And they said unto her, thou art mad
"Or art thou not mad?" as the Ethiopic version, and two of Beza's exemplars read, and some others: they thought the girl must be out of her senses; they looked upon the thing impossible; for though they were praying for him, and praying in faith, yet they might have no expectation of a deliverance; but were praying that they might be supported under such a trial, and that it might be sanctified to them; and for Peter, that he might be strengthened and made steadfast, and kept faithful to the last; and bear, by his sufferings and death, a glorious and honourable testimony for Christ:
but she constantly affirmed that it was even so;
she asserted it over and over, and was positive in it; nothing they could say could put her off of it; she was sure of it; which when they observed, they could not tell what to say to it, but as follows: then said they,
it is his angel;
not his tutelar or guardian angel, everyone having, as some think, a particular angel to attend him; whereas sometimes one angel attends many persons, and sometimes many angels encamp about, and are a guard to a single saint; nor did they think it was an angel sent to give notice of his death, as some persons, by one means or another, have had previous notices of the death of their friends; but rather, that it was an angel in Peter's shape, who had something to communicate: and this agrees with the notions of the Jews, who think that angels do assume the shapes of men on certain occasions: so they say F9, when Moses was in danger in Pharaoh's court, God sent Michael, the prince of the host of heaven, "in the shape of an executioner"; who brought him at once out of Egypt, and set him at the border of it, the distance of three days journey: Bar Kaphra says F11, an angel descended (hvm twmdb) , "in the likeness of Moses", and caused him to flee, and they thought the angel had been Moses: and so it is elsewhere said F12, that an angel descended "in the likeness of Solomon", sitting upon his throne: there are some who think, that the sense of the brethren praying for Peter, was not that it was an angel, a celestial spirit, but a messenger sent by Peter from the prison on some errand: who represented him, or mentioning his name, the damsel took him for Peter himself. Beza's ancient copy reads, "then said they unto her, perhaps it is his angel", and so the Syriac version.
F9 Chronicon Mosis, fol. 6. 1.
F11 Debarim Rabba, sect. 2. fol. 237. 1.
F12 Midrash Kohelet, fol. 64. 4.