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Ver. 1. After two days was [the feast of] the passover , etc..] That is, two days after Christ had delivered the foregoing discourse concerning the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem, was the feast of the passover; which was kept in commemoration of God's passing over the houses of the Israelites, when he destroyed the firstborn of Egypt, and made way for the deliverance of the children of Israel from thence: and which was kept by eating the passover lamb; and which, properly speaking, is the feast of the passover: and of unleavened bread ; which was the same feast with the other, called so from the unleavened bread which was then eaten; though with this difference, the passover lamb was only eaten on the first night, but unleavened bread was eaten for seven days together. The Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions render it, “the passover of unleavened bread”, leaving out the copulative “and”. And the chief priests and Scribes sought how they might take him by craft ; that is, Jesus, and put him to death : for which purpose they assembled together in Caiaphas the high priest's palace, and there took counsel together how to accomplish it; (see Matthew 26:2-4).
Ver. 2. But they said not on the feast day , etc..] The feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread, which was nigh at hand, and would be two days hence, when there would be a great concourse of people from all parts to keep it: and therefore they did not choose to seize him, and put him to death at that time, lest there should be an uproar of the people ; or among them, lest they should rise in his favour, and rescue him out of their hands; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:5”).
Ver. 3. And being in Bethany , etc..] A place about two miles from Jerusalem, whither he retired after he had took his leave of the temple, and had predicted its destruction; a place he often went to, and from, the last week of his life; having some dear friends, and familiar acquaintance there, as Lazarus, and his two sisters, Martha and Mary, and the person next mentioned: in the house of Simon the leper ; so called because he had been one, and to distinguish him from Simon the Pharisee, and Simon Peter the apostle, and others; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:6”); as he sat at meat there came a woman ; generally thought to be Mary Magdalene, or Mary the sister of Lazarus: having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard ; or “pure nard”, unmixed and genuine; or liquid nard, which was drinkable, and so easy to be poured out; or Pistic nard, called so, either from “Pista”, the name of a place from whence it was brought, or from “Pistaca”, which, with the Rabbins, signifies “maste”; of which, among other things, this ointment was made. Moreover, ointment of nard was made both of the leaves of nard, and called foliate nard, and of the spikes of it, and called, as here, spikenard. Now ointment made of nard was, as Pliny says f239 , the principal among ointments. The Syriac is, by him, said to be the best; this here is said to be very precious , costly, and valuable: and she brake the box . The Syriac and Ethiopic versions render it, “she opened it”; and the Persic version, “she opened the head”, or “top of the bottle”, or “vial”: and poured it on his head ; on the head of Christ, as the same version presses it; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:7”).
Ver. 4. And there were some that had indignation within themselves , etc..] The Syriac version reads, “some of the disciples”: agreeably to ( Matthew 26:8), particularly Judas, and others might be incensed by his means: and said, why was this waste of the ointment made ? (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:8”).
Ver. 5. For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence , etc..] Which, was to the value of our money nine pounds, seven shillings, and sixpence: and given to the poor ; which was thought to be a better way of expending it, than by pouring it on the head of Christ: and they murmured against her : that she should lavish so much money away in such an imprudent manner; they reproved her for it, expressed much resentment at it, and were very angry with, her upon the account of it; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:8”), (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:9”).
Ver. 6. And Jesus said, let her alone , etc..] Jesus knowing the secret indignation of some of his disciples, and their private murmurings at the woman, and their continual teasings of her, because of the expense of the ointment, said to them, as the Arabic and Ethiopic versions read; or “to the disciples”, as the Persic, let the woman alone, cease to chide and reprove her for what she has done; why trouble ye her ? why do you grieve her, by charging her with imprudence and extravagance, as if she had been guilty of a very great crime? she is so far from it, that she hath wrought a good work on me ; she has done me an honour; expressed faith in me, and shown love to me, and ought to be commended, and not reproved; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:10”).
Ver. 7. For ye have the poor with you always , etc..] (See Gill on “ Matthew 26:11”); and whensoever ye will ye may do them good ; by feeding them when hungry, clothing them when naked, and supplying them with the necessaries of life: but me ye have not always ; meaning, with respect to his bodily presence, which, in a short time, would be removed from them, and they would have no opportunity of showing him any such outward respect personally; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:11”).
Ver. 8. She hath done what she could , etc..] What she had in her heart, and in the power of her hands to do; she hath done according to her ability, and her good will; and if she had not done it now, she could not have done it at all. She is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying ; or, “as if it was to bury me”, as the Syriac version renders it. Christ signifies by this, that he should shortly die, and that this woman came before hand to anoint him, and, as it were, to perform the funeral rites before he was dead; it being revealed to her by the Spirit, that Jesus would quickly die, and she should not be able to perform this good work when dead, and therefore came to do it before; or, at least, she was directed by the Spirit of God, because she would be prevented doing it afterwards; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:12”).
Ver. 9. Verily I say unto you , etc..] And you may assure yourselves of the truth of it: wheresoever this Gospel , of the death and resurrection of Christ, shall be preached throughout the whole world , as it shall be, [this] also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her ; in remembrance of her, and her work, and in commendation of her faith, love, and duty; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:13”).
Ver. 10. And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve , etc..] Apostles of Christ; who was the principal person that had indignation at the woman, and murmured against her, for the profusion of the ointment: went unto the chief priests ; as soon as this affair was over, and Christ had defended the woman's conduct to his shame and silence: he immediately went out of the house, where they were, and set out from Bethany to Jerusalem; and understanding the chief priests were in consultation together at Caiaphas's house, how to apprehend Jesus, and put him to death, went directly to them, unsent for, and unthought of by them: to betray him unto them ; which Satan had put into his heart, and what his avarice and revenge for the late action of the woman, and Christ's defence of it, prompted him to; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:14”).
Ver. 11. And when they heard it, they were glad , etc..] That such an opportunity offered, and from such a quarter, by one of his own disciples; so that it might be done more secretly and effectually, and with less blame to themselves: and promised to give him money ; any sum he should ask; and what was agreed upon were thirty pieces, or shekels of silver; and so the Ethiopic version here, instead of money, reads, “thirty pieces of silver”; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:15”). And he sought how he might conveniently betray him ; after this promise, and upon this agreement: henceforward he sought the most fitting opportunity, and the best season of betraying his master into the hands of these men, when he was alone, and the multitude absent, and there was no danger of a tumult, or a rescue; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:16”).
Ver. 12. And the first day of unleavened bread , etc..] Being come, which was the fourteenth of Nisan: when they killed the passover ; that is, “the Jews”, as the Syriac and Persic versions supply; for any Israelite, that not a priest, might slay it: their canon runs thus f240 , “an Israelite kills (the passover), and a priest receives (the blood), and gives it to his neighbour, and his neighbour to his neighbour, and he receives (the basin) full, and returns it empty; the priest that is near to the altar sprinkles it, at one sprinkling, over against the bottom of it.”
Upon which the commentators observe, that the slaying of the passover by strangers; that is, such as are not priests, lawful. And so Philo the Jew, speaking of the passover, says f242 ; “at which time the common people do not bring their sacrifices to the altar, and the priests slay; but by the command of the law, sumpan to eynov , “the whole nation”, does the work of a priest; every one particularly bringing the sacrifices for himself, and then slaying them with his own hands.”
But then it was always killed in the court of the temple, and after the middle of the day; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:17”); his disciples said unto him, where wilt thou that we go and prepare, that thou mayst eat the passover : for it was now Thursday morning, and the passover was to be slain after the middle of the day, between the two evenings, and eaten in Jerusalem at night; and they were now at Bethany, near two miles from the city; and it was usual for servants to get ready the passover for their masters; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:17”).
Ver. 13. And he sendeth forth two of his disciples , etc..] Peter and John, as appears from ( Luke 22:8); and saith unto them, go ye into the city ; the city of Jerusalem; for there only the passover might be eaten, ( Deuteronomy 26:2); and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water ; a servant of the master of the house that was sent for water, to mix with the wine, at the passover: follow him ; into the house to which he goes.
Ver. 14. And wheresoever he shall go in , etc..] Into whatsoever house he shall enter, go in after him: and say ye to the good man of the house ; the owner, and master of it, who might be Nicodemus, or Joseph of Arimathea, or some man of note and wealth in Jerusalem, that might have some knowledge of Christ, and faith in him, though he did not openly profess him; since by only saying what follows, he would at once, as he did, direct them to a suitable and convenient room; the master saith . The Syriac and Persic versions read, our master saith: he that is yours, and ours, our master Jesus; though that is not expressed, yet it was understood by the master of the family; which confirms the above conjecture, that he was a secret disciple of Christ. Where is the guest chamber ; the chamber provided for guests that might be expected at the passover: where I shall eat the passover with my disciples ? where it might be done conveniently, and in a proper and comfortable manner; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:18”).
Ver. 15. And he will show you a large upper room , etc..] A room in the highest part of the house, large enough for such a company, for thirteen persons, which was the number of Christ and his disciples: furnished and prepared ; with a table, and a sufficient number of couches to sit, or lie upon, and with all proper vessels necessary on such an occasion: there make ready for us ; the passover.
Ver. 16. And his disciples went forth , etc..] The two disciples, as the Arabic version has it, Peter and John, set out from Bethany to Jerusalem directly: and came into the city ; the city of Jerusalem: and found as he had said unto them ; a man bearing a pitcher of water, whom they followed to the house he went into, and addressed the master of the house, as Jesus had bid them; when he showed them an upper room, very commodious and fit for the purpose, as Christ had said; and which is a considerable proof of the prescience of Christ: and they made ready the passover ; they bought a lamb; they had it killed in the temple, according to rule; and they brought it to the house, where they were to sup, and got it roasted; and provided unleavened bread, and wine, and bitter herbs, and every thing that was proper for the feast; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:19”).
Ver. 17. And in the evening he cometh with the twelve .] In the afternoon, as it is very reasonable to suppose, Christ set out from Bethany with the rest of the twelve, with the other nine, and came to Jerusalem; where they were joined by Judas, who had covenanted with the chief priests to betray him, and by Peter and John, who had been sent before to prepare the passover; and when it was night, when the second evening had took place, he went with all twelve of them to the house, where the provision to eat the passover together was made for them; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:20”).
Ver. 18. And as they sat and did eat , etc..] Or “as they lay along”; for such was their posture at the eating of the passover; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:20”): Jesus said, verily I say unto you, one of you which eateth with me shall betray me ; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:21”).
Ver. 19. And they began to be sorrowful , etc..] And were so, all but Judas, at this saying of Christ's: and to say unto him, one by one ; even till it came to Judas himself, is it I ? that shall betray thee; and another said, is it I ? This clause is wanting in the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic versions, and in two of Beza's copies; and indeed seems to be redundant, since the disciples are said before to express themselves in this manner, one by one; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:22”).
Ver. 20. And he answered and said unto them , etc..] In order to relieve their minds, and point out the particular person: it is one of the twelve, that dippeth with me in the dish ; just at that very instant; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:23”).
Ver. 21. The son of man indeed goeth , etc..] Out of this world by death, as it is written ; both in the book of God's decrees, and in the Scriptures of the Old Testament; but woe to that man by whom the son of man is betrayed ! whose sin will not be excused, nor lessened by fulfilling the decrees of God, and by accomplishing the prophecies of the Bible: good were it for that man if he had never been born ; so aggravating will be his crime, so dreadful his punishment; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:24”).
Ver. 22. And as they did eat , etc..] The paschal lamb, and the unleavened bread, just at the conclusion of that feast: Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it ; beginning and instituting a new feast, to be kept in aftertimes, in commemoration of his sufferings and death, now near at hand; and gave to them , the disciples, and said, take, eat : the word eat is not in the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic versions, and is wanting in some copies: this is body ; a figure and representation of it; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:26”).
Ver. 23. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks , etc..] Over it, and for it, by blessing it, and appropriating it to the present use and service: he gave it to them ; his disciples, and they all drank of it ; Judas, as well as the rest, as he bid them do; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:27”).
Ver. 24. And he said unto them , etc..] Not after they had drank of it, but before, and as he gave it to them: this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many ; in Matthew it is added, “for the remission of sins”; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:28”).
Ver. 25. Verily I say unto you , etc..] This seems, to have been said after the eating of the passover, according to ( Luke 22:18), but was, in reality, not till after the Lord's supper was ended, and the last cup was drank, which was wont to be drank at the passover: I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine ; that is, wine, until that day that I drink it new ; in a figurative and mystical sense; by which are meant the joys of heaven: in the kingdom of God ; Father, Son, and Spirit, upon the general resurrection of the dead, when the kingdom of the Mediator will be delivered up, and there will be no distinction of government; but God, Father, Son, and Spirit, will be all in all, and shall reign in the saints, and they with them, to all eternity; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:29”).
Ver. 26. And when they had sung an hymn , etc..] The Hallell, used at the passover: they went out into the Mount of Olives ; Christ, and eleven of his disciples; for Judas now separated from them, and went to the chief priests to acquaint them how things were, where Jesus was going, and where they might apprehend him; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:30”).
Ver. 27. And Jesus saith unto them , etc..] As they were going to the Mount of Olives. The Persic version reads, in this place; meaning the Mount of Olives, having got thither: all ye shall be offended because of me this night ; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:31”); for it is written in ( Zechariah 13:7), I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered : Christ is meant by the shepherd, and the apostles by the sheep. The Syriac version reads, “his sheep”.
Ver. 28. But after that I am risen , etc..] From the dead, which, for their comfort, he assures them of; though they would be offended and discouraged at the seizing, and condemning, and crucifixion of him: I will go before you into Galilee ; the place of their nativity, and where he had often conversed with them; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:32”).
Ver. 29. But Peter said unto him , etc..] Being greatly moved at what Christ had said, that all of them would be offended with him that night, and run away from him, and be scattered from him, and one another: although all shall be offended, yet will not I ; though all the rest of the disciples, the other ten, should do as Judas had done, should fall off from Christ, and either betray him, or deny him, or, at least, turn their backs on him, yet he would do neither; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:33”).
Ver. 30. And Jesus saith unto him, verily I say unto thee , etc..] As confident as thou art of standing by me, and abiding with me; that this day , which was then begun; for the Jews reckoned their days from evening, as in ( Genesis 1:5); even in this night ; this night to be observed, this night of the passover, before it is past: before the cock crow twice ; for there was a first and second cock crowing, the one at midnight, and the other near break of day, and which last is properly the cock crowing: the word “twice” is left out in the Ethiopic version: thou shalt deny me thrice ; as he did; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:34”).
Ver. 31. But he spake the more vehemently , etc..] With a louder voice; with more spirit and eagerness; in a more peremptory and self-confident way. If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise . The Syriac version adds, “O my Lord”, my dear Lord, I will never deny thee upon any consideration whatever; and the Persic version, O Lord: likewise also said they all ; as he said, so said “all the disciples”, as the Syriac version reads it; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:35”).
Ver. 32. And they came to a place which is named Gethsemane , etc..] At the foot of the Mount of Olives, where the olives, which grew in great plenty on the mount, were pressed: and where our Lord began to be bruised, for our sins: and be saith to his disciples : to eight of them: sit ye here while I shall pray ; at some distance from hence; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:36”).
Ver. 33. And he taketh with him Peter, and James, and John , etc..] Who were witnesses of his transfiguration on the mount, and now of his sorrows in the garden: and began to be sore amazed ; to be in great consternation and astonishment, at the sight of all the sins of his people coming upon him; at the black storm of wrath, that was gathering thick over him; at the sword of justice which was brandished against him; and at the curses of the righteous law, which, like so many thunderbolts of vengeance, were directed at him: no wonder it should be added, and to be very heavy: both with sin and sorrow ; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:37”).
Ver. 34. And saith unto them , etc..] The above three disciples; my soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death : he was surrounded with sorrow, and it pressed him so hard, and close, on every side, that he was just ready to die with it: tarry ye here, and watch : in Matthew it is added, “with me”: (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:38”).
Ver. 35. And he went forward a little , etc..] About a stone's cast, ( Luke 22:41), and fell on the ground, and prayed ; he fell on his face to the ground, which was a praying posture. One of the Jewish canons concerning it, is this f243 : “worshipping, how is it done? after a man has lifted up his head; he bows it five times, he sits upon the ground, and “falls upon his face”, h x ra , “to the ground”, and supplicates with whatsoever supplication he pleases: worshipping, or bowing, is the stretching out of hands and feet, until a man is found cast upon his face to the ground.” (See Gill on “ Matthew 26:39”). The supplication Christ made in this posture was, that, it were possible, the hour might pass from him ; the time fixed and agreed upon for his sufferings and death; that is, that it might pass without his enduring them, if there was any possibility of excusing him, and of his people's being saved without them; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:39”).
Ver. 36. And he said, Abba, Father , etc..] In the original text, the former of these is a Syriac word, and the latter a Greek one, explanative of the former, as in ( Romans 8:15) and (Galatians 4: 6) or the repetition is made, to express the vehemency of his affection, and his strong confidence in God, as his Father, amidst his distress, as the Syriac version renders it, yba aba , “Abba, my Father”: or “my Father, my Father”; and so the Ethiopic version: all things are possible unto thee ; so Philo the Jew f244 , taking notice of Isaac's question about the burnt offering, and Abraham's answer to it, represents the latter as adding, in confirmation of it, “all things are possible to God, and which are both difficult and impossible to be done by men;” suggesting, that God could easily provide a lamb for a sacrifice; and Christ here intimates, that every thing consistent with his perfections, counsels, and covenant, were possible to be done by him; and how far what he prays for, was agreeable to these, he submits to him, and to his sovereign will: take away this cup from me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what thou wilt : (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:39”).
Ver. 37. And he cometh and findeth them sleeping , etc..] His three disciples, Peter, James, and John: and saith unto Peter ; particularly, he having so lately asserted, with so much confidence, his love to Christ, and close attachment to him: Simon, sleepest thou ? Christ calls him by the name he first went by, and not by that which he had given him, Cephas, or Peter; he not now having that firmness and constancy, though he boasted of it, which answers to that name: couldst thou not watch one hour ? The Arabic and Persic versions add, with me; and so does the Complutensian edition; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:40”).
Ver. 38. Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation , etc..] Of denying Christ, and falling off from him, which would quickly offer to them, when they should see him apprehended, bound, and led away. The spirit truly is ready . The Persic version renders it, “my mind”; as if the Spirit or soul of Christ was meant; whereas it is either to be understood of the evil spirit, Satan, who was disposed to attack them, and especially Peter, whom he desired to have, and sift as wheat; or else the spirit of the disciples, their renewed spirit, which was ready and disposed watching and praying, and willing to abide by Christ: but the flesh is weak ; they were but flesh and blood, and so not a match of themselves for so powerful an adversary as Satan, and therefore had need to watch and pray; or “their body”, as the Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions render it, was weak, and subject to drowsiness and sleep; and especially they were weak and feeble, and very unequal of themselves for spiritual exercises, as they had flesh, or a corrupt nature in them; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:41”).
Ver. 39. And again he went away , etc..] To the same place, or at much such a distance from them, as before: and prayed and spake the same words ; or word, that is, the same matter; for logov , here, answers to rbd , which signifies a thing, or matter, as well as word: Christ prayed to the same effect, for matter and substance the same as before, though not in the same express words, as is clear from ( Matthew 26:39,42).
Ver. 40. And when he returned, he found them asleep again , etc..] Notwithstanding the expostulation he had used with them, the exhortation he had given them, and the danger he had suggested to them: for their eyes were heavy : with sleep and sorrow: neither wist they what to answer him ; partly through confusion and shame, not knowing how to excuse themselves; and partly, through their being stupefied with sleep and grief.
Ver. 41. And he cometh the third time , etc..] After he had prayed a third time, to the same purport as before: and saith unto them, sleep on now, and take your rest ; which words are spoken ironically: it is enough ; or “the end is come”; as the Syriac and Arabic versions render it, of watching and praying: the hour is come, behold the son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners ; both Jews and Gentiles, by one of his own disciples; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:45”).
Ver. 42. Rise up let us go , etc..] To meet the enemy and the danger; for there is no escaping; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand ; Judas, that he had hinted at supper should betray him, was now about doing it; and was just now coming upon him, in order to deliver him into the hands of the Jews, and the Roman band of soldiers; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:46”).
Ver. 43. And immediately, while he yet spake , etc..] The above words: cometh Judas one of the twelve : apostles of Christ, and which was an aggravation of his wickedness; the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic, versions add, “Iscariot”; and so it is read in one of Beza's copies. The Ethiopic version reads, “one of the ten”, very wrongly: and with him a great multitude ; a band of men and officers, with many of the chief priests and captains of the temple, and elders of the people, that mixed themselves with the crowd, to see how things would issue: with swords and staves ; which they intended to make use of, should any resistance be made in apprehending him, or any attempt to rescue him: from the chief priests, and the Scribes, and the elders ; from the Jewish sanhedrim, which consisted of these; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:47”).
Ver. 44. And he that betrayed him had given them a token , etc..] A common sign, in which they agreed; and so this same Greek word is used by the Jews f245 : “said R. Phinehas in the name of R. Reuben, did you ever see one man go out of the north, and another from the south, and meet each other, except they made, anmy s , “a common sign”, between them.”
Such an one the traitor gave his company; saying, whomsoever I shall kiss, the same is he ; Jesus of Nazareth; who was to be delivered to them: take him, and lead him away safely ; with care and caution, lest he should get out of their hands, and make his escape, as he had sometimes done: the word “safely”, is omitted in the Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic versions. The Vulgate Latin renders it “cautiously”, and so does the Syriac version, which joins it to the words, “take him”; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:48”).
Ver. 45. And as soon as he was come , etc..] To the place where Jesus was: he goeth straightway to him ; alone; as if he had nothing to do with the company behind, and as if he was his friend, and concerned for his safety: and saith, Master, Master ; expressing great affection for him, and respect to him, by repeating this word. The Ethiopic version has it but once, and so two exemplars of Beza's; and the Vulgate Latin reads, “hail, Master”, as in ( Matthew 26:49). and kissed him ; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:49”).
Ver. 46. And they laid hands on him, and took him .] After Christ had said to Judas, “friend, wherefore art thou come?” as in Matthew; and also, “Judas, betrayest thou the son of man with a kiss?” as in ( Luke 22:48); (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:50”).
Ver. 47. And one of them that stood by , etc..] One of the disciples that stood by Jesus, as Judas was betraying him, and the soldiers were laying hold on him, Peter by name: drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear ; his right ear; the servant's name was Malchus; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:51”).
Ver. 48. And Jesus answered and said unto them , etc..] To the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, that came with the band and officers, as appears from ( Luke 22:52). The Persic version reads, “to the multitude”: are ye come out as against a thief, with swords and with staves, to take me ? (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:55”).
Ver. 49. I was daily with you in the temple , etc..] That is, for several days past; ever since he made his public entry into Jerusalem: teaching ; the people, in a public manner: and ye took me not ; did not attempt to lay hands on him, seize him, and carry him away; which he signifies might have been easily done; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:55”). But the Scriptures must be fulfilled : which spoke of the betraying him by Judas; and of their taking him in this private and secret manner; and of the flight of the disciples from him next mentioned; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:56”).
Ver. 50. And they all forsook him and fled .] That is, his disciples, as the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic versions read; and who seem to have transcribed it from Matthew, and lest it should be thought, that the multitude whom Christ addressed, were intended.
Ver. 51. And there followed him a certain young man , etc..] Some think this was John, the beloved disciple, and the youngest of the disciples; others, that it was James, the brother of our Lord; but he does not seem to be any of the disciples of Christ, since he is manifestly distinguished from them, who all forsook him and fled: some have thought, that he was a young man of the house, where Christ and his disciples ate their passover; who had followed him to the garden, and still followed him, to see what would be the issue of things: but it seems most likely, that he was one that lived in an house in Gethsemane, or in or near the garden; who being awaked out of sleep with the noise of a band of soldiers, and others with them, leaped out of bed, and ran out in his shirt, and followed after them, to know what was the matter: having a linen cloth cast about his naked body ; which was either his shirt in which he lay, or one of the sheets, which he took and wrapped himself in, not staying to put on his clothes: though the word “Sindon”, is used both by the Targumists and Talmudists for a linen garment; and sometimes even for the outer garment, to which the fringes were fastened f248 ; and he might take up this in haste, and slip it on, without putting on any inner garment: the word “body”, is not in the text, and the phrase epi gumnou , may be rendered, “upon his nakedness”; and answers to twr [ , in ( Genesis 9:23) and ( Leviticus 20:11,17,19-21), and the meaning be, he had only a piece of linen wrapped about his middle, to cover his nakedness; and in this garb ran out, to see what was doing: and the young men laid hold on him . The Roman soldiers, who were commonly so called: so David's soldiers are called “young men”, that were with him, ( 1 Samuel 21:4,5); these attempted to lay hold on this young man, taking him to be a disciple of Christ, or one at least affected to him, and did take hold of his linen cloth. The Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions, leave out the words, “the young men”. The design of Mark in relating this incident, is to show the rage and fury of these men; who were for sparing none that appeared to be or were thought to be the followers of Christ; so that the preservation of the disciples was entirely owing to the wonderful power of Christ.
Ver. 52. And he left the linen cloth , etc..] “In their hands”, so the Persic version renders it; just as Joseph left his garment in the hands of his mistress, ( Genesis 39:12); and fled from them naked ; to the house from whence he came. The Syriac, Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic versions, leave out the words “from them”.
Ver. 53. And they led Jesus away to the high priest , etc..] Caiaphas, as is added in the Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions. This was done, after they had took Jesus and bound, him, and after they had had him to Annas, who sent him bound to Caiaphas; (see John 18:12,13,24); and with him , the high priest Caiaphas, were assembled all the chief priests, and the elders, and the Scribes ; even the whole sanhedrim, who met at Caiaphas's house, and were waiting there for Jesus; whom Judas with his band of soldiers and others, were gone to secure, and brng before them; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:57”).
Ver. 54. And Peter followed him afar off , etc..] And did another disciple, perhaps John; ( John 18:15), who having somewhat recovered themselves from their fright, turned back, and followed Jesus, and the company that led him away; keeping at some distance, that they might not be observed, and exposed to danger; and proceeded till they came to Jerusalem, and to the place where the sanhedrim were convened; and the other disciple went in along with Jesus; and Peter afterwards, by his means, got in: even into the palace of the high priest ; being let in by her that kept the door, at the motion of the other disciple and he sat with the servants ; as if he was one of them, and had no concern with Jesus: and warmed himself at the fire ; or “light”, as the Greek word signifies, and answers to the Hebrew word rwa , by which both: light and fire are expressed; of which, take an instance or two, in the room of many f249 : “a murderer that strikes, his neighbour with a stone, or with iron, and plunges him into water, or into rwah , “fire”, so that he cannot get out, and dies, is guilty.”
Again f250 , a “book which rwah , “fire”, takes hold upon on one side, he puts, water on the other; and if it is quenched, it is quenched; if the “fire” takes hold on both sides, he opens it, and reads in it; and if it is quenched, it is quenched: a cloak which “fire” takes hold upon on one side, he puts water on the other side; and if it is quenched, it is quenched; if the “fire” takes hold on it on both sides, he takes, it and wraps himself in it, and if it is quenched, it is quenched.”
So we read of µ nhyg l ç rwa , “the fire of hell”; and Ur of the Chaldees has its name from the fire, that was worshipped there, as a symbol of the sun: and fire was the rwa , or “light”, created on the first day, ( Genesis 1:3); (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:58”).
Ver. 55. And the chief priests, and all the council , etc..] Especially the former, who were of all most busy and active in this matter: sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death ; on which they were determined, right or wrong; in this they went contrary to one of their own canons, which runs thus f252 : “in pecuniary causes, they begin either for absolution, or condemnation; but in capital causes, they begin for absolution, and do not begin for condemnation.”
That is, they begun with such evidences as tended to acquit a man, and not with such as served to condemn him; whereas this court was only seeking for such evidence to begin with, that they might condemn Jesus to death: and found none ; that would answer their purpose; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:59”).
Ver. 56. For many bare false witness against him , etc..] The word “false”, is not expressed in the Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions: which only signify, that they bore witness against him, accused him of, and laid many things to his charge: but their witness agreed not together ; which showed it to be false, and so not to be admitted; for witnesses were to be as one in their testimony, or not to be received: the, rules concerning them with the Jews, are these f253 ; “the tradition is, for ever let not their testimony be joined together, unless they both see, d j ak , “as one”: says R. Joshua ben Korcha, even one after another; and their testimony is not ratified in the council, until they both witness “as one”.”
Though this is not much the sense of the passage here; it was not the falsehood of their testimony, which this council was unconcerned about, or the contradiction that was in it, which does not appear; but their testimonies were not, isai , “equal”, or answerable to the wishes of the council; they were not sufficient to prove a capital crime upon him, in order to, put him to death, which was what they wanted: they only respected some light and trivial matters, and did not amount to a charge of blasphemy, or sedition.
Ver. 57. And there arose certain , etc..] Two false witnesses, as in ( Matthew 26:60), who stood up in court; for witnesses were obliged to stand, whilst they gave in their testimony: “says R. Bo, in the name of R. Hona, witnesses ought dwm [ l , “to stand”, whilst they bear witness; as it is said, ( Deuteronomy 19:17). “Both the men shall stand” f254 , etc..” And bare false witness against him, saying ; as follows.
Ver. 58. We heard him say , etc..] In a discourse of his, recorded in ( John 2:19): I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands ; which was a very false testimony; for Christ did not say be would destroy any temple at all, only put the Jews on doing it; much less did he point at, or design the temple of Jerusalem, but his own body; nor did he use the distinction of a temple, made with and without hands; nor did he affirm that he would build another; only said, he would raise up in three days, that which they should destroy. By this testimony these witnesses would suggest, that Christ had a design upon their temple to demolish it, and that he must be a sorcerer, or a magician, to pretend to build a temple without hands in three days time; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:61”).
Ver. 59. But, neither so did their witness agree together .] Their witness did agree together, for they both witnessed the same thing; but not so as to found upon it the charge of a capital crime against him; their witness was not so, ish , “equal”, was not answerable to their desires, nor sufficient to convict him of a capital crime, for which they could condemn him to death, as before observed on ( Mark 14:56).
Ver. 60. And the high priest stood up in the midst , etc..] Of the sanhedrim, of which he was now president: he sat at the head of them, and Ab Beth Din, or the father of the council, at his right hand; and the rest of the council sat before him, in a semicircular form, as the half of a round corn floor, so that the president, and the father of the council, could see them f255 ; for they were all before him, he being situated in the middle, right against them; so that when he stood up, he might be said to stand in the midst of them: and asked Jesus, saying, answerest thou nothing ? For he had made no reply to the several witnesses, that came against him: what is it which these witness against thee ? Is it true, or false? (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:62”).
Ver. 61. But he held his peace, and answered nothing , etc..] Knowing it would be to no purpose, and signifying hereby, that the things alleged against him were unworthy of an answer: again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed ? The Vulgate Latin adds, “God”: in Matthew it is “God” only, ( Matthew 26:63). This is one of the names and epithets of God, with the Jews; nothing is more common in their writings, than this abbreviature, hbqh , which is, awh Æ wrb ç wdqh , “the holy blessed he”; who is blessed in himself, and the fountain of all blessedness to his creatures, and who is blessed and praised by angels and saints; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:63”).
Ver. 62. And Jesus said, I am , etc..] That is, the Son of God; in proof of which he adds, and ye shall see the son of man sitting on the right hand of power ; that is, of God, who is all power, the Lord God Almighty: and coming in the clouds of heaven ; either at the destruction of Jerusalem, or at the last day, referring to the prophecy in ( Daniel 7:13); (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:64”).
Ver. 63. Then the high priest rent his clothes , etc..] As was usual upon hearing blasphemy; which he now supposed the case, or at least would have it so thought: and saith, what need we any further witnesses ? or trouble ourselves to see for any more, or to hear and take the depositions of any others; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:65”).
Ver. 64. Ye have heard the blasphemy , etc..] The “manifest” blasphemy, as the Arabic version renders it; and “out of his own mouth”, as the Syriac version adds, agreeably to ( Luke 22:71), what think ye ? what sentence is to, be passed upon him? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death ; excepting Joseph of Arimathea, ( Luke 23:51); (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:66”).
Ver. 65. And some began to spit on him , etc..] The men that held him, ( Luke 22:6), fulfilling the prophecy in ( Isaiah 50:6); and to cover his face ; with a veil, or linen cloth, to blindfold: him, as a person unworthy to behold the light: or rather, in order to make sport with him: and to buffet him ; with their double fists; and to say unto him, prophesy . The Arabic version adds, “unto us, O Christ, who it is that hath buffeted thee now?” that gave thee the last blow? and to the same purpose the Ethiopic. The Persic version adds, “and deliver thyself”; and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands . The Syriac version renders it, “on his cheeks”: they gave him slaps on the face. These were the officers of the high priest, that used him in this indecent manner.
This clause is omitted in the Ethiopic version.
Ver. 66. And as Peter was beneath in the palace , etc..] Not at the lower and further end of the room, but in the lower part of it; that part in which Jesus and the sanhedrim were, being upon an advanced ground, with steps ascending to it: there cometh one of the maids of the high priest ; the same that kept the door, and let him in. The Ethiopic version renders it, “a daughter of the high priest”.
Ver. 67. And when she saw Peter warming himself , etc..] At the life which was in the midst of the hall: she looked upon him ; very earnestly, knowing him to be the same, she had let in at the motion of one, that was known in the high priest's family; and suspecting him, by being a stranger, and by his looks: and said, and thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth ; that is, one of his disciples; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:69”).
Ver. 68. But he denied , etc..] That he was with Jesus, or a disciple of his: saying, I know not; Jesus of Nazareth: neither understand I what thou sayest ; about him, and of being with him: the last phrase, “neither understand I”, is omitted in the Syriac and Persic versions: and he went out into the porch ; adjoining to the palace, to consider what to do, being surprised and confounded at such a challenge: and the cock crew ; the first time, being about midnight; and yet he took no notice of it, nor remembered what Christ had but a few hours before said to him: or if he did, he might hope he should not meet with another attack, or he should have more courage and strength than to deny a second time.
Ver. 69. And a maid saw him again , etc..] Either the same maid, so the Syriac and Persic versions read, “that maid”: that selfsame maid, as before, or another, as in ( Matthew 26:71), and so the Arabic version reads it here; but the Ethiopic as before “a daughter”; that is, of the high priest: and began to say to them that stood by ; the fire, along with Peter, warming themselves: this is one of them ; this man is one of the disciples and followers of Jesus of Nazareth; he is of that sect, he certainly belongs to them, and is come here only as a spy.
Ver. 70. And he denied it again , etc..] That he was one of the disciples of Jesus: and a little after ; about an hour after, ( Luke 22:59); they that stood by, said again to Peter, surely thou art one of them ; one confidently affirmed that he was with Jesus, and another challenged him with seeing him in the garden with him, ( Luke 22:59) ( John 18:26), and in general they were of opinion, that he must be one of that sect, giving this as a reason, for thou art a Galilean : as they supposed Jesus to be; and knowing that in Galilee he had chiefly preached, and wrought his miracles, and had there a large number of followers: and thy speech agreeth [thereto] ; he used words and phrases peculiar to the Galileans, and pronounced as they did: (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:73”). This clause is omitted in the Vulgate Latin, and is wanting in Beza's most ancient copy; but is in the other copies, and in all the eastern versions.
Ver. 71. But he began to curse and to swear , etc..] To wish the most dreadful things upon himself, and to swear by the living God; [saying], I know not this man of whom ye speak : (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:74”).
Ver. 72. And the second time the cock crew , etc..] Immediately, as soon as he had so said and swore, as the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions read, and as it is read in one of Beza's copies; which was about three of the clock in the morning, and is what is properly called the cock crowing: and Peter called to mind ; upon hearing the cock crow a second time, the word that Jesus said unto him, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice : as he now had done twice, to the maid or maids, and a third time to the servants that stood by the fire along with him: and when he thought thereon ; on the words of Christ, and on his sin in denying him, and on the aggravated circumstances of it. The Arabic version renders it, “he turned himself to weep”; he turned away from the company, he threw himself out of it, and got out of doors as fast as he could, and broke out into a violent fit of weeping. The Syriac, Persic, and Vulgate Latin versions, render it, “he began to weep”; this phrase is omitted in the Ethiopic version: some choose to render it, “he looked upon him”, that is, on Christ: as Christ looked upon him; which produced true evangelical repentance in him, so Peter looked upon his dear Lord with concern, whom he so had shamefully denied; he looked upon him and mourned, he looked upon him with an eye of faith, and sorrowed for his sin after a godly sort: but the true sense of the word is, “he covered himself”; he cast his garment over his head, he veiled himself as mourners did, who covered their heads, and their faces, and even their lips. So Maimonides f256 ; “from whence, says he, is uncovering the head, forbidden a mourner? For, lo! it is said to ( Ezekiel 24:17), “cover not thy lips” at all, for the rest of mourners are obliged to the covering of the head; the linen cloth, or veil, with which he covers his head, he covers with a part of it, a little over his mouth; as it is said, ( Leviticus 13:45), “He shall put a covering upon his upper lip”: and Onkelos paraphrases it, Pj [ ty albak , “as a mourner he shall cover himself”.”
And so it is said of Haman f257 , “that he went to his house, and mourned for his daughter, albak hy ç yr l [ Pj [ tmw , “and put a covering on his head as a mourner”: for his daughter, and for his reproach.”
And this, it seems, was the custom of the Ishmaelites: hence that saying f258 , “all veiling (in mourning) which is not as the veiling of the Ishmaelites (who cover all the face), is no veiling?”
And thus Peter, through shame, and as a token of sorrow and mourning for his sin, threw his garment over him: and he wept ; as Matthew says, “bitterly”: being fully convinced of his sin, and heartily sorry lot it; (see Gill on “ Matthew 26:75”).