A Roman governor of Judea; originally a slave, but manumitted and promoted by Claudius Caesar, from whom he received the name of Claudius. He is described by the historian Tacitus as cruel, licentious, and base. In Judea he married Drusilla, sister of the younger Agrippa, having enticed her from her second husband Azizus. Paul having been sent by Lysias to Caesarea, then the seat of government, Felix gave him an audience, and was convinced of his innocence. Nevertheless he kept him a prisoner, though with many alleviation's, in hopes that his friends would purchase his liberty by a heavy bribe. Meanwhile his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess, desired to hear Paul explain the new religion; and the apostle being summoned before them, discoursed with his usual boldness on justice, chastity, and the final judgment. Felix trembled, but hastily remanded Paul to confinement, and stifled his convictions-a melancholy instance of the power of lust and the danger of delay. Two years after, A. D. 60, he was recalled to Rome; and left Paul in prison, in order to appease the Jews. He was brought to trial, however, for maladministration, found guilty, and barely escaped death through the intercession of his brother Pallas, another royal favorite, Ac 23:26; 24.
happy, the Roman procurator of Judea before whom Paul "reasoned" (Ac 24:25). He appears to have expected a bribe from Paul, and therefore had several interviews with him. The "worthy deeds" referred to in 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.
Antonius (Tacitus, Hist. 5:9) Claudius (Suidas), Roman procurator of Judaea, appointed by the emperor Claudius, whose freedman he was, to succeed Ventidius Cumanus, who was banished A.D. 53. Tacitus (Ann., 12:54) makes F. procurator of Samaria while Cumanus had Galilee. Josephus (Ant. 20:6, section 2, 7, section 1) makes him succeed Cumanus. Tacitus writes of Felix, "he exercised the authority of a king with the disposition of a slave in all cruelty and lust." He and Cumanus were tried before Quadratus for winking at robbery and violence and enriching themselves with bribes, according to Tacitus, and Felix was acquitted and reinstated. Having the powerful support of his brother Pallas, Claudius' freedman and favorite, he thought he could do what he liked with impunity. Pallas' influence continuing, Felix remained procurator under Nero.
Felix crushed the Jewish zealots under the name of "robbers," and crucified hundreds. He put down false Messiahs and the followers of an Egyptian magician (Josephus, Ant. 20:8, section 5, 6; Ac 21:40) and riots, but he once employed the zealot assassins (Sicarii) to murder the high priest Jonathan. "By unseasonable remedies he only aggravated" the evils of Judaea (Tacitus, Annals 12:54). These were the "very worthy deeds done by Felix's providence," which gave the nation "great quietness" according to the lying flatterer Tertullus' set oration against Paul (Ac 24:2, etc.). Claudius Lysias, the chief captain, sent Paul for judgment to Felix at Caesarea.
There Paul had two hearings before Felix. After the first hearing, Felix deferred the Jews until Lysias the chief captain should come. At the second Paul, before Felix and Drusilla, Felix's Jewish wife, who was curious to "hear him concerning the faith of Christ," so reasoned of "righteousness and temperance (both of which Felix outraged as a governor and a man, having seduced from her husband) and judgment to come" that Felix "trembled" before his prisoner, but deferred repentance, saying, "when I have a convenient season I will call for thee." (See DRUSILLA.) Greed of gain supplanted conscience, so that instead of repenting of his shameful life he would not even do common justice to Paul, but left him a prisoner because he got no bribe to set him free.
Felix could hardly have hoped for money from so poor looking a prisoner as Paul (which is implied in Lysias' surprise, presuming Paul had like himself bought Roman citizenship, Ac 22:27-28), had he not heard Paul stating in the former interview, "after many years I came to bring alms to my nation and offerings." This accounts for Felix "letting Paul have liberty and forbidding none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him." He doubtless hoped they would supply the money wherewith to buy his deliverance, an undesigned coincidence and so a mark of the truth of the history. After two years Porcius Festus succeeded, and Felix was accused by the Jews of Caesarea, at Rome, but escaped through Pallas' influence with the emperor Nero, A.D. 60.
One of the freedmen of the Emperor Claudius, and by him appointed to be procurator or governor of Judaea, A.D. 51. Paul, when sent a prisoner to Caesarea, appeared before Felix; and again before him and his wife Drusilla; and as Paul reasoned of righteousness, temperance and judgement to come, Felix trembled, and said when he had a convenient season he would send for him. He showed his mercenary and unrighteous character in keeping Paul a prisoner two years in the hope of being bribed; and then leaving him a prisoner to please the Jews. Ac 23:24,26; 24:3-27; 25:14.
Tacitus says Felix ruled the province in a mean, cruel, and profligate manner. The country was full of sedition, among which Josephus speaks of 'false messiahs' being put down. Eventually he was accused before Nero by the Jews, and only escaped punishment by the intercession of his brother Pallas. He was superseded by Porcius Festus, A.D. 60.
(happy), 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.
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 him.
See Festus, Porcius
FELIX, CLAUDIUS. See CLAUDIUS.