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Bible Commentaries
Acts 12

Edwards' Family Bible New TestamentFamily Bible NT

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Verse 1

Herod ; Herod Agrippa, grandson of Herod the Great, mentioned in Matthew 2:1 .

Vex ; trouble, persecute.

Verse 2

James ; one of the sons of Zebedee, Matthew 4:21 , called James the greater, or senior, to distinguish him from James the less, or younger, who was the son of Alpheus. Matthew 10:3 ; Mark 15:40 . No degree of piety or usefulness can always save Christians from persecution, or from sudden and violent death. Yet the wicked, while they thus seek to destroy the people of God, are often made instrumental in delivering them from all trouble, and putting them into immediate possession of the joys of heaven.

Verse 3

The days of unleavened bread ; the passover. Exodus 12:12-17 ; Luke 22:1 .

Verse 4

Four quaternions ; four companies of four soldiers each; making, in all, sixteen. One company guarded him three hours, and was then relieved by another.

Easter ; the passover. Easter is supposed to have been originally the name of a heathen feast, which occurred in the month of April. It was afterwards applied to the Jewish feast of the passover, which occurred about the same time. Tyndal, in his translation of the Bible into English in 1526, used this word instead of passover, and our English translators in 1611 retained it in their version. But there was no Christian feast called Easter in the days of Peter. And the word Pascha which is here translated Easter, means passover, and should have been so translated.

Bring him forth ; for trial and condemnation.

Verse 5

In all seasons of trial the people of God have an unfailing support. To him they may apply, with full assurance that he deeply sympathizes in their trials, and in the best time and way will grant them all needed aid.

Verse 6

Would have brought him ; was about to bring him.

Same night ; the night before the day of his intended execution.

Between two soldiers , bound with two chains ; each wrist was chained, after the Roman manner, to the wrist of the adjacent soldier.

Verse 7

His chains fell ; in a miraculous way.

Verse 8

Gird thyself ; it was then customary to put a girdle around the body when about to walk.

Sandals ; these covered the soles of the feet, and were fastened by strings or straps.

Thy garment ; the mantle, or outer garment.

Verse 9

Wist not ; knew not.

That it was true ; that it was a real event, as distinguished from a vision.

Verse 10

Ward ; this word generally means a prison, but here it means the first and second guard, who seem to have been prevented in a supernatural way from seeing him.

Iron gate ; which led out of the prison to the city.

Of his own accord ; of itself, without human aid.

Verse 11

Was come to himself ; became conscious that what had happened was a reality and no vision.

Verse 12

John-Mark ; the writer of "The Gospel according to Mark," and the companion of Paul and Barnabas. Verse Acts 12:25 .

Verse 15

Art mad ; deranged, or bereft of reason.

His angel ; his guardian angel, who they thought had attended him, and come in his form, to make known something concerning him. It is sometimes difficult for Christians to believe the answers of their own prayers, though God has said that he is more ready to give blessings to those who ask him, than earthly parents are to give food to their children. Yet when he actually gives them, they are so speedy and abundant, that his people are astonished, and tempted to ascribe his mercies to almost any thing, rather than his gracious interposition in answer to their prayers.

Verse 17

Unto James ; not James the son of Zebedee, who had been slain. Verse Acts 12:2 . He is the same James that is mentioned in Acts 15:13 ; Acts 21:18 ; and is generally regarded to have been James the less, the son of Alpheus. In Galatians, Paul names among the apostles seen by him on his first visit to Jerusalem, "James the Lord’s brother." Chap Galatians 1:19 . Afterwards he names, chapter Galatians 2:9 , "James, Cephas, and John," as "pillars" of the church in Jerusalem. Whether one and the same person is mentioned in these two passages, is a question about which learned men are not agreed.

Went into another place ; to avoid the rage of Herod.

Verse 19

The keepers ; those to whose care Peter had been committed.

Cesarea ; chap Acts 8:40 .

Verse 20

Tyre and Sidon ; two cities of Phoenicia, on the Mediterranean, north of Cesarea.

The king’s chamberlain ; the officer who had the care of his bedchamber.

Was nourished ; supplied with grain and other provisions.

Verse 22

Gave a shout ; flattered him with boisterous applause, as if he were more than human. Noisy flattering applause of public speakers is adapted to injure them. It tends to feed their pride, lead them to forget their dependence on God, and prevent them from giving glory to him.

Verse 23

Gave not God the glory ; he did not rebuke their impious flattery, but was glad to be called a god, and receive divine honors. Jehovah is a jealous God. Those who claim or consent to receive honors due only to him, or to assume any of his prerogatives, he views with peculiar abhorrence. Yet Jesus Christ received divine honors, and pronounces those blessed who bestow them. In him the Father is well pleased, and he commands all the angels in heaven to worship him. Of course he must be God. John 1:1 ; Hebrews 1:8 ; 1 John 5:20 .

Verse 24

Grew and multiplied ; the gospel was more successful, and the number of believers greatly increased.

Verse 25

Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem ; they returned to Antioch.

Their ministry ; the service for which they were sent. Chap Acts 11:30 .

Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Acts 12". "Edwards' Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/fam/acts-12.html. American Tract Society. 1851.
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