Acts 12:18
Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter.
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Acts 12:18-19. As soon as it was day — And they found their prisoner escaped; there was no small stir [Greek, ταραχος ουκ ολιγος, not a little tumult, or confusion] among the soldiers, what was become of Peter — Who was gone, and nobody knew how or which way. For the guards, awaking out of their sound sleep, could none of them give any account of what had passed, and were ready to suspect or accuse each other of negligence or treachery, in giving the prisoner an opportunity to make his escape. And indeed it was very fatal to them that he had escaped; for, when Herod had sought for him — Wherever there was any probability of his being concealed; and found him not, he examined the keepers — As strictly as possible, or rather, questioned them in a judicial manner; and as he could make nothing out by his inquiry, save that the prisoner was gone while they slept; and as he thought it by no means prudent to give any intimation that a miraculous interposition had taken place, in favour of a man whom he had devoted to destruction; he commanded that they should be put to death — Greek, απαχθηναι, led away to execution, for their negligence. He probably used this severity for another reason also, namely, lest if any apprehension of a miraculous deliverance should prevail, (an apprehension to which what had happened to all the apostles some time before could not but give countenance: see Acts 5:19,) Christianity should thereby gain additional strength. Be this as it may, undoubtedly this seasonable interposition of Providence in its favour, contributed greatly to its further progress; as, it seems, it also, together with the death of Herod, which took place soon after, put a speedy end to this persecution. And he went down from Judea to Cesarea — With shame, for not having brought forth Peter, according to his promise; and abode there — Till, in the midst of all his pride and glory, the judgment of God overtook him, and avenged the death of James, and the intended murder of Peter, in a most awful manner. Thus have the persecutors of the gospel of Christ been often filled with vexation, to see its cause conquering, notwithstanding all their opposition to it; and have been terribly reckoned with for the cruelties exercised on God’s servants.

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.No small stir - Amazement that he had escaped, and apprehension of the consequences. The punishment which they had reason to expect, for having suffered his escape, was death. 18, 19. as soon as it was day, &c.—His deliverance must have been during the fourth watch (three to six A.M.); else he must have been missed by the keepers at the change of the watch [Wies]. The soldiers, who were bound with Peter in the same chains, could not but miss him as soon as they did awake, and with admiration find the chains still holding them, thought loosened from Peter. What strange imaginations they might have, is not to be expressed, though some guess at it.

Now as soon as it was day,.... When it was morning; as soon as there was any light in the prison, by which the guards could discern one another and their prisoners:

there was no small stir among the soldiers: the two between whom Peter slept, and the rest of the quaternions that were employed in the wards to keep watch; who were now all in an uproar, and in the utmost concern and fright:

what was become of Peter; whether he was in any other part of the prison, by what means he could escape, and whither he was gone.

{8} Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter.

(8) Evil counsel in the end results in the hurt of those who devised it.

Acts 12:18-19. What had become of the (vanished) Peter (Luke 1:66; John 21:21), whether accordingly (under these circumstances, Klotz, ad Devar. p. 176, comp. Baeumlein, Partik. p. 34) the wonderful escape was capable of no explanation—this inquiry was the object of consternation (τάραχος) among the soldiers who belonged to the four τετραδία, Acts 12:4, because they feared the vengeance of the king in respect to those who had served on that night-watch. And Herod actually caused those who had been the φύλακες of the prison at the time of the escape, after previous inquiry (ἀνακρίνας, Acts 4:9; Luke 23:14), to be led to execution (ἀπαχθῆναι, the formal word for this, see Wakefield, Silv. crit. II. p. 131; Kypke, II. p. 61; and from Philo: Loesner, p. 204). After the completion of the punishment, he went down from Judaea to his residency, where he took up his abode.

εἰς τὴν Καισάρ.] depends, as well as ἀπὸ τ. ʼΙουδ., on κατελθών. The definition of the place of the διέτριβεν (Vulg.: ibi commoratus est) was obvious of itself.

Acts 12:18. τάραχος (generally ταραχή): only in Acts 19:23, although several times in LXX.—οὐκ ὀλίγος: only found in Acts, where it occurs eight times (litotes), cf. Acts 19:11, Acts 20:12, Acts 27:14, and for similar expressions Luke 15:13 (Acts 1:5), Acts 7:6 : see Klostermann, Vindiciæ Lucanæ, p. 52, and Page, in loco. The guards would answer for the escape of the prisoner by suffering a like penalty, cf. Cod. Just., ix., 4, 4.—τί ἄρα (cf. Luke 1:66), Peter has disappeared, what, then, has become of him? (Grimm, sub υ. ἄρα (i.), and Winer-Moulton, liii. 8); it thus marks the perplexity of the soldier as to what had become of Peter.—ἐγέν.: Blass, quid Petro (ablat.) factum sit.

18. stir among the soldiers] For the guards who had been chained to the prisoner would discover as soon as they awoke, that he had escaped from between them, and they would know that their lives would probably answer for the life of Peter.

Acts 12:18. Ἐν τοῖς στρατιώταις, among the soldiers) These had seen the faith, patience, and prayers of Peter; and yet they had not ceased to attack (treat with unkindness) him.—τί ἄρα, what at all) The agitation of the soldiers is expressed by this peculiar phrase.

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