Robertson's Word Pictures of the New TestamentActs 12:2
- James the brother of John (Iakwbon ton adelpon Iwanou).
- He had been called by Jesus a son of thunder along with his brother John. Jesus had predicted a bloody death for both of them (Mark 10:38; Matthew 20:23). James is the first of the apostles to die and John probably the last. He is not James the Lord's brother (Galatians 1:19). We do not know why Luke tells so little about the death of James and so much about the death of Stephen nor do we know why Herod selected him as a victim. Eusebius (H.E. ii. 9) quotes Clement of Alexandria as saying that a Jew made accusations against James and was converted and beheaded at the same time with him.
- Killed with the sword (aneilen maxairhi).
- The verb is a favourite one with Luke (Acts 2:33; 5:33,36; 7:28; 9:23-29; 10:39, etc.). Instrumental case and Ionic form of maxaira. The Jews considered beheading a shameful death as in the case of the Baptist (Matthew 14:10).