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Persecution and Deliverance

12 Now at that time Herod the king seized some from Messiah’s community to do them harm. He had Jacob, John’s brother, put to death with the sword. Seeing it pleased the Judean leaders, he proceeded to capture Peter as well. This was during the Days of Matzah. After seizing him, he put him in prison, handing him over to four squads with four soldiers each to guard him. He was intending to bring him before the people after Passover. So Peter was kept in prison, but prayer for him was being offered fervently to God by Messiah’s community.

Now that very night when Herod was about to bring him out, Peter was sleeping—bound with two chains between two soldiers, while guards before the gate were keeping watch over the prison. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell. He poked Peter on the side and woke him up, saying, “Get up! Quick!” And the chains fell off his hands. Then the angel said to him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals,” and he did so. Then he tells him, “Put on your cloak and follow me.” Peter went out and kept following him—he didn’t know that what was happening with the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 After they passed a first guard and a second, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them by itself. They went out and walked along a narrow street. Suddenly the angel left him.

11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I know for real that the Lord has sent His angel[a] and delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Judean people were expecting.” 12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Miriam, the mother of John (also called Mark), where many were assembled together and praying. 13 When he knocked on the door of the entrance gate, a maid named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Although she recognized Peter’s voice, out of joy she did not open the gate but ran in and announced that Peter was standing in front of the gate. 15 They said to her, “You’re crazy!” But she kept insisting it was so. But they were saying, “It is his angel.”

16 But Peter kept on knocking. When they opened the gate, they saw him and were amazed! 17 But he motioned with his hand for them to be silent, and he explained to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. He said, “Go tell these things to Jacob and the brothers.” Then he left and went to another place.

18 When day came, there was no small commotion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter. 19 After Herod made a search for him and did not find him, he interrogated the guards and commanded that they be led away to execution. Then he went down from Judea and stayed in Caesarea.

Herod Gets His Due

20 Now it happened that Herod was furious with the people of Tyre and Sidon. So they came to him, united. Having won over Blastus, the king’s personal aide, they began asking for peace—because their country was supplied with food from the king’s country.

21 On an appointed day, Herod donned his royal robes and, taking his seat upon the throne, began to make a speech to them. 22 The people were shouting, “The voice of a god and not a human!” 23 Immediately, an angel of the Lord struck him down—because he did not give God the glory. And he was eaten by worms and died.

24 But the word of God kept on growing and multiplying. 25 And Barnabas and Saul returned to Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their service, taking along John (who was also called Mark).


  1. Acts 12:11 cf. Ps. 34:7; Dan. 3:28; 6:22.