Acts 25:1 he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem
Caesarea was on the coast of Palestine, about 70 miles northwest of Jerusalem. Caesarea was at sea level, while the highest point in Jerusalem is 2550 ft. above sea level.
"To the Jews, Jerusalem is the high point of temporal and spiritual life. The Holy City is situated in the high hills of Judaea. The New Testament contains the phrase 'up to Jerusalem' or 'up unto Jerusalem' twenty-two times. Westerners will often view any place north as 'up north,' whereas in the Holy Land the region around the Sea of Galilee, though north, is referred to as 'down north,' being lower in elevation.
"So from the Galilee, the Jordan Valley, the Coastal Plains, or anywhere in the country, it was a journey up to Jerusalem. 'When he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.' (Luke 2:42.) 'The Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.' (John 2:13.) 'When he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem.' (Luke 19:28.) 'He was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem.' (Acts 13:31.) 'Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem.' (Acts 25:1.)" (D. Kelly Ogden, Where Jesus Walked: The Land and Culture of New Testament Times, 5)
Acts 25:7 the Jews...laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove
We presume these Jews to be members of, or servants of, the Sanhedrin, the highest Jewish authority. Therefore they were the "experts" of their day regarding the Law of Moses. They knew better than anyone else the innumerable rules and proscriptions of the rabbinic tradition. They were the type who would never eat with Gentiles or feast without washing their hands. Yet while they were careful about the small commandments, they had forgotten the larger ones. The hypocrites would not walk through a field on the Sabbath for fear that they would inadvertently plant a seed, but they had no problem plotting Paul's death by ambush (v. 3). Had they forgotten the 6th commandment, 'thou shalt not kill' (Ex 20:13)? Next, their hypocritical memory fails them again when they bear false witness against Paul before Festus-thereby violating the 9th commandment.
Christ warned of the leaven of the Pharisees. The Master called this straining at a gnat while swallowing a camel (Matt 23:24), and this chapter is an excellent example of those who had 'omitted the weightier matters of the law'.
'Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye...have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel, who make yourselves appear unto men that ye would not commit the least sin, and yet ye yourselves, transgress the whole law.' (JST Matt 23:23-24)
Acts 25:11 I appeal unto Caesar
"Under Roman law, each citizen accused of crime had the right and privilege of being heard before the imperial seat. Authorities on Roman law assert that local magistrates had discretionary power where appeal was concerned. They could decide if the case warranted such a privilege where guilt was obvious and the crime of such enormity that a delay would thwart true justice." (Institute Manual, The Life and Teachings of Jesus & his Apostles, 2nd ed., p. 341-2)
Bruce R. McConkie
"Falsely imprisoned, with no specific or substantial charge against him, Paul declines to go willingly back to Jerusalem, back to stand in jeopardy before the fanatical mob which had caused the crucifixion of his Lord. Instead, Roman citizen that he was, he appeals unto Caesar. And Caesar's Procurator decrees that unto Caesar shall Christ's apostle bow.
"But why? Why all this imprisonment? Why these repeated mock-like-trials before one ruler after another-all to no avail as far as freeing the innocent Paul is concerned. Why does not the Lord send an angel to deliver his apostle, as he did when Peter was imprisoned by Herod? (Acts 12:1-19.)
"Clearly it is the design of Deity to use Paul's imprisonment as the means of taking the testimony of Jesus to the great and the mighty of the world. The gospel is for the poor and for the privileged. It is to be 'proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers.' (D. & C. 1:23.)" (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 2:198)
Acts 25:12 Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? Unto Caesar shalt thou go
"Paul's firm decision to invoke his right as a Roman citizen was probably an unpleasant one to Festus. It was embarrassing enough for a procurator ever to have his decisions appealed to Caesar, but to have his first administrative decision thus appealed was to prejudice the imperial government against him. But after conferring with the Council, composed of administrative legal advisers, Festus decided that Paul's appeal was a valid one. He turned to the Apostle and said, 'Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.' (Acts 25:12)" (Sidney B. Sperry, Paul's Life and Letters [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1955], 221.)
Acts 25:13 king Agrippa
King Agrippa is also known as Herod Agrippa II. He is the son of Herod Agrippa I whose demise is recorded in Acts 12:20-23. He is the last of the Herodian line, and is accompanied by Bernice, his sister. He is intrigued by Paul, but not enough to do what's right.
Acts 25:25 he himself hath appealed to Augustus
Augustus was not the emperor at the time spoken of, and of course, Festus knew that. The time is about 60 AD, and the emperor was Nero, but it seems that the reign and reputation of Augustus was so incredible that his very name became synonymous with the exalted office of emperor.
"Now Paul was in Rome under house arrest, awaiting the outcome of his 'appeal unto Caesar.' (Acts 25:11.) Nero was that Caesar; he had ruled since A.D. 54 and would commit suicide in 68, about six years hence. Paul would precede him in a martyr's death by a year or two." (Rodney Turner, Studies in Scripture, Vol. 6: Acts to Revelation, edited by Robert L. Millet, 107.)