Acts 12:17

There were probably loud exclamations of astonishment and joy. Beckoning with the hand (kataseisa th ceiri). First aorist active participle of kataseiw, old verb to signal or shake down with the hand (instrumental case ceiri). In the N.T. only in Acts 12:17 ; Acts 13:16 ; Acts 19:33 ; Acts 21:40 . The speaker indicates by a downward movement of the hand his desire for silence (to hold their peace, sigain, present active infinitive, to keep silent). Peter was anxious for every precaution and he wanted their instant attention. Declared (dihghsato). First aorist middle of dihgeomai, old verb to carry through a narrative, give a full story. See also Acts 9:27 of Barnabas in his defence of Saul. Peter told them the wonderful story. Unto James and the brethren (Iakwbwi kai toi adelpoi). Dative case after apaggeilate (first aorist active imperative). Evidently "James and the brethren" were not at this meeting, probably meeting elsewhere. There was no place where all the thousands of disciples in Jerusalem could meet. This gathering in the house of Mary may have been of women only or a meeting of the Hellenists. It is plain that this James the Lord's brother, is now the leading presbyter or elder in Jerusalem though there were a number ( Acts 11:30 ; Acts 21:18 ). Paul even terms him apostle ( Galatians 1:19 ), though certainly not one of the twelve. The twelve apostles probably were engaged elsewhere in mission work save James now dead ( Acts 12:2 ) and Peter. The leadership of James is here recognized by Peter and is due, partly to the absence of the twelve, but mainly to his own force of character. He will preside over the Jerusalem Conference ( Acts 15:13 ). To another place (ei eteron topon). Probably Luke did not know the place and certainly it was prudent for Peter to conceal it from Herod Agrippa. Probably Peter left the city. He is back in Jerusalem at the Conference a few years later ( Acts 15:7 ) and after the death of Herod Agrippa. Whether Peter went to Rome during these years we do not know. He was recognized later as the apostle to the circumcision ( Galatians 2:7 ; 1 Peter 1:1 ) and apparently was in Rome with John Mark when he wrote the First Epistle ( 1 Peter 5:13 ), unless it is the real Babylon. But, even if Peter went to Rome during this early period, there is no evidence that he founded the church there. If he had done so, in the light of 2 Corinthians 10:16 it would be strange that Paul had not mentioned it in writing to Rome, for he was anxious not to build on another man's foundation ( Romans 15:20 ). Paul felt sure that he himself had a work to do in Rome. Unfortunately Luke has not followed the ministry of Peter after this period as he does Paul (appearing again only in chapter Acts 15:1 ). If Peter really left Jerusalem at this time instead of hiding in the city, he probably did some mission work as Paul says that he did ( 1 Corinthians 9:5 ).