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Acts 12:1-4

Context
James is Killed and Peter Imprisoned

12:1 About that time King Herod 1  laid hands on 2  some from the church to harm them. 3  12:2 He had James, the brother of John, executed with a sword. 4  12:3 When he saw that this pleased the Jews, 5  he proceeded to arrest Peter too. (This took place during the feast of Unleavened Bread.) 6  12:4 When he had seized him, he put him in prison, handing him over to four squads 7  of soldiers to guard him. Herod 8  planned 9  to bring him out for public trial 10  after the Passover.

1 sn King Herod was Herod Agrippa I, the grandson of Herod I (Herod the Great). His mediocre career is summarized in Josephus, Ant. 18-19. This event took place in a.d. 42 or 43.

2 tn Or “King Herod had some from the church arrested.”

3 tn Or “to cause them injury.”

4 sn The expression executed with a sword probably refers to a beheading. James was the first known apostolic martyr (Eusebius, Eccl. Hist. 2.9.1-3). On James, not the Lord’s brother, see Luke 5:10; 6:14. This death ended a short period of peace noted in Acts 9:31 after the persecution mentioned in 8:1-3.

5 tn This could be a reference to the Jewish people (so CEV) or to the Jewish leaders (so NLT). The statement in v. 4 that Herod intended to bring Peter “out to the people” (i.e., for a public trial) may suggest the former is somewhat more likely.

6 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

7 sn Four squads of soldiers. Each squad was a detachment of four soldiers.

8 tn Grk “guard him, planning to bring him out.” The Greek construction continues with a participle (βουλόμενος, boulomeno") and an infinitive (ἀναγαγεῖν, anagagein), but this creates an awkward and lengthy sentence in English. Thus a reference to Herod was introduced as subject and the participle translated as a finite verb (“Herod planned”).

9 tn Or “intended”; Grk “wanted.”

10 tn Grk “to bring him out to the people,” but in this context a public trial (with certain condemnation as the result) is doubtless what Herod planned. L&N 15.176 translates this phrase “planning to bring him up for a public trial after the Passover.”



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