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unto the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour bJesus b Heb. v. 7. a cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why b hast thou e PSA. xxii. 1. forsaken me? 47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him
and d Ps. Ixix. 21.
a better, cried out, or even, "cried mightily," or "shouted forth:" it is the same word as in Mark xv. 8: Luke ix. 38: in which two places only it occurs. b literally, didst thou forsake me.
it was the third hour when they crucified Him. If so, He had been on the cross three hours, which in April would answer to about the same space of time in our day-i.e. from 9-12 A.M. On the difficulty presented by St. John's declaration ch. xix. 14, see notes there and on Mark. darkness-this was no eclipse of the sun, for it was full moon at the timenor any partial obscuration of the sun such as sometimes takes place before an earthquake-for it is clear that no earthquake in the ordinary sense of the word is here intended. Those whose belief leads them to reflect WHO was then suffering, will have no difficulty in accounting for these signs of sympathy in Nature, nor in seeing their applicability. The consent, in the same words, of all three Evangelists, must silence all question as to the universal belief of this darkness as a fact; and the early Fathers appeal to the testimony of profane authors for its truth. The omission of it in St. John's Gospel is of no more weight than the numerous other instances of such omission. See Amos viii. 9, 10. over all the earth] The same word in the original is rendered earth in Luke, but land here and in Mark. This would seem to be pure caprice on the part of our translators; and might mislead. Whether these words are to be taken in all their strictness is doubtful. Of course, over the whole globe the darkness would not be supernatural-as it would be night naturally over half of it. The question is, are we to understand that part of it over which there was day? I believe we are; but see no strong objection to any limitation, provided the fact itself, as happening at Jerusalem, is distinctly recognized. This last is matter of testimony, and the three Evangelists are pledged to its truth: the present words hardly stand on the same ground, not being matter of testimony properly so called. 46.] See Ps. xxii. 1. The words are Chaldee, and not Hebrew. Our Lord spoke them in the
ordinary dialect, not in that of the sacred text itself. The weightiest question is, In what sense did He use them? His inner consciousness of union with God must have been complete and indestructible-but, like His higher and holy will, liable to be obscured by human weakness and pain, which at this time was at its very highest. We must however take care not to ascribe all his suffering to bodily pain, however cruel: his soul was in immediate contact with and prospect of death-the wages of sin, which He had taken on Him, but never committed-and the conflict at Gethsemane was renewed. 'He himself,' as the Berlenberg Bible remarks (Stier), becomes the expositor of the darkness, and shews what it imports.' In the words however, My God'-there speaks the same union with the divine Will, and abiding in the everlasting covenant purpose, as in those, Not my will, but thine.'
These are the only words on the Cross related by St. Matt. and St. Mark-and they are related by none besides. 47.] This was not said by the Roman soldiers, who could know nothing of Elias; nor was it a misunderstanding of the Jewish spectators, who must have well understood the import of Eli, nor again was it said in any apprehension, from the supernatural darkness, that Elias might really come; but it was replied in intended mockery, as the contemptuous This man, -'this one among the three,'-clearly indicates. This is one of the cases where those who advocate an original Hebrew Gospel of Matthew are obliged to suppose that the Greek translator has retained the original words, in order to make the reason of the reply clear. 48. This was on account of the words 'I thirst,' uttered by our Lord: see John, ver. 28. St. Mark's account is somewhat different: there the same person gives the vinegar and utters the scoff which follows. This is quite intelligible-contempt mingled with pity would doubtless find a type
to drink. 49 The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. 50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, 31. 2 Chron. behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the
e Exod. xxvi.
iii. 14. Heb.
vi. 19., top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks
8: x. 19 ff.
render, his spirit.
among the bystanders. There is no need for assuming that the soldiers offering vinegar in Luke, ver. 37, is the same incident as this. Since then, the bodily state of the Redeemer had greatly changed: and what was then offered in mockery, might well be now asked for in the agony of death, and received when presented. I would not however absolutely deny that St. Luke may be giving a less precise detail; and may represent this incident by his ver. 37. The vinegar is the posca, sour wine, or vinegar and water, the ordinary drink of the Roman soldiers. On the other particulars, see notes on John. 49.] If we take our account as the strictly precise one, the rest-in mockery-call upon this person to desist, and wait for Elias to come and save Him: if that of St. Mark, the giver of the drink calls upon the rest (also in mockery) to let this suffice, or to let him (the giver) alone, and wait, &c. The former seems probable. 50.] It has been doubted whether it is finished of John (ver. 30), and Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit of Luke (ver. 46), are to be identified with this crying out, or to be taken as distinct from it. But a nearer examination of the case will set the doubt at rest. The "delivered up" of John (ib.) implies the speech in Luke; which accordingly was that uttered in this loud voice.
It is finished" was said before; see notes on John.
51-56.] SIGNS FOLLOWING HIS DEATH. Mark xv. 38-41. Luke xxiii. 47-49. The three narratives are essentially distinct. That of St. Luke is more general-giving only the sense of the centurion's wordstwice using the indefinite "all"-and not specifying the women. The whole is omitted by St. John. 51.] The behold gives solemnity. This was the inner veil, screening off the holy of holies from the holy place, Exod. xxvi. 33: Heb. ix. 2, 3. This circumstance has given rise to much incredulous comment, and that even from men like Schleiermacher. A right and deep view of the O. T. symbolism is required to furnish the key to it; and for this we look in vain among those who
set aside that symbolism entirely. That was now accomplished, which was the one and great antitype of all those sacrifices offered in the holy place, in order to gain, as on the great day of atonement (for that day may be taken as the representation of their intent), entrance into the holiest place,-the typical presence of God. What those sacrifices (ceremonially) procured for the Jews (the type of God's universal Church) through their High Priest, was now (really) procured for all men by the sacrifice of Him, who was at once the victim and the High Priest. When the objectors assert that no use is made of this event in the Epistle to the Hebrews, they surely cannot have remembered, or not have deeply considered, Heb. x. 19-21. Besides, suppose it had been referred to plainly and by name-what would then have been said? Clearly, that this mention was a later insertion to justify that reference. And almost this latter, Strauss, recognizing the allusion in Heb., actually does. Schleiermacher also asks, how could the event be known, seeing none but priests could have witnessed it, and they would not be likely to betray it? To say nothing of the almost certain spread of the rumour, has he forgotten that (Acts vi. 7) "a great company of the priests were obedient unto the faith ?" Neander, who gives this last consideration its weight (but only as a possibility, that some priests may have become converts, and apparently without reference to the above fact), has an unworthy and shuffling note (L. J. p. 757), ending by quoting two testimonies, one apocryphal, the other rabbinical, from which he concludes that some matter of fact lies at the foundation' of this (according to him) mythical adjunct. the earth did quake-not an ordinary earthquake, but connected with the two next clauses, and finding in them its explanation and justification. the rocks rent] It would not be right altogether to reject the testimonies of travellers to the fact of extraordinary rents and fissures in the rocks near the spot. Of course those who know no other proof
rent; 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies fIsa. xxvi. 19. of the saints which slept arose, 53 and d came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. 54 8 Now when the centurion, & ver. 36. and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. 55 And many women were there beholding afar off, which fol- h Luke viii. 2, lowed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: 56 among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.
d render, they came out: the gender is masculine, whereas bodies is neuter. e render, the sons of Zebedee.
of the historical truth of the event, will not be likely to take this as one; but to us, who are firmly convinced of it, every such trace, provided it be soberly and honestly ascertained, is full of interest. 52, 53.] The whole transaction was supernatural and symbolic: no other interpretation of it will satisfy even ordinary common sense. Was the earthquake a mere coincidence? This not even those assert, who deny all symbolism in the matter. Was it a mere sign of divine wrath at what was done-a mere prodigy, like those at the death of Cæsar? Surely no Christian believer can think this. Then what was it? What but the opening of the tombs-the symbolic declaration, that the Death which had happened had broken the bands of death for ever? These following clauses, which have no mythical nor apocryphal character, require only this explanation to be fully understood. The graves were opened at the moment of the death of the Lord; but inasmuch as He is the firstfruits from the deadthe Resurrection and the Life-the bodies of the saints in them did not arise till He rose, and having appeared to many after his resurrection,-possibly during the forty days,-went up with Him into His glory. Moses and Elias, who were before in glory, were not from the dead, properly speaking: see note on ch. xvii. 1. arose is the result-not the immediate accompaniment, of the opening of the tombs. It is to prevent this being supposed, that the qualification after his resurrection is added. 54.] the earthquake and those things that were done is represented by "that he so gave up the ghost," Mark. Does the latter of these look as if compiled from the former? The circumstances of our vv. 51-53, except the VOL. I.
rending of the veil, are not in the possession of St. Mark, of the minute accuracy of whose account I have no doubt. His report is that of one man-and that man, more than probably, a convert. St. Matthew's is of many, and represents their general impression. St. Luke's is also general. those things that were done points to the crying out, as indeed does the "so" in Mark:-but see notes there. was the Son of God-which the Centurion had heard that He gave Himself out for, John xix. 7, and our ver. 43. It cannot be doubtful, I think, that he used these words in the Jewish sense— and with some idea of that which they implied. When Meyer says that he must have used them in a heathen sense, meaning a hero or demigod, we must first be shewn that "Son of God" was ever so used. I believe St. Luke's to be a different report: see notes there. 55, 56.] Magdalene, from Magdala: see note on ch. xv. 39. She is not to be confounded with Mary who anointed our Lord, John xii. 1, nor with the woman who did the same, Luke vii. 36: see Luke viii. 2. Mary the mother of James . . .] The wife of Alphæus or Clopas, John xix. 25: see note on ch. xiii. 55. Mark adds "the less" to distinguish him from the brother of our Lord (probably not from the son of Zebedee). The mother of the sons of Zebedee (i. e. of James and John: not " of Zebedee's children," as A. V. curiously renders it)] Salome, Mark. Both omit Mary the mother of Jesus :-but we must remember, that if we are to take the group as described at this moment, she was not present, having been, as I believe (see note on John, ver. 27), led away by the beloved Apostle immediately on the speaking of the words, Behold thy mother.' And if P
i Isa. liii. 9.
57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathæa, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: 58 he went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. 59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. 61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting
this view be objected to, yet she could not be named here, nor in Mark, except separately from these three-for she could not have been well included among those who ministered to Him. There must have been also another group, of His disciples, within sight;-e. g. Thomas, who said, Except I see in his hands the print of the nails,' &c., and generally those to whom He afterwards shewed his hands and feet as a proof of His identity.
57-61.] JOSEPH OF ARIMATHÆA BEGS, AND BURIES THE BODY OF JESUS. Mark xv. 42-47. Luke xxiii. 50-56. John xix. 38-42. The four accounts, agreeing in substance, are remarkably distinct and independent, as will appear by a close comparison of them. 57.] Before sunset, at which time the sabbath, and that an high day, began: see Deut. xxi. 23. The Roman custom was for the bodies to remain on the crosses till devoured by birds of prey. On the other hand Josephus says that the Jews were so careful about burying that they took down even those who had been crucified, and buried them before sunset. came] probably to the Prætorium. Meyer supposes, to the place of execution: which is also possible, and seems supported by "came and took down," John ver. 38, and "there came also ver. 39, which certainly was to Golgotha. a rich man-he was also a counsellor, i. e. one of the Sanhedrim see Mark, ver. 43: Luke, ver. 51. Arimathæa] Opinions are divided
as to whether this was Rama in Benjamin (see ch. ii. 18), or Rama (Ramathaim) in Ephraim, the birth-place of Samuel. The form of the name is more like the latter. 58.] The repetition of the body is remarkable, and indicates a common origin, in this verse, with Mark, who after gave expresses the body, on account of the expression of Pilate's surprise, and the change of subject between. 59.] John (ver. 39) mentions the arrival of Nicodemus with an hundred pound weight of myrrh and aloes, in which also the Body
The Three seem not to be in possession of this-nor St. Matthew and St. John of the subsequent design of the women to embalm It. What wonder if, at such a time, one party of disciples should not have been aware of the doings of another? It is possible that the women, who certainly knew what had been done with the Body (see ver. 61), may have intended to bestow on it more elaborate care, as whatever was done this night was hurried,-see John, vv. 41, 42.
60.] St. Matthew alone relates that it was Joseph's own tomb. St. John, that it was in a garden, and in the place where He was crucified. All, except St. Mark, notice the newness of the tomb. St. John does not mention that it belonged to Josephbut the expression "in which was never man yet laid" looks as if he knew more than he has thought it necessary to state. His reason for the Body being laid there is, that it was near, and the Preparation rendered haste necessary. But then we may well ask, How should the body of an executed person be laid in a new tomb, without the consent of the owner being first obtained ? And who so likely to provide a tomb, as he whose pious care for the Body was so eminent ? that we can determine respecting the sepulchre from the data here furnished is, (1) That it was not a natural cave, but an artificial excavation in the rock. (2) That it was not cut downwards, after the manner of a grave with us, but horizontally, or nearly so, into the face of the rock-this I conceive to be implied in "rolled a great stone to the door," as also by the use of "stooping down," John xx. 5, 11, and “went in," ib. 5, 6. (3) That it was in the spot where the crucifixion took place. Cyril of Jerusalem speaks of " the tomb close by, where He was laid, and the stone which was put on the door, which to this day (about 380 A.D.) lies by the tomb." 61.] St. Luke mentions more generally the women who came with Him from Galilee; and specifies that
over against the sepulchre. 62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, 63 saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, after three days I will rise again. 64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come [by night], and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead so the last error shall be worse than the first. 65 Pilate said unto them, g Ye have a watch: go your way, make [i it] as
h render, guard.
fomit. g Take see note. they prepared spices and ointments, and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.
62-66.] THE JEWISH AUTHORITIES OBTAIN FROM PILATE A GUARD FOR THE SEPULCHRE. Peculiar to Matthew.
62. the next day] not on that night, but on the next day. A difficulty has been found in its being called the day after the preparation, considering that it was itself the sabbath, and the greatest sabbath in the year. But I believe the expression to be carefully and purposely used. The chief priests, &c. did not go to Pilate on the sabbath,- but in the evening, after the termination of the sabbath. Had the Evangelist said "which is the sabbath," the incongruity would at once appear of such an application being made on the sabbath-and he therefore designates the day as the first after that, which, as the day of the Lord's death, the preparation, was uppermost in his mind. The narrative following has been undeservedly impugned, and its historical accuracy given up by even the best of the German Commentators, and by others. The chief difficulties found in it seem to be: (1) How should the chief priests, &c. know of His having said, in three days I will rise again,' when the saying was hid even from His own disciples? The answer to this is easy. The meaning of the saying may have been, and was, hid from the disciples; but the fact of its having been said could be no secret. Not to lay any stress on John ii. 19, we have the direct prophecy of Matt. xii. 40-and besides this, there would be a rumour current, through the intercourse of the Apostles with others, that He had been in the habit of so saying. As to the understanding of the words, we must remember that hatred is keener sighted than love;-that the raising of Lazarus would shew, what sort of a thing
chxvi. 21; John ii. 19.
23: xx. 61.
rising from the dead was to be;-and that the fulfilment of the Lord's announcement of his crucifixion would naturally lead them to look further, to what more he had announced. (2) How should the women, who were solicitous about the removal of the stone, not have been still more so about its being sealed, and a guard set? The answer to this has been given above-they were not aware of the circumstance, because the guard was not set till the evening before. There would be no need of the application before the approach of the third day-it is only made for a watch until the third day, ver. 64-and it is not probable that the circumstance would transpire that night
certainly it seems not to have done so. (3) That Gamaliel was of the council, and if such a thing as this, and its sequel ch. xxviii. 11-15, had really happened, he need not have expressed himself doubtfully, Acts v. 39, but would have been certain that this was from God. But, first, it does not necessarily follow that every member of the Sanhedrim was present and applied to Pilate, or even had they done so, that all bore a part in the act of ch. xxviii. 12. One who, like Joseph, had not consented to their deed before-and we may safely say that there were others such-would naturally withdraw himself from further proceedings against the person of Jesus. On Gamaliel and his character, see note on Acts, as above. (4) Had this been so, the three other Evangelists would not have passed over so important a testimony to the Resurrection. But surely we cannot argue in this way-for thus every important fact narrated by one Evangelist alone must be rejected-e. g. (which stands in much the same relation) the satisfaction of Thomas, -and other such narrations. Till we know much more about the circumstances under which, and the scope with which, each