12:2 He had James, the brother of John, executed with a sword. 1
12:3 When he saw that this pleased the Jews, 2 he proceeded to arrest Peter too. (This took place during the feast of Unleavened Bread.) 3
12:11 When 4 Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued 5 me from the hand 6 of Herod 7 and from everything the Jewish people 8 were expecting to happen.”
12:23 Immediately an angel of the Lord 9 struck 10 Herod 11 down because he did not give the glory to God, and he was eaten by worms and died. 12
1 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.
2 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.
3 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.
4 tn Grk “And when.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.
5 tn Or “delivered.”
6 sn Here the hand of Herod is a metaphor for Herod’s power or control.
7 sn King Herod was Herod Agrippa I, the grandson of Herod I (Herod the Great).
8 sn Luke characterizes the opposition here as the Jewish people, including their leadership (see 12:3).
9 tn Or “the angel of the Lord.” See the note on the word “Lord” in 5:19.
10 sn On being struck…down by an angel, see Acts 23:3; 1 Sam 25:28; 2 Sam 12:15; 2 Kgs 19:35; 2 Chr 13:20; 2 Macc 9:5.
11 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Herod) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
12 sn He was eaten by worms and died. Josephus, Ant. 19.8.2 (19.343-352), states that Herod Agrippa I died at Caesarea in a.d. 44. The account by Josephus, while not identical to Luke’s account, is similar in many respects: On the second day of a festival, Herod Agrippa appeared in the theater with a robe made of silver. When it sparkled in the sun, the people cried out flatteries and declared him to be a god. The king, carried away by the flattery, saw an owl (an omen of death) sitting on a nearby rope, and immediately was struck with severe stomach pains. He was carried off to his house and died five days later. The two accounts can be reconciled without difficulty, since while Luke states that Herod was immediately struck down by an angel, his death could have come several days later. The mention of worms with death adds a humiliating note to the scene. The formerly powerful ruler had been thoroughly reduced to nothing (cf. Jdt 16:17; 2 Macc 9:9; cf. also Josephus, Ant. 17.6.5 [17.168-170], which details the sickness which led to Herod the Great’s death).