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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 12 - Verse 3

Verse 3. And because he saw it pleased the Jews. This was the principle on which he acted. It was not from a sense of right; it was not to do justice, and protect the innocent; it was not to discharge the appropriate duties of a magistrate, and a king; but it was to promote his own popularity. It is probable that Agrippa would have acted in this way in any circumstances. He was ambitious, vain, and fawning; he sought, as his great principle, popularity; and he was willing to sacrifice, like many others, truth and justice to obtain this end. But there was also a particular reason for this in his case. He held his appointment under the Roman emperor. This foreign rule was always unpopular among the Jews. In order, therefore, to secure a peaceful reign, and to prevent insurrection and tumult, it was necessary for him to court their favour; to indulge their wishes, and to fall in with their prejudices. Alas! how many monarchs and rulers there have been, who were governed by no better principle, and whose sole aim has been to secure popularity, even at the expense of law, and truth and justice. That this was the character of Herod, is attested by Josephus, Ant., b. xix., chap. 8, § 3:

"This king (Herod Agrippa) was by nature very beneficent, and

liberal in his gifts, and very ambitious to please the

people with such large donations; and he made himself very

illustrious by the many expensive presents he made them. He

took delight in giving, and rejoiced in living with

good reputation."

 

To take Peter also. Peter was one of the most conspicuous men in the church. He had made himself particularly obnoxious by his severe and pungent discourses, and by his success in winning men to Christ. It was natural, therefore, that he should be the next object of attack.

The days of unleavened bread. The passover, or the seven days immediately succeeding the passover, during which they were required to eat bread without leaven, Ex 12:15-18. It was some time during this period that Herod chose to apprehend Peter.

Why this season was selected is not known. As it was, however, a season of religious solemnity, and as Herod was desirous of showing his attachment to the religious rites of the nation, (Josephus, Ant., b. xix., chap. 7, § 3,) it is probable that he chose this period to show to them more impressively his purpose to oppose all false religions, and to maintain the existing establishments of the nation.

{d} "pleased the Jews" Ac 24:27 {e} "take Peter also" Joh 21:18 {f} "days of unleavened bread" Joh 12:14,15

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