17 Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation,
18 and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison.
19 But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said,
20 “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”
21 And when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught. But the high priest and those with him came and called the council together, with all the elders of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
22 But when the officers came and did not find them in the prison, they returned and reported,
23 saying, “Indeed we found the prison shut securely, and the guards standing outside before the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside!”
24 Now when the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard these things, they wondered what the outcome would be.
The apostles were arrested and treated as criminals as a result of their healing of the crowd. The Sadducees denied the resurrection and would lose their authority and influence if the people believed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
high priest (v.17) — Annas or Caiaphas
all those who were with him (v.17) — his party, the Sadducees
sect (v.17) = religious party
indignation (v.17) = jealousy (at their loss of authority)— meaning includes envy and zeal
apostles (v.18) — probably all 12 of them this time
common prison (v.18) — public ward— an ignominious treatment
angel (v.19) — the Sadducees denied the existence of angels. The angel opened the prison doors — and shut them (v.23)
early in the morning (v.21) — daybreak, first light, when the temple was first opened
taught (v.21) = continued to teach
council (v.21) — the Sanhedrin
elders (v.21) — probably a group of influential men, in addition to the Sanhedrin, who were called in for important matters — probably the same as the “council of the elders” in Acts 22:5
officers (v.22) — the temple guard
shut securely (v.23) — There was no evidence or awareness of the apostle’s release from prison.