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hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.
"In his own new tomb.' John says, xix. 41, that this was in a garden that was in or near the place where he was crucified. This tomb Joseph had prepared for himself, as was not uncommon among the Jews. In this tomb Luke and John inform us that no man had been laid. This was so ordered, in the providence of God, doubtless, that there might be no suspicion about his identity when he rose; that i: night not be allegea that another person had risen; or that he was raised by touching the bones of some prophet, as happened to the corpse that touched the bones of Elisha, 2 Kings xiii. 21. Further, by being buried here, an important prophecy was remarkably fulfilled Isa. liii. 9. He made his grave-with the rich in his death. 'Which he had hewn out in the rock.' This was a common way of constructing tombs in Judea. See note, Matt. viii. 28. Being cut out of a rock, there was no way by which the disciples could have access to it but by the entrance, at which the guard was placed, and consequently it was impossible for them to steal him away.
61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre. 62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priest and pharisees came together unto Pilate,
The Jewish day closed at sunset, and the sabbath at that time commenced. The next day mentioned here does not mean the following day in our acceptation of the word, or the following morning, but the next day in the Jewish way of speaking; that is, after the next day had commenced, or after sunset. To sup pose them to have waited till the next morning, would be absurd; as the disciples would be as likely to steal him away the first night as the second.
63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.
We remember. They had either heard him say this, or more probably, had understood that that was one of his doctrines. That deceiver.' One of the charges against him was, that he deceived the people. By this title they still chose to designate him, thinking that his death had fully confirmed the truth of the charges against him.
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.
'Until the third day.' That is, during two nights and the intervening day. This proves that when the Jews spoke of three days, they did not of necessity mean three whole days, but parts of three days, as was the case in our Saviour's lying in the grave. The last error shall be worse than the first.' That is, the last deception, or taking him from the tomb, pretending that he rose, shall have a wider influence among the people than the first, or his pretending to be the Messiah.
65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as you can.
'Ye have a watch.' The Jews had a guard or watch of Roman soldiers, who kept watch in the tower of Antonia, at the north of the temple.
66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
Sealing the stone.' The sepulchre was made sure, by affixing the large stone to the entrance in such a way that it could not be removed without detection. It was sealed. The cave in which Daniel was cast was fastened in the same manner, and sealed with the king's signet, Dan. vi. 17. Possibly on the sepulchre of Jesus was impressed the seal of Pilate-the seal of office-making it doubly sure. Setting a watch.' That is, as large a number of soldiers as they judged necessary to secure the tomb.
Had all this been done by his friends, it might have been said that they only pretended to secure the tomb, and only pretended that he was dead. But he was adjudged to be dead by the Jews themselves: Pilate was satisfied that this was the fact; they had their own way about his burial; he was buried alone; the place of his sepulchre was made sure-expressly to prevent his being removed; and they placed around him a guard, to prevent his being taken away by force or strength. His very enemies, therefore, took every possible precaution to place his resurrection beyond the possibility of suspicion of fraud and imposture, and were the very means of furnishing the most striking proof that his death, burial, and resurrection, were real.
1 IN the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
'In the end of the sabbath;' that is, after the sabbath was fully
completed, or finished. As it began to dawn toward the first day of the week.' The word properly means, as the first day approached or drew on, without specifying the precise time. Mark says, xvi. 1, 2, that it was after the sabbath was past, and very early in the morning, at the rising of the sun; that is, as it was about to rise, or at the early break of day. Luke says, xxiv. 1, that it was very early; in the Greek, deep twilight, or when there was scarcely any light. John, xx. 1, says, it was very early, while it was yet dark. That is, it was not yet full daylight, or the sun had not risen. The time when they came, therefore, was at the break of day, when the sun was about to rise, but while it was yet so dark as to render objects obscure, or not distinctly visible. "The first day of the week.' The day which is observed by christians as the sabbath. The Jews observed the seventh day of the week, or our Saturday. During that day our Saviour was in the grave. As he rose on the morning of the first day, it has always been observed, in commemoration of so glorious an event. Came Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary.' From Mary Magdalene Christ had cast out seven devils. Grateful for his great mercy, she was one of his firmest and most faithful followers, and was first at the sepulchre, and was first permitted to see her risen Lord. The other Mary was the mother of James and Joses. (Mark.) Mark says that Salome attended chem. Salome was the wife of Zebedee, and the mother of James and John. From Luke, xxiv. 10, it appears that Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, see Luke viii. 3, was with them. These four women, Mark says, having bought sweet spices, came to anoint him. They had prepared spices and ointments on the evening before the sabbath, Luke xxiii. 56. They had now completed their preparation and had probably provided more. John mentions only Mary Magdalene. He does this probably because his object was to give a particular account of her interview with the risen Saviour. To see the sepulchre.' To see whether it was as it was left on the evening when he was laid there: to see if the stone was still there, by which they would know that he had not been removed. Mark and Luke say that the design of their coming was to anoint him with the sweet spices which they had prepared, and complete the work of embalming.
2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
'There was a great earthquake.' Rather there had been. It does not mean that this was while they were there, or while they were going, but that there had been so violent a commotion as to remove the stone. And sat upon it.' Sat upon it when the keepers saw him.
3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow.
'His countenance.' In the original, it refers to his whole perHis general aspect, or the appearance of the angel himself, was, &c. Like lightning. Peculiarly bright and shining. 'His raiment white as snow.' The celestial beings are usually represented as clothed in white, Acts i. 10. Dan. vii. 9. Rev. iii. 4, 5; iv. 4; vii. 13, 14. White, among the Jews, was the symbol of purity, or innocence.
4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
'The keepers did shake.' It was night. The appearance was unexpected and terrific. The stone was probably suddenly removed. At the noise, the light, the suddenness of the appearance, they were affrighted. And became as dead men.' They fainted, or were thrown into a swoon. The narrative leads us to suppose that it was not long before the women came to the sepulchre, or near the break of day.
5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
Mark says,' entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment,' xvi. 5. Luke says, xxiv. 3, they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus; and as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold two men stood by them in shining garments.' Seeing the stone rolled away, and the sepulchre open, they of course anxiously entered into the sepulchre, to see if the body was there. They did not find it, and there they saw the vision of angels, who them information respecting his resurrection. Infidels have objected that here are three inconsistencies in the accounts by Mark and Luke: 1. That Mark says the angel was sitting, and Luke says they were standing. Answer. The word in Luke does not of necessity mean that they stood, but only that they were present. 2. It is objected that Luke mentions two, but Mark and Matthew one. Answer. Mark mentions the one who spoke; for it cannot be supposed they both spake the same thing. He does not deny that another was present with him. Luke affirms that there was. This way of speaking is not unfrequent. Thus Mark and Luke mention only one demoniac who was cured at Gadara. Matthew mentions two. The fact that but one is mentioned-where it is not denied that there were others-does not prove that there could not be others. 3. Matthew calls this an angel. Mark and Luke, a man. Answer. Angels in the scriptures, from appearing in the form of men, are often called as they
appear, and are mentioned as men. See Gen. xviii. 2, 16, 33; xix. 1, 5. Fear not ye.' Be not agitated, or troubled, that you do not find the body of the Saviour. I know that ye seek him, and are troubled that he is removed; but you need not fear that he has been stolen, you will see him again in Galilee.
6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay:
'He is risen, as he said.' He had often predicted that he would rise, but the disciples did not understand it, and consequently did not expect it, Matt. xvi. 21; xx. 19. The place where the Lord lay. The place of a body in a sepulchre was commonly a niche cut in the wall. The sepulchre of David was more than a hundred feet in length, cut out of solid rock under ground, and separated into various apartments. All round the sides of those apartments were niches for the dead; or they were ranged around the sides, in places cut in the solid rock just large enough to contain the body. In such a place our Lord lay.
7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
'Tell his disciples.' Mark adds particularly, and Peter.' This was a kind message to Peter, who had so recently denied his Lord. It would serve to cheer him in his despondency, and to assure him that his sin had been forgiven; and it shows the tender love and remembrance of Jesus-even for his unfaithful friends.
8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy ; and did run to bring his disciples word.
Joyful at the news, and wishing to impart it to all, they fled to find the disciples, and tell them that the Lord was risen. With fear and great joy.' A confused state of mind, apprehensive in part, perhaps, that it might not after all be true. The news was too good to be credited at once. Yet they had sufficient belief in it to fill them with great and unexpected joy. Perhaps no words could better express the state of their minds-the mingled awe and rejoicing-than those here used. And did run,' &c. The city, where the disciples were, was half a mile or more from the place.
9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
This was when they left the sepulchre the second time. Jesus