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Chapter 12

1About that time King Herod laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church. 2He had John’s brother, James, beheaded, 3and when he saw that this gratified the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter too, at the time of the festival of Unleavened Bread. 4He had him seized and put in jail, with four squads of soldiers to guard him, meaning after the Passover to bring him out before the people. 5So Peter was kept in the jail, but the church was praying earnestly to God for him. 6The night before Herod was going to bring him out, Peter was asleep between two soldiers, and fastened with two chains, and watchmen were at the door, guarding the jail, 7when an angel of the Lord stood at his side, and a light shone in the room, and striking Peter on the side, he woke him, and said to him, “Get up quickly!”

The chains dropped from his hands, 8and the angel said to him,

“Put on your belt and your sandals!”

And he did so. Then he said to him,

“Put on your coat and follow me!”

9So he followed him out without knowing that what the angel was doing was real, for he thought he was having a vision. 10They passed the first guard and then the second, and came to the iron gate that led into the city. It opened to them of itself, and they passed out and went along one street, when suddenly the angel left him. 11Then Peter came to himself, and he said,

“Now I am certain that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from the power of Herod and all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

12When he realized his situation, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where a number of people were gathered, praying. 13When he knocked at the outer door, a maid named Rhoda came to answer it, 14and when she recognized Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not stop to open the door, but ran in and told them that Peter was standing outside. 15But they said to her,

“You are crazy!”

But she insisted that it was so. Then they said,

“Then it is his guardian angel!”

16But Peter kept on knocking. And when they opened the door and saw him they were amazed. 17He motioned to them to be quiet, and then related to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison.

“Tell all this to James and the brothers,” he said.

Then he left them and went somewhere else. 18But when morning came, there was no little commotion among the soldiers as to what could have become of Peter. 19Herod had inquiries made for him, and when he could not find him, he examined the guards and ordered them to be put to death. Then he left Judea for Caesarea, and stayed there.

20Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon. So they came before him in a body, and after winning over Blastus, the king’s chamberlain, they asked for a reconciliation, because their country depended upon the king’s dominions for its food supply. 21So a day was fixed and on it Herod, dressed in his robes of state, took his seat on his throne in the theater, and made them an address, 22and the people shouted in applause,

“It is a god’s voice, not a man’s!”

23But the angel of the Lord struck him down immediately, because he did not give the honor to God; and he was eaten by worms and died. 24But the Lord’s message continued to grow and spread.

25When Barnabas and Saul had performed their mission to Jerusalem, they went back, taking John who was called Mark with them.

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