Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself:
Then Agrippa said unto Paul,.... After Festus had made the above speech to him, and to all present, and had introduced the affair of Paul, who now stood before them:
Thou art permitted to speak for thyself; which a prisoner might not do, until he had leave; and this leave was granted by Festus the Roman governor, who was properly the judge, and not Agrippa, though the permission might be by both; and so the Arabic and Ethiopic versions read, "we have ordered", or "permitted thee", &c.
Then Paul stretched forth the hand; as orators used to do, when they were about to speak; or else to require silence; or it may be to show the freedom of his mind, and how ready he was to embrace the opportunity of pleading his own cause; being conscious to himself of his innocence, and relying on the ingenuity and integrity of his judge; and especially of the king, before whom he stood:
and answered for himself; or made an apology, or spoke in vindication of himself, in order to remove the charges brought against him.