Tyre and Sidon

Tyre and Sidon of Phoenicia

Tyre and Sidon
Acts 12:19 Edomite King Herod Agrippa

Acts 12:20-25 Tyre and Sidon

Acts 13 Commentary
ACTS 12:20-23  20 Now Herod had been very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; but they came to him with one accord, and having made Blastus the king’s personal aide their friend, they asked for peace, because their country was supplied with food by the king’s country.

Who are the people of Tyre and Sidon (Acts 12:20)?
Tyre and Sidon were two cities in the region God had assigned to the tribe of Asher to conquer when the Jews settled in the promised land. The tribe of Asher, however, disobeyed God when they found Tyre and Sidon well "fortified" (Joshua 19:29) and gave up. Ever since then, Tyre and Sidon, both pagan cities, had been thorns in the side of Israel and often led it into idolatry: "Then the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, ..." (Judges 10:6). And Jezebel, the most wicked queen in the history of Israel, was a princess of Sidon: "And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him" (1 Kings 16:31).

Where are Tyre and Sidon located?
Both are on the Mediterranean coast in what was Phoenicia in the first century AD and what is Lebanon today, just north of Israel. Tyre is located about 20 kilometers (14 miles) north of the current Israeli-Lebanese border, and Sidon is located about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Tyre.

ACTS 12:21-23  21 So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. 22 And the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” 23 Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died.

Why did the people from Tyre and Sidon shout, "The voice of a god and not of a man" (Acts 12:22)?
"Having made Blastus the king’s personal aide their friend" (Acts 12:20), they might have been tipped off by their friend that a little bit of ego boost then may be particularly appreciated by Herod.

Who struck Herod and why?
"An angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God" (Acts 12:23). This passage should encourage all Christians and especially pastors to take a moment to ponder if they have or are receiving any glory due God.

Is the strike what killed Herod?
No, "he was eaten by worms and died" (Acts 12:23)..

Given that this happened to a king, isn't there any corroboration from secular sources?
There is. The Jewish historian Josephus recorded that on this occasion, the people hailed Herod as a god, and confirmed, "Upon this, the king did neither rebuke them nor reject their impious flattery... A severe pain also arose in his belly, and began in a most violent manner... He was carried into the palace... and when he had been quite worn out by the pain in his belly for five days, he departed this life." (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 19, Chapter 8)

ACTS 12:24-25  24 But the word of God grew and multiplied. 25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry, and they also took with them John whose surname was Mark.

What was the result of the persecution of the church?
"The word of God grew and multiplied" (Acts 12:24).

What was Barnabas and Saul's ministry in Jerusalem, and to where did they return?
They brought the "relief" (Acts 11:29, see Great Famine) from Antioch, where they "returned" (Acts 12:25).

Whom did Barnabas and Saul/Paul take with them from Jerusalem?
"John whose surname was Mark" (Acts 12:25), who was "the cousin of Barnabas" (Colossians 4:10) and the son of "Mary" (Acts 12:12) on whose gate Peter had knocked after his escape. If Paul and Barnabas had been among those praying at the house of Barnabas' aunt, Peter's escape and visit would have been a valuable lesson in faith orchestrated by the Lord, who was about to send them out on their first missionary journey.