Acts Chapter 12

Acts Chapter 12 tells the story of Peter being imprisoned by Herod Agrippa, who was the grandson of Herod the Great. Although he did not practice any type of religion, Agrippa was known for being a strict observer of Jewish ceremonies as well as his cruelty toward Christians.

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He had killed James, the brother of John, who was one of the three apostles that was very dear to Jesus. This pleased the Jews who believed that Christians were subversive to Jewish traditions. Because Herod wanted to be popular among the people, he captured Peter and intended to have him killed as well.

Peter Sent to Prison

Herod had a total of 16 soldiers taking shifts to guard Peter while he was in. There were four guards for every six hours. Two guards stood outside the cell and two were stood guard inside the cell with Peter, who was bound in chains.

As a group of people from the church prayed and fasted for Peter’s deliverance, an angel came and rescued him in the middle of the night. Immediately after he escaped, Peter went to the house of Mary, the mother of Mark. He knocked on the door and a woman by the name of Rhoda came to the door and recognized Peter’s voice. After telling them what happened, Peter moved on to another place.

Herod Struck Down by God

Herod was displeased by the news of Peter’s escape. He had the guards killed who were assigned to watch him. Later, Herod dressed himself in royal clothes and sat on his throne. He made a speech and was praised by idolatrous Gentiles who said it was the voice of a god, not man that was speaking. God smote him for not rebuking the words of flattery. After suffering for five days, Herod died. As news of this spread, God’s Word grew throughout the land.

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Acts 12 (King James Version)

1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain 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. (Then 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 Easter to bring him forth to the people.

5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto 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 up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.

8 And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.

9 And he went out, and followed him; and wist not 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 unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him.

11 And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath 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 gathered together praying.

13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda.

14 And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate.

15 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, 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 unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go shew these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into another place.

18 Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter.

19 And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judaea to Caesarea, and there abode.

20 And Herod was highly displeased with them 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 unto 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 gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

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.

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