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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

 

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DRUSILLA

droo-sil'-a (Drousilla, or Drousilla): Wife of Felix, a Jewess, who along with her husband "heard (Paul) concerning the faith in Christ Jesus" during Paul's detention in Caesarea (Acts 24:24). Beta text gives the rendering "Drusilla the wife of Felix, a Jewess, asked to see Paul and to hear the word." The fact that Drusilla was a Jewess explains her curiosity, but Paul, who was probably acquainted with the past history of her and Felix, refused to satisfy their request in the way they desired, and preached to them instead concerning righteousness and self-restraint and the final judgment. At this "Felix was terrified" (Acts 24:25). Beta text states that Paul's being left in bonds on the retirement of Felix was due to the desire of the latter to please Drusilla (compare Acts 24:27). Probably this explanation, besides that of the accepted text, was true also, as Drusilla, who was a member of the ruling house, saw in Paul an enemy of its power, and hated him for his condemnation of her own private sins.
The chief other source of information regarding Drusilla is Josephus Drusilla was the youngest of the three daughters of Agrippa I, her sisters being Bernice and Mariamne. She was born about 36 AD and was married when 14 years old to Azizus, king of Emeza. Shortly afterward she was induced to desert her husband by Felix, who employed a Cyprian sorcerer, Simon by name, to carry out his purpose. She was also influenced to take this step by the cruelty of Azizus and the hatred of Bernice who was jealous of her beauty. Her marriage with Felix took place about 54 AD and by him she had one son, Agrippa, who perished under Titus in an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. The mention by Josephus of "the woman" who perished along with Agrippa (Ant., XX, vii, 2) refers probably not to his mother Drusilla but to his wife.
C. M. Kerr

Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Definition for 'DRUSILLA'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". bible-history.com - ISBE; 1915.

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