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Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges
Mark 14

 

 

Verse 1

1. Ἦν δὲ τὸ πάσχα. Mt. puts this remark into the mouth of Christ, and he omits τὰ ἄζυμα, which is either confusing or superfluous. The Passover on Nisan 14 was distinct from the [3319] of Unleavened Bread, which lasted from the 15th to the 21st (Leviticus 23:5-6; Numbers 28:16-17; 2 Chronicles 30:15; 2 Chronicles 30:21; etc.). But it was usual to treat them as one festival. Josephus does so expressly (Ant. II. xv. 1, XIV. ii. 1), though he knows that they are distinct (Ant. III. X. 5, IX. xiii. 3). Note the unusual δέ, marking the change of subject, and see on Mark 7:24, Mark 10:32, Mark 15:16.

μετὰ δύο ἡμέρας. This is perplexing, and we do not get much help from Hosea 6:2; “He will revive us after two days or on the third day,” where “on the third day” is not the same as “after two days,” but adds a day; “after two or three days” is the meaning—a common expression for a period which cannot or need not be exactly defined. If “after three days” (Mark 8:31, Mark 9:31, Mark 10:34) means “on the third day,” then “after two days” should mean “on the second day,” for which αὔριον would have been simpler. But Mk nowhere uses αὔριον. We are probably to understand that what follows took place on the Wednesday, the day before the Synoptic Paschal Supper and two days before the Johannine Passover.

ἐζήτουν. The discussion took some time. Mt., as often, has the aor., συνεβουλεύσαντο, and instead of the Scribes (Mk, Lk.) he has here and in Gethsemane “the elders of the people.” Cf. Matthew 21:23 = Mark 11:27.

ἐν δόλῳ. They were agreed about that; the question was what kind of δόλος.


Verse 1-2

1, 2. THE MALICE OF THE SANHEDRIN

Matthew 26:1-5. Luke 22:1-2


Verse 2

2. ΄ὴ ἐν τῇ ἑορτῇ. That meant immediate action or postponement for ten days, and the latter might easily involve His escape. When the Galilean pilgrims returned home, He would go with them.

μήποτε ἔσται. For fear there shall be. The indic, shows that they regard the result as certain; arrest during the Feast is sure to produce a tumult; μάλιστα γὰρ ἐν ταῖς εὐωχίαις αὐτῶν στάσις ἅπτεται (Joseph. B.J. I. iv. 3). Cf. Hebrews 3:12 and Lightfoot on Colossians 2:8.


Verse 3

3. ἐν Βηθανίᾳ. That our Lord should be at a supper at Bethany on one of the days before the Passover is what we should expect from Mark 11:11-12, and one would gather from Mt. and Mk that the supper toot place on the evening of Tuesday or Wednesday. But Jn quite distinctly places it before the Triumphal Entry, perhaps on the Friday of the previous week; see on John 12:1. The precision in Jn is not likely to be erroneous, and we must suppose that Mk, followed by Mt., has recorded this event after others which really preceded it. The wish to bring it into close connexion with the treachery of Judas may have caused the displacement.

ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ Σίμωνος. That the owner of the house was called Simon, and that at a meal in his house a woman anointed Christ from an alabaster, are the reasons why, already in Origen’s time, this narrative was confused by some persons with that in Luke 7:36-50. Almost everything else is different, and “the leper” seems to be added here to distinguish this Simon from any other, for Simon was one of the very commonest of names. The difficulty of believing in two anointings is infinitesimal; one such might easily suggest a repetition. Whereas the difficulty of believing that Mary of Bethany had ever been “a sinner” is enormous. There is no evidence of a previous evil life, and what we know of her renders a previous evil life almost incredible.

τοῦ λεπροῦ. We are not told that he was present. If he was presiding as entertainer, he must have been cured of his malady. It is probable that some curable skin diseases were regarded as leprosy; and a cured “leper” might still be known as ὁ λεπρός.

κατακειμένου αὐτοῦ. This second gen. abs. is quite in Mk’s conversational style.

γυνή. There is no hint that she was related to Simon; and that she was his wife, daughter, or sister are improbable conjectures. She may have been still alive when Mk and Mt. wrote, but dead when Jn wrote; hence they might prefer not to name her, while he had no reason for abstaining. Or he happened to know her name, whereas they did not. The case of Malchus is parallel (see on Mark 14:47).

ἀλάβαστρον. The word is all genders, but in class. Gk the termination is -ος, masc. or fem. Boxes or phials for holding unguents were called “alabasters” even when made of other material; but Pliny says that unguents keep best when kept in alabastris (N. H. xiii. 2). Cf. Hdt. iii. 20. In N.T., and probably in LXX., μύρον, “ointment,” is distinguished from ἔλαιον, “oil.” Trench, Syn. § xxxviii. Here μύρου is virtually an adj., ἀλ. μύρου=“unguent-box”; and νάρδου πιστικῆς tells what kind of unguent, and of what quality. The kind is that made from a well-known plant found chiefly in India. Tristram, Nat. Hist. of the Bible, p. 485. The quality denoted by πιστική is uncertain, but “potable”= “liquid” (πίνω) may be dismissed. “Trustworthy”=“genuine” is possible. Unguents were often adulterated. The only safe course is to transliterate, “pistic,” and leave the word unexplained; it evidently implies that the ointment used was specially good. See on John 12:3 and cf. Song of Solomon 1:12.

πολυτελοῦς. Horace offers to give a cask of wine for a very small box of good ointment (Carm. IV. xii. 17). Cf. 1 Timothy 2:9; 1 Peter 3:4.

συντρίψασα. Mk alone tells us that she broke the box or phial, possibly in eagerness to pour out the whole contents quickly. Renan’s suggestion may be right that she did not wish the alabaster to be used again for a less worthy purpose (Vie, p. 373, ed. 1863), just as wine-glasses are sometimes broken to show honour to the person whose health has just been drunk. But this is less probable, for she breaks the alabaster before anointing Him, not after. The verb implies violence (Mark 5:4; Revelation 2:27), but the vessel would be fragile. Note the participles.

κατέχεεν. Mt. retains the imperf. and adds ἐπί before κεφαλῆς, which here is probably governed by the κατα-. Verbs compounded with κατά often take a gen.; κατακυριεύω, καταφρονέω, κατεξουσιάζω, κατηγορέω, κ.τ.λ. See crit. note. Jn says that she anointed Christ’s feet and wiped them with her hair, as the sinner wiped her tears from His feet before anointing them (Luke 7:38). She could anoint either head or feet from behind, as He reclined on a couch.


Verses 3-9

3–9. THE ANOINTING AT BETHANY

Matthew 26:6-13. John 12:1-11


Verse 4

4. ἦσαν δέ τινες. By his silence as to who these were Mk again spares the Twelve. Mt. says that it was the disciples who were indignant, while Jn states that it was Judas who gave utterance to the resentment, because the loss of the costly ointment meant the loss of money which he could have stolen. In all these cases, Mary, Judas, Peter and Malchus, earlier Evangelists may have been ignorant of the names or may have suppressed them. Jn knew the names, and when he wrote there was no need for suppression. It is not often that Mk is more considerate of the Twelve than Mt. is.

πρὸς ἑαυτούς. Among themselves (R.V.) rather than “within themselves” (A.V.). There would be some exclamations or looks of disapproval. See on Mark 11:31, where Vulg. has secum; but here intra semet ipsos.

ἡ ἀπώλεια. A very rare use of ἀπώλεια, which usually has the intrans. meaning of “perdition” (Matthew 7:13; John 17:12; etc.). Cf. ὁ οἶνος ἀπόλλυται (Mark 2:22).

γέγονεν. The destruction has taken place and the loss abides.


Verse 5

5. ἠδύνατο γάρ. Explanation of their strong disapproval. See crit. note.

ἐπάνω δηναρίων τριακοσίων. All one term, and gen. of price; “for over-200-denarii.” The ἐπάνω has no effect on the case; cf. ὤφθη ἐπάνω πεντακοσίοις ἀδελφοῖς (1 Corinthians 15:6). See on Mark 6:37 respecting the amount. Mt., as usual, omits the amount. See on Mark 5:13.

ἐνεβριμῶντο. They went on murmuring against her. Mt. has ἠγανάκτησαν.


Verse 6

6. Ἄφετε αὐτήν. This must mean Let her alone rather than “Allow her”; sinite eam (Vulg.). It was too late to prevent her.

κόπους παρέχετε. Κόπος is a “blow,” and hence “worry” or “wear and tear”; Luke 11:7; Galatians 6:17. So also in papyri.

καλόν ἔργον. “It was a beautiful act that she wrought on Me.”


Verse 7

7. πάντοτε. First with emphasis; At all times ye have the poor with you. It is worth while to distinguish πάντοτε from ἀεί, which is much less freq. in N.T., and is never used by Mk; see on 2 Corinthians 4:10. These words, with But Me ye have not at all times, are in all three, and we cannot doubt their authenticity. Considering His teaching about the poor (Mark 10:21; Luke 14:13; Luke 14:21; Luke 16:20; John 13:29), we may feel certain that no one would have invented such a Saying for Him. The πάντοτε after αὐτοῖς is probably genuine; see crit. note. It emphasizes the permanent possibility of benevolence. There is no contradiction between the promise of His perpetual spiritual Presence (Matthew 18:20; Matthew 28:20) and this statement that the opportunity of doing honour to His Body would not be perpetual.


Verse 8

8. ὃ ἔσχεν ἐποίησεν. She did what she could. This class. use of ἔχω is freq. in Lk. (Luke 7:42; Luke 12:4; Luke 14:14) and Acts (Acts 4:14; Acts 23:17-19, etc.). For the sense see on 2 Corinthians 8:12.

προέλαβεν μυρίσαι. She hath been beforehand in anointing. She anticipated the funeral rite. Jn tells us that myrrh and aloes, but not unguents, were placed round the Body, and Mk and Lk. say that women prepared to anoint Him, but that He had risen before they could do so. So Mary alone has this honour. ΄υρίζω is classical, but occurs here only in Bibl. Grk. Professional embalmers were called ἐνταφιασταί, and ἐνταφιάζω = “embalm” (Genesis 50:2). So also in papyri.


Verse 9

9. ὅπου ἐὰν κηρυχθῇ. Cf. Matthew 12:32. In the first and second centuries A.D., the substitution of ἐάν for ἄν after ὅπου, ὅς, etc. was common. Deissmann, Bib. St. p. 203; J. H. Moulton, p. 42.

τὸ εὐαγγέλιον. See on Mark 1:1; Mark 1:14. Mk and Mt. record this promise, but do not tell the woman’s name; Jn tells the name, but does not record the promise.

εἰς ὅλον τ. κόσμον. Cf. Mark 13:10. That salvation is for the whole of mankind is clearly given in our earliest Gospel. For this use of εἰς see on Mark 1:39; Winer, p. 517.

μνημόσυνον. Late Grk, freq. in LXX. Syr-Sin. has “when the gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, there will be a memorial of what she has done.”


Verse 10

10. Ἰούδας Ἰσκαριώθ. In mentioning the traitor here each Evangelist has something characteristic. Mk has Ἰσκαριώθ: he never has Ἰσκαριώτης. Mt. has ὁ λεγόμενος Ἰσκαριώτης, Lk. has τὸν καλούμενον Ἰσκαριώτην. All three give without comment the mournful fact that the traitor was “one of the Twelve.” The art. here, ὁ εἷς τ. δώδεκα, looks as if “one-of-the-Twelve” had become a sort of sobriquet for Judas.

παραδοῖ. See on Mark 4:29. Although Judas is called προδότης, yet προδίδωμι is not used of his crime. It is a rare verb in Bibl. Grk, but here [3320] has προδοῖ and Vulg. has proderet. Cf. 2 Kings 6:11; 4 Maccabees 4:1. It is not probable that the Sanhedrin had publicly offered a reward, and that “Judas called in answer to an advertisement.”


Verse 10-11

10, 11. THE COMPACT OF JUDAS WITH THE HIERARCHY

Matthew 26:14-16. Luke 22:3-6


Verse 11

11. ἐχάρησαν. The offer freed them from a grave difficulty. Now they could act before the Feast began. They would not have ventured to make such a proposal to a disciple of Jesus. That one of His most intimate associates should volunteer to betray Him was an amazing advantage. Moreover it was evidence that the influence of Jesus was on the wane, ὅτι καὶ ὑπὸ τῶν μαθητῶν ἤρξατο μισεῖσθαι (Euthym.).

ἐπηγγείλαντο. So also Lk. (συνέθεντο), while Mt. says that Judas was paid there and then thirty pieces of silver. Such discrepancies are of no moment. In order to identify the coins paid to Judas with the treasure brought by the Magi, the Narrative of Judas of Arimathaea (ii.) makes them pieces of gold. Thirty shekels would be about 120 denarii, which would buy what £10 or £12 would buy now. It is not improbable that the priests would be willing to pay in advance so moderate a sum for so great a service, and it is probable that Judas would insist on at least a substantial instalment. Hastings’ D.B. art. “Money,” p. 428.

ἐζήτει. He began to seek. Hitherto it had been the hierarchy who were casting about for a good opportunity (Mark 11:18, Mark 12:12, Mark 14:1). Now it is Judas who has to do so; they have secured a competent agent. What follows shows how he was baffled until after the Supper; the arrangements were carefully kept secret.

It is remarkable how objectively Mk, and indeed all the Evangelists, treat the conduct of Judas. He was an intimate disciple, one of the Twelve, and he betrayed his Friend and Master to His implacable enemies for money and with a kiss. There is no need to say anything more. Probably money was only one of the motives. Judas saw that Jesus had failed, and he hastened to make terms with the victorious side. It is possible that there were selfish elements in his reasons for attaching himself to Jesus, and that these had gone on increasing, to the extinction of nobler motives, as the prospect of personal advancement grew less. That the motives for the betrayal were in any respect good is not credible.


Verse 12

12. τῇ πρώτῃ ἡμέρᾳ τ. ἀζύμων. It is possible that here we have the beginning of the divergent chronology respecting the Passover, as given by the Synoptists on the one hand and by Jn on the other. The Synoptists, in a confused and not very consistent way, place the Paschal Supper on Thursday evening. Jn, with great precision and with complete consistency, places the Passover on Friday evening, when it and the Sabbath began simultaneously. The better course is to abide by the Johannine tradition and assume that our Lord, knowing that He could not have the Paschal Supper at the right time, held it a day in advance. It is incredible that the Sanhedrin sat during the Passover night to try Jesus, and that He was executed with the two robbers on the first day of the Feast. All four Evangelists place the Crucifixion on the day before the Sabbath, i.e. on Friday. The question is, which day was the 14th Nisan?

ἔθυον. Imperf. of customary action. The verb, like σφάζω (1 John 3:12; 1 Samuel 15:33), although often used of sacrifices, is not sacrificial in meaning (Luke 15:23; John 10:10; Acts 10:13). Here A.V. has “kill,” with “sacrifice” in the margin; in 1 Corinthians 5:7 it has “sacrifice,” with “slay” in the margin. In 1 Corinthians 10:20, “sacrifice” is required by the context.

Ποῦ θέλεις; The association of the Twelve with Jesus has become so close that none of them thinks of celebrating the Passover with his own family. Relations of some of them would come up to Jerusalem for the Feast. They were probably ignorant of our Lord’s intention of having a Paschal Supper before the time. Christ seems to have kept both time and place secret till the last. The treachery of Judas must not be allowed to act till the appointed hour had come, and no miracle was needed to effect this; careful precaution sufficed.


Verses 12-16

12–16. PREPARATIONS FOR THE PASSOVER

Matthew 26:17-19. Luke 22:7-13


Verse 13

13. ἀποστέλλει δύο. See on Mark 11:1. Lk. tells us that the pair were Peter and John, probably the oldest and youngest of the Twelve, certainly two that had been specially selected on previous occasions. Neither here, nor at the Supper, is there mention of a lamb, and it is very improbable that there was one. If the hypothesis that Christ anticipated the time for celebrating the Passover is correct, the disciples could not get the priests to kill the lamb before the time. Moreover, the whole company ought to be present in the Temple at the killing of the lamb (Exodus 12:4-6), and two disciples would not suffice for this. Above all, there would be no need of a typical lamb, when the true Paschal lamb was present, ready to be offered, but not yet slain.

Ὑπάγετε εἰς τ. πόλιν. This shows that they are outside Jerusalem, perhaps at Bethany.

ἀπαντήσει ὑμῖν ἄνθρωπος. This remarkable detail is omitted in Mt.’s very abbreviated narrative. The man’s carrying water shows that he was a servant, not the owner, who is in the house (Mark 14:14). Slaves or women fetched water for the household (Deuteronomy 29:11; Joshua 9:21-27; John 4:7). That this was the master of the house drawing water on 13th Nisan for making the leaven, is a useless suggestion; no evidence as to the day can be got from a servant fetching water. As in the case of the colt (Mark 11:2-3), there is room for doubt whether our Lord had arranged matters beforehand or not. It might have been agreed that the man carrying water should be ready to meet the disciples. But this is not the impression which the narratives give us. Apparently Christ had arranged with the owner that the Paschal meal should take place at his house; but His telling the disciples that they would meet one of this man’s servants, and that by following this servant they would find the house, is evidently regarded as supernatural prescience. If there had been any desire to invent a sign of supernatural prescience, our Lord would have been made to predict something more remarkable than a man carrying a pitcher.

Vulg. is again capricious; here it has laguenam aquae bajulans; in Lk. amphoram aquae portans, the Greek being the same. So also in what follows; here Ubi est refectio? in Lk. Ubi est diversorium?


Verse 14

14. Ὁ διδάσκαλος λέγει. In all three; the words show that Jesus was known to the owner, and seem to imply that He had previously asked for a room. Victor would have it that the man did not know Jesus, and that his immediate obedience shows what power Jesus had.

τὸ κατάλυμά μου. Perhaps not the same as the ἀνάγαιον which was granted. Christ may have asked for the common guest-room on the ground floor, but the man gave Him his private room, above the guest-room, the best that he had. On the identification of this ἀνάγαιον with the ὑπερῷον of Acts 1:13, and placing it in “the house of Mary, the mother of Mark” (Acts 12:12), and the consequent identification of “the goodman of the house” with the father of Mark, see Sanday, Sacred Sites of the Gospels, p. 77; Edersheim, Life and Times, II. p. 485; Zahn, Introd. to N.T. II. p. 493. The identifications are very attractive, but the evidence is slight; see further on Mark 14:51. That the man with the pitcher was Mark the Evangelist, son of “the goodman,” a conjecture as old as Alexander Monachus of Cyprus (c. A.D. 550), is almost as improbable as that he was the goodman himself. The μου after κατάλυμα (see crit. note) is important; it proves that Christ had some claim on the owner, and is strong evidence that He had arranged with the man for a room.


Verse 15

15. αὐτὸς ὑμῖν δείξει. A further note of prescience. The man will himself conduct the disciples to the upper room, which will be found in complete order, set out with rugs on the couches. This might mean no more than that the man was certain that the room would be required by some one for the Paschal meal; but it looks as if “the Master” had bespoken a room.

ἀνάγαιον. Anything raised above the ground, “upper floor” (Xen. Anab. V. iv. 29), upper room. MSS. vary much in spelling; ἀνόγαιον, ἀνώγεων, ἀνώγεως, ἀνώγαιον, ἀνώγεον, but the best MSS. have ἀνάγαιον, which is confirmed by papyri with καταγαίῳ, κατάγειον. The word was originally an adj. and it is so treated in [3321] ἀνάγαιον οἶκον. The Latin renderings vary also; cenaculum (Vulg.), medianum (a), pede plano locum (b), in superioribus locum (c e), superiorem domum (d in Lk.).


Verse 16

16. καθώς. Even as. Both Mk and Lk. insist on the exact agreement of the disciples’ experiences with the details which Christ had foretold, just as Lk. does with regard to the directions about the colt (Luke 19:32). Mt. in both places says that the disciples did as they were told. Here he omits the details, and therefore cannot remark on the exact fulfilment of Christ’s predictions. Here, Mark 4:33, and Mark 15:8, R.V. fails to give the force of καθώς.

ἡτοίμασαν. The apparent contradiction between the room being already ἕτοιμον and the disciples having to “make ready” does not trouble Mk, but it is avoided by Lk. There is no real inconsistency. The room was ready for a meal, but there was no food provided. This the disciples had to see to.


Verse 17

17. ὀψίας γενομένης. The evening of the same day. For a description of the probable surroundings see Edersheim, Life and Times, II. pp. 488 f., The Temple and its Services, pp. 194 f.


Verses 17-25

17–25. THE PASCHAL SUPPER

Matthew 26:20-29. Luke 22:14; Luke 22:19-23. John 13:1-2


Verse 18

18. ἀνακειμένων. Cf. Mark 2:15, Mark 6:26. The original custom of standing for the Passover had long been abandoned. Instead of commemorating the fear and haste of the flight from Egypt, they enjoyed the security and repose of their abode in the Land of Promise.

Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν. With all solemnity the amazing disclosure is made. Evidently Judas had escaped suspicion; no one at once thinks of him. Lk. places the disclosure at the end of the section. From this point onwards Lk. treats Mk with very great freedom and evidently has other authority, possibly oral. Sir John Hawkins calculates that Mt. adheres to Mk’s language very nearly twice as closely as Lk. does, and there are eleven cases in which Lk. changes the order of Mk, where Mt. retains it (Studies in the Synoptic Problem, pp. 76 f.). Cf. John 13:21.

ὁ ἐσθίων μετʼ ἐμοῦ. Mk alone has this. To Orientals it was an additional horror, for hostile action against a man was absolutely precluded by eating bread with him. Cf. Psalms 41:9. The words come last with tragic effect.


Verse 19

19. ἤρξαντο λυπεῖσθαι. See crit. note. The asyndeton is impressive; the festal meal was at once turned to mourning. But no disciple doubts the truth of the Master’s words; sooner than that each suspects himself, πιστεύοντες τῷ τὰς καρδίας εἰδότι πλέον ἢ ἑαυτοῖς (Theoph.). Leonardo’s fresco depicts this crisis.

εἷς κατὰ εἷς. This ungrammatical idiom is not found in classical writers, but it and similar expressions are not rare in late Greek; τὸ δὲ καθʼ εἷς (Romans 12:5); ἀνὰ εἷς ἕκαστος (Revelation 21:21); ὁ καθʼ εἷς δὲ τῶν φίλων (3 Maccabees 5:34); εἷς καθʼ ἕκαστος (Leviticus 25:10, A text, which Deissmann, Bib. St. p. 138, is inclined to support). Perhaps the prep. was treated as an adv.

΄ήτι ἐγώ; Surely it cannot be I? Cf. Mark 2:19, Mark 4:21. If Mt. is drawing an inference, it is a safe inference, when he tells us that Judas also asked this question. Not to have asked with the rest would have attracted attention.


Verse 20

20. Εἷς τῶν δώδεκα. This also is peculiar to Mk, as is the probably genuine ἕν ([3322][3323][3324] before τρύβλιον. All three points serve to bring out the enormity of the crime. The traitor is one of the Twelve, eating with Him whom he is about to deliver up to His enemies, and even dipping his morsel in one and the same dish with Him. The τρύβλιον was perhaps the bowl of sauce into which pieces of unleavened bread were dipped. This declaration does not make known who is the guilty one. Later in the meal Christ’s giving a dipped morsel to Judas lets John know who is the traitor.


Verse 21

21. ὁ μὲν υἱὸςπαραδίδοται. Here again all three have almost exactly the same words, and they are doubtless original. Obadiah 1:7 or Micah 7:6 might have been quoted with effect; but Christ’s words have no parallel in O.T. For μὲνδὲ …, which is rare in Mk, cf. Mark 14:38 and Mark 12:5.

ὑπάγει. This expresses better than πορεύεται (Lk.) that the going is a going away (John 6:67), and such is departure from this life (John 7:33; John 13:3; John 16:5; John 16:10; John 16:17). Moreover, the verb implies the voluntariness of His departure; τὸ ἑκούσιον ἡ λέξις ἑρμηνεύει (Victor). Hence καθὼς γέγραπται expresses the exact agreement between His voluntary action and the Father’s revealed will.

οὐαὶ δὲ τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ. But alas for the man; see on Mark 13:17. The οὐαί expresses lamentation over a condition so awful. God’s decrees respecting the Son of Man did not require the treachery of Judas. Of his own free will he committed a sin which brought about the fulfilment of the decrees in a particular way, and for that he is condemned. Again and again Christ had tried to win him back; Mark 4:19, Mark 9:50, Mark 10:23, Mark 11:17, Mark 12:43, Mark 14:7 record words which might have influenced Judas, and which in some cases may have been meant for him. This statement of the lamentable condition of ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖνος (Mark 12:7), and this proof that he is still treated with consideration (for he sees that Christ knows of his guilt and yet does not name him), are his Master’s last efforts to waken his conscience.

διʼ οὗ. In all three; Judas is Satan’s instrument (Luke 22:3; John 13:2; John 13:27) in causing the death of the Messiah.

καλὸν αὐτῷἐκεῖνος. Not in Lk. It is possible to interpret thus; “It were good for the Son of Man if Judas had not been born.” But the interpretation is inadmissible. Christ is not speaking of His own fears, but of the fearful condition of Judas. A man may so misuse his life as to make it a curse instead of a blessing. As Jerome (on Mt.) says; simpliciter dictum est, multo melius est non subsistere quam male subsistere. Cf. Mark 9:42 and Enoch xxxviii. 2. The repetition of ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖνος closes the utterance with a mournful cadence; “good were it for him if he had not been born—that man.” Cf. Mark 2:20. Syr-Sin. omits the cadence. The departure of Judas may perhaps be placed here. It is impossible to determine whether he partook of the Eucharist or not.


Verse 22

22. ἐσθιόντων αὐτῶν. The Evangelist seems to be anxious to make clear that two memorable events of that evening, the disclosure about the presence of a traitor (Mark 14:18), and the Institution of the Eucharist, took place during the meal.

λαβὼν ἄρτον. He took one of the cakes of bread and acted as He did at the feeding of the 5000 (Mark 6:41) and of the 4000 (Mark 8:6), breaking, blessing, and distributing to the disciples. But on this occasion there is no distribution by the disciples to others. That came later, when, in accordance with the Lord’s command (1 Corinthians 11:24-26), the Eucharist became a permanent Christian rite. Syr-Sin. omits λαβών, “as they did eat bread.” We cannot insist that ἄρτος must mean leavened bread, and that therefore the meal cannot have been the Passover. The conclusion is right, but the premise is precarious. It is unlikely that at such a time the disciples would provide leavened bread.

St Paul’s account of the Institution is the earliest; but that of Mk and Mt. is independent of it. Their narrative has some features which are not in his; εὐλογήσας of the bread and εὐχαριστήσας of the cup, Λάβετε of the bread, λαβὼν εὐχαριστήσας ἔδωκεν of the cup, their all drinking of it, the Blood being ἐκχυννόμενον ὑλὲρ πολλῶν, and the declaration οὐ μὴ πίωτοῦ Θεοῦ. On the other hand, St Paul gives two features which are not in Mk or Mt. He places a considerable interval between the bread (during supper) and the cup (after supper), and he records the important charge τοῦτο ποιεῖτε εἰς τὴν ἐμὴν ἀνάμνησιν. What seems to be the true text of Lk. is silent about both. Five features are in all four narratives; taking bread, thanksgiving or blessing, breaking, “This is My Body,” and the mention of a cup. The first three give us ritual which may be said to be Divinely appointed.

There is probably no difference in meaning between εὐλογήσας (Mark 6:41 of the 5000) and εὐχαριστήσας (Mark 8:6 of the 4000). Both are used of the bread, and refer to the utterance in which Christ blessed God and gave thanks. Both verbs contain the εὖ which appears also in εὐδοκία and εὐαγγέλιον. It is remarkable that there is so little agreement as to the exact words spoken; the exact words are not of supreme importance. It is having the mind of Christ and acting in His spirit that must be secured.

τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου. Our Lord’s human Body was present and His Blood had not yet been shed. Therefore all carnal ideas respecting the meaning of these words are excluded. Few words in Scripture have given rise to more controversy. All that it concerns us to know is certain; that those who rightly receive the Eucharist spiritually receive Christ. How this takes place has not been revealed and cannot be explained. Nor is any explanation necessary for right reception. See Hastings’ D.B. art. “Lord’s Supper” and the literature there quoted; also Robertson and Plummer on 1 Corinthians 11:23 f.


Verse 23

23. λαβὼνεὐχαριστήσας. Characteristic combination of participles; see on Mark 1:15.

ἔδωκενἔπιον. Mk adds πάντες with emphasis, and Mt. transfers πάντες to Christ’s command. It was not necessary to state this of the bread, which Christ seems to have given to each one; in any case, each has his separate morsel. But the cup was handed to only one of them. Some might have passed it without drinking, or it might not have gone the whole way round. Mk desires to make clear that all drank. In the later ritual of the Passover several cups were passed round at intervals. It is futile to attempt to identify the Eucharistic cup with one of these. The ritual may or may not have been the same.


Verse 24

24. τὸ αἷμά μου. No narrative makes mention of the blood of the Paschal lamb. “My Blood of the covenant” is an allusion to Exodus 24:6-8, where see Driver. The attempts to show that the Lord’s Supper was celebrated with bread alone have failed as signally as the attempts to derive the breaking of bread from the Eleusinian mysteries.

τὸ ἐκχυννόμενον. Which is being shed; what is near and certain is spoken of as present. Cf. ἀποφορτιζόμενον, Acts 21:3.

ὑπὲρ πολλῶν. On behalf of many, “many” being opposed, not to “all,” but to “one” or “few.” Christ was one dying for many and for a great many more than His personal disciples. These “many” are one of the parties to the covenant with God which is ratified by the Blood of Christ. See on Mark 10:45.


Verse 25

25. οὐκέτι οὐ μὴ πίω. Characteristic accumulation of negatives; cf. Mark 3:27, Mark 9:8, Mark 11:2, Mark 12:34, etc. The οὐκέτι (see crit. note) implies that Christ partook of the cup, in accordance with what is known of Paschal ritual, before passing it to the disciples. He partakes of this Paschal supper, but it is His last. In these mysterious words He seems to be bidding farewell to the Jewish dispensation under which He had lived. This saying also could hardly have been invented. The prescribed Jewish blessing, before drinking wine, runs “Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who createst the fruit of the vine” (Authorized Daily Prayer Book, p. 287).

τοῦ γενήματος τῆς ἀμπέλου. An O.T. expression for wine (Numbers 6:4; Isaiah 32:12; Habakkuk 3:17). In all three Gospels here, as in 2 Corinthians 9:10, γένημα (γίνομαι), not γέννημα (γεννάω), is right. The latter is right Matthew 3:7; Matthew 12:34; Matthew 23:33; Luke 3:7. Deissmann, Bib. St. p. 184.

καινόν. Not νέον as in Mark 2:22; it is not the newness opposed to maturity, but the newness opposed to what is obsolete, the newness of the new heaven, that is meant. Our Lord retains the common picture of the Kingdom as a festal scene in which there is a banquet; the picture suggests “love, joy, and peace,” which are chief among spiritual possessions. The picture is found in both O. and N.T. Cf. 2 Esdras 2:8; Book of the Secrets of Enoch, viii.


Verse 26

26. ὑμνήσαντες. They sang one or two Psalms, probably 136, or 115–118, before leaving the room.

ἐξῆλθον. This perhaps corresponds with John 14:31 (see notes there), but more probably with John 18:1. Going out of the city to the Mount of Olives was His usual practice (Mark 11:1; Luke 22:39), and therefore would not surprise the Eleven. Probably even St John did not know that Judas would accomplish his treachery that night.


Verses 26-31

26–31. DEPARTURE TO THE MOUNT OF OLIVES. DESERTION AND DENIAL FORETOLD

Matthew 26:30-35. Luke 22:31-39. John 14:31; John 18:1


Verse 27

27. Πάντες. There will be no exception; not one will stand the shock of the arrest and execution of the Master.

Πατάξω τ. ποιμένα. This quotation differs from both [3325] and [3326] texts of LXX. and also from the Heb. See on Zechariah 13:7 and also Swete, Intr. to O.T. in Greek, p. 393. The quotation is made by Christ, not by Mk, and the truth of the saying has often been verified in history. The change from the imperat. (πατάξατε or πάταξον in LXX.) to the future (Mk, Mt.) makes the saying more suitable to the context, for it is God who will smite the Shepherd. The saying may have been a proverb before Zechariah used it, and it may have existed in both forms. In Zech. the sheep are the members of the Jewish Church; here they are primarily the Apostles (Mark 14:50), but other followers may be included.


Verse 28

28. ἀλλά. Mt. has δέ, which does not mark so clearly the contrast between the sad scattering of the flock through the death of the Shepherd and its happy reunion through His Resurrection; After I am raised up.

προάξω. The verb suggests another contrast; between His going before them to Jerusalem to suffer and die (Mark 10:32) and His going before them to a meeting place in the chief scene of their life with Him. This prediction of a meeting in Galilee is required to explain Mark 16:7 and Matthew 28:6, and we may be sure that it was uttered. As usual (Mark 8:31, Mark 9:31, Mark 10:34), Christ adds to the prediction of His death the comforting promise of rising again; but it seems to have made little impression on the Apostles until after its fulfilment. Even then they derived little comfort from it until He appeared to them. That they believed that He had appeared to them because they were so convinced that He would rise again is against all the evidence that we possess.


Verse 29

29. ὁ δὲ Πέτρος. For the second time Peter impulsively contradicts a prediction of the Master, whose severe rebuke (Mark 8:33) has for the moment been forgotten. The emphatic repudiation of the possibility of his own faithlessness is thoroughly characteristic of his affection and of his self-confidence. On a former occasion he claimed credit for the whole band (Mark 10:28). Here he claims exemption from weakness for himself. He admits the possibility of the others breaking away.

Εἰ καί. See crit. note. This combination indicates that what is supposed is conceded as being a fact (Luke 11:8; Luke 18:4; 2 Corinthians 12:11; etc.). The exact difference between εἰ καί and καὶ εἰ is not easy to mark in English, and is not always the same. In most of the instances of καὶ εἰ in N.T. καί is a mere conjunction, “and if”; e.g. Matthew 11:14. Winer, p. 554.

ἀλλʼ οὐκ ἐγώ. We often have ἀλλά after εἰ καί. Anything else may be possible, but not that Peter will fail. It is strange that Jerome should say of this non est temeritas.


Verse 30

30. Ἀμὴν λέγω σοι. The prediction of his almost immediate failure is made with great solemnity: λέγω σοι is in all four Gospels, and Lk. and Jn are quite independent of the other two and of one another. Lk. and Jn place the prediction in the supper-room, Mk and Mt. place it during the walk from the room to the Mount of Olives, and Lk.’s narrative differs considerably from Jn’s. Some suppose that there were three predictions, two in the room and one afterwards. It is unlikely that the prediction was repeated. These divergences about details are of little moment, and we have no means of determining which tradition is nearest to the actual facts. See on John 13:38.

σὺ σήμερον ταύτῃ τῇ νυκτί. The σύ, though omitted by [3327][3328][3329][3330] and Old Latin texts, is probably genuine; it answers to Peter’s confident ἐγώ. We have here another instance of Mk’s fulness, and of Mt. and Lk. each taking different parts of Mk’s full expression, Lk. having σήμερον and Mt. ταύτῃ τῇ νυκτί. See on Mark 1:32; Mark 1:42, Mark 15:26. According to Jewish reckoning the day had begun at sunset, and σήμερον would mean “before the next sunset.” “This night” therefore greatly abbreviates “to-day.” The denial will take place within a very few hours.

δίς. This may safely be regarded as original; see crit. note. It is confirmed by the Fayûm fragment, and the fact that Mt., Lk., and Jn mention only one cock-crowing makes omission more probable than interpolation. Travellers tell us that in the East cocks crow with extraordinary regularity at certain hours, about twelve, two, and five o’clock. Tristram, Nat. Hist. of the Bible, p. 221. But our Lord is not predicting the hours at which the denials will take place; nor is the obvious meaning, that before the cock crows a second time there will have been three denials, the only point. Our Lord foretells that the first cock-crowing will not stop the denials; in spite of this warning, Peter will still persist that he does not know Christ. The declaration, therefore, is pregnant with meaning, “Thou, who art so confident that thou at any rate wilt never be offended, within twenty hours, nay within six, wilt not only be offended, but wilt have denied Me, not once nor twice only, and that in spite of at least one warning signal.” Cf. ὅτε τὸ δεύτερον ὡ ἁλεκτρυὼν ἐφθέγγετο (Aristoph. Eccl. 390); Quod tamen ad cantum galli facit ille secundi (Juv. ix. 106). The form ἀλέκτωρ is more common in poetry, ἀλεκτρυών in prose, and the Fayûm fragment has ἀλεκτρυών here; it has also the more usual κοκκύζω of the crowing.

τρίς. In all four Gospels; and the Synoptics all have the strong compound ἀπαρνήοῃ, which occurs only in this connexion and in that of denying oneself (Mark 8:34 = Matthew 16:24); ἀρνέομαι is much more common (Mark 14:68; Mark 14:70; etc.).


Verse 31

31. ἐκπερισσῶς ἐλάλει. Peter is not silenced, but continues (imperf.) to protest vehemently (ἐκπ. here only in N.T.) that not even the fear of death would induce him to deny his Master. In his vehemence he does not see that he is charging Christ with uttering false predictions.

πάντες ἔλεγον. Here again the imperf. is in place; one after another they echoed Peter’s protestations. As often, Mt. prefers an aor. Neither Lk. nor Jn mentions this.


Verse 32

32. Γεθσημανεί. Only Mk, followed by Mt., gives the name, which may mean “oil-press.” They call it a χωρίον, a “piece of ground” or an “estate.” Lk. and Jn use the still more indefinite τόπος, Jn adding that there was a garden there. We are in doubt as to whether Gethsemane was the garden or was next to it; also whether the traditional site is the true one. It has been regarded as the site since the Empress Helena visited Jerusalem, A.D. 326; but trustworthy information may have perished long before that. Josephus says that Titus cut down all trees on that side of the city (B.J. VI. i. 1). This would obliterate traces, and there were no Christians left to keep a true tradition. Lk. says that Christ went thither “according to His custom,” and Jn says that He “often” resorted there. By going elsewhere, Christ might have baffled Judas; but Judas was now allowed to know where to find Him.

Καθίσατε ὧδε. This is spoken to the eight who are left near the entrance. Lk., who omits the separation of the three from the eight, says that He at once told the disciples to pray. His Gospel in a special sense is the Gospel of Prayer.

ἕως προσεύξωμαι. Until I have prayed. Cf. Luke 12:59; Luke 15:4; Luke 17:8; Luke 22:34; James 5:7. There is not much difference in meaning between this and “while I pray” (A.V., R.V.), but similar constructions should be treated alike. Vulg. has donec orem; Beza, usque dum precatus fuero. The omission of ἄν in such cases is freq. in papyri. J. H. Moulton, p. 168.


Verses 32-42

32–42. THE AGONY IN GETHSEMANE

Matthew 26:36-46. Luke 22:40-46. Cf. John 18:1


Verse 33

33. παραλαμβάνει. Cf. Mark 5:40, Mark 9:2. At other times we find Jesus seeking solitude for prayer (Mark 1:35, Mark 6:46), but in this great crisis He desires sympathy, and He selects those who will be least likely to misunderstand His intense distress. His selecting these three once more would surprise neither them nor the rest. The view that the “young man” of Mark 14:51 was already in the garden, and was a witness of the Agony, seeing much which the three lost while they were slumbering, cannot be regarded as probable. It was probably the march of the band coming to capture Jesus that woke him and drew him to the spot.

ἤρξατο ἐκθαμβεῖσθαι. The ἤρξατο is not otiose; He has a new experience in emotional suffering—mingled amazement and terror. Cf. Mark 9:15, Mark 16:5-6. Mt., as often, shrinks from attributing purely human feelings to Christ. Under the sanction of his own περίλυπος, he substitutes λυπεῖσθαι.

ἀδημονεῖν. Mt. retains this as covered by περίλυπος. The word is not in LXX., and only once again in N.T., Philippians 2:26, where see Lightfoot. The derivation is uncertain, but the word seems to imply distress and dismay.


Verse 34

34. Περίλυπός ἐστιν ἡ ψυχή μου. The reality of Christ’s humanity is again evident; it shrinks from the Cross. Mention of His ψυχή is rare, and that fact may warn us not to be curious in attempting to pry into “the Self-consciousness” of Christ. We know very little about it. See on John 11:33; John 12:27.

ἕως θανάτου. Cf. 1 Kings 19:4; Jonah 4:9.

μείνατε ὧδε καὶ γρηγορεῖτε. The change of tense is intelligible. They were at once to cease from accompanying Him, and were to continue to be watchful. Once more they were selected as witnesses. They had seen Him wresting a victim from death; they had seen Him in the glory of the Transfiguration; and now they were to see Him in the humiliation of His Agony. Syr-Sin. omits the charge. Mt. adds μετʼ ἐμοῦ.


Verse 35

35. προελθὼν μικρόν. See crit. note. “About a stone’s cast” (Lk.). They could not only see but hear.

ἔπιπτενπροσηύχετο. Here Mt. does well in changing the first imperf. to aor., and inferior texts have ἔπεσεν in Mk. The prayer continued after the fall.

παρέλθῃ ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ ἡ ὥρα. Mk only. The hora fatalis (Mark 14:41; John 7:30; John 12:27, etc.) is meant.


Verse 36

36. καὶ ἔλεγεν. Here again, as in the Institution of the Eucharist, there is remarkable difference as to the words used; see on Mark 14:22. Lk. gives only one prayer. Mk gives two and says that the second was the same as the first. Mt. gives three, the second differing from the first, but the third the same as the second. There is substantial agreement between all three as to the wording of the first prayer.

Ἀββᾶ ὁ πατήρ. As in Mark 5:41 and Mark 7:34, Mk gives the Aramaic. Christ spoke both Aramaic and Greek, and it is not improbable that in the opening address He used first one language and then the other. Repetition, whether in one language or two, is the outcome of strong feeling and is impressive; Martha, Martha (Luke 10:41), Simon, Simon (Luke 22:31), Jerusalem, Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37). This is much more probable than that ὁ πατήρ is Mk’s translation of Ἀββᾶ. Translation injected into such a prayer would be unnatural. But it is possible that Mk here attributes to Christ a form of address which had become usual in public worship. Nom. with art. instead of voc. is freq. in N.T.; see on Mark 5:8. Lk. has πάτερ, Mt. πάτερ μου. See on Galatians 4:6.

πάντα δυνατά σοι. See on Mark 10:27. Mt. softens this to εἰ δυνατόν ἐστιν, Lk. to εἰ βούλει.

παρένεγκε. “Carry past, without causing Me to drink, this cup of suffering and death.” In class. Grk the words would mean, “Place this cup at my side” (Hdt. i. 119, 133; Plato, Rep. p. 354); but in Plutarch the verb is used in the sense of removing (Camill. 41). In Hebrews 13:9 and Judges 1:12 it is used of being swept out of one’s course and carried astray. Orat transire calicem, ut ostendat vere quod et homo erat (Bede). The view that our Lord’s Agony was nothing but His sorrow for the sins of men is not found in the Gospels. The metaphor of a cup is used in O.T. of both good and bad fortune (Psalms 16:5; Psalms 23:5; Jeremiah 25:15; Isaiah 51:17; etc.). In N.T. it is specially used of Christ’s sufferings (Mark 10:38-39; John 18:11).

ἀλλʼ οὐ τί ἐγὼ θέλω. Lk. has his favourite πλήν and brings the wording closer to that of the Lord’s Prayer; πλὴν μὴ τὸ θέλημά μου ἀλλὰ τὸ σὸν γινέσθω. With this condition it is lawful to pray, as for other temporal blessings, so also for the removal of suffering. Whichever wording we adopt, the petition is proof of the existence in Christ of a human will, distinct from, but always submissive to, the Father’s will. Mackintosh, The Person of Jesus Christ, pp. 220–222, 294–299, 399. Note the οὐ, not μή, the effect of which is “But I am not asking,” or “But the question is not.”


Verse 37

37. εὑρίσκει. As in the case of the braggart fig-tree (Mark 11:13), He discovers the fact by coming and seeing; and what He sees evokes an expression of surprise and disappointment. But the reality of His human nature is here most conspicuous in His prayers.

οὐκ ἴσχυσας. Hadst thou not strength? “Was thy will not strong enough to comply with My request during a single hour?” This shows that Christ’s prayer had lasted a considerable time; they had heard some of it, and then had fallen asleep—“for sorrow,” as Lk. in extenuation states. As on the Mount of Transfiguration, physical weariness had conquered, and He treads the winepress alone (Isaiah 63:3). The reproach is addressed to Peter the boaster, who had promised to die with Him, if need be (Mark 14:29; Mark 14:31), and the old name “Simon” is used here, as in John 21:7, perhaps to suggest that he was not acting in accordance with the new name, or to remind him of the time when he was called.


Verse 38

38. προσεύχεσθε ἵνα μή. Change from sing. to plur. Pres. imperat. of continuous prayer, and ἵνα μή is that … not (R.V.) rather than “lest” (A.V.). Here all three agree, and the words which follow again recall the Lord’s Prayer. But no Gospel, either here or elsewhere, states that Christ charged the disciples to pray for Him. They are to pray for themselves in their πειρασμοί, as He prays for Himself in His. But He prays for them also and for others (John 17:8; John 17:15; John 17:20). The contrast between Christ’s praying in His temptation and the disciples’ prayerless self-confidence (Mark 14:31), and subsequent slumber, is great.

πειρασμόν. The word occurs nowhere else in Mk, and nowhere at all in Jn. It is perhaps true that in N.T. πειρασμοί generally means trials sent by God rather than temptations sent by the evil one, but here the latter sense prevails. See Hort on 1 Peter 1:6.

τὸ μὲν πνεῦμα πρόθυμον. This is quoted in the Ep. of Polycarp 7 as a Saying of Christ; see on Mark 9:35. Owing to Christ’s training of the disciples, their spiritual nature was ready to respond to Divine calls, but the weakness which is inherent in man’s lower nature still sometimes prevented the responsiveness from taking effect. Quantum de ardore mentis confidimus, tantum de carnis fragilitate timeamus (Bede). Human action requires the co-operation of spirit and flesh, and the flesh is often a clog to good action, or even an opponent to it (1 Peter 2:11; cf. Romans 6:19; Romans 8:3; Romans 8:9). When the flesh is regarded as a successful opponent of the spirit, it may be said to be strong rather than weak. All depends upon the point of view.


Verse 39

39. τὸν αὐτὸν λόγον εἰπών. “Saying the same words” (A.V., R.V.) is a little too definite; it means “speaking to the same effect.” The statement would be quite true if He made the same petition in different words, as reported by Mt.


Verse 40

40. εὗρεν. As in Mark 5:37. This and οὐκ ᾔδεισαν are the two main verbs, ἦσαν γάρ being a parenthesis.

οὐκ ᾔδεισαν τί ἀποκριθῶσιν. Again a parallel with the Transfiguration; see on Mark 9:6. After their boasting (Mark 14:31), they had no excuse to offer for their failing to watch.


Verse 41

41. ἔρχεται τὸ τρίτον. Mk omits the third going away and the third prayer. Cf. 2 Corinthians 12:8; Numbers 24:10; 1 Samuel 3:8.

Καθεύδετε τὸ λοιπόν. The first reproaches (Mark 14:37) were questions; the form of the second is not recorded. This may be a question. “Are ye going to sleep on and take your rest?” “Is it quite impossible to induce you to watch and pray?” Syr-Sin. omits τὸ λοιπόν, which, however, is no obstacle to making the sentence interrogative. Even if “Sleep on now and take your rest” be understood as mournful irony rather than a conceded permission, it does not fit on well with the words which immediately follow.

ἀπέχει. Mk only. In papyri we find ἀπέχω used by persons who receive money and give a receipt. Deissmann, Bib. St. p. 229. Possibly the impersonal ἀπέχει would mean “settled,” “the transaction is at an end.” The traditional rendering “Enough,” Sufficit, seems to be right, however that meaning may be reached. The Old Latin renderings differ considerably, but they point to some such signification as “the consummation is here,” “the hour is come.” The exclamation may have been preceded by an interval of some duration. See Field, p. 39.

παραδίδοται. Is being delivered up into the hands of sinners. See on Mark 9:31, Mark 10:33.


Verse 42

42. ἐγείρεσθε. The disciples are still on the ground.

ἄγωμεν. Cf. Mark 1:38. Let us be going, not to escape, but to meet the traitor (John 18:4). “At the fitting time He did not prevent Himself from falling into the hands of men” (Orig. Cels. ii. 10).

ὁ παραδιδούς. So also in Jn. Peter and John knew who he was (John 13:23-26). The multitude to which Judas was acting as guide was now within hearing and perhaps within sight. Cf. Mark 1:14.


Verse 43

43. εὐθὺςπαραγίνεται. These words are peculiar to Mk, and εὐθύς is doubly characteristic; in itself and in being superfluous; cf. Mark 6:25. Nowhere else does Mk use παραγίνομαι, which is very freq. in Lk. and Acts.

ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντοςἸούδας εἷς τῶν δώδεκα. These words are in all three. Cf. Mark 5:35; Matthew 12:46; Luke 8:49; also Mark 14:10; Matthew 26:14. Jn says εἷς ἐκ τῶν δώδεκα (John 6:71, John 20:24). Judas and Jesus are the only persons named in this section, and Judas is named without any epithet of abhorrence; to call him “one of the Twelve” is enough. The narrative is quite passionless.

παρὰ τῶν ἀρχ. κ.τ.λ. The three sections of the Sanhedrin are again clearly marked by separate articles; see on Mark 8:31. The ὄχλος would be composed of those who approved of the arrest, and they had taken any weapons that were ready to their hands. The Sanhedrin would take care that the Galilean pilgrims were not informed of their plans. Nothing is told us of the eight disciples who had been left near the entrance. Judas would have to pass them.


Verses 43-50

43–50. THE TRAITOR’S KISS AND THE ARREST OF JESUS

Matthew 27:47-56. Luke 22:47-53. John 18:2-12


Verse 44

44. δεδώκει. No augment, as often (Mark 15:7; Mark 15:10, Mark 16:9; Luke 6:48, etc.). The omission is not rare in class. Grk, partly for convenience, but chiefly for sound. It is most freq. in compounds.

ὁ παραδιδούς. He who was betraying Him.

σύσσημον. A sign previously arranged, a concerted signal or token (A.V., R.V.); more definite than σημεῖον (Mark 13:4), which Mt. has here. The word occurs nowhere else in N.T. and is rare in LXX. The Sanhedrin did not wish to be embarrassed by arresting disciples, who would have little influence without their Master (Mark 14:27), and hence the necessity for a token by which He could be distinguished from them. Jn omits it; see on John 18:5. The reports of so exciting a scene, with such rapid action and in imperfect light, would be sure to differ considerably. But it is not likely that the kiss is a fiction. Few details in history have made such an impression on men’s minds.

φιλήσω. The meaning “kiss” is common in class. Grk and in LXX., but in N.T. it is used only of Judas; φίλημα is used of the “kiss of peace” in Paul and 1 Peter.

αὐτός ἐστιν. He is the man. Cf. Luke 24:21.

κρατήσατε αὐτόν. See on Mark 3:21, Mark 6:17.

ἀπάγετε ἀσφαλῶς. Cf. Mark 14:53, Mark 15:16; Acts 12:19. Ἀπάγω frequently has the meaning of “arrest,” “take before a tribunal,” “put in prison” (Hdt. Plat. Dem. and also in papyri). For his own sake Judas would be anxious that there should be no failure; he could never face the Master again. Moreover he knew that Jesus possessed mysterious powers, and that hitherto he had always escaped; Mark 3:6, Mark 11:18; Luke 4:30; John 7:44-45; John 8:59; John 10:39; John 11:53; John 11:57; John 12:19. That Judas had warned the men whom he led of Christ’s supernatural power is not probable; but there was the possibility of rescue. Latin versions differ widely in their rendering of ἀσφαλῶς: caute (Vulg.), firmissime (f), diligenter (d), cum omni sollicitudine and cum monitione (some MSS. of Vulg.). Nearly all have ducite, but more accurately abducite (q).


Verse 45

45. ἐλθὼνπροσελθών. Characteristic combination of participles; cf. Mark 1:31; Mark 1:41. But, though the expression is clumsy, it is intelligible and graphic. Judas arrives, recognizes Jesus, and at once comes up to Him.

εὐθύς. Mt. adopts this and it is by no means superfluous. Judas allows no delay to give a chance of escape, and he is anxious to get his own share in the matter over. See crit. note.

κατεφίλησεν. The change from φιλήσω (Mark 14:44) to the compound seems to show that καταφιλέω here has its classical force of kissing affectionately. Often in Xen. it has this meaning and always in N.T. (Luke 7:38; Luke 7:45; Luke 15:20; Acts 20:37). In LXX. it is perhaps too freq. to be always understood in this sense. See on Mark 10:16. That the kiss of Judas was a very demonstrative one seems to be the meaning of Mk and Mt., and there may have been an embrace to prevent movement. Lk. appears to shrink from recording the actual kiss, but he records Christ’s rebuke to Judas for this monstrous form of treachery, and his record of what Christ said differs strangely from that of Mt. Mk records no rebuke, and he does not mention Judas again. The narrative in Jn, without being contradictory, is utterly different, and we cannot put the accounts together in proper order. As remarked before, impressions as to what took place would differ even among those who were present, and tradition would introduce other differences.


Verse 46

46. ἐπέβαλαν τὰς χεῖρας. This is the commonest use of ἐπιβάλλω in N.T. Cf. Luke 20:19; Luke 21:12; John 7:30; John 7:44, etc. Note the 2nd aor. with 1st aor. termination ([3331][3332] and see on εἴδαμεν, Mark 2:12.


Verse 47

47. εἷς δέ τις. Both Mk and Lk. have τις, but Mt. omits it. It suggests that the writer could name the εἷς, if he thought it wise to do so. Here, as in the cases of Mary anointing Christ, and of Judas murmuring at her, the later records are more definite than the earlier. Mk says that this assault was committed by a certain person, Mt. and Lk. that it was done by one of Christ’s followers, Jn that it was the act of Simon Peter. After Peter’s death, and long after the event, no harm would be done in giving the name. Jn alone gives the name Malchus; as an acquaintance of the high-priest (John 18:15) he would know his slave’s name. Malchus may have been the first to lay hands on Jesus, and hence Peter’s impulsive attack on him. Peter’s mingled affection and self-confidence are again conspicuous. He does not think of the risk to himself, nor does he stop to consider what good it would do to wound one man, and him a mere subordinate. His μάχαιρα was probably a large knife rather than a sword; there were two such weapons in the party (Luke 22:38).

ἀφεῖλεν. Took off. In no other connexion is ἀφαιρέω used in N.T. of physical sundering; but cf. Genesis 40:19; Exodus 29:27; 1 Samuel 17:46, etc. Both Lk. and Jn specify the right ear, a very rare instance of agreement between Lk. and Jn in narrative, as distinct from Mk and Mt. Mt. alone records Christ’s rebuke to Peter, and Lk. alone records the healing of the ear. In some cases diminutives retain their force in N.T., e.g. πλοιάριον (Mark 3:9), κυνάρια (Mark 7:27); but here ὠτάριον (Mk, Jn) and ὠτίον (Mt.) = οὖς (Lk.).


Verse 48

48. ἀποκριθείς. He answers their action, their manner of arresting Him, as if He were a dangerous bandit; see on Mark 9:5 and Mark 11:14. This remonstrance is the same in all three; Jn omits it.

ἐξήλθατε. See on ἐπέβαλαν, Mark 14:46.

συλλαβεῖν. To arrest; Luke 22:54; John 18:12; Acts 1:16, etc.


Verse 49

49. καθʼ ἡμέρανἐν τῷ ἱερῷ. The words are in all three, and they cause no difficulty, even if none of those who had heard Him teach were present in Gethsemane. Those who had ordered His arrest knew that every day, in a most public place, He was to be found. The allusion is probably to the last few days, not to the earlier teaching in Jerusalem.

ἤμην. This is the usual form of the 1st pers. imperf. in N.T. (Matthew 25:35; John 11:15; Acts 10:30, etc.).

πρὸς ὑμᾶς. Lk. has μεθʼ ὑμῶν, but πρός c. acc. indicates not merely proximity or accompaniment, but intercourse; see on John 1:1 and 1 John 1:2.

ἀλλʼ ἵνα. Something is understood; “but you did not arrest Me then, in order that.” Mt. supplies all this has come to pass. See on John 9:3 and 1 John 2:19.

αἱ γραφαί. See on Mark 12:10; Mark 12:24. In Jn it is always ἵνα ἡ γραφὴ πλ. (John 13:18, John 17:12, John 19:24; Joh_19:36).


Verse 50

50. ἔφυγον πάντες. See crit. note. The πάντες comes at the end with emphasis; and they forsook Him and fled—all of them. Peter, after striking one useless blow, flees with the rest; cf. Mark 14:27; Mark 14:29. It was evident that He was not going to use His miraculous power to prove His Messiahship, and they left Him to the fate which He had often foretold.


Verse 51

51. καὶ νεανίσκος τις. See crit. note. This strange incident has so little to do with the narrative, and is so out of harmony with the tone of it, that we wonder why it was inserted. It cannot be part of Peter’s reminiscences, for he had fled before it occurred, and he would not regard the matter as instructive. It can hardly be part of the story which he habitually told, and it would not be likely to be part of the primitive tradition. The patristic guess that the young man was St John is excluded by the fact that he had already fled. James, the Lord’s brother, is less improbable, but has little to recommend it. Much more probably the young man was the Evangelist himself. This hypothesis gives an adequate reason for the insertion of the incident. The matter was of intense interest to him, and some who read his Gospel would know who was meant. He does not give his name, for he does not wish to pose as the one adherent of Jesus who did not fly until an attempt was made to arrest him. If the Evangelist was the son of “the goodman” in whose house the Paschal meal was celebrated (see on Mark 14:14), then his appearance at this crisis is intelligible. The house was near Gethsemane, and the noise and lights of the band led by Judas may have awakened Mark, who—taking the first thing that came to hand as a covering—ran out to see what was happening. As his father knew Jesus (Mark 14:14) and was perhaps a disciple, Mark would be greatly interested, even if he were not himself a disciple. All this hangs together very well, but the evidence for it is slender. The suggestion that the incident is given as a specimen of the animosity of Christ’s foes against anyone who seemed to sympathize with Him, is not very convincing. As in the case of “the father of Alexander and Rufus” (Mark 15:21), the Evangelist seems to assume that some of his readers will know who is meant; but it is the interest to himself that causes the adventure of the young man to be recorded. Zahn, Introd. to N.T. II. p. 494; Mk “paints a small picture of himself in the corner of his work.”

σινδόνα. This may mean either an article of clothing or a coverlet caught up to serve as clothing. Of the perfect housewife (Proverbs 31:24) it is said σινδόνας ἐποίησεν καὶ ἀπέδοτο, which Toy explains as “probably a square piece of cloth that could be used as an outer garment or as a night-dress”; and Moore thinks that the 30 linen garments which Samson wagered (Judges 14:12) were “rectangular pieces of fine and therefore costly linen stuff, which might be worn as an outer garment, or as a night-wrapper.” The Talmud says that such a piece of linen might be used as a curtain or a shroud. We may conjecture with Bengel that a young man who had a σινδών as a wrapper came from a well-to-do household. Cf. Acts 12:8.


Verse 52

52. καταλιπών. Often used of leaving behind (Mark 12:19; Mark 12:21), or abandoning completely (Mark 10:7; Luke 5:28). In N.T. this compound is far more freq. than λείπω. All these minute details show that, if Mk is not giving his own experiences, he has got information from one who was there. That Mt. and Lk. should omit this incident is natural. That a later editor has inserted it in Mk is very improbable. What would be the object of such insertion? If the young man was Mark, or some one whom he knew very well, we have a reasonable explanation of its presence in this Gospel.


Verse 53

53. πρὸς τὸν ἀρχιερέα. Caiaphas, as Mt. states. Neither Mk nor Mt. mentions Annas, and Mk never names Caiaphas, but presumably in Mk “the high-priest” always means Caiaphas. Jn says that they took Jesus to Annas first. He had been high-priest A.D. 7–14, and had been deposed by Valerius Gratus, Pilate’s predecessor. But probably some Jews regarded him as the true high-priest, although his son-in-law Caiaphas acted as high-priest A.D. 18–36. They seem to have lived together in the same palace. See on John 18:13.

συνέρχονται. The Sanhedrin, with its three component sections, is ready to meet at once; and the three sections are mentioned separately, as if to show how representative the assembly was, and how widely spread was the responsibility. Late as the hour is, the witnesses are ready also. All has been carefully prepared. The Synoptists distinguish two ecclesiastical trials, an informal one during the night, when the chief business was transacted, and a formal one by daylight to confirm the proceedings. Nothing done in the night was valid.


Verses 53-65

53–65. THE TRIAL BEFORE THE HIGH-PRIEST

Matthew 26:57-68. Luke 22:63-71. Cf. John 18:12-14; John 18:19-24


Verse 54

54. ὁ Πέτρος ἀπὸ μακρόθεν ἠκολούθησεν. When the first panic was over, Peter’s affection re-asserted itself; and perhaps there was some shame at this pitiful result of his self-confident professions; but his fears keep him at a distance. All three have μακρόθεν, but Mk alone has the superfluous ἀπό (Mark 5:6, Mark 8:3, Mark 11:13), and here it is Mt. who has the imperf., while Mk has the less accurate aor. After Jesus had been taken inside the palace, Peter, with the help of a disciple who was probably St John (see on John 18:15), obtained admission to the αὐλή, atrium, or open court, from which the room in which the Sanhedrin was sitting could be seen. There he sat with the Levitical guard, warming himself. Jerusalem is 2500 feet above the sea, and the nights in spring are cold. The superfluous εἰςἕως ἔσω εἰς—is in Mk only. That it was Judas who got Peter admitted is incredible.

πρὸς τὸ φῶς. Both Mk and Lk. notice this. His care for his comfort was fatal; the firelight caused him to be recognized. Xenophon uses φῶς in the sense of fire (πῦρ). Syr-Sin. omits the words.


Verse 55

55. ἐζήτουνοὐχ εὕρισκον. Their failure to get evidence on which He could be condemned to death was as continuous as their seeking for it. Ecclesiastical tribunals have often been prone to decide first and then seek for evidence to justify the decision.


Verse 56

56. ἴσαιοὐκ ἦσαν. Agreed not together; cf. Deuteronomy 17:6; Deuteronomy 19:15; Numbers 35:30. The words might mean “were not just and impartial,” but hardly “were not adequate,” which would rather be ἱκαναί (Plato, Sym. 179 B, Hip. Mi. 369 c).


Verse 57

57. ἐψευδομαρτύρουν. This repetition is in Mk only. Syr-Sin. omits.


Verse 58

58. Ἡμεῖς ἠκούσαμεν αὐτοῦ. We ourselves heard Him. This characteristic fulness is again peculiar to Mk. The report of the words is in Mt. different and shorter; “I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.” How far the report of what the witnesses said has been influenced by the recollection of what Christ actually said, or by the interpretation of what He said, it is impossible to determine. It is not incredible that Christ’s remarkable utterance made two years before (John 2:19) was remembered, and was now brought up against Him in a perverted form. Of course Christ had not said that He would destroy the Temple. On the other hand it is possible that He had said something similar recently. His prediction of the destruction of the Temple (Mark 13:2) may have become known, and to a Jew that would seem to be blasphemy, for the Temple was the token of the Presence of God. Cf. Revelation 11:1-2. They did not see that in killing the Messiah they doomed the Temple to destruction. Cf. Acts 6:14, where Stephen’s saying on the subject is quoted against him. For διὰ τριῶν see on Mark 2:1, and for ἀχειροποίητον see on 2 Corinthians 5:1.


Verse 59

59. οὐδὲ οὕτως. Mk only. Mt. regards the statement that they were false witnesses as sufficient. Mk states with satisfaction that even about this definite charge their statements did not tally. According to John 2:19 Jesus had said “Destroy … and I will raise.”


Verse 60

60. Οὐκ ἀποκρίνῃ οὐδέν; This is a separate question (A.V., R.V.). Vulg. runs the two questions into one; Non respondes quicquam ad ea quae tibi objiciuntur ab his? The Greek in Mt. is the same, with the omission of one negative, but there Vulg. has Nihil respondes ad ea quae isti adversum te testificantur? Both these translations treat τί as if it were πρὸς ἅ. We might take τί as ὅ τι, “nothing as to that which”; but the two questions are more terse and more in Mk’s style. The double negative is in Mk’s style; see on Mark 14:25.

τί οὗτοί σου κ.; “What explanation is there of all this testimony against Thee?” The high-priest adopts this paternal tone in order to get evidence from Christ Himself which they had failed to get from their witnesses. Syr-Sin. make this a separate question, as also does Victor.


Verse 61

61. ἐσιώπα καὶ οὐκ ἀπεκρίνατο οὐδέν. So [3333][3334][3335][3336] 33. Again the double negative and superfluous fulness; Mt. has ἐσιώπα only. Euthymius gives two reasons for the silence; βλέπων μὲν καὶ τὸ δικαστήριον παράνομον, εἰδὼς δὲ καὶ ὅτι μάτην ἀποκρινεῖται παρὰ τοιούτοις. With regard to the first, the Sanhedrin had no right to make Him a prisoner, no right to hold a nocturnal sitting, no right to use false witnesses in support of an iniquitous prejudgment. Moreover, by declaring their inability to decide whether the Baptist had a Divine commission, they had abdicated. There was nothing for Him to reply to, for all evidence against Him had broken down. All three Gospels have ἀπεκρίνατο (Matthew 27:12; Luke 23:9). The aor. mid. is rare both in LXX. and N.T. (Luke 3:16; John 5:17; John 5:19, but not Mark 12:23; Acts 3:12).

πάλινἐπηρώτα. This does not mean that the high-priest repeated his question, but that he made another appeal. The appeal is quite a new one. Jesus had accepted the acclamations of those who hailed Him as “He that cometh” and as “the Son of David.” Did He Himself claim to be the Messiah? the Son of the Blessed? The latter expression would be used in order to avoid using the Divine Name. Mt. substitutes “the Son of God,” having stated that Caiaphas put this question with a solemn adjuration, Ἐξορκίζω σε κατὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ ζῶντος. After such words there was no point in avoiding the Divine Name. Jewish thought had by no means always identified the Messiah with the Son of God. But it was sometimes done; e.g. Enoch cv. 2; 2 Esdras 7:28-29; 2 Esdras 14:9; and Caiaphas would know this. For the Sanhedrin’s purpose it was much more important that Jesus should be got to claim the latter title. The populace had not hailed Him as the Son of God; if He could be led to say that He was the Son of God, a charge of blasphemy could be established. Elsewhere in N.T. εὐλογητός is a predicate of ὁ Θεός in doxologies.


Verse 62

62. Ἐγώ εἰμι. Jesus admits the right of the high-priest to ask this question and replies at once. For the first time in this Gospel He publicly declares in full and solemn language Who He is. The reference to Daniel 7:13 would be understood by those present. Mt. gives the less definite reply Σὺ εἶπας, “That was thy saying,” which might be assent, or denial, or neutral, according to circumstances. Cf. Mark 15:2. Here what follows shows that, if Σὺ εἶπας was the expression used, it was equivalent to Ἐγώ εἰμι.

τὸν υἱὸντῆς δυνάμεως. These words are in all three. They tell the Sanhedrin that a day will come when the positions will be reversed and He will be passing sentence on them (Revelation 1:7). In τῆς δυνάμεως we have another substitute for the Divine Name. Dalman, Words, pp. 200, 306–308.

μετὰ τῶν νεφελῶν. See on Mark 13:24; Mark 13:26. The clouds are doubtless symbolical. Such symbolism was part of the mental furniture of a Jew, although some Jews may have understood the symbols literally.

Early in the Ministry Christ had begun to give a partial revelation of His Messianic character by calling Himself “the Son of Man”; He had given clearer intimations in private to the Twelve; He had accepted Peter’s confession of His Messiahship; He had refused to rebuke those who had publicly proclaimed Him as the Messianic King at the triumphal entry; and now before the Sanhedrin and before Pilate He acknowledges His full right to the title. To Pilate He explains that He is no earthly king, no rival of the Emperor. No explanation of His Kingship or of His Sonship is given to the hierarchy. They knew the import of His words, as the action of the high-priest shows.


Verse 63

63. διαρήξας τοὺς χιτῶνας. In this he was doing no more than duty required. The high-priest was forbidden to rend his clothes for his own misfortunes (Leviticus 10:6; Leviticus 21:10), but, when acting officially, he was bound to do so as a protest against any expression that was regarded as blasphemous, and the Talmud prescribes the exact way in which it was to be done. Originally a spontaneous way of expressing grief, perhaps much older than Judaism, it ended in becoming even more formal than our wearing of black or the duration of court mourning. The LXX. expression is διαρ. τὰ ἱμάτια, but τοὺς χιτῶνας occurs in the captains’ lamentations for the death of Holofernes (Judith 14:19), and in the Ep. Jeremiah 31 the idolatrous priests are described as having τοὺς χιτῶνας διερρωγότας. Apparently Caiaphas acted in accordance with rule. It was the under-garments which had to be torn. This punctilious observance of ceremonial detail (cf. John 18:28), accompanied by gross violation of important regulations and of clear principles of justice, was very characteristic. Christ ought to have been arrested before sunset and by the witnesses, and there seem to have been other violations of established rules (Brodrick, The Trial and Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, pp. 30, 65).

Τί ἔτι χρείαν ἔχομεν μαρτύρων; The question reveals that they had been seeking witnesses for the purpose of condemning Him, and the satisfaction of the conspirator is apparent through the distress of the official. What the court must regard as a blasphemous utterance shocked the high-priest, but such an utterance was exactly what he and the other Sanhedrists were desiring to elicit. Cf. Plato Rep. 340 A, καὶ τί, ἔφη, δεῖται μάρτυρος; αὐτὸς γὰρ ὁ Θρασύμαχος ὁμολογεῖ.


Verse 64

64. ἠκούσατε τῆς βλασφημίας. The sentence may be interrogative (WH.), but more probably it is categorical (A.V., R.V.), and we may keep the aor. in English; Ye heard the blasphemy. The thing heard is rarely in the gen., and here Mt. has the acc. Cf. Luke 15:25.

τί ὑμῖν φαίνεται; What do you think of it? This might mean, “Do you regard His utterance as blasphemous?” But it probably meant, “What treatment ought to be His?” The blasphemy was assumed.

οἱ δὲ πάντες. The πάντες may be exact. It is not likely that Joseph of Arimathaea (Luke 23:51) or Nicodemus (John 7:50; John 19:39) was present at this nocturnal meeting; but Mt. omits the doubtful πάντες.

ἔνοχον εἶναι θανὰτου. This is certainly accurate. They could decide that He was worthy of death; but, the sitting being illegal, the Sanhedrin had no power to pronounce any sentence. That was done later, after daybreak.


Verse 65

65. ἤρξαντό τινες ἐμπτύειν. The τινες, in contrast with the preceding πάντες, must mean some members of the Sanhedrin. That Roman soldiers should be guilty of such brutality (Mark 15:19) is not wonderful; but that members of the supreme court should exhibit their malignity in this way shows the temper in which they had come to judge their Prisoner. Christ had prophesied the spitting, but as done by the heathen (Mark 10:34). Lk. records the prediction of the spitting (Luke 18:32), but not the fulfilment of it. The more classical καταπτύω does not occur in N.T. or LXX. The covering of the face has no connexion with the Roman custom of covering the head of a criminal before crucifixion. Cic. Pro Rabir. iv. 13, Mark 14:16. Syr-Sin. omits the covering. Κολαφίζω means “strike with the fist” (1 Corinthians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 12:7, where see note; 1 Peter 2:20).

Προφήτευσον. This might have come immediately after the covering of the face; even then the meaning would not have been quite obvious. Mt. gives it clearly. Jesus was challenged to declare by His Messianic power who His unseen assailant was.

οἱ ὑπηρέται. The underlings of the Sanhedrin, the Levitical guard. “Did strike Him with the palms of their hands” (A.V.) is certainly wrong as regards the verb. We must read ἔλαβον (see crit. note); they caught Him. The meaning of ῥαπίσμασιν is less certain. It may have its original meaning of blows with a rod, but it is more probable that the later meaning of slaps with the open hand is to be retained here. Cf. Isaiah 50:6. They caught Him with blows is a safe rendering, leaving it open whether the blows were inflicted with the hand or with rods. Κονδύλοις ἔλαβεν has been found in a papyrus of this period, and Wohlenberg illustrates the unusual form of expression from Cic. Tusc. ii. 14, Spartae pueri ad aram verberibus accipiuntur. Euthymius remarks with what candour (φιλαληθῶς) and with what freedom from partiality (ἀπαθῶς) the Evangelists narrate. No concealment of the sins of Apostles, no exaltation of the Master, and no abuse of His enemies.


Verse 66

66. μία τῶν παιδισκῶν. We have four accounts of the three denials. They exhibit, what is frequently found in honest witnesses, agreement in the main features combined with considerable difference in the details. The four records may be reduced to three, for Mt. is dependent on Mk. It is possible that Lk. is sometimes influenced by Mk, but in this section Mk, Lk., and Jn may be regarded as three independent witnesses. All four agree that the person who provoked the first denial was a woman, but they do not agree as to what she said, and they agree still less as to Peter’s reply. This παιδίσκη was a female slave in the high-priest’s household. See notes on John 18:25-27. The second denial is given very briefly by all four; but the first and third are reproduced with much fulness in Mk.


Verses 66-72

66–72. PETER’S THREE DENIALS OF HIS MASTER

Matthew 26:69-75. Luke 22:56-62. John 18:17; John 18:25-27


Verse 67

67. ἰδοῦσαἐμβλέψασα. Mk’s common combination of participles; see on Mark 1:15. Neither word is superfluous. She saw some one with whom she was not familiar; and, after she had looked at him steadily (Mark 8:25, Mark 10:21; Mark 10:27), she saw that he was the person whom a disciple of Jesus had asked her to admit (Jn). Probably Peter’s manner betrayed disquietude and sympathy with the Prisoner in the room overlooking the court.

Καὶ σύ. (Mt., Jn.) “Thou as well as the other whom I know.”

τοῦ Ναζαρηνοῦ. Mk only (Mark 1:24). The epithet is emphatic by position and is spoken with contempt; See on John 1:47. Mt. has “the Galilean,” Lk. and Jn neither.


Verse 68

68. ἠρνήσατο. All three have this aor. and also the οὐκ οἶδα, which Mk gives with characteristic fulness, Οὔτε οἶδα οὔτε ἐπίσταμαι κ.τ.λ. This may be taken in three ways; “I neither know nor understand what thou sayest” (R.V.); “I neither know Him nor understand what thou sayest”; “I neither know nor understand. What art thou saying?” (WH.). The second way has the advantage of bringing out the difference between οἶδα and ἐπίσταμαι and thus justifying the use of οὔτεοὔτε: moreover Lk. supplies αὐτόν after οἶδα. Here again (see on Mark 14:30) Mt. takes one half, and Lk. the other of Mk’s full statement; οὐκ οἶδα αὐτόν (Lk.), οὐκ οἶδα τί λέγεις (Mt.).

εἰς τὸ προαύλιον. Here only in Bibl. Grk. The vestibule or forecourt rather than “the porch” (A.V., R.V.). Mt. says “the porch” (τὸν πυλῶνα), which would be near to the προαύλιον. Experience had shown that it was dangerous to stand in the light of the fire. That καὶ ἀλέκτωρ ἐφώνησεν is an interpolation may be regarded as certain, though R.V. admits the words. See crit. note.


Verse 69

69. ἡ παιδίσκη. Near the porch the portress would be likely to notice him again, and she began to point him out to the bystanders. Mt. assigns this act to a different woman, ἄλλη, while Lk. says that it was a man, ἕτερος, and that he addressed, not the bystanders, but Peter himself. Jn says that this second attack was addressed direct to Peter, εἶπον αὐτῷ, but he does not say by whom, and he states that it took place while Peter was warming himself by the fire. These divergences are of no importance; οὐ γὰρ ἐξηκρίβωται τοῦτο τῇ μνήμῃ τῶν γραψάντων (Victor). The main facts, that Peter was again assailed, and that he again denied, are given clearly by all. No doubt several people attacked him, while he shifted from one part of the courtyard to another.


Verse 70

70. πάλιν ἠρνεῖτο. Mk alone changes from aor. to imperf.; “he kept on denying.” This almost implies that several persons had assailed him.

μετὰ μικρόν. Lk. says about an hour later.

οἱ παρεστῶτες ἔλεγον. The imperf. is accurate. Lk. assigns the third attack to ἄλλος τις, and Jn says that he was a kinsman of Malchus, and had seen Peter in the garden. All three Synoptists state that Peter was now recognized as a Galilean; little, however, is known about the Galilean dialect or pronunciation which betrayed him. Dalman, Words, p. 80; Schürer, Jewish People, II. i. p. 10.

καὶ γάρ. And what is more, introducing an additional reason for suspecting him. His dress may also have suggested Galilee.


Verse 71

71. ἀναθεματίζειν. Lk. and Jn omit the cursing and swearing. The cursing would mean that he declared himself to be anathema, if what he said was not true; cf. Acts 23:12; Galatians 1:8-9; 1 Corinthians 16:22. Both the manner and the substance of his denial have increased. First he denied once that he was a follower of Jesus. Then he denied this several times. Now in very strong language he denies that he knows “this man of whom ye speak”; he cannot even now name the Master.


Verse 72

72. εὐθύς. So also Mt. and Jn, while Lk. has his favourite παραχρῆμα. See crit. note. All four notice how quickly the cock-crowing followed on the third denial. Mk alone has ἐκ δευτέρου, which [3337][3338] omit, as [3339][3340][3341] omit δίς in Mark 14:30. Lk. alone records Christ’s turning and looking at Peter; but all the Synoptists record that he remembered Christ’s prediction of the three denials and that this made him weep.

ἀλέκτωρ ἐφωνήσεν. A cock crew. None of the Gospels has the definite art., which A.V. and R.V. everywhere insert.

τὸ ῥῆμα. As in Mark 9:32, this refers to a particular utterance. Jn uses only the plur., but always of separate sayings; See on John 3:34.

δὶς φωνῆσαι. See crit. note. It is remarkable that in the omission of δίς here and Mark 14:30, and of ἐκ δευτέρου in Mark 14:72, authorities vary: [3342] omits in all three places, [3343][3344] omits δίς in both places, but not ἐκ δευτέρου, [3345] omits ἐκ δευτέρου, but not δίς in either place.

καὶ ἐπιβαλὼν ἔκλαιεν. We must be content to share the ignorance of all the ages as to what Mk means by ἐπιβαλών. At an early period ([3346] Latt. Syrr.) καὶ ἤρξατο κλαίειν was substituted for καὶ ἐπιβαλὼν ἔκλαιεν. Euthymius regards ἐπιβαλών as meaning ἀρξάμενος, and J. H. Moulton (p. 131) quotes a Ptolemaic papyrus as confirming this—ἐπιβαλὼν συνέχωσεν τὰ ἐν τῇ ἑαυτοῦ γῇ μέρη, which he translates, “he set to and dammed up.” Lagrange points out that here the meaning may rather be, “he threw on earth and made a dam.” Other unusual meanings for ἐπιβαλών are “in response to this,” and “with vehemence” (πικρῶς, Lk.). Neither is satisfactory. In Mark 4:37 we have τὰ κύματα ἐπέβαλλεν εἰς τὸ πλοῖον, but that hardly justifies “flung himself into space” as the meaning of ἐπιβαλών. Nor is “stopped suddenly,” as if striking against an obstacle, more probable. If we refuse to give any exceptional meaning to ἐπιβαηών, something must be understood. Theophylact supplies τὸ ἱμάτιον. He explains it by ἐπικαλυψάμενος τὴν κεφαλήν. Covering the head is sometimes an expression of grief (2 Samuel 15:30; 2 Samuel 19:4), and Field follows Salmasius and C. F. A. Fritzsche in adopting this meaning. It is perhaps a little less violent to supply τὴν διάνοιαν, “when he thought thereon, he wept” (A.V., R.V.). But in all these cases closer parallels than those which are put forward in justification are needed. The superiority of ἔκλαιεν (Mk) to ἔκλαυσεν (Mt., Lk.) is evident. Jn, who greatly abbreviates his friend’s denials (οὐκ εἰμί, οὐκ εἰμί, πάλιν ἠρνήσατο), omits the weeping; when he wrote, Peter’s repentance and heroic death were known in all the Churches.

It is possible to exaggerate Peter’s baseness for the sake of pointing a moral. His coming to the high-priest’s palace, and being ready to enter the court where the Levitical guard was in attendance, was courageous. His remaining there after he had been repeatedly charged with being an adherent of the Accused was still more courageous. He must have known that he ran the risk of being arrested for his violence in the garden, and for this he was prepared. But he was not prepared for the awkward remark made by a woman. The lie once told was persisted in, and he quickly went from bad to worse.

 


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Bibliography Information
"Commentary on Mark 14:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/mark-14.html. 1896.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, November 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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