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12 ) At that time Herod the king caught some of the church people and troubled them.

He killed James the brother of John with a long knife or sword.

He saw that this pleased the leaders of the Jews, so he caught Peter also. This happened at the Jewish feast which they had each year to remember leaving Egypt. (It was called the Passover Feast.)

After Herod had caught Peter, he put him in prison. He told four groups of soldiers to guard him. There were four soldiers in each group. He planned to bring him out for trial before the people. But he would do it after the Passover Feast.

So Peter was kept in prison. And the church people asked God to help him.

The night before Herod was going to bring him out, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers. He was tied to them with two chains. Guards were at the door of the prison.

An angel from the Lord came to him and a light shone in the prison. He hit Peter's side and woke him up. `Be quick,' he said. `Get up!' His chains fell off his hands.

`Put on your belt and your shoes,' said the angel. Peter did so. `And now,' said the angel, `put on your coat and follow me.'

Peter followed him out. He did not know that what the angel had done was true. He thought he was dreaming.

10 They passed the first and the second guard. Then they came to the iron gate out to the city. It opened for them by itself. So they went all the way down a street. Then the angel left him.

11 When Peter came to himself, he said, `Now I know truly that the Lord has sent his angel. He has saved me from Herod and from all that the Jewish leaders are hoping will happen to me.'

12 And when he thought about this, he went to Mary's house. Mary was John Mark's mother. Many people were meeting there, talking to God [about Peter].

13 Peter knocked at the outside door. A young servant woman named Rhoda went to answer.

14 When she knew it was Peter's voice, she was very glad. She did not open the door. But she ran in and told the people that Peter was at the door.

15 They said, `You are crazy.' But she kept on saying that Peter was really there. Then they said, `It must be his angel.'

16 Peter kept on knocking. When they opened the door and saw him, they were very much surprised.

17 He put out his hand for them to be quiet. Then he told them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. He said, `Tell James and the brothers about this.' Then he went away to another place.

18 In the morning the soldiers tried hard to find Peter.

19 Herod had looked for him and had not found him. So he questioned the guards and ordered them to be taken away and killed. And then Peter went from Judea to Caesarea to live for a while.

20 Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon. But they got Blastus to speak to the king for them. Blastus was one of the men who worked in the king's house. They came to Herod together. They wanted to make peace with him because their country got its food from his country.

21 On a certain day Herod put on his king's robes and sat on his chair and made a speech.

22 The people shouted, `A god is talking to us. He is not a man.'

23 At once an angel from God put a bad sickness on Herod because he did not give God the praise. Worms ate him and he died.

24 The word of God spread further and further and more people believed.

25 Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had finished their work. They brought John Mark with them.