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?