The Center for
Messianic Learning 

Unapologetically Pro-Torah
Unashamedly Pro-Israel
Irrevocably Zionist
“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)

If your life is not in jeopardy for what you believe, you’re probably on the wrong side!

Like this page? Share it. MeWe Logo ParlerLogo WimKin Logo CloutHub Others:Bookmark and Share

Mobile Users: The page will display properly if you hold your device in “landscape”
position and use your touch gesture to resize the page to fit your screen.

Please read the Introductory Notes to this commentary.

For a glossary of unfamiliar terms, CLICK HERE. For assistance in
pronouncing Hebrew terms, a pronunciation guide is located HERE.

Sections of the Apostolic Writings
The Gospels and Acts • The “Pauline” Letters • General Letters • End Times

Introduction to the Gospels (Good News of the Kingdom) and Acts
Mattityahu (Matthew)  •  Mordichai (Mark)  •  Lukas (Luke)  • Yochanan (John)
Crucifixion Week Chronology3-Year Harmony of the Gospels1-Year Harmony of the Gospels  
Hitgalut (Revelation)  •  P’yilut HaShliyakim (Acts of the Emissaries)  •  The Chosen (Video Series)

Acts Index
Chapters:   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14
15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28

P’yilut HaSh'liakim
The Acts of the Emissaries

~ 12 ~

Ya'akov Murdered / Kefa Arrested and Rescued

1Now about that time, King Herod[1] began to persecute some of the Holy Community. 2He had Ya'akov, Yochanan’s brother, put to the sword. 3When he saw that it pleased the Y'hudimJudeans[3a], he proceeded to also arrest Kefa. This was during Matzah.[3b] 4When he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of four soldiers each to guard him, intending to bring him to public trial after the Pesach. 5While Kefa was being kept in prison, the Messianic Community continually prayed to God for him. 6On the night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Kefa was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains. Guards were posted in front of the prison door.

7Suddenly an angel of ADONAI was standing beside him, and a light shone in the cell. The angel poked Kefa in the ribs and woke him up.

“Stand up! Quickly!” the Angel said, and the chains fell off from Kefa’ hands. 8The angel told him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals.” He did so. Then othe angel told him, “Now put on your cloak and follow me.” 9And he went out and followed him. He didn’t know that what the Angel was doing was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10When they were past the first and the second guards, they came to the iron gate that leads out into the city, which opened by itself. They went out and went down one street, and suddenly the angel left him.

11When Kefa came to his senses, he said to himself, “Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent out his angel to rescue delivered me from Herod, and from everything the Y'hudimJudeans were hoping for.” 12Realizing what was happening, he went to the home of Miryam, the mother of Yochanan Marcus,[12] where many were gathered together and were praying. 13When Kefa knocked on the outside door, a servant named Rhoda came to answer. 14When she recognized Kefa’s voice, she was overjoyed, but instead of opening the door she ran back into the house, and told everyone that Kefa was standing at the front door.

15“You’re crazy!” they told her. But she insisted that it was true. They said, “It is his [guardian] angel.”[15] 16But Kefa continued knocking. When they finally opened the door, they saw him and were amazed.[16] 17Beckoning to them with his hand for them to be quiet, he told them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. He said, “Tell these things to Ya'akov[17] and the brothers.” Then he left and went somewhere else.

18As soon as it was daylight, there was a major commotion among the soldiers about what had become of Kefa. 19When Herod sent for him but he couldn’t be found, he interrogated the guards and ordered their execution. He went down from Y'hudah to Caesarea, and stayed there for a while.[19]

Herod’s Death

20Now Herod was very angry with the people of TzorTyre and TzidonSidon. They came together to see him. Having made a friend of Blastus, the king’s personal servant, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king’s lands for food. 21On the appointed day, Herod dressed himself in his royal robes, sat on his throne, and made a speech to them. 22The people shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man!” 23Immediately an angel of ADONAI struck him down because he didn’t give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died.[23]

24But the word of the Lord God grew and multiplied. 25When they had completed their mission there, Bar-Nabba and Sha'ul returned to Yerushalayim, taking Yochanan Marcus with them.

Chapter 13


  1. Herod Agrippa I (11 BCE-44CE) ruled Israel under the Romans from 41 to 44 CE. He was  the grandson of Herod the Great (Matt 2:1) and father of Herod Agrippa II (Acts 25:13-26:32). [RETURN]

 3a. Although most English translations render this word as “Jews” it is actually “Judeans” and in most cases refers not to the Jewish people, but to the corrupt government leaders, i.e., the Sanhedrin. [RETURN]

 3b. Matzah (the Feast of Unleavened Bread) immediately follows Pesach (Passover); see Exodus 12:15-20. Technically, Pesach is only a few hours on the evening of 14 Nisan and into the very early hours of 15 Nisan (remembering that on the Hebrew calendar the day begins and ends at sunset. Matzah then follows for seven days. However, for hundreds of years Matzah has been celebrated as part of the eight days of Pesach (more HERE). [RETURN]

12. Yochanan Marcus (John Mark) was the cousin of Bar-Nabba (Col 4:10) and the author of the second Gospel account, which bears his name. [RETURN]

15. The idea of a guardian angel is found in Matthew 18:10 and Psalm 91:11 [RETURN]

16. Faith is an interesting thing. So often we pray intellectually, thinking we are praying in faith, then we find outselves surprised when HaShem answers our prayer. It is quite likely they were praying for Kefa’s release. [RETURN]

17. Ya'akov was the half-brother of Yeshua (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3). Although he was not a believer during Yeshua’s early ministry (John 7:3-8), he was probably convinced by the Resurrection, and became the leader of the Messianic Community in Jerusalem (Acts 15:13; Acts 21:18; Galatians 2:9-12) after Kefa left to establish communities elsewhere, and is the author of the Apostolic Letter which bears his name (James 1:1). See my additional note on his name in the Introduction to this commentary.

19. Herod was a brutal, bloodthirsty tyrant who murdered — or had murdered — most of his own family. [RETURN]

23. History has long recorded that Herod was literally eaten up with syphillis at the time of his death. A more recent report however added more details:

More than 2,000 years after Herod the Great succumbed at age 69, doctors have now settled on exactly what killed the king of ancient Judea: chronic kidney disease complicated by a very uncomfortable case of maggot-infested gangrene of the genitals.

The clues to Herod’s diagnosis were listed in ancient history books and, according to Jan Hirschmann, the lead diagnosing doctor in the case, included “intense itching, painful intestinal problems, breathlessness, convulsions in every limb and gangrene of the genitals.” …

Hirschmann, who is a physician at the Veterans Affairs Puget Sounds Health Care System in Washington state, said chronic kidney disease could explain nearly all of Herod’s symptoms. However, he said the king’s case of gangrene (now a rare condition known as Fournier’s gangrene) could not be explained by kidney disease and was “unusual.”

Hirschmann suspects one of three conditions likely introduced Fournier’s gangrene to the leader’s “privy parts.” An infection in Herod’s abdomen could have spread to his groin and rectal areas (Herod is said to have complained of abdominal pain).

He may have sexually contracted gonorrhea, which could have led to an infection of the urethra — the tube connecting the bladder to the outside world. This infection could have cause urine to leak inside the king’s body, spreading bacteria.

Finally, since reports indicate the king “had a terrible desire to scratch himself,” this scratching could have introduced gangrene directly into the area.

Records also indicate the swelling at the leader’s groin was further wracked by an infestation of worms. Hirschmann says what may have looked like “worms” could have actually been shredded pieces of skin, although, he says there is a possibility they were real.

“There could have been maggots feeding on the tissue,” said Philip Mackowiak, chief of the Medical Care Clinical Center at the Veterans Affairs Maryland Healthcare System, who oversees an annual conference at the center to diagnose historical figures. “It’s tough to know how long he was suffering but it was probably months, possibly a couple years.” [Source: ABC News, “Researchers Diagnose Herod the Great,” 7 January 2006. Accessed 29 April 2020] [RETURN]

Originally posted on Wednesday, 29 April 1010

Page last updated on Thursday, 21 January 2021 04:15 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return