Now about that time Herod, the king, began to persecute the members of the church; and he killed James, the brother of John, with the sword. When Herod saw that it pleased the Jews, he seized Peter also. This was during the feast of the unleavened bread. Therefore when he arrested Peter, he put him in prison, and gave him into the keeping of four bands of four soldiers each. And he planned to bring him out to the people after the Passover.
So Peter was kept in prison; but the members of the church prayed earnestly to God for him. On the very night before the day on which Herod meant to bring him up for trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, fastened to them with two chains. Watchmen were also on guard at the doors. All at once an angel of the Lord stood by him and a light shone in the cell. And he struck Peter on the side and awoke him, saying, |Get up quickly.| And his chains fell off his hands. The angel said to him, |Put on your belt and your sandals.| And Peter did so. The angel said to him, |Throw your coat around you, and follow me.| So Peter went out with him; and he did not know that what had been done by the angel was really true, but he thought he was dreaming. They went past the first and the second guards, and came to the iron gate that leads into the city; and it opened to them of itself. They went out, and passed on through one street; and all at once the angel left him. When Peter found himself alone, he said, |Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent his angel, and saved me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jews were expecting he would do to me.| And after he had thought what to do, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark. Now many people had gathered together there for prayer. When he knocked at the door a girl named Rhoda came to answer. And hearing Peter's voice, she was so glad that she forgot to open the door, but ran in, and told that Peter was standing outside. They said to her, |You are out of your mind.| But she insisted that it was so. They said, |It is his angel.| But Peter kept on knocking: and when they opened the door and saw him, they were amazed. But he motioned to them with the hand to be silent, and told them how the Lord had brought him out of prison. And he said, |Go and tell James and the other brothers.| Then he left the house and went to another place. Now as soon as it was morning, there was great excitement among the soldiers, as to what had become of Peter. After Herod had searched for him, and had failed to find him, he questioned the guards, and commanded that they should be executed.