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1: About that time - So wisely did God mix rest and persecution
in due time and measure succeeding each other. Herod - Agrippa;
the latter was his Roman, the former his Syrian name. He was
the grandson of Herod the Great, nephew to Herod Antipas, who
beheaded John the Baptist; brother to Herodias, and father to
that Agrippa before whom St. Paul afterward made his defence.
Caligula made him king of the tetrarchy of his uncle Philip, to
which he afterward added the territories of Antipas. Claudius
made him also king of Judea, and added thereto the dominions
2: James the brother of John - So one of the brothers went to God
the first, the other the last of the apostles.
3: Then were the days of unleavened bread - At which the Jews came
together from all parts.
4: Four quaternions - Sixteen men, who watched by turns day and night.
5: Continual prayer was made for him - Yet when their prayer was
answered, they could scarce believe it, (Ac 12:15). But why had
they not prayed for St. James also? Because he was put to death
as soon as apprehended.
6: Peter was sleeping - Easy and void of fear; between two
soldiers - Sufficiently secured to human appearance.
7: His chains - With which his right arm was bound to one of
the soldiers, and his left arm to the other.
8: Gird thyself - Probably he had put off his girdle, sandals,
and upper garment, before he lay down to sleep.
10: The first and second ward - At each of which doubtless was
a guard of soldiers. The gate opened of its own accord - Without
either Peter or the angel touching it. And they went on through
one street - That Peter might know which way to go. And the angel
departed from him - Being himself sufficient for what remained to
11: Now I know of a truth - That this is not a vision,(Ac 12:9).
12: And having considered - What was best to be done. Many were
gathered together - At midnight.
13: The gate - At some distance from the house;
to hearken - If any knocked.
14: And knowing Peter's voice - Bidding her open the door.
15: They said, Thou art mad - As we say, Sure you are not in your
senses to talk so. It is his angel - It was a common opinion
among the Jews, that every man had his particular guardian
angel, who frequently assumed both his shape and voice. But
this is a point on which the Scriptures are silent.
17: Beckoning to them - Many of whom being amazed, were talking
together. And he said, Show these things to James - The brother or
kinsman of our Lord, and author of the epistle which bears his
name. He appears to have been a person of considerable weight
and importance, probably the chief overseer of that province,
and of the Church in Jerusalem in particular. He went into
another place - Where he might be better concealed till the
storm was over.
19: Herod commanded them to be put to death - And thus the
wicked suffered in the room of the righteous. And going down
from Judea - With shame, for not having brought forth Peter,
according to his promise.
20: Having gained Blastus - To their side, they sued for, and
obtained peace - Reconciliation with Herod. And so the Christians
of those parts were, by the providence of God, delivered from
scarcity. Their country was nourished - Was provided with, corn,
by the king's country - Thus Hiram also, king of Tyre, desired of
Solomon food or corn for his household, (1Ki 5:9).
21: And on a set day - Which was solemnized yearly, in honour of
Claudius Cesar; Herod, arrayed in royal apparel - In a garment so
wrought with silver, that the rays of the rising sun striking
upon, and being reflected from it, dazzled the eyes of the
beholders. The people shouted, It is the voice of a god - Such
profane flattery they frequently paid to princes. But the
commonness of a wicked custom rather increases than lessens
the guilt of it.
23: And immediately - God does not delay to vindicate his injured
honour; an angel of the Lord smote him - Of this other historians
say nothing: so wide a difference there is between Divine and
human history! An angel of the Lord brought out Peter; an angel
smote Herod. Men did not see the instruments in either case.
These were only known to the people of God. Because he gave not
glory to God - He willingly received it to himself, and by this
sacrilege filled up the measure of his iniquities. So then
vengeance tarried not. And he was eaten by worms, or vermin - How
changed! And on the fifth day expired in exquisite torture.
Such was the event! The persecutor perished, and the Gospel
grew and multiplied.
25: Saul returned - To Antioch; taking John, surnamed Mark - The son
of Mary, (at whose house the disciples met, to pray for Peter,)
who was sister to Barnabas.