Acts 12:12
And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark.—On the probable identity of this Mark with the evangelist of that name, see Introduction to St. Mark’s Gospel. Here we may note (1) that as being mentioned by St. Peter as his “son” (1Peter 5:13) he was probably converted by him; (2) that he was cousin to Barnabas, probably through his mother, and was therefore at least connected with the tribe of Levi (Acts 4:36), and possibly belonging to it; (3) that the fact that Mary’s house was the meeting-place of the Church indicates comparative wealth, as did Barnabas’s sale of his estate; (4) that the absence of any mention of Mark’s father makes it probable that she was a widow; (5) that the Latin name of Marcus indicates some point of contact with Romans or Roman Jews.

Many were gathered together praying.—The facts of the case show that the meeting was held at night, possibly to avoid persecution, or, it may be, as the sequel of the evening gathering to “break bread.”

12:12-19 God's providence leaves room for the use of our prudence, though he has undertaken to perform and perfect what he has begun. These Christians continued in prayer for Peter, for they were truly in earnest. Thus men ought always to pray, and not to faint. As long as we are kept waiting for a mercy, we must continue praying for it. But sometimes that which we most earnestly wish for, we are most backward to believe. The Christian law of self-denial and of suffering for Christ, has not done away the natural law of caring for our own safety by lawful means. In times of public danger, all believers have God for their hiding-place; which is so secret, that the world cannot find them. Also, the instruments of persecution are themselves exposed to danger; the wrath of God hangs over all that engage in this hateful work. And the range of persecutors often vents itself on all in its way.And when he had considered ... - Thinking on the subject; considering what he should do in these circumstances.

He came to the house of Mary ... - Probably this house was near him; and he would naturally seek the dwelling of a Christian friend.

The mother of John ... - Probably this was the John Mark who wrote the gospel. But this is not certain.

Whose surname - Greek: who was called Mark. It does not mean that he had two names conferred, as with us, both of which were used at the same time, but he was called by either, the Greeks probably using the name Mark, and the Jews the name John. He is frequently mentioned afterward as having been the attendant of Paul and Barnabas in their travels, Acts 12:25; Acts 15:39; 2 Timothy 4:11. He was a nephew of Barnabas, Colossians 4:10.

Where many were gathered together, praying - This was in the night, and it shows the propriety of observing extraordinary seasons of prayer, even in the night. Peter was to have been put to death the next day; and they assembled to pray for his release, and did not intermit their prayers. When dangers increase around us and our friends, we should become more fervent in prayer. While life remains we may pray; and even when there is no human hope, and we have no power to heal or deliver, still God may interpose, as he did here, in answer to prayer.

12-17. he came to the house of Mary, &c.—who "must have had a house of some pretensions to receive a large number; and, accordingly, we read that her brother Barnabas (Col 4:10) was a person of substance (Ac 4:37). She must also have been distinguished for faith and courage to allow such a meeting in the face of persecution" [Webster and Wilkinson]. To such a house it was natural that Peter should come.

mother of John … Mark—so called to distinguish him from the apostle of that name, and to distinguish her from the other Marys.

where many were gathered together praying—doubtless for Peter's deliverance, and continuing, no doubt, on this the last of the days of unleavened bread, which was their last hope, all night in prayer to God.

Peter, being delivered, meditates upon the greatness of the danger that he had been in, and the goodness of God that had delivered him, and this whilst walking in the street, and going along: no place can exclude good thoughts and holy meditations.

The mother of John; the mother is here described by the son, as the more known person; here the parent gains reputation, and to be remembered in this Scripture, for her son’s sake. Thus a wise son made a glad mother, as Proverbs 10:1.

Mark; some think this was he that wrote the Gospel called by his name.

Many were gathered together: in this time of persecution the Christians met secretly, and in small numbers, as they could; these here mentioned are thought to be private Christians, because it appears by the Acts 12:17, that James, &c. were not there. And when he had considered the thing,.... The whole of the salvation wrought for him; or rather, where he should go, to what house he should betake himself; ere he was aware,

he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark. This good woman seems to be a widow, no mention being made of her husband, and was sister to Barnabas, Colossians 4:10. She is described by a son she had, whose name was John Mark, because of the frequent mention made of him hereafter; her house being large, and her heart as large as her house, the saints met here, and were welcome, and where they were at this time, though so late:

where many were gathered together, praying; the Ethiopic version adds, "for him"; and there were some in other places, for one place could not hold them all; see Acts 12:17 they held out to the end in prayer; this was their last effort in this way, and in this they were no doubt exceeding vehement and importunate, and they succeeded; so true is that observation in James 5:16.

{5} And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.

(5) Holy meetings in the nights of both men and women (when they cannot take place in the day time) are allowable by the example of the apostles.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 12:12. Συνιδών) after he had perceived it, namely, what the state of the case as to his deliverance had been, Acts 12:11. Comp. Acts 14:6; Plut. Them. 7 : συνιδὼν τὸν κίνδυνον, Xen. Anab. i. 5. 9; Plat. Dem. p. 381 E, Dem. 17. 7. 1351, 6; Polyb. i. 4. 6, iii. 6. 9, vi. 4. 12; 1Ma 4:21; 2Ma 2:24; 2Ma 4:4; 2Ma 5:17; 2Ma 8:8; and see Wetstein. It may also mean, after he had weighed it (Vulg. considerans), namely, either generally the position of the matter (Beza), or quid agendum esset (Bengel, comp. Erasmus). Comp. Dem. 1122, 16; Arist. Rhet. i. 2; Lucian. Jup. trag. 42. The above view is simpler, and in keeping with Acts 14:6. Linguistically inappropriate are the renderings: sibi conscius (Kuinoel); and: “after that he had set himself right in some measure as to the place where he found himself” (Olshausen; comp. Chrysostom, λογισάμενος ὅπου ἐστιν, also Grotius and others).

There is nothing opposed to the common hypothesis, that this John Mark is identical with the second evangelist. Comp. Acts 12:25; Acts 13:5.Acts 12:12. συνιδών, cf. Acts 14:6; so several times in Apocrypha, so in classical writers, and also in Josephus. It may also include a consideration of the future (Bengel and Wetstein), but the aorist refers rather to a single act and not to a permanent state (so Alford).—Μαρίας: as no mention is made of Mark’s father, she may well have been a widow, possessed of some wealth like Barnabas; see below.—Ἰωάννου τοῦ ἐπικ., Acts 1:23; Acts 4:36; Acts 10:5; Acts 10:18; Acts 10:32; Acts 11:13; and below, Acts 13:9. As in the case of Paul, his Roman name is used most frequently, cf. Acts 15:39, 2 Timothy 4:11, Philemon 1:24, although in Acts 13:5; Acts 13:13 he is spoken of as John. No reason to doubt the identity of this John Mark with the second Evangelist: the notice of Papias that Mark was the ἑρμηνευτής of Peter, Eusebius, H. E., iii., 39, is quite in accordance with the notice here of the Apostle’s intimacy with the family of Mark, and with his mention in 1 Peter 5:13. Blass comments on Μάρκου, “quasi digito monstratur auctor narrationis,” and similarly Proleg., p. 11; Philology of the Gospels, pp. 192, 193. In Colossians 4:10 the A.V. calls him “sister’s son to Barnabas,” ὁ ἀνεψιός, but ἀνεψ. properly means “first cousin”; so R.V. the cousin of Barnabas (cf. LXX, Numbers 36:11, Tob 7:2), Lightfoot on Colossians 4:10; see on Acts 15:39.—προσευχόμενοι, cf. Jam 5:16; “media nocte,” Bengel; they betook them to prayer, “to that alliance which is indeed invincible,” Chrys., Hom., 26. On ἦσαν with participle as characteristic of St. Luke, see Acts 1:10. As in the former miraculous deliverance, Acts 5:16, all attempts to get rid of the supernatural in St Luke’s narrative are unsuccessful. This is frankly admitted by Wendt, although he also maintains that we cannot discern the actual historical conditions owing to the mingling of legend and history. But he does not deny that St. Peter was liberated, and the same fact is admitted by Weizsäcker, see Wendt (1899), p. 219; and Zöckler, Apostelgeschichte, p. 230, and Wendt (1888), pp. 269, 270, for an account of the different attempts to explain the Apostle’s liberation. In contrast to all such attempts the minute circumstantiality and the naturalness of the narrative speak for themselves, and we can hardly doubt (as Wendt is inclined to admit in some details) that John Mark has given us an account derived partly from St. Peter himself, cf. Acts 12:9; Acts 12:11, and partly from his own knowledge, cf. the peculiarly artless and graphic touches in Acts 12:13-14, which could scarcely have come from any one but an inmate of the house, as also the mention of the name of the servant; cf. Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 385; Blass, Acta Apostolorum, p. 142; Belser, Theol. Quartalschrift, Heft ii. (1895), p. 257; Zahn, Einleitung, ii., 244.12. And when he had considered the thing] Rather, “when he comprehended it.” At first he had been “like them that dream” (Psalm 126:1) at his deliverance from captivity, but at length his mind grasped the whole truth and he could act upon it.

Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark] This Mary was sister to Barnabas, as we learn Colossians 4:10, where Mark is called sister’s son to Barnabas. This relationship accounts for the way in which the uncle clung to his nephew, even when St Paul declined to have Mark as a companion on their second proposed missionary journey. We do not read of the father of Mark anywhere, so it is probable that Mary was a widow, and, like her brother, was possessed of means which enabled her to put a house, or a part thereof, at the service of the Church, as a meeting-place for prayer.

gathered together praying] The Greek has “and praying.” The introduction of the conjunction seems to indicate not that this was a special or solitary occasion when the disciples were gathered at the house of Mary, but rather that this house was a place in which such gatherings were usual, and at the time when Peter was delivered such an assembly was there and making supplication (Acts 12:5) for his deliverance.Acts 12:12. Συνιδὼν, having considered) viz. what he ought to do. The same verb occurs, ch. Acts 14:6, συνίδοντες, having become conscious of it.—συνηθροισμένοι, gathered together) at midnight.Verse 12. - And were praying for praying, A.V. When he had considered; better, with Meyer and Alford, when he perceived it, viz. the truth of his deliverance. Mary the mother of John was aunt to Barnabas (Colossians 4:10). If Paul and Barnabas were not in her house at the time (which there is no evidence that they were), it is likely that all the particulars of Peter's escape may have been communicated to Paul by John Mark, and by him repeated to Luke. That they went to the house of Mary before their return seems certain from their taking Mark with them to Antioch (ver. 25), possibly to deliver him from the danger Christians were in at Jerusalem at this time. When he had considered (συνιδών)

The verb strictly means to see together, or at the same time. Hence, to see in one view, to take in at a glance. Peter's mental condition is described by two expressions: First, he came to himself (Acts 12:12), or, lit., when he had become present in himself; denoting his awaking from the dazed condition produced by his being suddenly roused from sleep and confronted with a supernatural appearance (see Acts 12:9). Secondly, when he had become aware (συνιδών); denoting his taking in the situation, according to the popular phrase. I do not think that any of the commentators have sufficiently emphasized the force of σύν, together, as indicating his comprehensive perception of all the elements of the case. They all refer the word to his recognition of his deliverance from prison, which, however, has already been noted in Acts 12:11. While it may include this, it refers also to all the circumstances of the case present at that moment. He had been freed; he was there in the street alone; he must go somewhere; there was the house of Mary, where he was sure to find friends. Having taken in all this, perceived it all, he went to the house of Mary.

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