mwenyewe.’ 15 Nikauliza, ‘Ni nani wewe Bwana?’ Naye akasema, ‘Mimi ni Yesu unayenitesa. 16 Lakini sasa inuka usimame, kwa maana nimejidhi hirisha kwako ili nikuteue uwe mtumishi wangu, ukawaambie wengine mambo yote uliyoyaona kwangu leo, na yale nitakayokuonyesha baad aye. 17 Nitakuokoa kutoka kwa watu wako na watu wa mataifa. 18 Ninakutuma ukawafungue macho yao ili watoke kwenye giza waingie nuruni na watoke katika nguvu za shetani wamgeukie Mungu; ili wapokee msamaha wa dhambi na wapate nafasi pamoja na wote ambao wanatakaswa kwa kuniamini.’
19 Kwa hiyo mtukufu Agripa, sikuweza kuacha kutii haya maagizo ya maono kutoka mbinguni, 20 bali niliwahubiria kwanza watu wa Dameski kisha Yerusalemu na nchi yote ya Yudea na watu wa mataifa mengine pia. Niliwahimiza watubu dhambi zao wamgeukie Mungu na kuishi maisha yanayodhihirisha kwamba kweli wametubu. 21 Ni kwa sababu hii Wayahudi walinikamata nilipokuwa Hekaluni, wakataka kuniua. 22 Lakini mpaka wakati huu nimepata msaada uto kao kwa Mungu, na kwa hiyo nasimama hapa nikitoa ushuhuda wangu kwa watu wote, wakubwa kwa wadogo. Nami sisemi lo lote ila yale ambayo Musa na manabii walitabiri yangetokea: 23 kwamba Kristo atateswa naye kwa kuwa atakuwa wa kwanza kufufuka kutoka kwa wafu, atatangaza mwanga wa wokovu kwa Wayahudi na watu wa mataifa.”
24 Paulo alipofikia hapa katika utetezi wake Festo aliin gilia kati akasema kwa sauti kubwa, “Paulo, umeehuka! Kusoma sana kumekufanya uehuke !” 25 Lakini Paulo akajibu, “Mimi si mwehu, Mtukufu Festo, bali nasema yale yaliyo kweli na ya kuami nika. 26 Mfalme Agripa anajua habari za mambo haya, ndio sababu najieleza wazi wazi mbele yake. Kwa sababu ninahakika kuwa yeye aliyaona mambo haya kwa kuwa hayakufichwa pembeni. 27 Mfalme Agripa, Unawaamini manabii? Ninajua kwamba unaamini.” 28 Kisha Agripa akamjibu, “Unadhani kuwa kwa muda huu mfupi unaweza kuni fanya nikubali kuwa mkristo!” 29 Paulo akasema, “Singejali kama ni kwa muda mfupi au mrefu, lakini shauku yangu ni kwamba wewe na wote wanaonisikiliza leo muwe kama mimi nilivyo, isipo kuwa tu hii minyororo.’ ’ 30 Ndipo Mfalme akasimama na Gavana na Bernike na wengine wote waliokuwa wameketi nao wakasimama. 31 Na walipokuwa faraghani pamoja wakasema, “Mtu huyu hafanyi jambo lo lote linalostahili kifo au kifungo.” 32 Agripa akamwambia Festo, “Mtu huyu angeweza kuachiliwa huru kama hakuwa amekata rufaa kesi yake isikilizwe na Kaisari.”