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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on The Acts of the Apostles

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12.1–19 : Persecution touches the apostles.

1 :

Herod Agrippa I, grandson of Herod the Great, nephew of Herod Antipas ( 4.27; 13.1 ; the Herod of Luke's Gospel), was made king of Judea by Claudius in 41 CE.

2 :

An apostle, James the son of Zebedee, is martyred. No replacement is made (cf. 1.15–26 ).

3 :

Peter, like Jesus, is arrested at Passover season (v. 4 ), the festival of Unleavened Bread (v. 3 ).

4 :

Four squads of soldiers, emphasizes the impossibility of escape (similarly v. 6 ).

6–11 :

Cf. 5.17–23; 16.23–28 . Miraculous escapes were a staple of ancient literature.

6 :

Bring him out, for execution.

12 :

John … Mark is connected with Peter elsewhere (1 Pet 5.13 ), and tradition credited him with authoring the second Gospel as Peter's interpreter (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 3.39.15; 5.8.3). In 12.25–13.13 he travels with Paul and Barnabas. According to Col 4.10 he is Barnabas's cousin (see also Philem 24; 2 Tim 4.11 ).

13 :

Outer gate, a significant house is suggested.

15 :

A person's guardian angel (Mt 18.10 ) was thought to resemble the person protected.

17 :

James, the brother of Jesus next in age ( 1.14n. ), soon emerges as the leader of the Jerusalem church ( 15.13; see Gal 1.19; 2.12 ). Peter goes to another place, appearing one last time at the Jerusalem council ( 15.7–11 ).

12.20–23 : Death of Herod Agrippa.

Josephus (Ant. 19.343–353 ) gives a somewhat parallel account in which Herod is stricken by a fatal disease after flatterers addressed him as a god and dies after five days of pain—but he acknowledges the false acclamation and accepts his fate.

23 :

Herod's death in 44 CE occurred before the probable date of the famine mentioned at 11.28 —Acts does not necessarily present all events in correct chronological sequence. Died, the Gk word here is used elsewhere in the New Testament only to describe the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira ( 5.5,10 ).

12.24–13.3 : Commission at Antioch.

24 :

The attack on the church's leaders fails to stem growth.

25 :

Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem to Antioch (see note a) after the relief visit ( 11.29–30 ).

13.1 :

Prophets and teachers were important leaders in the early church (see 11.27n.; 1 Cor 12.28; Eph 4.11 ). Manaen, Gk form of Heb Menahem. Herod the ruler, Herod Antipas ( 4.27; Lk 3.19; 8.3; 9.7,9; 13.31; 23.7–15 ), not Herod the king ( 12.1n. ).

2 :

As is usual in Acts the Holy Spirit initiates new developments. Set apart, cf. Rom 1.1; Gal 1.15 .

3 :

Laid … hands, see 6.6n.

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