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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 26

Geneva Study BibleGeneva Study Bible

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Verse 1

26:1 And {1} it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples,

(1) Christ witnesses by his going to death voluntarily, that he will make full satisfaction for the sin of Adam by his obedience.

Verse 2

26:2 {2} Ye know that after two days is [the feast of] the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.

(2) God himself and not man appoints the time that Christ should be crucified.

Verse 5

26:5 But they said, Not on the {a} feast [day], lest there be an uproar among the people.

(a) By the word "feast" is meant the whole feast of unleavened bread: the first and eighth day of which were so holy that they were not allowed to do any work on it, though the whole company of the Sanhedrin determined otherwise: And yet it came to pass through God’s providence, that Christ suffered at that time, so that all the people of Israel might be witnesses of his everlasting sacrifice.

Verse 6

26:6 {3} Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,

(3) By this sudden work of a sinful woman, Christ helps the guests to understand about his death and burial which was near: the gracious result of which will bring life to all sinners who flee unto him. But Judas takes an occasion here to accomplish his wicked purpose and plan.

Verse 7

26:7 {b} There came unto him a woman having an alabaster {c} box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat [at meat].

(b) For these things were done before Christ came to Jerusalem: and yet some think that the evangelists have two differing accounts.

(c) These boxes were of alabaster, which in ancient times men made hollow to put in ointments: for some write that alabaster keeps ointment without changing it in any way; Pliny, book 13, chap. 1.

Verse 8

26:8 But when his {d} disciples saw [it], they had indignation, saying, To what purpose [is] this {e} waste?

(d) This is a figure of speech called synecdoche: for it is said that only Judas was moved at this; John 12:4 .

(e) Unprofitable spending.

Verse 10

26:10 {4} When Jesus understood [it], he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.

(4) We ought not to rashly condemn that which is not orderly done.

Verse 11

26:11 {5} For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.

(5) Christ, who was once anointed in his own person, must always be anointed in the poor.

Verse 12

26:12 For {f} in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did [it] for my burial.

(f) In that she poured this ointment upon my body, she did it to bury me.

Verse 17

26:17 {6} Now {g} the first [day] of the [feast of] unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?

(6) Christ purposing to bring us into our country without delay and so, to pay the penalty of the law, truly fulfils the law, omitting the contrary tradition and custom of the Jews: and thus shows that all things will so come to pass by the ministry of men as governed by the secret plan of God.

(g) This was the fourteenth day of the first month: now the first day of unleavened bread should have been the fifteenth, but because the evening of this day (which after the manner of the Romans was referred to the day before) belonged by the Jews’ manner to the day following, therefore it is called the first day of unleavened bread.

Verse 20

26:20 Now when the even was come, he {h} sat down with the twelve.

(h) Because the Law appointed them to be wearing footwear, and to have their staffs in their hands, as though they were is haste, therefore it is to be gathered that they did not sit down when they ate the Passover, but stood, for normally when they went to eat they took off their shoes: therefore he speaks here in this place, not of the Passover, but of the supper which was celebrated after the Passover was solemnly done.

Verse 23

26:23 And he answered and said, He that {i} dippeth [his] hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.

(i) That is to say, he whom I invited to come to my table, alluding in this to Psalms 41:9 , which is not to be understood as though just as the Lord spoke these words Judas had his hand in the dish (for that would have been an undoubted sign) but it refers to his tabling and eating with him.

Verse 25

26:25 Then Judas, {k} which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.

(k) Who was thinking of nothing else but to betray him.

Verse 26

26:26 {7} And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and {l} blessed [it], and brake [it], and gave [it] to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; {m} this is my body.

(7) Christ who will without delay fulfil the promises of the old covenant, institutes a new covenant with new signs.

(l) Mark says, "Had given thanks": and therefore blessing is not a consecrating with a conjuring type of murmuring and power of words: and yet the bread and the wine are changed, not in nature but in quality, for without doubt they become tokens of the body and blood of Christ, not of their own nature or force of words, but by Christ his institution, which must be recited and laid forth, that faith may find what to lay hold on, both in the word and in the elements.

(m) This is a figure of speech which is called metonymy: that is to say, the giving of one name for another: so he calls the bread his body, which is the sign and sacrament of his body: and yet nonetheless, it is a figurative and changed kind of speech meaning that the faithful do indeed receive Christ with all his gifts (though by a spiritual means) and become one with him.

Verse 27

26:27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave [it] to them, saying, Drink ye {n} all of it;

(n) Therefore they who took away the cup from the people, disobeyed the instruction of Christ.

Verse 28

26:28 {o} For this is my blood of the {p} new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

(o) That is, this cup or wine is my blood sacramentally, as in Geneva "Lu 22:20".

(p) Or covenant, that is to say, by which the new league and covenant is made, for in the making of leagues they used the pouring of wine and shedding of blood.

Verse 30

26:30 And when they had sung {q} an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

(q) When they had made an end of their solemn singing, which some think was six Psalms, Psalms 112:1 to Psalms 117:2 .

Verse 31

26:31 {8} Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.

(8) Christ, here taking more care of his disciples than of himself, forewarns them of their falling away, and provides them with some comfort.

Verse 36

26:36 {9} Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.

(9) Christ having regard to the weakness of his disciples, leaves all the rest in safety, and takes with him but three to be witnesses of his anguish, and goes on purpose into the place where he would be betrayed.

Verse 37

26:37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and {r} very heavy.

(r) The word which he uses signifies great sorrow, and tremendous and deadly grief: this thing, as it indicates man’s true nature, which shuns death as a thing that entered in against nature, shows that though Christ was void of sin, yet he sustained this horrible punishment, because he felt the wrath of God kindled against us for sins, which he revenged and punished in his person.

Verse 38

26:38 {10} Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

(10) Christ, a true man, who is about to suffer the punishment which we should have suffered for forsaking God, is forsaken by his own: he has a terrible conflict with the horror and fear of the curse of God: out of which he, since he escaped as a conqueror, causes us not to be afraid of death any more.

Verse 39

26:39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, {s} let this {t} cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou [wilt].

(s) Let it pass me, and not touch me.

(t) That is, which is at hand, and is offered and prepared for me: an idiom which the Hebrews use for the wrath of God, and the punishment he sends. See Geneva "Matthew 20:22".

Verse 40

26:40 {11} And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?

(11) An example of the carelessness of man.

Verse 46

26:46 {12} Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.

(12) Christ offers himself willingly to be taken, that in so obeying willingly he might make satisfaction for the wilful fall of man.

Verse 47

26:47 And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, {u} from the chief priests and elders of the people.

(u) Sent from the high Priests.

Verse 50

26:50 {13} And Jesus said unto him, {x} Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.

(13) Christ is taken, that we might be delivered.

(x) Christ reprehends Judas tauntingly, and rebukes him sharply, for he knew well enough why he came.

Verse 52

26:52 (14) Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that {y} take the sword shall perish with the sword.

(14) Our vocation must govern our zeal.

(y) They take the sword to whom the Lord has not given it, that is to say, they who use the sword and are not called to it.

Verse 53

26:53 {15} Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?

(15) Christ was taken because he was willing to be taken.

Verse 54

26:54 {z} But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?

(z) By this questioning he answers a sly objection, for they might have asked him why he did not in this his great extremity of danger call to his Father for aid: but to this objection he answers by this question.

Verse 57

26:57 {16} And they that had laid hold on Jesus led [him] away to {a} Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.

(16) Christ being innocent is condemned by the high Priest for that wickedness of which we are guilty.

(a) From Annas to Caiaphas, before whom the multitude was assembled; John 18:13 .

Verse 58

26:58 But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest’s {b} palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.

(b) The word used here properly denotes an open large room in the front of a house, as we see in kings’ palaces and noblemen’s houses: we call it a court, for it is open to the air, and by the use of synecdoche, is understood to mean the house itself.

Verse 62

26:62 And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? {c} what [is it which] these witness against thee?

(c) How does it come to pass that these men witness against thee?

Verse 64

26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, {d} Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting {e} on the right hand of power, and coming in the {f} clouds of heaven.

(d) This word distinguishes his first coming from the latter.

(e) Sitting with God in like and equal honour at the right hand of his power, that is, in greatest power: for the right hand signifies among the Hebrews that which is mighty and of great power.

(f) Clouds of heaven; see above in Matthew 24:30 .

Verse 65

26:65 Then the high priest {g} rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.

(g) This was a peculiar custom among the Jews: for so were they bound to do when they heard any Israelite blaspheme God, and it was a tradition of their talmud in the book of the magistrates, in the title, of the four kinds of death.

Verse 69

26:69 {17} Now Peter {h} sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.

(17) Peter by the wonderful providence of God, in being appointed to be a witness of all these things, is prepared to be an example of outstanding faithfulness through this experience of unbelief.

(h) That is, outside the place where the bishop sat, but not outside of the house, for afterward he went from there into the porch.

Verse 74

26:74 Then began he to {i} curse and to swear, [saying], I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.

(i) He swore and cursed himself.

Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Matthew 26". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gsb/matthew-26.html. 1599-1645.
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