12:1 Now 1 about that time a Herod the king stretched forth [his] hands to vex certain of the church.
(1) God gives his Church peace only for a short time. 12:2 And he b killed James the brother of John with the sword.
(a) This name Herod was common to all those that come from the stock of Herod Ascalonites, whose surname was Magnus: but he that is spoken of here was nephew to Herod the great, son to Aristobulus, and father to the Agrippa who is spoken of afterwards.
(b) Violently, his cause not being heard at all. 12:3 2 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)
(2) It is an old habit of tyrants to attain the favour of the wicked, with the blood of the godly. 12:4 3 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.
(3) The tyrants and wicked make a gallows for themselves even then when they do most according to their own will and fantasy. 12:5 4 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
(4) The prayers of the godly overturn the counsel of tyrants, obtain angels from God, break the prison, unloose the chains, put Satan to flight, and preserve the Church. 12:7 And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon [him], and a light shined in the c prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from [his] hands.
(c) Literally, "habitation"; (Ed.). 12:12 5 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.
(5) Holy meetings in the nights of both men and women (when they cannot take place in the day time) are allowable by the example of the apostles. 12:13 6 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel d came to hearken, named Rhoda.
(6) We obtain more from God than we dare well hope for. 12:17 7 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.
(d) Out of the place where they were assembled, but not out of the house.
(7) We may sometimes give place to the rage of the wicked, but yet only in such a way that our diligence which ought to be used in Gods business does not slacken in the least. 12:18 8 Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter.
(8) Evil counsel in the end results in the hurt of those who devised it. 12:20 9 And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the kings chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the kings [country].
(9) A miserable and shameful example of what happens to the enemies of the Church. 12:22 10 And the people gave a shout, [saying, It is] the voice of a god, and not of a man.
12:23 11 And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he e gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.
(10) The flattery of people makes fools glad.
12:24 12 But the s word of God grew and multiplied.
(11) God resists the proud.
(e) Josephus records that this king did not repress the flatterers tongues, and therefore at his death he complained and cried out about their empty praise.
(12) Tyrants build up the Church by destroying it.
(s) Those that heard the word of God.