Acts 12:23
And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.
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(23) The angel of the Lord smote him.—The intervention of the angel is obviously regarded by St. Luke as the only adequate explanation at once of the death of the persecutor and of the escape of his victim, and in the former he recognised not only what has been called the irony of history, or an instance of the law of Nemesis, bringing down the haughty in the very hour of their triumph, but a direct chastisement for an act of impiety.

Because he gave not God the glory.—The words probably mean something more than that he did not ascribe to God the praise which was due to Him, and Him only. To “give God the glory” was a phrase always connected with the confession of sin and weakness, as in Joshua 7:19. (See Note on John 9:24.)

He was eaten of worms.—The specific form of the disease is not named by Josephus, and St. Luke’s precision in describing it may fairly be regarded as characteristic of his calling. The form of the disease, probably of the nature of phtheiriasis, or the morbus pedicularis, from its exceptionally loathsome character, had always been regarded as of the nature of a divine chastisement. The more memorable instances of it recorded in history are those of Pheretimo of Cyrene (Herod. iv. 205), Sylla, Antiochus the Great (2 Maccabees 9:2), Herod the Great (Jos. Ant. xvii. 8), and Maximinus, among the persecutors of the Church (Euseb. viii. 16; ix. 10, 11; Lactant, De mort. Persecut. c. 33). The death of Agrippa took place A.D. 44, in the seventh year of his reign, and at the age of fifty-three.



Acts 12:7
, Acts 12:23.

The same heavenly agent performs the same action on Peter and on Herod. To the one, his touch brings freedom and the dropping off of his chains; to the other it brings gnawing agonies and a horrible death. These twofold effects of one cause open out wide and solemn thoughts, on which it is well to look.

I. The one touch has a twofold effect.

So it is always when God’s angels come, or God Himself lays His hand on men. Every manifestation of the divine power, every revelation of the divine presence, all our lives’ experiences, are charged with the solemn possibility of bringing us one or other of two directly opposite results. They all offer us an alternative, a solemn ‘either -or.’

The Gospel too comes charged with that double possibility, and is the intensest and most fateful example of the dual effect of all God’s messages and dealings. Just as the ark maimed Dagon and decimated the Philistine cities and slew Uzzah, but brought blessing and prosperity to the house of Obed-edom, just as the same pillar was light to Israel all the night long, but cloud and darkness to the Egyptians, so is Christ set ‘for the fall of’ some and ‘for the rising of’ others amidst the ‘many in Israel,’ and His Gospel is either ‘the savour of life unto life or of death unto death,’ but in both cases is in itself ‘unto God,’ one and the same ‘sweet savour in Christ.’

II. These twofold effects are parts of one plan and purpose.

Peter’s liberation and Herod’s death tended in the same direction-to strengthen and conserve the infant Church, and thus to prepare the way for the conquering march of the Gospel. And so it is in all God’s self-revelations and manifested energies, whatever may be their effects. They come from one source and one motive, they are fundamentally the operations of one changeless Agent, and, as they are one in origin and character, so they are one in purpose. We are not to separate them into distinct classes and ascribe them to different elements in the divine nature, setting down this as the work of Love and that as the outcome of Wrath, or regarding the acts of deliverance as due to one part of that great whole and the acts of destruction as due to another part of it. The angel was the same, and his celestial fingers were moved by the same calm, celestial will when he smote Peter into liberty and life, and Herod to death.

God changes His ways, but not His heart. He changes His acts, but not His purposes. Opposite methods conduce to one end, as winter storms and June sunshine equally tend to the yellowed harvest.

III. The character of the effects depends on the men who are touched.

As is the man, so is the effect of the angel’s touch. It could only bring blessing to the one who was the friend of the angel’s Lord, and it could bring only death to the other, who was His enemy. It could do nothing to the Apostle but cause his chains to drop from his wrists, nor anything to the vainglorious king but bring loathsome death.

This, too, is a universal truth. It is we ourselves who settle what God’s words and acts will be to us. The trite proverb, ‘One man’s meat is another man’s poison,’ is true in the highest regions. It is eminently, blessedly or tragically true in our relation to the Gospel, wherein all God’s self-revelation reaches its climax, wherein ‘the arm of the Lord’ is put forth in its most blessed energy, wherein is laid on each of us the touch, tender and more charged with blessing than that of the angel who smote the calmly sleeping Apostle. That Gospel may either be to us the means of freeing us from our chains, and leading us out of our prison-house into sunshine and security, or be the fatal occasion of condemnation and death. Which it shall be depends on ourselves. Which shall I make it for myself?

12:20-25 Many heathen princes claimed and received Divine honours, but it was far more horrible impiety in Herod, who knew the word and worship of the living God, to accept such idolatrous honours without rebuking the blasphemy. And such men as Herod, when puffed with pride and vanity, are ripening fast for signal vengeance. God is very jealous for his own honour, and will be glorified upon those whom he is not glorified by. See what vile bodies we carry about with us; they have in them the seeds of their own dissolution, by which they will soon be destroyed, whenever God does but speak the word. We may learn wisdom from the people of Tyre and Sidon, for we have offended the Lord with our sins. We depend on him for life, and breath, and all things; it surely then behoves us to humble ourselves before him, that through the appointed Mediator, who is ever ready to befriend us, we may be reconciled to him, lest wrath come upon us to the utmost.And immediately the angel of the Lord - Diseases and death axe in the Scriptures often attributed to an angel. See 2 Samuel 24:16; 1 Chronicles 21:12, 1 Chronicles 21:15, 1 Chronicles 21:20, 1 Chronicles 21:27; 2 Chronicles 32:21. It is not intended that there was a miracle in this case, but it certainly is intended by the sacred writer that his death was a divine judgment on him for his receiving homage as a god. Josephus says of him that he "did neither rebuke them the people nor reject their impious flattery. A severe pain arose in his belly, and began in a most violent manner. And when he was quite worn out by the pain in his belly for five days, he departed this life, in the 54th year of his age, and the 7th year of his reign." Josephus does not mention that it was done by an angel, but says that when he looked up, he saw an owl sitting on a rope over his head, and judging it to be an evil omen, he immediately became melancholy, and was seized with the pain.

Because he gave not God the glory - Because he was willing to receive the worship due to God. It was the more sinful in him as he was a Jew, and was acquainted with the true God, and with the evils of idolatry. He was proud, and willing to be flattered, and even adored. He had sought their applause; he had arrayed himself in this splendid manner to excite admiration; and when they carried it even so far as to offer divine homage, he did not reject the impious flattery, but listened stir to their praises. Hence, he was judged; and God vindicated his own insulted honor by inflicting severe pains on him, and by a most awful death.

And he was eaten of worms - The word used here is not found elsewhere in the New Testament. A similar disease is recorded of Antiochus Epiphanes, in the Apocrypha, 2 Macc. 9:5, "But the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, smote him with an invisible and incurable plague; for a pain in the bowels that was remediless came upon him, and sore torments of the inner parts Acts 12:9, so that worms rose up out of the body of this wicked man," etc. Probably this was the disease known as morbus pedicularis. It is loathsome, offensive, and most painful. See the death of Antiochus Epiphanes described in 2 Macc. 9. With this disease also Herod the Great, grandfather of Herod Agrippa, died (Josephus, Antiq., book 17, chapter 6, section 5). Such a death, so painful, so sudden, and so loathsome, was an appropriate judgment on the pride of Herod. We may here learn:

(1) That sudden and violent deaths are often acts of direct divine judgment on wicked people.

(2) that people, when they seek praise and flattery, expose themselves to the displeasure of God. His glory he will not give to another, Isaiah 42:8.

(3) that the most proud, and mighty, and magnificent princes have no security of their lives. God can in a moment - even when they are surrounded by their worshippers and flatterers - touch the seat of life, and turn them to loathsomeness and putrefaction. What a pitiable being is a man of pride receiving from his fellow-men that homage which is due to God alone! See Isaiah 14.

(4) pride and vanity, in any station of life, are hateful in the sight of God. Nothing is more inappropriate to our situation as lost, dying sinners, and nothing will more certainly meet the wrath of heaven.

(5) we have here a strong confirmation of the truth of the sacred narrative. In all essential particulars Luke coincides in his account of the death of Herod with Josephus. This is one of the many circumstances which show that the sacred Scriptures were written at the time when they professed to be, and that they accord with the truth. See Lardner's Credibility, part 1, chapter 1, section 6.

22, 23. the people gave a shout, &c.—Josephus' account of his death is remarkably similar to this [Antiquities, 19.8.2]. Several cases of such deaths occur in history. Thus was this wretched man nearer his end than he of whom he had thought to make a public spectacle. An angel had delivered Peter, and here an angel destroys Herod: all that heavenly host fullfil God’s will for the deliverance of his church, and the destruction of his enemies.

He gave not God the glory; priding himself in the acclamation the people had made, and not attributing his eloquence and glory to God, as the giver of them; or rather, not repressing or punishing their blasphemy; whereas Peter durst not accept of undue honour from Cornelius, Acts 10:26, nor the angel from St. John, Revelation 19:10 22:9.

He was eaten of worms; either breeding in his bowels, or in his flesh, after a more unusual manner; as it is recorded of Herod the Great, that he was eaten up of lice. No creature so little or contemptible, but it can execute God’s judgments on whom he please.

And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him,.... With a disease after mentioned; this angel, according to Josephus, appeared in the form of an owl; for he says, that a little after (the shout of the people) the king looked up, and saw an owl sitting upon a rope over his head; whom he immediately understood to be an angel, or messenger of evil things to him, as it had been before of good things; for it seems by the same historian (s), that when he was bound by the order of Caligula, he saw an owl sitting on that tree, on which he leaned; when a certain German predicted, that things would in a short time be changed with him, and he should be advanced to great honour; but remember, says he, whenever you see that bird again, you will die within five days. Eusebius (t), out of Josephus, makes no mention of the owl, but relates it thus; that a little after (the oration and the salutation of the people) the king looked up, and saw an angel sitting over his head, whom he immediately understood to be the cause of evil things to him, as he had formerly been of good: the reason of the angel's smiting him was,

because he gave not glory to God; or as the Jewish historian says, because he reproved not the flatterers, nor rejected their impious flattery, but tacitly took that to himself, which belonged to God:

and he was eaten of worms: Beza's most ancient copy adds, "while he was alive"; Josephus only makes mention of pains in his belly, but these were occasioned by the gnawing of the worms: this was accounted by the Jews a very accursed death; they say (u), that the spies which brought an ill report on the good land, died this death: their account is this, that

"their tongues swelled and fell upon their navels, and worms came out of their tongues and went into their navels, and out of their navels they went into their tongues,''

of this death died many tyrants, oppressors, and persecutors! as Antiochus,

"So that the worms rose up out of the body of this wicked man, and whiles he lived in sorrow and pain, his flesh fell away, and the filthiness of his smell was noisome to all his army.'' (2 Maccabees 9:9)

and Herod the great, the grandfather of this, according to Josephus (w); and Maximianus Galerius, according to Eusebius (x), and many others:

and gave up the ghost: not directly, but five days after, as Josephus relates, in the fifty fourth year of his age, and when he had reigned seven years; but before he died, and as soon as he was smitten, he turned to his friends and said, I your God am obliged to depart this life, and now fate reproves the lying words you have just now spoke of me; and I who was called immortal by you, am led away to die, with more, as related by Josephus: by such a token as this, a man was discovered to be a murderer with the Jews; for so they say (y), that

"out of the beheaded heifer went a vast number of worms, and went to the place where the murderer was, and ascended upon him, and then the sanhedrim laid hold on him and condemned him.''

(s) Ib. l. 18. c. 7. sect. 7. (t) Eccl. Hist. l. 2. c. 10. (u) T. Bab. Sota, fol. 35. 1.((w) Antiqu. l. 17. c. 6. sect. 5. (x) Hist. Eccl. l. 8. c. 16. (y) Targum Jon. in Deuteronomy 21.8.

{11} And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he {e} gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

(11) God resists the proud.

(e) Josephus records that this king did not repress the flatterer's tongues, and therefore at his death he complained and cried out about their empty praise.

Acts 12:23. Ἐπάταξεν αὐτὸν ἄγγελος κυρίον] an angel of the Lord smote him. The paroxysm of disease suddenly setting in as a punishment of God, is in accordance with O. T. precedents (comp. 2 Samuel 24:17; 2 Kings 19:35; Isaiah 37:36), apprehended as the effect of a stroke (invisibly) befalling him from an angel. The fate of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:26-30) does not accord with this view (in opposition to Baumgarten). Josephus, l.c., relates that soon after that display of flattery, the king saw an owl sitting on a rope above his head, and he regarded this (according to a prophecy formerly received in Rome from a German) as a herald of death, whereupon severe abdominal pains immediately followed, under which he expired after five days (at the age of fifty-four years). That Luke has not adopted this fable,—instead of which Eichhorn puts merely a sudden shivering,—is a consequence of his Christian view, which gives instead from its own sphere and tradition the ἐπάταξενΘεῷ as an exhibition of the divine Nemesis; therefore Eusebius (H. E. ii. 10) ought not to have harmonized the accounts, and made out of the owl an angel of death. Bengel: “Adeo differt historia divina et humana.” See, besides, Heinichen, Exc. II. ad Euseb. III. p. 356 ff.

ἀνθ ̓ ὧν] as a requital for the fact, that. See on Luke 1:20.

οὐκ ἔδωκε τὴν δόξαν τῷ Θεῷ] he refused God the honour due to Him, inasmuch as he received that tribute of honour for himself, instead of declining it and directing the flatterers to the honour which belongs to God (“nulli creaturae communicabilem,” Erasmus); Isaiah 48:11. Comp. Joseph. l.c.: οὐκ ἐπέπληξε τούτοις (the flatterers) ὁ βασιλεὺς, οὐδὲ τὴν κολακείαν ἀσεβοῦσαν ἀπετρέψατο. How entirely different the conduct of Peter, Acts 10:26, and of Paul and Barnabas, Acts 14:14 f.!

γενόμενος σκωληκόβρ.] similarly with Antiochus Epiphanes, 2Ma 9:5; 2Ma 9:9.[279] This is not to be regarded as at variance with Josephus, who speaks generally only of pains in the bowels; but as a more precise statement, which is, indeed, referred by Baur to a Christian legend originating from the fate of Epiphanes, which has taken the abdominal pains that befell Herod as if they were already the gnawing worm which torments the condemned (Mark 9:44 f.; comp. Isaiah 46:4)! Kühn (ad Ael. V. H. iv. 28), Elsner, Morus, and others, entirely against the words, have converted the disease of worms destroying the intestines (Bartholinus, de morbis Bibl. c. 23; Mead. de morb. Bibl. c. 15; and see the analogous cases in Wetstein) into the disease of lice, φθειρίασις, as if ΦΘΕΙΡΌΒΡΩΤΟς (Hesych. Mil. 40) were used!

The word ΣΚΩΛΗΚΌΒΡ. is found in Theoph. c. pl. iii. 12. 8 (?), v. 9. 1.

ἐξέψυξεν] namely, after five days. Joseph. l.c. But did not Luke consider the γενόμ. σκωληκ. ἐξέψυχεν as having taken place on the spot? The whole brief, terse statement, the reference to a stroke of an angel, and the use of ἐξέψυξεν (comp. Acts 5:5; Acts 5:10), render this highly probable.

[279] Observe how much our simple narrative—became eaten with worms—is distinguished from the overladen and extravagantly embellished description in 2Ma 9:9 (see Grimm in loc.). But there is no reason, with Gerlach, to explain σκωληκόβρ. figuratively (like the German wurmstichig): worn and shattered by pain.

Acts 12:23. παραχρῆμα, see above, p. 106.—ἐπάταξεν, cf. Exod. 11:23, 2 Samuel 24:17, 2 Kings 19:35, 1 Chronicles 21:15, Isaiah 37:36, 1Ma 7:41. See p. 188. On the confusion in the reading of Eusebius, H.E., ii., 10, where for the owl whom Josephus describes as appearing to Herod as ἄγγελος κακῶν we have the reading “the angel” of the Acts, the unseen minister of the divine will, see B.D. 12, p. 1345, and Eusebius, Schaff and Wace’s edition, in loco; see also Bengel’s impressive note on this verse on the difference between human history and divine.—ἀνθʼ ὧν = ἀντὶ τούτων ὅτι, cf. Luke 1:20; Luke 19:44, see also Acts 12:3; only once outside St. Luke’s writings in N.T., 2 Thessalonians 2:10; see Simcox, Language of N. T., p. 137; Plummer on Luke 1:20; Luke 12:3; quite classical and several times in LXX.—ἔδωκε τὴν δ.: debitum honorem, cf. Isaiah 48:11, Revelation 19:7; article elsewhere omitted (cf. Luke 17:18); a Hebrew phrase. How different the behaviour of St. Peter and of St. Paul, Acts 10:26, Acts 14:14. Josephus expressly says that the king did not rebuke the flatterers or reject their flattery.—καὶ γενόμ. σκ.: see below. St. Luke does not say that Herod died on the spot, but simply marks the commencement of the disease, παραχρῆμα; Josephus describes the death as occurring after five days. Wendt (1899 edition) admits that the kind of death described may well have been gradual, although in 1888 edition he held that the ἐξέψυξεν meant that he expired immediately; see also Zöckler and Hackett, as against Weiss. ἐξέψ., see on Acts 5:5; Acts 5:10.—σκωλ.: only here in N.T.; no contradiction with Josephus, but a more precise description of the fatal disease, cf. 2Ma 9:5; 2Ma 9:9, with which detailed and strange account the simple statement of the fact here stands in marked contrast. The word cannot be taken metaphorically, cf. Herod., iv., 205: and Jos., Ant., xvii., 6, 5, of the death of Herod the Great. Such a death was regarded as a punishment for pride; so in 2 Macc. and Herod., Farrar, St. Paul. i. 318. The term itself was one which we might expect from a medical man, and St. Luke may easily have learnt the exact nature of the disease during his two years residence in Cæsarea (Belser). See Hobart, pp. 42, 43, Knabenbauer in loco. The word was used of a disease of plants, but Luke, no less than his contemporary Dioscorides, may well have been acquainted with botanical terms (Vogel). To think with Baur and Holtzmann of the gnawing worm of the damned is quite opposed to the whole context. If we place the two narratives, the account given by Josephus and that given by St Luke side by side, it is impossible not to see their general agreement, and none has admitted this more unreservedly than Schürer. On reasons for the silence of Josephus as to the death as a punishment of the king’s impiety in contrast with the clear statement of St. Luke; and also on the whole narrative as against the strictures of Spitta, see Belser, Theologische Quartalschrift, p. 252 ff., 2e Heft, 1895; for a full examination; cf. also Nösgen to the same effect, Apostelgeschichte, p. 242, Zahn, Einleitung, ii., 417. Belser should also be consulted as against Krenkel, Josephus und Lucas, p. 203 ff. It should be noted that Krenkel does not affirm that Luke derived his material from Josephus in Acts 12:1-23, but only that he was influenced by the Jewish historian, and that with regard to the hapax-legomenon, σκωληκόβρωτος, he can only affirm that Josephus affords us an analogous expression, B. J., vii., 8, 7.

23. And immediately the (an) angel of the Lord smote him … and he was eaten of worms] Cp. the fate of Antiochus Epiphanes (2Ma 9:9), and Herod the Great’s death (Josephus, Ant. xvii. 6. 5). The passage in which Josephus describes these events is so important in its bearing on the N. Test. narrative that it deserves to be read in its entirety. He writes (Antiq. xix. 8. 2), “Now when Agrippa had reigned three years over all Judæa, he came to the city Cæsarea, which was formerly called Strato’s Tower, and there he exhibited shows in honour of Cæsar, upon his being informed that there was a certain festival celebrated to make vows for his safety. At which festival a great multitude was gotten together of the principal persons and such as were of dignity throughout his province. On the second day of which shows he put on a garment made wholly of silver and of a contexture truly wonderful, and came into the theatre early in the morning, at which time the silver of his garment being illuminated by the fresh reflexion of the sun’s rays upon it, shone out after a surprising manner, and was so resplendent as to spread a dread and shuddering over those that looked intently upon it, and presently his flatterers cried out, one from one place and another from another (though not for his good) that he was a god. And they added ‘Be thou merciful to us, for although we have hitherto reverenced thee only as a man yet shall we henceforth own thee as superior to mortal nature.’ Upon this the King did neither rebuke them nor reject their impious flattery. But as he presently afterwards looked up he saw an owl sitting upon a certain rope over his head, and immediately understood that this bird was the messenger of ill tidings, as it had once been the messenger of good tidings to him; and fell into the deepest sorrow. A violent pain also arose in his belly, having begun with great severity. He therefore looked upon his friends and said, ‘I whom you call a god, am commanded presently to depart this life, while Providence thus reproves the lying words you just now said to me; and I who was called by you immortal am immediately to be hurried away by death. But I am bound to accept what Providence allots as it pleases God, for we have by no means lived ill, but in a splendid and happy manner.’ When he had said this his pain became violent. Accordingly he was carried into the palace, and the rumour went abroad everywhere that he would certainly die in a little time … And when he had been quite worn out by the pain in his bowels for five days he departed this life.”

We can see from this extract that among the throng who flattered Herod, there were some who were suing for mercy to be shewn to them; that the day was a set day, that Herod was clad in royal robes, that the flattery consisted in calling him a god, that he did not rebuke them; that he was stricken immediately so that he had to be carried to his palace, that he acknowledged that the stroke came from God as a rebuke for accepting such flattery, and everybody expected him to die at once.

With reference to the latter portion in which Josephus speaks of a violent pain increasing in vehemence very rapidly, and the N. Test. says he was eaten of worms; it is noticeable that, in the account of the death of Antiochus, already alluded to, we have these two features of the same disease mentioned and that they are described separately. First, 2Ma 9:5, “The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, smote him with an incurable and invisible plague, for as soon as he had spoken these words a pain of the bowels that was remediless came upon him and sore torments of the inner parts.” Then after a verse or two describing the pride of Antiochus we read, “So that the worms rose up out of the body of this wicked man.”

Josephus (by whom Herod, as one who favoured Jews, was regarded as of no bad character, and was moreover looked upon with an eye of admiration as having been raised to the highest pitch of power through Roman influence, to which Josephus himself was very ready to pay court) has merely described the form in which the malady made itself apparent at first, and has left out the more loathsome details from the death story of one who in his eyes was a great king; while Holy Writ has given the fuller account, because the object of the writer of the Acts was to emphasize in all its enormity the sin for which Josephus tells us that Herod himself felt that he was stricken. The points of accord in the two accounts are so many, and the difference so slight and so easy to be accounted for, that this extract from Josephus must always be regarded as a most weighty testimony to the historic accuracy and faithfulness of St Luke’s narrative. For other instances of death by this loathsome malady, see Herodotus iv. 205; Eusebius viii. 16; Tertullian ad Scapul. iii. A similar account is given of the death of Philip II. of Spain.

Acts 12:23. Παραχρῆμα, immediately) The disparagement (insult) to the Divine honour is most speedily counteracted (prevented): comp. ch. Acts 14:14; also Revelation 19:10.—ἄγγελος Κυρίου, the angel of the Lord) a good angel. As to this important circumstance Josephus has nothing, though he enters into many matters of less consequence. To such a decree do Divine and human histories differ. The angel of the Lord led forth Peter: the angel of the Lord struck Herod. That both acts were done by angels, mortals saw not: it was only known to the saints.—οὐκ ἔδωκς, he gave not) He is not blamed for his having been praised; but because he accepted the praise. This sacrilege earned a more speedy punishment than the murder of James and his other crimes. [When the stroke was inflicted, Herod confessed (according to the statement of Josephus), that he had contracted guilt thereby.—V. g.]—σκωληκόβρωτος, eaten of worms) What a change to him! Worms, to a man in the case of death, most natural, and least natural, according as they either follow or precede death. The deaths of persecutors have been striking. The Gospel overcomes and survives them: Acts 12:24.

Verse 23. - An angel for the angel, A.V. (Acts 5:19, note). Acts 12:23An angel of the Lord smote him

An interesting parallel is furnished by the story of Alp Arslan, a Turkish prince of the eleventh century. "The Turkish prince bequeathed a dying admonition to the pride of kings. 'In my youth,' said Alp Arslan, ' I was advised by a sage to humble myself before God; to distrust my own strength; and never to despise the most contemptible foe. I have neglected these lessons, and my neglect has been deservedly punished. Yesterday, as from an eminence, I beheld the numbers, the discipline, and the spirit of my armies; the earth seemed to tremble under my feet, and I said in my heart, surely thou art the king of the world, the greatest and most invincible of warriors. These armies are no longer mine; and, in the confidence of my personal strength, I now fall by the hand of an assassin'" (Gibbon, "Decline and Fall").

Eaten of worms (σκωληκόβρωτος)

Only here in New Testament. Of Pheretima, queen of Cyrene, distinguished for her cruelties, Herodotus says: "Nor did Pheretima herself end her days happily. For on her return to Egypt from Libya, directly after taking vengeance on the people of Barca, she was overtaken by a most horrid death. Her body swarmed with worms, which ate her flesh while she was still alive" (iv., 205). The term, as applied to disease in the human body, does not occur in any of the medical writers extant. Theophrastus, however, uses it of a disease in plants. The word σκώληξ is used by medical writers of intestinal worms. Compare the account of the death of Antiochus Epiphanes, the great persecutor of the Jews. "So that the worms rose up out of the body of this wicked man, and whiles he lived in sorrow and pain, his flesh fell away, and the filthiness of his smell was noisome to all his army" (2 Maccabees 9:9). Sylla, the Roman dictator, is also said to have suffered from a similar disease.

Gave up the ghost

See on Acts 5:5.

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