King Herod gives an oration (Acts 12:21)

“On an appointed day,

Herod put on

His royal robes.

He took his seat

On the platform throne.

He delivered

A public address

To them.”

τακτῇ δὲ ἡμέρᾳ ὁ Ἡρῴδης ἐνδυσάμενος ἐσθῆτα βασιλικὴν καθίσας ἐπὶ τοῦ βήματος ἐδημηγόρει πρὸς αὐτούς·

The author of Acts indicated that on an appointed day (τακτῇ δὲ ἡμέρᾳ), King Herod Agrippa I (ὁ Ἡρῴδης) put on (ἐνδυσάμενος) his royal robes (ἐσθῆτα βασιλικὴν).  He took his seat (καθίσας) on the platform throne (ἐπὶ τοῦ βήματος).  He then delivered a public address (ἐδημηγόρει) to them (πρὸς αὐτούς).  Acts was the only Greek biblical writing that used this word ἐδημηγόρει, that means to deliver a public address, make a public speech, or address a multitude.  King Herod Agrippa I decided to make a public address to the people from Tyre and Sidon from his throne, on an agreed upon day, presumably in Caesarea.  Have you ever been to a public hearing of a government official?

The problem with Tyre and Sidon (Acts 12:20)

“Now Herod was angry

With the people

Of Tyre

And Sidon.

They came to him

In one body.

They won over


The king’s chamberlain.

They asked for

A peace reconciliation

Because their country


On the king’s country

For food.”

Ἦν δὲ θυμομαχῶν Τυρίοις καὶ Σιδωνίοις· ὁμοθυμαδὸν δὲ παρῆσαν πρὸς αὐτόν, καὶ πείσαντες Βλάστον τὸν ἐπὶ τοῦ κοιτῶνος τοῦ βασιλέως ᾐτοῦντο εἰρήνην, διὰ τὸ τρέφεσθαι αὐτῶν τὴν χώραν ἀπὸ τῆς βασιλικῆς.

The author of Acts indicated that King Herod Agrippa I was angry (Ἦν δὲ θυμομαχῶν) with the people of Tyre (Τυρίοις) and Sidon (καὶ Σιδωνίοις).  Acts was the only Greek biblical writing that used this word θυμομαχῶν, that means fight desperately or furiously angry with.  Both these people from the two different towns came together in one body to Herod (ὁμοθυμαδὸν δὲ παρῆσαν πρὸς αὐτόν).  They had persuaded (καὶ πείσαντες) Blastus (Βλάστον), the king’s chamberlain (τὸν ἐπὶ τοῦ κοιτῶνος τοῦ βασιλέως).  Acts was the only Greek biblical writing that used this word κοιτῶνος, that means a bed-chamber.  They were seeking (ᾐτοῦντο) a peace reconciliation (εἰρήνην), because their country (αὐτῶν τὴν χώραν) depended on King Herod (ἀπὸ τῆς βασιλικῆς.) for food (διὰ τὸ τρέφεσθαι).  The Mediterranean coastal seaports of Tyre and Sidon are usually lumped together since they were the ancient Phoenician cities northwest of Galilee in present day Lebanon, about twenty-five miles from each other.  It is not clear why King Herod Agrippa was angry with them.  Blastus must have been one of his close followers who turned against the king.  They wanted to have a peace treaty with the king because of a food distribution problem.  Have you ever been worried about food distribution?

Herod had the guards killed (Acts 12:19)

“When King Herod

Had searched

For Peter,

He could not find him.

He examined the guards.

He ordered them

To be put to death.

Then he went down

From Judea

To Caesarea.

He remained there.”

Ἡρῴδης δὲ ἐπιζητήσας αὐτὸν καὶ μὴ εὑρὼν, ἀνακρίνας τοὺς φύλακας ἐκέλευσεν ἀπαχθῆναι, καὶ κατελθὼν ἀπὸ τῆς Ἰουδαίας εἰς Καισάριαν διέτριβεν.

The author of Acts indicated that when King Herod Agrippa I (Ἡρῴδης δὲ) had searched for Peter (ἐπιζητήσας αὐτὸν), and could not find him (καὶ μὴ εὑρὼν), he examined (ἀνακρίνας) the guards (τοὺς φύλακας).  He ordered (ἐκέλευσεν) them to be led away (ἀπαχθῆναι) to death.  Then he went down (καὶ κατελθὼν) from Judea (ἀπὸ τῆς Ἰουδαίας) to Caesarea (εἰς Καισάριαν).  He remained or stayed there (διέτριβεν).  Under Roman law, prison guards were subject to a severe punishment if prisoners got away from them while they were under their control.  However, this text had King Herod Agrippa I leave for Caesarea right away to get away from this problem. Would you be upset if a prisoner had escaped?

The soldiers were upset (Acts 12:18)

“When morning came,

There was no small commotion

Among the soldiers

Over what had become of Peter.”

Γενομένης δὲ ἡμέρας ἦν τάραχος οὐκ ὀλίγος ἐν τοῖς στρατιώταις, τί ἄρα ὁ Πέτρος ἐγένετο.

The author of Acts indicated that when morning or the next day came (Γενομένης δὲ ἡμέρας), there was no small commotion (ἦν τάραχος οὐκ ὀλίγος) among the soldiers (ἐν τοῖς στρατιώταις) over what had become of Peter (τί ἄρα ὁ Πέτρος ἐγένετο).  Acts was the only Greek biblical writing that used this word τάραχος, that means a disturbance, trouble, or commotion.  The soldiers at the prison were upset and in trouble.  Their main jailed prisoner had escaped from maximum security.  No one knew what had happened to Peter.  Was he dead or alive?  Have you ever heard of a jail escape?

Peter tells them what happened (Acts 12:17)

“Peter motioned

To them

With his hand

To be silent.

He described

For them

How the Lord

Had brought him out

Of the prison.

He added.

‘Tell this to James

And to the brethren.’

Then he departed.

He went to another place.”

κατασείσας δὲ αὐτοῖς τῇ χειρὶ σιγᾶν διηγήσατο αὐτοῖς πῶς ὁ Κύριος αὐτὸν ἐξήγαγεν ἐκ τῆς φυλακῆς, εἶπέν τε Ἀπαγγείλατε Ἰακώβῳ καὶ τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς ταῦτα. καὶ ἐξελθὼν ἐπορεύθη εἰς ἕτερον τόπον.

The author of Acts indicated that Peter motioned (κατασείσας) to them (δὲ αὐτοῖς) with his hand (τῇ χειρὶ) to be silent (σιγᾶν).  He then described (διηγήσατο) for them (αὐτοῖς) how the Lord (πῶς ὁ Κύριος) had brought him (αὐτὸν ἐξήγαγεν) out of the prison (ἐκ τῆς φυλακῆς).  He added (εἶπέν τε) that they were to tell this (Ἀπαγγείλατε) to James (Ἰακώβῳ) and the other brothers (καὶ τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς ταῦτα).  Then he departed (καὶ ἐξελθὼν) as he went (ἐπορεύθη) to another unspecified place (εἰς ἕτερον τόπον).  Acts was the only Greek biblical writing that used this word κατασείσας, that means to shake a hand up and down or wave for silence.  Peter told them to be silent.  Then he explained how the Lord had helped him to escape from prison.  There was no explicit mention of this angel of the Lord that helped him.  He wanted them to report this to James and the other brother apostles about what had happened to him.  Then Peter left them, without saying where he was going.  Where did he go?  He may have gone to Rome, Antioch, or later returned to Jerusalem at some point.  However, the author of Acts did not follow up on his exact whereabouts, while he had been very specific here.  Does it matter to you where Peter went?

Peter continued knocking (Acts 12:16)

“But Peter continued knocking.

When they opened up

The door,

They saw him.

They were amazed.”

ὁ δὲ Πέτρος ἐπέμενεν κρούων· ἀνοίξαντες δὲ εἶδαν αὐτὸν καὶ ἐξέστησαν.

The author of Acts indicated that Peter (ὁ δὲ Πέτρος) continued (ἐπέμενεν) knocking (κρούων).  When they opened up (ἀνοίξαντες δὲ) the door, they saw him (δὲ εἶδαν αὐτὸν) and they were amazed (καὶ ἐξέστησαν).  This little comedy of errors came to an end.  Peter persisted knocking on the door to the gate.  Finally, they opened it up and saw Peter.  As usual, they were all amazed, since they thought that he was still in prison.  Have you ever been amazed when someone showed up at your door?

Was she crazy? (Acts 12:15)

“They said to her.

‘You are out of your mind!’

But she insisted

That it was so.

They said.

‘It is his angel!’”

οἱ δὲ πρὸς αὐτὴν εἶπαν Μαίνῃ. ἡ δὲ διϊσχυρίζετο οὕτως ἔχειν. οἱ δὲ ἔλεγον Ὁ ἄγγελός ἐστιν αὐτοῦ.

The author of Acts indicated that they said to this young maid Rhoda (οἱ δὲ πρὸς αὐτὴν εἶπαν) that she must be crazy or out of her mind (Μαίνῃ).  However, she insisted (ἡ δὲ διϊσχυρίζετο) that it was so (οὕτως ἔχειν).  Then they said (οἱ δὲ ἔλεγον) that it must be the angel of Peter (Ὁ ἄγγελός ἐστιν αὐτοῦ).  The others in the house thought that this maid Rhoda was crazy, since Peter was in prison.  However, she insisted that Peter was at the gate to the house.  However, the others thought that maybe it was an angel, or the guardian angel of Peter.  Have you ever falsely accused someone of being crazy?

She announced that Peter was there (Acts 12:14)

“On recognizing Peter’s voice,

Rhoda was so overjoyed

That instead of opening

The gate,

She ran in

And announced

That Peter was standing

At the gate.”

καὶ ἐπιγνοῦσα τὴν φωνὴν τοῦ Πέτρου ἀπὸ τῆς χαρᾶς οὐκ ἤνοιξεν τὸν πυλῶνα, εἰσδραμοῦσα δὲ ἀπήγγειλεν ἑστάναι τὸν Πέτρον πρὸ τοῦ πυλῶνος.

The author of Acts indicated that on recognizing (καὶ ἐπιγνοῦσα) Peter’s voice (τὴν φωνὴν τοῦ Πέτρου), the young maid servant Rhoda was so overjoyed or filled with joy (ἀπὸ τῆς χαρᾶς).  Instead of opening the gate (οὐκ ἤνοιξεν τὸν πυλῶνα), she ran in (εἰσδραμοῦσα) and announced (δὲ ἀπήγγειλεν) that Peter (τὸν Πέτρον) was standing (ἑστάναι) at the gate (πρὸ τοῦ πυλῶνος).  Acts was the only Greek biblical writing that used this word εἰσδραμοῦσα, that means to run in or run into.  This servant girl Rhoda recognized Peter’s voice, so that she knew who he was.  She was so happy that she forgot to open the gate.  Instead, she went in to tell everyone that Peter was standing at the gate.  This sounds like it is morning time.  Have you ever been so excited you forgot to do your normal chores?

A maid answered the door (Acts 12:13)

“When Peter knocked

At the door

Of the outer gate,

A young maid

Named Rhoda

Came to answer.”

κρούσαντος δὲ αὐτοῦ τὴν θύραν τοῦ πυλῶνος προσῆλθεν παιδίσκη ὑπακοῦσαι ὀνόματι Ῥόδη,

The author of Acts indicated that when Peter knocked (κρούσαντος δὲ) at the door (τὴν θύραν) of the outer gate (τοῦ πυλῶνος), a young maid (παιδίσκη) named Rhoda (ὀνόματι Ῥόδη) came (προσῆλθεν) to answer (ὑπακοῦσαι).  This outer gate suggested a large house.  Besides, a lot of people were staying there.  Peter stood at the door knocking as this young maid of Mary, the woman of the house, came to answer this Peter’s knocking.  Have you ever tried to go to a big house?

Peter went to the house of Mary (Acts 12:12)

“As soon as Peter realized this,

He went to the house of Mary,

The mother of John,

Whose other name was Mark,

There many had gathered

And were praying.”

συνιδών τε ἦλθεν ἐπὶ τὴν οἰκίαν τῆς Μαρίας τῆς μητρὸς Ἰωάνου τοῦ ἐπικαλουμένου Μάρκου, οὗ ἦσαν ἱκανοὶ συνηθροισμένοι καὶ προσευχόμενοι.

The author of Acts indicated that as soon as Peter realized or comprehended (συνιδών τε) that he was free, he went (ἦλθεν) to the house (ἐπὶ τὴν οἰκίαν) of Mary (τῆς Μαρίας), the mother of John (τῆς μητρὸς Ἰωάνου), who was called by his other name (τοῦ ἐπικαλουμένου) Mark (Μάρκου).  Many people (οὗ ἦσαν ἱκανοὶ) had gathered together (συνηθροισμένοι), where they were praying (καὶ προσευχόμενοι).  Peter then went to the house of Mary, the mother of John, who was called Mark.  Who is he?  This John Mark will appear again with Saul and Barnabas later in this chapter 12:25.  He would come up again in chapter 15:37.  He may have been a disciple companion of Peter as mentioned in the I Peter, chapter 5:13.  He may also have been a cousin of Barnabas.  Traditionally, this John Mark was usually considered the author of the Gospel of Mark.  He had both a Jewish (John) and Greek name (Mark), a lot like Simon Peter.  Mary was his mother and she lived in a big house that may have been the place where the Last Supper took place.  Other people had gathered there to pray for Peter.  Was it still the middle of the night?  There was no mention of the family of Peter.  He knew where this house was and how to get there without any help.  Where would you go if you escaped from prison?