Bruce, F.F. The Book of Acts Revised. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988. Kindle Electronic Edition. “III. The Acts of Peter and Beginnings of Gentile Christianity (9:32-12:25)” “E. Herod Agrippa I and the Church (12:1-24)” pp. 231-243.
Bruce describes the background of Herod Agrippa I in brief. He was apparently a very well educated and connected person, brought up around the imperial family (Bruce 1988, 232). Agrippa made self-conscious efforts to ingratiate himself to the Jewish people. In Acts 12:2 this included an attack on the apostles. The Jewish establishment by this time was bothered by the Christian welcome to Gentiles, especially noted in Acts 10 (Bruce 1988, 234). James was executed and Peter was imprisoned.
In verses 5-11 Peter was released from prison in response to prayers (Bruce 1988, 235). Herod’s intention was to bring him out for execution the following day. Peter was, instead, awakened by an angel, released, and led out of the prison. Peter eventually realized this was not a dream but a divine rescue mission.
In verses 12-17 Peter alerted the other Christians of his rescue. He then went into hiding (Bruce 1988, 237). The Christians were gathered for prayer at the home of Mary, mother of John Mark. Bruce considers it most likely that this is the Mark who composed the Second Gospel (Bruce 1988, 238). The Christians were shortly convinced that Peter had actually been rescued from prison. Other leaders needed to be notified. Bruce notes that nobody is completely certain where Peter went into hiding (Bruce 1988, 239). Herod’s search for his escaped prisoner was also unsuccessful.
Herod’s death is described inverses 20-23. For an unknown reason, Agrippa was angered by the people of Tyre and Sidon. They attempted reconciliation with him (Bruce 1988, 240). Bruce notes that Josephus provides a narrative of the encounter as well. While the people were praising Agrippa as a god, he was seized with a painful abdominal attack. He died after five days (Bruce 1988, 241). Verse 24 describes the continued spread of the Gospel (Bruce 1988, 242).