Acts 12

About that time ( κατ' εκεινον τον καιρον ). Same phrase in Ro 9:9. That is, the early part of A.D. 44 since that is the date of Herod's death. As already suggested, Barnabas and Saul came down from Antioch to Jerusalem after the persecution by Herod at the end of 44 or the beginning of 45.

Herod the king ( Hηρωιδης ο βασιλευς ). Accurate title at this particular time. Herod Agrippa I, grandson of Herod the Great, was King of Palestine A.D. 42 to 44; only for these three years was a Herod king over Palestine since the death of Herod the Great and never afterwards. Archelaus never actually became king though he had the popular title at first (Mt 2:22).

Put forth his hands ( επεβαλεν τας χειρας ). Second aorist active indicative of  επιβαλλω, old verb, to cast upon or against. The same idiom with  τας χειρας (the hands, common Greek idiom with article rather than possessive pronoun) in 4:3; 5:18.

To afflict ( κακωσα ). First aorist active infinitive of  κακοω, old word to do harm or evil to ( κακος ), already in 7:6,19. Outside of Acts in the N.T. only 1Pe 5:13. Infinitive of purpose. Probably the first who were afflicted were scourged or imprisoned, not put to death. It had been eight years or more since the persecution over the death of Stephen ceased with the conversion of Saul. But the disciples were not popular in Jerusalem with either Sadducees or Pharisees. The overtures to the Gentiles in Caesarea and Antioch may have stirred up the Pharisees afresh (cf. 6:14). Herod Agrippa I was an Idumean through his grandfather Herod the Great and a grandson of Mariamne the Maccabean princess. He was a favourite of Caligula the Roman Emperor and was anxious to placate his Jewish subjects while retaining the favour of the Romans. So he built theatres and held games for the Romans and Greeks and slew the Christians to please the Jews. Josephus (Ant. XIX. 7, 3) calls him a pleasant vain man scrupulously observing Jewish rites. Here we have for the first time political power (after Pilate) used against the disciples.

James the brother of John ( Ιακωβον τον αδελφον Ιωανου ). He had been called by Jesus a son of thunder along with his brother John. Jesus had predicted a bloody death for both of them (Mr 10:38ff.; Mt 20:23). James is the first of the apostles to die and John probably the last. He is not James the Lord's brother (Ga 1:19). We do not know why Luke tells so little about the death of James and so much about the death of Stephen nor do we know why Herod selected him as a victim. Eusebius (H.E. ii. 9) quotes Clement of Alexandria as saying that a Jew made accusations against James and was converted and beheaded at the same time with him.

Killed with the sword ( ανειλεν μαχαιρη ). The verb is a favourite one with Luke (Ac 2:33; 5:33,36; 7:28; 9:23-29; 10:39, etc.). Instrumental case and Ionic form of  μαχαιρα. The Jews considered beheading a shameful death as in the case of the Baptist (Mt 14:10).

That it pleased the Jews ( οτ αρεστον εστιν τοις Ιουδαιοις ). Indirect assertion with the present tense  εστιν retained.  Αρεστον is the verbal adjective from  αρεσκω followed by the dative as in Joh 8:29.

Proceeded to seize ( προσεθετο συλλαβειν ). A patent Hebraism in Lu 20:11f. already, and nowhere else in the N.T. It occurs in the LXX (Ge 4:2; 8:12; 18:29, etc.). Second aorist middle indicative of  προστιθημ and the second aorist active infinitive of  συλλαμβανω. Literally, he added to seize, he seized Peter in addition to James.

The days of unleavened bread ( ημερα των αζυμων ). By this parenthesis Luke locates the time of the year when Peter was arrested, the passover. It was a fine occasion for Agrippa to increase his favour among the crowds of Jews there by extra zeal against the Christians. It is possible that Luke obtained his information about this incident from John Mark for at his Mother's house the disciples gathered (12:12).

When he had taken him ( πιασας ). See on 3:7 for same form.

He put him in prison ( εθετο εις φυλακην ). Second aorist middle indicative of  τιθημ, common verb. This is the third imprisonment of Peter (4:3; 5:18).

To four quaternions of soldiers ( τεσσαρσιν τετραδιοις στρατιωτων ). Four soldiers in each quaternion ( τετραδιον from  τετρας, four), two on the inside with the prisoner (chained to him) and two on the outside, in shifts of six hours each, sixteen soldiers in all, the usual Roman custom. Probably Agrippa had heard of Peter's previous escape (5:19) and so took no chances for connivance of the jailors.

After the passover ( μετα το πασχα ). The passover feast of eight days. "The stricter Jews regarded it as a profanation to put a person to death during a religious festival" (Hackett). So Agrippa is more scrupulous than the Sanhedrin was about Jesus.

To bring him forth ( αναγαγειν αυτον ). Second aorist active infinitive of  αναγω, to lead up, old verb, used literally here. Peter was in the inner prison or lower ward and so would be led up to the judgment seat where Herod Agrippa would sit (cf. Joh 19:13).

To the people ( τω λαω ). Ethical dative, in the presence of and for the pleasure of the Jewish people.

Therefore ( μεν ουν ). Because of the preceding situation.

Was kept ( ετηρειτο ). Imperfect passive, continuously guarded, waiting for the feast to be over.

But prayer was made earnestly ( προσευχη δε ην εκτενως γινομενη ). Probably  δε here is not adversative (but), merely parallel (and) as Page argues. It was a crisis for the Jerusalem church. James had been slain and Peter was to be the next victim. Hence "earnestly" (late adverb from  εκτενης, strained, from  εκτεινω, to stretch. In the N.T. only here, Lu 22:44; 1Pe 1:22) prayer was

going up ( γινομενη, present middle participle, periphrastic imperfect with  ην ). It looked like a desperate case for Peter. Hence the disciples prayed the more earnestly.

Was about to bring him forth ( Âημελλεν προσαγαγειν or  προαγαγειν ). The MSS. vary, but not  αναγαγειν of verse 4.

The same night ( τη νυκτ εκεινη ). Locative case,

on that (very) night .

Was sleeping ( ην κοιμωμενος ). Periphrastic middle imperfect.

Bound with two chains ( δεδεμενος αλυσεσιν δυσιν ). Perfect passive participle of  δεω, to bind, followed by instrumental case. One chain was fastened to each soldier (one on each side of Peter).

Kept ( ετηρουν ). Imperfect active, were keeping. Two guards outside before the door and two inside, according to Roman rule. Did Peter recall the prophecy of Jesus that he should be put to death in his old age (Joh 21:18)? Jesus had not said, as Furneaux does, that he would die by crucifixion.

Stood by him ( επεστη ). Ingressive second aorist active indicative of  εφιστημ, intransitive. This very form occurs in Lu 2:9 of the sudden appearance of the angel of the Lord to the shepherds. Page notes that this second aorist of  εφιστημ occurs seven times in the Gospel of Luke, eight times in the Acts, and nowhere else in the N.T. Note also the same form  απεστη (departed from, from  αφιστημ, stood off from) of the disappearance of the angel in verse 10.

In the cell ( εν τω οικηματ ). Literally, a dwelling place or habitation (from  οικεω, to dwell,  οικος, house), but here not the prison as a whole as in Thucydides, but the room in the prison (cell) where Peter was chained to the two guards. Old word, but only here in the N.T.

He smote Peter on the side ( παταξας την πλευραν του Πετρου ). More exactly, "smote the side of Peter." Strongly enough to wake Peter up who was sound asleep and yet not rouse the two guards. It was probably between 3 A.M. and 6 A.M., hours when changes in the guards were made.

Rise up ( αναστα ). Short form (Koine) of  αναστηθ, second aorist active imperative of  ανιστημ, intransitive. So also Ac 9:11 (Westcott and Hort text); Eph 5:14.

Fell off ( εξεπεσαν ). Second aorist active with  α ending like first aorist of  εξπιπτω, old verb. This miracle was necessary if Peter was to escape without rousing the two guards.

Gird thyself ( ζωσα ). Direct middle first aorist (ingressive) imperative (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 806f.) from  ζωννυμ ( ζωννυω ). Old verb, but in the N.T. only here and Joh 21:18 (twice to Peter) where the active voice and the reflexive pronoun occur in the first example. The girdle was worn round the  χιτων or undergarment.

Bind on ( υποδησα ). Indirect middle (by yourself or for yourself) first aorist imperative of  υποδεω, to bind under, old verb, only three times in the N.T. (Mr 6:9; Ac 12:8; Eph 6:15 (middle)).

Sandals ( σανδαλια ). Persian word common from Herodotus on, a sole made of wood or leather covering the bottom of the foot and bound on with thongs. In the N.T. only here and Mr 6:9. In the LXX used indiscriminately with  υποδημα.

Cast about thee ( περιβαλου ). Second aorist middle (indirect) imperative of  περιβαλλω, old and common verb to throw around, especially clothing around the body as here. The  ιματιον (outer garment) was put over the  χιτων. It was not a hurried flight.

Follow me ( ακολουθε μο ). Present (linear) active imperative, keep on following me (associative instrumental case).

Wist not ( ουκ ηιδε ). Past perfect of  οιδα used as imperfect, did not know.

Followed ( ηκολουθε ). Imperfect active, kept on following as the angel had directed (verse 8). That it was true ( οτ αληθες εστιν ). Indirect assertion and so present tense retained. Note "true" ( αληθες ) in the sense of reality or actuality.

Which was done ( το γινομενον ). Present middle participle, that which was happening.

Thought he saw a vision ( εδοκε οραμα βλεπειν ). Imperfect active, kept on thinking, puzzled as he was.  Βλεπειν is the infinitive in indirect assertion without the pronoun (he) expressed which could be either nominative in apposition with the subject as in Ro 1:22 or accusative of general reference as in Ac 5:36; 8:9 (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 1036-40). Peter had had a vision in Joppa (10:10) which Luke describes as an "ecstasy," but here is objective fact, at least Luke thought so and makes that distinction. Peter will soon know whether he is still in the cell or not as we find out that a dream is only a dream when we wake up.

When they were past ( διελθοντες ). Second aorist active participle of  διερχομα, transitive with  δια in composition.

The first and the second ward ( πρωτην φυλακην κα δευτεραν ). It is not clear to what this language refers. Some take it to mean single soldiers, using  φυλακην in the sense of a guard (one before the door, one at the iron gate). But it seems hardly likely that the two soldiers with whom Peter had been stationed are meant. Probably the "first ward" means the two soldiers of the quaternion stationed by the door and the second ward some other soldiers, not part of the sixteen, further on in the prison by the iron gate. However understood, the difficulties of escape are made plain.

Unto the iron gate that leadeth into the city ( επ την πυλην την σιδηραν την φερουσαν εις την πολιν ). Note the triple use of the article (the gate the iron one the one leading into the city). For this resumptive use of the article see Robertson, Grammar, pp. 762, 764. This iron gate may have opened from a court out into the street and effectually barred escape.

Opened to them ( ηνοιγη αυτοις ). Second aorist passive indicative of  ανοιγω, the usual later form though  ηνοιχθη (first aorist passive) occurs also, was opened.

Of its own accord ( αυτοματη ). Old compound adjective ( αυτος, self, obsolete  μαω, to desire eagerly, feminine form though masculine  αυτοματος also used as feminine). In the N.T. only here and Mr 4:28. It was a strange experience for Peter. The Codex Bezae adds here "went down the seven steps" ( κατεβησαν τους επτα βαθμους ), an interesting detail that adds to the picture.

One street ( ρυμην μιαν ). The angel saw Peter through one of the narrow streets and then left him. We have no means of knowing precisely the location of the prison in the city. On "departed" ( απεστη ) see on verse 7.

Was come to himself ( εν εαυτω γενομενος ). Second aorist middle participle of  γινομα with  εν and the locative case, "becoming at himself." In Lu 15:17 we have  εις εαυτον ελθων (coming to himself, as if he had been on a trip away from himself).

Now I know of a truth ( νυν οιδα αληθως ). There was no further confusion of mind that it was an ecstasy as in 10:10. But he was in peril for the soldiers would soon learn of his escape, when the change of guards came at 6 A.M.

Delivered me ( εξειλατο με ). Second aorist middle indicative of  εξαιρεω. The Lord rescued me of himself by his angel.

Expectation ( προσδοκιας ). Old word from  προσδοκαω, to look for. In the N.T. only here and Lu 21:26. James had been put to death and the Jewish people were eagerly waiting for the execution of Peter like hungry wolves.

When he had considered ( συνιδων ). Second aorist active participle of  συνειδον (for the defective verb  συνοραω ), to see together, to grasp as a whole, old verb, but in the N.T. only here and 14:6, save the perfect indicative  συνοιδα (1Co 4:4) and participle (Ac 5:2). It is the word from which  συνειδησις (conscience) comes (Ro 2:15). Peter's mind worked rapidly and he decided what to do. He took in his situation clearly.

To the house of Mary ( επ την οικιαν της Μαριας ). Another Mary (the others were Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary of Bethany, Mary Magdalene, Mary wife of Cleopas, Mary the mother of James and Joses). She may have been a widow and was possessed of some means since her house was large enough to hold the large group of disciples there. Barnabas, cousin of John Mark her son (Col 4:10), was also a man of property or had been (Ac 4:36f.). It is probable that the disciples had been in the habit of meeting in her house, a fact known to Peter and he was evidently fond of John Mark whom he afterwards calls "my son" (1Pe 5:13) and whom he had met here. The upper room of Ac 1:13 may have been in Mary's house and Mark may have been the man bearing a pitcher of water (Lu 22:10) and the young man who fled in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mr 14:51f.). There was a gate and portress here as in the house of the highpriest (Joh 18:16). Peter knew where to go and even at this early hour hoped to find some of the disciples. Mary is one of the many mothers who have become famous by reason of their sons, though she was undoubtedly a woman of high character herself.

Were gathered together and were praying ( ησαν συνηθροισμενο κα προσευχομενο ). Note difference in the tenses, one periphrastic past perfect passive ( συναθροιζω old verb, in the N.T. here only and 19:25 and the uncompounded  θροιζω in Lu 24:33) and the periphrastic imperfect. The praying apparently had been going on all night and a large number (many,  ικανο ) of the disciples were there. One recalls the time when they had gathered to pray (4:31) after Peter had told the disciples of the threats of the Sanhedrin (4:23). God had rescued Peter then. Would he let him be put to death now as James had been?

When he knocked at the door of the gate ( κρουσαντος αυτου την θυραν του πυλωνος ). Genitive absolute with aorist active participle of  κρουω, common verb to knock or knock at. So from the outside (Lu 13:25).  Πυλων here is the gateway or passageway from the door ( θυρα ) that leads to the house. In verse 14 it is still the passageway without the use of  θυρα (door, so for both door and passageway).

To answer ( υπακουσα ). To listen under before opening. First aorist active infinitive of  υπακουω, common verb to obey, to hearken.

A maid ( παιδισκη ). Portress as in Joh 18:17. A diminutive of  παις, a female slave (so on an ostracon of second century A.D., Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, p. 200).

Rhoda . A rose. Women can have such beautiful names like Dorcas (Gazelle), Euodia (Sweet Aroma), Syntyche (Good Luck). Mark or Peter could tell Luke her name.

When she knew ( επιγνουσα ). Second aorist (ingressive) active participle of  επιγινωσκω, to know fully or in addition ( επ ), to recognize. She knew Peter and his voice from his frequent visits there.

For joy ( απο της χαρας ). From her joy (ablative case), life-like picture of the maid who left Peter standing outside with the door to the passageway unopened. Note the aorist tenses for quick action ( ουκ ηνοιξεν ),  εισδραμουσα (from  ειστρεχω, defective verb, only here in the N.T.),  απηγγειλεν.

Stood ( εστανα ). Second perfect active infinitive of  ιστημ, intransitive, in indirect assertion with  τον Πετρον (Peter) accusative of general reference. The slave girl acted as if she were a member of the family (Furneaux), but she left Peter in peril.

Thou art mad ( μαινη ). Present middle indicative second person singular. Old verb, only in the middle voice. Festus used the same word to Paul (26:24). The maid was undoubtedly excited, but it was a curious rebuff from those who had been praying all night for Peter's release. In their defence it may be said that Stephen and James had been put to death and many others by Saul's persecution.

She confidently affirmed ( διισχυριζετο ). Imperfect middle of  διισχυριζομα, an old word of vigorous and confident assertion, originally to lean upon. Only here in the N.T. The girl stuck to her statement.

It is his angel ( Hο αγγελος εστιν αυτου ). This was the second alternative of the disciples. It was a popular Jewish belief that each man had a guardian angel. Luke takes no position about it. No scripture teaches it.

Continued knocking ( επεμενεν κρουων ). Imperfect active and present participle. Now all heard the knocking.

When they had opened ( ανοιξαντες ). First aorist active participle of  ανοιγω or  -νυμ. The whole group rushed out to the courtyard this time to make sure.

They were amazed ( εξεστησαν ). The frequent second aorist active (intransitive) indicative of  εξιστημ.

There were probably loud exclamations of astonishment and joy.

Beckoning with the hand ( κατασεισας τη χειρ ). First aorist active participle of  κατασειω, old verb to signal or shake down with the hand (instrumental case  χειρ ). In the N.T. only in Ac 12:17; 13:16; 19:33; 21:40. The speaker indicates by a downward movement of the hand his desire for silence (to hold their peace,  σιγαιν, present active infinitive, to keep silent). Peter was anxious for every precaution and he wanted their instant attention.

Declared ( διηγησατο ). First aorist middle of  διηγεομα, old verb to carry through a narrative, give a full story. See also Ac 9:27 of Barnabas in his defence of Saul. Peter told them the wonderful story.

Unto James and the brethren ( Ιακωβω κα τοις αδελφοις ). Dative case after  απαγγειλατε (first aorist active imperative). Evidently "James and the brethren" were not at this meeting, probably meeting elsewhere. There was no place where all the thousands of disciples in Jerusalem could meet. This gathering in the house of Mary may have been of women only or a meeting of the Hellenists. It is plain that this James the Lord's brother, is now the leading presbyter or elder in Jerusalem though there were a number (11:30; 21:18). Paul even terms him apostle (Gal 1:19), though certainly not one of the twelve. The twelve apostles probably were engaged elsewhere in mission work save James now dead (Ac 12:2) and Peter. The leadership of James is here recognized by Peter and is due, partly to the absence of the twelve, but mainly to his own force of character. He will preside over the Jerusalem Conference (Ac 15:13).

To another place ( εις ετερον τοπον ). Probably Luke did not know the place and certainly it was prudent for Peter to conceal it from Herod Agrippa. Probably Peter left the city. He is back in Jerusalem at the Conference a few years later (Ac 15:7) and after the death of Herod Agrippa. Whether Peter went to Rome during these years we do not know. He was recognized later as the apostle to the circumcision (Gal 2:7; 1Pe 1:1) and apparently was in Rome with John Mark when he wrote the First Epistle (1Pe 5:13), unless it is the real Babylon. But, even if Peter went to Rome during this early period, there is no evidence that he founded the church there. If he had done so, in the light of 2Co 10:16 it would be strange that Paul had not mentioned it in writing to Rome, for he was anxious not to build on another man's foundation (Ro 15:20). Paul felt sure that he himself had a work to do in Rome. Unfortunately Luke has not followed the ministry of Peter after this period as he does Paul (appearing again only in chapter Ac 15). If Peter really left Jerusalem at this time instead of hiding in the city, he probably did some mission work as Paul says that he did (1Co 9:5).

As soon as it was day ( Γενομενης ημερας ). Genitive absolute, day having come.

No small stir ( ταραχος ουκ ολιγος ). Litotes ( ουκ ολιγος ), occurs eight times in the Acts as in 15:2, and nowhere else in the N.T.  Ταραχος (stir) is an old word from  ταρασσω, to agitate. In the N.T only here and 19:23. Probably all sixteen soldiers were agitated over this remarkable escape. They were responsible for the prisoner with their lives (cf. Ac 16:27; 27:42). Furneaux suggests that Manaen, the king's foster-brother and a Christian (13:1), was the "angel" who rescued Peter from the prison. That is not the way that Peter looked at it.

What was become of Peter ( τ αρα ο Πετρος εγενετο ). An indirect question with the aorist indicative retained.  Αρα adds a syllogism (therefore) to the problem as in Lu 1:66. The use of the neuter  τ (as in Ac 13:25) is different from  τις, though nominative like  Πετρος, literally, "what then Peter had become," "what had happened to Peter" (in one idiom). See the same idiom in Joh 21:21 ( ουτος δε τ ).

But this one what (verb  γενησετα not used).

He examined ( ανακρινας ). First aorist active participle of  ανακρινω, old verb to sift up and down, to question thoroughly, in a forensic sense (Lu 23:14; Ac 4:9; 12:19; 28:18).

That they should be put to death ( απαχθηνα ). First aorist passive infinitive (indirect command) of  απαγω, old verb to lead away, especially to execution as in Mt 27:31. Here it is used absolutely. This was the ordinary Roman routine and not a proof of special cruelty on the part of Herod Agrippa.

Tarried ( διετριβεν ). Imperfect active. Herod Agrippa made his home in Jerusalem, but he went to Caesarea to the public games in honour of Emperor Claudius.

Was highly displeased ( ην θυμομαχων ). Periphrastic imperfect active of  θυμομαχεω, late compound of  θυμος (passionate heat) and  μαχομα, to fight. Only here in the N.T., to fight desperately, to have a hot quarrel. Whether it was open war with the Phoenicians or just violent hostility we do not know, save that Phoenicia belonged to Syria and Herod Agrippa had no authority there. The quarrel may have been over commercial matters.

They came with one accord ( ομοθυμαδον παρησαν ). The representatives of Tyre and Sidon. See on 1:14 for  ομοθυμαδον. Tyre was a colony of Sidon and had become one of the chief commercial cities of the world by reason of the Phoenician ships.

The king's chamberlain ( τον επ του κοιτωνος του βασιλεος ). The one over the bedchamber ( κοιτωνος, late word from  κοιτη, bed, here only in the N.T.).

Made their friend ( πεισαντες ). First aorist active participle of  πειθω, to persuade. Having persuaded (probably with bribes as in Mt 28:14).

They asked for peace ( ηιτουντο ειρηνην ). Imperfect middle of  αιτεω, kept on asking for peace.

Because their country was fed ( δια το τρεφεσθα αυτων την χοραν ). Causal sentence with  δια and the articular infinitive (present passive of  τρεφω, to nourish or feed) and the accusative of general reference, "because of the being fed as to their country." Tyre and Sidon as large commercial cities on the coast received large supplies of grain and fruits from Palestine. Herod had cut off the supplies and that brought the two cities to action.

Upon a set day ( τακτη ημερα ). Locative case and the verbal adjective of  τασσω, to arrange, appoint, old word, here only in the N.T. Josephus (Ant. XVII. 6, 8; XIX. 8, 2) gives a full account of the occasion and the death of Herod Agrippa. It was the second day of the festival in honour of the Emperor Claudius, possibly his birthday rather than the Quinquennalia. The two accounts of Luke and Josephus supplement each other with no contradiction. Josephus does not mention the name of Blastus.

Arrayed himself in royal apparel ( ενδυσαμενος εσθητα βασιλικην ). First aorist middle (indirect) participle of  ενδυνω or  ενδυω, common verb to put on. Literally, having put royal apparel on himself (a robe of silver tissue, Josephus says). The rays of the sun shone on this brilliant apparel and the vast crowd in the open amphitheatre became excited as Herod began to speak.

Made an oration ( εδημηγορε ). Imperfect active of  δημηγορεω, old verb from  δημηγορος (haranguer of the people), and that from  δημος (people) and  αγορευω, to harangue or address the people. Only here in the N.T. He kept it up.

Shouted ( επεφωνε ). Imperfect active, kept on shouting, calling out to him. Old verb, but only four times in the N.T. and all by Luke. The heathen crowd ( δημος ) repeated their flattering adulation to gain Herod's favour.

The voice of a god ( θεου φωνη ). In the pagan sense of emperor worship, not as the Supreme Being. But it was pleasing to Herod Agrippa's vanity.

Smote him ( επαταξεν αυτον ). Effective aorist active indicative of  πατασσω, old verb, used already in verse 7 of gentle smiting of the angel of the Lord, here of a severe stroke of affliction. Like Nebuchadnezzar (Da 4:30) pride went before a fall. He was struck down in the very zenith of his glory.

Because ( ανθ' ων ).  Αντ with the genitive of the relative pronoun, "in return for which things." He accepted the impious flattery (Hackett) instead of giving God the glory. He was a nominal Jew.

He was eaten of worms ( γενομενος σκωληκοβρωτος ). Ingressive aorist middle participle, "becoming worm-eaten." The compound verbal adjective ( σκωληξ, worm,  βρωτος, eaten, from  βιβρωσκω ) is a late word (II Macc. 9:9) of the death of Antiochus Epiphanes, used also of a tree (Theophrastus), here only in the N.T. The word  σκωληξ was used of intestinal worms and Herodotus (IV. 205) describes Pheretima, Queen of Cyrene, as having swarms of worms which ate her flesh while still alive. Josephus (Ant. XIX. 8, 2) says that Herod Agrippa lingered for five days and says that the rotting of his flesh produced worms, an item in harmony with the narrative in Luke. Josephus gives further details, one a superstitious sight of an owl sitting on one of the ropes of the awning of the theatre while the people flattered him, an omen of his death to him. Luke puts it simply that God smote him.

Gave up the ghost ( εξεψυξεν ). Effective aorist active of  εκψυχω, to breathe out, late verb, medical term in Hippocrates, in the N.T. only in Ac 5:5,10; 12:23. Herod was carried out of the theatre a dying man and lingered only five days.

Grew and multiplied ( ηυξανεν κα επληθυνετο ). Imperfect active and passive. Cf. 6:1. The reaction from the death of James and the imprisonment of Peter.

From Jerusalem ( εξ Ιερουσαλημ ). Probably correct text, though D has  απο. Westcott and Hort follow Aleph B in reading  εις (to) Jerusalem, an impossible reading contradicted by 11:29f.; 13:1. The ministration ( διακονιαν ) referred to is that in 11:29f. which may have taken place, in point of time, after the death of Herod.

Taking with them ( συνπαραλαβοντες ). Taking along ( παρα ) with ( συν ) them, John Mark from Jerusalem (12:12) to Antioch (13:1). The aorist participle does not express subsequent action as Rackham here argues (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 861-863).

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