1 About that time Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, in order to do them violence. 2 He had James the brother of John murdered with a sword, 3 and when he saw that this was agreeable to the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter too -- it was at the time of the feast of Unleavened Bread. 4 He had him seized and put into prison, and turned him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, planning after the Passover to bring him out again to the people. 5 So Peter was being kept in prison, but earnest prayer to God for him was persistently made by the church.
6 Now just as Herod was going to bring him out, that is, the very night before, Peter was fastened with two chains and was sleeping between two soldiers, and the guards were at the door guarding the prison. 7 And suddenly an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in his cell, and by striking Peter on the side the angel woke him, and said, "Get up quickly!" At once the chains fell off his hands. 8 Then the angel said to him, "Tighten your belt and put on your shoes? He did so. Then the angel said to him, "Put on your coat and follow me!" 9 So he kept following him out, but he was not conscious that what was being done by the angel was real; he thought he was dreaming it. 10 They passed the first guard, then the second, and at last came to the iron gate which led into the city. The gate of itself opened to them, and they passed out and proceeded one block when all at once the angel left him.
11 Then Peter came to himself and said, "Now I really know that the Lord has sent His angel and rescued me from the power of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting to do to me." 12 When he became conscious of his situation, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, were a large number of people had met and were praying. 13 When he knocked at the outer door, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer it, 14 and on recognizing Peter's voice, in her joy she failed to open the door but ran and told them that Peter was standing at the door.
15 They said to her, "You are crazy!" But she persistently insisted that it was so. Then they said, "It is his guardian angel!" 16 But Peter, meanwhile, kept on knocking. So they opened the door, and when they saw him, they were astounded.
17 With his hand he motioned to them to be quiet, and then he told them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. He added, "Tell all these things to James and the brothers." Then he left them and went somewhere else.
18 When morning came, there was no little commotion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter. 19 Herod had search 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.
20 Now Herod cherished a bitter grudge against the people of Tyre and Sidon. So in a united body they came to meet him, and after winning the favor of Blastus, the king's chamberlain, they asked for peace, because their country depended for its food supply upon the king's country. 21 So, on a day appointed, Herod, dressed in his royal robes, took his seat on his throne, and made them a popular address, 22 and the people shouted, "It is a god's voice, not a man's!" 23 But the angel of the Lord at once struck him down, because he did not give the glory to God; he was eaten by worms, and so died. 24 But the message of the Lord continued to grow and spread. 25 When Barnabas and Saul had finished their helpful service, they returned from Jerusalem, and took along with them John who was called Mark.