Now about that time, King Herod stretched out his hands to oppress some of the assembly.
He killed Jacob, the brother of Yochanan, with the sword.
When he saw that it pleased the Judeans, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This was during the days of unleavened bread.
When 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 out to the people after the Passover.
Peter therefore was kept in the prison, but constant prayer was made by the assembly to God for him.
The same night when Herod was about to bring him out, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains. Guards in front of the door kept the prison.
And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side, and woke him up, saying, Stand up quickly! His chains fell off from his hands.
The angel said to him, Get dressed and put on your sandals. He did so. He said to him, Put on your cloak, and follow me.
And he went out and followed him. He didn’t know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he saw a vision.
When they were past the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened to them by itself. They went out, and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.
When Peter had come to himself, he said, Now I truly know that the Lord has sent out his angel and delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from everything the Jewish people were expecting.
Thinking about that, he came to the house of Miriam, the mother of Yochanan whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.
When Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a maid named Rhoda came to answer.
When she recognized Peters voice, she didn’t open the gate for joy, but ran in, and reported that Peter was standing in front of the gate.
They said to her, You are crazy! But she insisted that it was so. They said, It is his angel.
But Peter continued knocking. When they had opened, they saw him, and were amazed.
But he, beckoning to them with his hand to be silent, declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. He said, Tell these things to Jacob, and to the brothers. Then he departed, and went to another place.
Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers about what had become of Peter.
When Herod had sought for him, and didn’t find him, he examined the guards, and commanded that they should be put to death. He went down from Judea to Caesarea, and stayed there.
Now Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon. They came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus, the kings personal aide, their friend, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the kings country for food.
On an appointed day, Herod dressed himself in royal clothing, sat on the throne, and gave a speech to them.
The people shouted, The voice of a god, and not of a man!
Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he didn’t give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died.
“Now when Agrippa had reigned three years over all Judea, he came to the city Cesarea, which was formerly called Strato’s Tower; and there he exhibited shows in honor of Caesar, upon his being informed that there was a certain festival celebrated to make vows for his safety. At which festival a great multitude was assembled together of the principal persons, and such as were of dignity through 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 theater early in the morning; at which time the silver of his garment being illuminated by the fresh reflection of the sun’s rays upon it, shone out after a surprising manner, and was so resplendent as to spread a horror over those that looked intently upon him; 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 up unto this point reverenced you only as a man, yet shall we from now on acknowledge you as superior to mortal nature.” Upon this the king did neither rebuke them, nor reject their impious flattery. But as he presently afterward looked up, he saw an owl sitting on 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 severe pain also arose in his belly, and began in a most violent manner. 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 by you called immortal, am immediately to be hurried away by death. But I am bound to accept of what Providence allots, as it pleases God; for we have by no means lived ill, but in a splendid and happy manner.” When he said this, his pain was become violent. Accordingly he was carried into the palace, and the rumor went abroad every where, that he would certainly die in a little time. But the multitude presently sat in sackcloth, with their wives and children, after the law of their country, and besought God for the king’s recovery. All places were also full of mourning and lamentation. Now the king rested in a high chamber, and as he saw them below lying prostrate on the ground, he could not himself forbear weeping. And when he had been quite worn out by the pain in his belly for five days, he departed this life, being in the fifty-fourth year of his age, and in the seventh year of his reign; for he reigned four years under Caius Caesar, three of them were over Philip’s tetrarchy only, and on the fourth he had that of Herod added to it…”
Josephus, Antiquities 19.8.2
But the word of God grew and multiplied.