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Bible Commentaries

Alford's Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

Mark 15

Verses 1-5

1 5. ] JESUS IS LED AWAY TO PILATE, AND EXAMINED BY HIM. Matthew 27:1-2 ; Matthew 27:11-14 .Luke 23:1-5; Luke 23:1-5 .John 18:28-38; John 18:28-38 . Our account is very nearly related to that in Matt.: see notes there. The ὅλον τὸ σ . is a touch of accuracy. From ch. Mar 14:53 we know that πάντες were assembled. Lightfoot quotes from Maimonides Sanhedr. 3 b., “Synedrium septuaginta unius seniorum non necesse habet ut sedeant omnes … cum vero necesse est ut congregentur omnes, congregentur omnes.”

Verse 6

6. ] ἀπέλυεν ‘imperfectum ubi solere notat, non nisi de re ad certum tempus restricta dicitur,’ Herm. ad Viger. p. 745.

Verses 6-15

6 15. ] BARABBAS PREFERRED TO HIM. HE IS DELIVERED TO BE CRUCIFIED. Matthew 27:15-26 . Luke 23:17-25 .John 18:39-40; John 18:39-40 . Our account is nearly cognate to, but distinct from that of Matt., where see notes. The principal points of distinction will be noticed.

Verse 7

7. ] The circumstance that Barabbas was one of a set of murderers, shewn by the τῶν στασ . and the οἵτινες , is peculiar to our narrative, and shews that it is not compiled from Matt. and Luke.

Verse 8

8. ] This is also peculiar to Mark in Matt. it is Pilate who first offers them the choice in Luke they cry out, but it is αἶρε τοῦτον κ . τ . λ . Mark 15:18 .

αἰτεῖσθαι καθώς i.e. αὐτοῖς ποιεῖν , καθώς . ἀναβάς probably implies the rising of the crowd in excitement or perhaps their coming up towards the palace , as συνηγμένων in Matt.

Verse 9

9. ] Here our account differs from Matt. and agrees with John 18:39 .

Verse 10

10. ] ἐγίνωσκεν , impert. He was aware, He perceived, His apprehension of it was concurrent with the action going on.

Verse 12

12. ] ὃν λέγετε τ. βασιλ. τ. Ἰουδ. = Ἰησοῦν τὸν λεγόμενον χριστόν Matt. Neither of these expressions can well have been copied from the other.

Verse 13

13. ] πάλιν only refers to ἔκραξαν : cf. Mark 15:8 , where this is implied in ἤρξαντο αἰτεῖσθαι : they had not cried out this before.

Verse 15

15. ] τὸ ἱκ . ποι ., to satisfy. Wets [58] . gives examples of the expression from Polyb., Diog. Laërt., and Appian.

[58] Wetstein.

Verse 16

16. ] αὐλῆς , the court or guardroom, but open see note on Matthew 26:69 .

Verses 16-19

16 19. ] JESUS MOCKED BY THE SOLDIERS. Matthew 27:27-30 (omitted in Luke). John 19:1-3 . See notes on Matt.

Verse 17

17. ] We have here a curious instance of a word used in two accounts in the same part of the narrative, but applied to different things, in περιτιθέασιν , here said of the crown of thorns , in Matt. of the robe (see Prolegg. ch. i. § iii., iv.).

πορφύρα is vaguely used, to signify different shades of red, and is especially convertible with crimson = κοκκίνη Matt.

Verses 20-23

20 23. ] HE IS LED TO CRUCIFIXION. Matthew 27:31-34 .Luke 23:26-33; Luke 23:26-33 . Joh 19:16-17 . See notes on these.

Verse 21

21. Ἀλεξάνδρου κ . Ῥούφου ] It is quite uncertain whether Alexander be identical with either of the persons of that name mentioned Acts 19:33 ; 1 Timothy 1:20 ; 2 Timothy 4:14 , or whether those, or any two of them represent one and the same person. There is a Rufus saluted Romans 16:13 . The words ἐρχόμ . ἀπ ʼ ἀγρ . determine nothing as to its being a working day or otherwise, any more than οἱ παραπορευόμενοι , Matthew 27:39 : nothing is said as to the distance from whence he came.

Verse 22

22. ] Γολγοθᾶν must be regarded as accusative from Γολγοθᾶς , the name being Græcised. The construction is varied in the interpretation.

Verse 23

23. ] ἐσμ . οἶν . = ὄξος μετὰ χολῆς μεμ . Matt., which see.

ἐδίδουν , they were giving, i.e. ‘ they offered .’

Verses 24-28

24 28. ] HE IS CRUCIFIED. Matthew 27:35-38 . Luke 23:33-34 ; Luke 23:38 . John 19:18-24 .

Verse 25

25. ὥρα τρίτη ] This date is in agreement with the subsequent account, Mark 15:33 , and its [59] in Matt. and Luke, but, as now standing unexplained, inconsistent with John , John 19:14 , where it is said to have been about the sixth hour at the time of the exhibition of our Lord by Pilate. I own I see no satisfactory way of reconciling these accounts, unless there has been (see note on John) some very early erratum in our copies, or unless it can be shewn from other grounds than the difficulty before us , that John’s reckoning of time differs from that employed in the other Evangelists. The difficulty is of a kind in no way affecting the authenticity of the narrative, nor the truthfulness of each Evangelist; but requires some solution to the furnishing of which we are not competent . It is preposterous to imagine that two such accounts as these of the proceedings of so eventful a day should differ by three whole hours in their apportionment of its occurrences. So that it may fairly be presumed , that some different method of calculation has given rise to the present discrepancy. Meanwhile the chronology of our text , as being carried on through the day, and as allowing time both for the trial, and the events of the crucifixion, is that which will I believe be generally concurred in.

[59] 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 .

All the other solutions (so called) of the difficulty are not worth relating.

Verse 29

29. ] οὐά , an expression of reproach: sometimes one of admiration and respect, as in Dio Cassius, lxiii. 20, where the Romans shout after Nero, on his triumphal entry after his victories in the Grecian games, ὀλυμπιονίκα , οὐά , πυθιονίκα , οὐὰ αὔγουστε , αὔγουστε .

Verses 29-32

29 32. ] HE IS MOCKED ON THE CROSS. Matthew 27:39-44 .Luke 23:35-37; Luke 23:35-37 ; Luke 23:39-43 . (John 19:25-27 .) Our narrative, derived from a common source with that of Matt., omits the scriptural allusion, ‘He trusted in God,’ &c. Matthew 27:43 .

Verse 32

32. κ . οἱ συνεστ . ] See notes on Luke.

Verses 33-37

33 37. ] SUPERNATURAL DARKNESS. LAST WORDS, AND DEATH OF JESUS. Matthew 27:45-50 . Luke 23:44-46 . John 19:28-30 . Our account is nearly verbally the same with Matt.

Verse 34

34. ] ἑλωΐ , the Syro-chaldaic form, answering to ἡλί in Matt. Meyer argues that the words in Matt. must have been those actually spoken by our Lord, owing to the taunt, that He called for Elias .

Verse 36

36. ] On the difference in Matt., see notes there.

Verses 38-41

38 41. ] SIGNS FOLLOWING HIS DEATH. Matthew 27:51-56 . Luke 23:45 ; Luke 23:47-49 . Omitted by John. See notes on Matt.

Verse 39

39. ] παρεστ . ἐξ ἐναντ . αὐτ ., a minute mark of accuracy, so common in Mark.

οὕτως οὕτω δεσποτικῶς , Thl. There was something in the manner of this last cry so unusual and superhuman, that the Centurion (see on Matt.) was convinced that He must have been that Person , whom He was accused as having declared Himself to be. Observe the Latin κεντυρίων = ἑκατόνταρχος in [60] Matt. Luke.

[60] 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 .

Verses 40-41

40, 41. ] τοῦ μικροῦ either in age, or in stature, so distinguished, hardly, at the time of this Gospel being written, from James the son of Zebedee, but more probably from James the brother of the Lord, the bishop of Jerusalem: see Prolegg. to Ep. of James, § i. 8. This Mary is the wife of Alphæus or Clopas: see John 19:25 .

Σαλώμη = ἡ μήτηρ τῶν υἱῶν Ζεβεδαίου , Matt.: our Evangelist mentions that they had accompanied Him to Jerusalem; and we may observe a curious variation of the wording, in ἠκολούθουν αὐτῷ ὅτε ἦν ἐν τῇ Γ . , and ἠκολούθησαν τῷ . ἀπὸ τῆς Γ . the former rendering necessary the additional clause, αἱ συναναβᾶσαι κ . τ . λ .

Verse 42

42. παρασκ ., ἐστι προσάβ . ] The Friday afternoon ( ἡ παρασκ ., “the name by which Friday is now generally known in Asia and Greece.” Wordsw.) before sunset , at which time the Sabbath would begin, and the taking down, &c. would be unlawful . The three Evangelists do not imply that this παρασκ . had any thing especial in it, as John does John 19:31 . It is very remarkable, that ἐπεί occurs only here in this Gospel, but is found in the corresponding clause of John 19:31 , shewing perhaps in this place a community of source in two accounts otherwise so essentially distinct.

Verses 42-47

42 47. ] JOSEPH OF ARIMATHÆA BEGS, AND BURIES, THE BODY OF JESUS. Matthew 27:57-61 .Luke 23:50-56; Luke 23:50-56 . John 19:38-42 . For all notes on the substance of the common narrative, see Matt.

Verse 43

43. ] ἐλθών , or ἦλθεν , is common to Matt., Mark, and John, but in different connexion see on Matt.

εὐσχήμων probably in its later sense of noble, ‘honourable,’ i.e. in station . But Meyer supposes it rather to refer to something noble in the character or appearance of Joseph.

βουλευτής , a member of the Sanhedrim: see Luke 23:51 .

προσδ . τ . β . τ . θ ., common to Mark and Luke.

τολμήσας εἰς ., characteristic of Mark’s narrative. On the change of mind produced in Joseph and in Nicodemus by the crucifixion, see note, John 19:39 .

Verse 44

44. ] There is no inconsistency, or but a very trifling one, with the order in John 19:31 , to break their legs and take them down . The circumstances related there had taken place , but no report of them had been made to Pilate. And the Body of the Lord had not been taken down, for some reason which does not appear, but which we can easily guess; if Joseph had declared to the soldiers his intention of begging the Body, nay, had immediately gone (perhaps with them) to Pilate for that purpose, and τολμήσας εἰσῆλθ . looks like a sudden and unannounced application, they would have left the Body for him to take down.

ἐθαύμασεν εἰ ἤδη τέθνηκεν he wondered at the fact thus announced to him of His death having already taken place. See Kühner, Gram. ii. p. 481, and the examples there adduced, which make this clear, e.g. Demosth. p. 24. 23, θαυμάζω , εἰ Λακεδαιμονίοις μὲν πότεἀντήρατε , νυνὶ δ ʼ ὀκνεῖτε .…

Verse 45

45. ἐδωρήσατο ] The passage cited (Meyer, De Wette) from Cicero (in Verrem, Mar 15:45 ) to shew that it was customary to give money on such occasions, is not to the point; ‘mortis celeritatem pretio redimere cogebantur parentes’ is not said of the body after death , but of a fee given to the officer, ‘ne diu crucietur.’

Verse 46

46. ἀγορ . ] Therefore it was not the first day of unleavened bread , which was one of sabbatical sanctity; as indeed the whole of this narrative shews, but such expressions as this more strikingly.

καθαιρεῖν is the technical word for taking down bodies from the cross. See the examples in Kypke from Philo and Josephus. So is κατατιθέναι for placing bodies in the tomb: cf. ibid.

ἐν μνημ . ] It is not said, but implied , both here and in Luke and John, that the tomb was his own for how should he place the Body there otherwise? The newness of the tomb is not mentioned here, but by the other three Evangelists.

Verse 47

47. ] Μ . Ἰωσῆτος understand, mother: see Mark 15:40 . That she is so called here, and Μαρίατοῦ Ἰακώβου in the next verse, points to a difference of origin in the two accounts here, of the Crucifixion and Resurrection .

The mother of the Lord had in all probability previously departed: see notes on Mat 27:56 and John 19:27 .

Luke generalizes, and says, the women who came with Him from Galilee .

Some have understood by Μ . Ἰωσῆτος or Ἰωσῆ or Ἰωσήφ , the wife or daughter of Joseph of Arimathæa some, the mother of the Lord: but both unnecessarily, and without proof. The perf. τεθεῖται is to shew that they came up after the burial had taken place; the pres. ( τίθεται , re [61] .) would imply that they were present at the entombment. So Meyer.

[61] The Textus Receptus or received text of the Greek Testament. Used in this Edition when elz and Steph agree

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Bibliographical Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Mark 15". Alford's Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. 1863-1878.