The Acts of the Apostles

Chapter 12

King Herod persecutes the Christians, kills James, and imprisons Peter, whom an angel delivers upon the prayers of the church, 1-19. Herod in his pride, taking to himself the honor due to God, is stricken by an angel and dies miserably, 20-23. After his death, the word of God prospers, 24. Saul and Barnabas return to Antioch, 25.

1 Now about that time, Herod the king stretched forth his hands to afflict some of the church. 2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. Those were the days of unleavened bread. 4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him, intending after the passover to bring him forth to the people. 5 Peter therefore was kept in prison. But prayer was made without ceasing by the church to God for him.

6 And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and the keepers before the door kept the prison. 7 And behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison, and he smote Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, "Arise quickly." And his chains fell off from his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, "Gird yourself and put on your sandals." And he did so. And he says to him, "Put on your cloak and follow me." 9 And he went out and followed him, and did not know that it was true which was done by the angel, but thought he saw a vision. 10 When they were past the first and the second ward, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord. And they went out and passed on through one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. 11 And when Peter had come to himself, he said, "Now I know with certainty that the Lord has sent his angel and has delivered me out of the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews." 12 And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were assembled, praying. 13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a woman-servant named Rhoda came to listen. 14 And when she knew Peter's voice, she did not open the gate for gladness, but ran in and reported that Peter stood before the gate. 15 And they said to her, "You are insane." But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then they said, "It is his angel." 16 But Peter continued knocking. And when they had opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. 17 But he beckoning to them with the hand to hold their peace, declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, "Go, show these things to James and to the brothers." And he departed and went into another place.

18 Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers about what had become of Peter. 19 And when Herod had sought for him and did not find him, he examined the keepers and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there.

20 And Herod was highly displeased with those of Tyre and Sidon. But they came with one accord to him, and having made Blastus the king's chamberlain their friend, desired peace, because their country was nourished by the king's country. 21 And upon a set day, Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne and made an oration to them. 22 And the people gave a shout, saying, "It is the voice of a god and not of a man." 23 And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died.

24 But the word of God grew and multiplied.

25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.


Matthew Henry Commentary - Acts, Chapter 12[➚]