God’s Judgment on King Herod (Agrippa I)

It was F.B. Meyer, I believe, who once said that when we see a brother or sister in sin, there are two things we do not know: First, we do not know how hard he or she tried not to sin. And second, we do not know the power of the forces that assailed him or her. We also do not kno … More


After Peter’s escape, Herod cross-examined the guards and ruthlessly ordered their executions (v. 18). In that day, if a guard permitted a prisoner to escape, Roman law required that he receive the same punishment that the prisoner would have received (v. 19). After this Herod went to Caesarea. There was at this time some quarrel between Herod and the people of Tyre and Sidon, for whom the quarrel was a serious matter. Their lands lay to the north of Palestine and Herod could make things very difficult for them in two ways. If he deflected the trade of Palestine from their ports their revenues would be seriously impaired. Worse, Tyre and Sidon were dependent for their food supplies on Palestine and if these supplies were cut off their case would be very serious indeed (Ezra 3:7). Because of this they desired to make peace with Herod.

These people succeeded in gaining the ear of Blastus, the king’s chamberlain, and a public session was arranged. Herod, venting his ill will on Tyre and Sidon, proceeded headlong to his doom (vv . 20-23). While he was delivering a speech, the people honored him as a god. By flattering the king and calling him a god, the delegation hoped they could get from him what they wanted.  Evidently Herod was being watched, as we are being watched. At this point the watcher smote him. Herod had gone too far. A terrible illness (‘eaten of worms”) suddenly fell upon him, and he never recovered.  God judged Herod with death. He had crossed the boundary between God’s mercy and wrath.

After Barnabas and Saul had done their work they went back to Jerusalem (vv. 24-25). Man has essentially made himself his own god. God has not always judged evil officials as He judged Herod, but He has always preserved His witness in the world. At the beginning of this chapter, Herod seemed to be in control and the church was losing the battle. However, at the end of the chapter, Herod is dead and the church is very much alive. The secret was a praying church!


How many times have I been tempted to compromise with the world in order to get something I wanted? Lord, help me to count the cost. In the long run it never pays to compromise.

Acts 12:18-25 (English Standard Version)

Now when day came, there was no little disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and ordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there. Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and having persuaded Blastus, the king's chamberlain, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king's country for food. On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. And the people were shouting, "The voice of a god, and not of a man!" Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last. But the word of God increased and multiplied. And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had completed their service, bringing with them John, whose other name was Mark.

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