Acts 12Herod. This was Herod Agrippa, grandson of the old king, and nephew to Herod Antipas, who caused John the Baptist to be beheaded, and who took a part in the trial of Jesus Christ. During the life of Christ, Judea was under Roman governors; but it had been again erected into a kingdom, and, with several other neighboring countries, placed under the sway of this representative of the Herod family.
The days of unleavened bread; the Passover.
Four quaternions; making sixteen. A quaternion was a company of four.—Easter; the Passover. The word is now used to denote the anniversary of the resurrection, which nearly coincides, of course, with the Jewish Passover.
Sleeping; a striking image of quiet confidence in God, and resignation to his will, in extreme and imminent danger.
Gird thyself. The garments then worn were confined by a girdle which was laid aside or loosened when the person slept.—Cast thy garment; an outer garment.
James; James the less, the son of Alpheus.—Another place. Some other retreat,—perhaps one of greater retirement and safety. This expression, as well as the precaution of the damsel, (v. 13,) indicates the state of anxiety and fear which Herod's cruelty produced, at this time, among all the disciples in Jerusalem. Peter is mentioned once after this time, (Acts 15:7,) and then he finally disappears from the sacred history. Henceforth, Paul rises to a higher prominence, and the chief interest of the narrative, in relation to the prosperity and extension of the church, centres in him. In after ages, the metropolitan bishops of Rome, having gradually come into possession of vast ecclesiastical power, the rightfulness of which it became very important to defend, found traces of a tradition that Peter went to Rome, and was the first of the Christian bishops there; and the authority, which has since been wielded by the long line of Roman pontiffs, they profess to hold as successors of Peter in the bishopric of Rome.—It is perhaps worthy of notice that John is no more named, after this, in the sacred history; so that these three distinguished disciples, Peter, James, and John, who have hitherto been the foremost actors in the scenes which have been described, and the most prominent objects of attention and interest to the reader, now disappear together.
Their country was nourished, &c. Tyre and Sidon were great commercial cities on the Mediterranean, and dependent for their prosperity on intercourse with the interior.
He gave not God the glory; that is, he did not reject these divine honors.—Eaten of worms. This expression refers to a very dreadful and painful disease, with which Herod was suddenly attacked, and by means of which God destroyed his life.
Their ministry; referring to the commission with which they had been intrusted, as recorded Acts 11:30.—John. See v. 12. He was the author of the Gospel of Mark.
At this place commences the third of the parts into which commentators have considered this book divisible, viz., the narrative of the personal ministry of Paul. (See 8:1.)
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