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Acts 12:23

    Acts 12:23 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    And immediately an angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And straight away the angel of the Lord sent a disease on him, because he did not give the glory to God: and his flesh was wasted away by worms, and so he came to his end.

    Webster's Revision

    And immediately an angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

    World English Bible

    Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he didn't give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    And immediately an angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

    Definitions for Acts 12:23

    Angel - Messenger.

    Clarke's Commentary on Acts 12:23

    The angel of the Lord smote him - His death was most evidently a judgment from God.

    Because he gave not God the glory - He did not rebuke his flatterers, but permitted them to give him that honor that was due to God alone. See on Acts 12:21 (note).

    And was eaten of worms - Whether this was the morbus pedicularis, or whether a violent inflammation of his bowels, terminating in putrefaction, did not actually produce worms, which, for several days, swarmed in his infected entrails, we cannot tell. It is most likely that this latter was the case; and this is at once more agreeable to the letter of the text, and to the circumstances of the case as related by Josephus.

    And gave up the ghost - That is, he died of the disorder by which he was then seized, after having lingered, in excruciating torments, for five days, as Josephus has stated. Antiochus Epiphanes and Herod the Great died of the same kind of disease. See the observations at the end of Acts 1:26 (note) relative to the death of Judas.

    Barnes' Notes on Acts 12:23

    And immediately the angel of the Lord - Diseases and death axe in the Scriptures often attributed to an angel. See 2 Samuel 24:16; 1 Chronicles 21:12, 1 Chronicles 21:15, 1 Chronicles 21:20, 1 Chronicles 21:27; 2 Chronicles 32:21. It is not intended that there was a miracle in this case, but it certainly is intended by the sacred writer that his death was a divine judgment on him for his receiving homage as a god. Josephus says of him that he "did neither rebuke them the people nor reject their impious flattery. A severe pain arose in his belly, and began in a most violent manner. And when he was quite worn out by the pain in his belly for five days, he departed this life, in the 54th year of his age, and the 7th year of his reign." Josephus does not mention that it was done by an angel, but says that when he looked up, he saw an owl sitting on a rope over his head, and judging it to be an evil omen, he immediately became melancholy, and was seized with the pain.

    Because he gave not God the glory - Because he was willing to receive the worship due to God. It was the more sinful in him as he was a Jew, and was acquainted with the true God, and with the evils of idolatry. He was proud, and willing to be flattered, and even adored. He had sought their applause; he had arrayed himself in this splendid manner to excite admiration; and when they carried it even so far as to offer divine homage, he did not reject the impious flattery, but listened stir to their praises. Hence, he was judged; and God vindicated his own insulted honor by inflicting severe pains on him, and by a most awful death.

    And he was eaten of worms - The word used here is not found elsewhere in the New Testament. A similar disease is recorded of Antiochus Epiphanes, in the Apocrypha, 2 Macc. 9:5, "But the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, smote him with an invisible and incurable plague; for a pain in the bowels that was remediless came upon him, and sore torments of the inner parts Acts 12:9, so that worms rose up out of the body of this wicked man," etc. Probably this was the disease known as morbus pedicularis. It is loathsome, offensive, and most painful. See the death of Antiochus Epiphanes described in 2 Macc. 9. With this disease also Herod the Great, grandfather of Herod Agrippa, died (Josephus, Antiq., book 17, chapter 6, section 5). Such a death, so painful, so sudden, and so loathsome, was an appropriate judgment on the pride of Herod. We may here learn:

    (1) That sudden and violent deaths are often acts of direct divine judgment on wicked people.

    (2) that people, when they seek praise and flattery, expose themselves to the displeasure of God. His glory he will not give to another, Isaiah 42:8.

    (3) that the most proud, and mighty, and magnificent princes have no security of their lives. God can in a moment - even when they are surrounded by their worshippers and flatterers - touch the seat of life, and turn them to loathsomeness and putrefaction. What a pitiable being is a man of pride receiving from his fellow-men that homage which is due to God alone! See Isaiah 14.

    (4) pride and vanity, in any station of life, are hateful in the sight of God. Nothing is more inappropriate to our situation as lost, dying sinners, and nothing will more certainly meet the wrath of heaven.

    (5) we have here a strong confirmation of the truth of the sacred narrative. In all essential particulars Luke coincides in his account of the death of Herod with Josephus. This is one of the many circumstances which show that the sacred Scriptures were written at the time when they professed to be, and that they accord with the truth. See Lardner's Credibility, part 1, chapter 1, section 6.

    Wesley's Notes on Acts 12:23

    12:23 And immediately - God does not delay to vindicate his injured honour; an angel of the Lord smote him - Of this other historians say nothing: so wide a difference there is between Divine and human history! An angel of the Lord brought out Peter; an angel smote Herod. Men did not see the instruments in either case. These were only known to the people of God. Because he gave not glory to God - He willingly received it to himself, and by this sacrilege filled up the measure of his iniquities. So then vengeance tarried not. And he was eaten by worms, or vermin - How changed! And on the fifth day expired in exquisite torture. Such was the event! The persecutor perished, and the Gospel grew and multiplied.