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Bible Commentaries

Alford's Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

John 19

Verse 1

1. ] The reason or purpose of this scourging does not here appear; but in Luk 23:21-23 we read that after the choice of Barabbas, Pilate asked them what should be done with Jesus? And when they demanded that He should be crucified, Pilate, after another assertion of his innocence, said παιδεύσας αὐτὸν ἀπολύσω . Thus it is accounted for.

Verses 1-16

28 19:16. ] Jesus before the Gentile governor . Matthew 27:2 ; Matthew 27:11-30 . Mark 15:1-19 . Luke 23:1-25 . Before this comes in the section of Luke 22:66-71 , containing the close of the examination before the Sanhedrim, which did not happen till the morning. This undesigned agreement between Luke and John further confirms the justice of the view respecting the two hearings maintained above: see note on Luke, as above.

Verses 2-3

2, 3. κ . ἤρχοντο πρ . αὐτ . ] This has been perhaps erased as not being understood. It was their mock-reverential approach, as to a crowned king: coming probably with obeisances and pretended homage. In the χαῖρε ὁ β . τ . Ἰουδαίων , “non tam Christum derident, quam Judæis insultant:” Lampe. See notes on Matthew 27:27-30 ; and on πορφύραν , Mark 15:17 .

Verse 4

4. ] The unjust and cruel conduct of Pilate appears to have had for its object to satisfy the multitude by the mockery and degradation of the so-called King of the Jews: and with that view he now brings forth Jesus. His speech is equivalent to ‘See what I have done purely to please you for I believe Him innocent.’

Joh 19:5 is the accurate and graphic delineation of an eye-witness, and intimately connected with the speech of Pilate which follows. For the ἰδοὺἄνθ . is to move their contempt and pity; ‘See this man who submits to and has suffered these indignities how can He ever stir up the people, or set Himself up for King? Now cease to persecute Him; your malice surely ought to be satisfied.’

Verse 6

6. ] This had been cried before, see Mat 27:22 and parallels. Possibly St. John had not heard the cry. According as men have been in different parts of a mob, they will naturally report differently, according as those nearest to them cried out.

λάβ . αὐτ . ὑμ . ] The words of Pilate shew vacillation between his own sense of the innocence of Jesus and his fear of displeasing the Jews and their rulers. He now, but in ironical mockery, as before, ch. John 18:31 , delivers the matter entirely into their hands: perhaps after having received the message from his wife, Matthew 27:19 .

Verse 7

7. ] In consequence of this taunt, they now declare the cause of their condemnation of Him see Lev 24:16 and their demand that, though found innocent by the governor, He should die.

Verse 8

8. ] This charge served to increase the fear which Pilate had before: see note on ch. John 18:37 . The name υἱὸς θεοῦ served also to confirm the omen already furnished by the dream of his wife. That this fear was not a fear of the Jews , nor of acting unjustly , but of the Person of Jesus, is evident from what follows.

Verse 9

9. ] He entered, taking Jesus with him.

πόθεν i.e. not ‘from what province?’ for he knew this, Luke 23:6-7 ; nor, ‘of what parents?’ but whence? in reference to υἱὸς θεοῦ : cf. πόθεν γένος εὔχεται εἶναι , Hom. Od. ρ . 373. Observe that the fear of Pilate is not mere superstition, nor does it enter into the Jewish meaning of υἱὸς θ .: but arises from an indefinite impression made on him by the Person and bearing of our Lord. We must not therefore imagine any fear of Him as being a ‘son of the gods,’ in Pilate’s mind (so even Luthardt): this gives a wrong direction to his conduct, and misses the fine psychological truth of the narrative.

Our Lord, in His silence, was acting according to His own precept, Matthew 7:6 . Notwithstanding Pilate’s fear of Him, he was not in earnest; not determined to be led by his conscience, but had already given way to the unjust demands of the people; and He who saw his heart, knew how unworthy he was of an answer to so momentous a question. Besides, this silence was the most emphatic answer to all who had ears to hear it; was a reference to what He had said before, ch. John 18:37 , and so a witness to His divine origin. Would any mere man , of true and upright character, have refused an answer to such a question, so put? Let the modern rationalist consider this.

Verse 10

10. ] As in ch. John 18:35 , Pilate at once recoils from his better conscience into the state-pride of office. “Objurgans increpatio timori præcedenti plane contraria.” Lampe. This very boast was a self-conviction of injustice. No just judge has any such power as this, to punish or to loose (see 2Co 13:8 ); but only patiently to enquire and give sentence according to the truth.

ἐμοί , emphatic: it perhaps being implied, ‘Thou hast, I know, refused to reply to others before.’

ἀπολῦσαι , first seems most natural, as appealing most to the prisoner: σταυρῶσαι follows, as the alternative in case the other is rejected.

Verse 11

11. ] This last testimony of our Lord before Pilate is a witness to the truth: opening in a wonderful manner the secret of Pilate’s vaunted power, of His own humble submission, and the sinfulness of His enemies. This saying, observes Meyer, breathes truth and grace. The great stress is on the word ἄνωθεν , on which Grotius strikingly says ( ungewohnlich treffend , Stier), “inde scilicet, unde ortus sum!” so that it answers remarkably to the πόθεν above. We must not dream of any allusion to Rome , or the Sanhedrim , in this ἄνωθεν , as the sources of Pilate’s power: the word was not so meant, nor so understood: see John 19:12 .

δεδομέν ον , not δεδομέν η : the neuter is more general, requiring the supply, as Meyer, of τὸ ἐξουσιάζειν κατ ʼ ἐμοῦ , and embraces in itself the whole delegation from above, power included q. d. except by appointment from above . Lampe (in loc.) remarks: “Concedit Pilato (1) potestatem . Agnoscebat fori humani authoritatem, quia regnum ejus non erat terrenum, humanos magistratus destruens. Neque Pilato et Romanis jus in Judæos disputabat.… (2) Exaggerat illam potestatem, ut superne datam . Hæc est doctrina Christiana, omnem potestatem esse a Deo ( Rom 13:1-2 ).… (3) Agnoscit potestatem illam se in Seipsum extendere, cum omnia secum ex decreto divino agerentur ( Act 4:28 ).”

διὰ τοῦτο ] on this account, viz. because of what has just been asserted, οὐκ εἶχες κ . τ . λ .

The connexion is somewhat difficult. I take it to be this: ‘God has given to thee power over me; not insight into the character which I claim, that of being the son of God but simply power: that insight belonged to others, viz. the Sanhedrim, and their president, whose office it was to judge that claim; they have judged against the clearest evidence and rejected me, the Son of God; thy sin, that of blindly exercising thy power , sin though it be, is therefore less than theirs , who being God’s own people, and with God’s word of prophecy before them (and the High Priest, with his own prophetic word before him, see ch. Joh 18:14 ), deliberately gave me over into thy hand.’ It is important to this, which I believe to be the only right understanding of the words, to remember that Pilate, from John 19:6 , was making himself simply their tool; He was the sinful, but at the same time the blind instrument of their deliberate malice. Nearly so Lücke and De Wette. Bengel and Stier understand “quia Me non nosti” as the subject of διὰ τοῦτο , but Lücke rightly says that δεδομ . ἄνωθεν , and nothing else must be that subject. So Meyer also.

παραδιδ ., beyond question, Caiaphas , to whom the initiative on the Jewish side belonged; “cujus authoritate omnia agebantur,” Lampe. At the same time the whole Sanhedrim are probably included under the guilt of their chief.

In this ἁμαρτίαν is an implied reference to a higher Judge nay, that Judge Himself speaks.

Verse 12

12. ] ἐκ τ ., from this time; so De W., Lücke, &c.: Meyer, Stier, and Luthardt render it “ on this account; ” arguing that Pilate had before been endeavouring to deliver Him: but the words imply that from this time, he entirely set himself to deliver Him.

Pilate himself was deeply struck by these words of majesty and mildness, and almost sympathy for his [own] weakness, and made a last, and, as ἐκ τ . seems to imply, a somewhat longer attempt than before, to deliver Him.

φίλος τ . Κ . ] There does not seem to be any allusion to a title of honour, amicus Cæsaris ; indeed, to judge from the citations in Wetstein, a good deal of fancy has been employed in making out the fact of such a title having been in use, any further than that the appellation would naturally arise and be accounted honourable.

φίλ . τ . Κ . here is ‘well affected to Cæsar.’

This was a terrible saying, especially under Tiberius, with whom (Tacit. Ann. iii. 38) “majestatis crimen omnium accusationum complementum erat.”

πᾶς ὁ β .… ] This was true: their application of it to Christ a lie. But words , not facts , are taken into account by tyrants, and this Pilate knew.

Verse 13

13. ] τ . λόγων τούτων viz. these two last remarks. “In such a perplexity, a man like Pilate could not long hesitate. As Caiaphas had before said, it were better that one even innocent man should die, than that all should perish: so now in like case Pilate decided rather to sacrifice Jesus though innocent, than to expose himself to so great danger.” Friedlieb, Arch. der Leid. § 34.

ἔξω ] See on ch. John 18:33 .

The βῆμα was in front of the prætorium, on an elevated platform; Gabbatha, probably from גָּבַהּ , altus fuit , which was paved with a tessellated pavement. Such a pavement Julius Cæsar carried about on his expeditions, Suet. Cæs [249] c. 46.

[249] Cæsarius of Constantinople, 368

Verse 14

14. παρασκευὴ τοῦ π . ] The signification, ‘Friday in the Passover week’ (using παρασκευή for ‘day before the sabbath,’ as reff. Matt., Luke, and τοῦ π . as in σάββατον τοῦ π . Ps.-Ign. ad Philip. c. 13, p. 937, ed. Migne), has found many and some recent defenders: see especially Wieseler, Chron. Synops. i. 335 ff. But this is not its natural meaning, nor would it ever have been thought of in this place, but for the difficulty arising from the whole Passover question, which I have discussed on Matthew 26:17-19 , and on ch. John 18:28 .

παρ . τοῦ π . answers to עֶרֶב הפֶּסַח , and is ‘ the vigil of the Passover ,’ i.e. the day preceding the evening when the passover was killed. And so it must be understood here, especially when connected with ch. John 18:28 . See on the whole matter the notes above referred to.

ὥρα ὡς ἕκτη ] There is an insuperable difficulty as the text now stands. For Mark relates, ch. John 15:25 , that the crucifixion took place at the third hour: and that it certainly was so, the whole arrangement of the day testifies. For on the one hand, the judgement could hardly have taken the whole day till noon: and on the other, there will not thus be time left for the rest of the events of the day, before the sabbath began. We must certainly suppose, as did Eusebius, Theophylact, and Severus (in the Catena, Lücke, ii. 756), that there has been some very early erratum in our copies; whether the interchange of Γ ʹ (3) and ϛ ʹ (6), or some other, cannot now be determined. Lücke and Friedlieb defend the sixth hour: but the above difficulties seem to me decisive against it.

We certainly may approximate the two accounts by recollecting that as the crucifixion itself certainly did not (as in Mark) take place exactly at the third hour, and as here it is ὥρα ὡς ἕκτη , some intermediate time may be described by both Evangelists. But this is not satisfactory: see note on Mark 15:25 . The solution given by Bp. Wordsworth after Townson and others, that St. John’s reckoning of the hours is different, and like our own, so that the sixth hour = 6 A.M., besides being unsupported by any authority (see ch. John 1:39 ; John 4:6 ; John 4:52 ; John 11:9 , and notes), would leave here the difficulty that there must thus elapse three hours between the hearing before Pilate and the Crucifixion. Besides which, we may ask, is it possible to imagine St. John, with the other Gospels before him as these expositors believe him to have had, adopting without notice an independent reckoning of his own which would introduce utter confusion into that history which (again on their hypothesis) he wrote his Gospel to complete and clear up?

The words ἴδεβασ . ὑμ . seem to have been spoken in irony to the Jews in the same spirit in which afterwards the title was written over the cross: partly perhaps also, as in that case, in consequence of the saying in John 19:12 , to sever himself altogether from the suspicion there cast on him.

Verse 15

15. ] οὐκ ἔχ . βασ . εἰ μὴ Κ ., a degrading confession from the chief priests of that people of whom it was said, “The Lord your God is your King.” 1 Samuel 12:12 . “Jesum negant usque eo, ut omnino Christum negent,” Bengel. However, it furthered the present purpose, and to this all was sacrificed, including truth itself; for the confession was not only degrading, but false in their mouths. Some of those who now cried this, died miserably in rebellion against Cæsar forty years afterwards.

Verse 16

16. ] παρέλ ., viz. the chief priests.

Verse 16

16. ] παρέλ ., viz. the chief priests.

Verse 17

17. ] See on Matthew 27:33 .

αὐτῷ is dat. commodi: ‘carrying the cross for himself.’

Verses 17-22

17 22. ] His Crucifixion .

Verse 19

19. ] Matthew 27:37 .

Verses 20-22

20 22. ] The same spirit of mockery of the Jews shewed itself in the title, as before, John 19:14 . They had prevailed on Pilate by urging this point, that Jesus had set Himself up for a king; and Pilate is willing to remind them of it by these taunts. Hence their complaint and his answer.

The Latin was the official language, the Greek that usually spoken, the Hebrew (i.e. Aramaic) that of the common people.

γέγ . γέγ . ] The first perfect denotes the past action; the second that it was complete and unalterable.

Verses 23-24

23, 24. ] οὖν goes back to John 19:18 . There were four soldiers, a τετράδιον , Acts 12:4 , and a centurion? “centurio supplicio præpositus,” Seneca de Ira, 16 (Friedlieb).

The garments of the executed were by law the perquisite of the soldiers on duty. Dig. xlviii. 20. 6 (Friedlieb).

The tunic was the so-called ‘toga ocellata,’ or ‘byssina.’ It reached from the neck to the feet, and was fastened round the throat with a clasp. It was properly a priest’s garment (see Jos. Antt. iii. 7. 4), and was woven of linen, or perhaps of wool (Friedlieb).

The citation is verbatim from the LXX. In it, ἱμάτια = the upper garments, ἱματισμός the tunic. Again, beware of any evasion of ἵνα .

Verses 23-30

23 30. ] His death .

Verse 25

25. ] In Matthew 27:55-56 [250] , we learn that two of these were looking on afar off, after Jesus had expired, with Salome. Considering then that John’s habit of not naming himself, might extend to his mother (he names his father, ch. Joh 21:2 ), we may well believe that ἡ ἀδελφὴ τ . μητρὸς αὐτοῦ here represents Salome , and that four women are designated by this description. So Wieseler and Meyer, Luthardt opposing them. So also Ewald: and, which is no mean evidence, the Peschito, inserting a καί between αὐτοῦ and Μαρία .

[250] When, in the Gospels, and in the Evangelic statement, 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 , the sign (║) occurs in a reference, it is signified that the word occurs in the parallel place in the other Gospels, which will always be found indicated at the head of the note on the paragraph. When the sign (║) is qualified , thus, ‘║ Mk.,’ or ‘║ Mt. Mk.,’ &c., it is signified that the word occurs in the parallel place in that Gospel or Gospels, but not in the other or others .

τοῦ κλωπᾶ , wife of Klopas (Alphæus, see Matthew 10:3 , and Prolegg. to Ep. of James, § i. 4), the mother of James the Less and Joses: Matt., Mark.

Verse 26

26. ἰδὲυἱός σου ] The relationship in the flesh between the Lord and His mother was about to close; hence He commends her to another son who should care for and protect her. Thus, as at the marriage in Cana, when His official independence of her was to be testified, so now, He addresses her as γύναι .

Verse 27

27. ] The solemn and affecting commendation of her to John is doubly made, and thus bound by the strongest injunctions on both. The Romanist idea, that the Lord commended all His disciples, as represented by the beloved one, to the patronage of His mother , is simply absurd. The converse is true: He did solemnly commend the care of her, especially indeed to the beloved disciple, but in him to the whole cycle of disciples, among whom we find her, Acts 1:14 .

No certain conclusion can be drawn from this commendation, as to the ‘brethren of the Lord’ believing on Him or not at this time. The reasons which influenced Him in his selection must ever be far beyond our penetration: and whatever relations to Him we suppose those brethren to have been , it will remain equally mysterious why He passed them over, who were so closely connected with His mother. Still the presumption, that they did not then believe on Him, is one of which it is not easy to divest one’s self; and at least may enter as an element into the consideration of the whole subject, beset as it is with uncertainty.

ἀπ ʼ ἐκ . τ . ὥρας is probably to be taken literally, from that time; so that she was spared the pangs of witnessing what was to follow. If so, John returned again to the Cross, John 19:35 .

εἰς τὰ ἴδια need not imply that John had a house in Jerusalem . It would equally apply to his lodging during the feast; only meaning, that henceforth, wherever he was, she was an inmate with him; and certainly that his usual habitation was fixed, and was his own.

Ewald remarks (see Meyer in loc.), “It was for the Apostle in his later years a sweet reward to recall vividly every such minute detail, and for his readers a sign that he alone could have written all this.”

Verse 28

28. ] μετὰ τοῦτο is generally, but not necessarily, immediate. Here we must suppose the ἐλωῒ ἐλωΐ to have been said meantime, and the three hours’ darkness to have taken place. Perhaps during some of this time John was absent: see above. ἵνα τελ . γρ . ] Various needless objections have been raised to the application of these words to the saying of the Lord which follows, and attempts have been made (by Luthardt and Meyer among others: see on the other hand Ewald) to connect them with τετέλεσται ( τετέλεσται , ἵνα τελειωθῇ ). That St. John does use ἵνα … as applying to what follows , ch. Joh 14:31 shews. And so here, ‘that the Scripture might be accomplished ’ (not πληρωθῇ ), having it in view to leave no pre-appointed particular of the circumstances of his suffering unfulfilled, Jesus, speaking doubtless also in intense present agony of thirst, but only speaking because He so willed it, and because it was an ordained part of the course which He had taken upon Him, said this word. “Nec hoc levamentum petiisset, nisi scivisset id quoque ad κριτήρια Messiæ secundum Prophetas spectare. Unde hæc altera motiva additur: ut consummaretur Scriptura .” Lampe in loc.

Verse 29

29. ] The ὄξος was the posca, the sour wine, or vinegar and water, the common drink of the Roman soldiers.

ὑσσώπῳ an aromatic plant growing on walls, common in the south of England and on the Continent, with blue or white flowers, and having stalks about 1½ foot long, which would in this case be long enough, the feet of the crucified person not being ordinarily raised above that distance from the ground. It was much used for sprinkling, Exodus 12:22 ; Leviticus 14:4 &c.: Psalms 51:7 .

Verse 30

30. ] τετέλεσται expresses the fulfilling of that appointed course of humiliation, obedience, and suffering, which the Lord Jesus had undertaken. (“Verbum τελέω convenit rebus, τελειόω scripturæ sacræ,” Bengel.) That was now over, the redemption of man accomplished, and from this time “the joy that was set before Him” begins. It is beyond the purpose of a note to bring out the many meanings of this most important and glorious word. There is an admirable sermon on it by Schleiermacher (vol. ii. serm. 10); and Stier’s Comment, vi. 473 ff., should be read.

κλίνας τ . κεφαλήν ] We have the minuteness of an eye-witness, on whom every particular of this solemn moment made an indelible impression.

παρέδωκεν τὸ πνεῦμα viz. in the words given by Luke, πάτερ , εἰς χεῖράς σου παρατίθεμαι τὸ πνεῦμα , which was also the φωνὴ μεγάλη of Matt. and Mark. This παραδιδόναι was strictly a voluntary and determinate act no coming on of death, which had no power over Him, see ch. John 10:18 , and note on Luke 23:46 .

Verse 31

31. ] On the Jewish custom, see note, Matthew 27:57 .

γὰρ μεγ .…, being as it was (see note on ch. John 18:28 , and Mat 26:17 ) a double sabbath: the coincidence of the first day of unleavened bread ( Exo 12:16 ) with an ordinary sabbath.

ἵνα κατεαγ . ] The crurifragium was sometimes appended to the punishment of crucifixion, see Friedlieb, p. 164, but does not appear to have been inflicted for the purpose of causing death, which indeed it would not do. Friedlieb supposes that the term involved in it the ‘ coup de grâce ,’ which was given to all executed criminals, and that the piercing with the spear was this death-blow, and was also inflicted on the thieves.

Verses 31-37

31 37. ] Proof of His Death .

Verses 31-42

31 42. ] Jesus in Death: and herein,

Verse 34

34. ] The lance must have penetrated deep, for the object was to ensure death, and, see ch. John 20:27 , probably into the left side, on account of the position of the soldier, and of what followed.

αἷμα κ . ὕδωρ ] The spear perhaps pierced the pericardium or envelope of the heart, in which case a liquid answering the description of ὕδωρ may have flowed with the blood. But the quantity would be so small as scarcely to have been observed. It is hardly possible that the separation of the blood into placenta and serum should so soon have taken place, or that, if it had, it should have been by an observer described as αἷμα καὶ ὕδωρ . It is more probable that the fact, which is here so strongly testified, was a consequence of the extreme exhaustion of the Body of the Redeemer. The medical opinions on the point are very various, and by no means satisfactory. Meyer’s note is well worth consulting. His view after all seems to be the safe and true one that the circumstance is related as a miraculous sign, having deep significance as to the work of the Redeemer, and shewing Him to be more than mortal. It can be no reason against this, that, as Ewald urges, St. John does not here dwell on any such typical significance, nor can I see how, as he maintains, 1 John 5:6 ff. can be understood without reference to this fact: see note there.

Verse 35

35. ] This emphatic affirmation of the fact seems to regard rather the whole incident than the mere outflowing of the blood and water. It was the object of John to shew that the Lord’s Body was a real body , and underwent real death . And both these were shewn by what took place: not so much by the phænomenon of the water and blood, as by the infliction of such a wound, after which, even had not death taken place before, there could not by any possibility be life remaining. So Lücke: except that he seems to refer ἑωρακώς more to the whole circumstances of the death of Jesus.

The third person gives solemnity. [It is, besides, in accordance with St. John’s way of speaking of himself throughout the Gospel.]

Meyer is for keeping ἀληθινή here to its strict sense, not true , but genuine, real . Perhaps the best account to be given of the word is to be found in the use of ἀληθῆ immediately afterwards of the matter of the testimony. The things related are ἀληθῆ : the narrative of them is ἀληθινή , a narrative of truth.

Some have fancied that by the use of ἐκεῖνος here, the narrator necessarily signifies not himself, but some third person. But it has been shewn above (see note on ch. Joh 7:29 ) that St. John constantly uses ἐκεῖνος merely as emphatically taking up again the main subject of the sentence. The use of πιστεύειν in John makes it probable that he lays the weight on the proof of the reality of the death, as above. The ἵνα depends on the three preceding clauses, without any parenthesis, as the final aim of what has gone before: in order that; not, ‘ so that .’

Verse 36

36. ] ‘For’ i.e. as connected with the true Messiahship of Christ, ‘these things were a fulfilment of Scripture.’ It is possible that Psalms 33:20 (LXX) may be also referred to; but no doubt the primary reference is to the Paschal Lamb of Exod., as in reff.: see 1 Corinthians 5:7 .

Verse 37

37. ] LXX, ἐπιβλέψονται πρός με , ἀνθ ʼ ὧν κατωρχήσαντο but the Evangelist has given the literal and, as now acknowledged (Lücke), true sense of the word דָּקַר . The ὄψονται does not refer to the Roman soldiers, but to the repentant in the world, who, at the time the Gospel was written, had begun to fulfil the prophecy: and is not without a prophetic reference to the future conversion of Israel, who were here the real piercers , though the act was done διὰ χειρὸς ἀνόμων .

Verse 38

38. ] μετὰ ταῦτα not, ‘immediately after this’ but ‘soon after.’ The narrative implies, though it does not mention (as Mark and Luke do), that Joseph himself took down the Body from the cross. Lücke thinks the soldiers would have done this: but their duty seems only to have extended to the ascertaining of the fact of death. The ἀρθῶσιν of Joh 19:31 need not imply, ‘by their hands.’

It was customary to grant the bodies of executed persons to their friends. “Percussos sepeliri carnifex non vetat,” Quintil. Declam. vi.

On Joseph, and the other particulars, see notes on Matt.

ἦλθεν to Golgotha.

Verses 38-42

38 42. ] His Burial .

Verse 39

39. ] John alone mentions Nicodemus. The Galilæan narrative had no previous trace of him, and does not recognize him here. Joseph bore too prominent a part not to be mentioned by all. Luthardt beautifully remarks on the contrast between these men’s secret and timid discipleship before, and their courage now, “Their love to Jesus was called out by the might of His love. His Death is the Power which constrains men. And thus this act of love on the part of both these men is a testimony for Jesus, and for the future effect of His death. Hence also it appears why the Evangelist mentions the weight of the spices, as a proof of the greatness of their love, as Lampe observes.”

σμύρνης , myrrh, the gum of an aromatic plant, not indigenous in Palestine, but in Arabia Felix, see reff. and Exodus 30:23 ; Proverbs 7:17 (Hebr. and E. V.): Song of Solomon 3:6 , and Winer, Real-wörterbuch, ii. 126 (edn. 3).

ἀλόης , the name of various sorts of aromatic wood in the East, see Winer, Realw. i. 54. Both materials appear to have been pulverized (the wood by scraping or burning?) and strewed in the folds of the linen in which the body was wrapped (De Wette). The quantity is large; but perhaps the whole Body was encased, after the wrapping, in the mixture, and an outer wrapper fastened over all. The proceeding was hurried, on account of the approaching Sabbath: and apparently an understanding entered into with the women, that it should be more completely done after the Sabbath was over. This plentiful application of the aromatic substances may therefore have been made with an intention to prevent the Body, in its lacerated state, from incipient decomposition during the interval.

Verse 40

40. ] See ch. John 11:44 . Little is known with any certainty, except from these passages, of the Jews’ ordinary manner of burying. Winer, Friedlieb.

Verse 41

41. ] See note on Matthew 27:60 . The words ἐν τῷ τόπῳ ὅπου ἐσταυρώθη are so far in favour of the traditional site of the Holy Sepulchre, that Calvary and the Sepulchre are close together, under the roof of the same church. And those who have found an objection in that circumstance have forgotten this testimony of John.

καινὸν …, and therefore given for the purpose so that the additional particular not here mentioned, that it belonged to Joseph , is almost implied. The newness of the tomb was important, that it should be seen “neminem præter Jesum, neque Jesum alterius virtute, ut olim circa sepulchrum Elisæi acciderat, resurrexisse” (Lampe): so that (Luthardt) no room might be left for the evasions of unbelief.

Verse 42

42. ] τὴν παρασκ . τ . Ἰουδ . seems to indicate clearly the παρασκ . of the Passover , as I have before maintained that the words mean; not the mere day of the week so called, which, as it was by the Christians also in the Apostles’ time named παρασκευή , would not be qualified by τῶν Ἰουδ .

The words ὅτι ἐγγ . ἦν τὸ μν . certainly at first sight appear as if John were not aware that the tomb belonged to Joseph; but it is more likely that the thought of asking for the body may have been originally suggested to Joseph by his possessing a tomb close to the place of crucifixion, and so ὅτι ἐγγ . ἦν τὸ μν . may have been the real original reason of the whole proceeding: and John, not anxious to record every particular, may have given it as such.

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Bibliographical Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 19". Alford's Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. 1863-1878.