“And after five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and a spokesman, one Tertullus. They laid before the governor their case against Paul. 2 And when he had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying: “Since through you we enjoy much peace, and since by your foresight, most excellent Felix, reforms are being made for this nation, 3 in every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude. 4 But, to detain you no further, I beg you in your kindness to hear us briefly. 5 For we have found this man a plague, one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world and is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. 6 He even tried to profane the temple, but we seized him. 8 By examining him yourself you will be able to find out from him about everything of which we accuse him.” 9 The Jews also joined in the charge, affirming that all these things were so.” (Acts 24:1–9 (ESV)
Are you familiar with the phrase, “flattery will get you nowhere.” While its origin is unknown, there are several ancient Greek and Roman statesmen who are credited with originating the phrase including Aristophanes (388 B.C.), Cato (175 B.C.), and Cicero (45 B.C.).
Flattery is another word for compliments given to someone. The phrase, “flattery will get you nowhere” means that compliments will not persuade someone to do what you want them to do.
It is interesting to note that the Jews from Jerusalem, who came to Caesarea to address the Roman governor Felix and verbally attack the Apostle Paul, began their address by using no small amount of flattery before the governor. They praised the Roman procurator, not only for his personal leadership but also for the peace and prosperity the region was enjoying.
The ironic hypocrisy is that the Jews hated the Romans. Additionally, Felix’ administration was so oppressive that the Roman Emperor Nero recalled him two years after Paul’s trial. In fact, it was because of Felix’ repressive governing that the Jews revolted against Rome culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish temple in 70 A.D.
The Jews in general, and their spokesperson, Tertullus, in particular offer many accusations against Paul. However, they offer no evidence or proof of the apostle’s guilt.
Flattery is a form of dishonesty. It leads to all kinds of evil. I encourage you to read the following verses and meditate upon God’s truth concerning honest speech. See Proverbs 5:1-9, Proverbs 20:19, Proverbs 29:1-5, Romans 16:18 and Jude 16.
Let us all pray that our speech would be truthful.
Soli deo Gloria!