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23 Immediately an angel of the Lord[a] struck[b] Herod[c] down because he did not give the glory to God, and he was eaten by worms and died.[d] 24 But the word of God[e] kept on increasing[f] and multiplying.

25 So Barnabas and Saul returned to[g] Jerusalem[h] when they had completed[i] their mission,[j] bringing along with them John Mark.[k]

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Footnotes

  1. Acts 12:23 tn Or “the angel of the Lord.” See the note on the word “Lord” in 5:19.
  2. Acts 12:23 sn On being struck…down by an angel, see Acts 23:3; 1 Sam 25:38; 2 Sam 12:15; 2 Kgs 19:35; 2 Chr 13:20; 2 Macc 9:5.
  3. Acts 12:23 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Herod) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  4. Acts 12:23 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).
  5. Acts 12:24 sn A metonymy for the number of adherents to God’s word.
  6. Acts 12:24 tn Or “spreading.”
  7. Acts 12:25 tc There are a number of variants at this point in the text: εἰς (eis, “to”) in א B M sams syhmg; ἀπό (apo, “from”) in D E Ψ 36 323 453 614 1175 al; ἐξ (ex, “from”) in P74 A 33 945 1739 al; ἐξ ᾿Ιερουσαλήμ εἰς ᾿Αντιόχειαν (ex Ierousalēm eis Antiocheian, “from Jerusalem to Antioch”) in a few later manuscripts and part of the Itala. A decision on this problem is very difficult, but for several reasons εἰς can be preferred. It is the most difficult reading by far in light of the context, since Paul and Barnabas were going to Jerusalem in 11:30. It is found in better witnesses, א and B being very strong evidence. The other readings, ἐξ and ἀπό, are different from εἰς yet bear essentially the same meaning as each other; this seems to suggest that scribes had problems with εἰς and tried to choose an acceptable revision. If εἰς is the earliest reading, ἀπό may be a clarification of ἐξ, and ἐξ could have arisen through confusion of letters. Or ἐξ and ἀπό could both have independently arisen from εἰς as a more acceptable preposition. Despite such arguments, however, the case for εἰς is not airtight: either ἐξ or ἀπό could be preferred on other lines of reasoning. The reading ἐξ enjoys the earliest support, and εἰς could have arisen through the same confusion of letters mentioned above. The immediate and wider context seems to mitigate against εἰς as the original reading: The aorist participle πληρώσαντες (plērōsantes, “when they had completed”) seems to signal the end of the mission to Jerusalem with the famine relief, so it would make sense in the context for the team to be coming from Jerusalem (to Antioch) rather than to Jerusalem, and 13:1 certainly presents the scene at Antioch. The later addition εἰς ᾿Αντιόχειαν after ᾿Ιερουσαλήμ in some mss seems to be a clarification in light of 13:1 (notice that some of the mss that read ἐξ add εἰς ᾿Αντιόχειαν [945 1739], and some that read ἀπό also add εἰς ᾿Αντιόχειαν [E 323 1175]). Thus, the idea of spatial separation from Jerusalem is strongly implied by the context. This problem is so difficult that some scholars resort to conjectural emendation to determine the original reading. All in all, the reading εἰς should be preferred as that of the initial text, recognizing that there is a good measure of uncertainty with this solution. For additional discussion, see TCGNT 350-52.
  8. Acts 12:25 sn That is, from Jerusalem to Antioch (see Acts 11:29-30).
  9. Acts 12:25 tn Grk “fulfilled.”
  10. Acts 12:25 tn Grk “ministry” or “service.”
  11. Acts 12:25 tn Grk “John who was also called Mark.”

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