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.  [acts 12:20]


the people of tyre and sidon

although they are not in israel, the cities of tyre and sidon are often mentioned in the bible, and often mentioned together. it is rare to read about one without the other, as the two cities were closely linked as major centers of ancient phoenicia.

these cities still exist today in modern lebanon.

we are not given a clear reason why herod is angry with them, but it is clear why they needed food from him. these cities by the sea did not have good land for crops, but excelled in other areas such as glass products, purple dyes, embroidery, and cedars. they traded these things in exchange for food, and needed happy trade partners in place to get that food. herod was among the most important of these partners, had significant pull with rome, and had ample amounts of food to trade. it is no wonder they sought peace with this angry king.


why was herod angry?

we can’t answer why, but we can determine that herod liked being in control. herod relished the idea of people pleading for peace simply because he was angry about something. the bible does not say this outright, but it is likely that he was using food as leverage to get a better deal for himself.

the leadership of herod, the angry king, serves as a strong contrast to the leadership of peter, who followed a true king of peace.

in his anger, herod tried to strong arm the church, and the church only grew. in contrast, we never see the church leaders operate out of anger, even amid their sufferings.

whatever it was that had herod angry, it would ultimately lead to his demise, and serves as a reminder to not let anger control our decisions.


~ jason soroski