1 It was at that time that King Herod began to ill-treat some of the members of the church.
2 He had James, the brother of John, beheaded;
3 and, when he saw that the Jews were pleased with this, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. (This was during the Festival of the unleavened bread.)
4 After seizing Peter, Herod put him in prison, and entrusted him to the keeping of four Guards of four soldiers each, intending, after the Passover, to bring him up before the people.
5 So Peter was kept in prison, but meanwhile the prayers of the church were being earnestly offered to God on his behalf.
6 Just when Herod was intending to bring him before the people, on that very night Peter was asleep between two soldiers, chained to them both, while there were sentries in front of the door, guarding the prison.
7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the cell. The angel struck Peter on the side, and roused him with the words: ‘Get up quickly.’
8 The chains dropped from his wrists, and then the angel said: ‘Put on your belt and sandals.’ When Peter had done so, the angel added: ‘Throw your cloak round you and follow me.’
9 Peter followed him out, not knowing that what was happening under the angel's guidance was real, but thinking that he was seeing a vision.
10 Passing the first Guard, and then the second, they came to the iron gate leading into the city, which opened to them of itself; and, when they had passed through that, and had walked along one street, all at once the angel left him.
11 Then Peter came to himself and said: ‘Now I know beyond all doubt that the Lord has sent his angel, and has rescued me from Herod's hands and from all that the Jewish people have been expecting.’
12 As soon as he realized what had happened, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also known as Mark, where a number of people were gathered together, praying.
13 On his knocking at the door in the gate, a maidservant, named Rhoda, came to answer it.
14 She recognized Peter's voice, but in her joy left the gate unopened, and ran in, and told them that Peter was standing outside.
15 ‘You are mad!’ they exclaimed. But, when she persisted that it was so, they said: ‘It must be his spirit!’
16 Meanwhile Peter went on knocking, and, when they opened the gate and saw him, they were amazed.
17 Peter signed to them with his hand to be silent, and then told them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison, adding: ‘Tell James and the others all this.’ Then he left the house, and went away to another place.
18 In the morning there was a great stir among the soldiers — what could have become of Peter!
19 And, when Herod had made further search for him and failed to find him, he closely questioned the Guard, and ordered them away to execution. Then he went down from Judea to stay at Caesarea.
20 It happened that Herod was deeply offended with the people of Tyre and Sidon, but they went in a body to him, and, having succeeded in winning over Blastus, the Chamberlain, they begged Herod for a reconciliation, because their country was dependent on the king's for its food supply.
21 On an appointed day Herod, wearing his state robes, seated himself on his throne, and delivered an oration.
22 The people kept shouting: ‘It is the voice of God, and not of a person!’
23 Instantly an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give God the glory; and he was attacked with worms, and died.
24 Meanwhile the Lord's message kept extending, and spreading far and wide.
25 When Barnabas and Saul had carried out their mission, they returned to Jerusalem, and took with them John, who was also known as Mark.