|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:1-5 James was one of the sons of Zebedee, whom Christ told that they should drink of the cup that he was to drink of, and be baptized with the baptism that he was to be baptized with, Mt 20:23. Now the words of Christ were made good in him; and if we suffer with Christ, we shall reign with him. Herod imprisoned Peter: the way of persecution, as of other sins, is downhill; when men are in it, they cannot easily stop. Those make themselves an easy prey to Satan, who make it their business to please men. Thus James finished his course. But Peter, being designed for further services, was safe; though he seemed now marked out for a speedy sacrifice. We that live in a cold, prayerless generation, can hardly form an idea of the earnestness of these holy men of old. But if the Lord should bring on the church an awful persecution like this of Herod, the faithful in Christ would learn what soul-felt prayer is.
Verse 3. - When for because, A.V.; that it pleased for it pleased, A.V.; proceeded for proceeded further, A.V.; seize for take, A.V. ; and those for then, A.V. He proceeded to seize (προσέθετο συλλαβεῖν) is a Hebraism. This trait of his pleasing the Jews is in exact accordance with Josephus's description of him, as τῷ βιοῦν ἐν αὐφημίᾳ χαίρων, loving popularity, and as being very kind and sympathizing with the Jewish people, and liking to live much at Jerusalem ('Ant. Jud.' 19.7.3). The days of unleavened bread; i.e. as expressed by Luke 22:1, "The Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover." It lasted seven days (Exodus 12:15-18), from the 14th to the 21st of Nisan, or Abib (Exodus 12:18-20; Leviticus 23:5, 6; Deuteronomy 16:1-4), the Passover being eaten on the night of the 14th.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And because he saw it pleased the Jews,.... That is, as Beza's ancient copy adds, "his stretching out his hands upon the faithful"; this pleased the Jews, a bloodthirsty generation of men, who had killed the prophets, and the Lord Jesus, and who were now greedy after the death of the apostles: it may easily be seen from what principle and spirit Herod acted; it was not out of regard to the Jewish religion, rites, and ceremonies, but to ingratiate himself into the affections of the people:
he proceeded further to take Peter also; a principal apostle, and who was well known, and against whom the Jews had doubtless a particular antipathy, and would have been glad to have been rid of him; this Herod was, sensible of, and therefore to please them, ordered him to be taken up:
then were the days of unleavened bread; or the feast of the passover.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. because he saw it pleased the Jews—Popularity was the ruling passion of this Herod, not naturally so cruel as some of the family [Josephus, Antiquities, 19.7.3].
to take Peter also—whose loss, at this stage of the Church, would have been, so far as we can see, irreparable.
Then were the days of unleavened bread—seven in number, during which, after killing and eating the Passover, no leaven was allowed in Jewish houses (Ex 12:15, 19).
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