Squad

SQUAD (τετράδιον, G5482) (Acts 12:4; KJV QUATERNIONS). This is the only occurrence in the Bible and it refers to the four man watches assigned by Herod Agrippa to guard Peter as a prisoner, through each of the four watches of the night. It is a rare word, even in classical lit. and appears to be Hel. in origin. Its appearances in the papyri are scarce and apply to stacks of paper, and days of the month, and on occasion to the duration of quartan fever. In the Acts account the disposition of the squad is given. Peter was sleeping chained to two soldiers (Acts 12:6) while the other two stood guard at the doors where Peter and the angel passed them on leaving (v. 10). Of special interest is the fact that the term, though it seems peculiar to Asia, was included in the narrative. This is partly explicable by the fact that the Herodians were dedicated to Hellenizing the Jewish nation. They repudiated the use of Heb., and all public affairs were conducted in Gr. The term is used by Philo, the Alexandrian Graeco-Judaic philosopher; Philostratus, the Lemnian Sophist, and centuries later in the Byzantine era by Vegetius, the military expert of Theodosius I. The term in the NT literally means “foursome,” “quartet.”