Bible Commentaries
Matthew 27

Bengel's Gnomon of the New TestamentBengel's Gnomon

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Verse 1

Matthew 27:1 . Πάντες , all ) This council was more fully attended than that of the preceding night; see ch. Matthew 26:57 . ὥστε θανατῶσαι Αὐτὸν , to put Him to death ) In execution of the sentence which had been passed on the preceding night.

Verse 2

Matthew 27:2 . Ἀπήγαγον καὶ παρέδωκαν Αὐτὸν , they led Him away and delivered Him ) cf. Matthew 27:9 , and Gnomon on the latter part. τῷ ἡγεμόνι , to the Procurator ).

Verse 3

Matthew 27:3 . Ὅτι κατεκριθη , that He was condemned ) sc. Jesus, by the Priests. μεταμεληθεὶς , repenting himself ) [1169] Judas had not anticipated this catastrophe: he would now wish, if he could, to render that, which was done, undone. [1170] ἀπέστρεψε , brought again ) sc. in the morning.

[1169] B. G. V. “ Reute es ihn .” B. H. E. “ Gereute es ihn .” (I. B.)

[1170] Cf. Gnomon on ch. Matthew 3:8 , voc. μετανοίας . (I. B.)

Verse 4

Matthew 27:4 . Ἥμαρτον , I have sinned ) Thus also the damned will feel in hell. [1171] αἷμα ἀθῶον , innocent blood ) Miserably involved in his own darkness, he no longer acknowledges Jesus as the Messiah. τί πρὸς ἡμᾶς , what is that to us? ) See how they dismiss, without remark, the question as to the innocence of their Victim. [1172] σὺ ὄψει , see thou to that ) The ungodly, though associating in the commission of a crime, desert their associates when it has been accomplished: [1173] the godly, though not taking part in the crime, endeavour, after its commission, to save the sinner’s soul. Comp. Matthew 27:24 .

[1171] And O that the friends of Christ, moved by faith, love, and hope, would confess the truth as openly as men in despair are wont at times to do, when they feel that they have now no longer any opportunity of earning merit in the eyes of the world! Harm. , p. 542.

[1172] In the original, “Vide, quam transiliant τὸ innocentem ;” literally, “See how they leap over the ‘ innocent ;’ ” referring to the words of Judas, “INNOCENT blood .” (I. B.)

[1173] But still punishment at last awaits all severally, according to the part which each took in the deed. V. g.

Verse 5

Matthew 27:5 . Ῥίψας , casting down ) in the disquietude of his mind. [1174] ἘΝ Τῷ ΝΑῷ , in the Temple ) Judas was therefore in the Temple, with the chief priests and elders; and, in order to soothe his troubled conscience any how, attempted to give his money to the Sacred Treasury. The part of the Temple where this took place is unknown. The word ναὸς , which, strictly speaking, signifies a shrine , is employed here in a wider signification, for ἱερὸν , temple . ἀπήγξατο , strangled himself with a noose ) which is usually done by hanging. The same expression is used by the LXX. in 2 Samuel 17:23 , concerning Ahitophel, whom some, however, suppose to have died of the quinsey as well as Iscariot. Raphelius has diligently established the interpretation of hanging from Polybius, etc.; see also Gnomon on Acts 1:18 .

[1174] “That very thing which had previously proved a bait to the sinner, subsequently causes him the deepest sorrow.” B. G. V.

Verse 7

Matthew 27:7 . Τὸν ἀγρὸν τοῦ κεραμέως , the Potter’s Field ) The article denotes that it was well known as such. A potter may have used it to obtain clay from. εἰς ταφὴν τοῖς ξένοις , to bury strangers in ) Thus, even then already did strangers gain more of a footing in Jerusalem: thus also the first possession of Abraham had been a burying-place.

Verse 8

Matthew 27:8 . Ἐκλήθη , κ . τ . λ ., was called , etc.) A public testimony to the fact. The appellation of the field, though originating with the common people, was not fortuitous. αἵματος , of blood ) See Matthew 27:6 . ἕως τῆς σήμερον , unto this day ) St Matthew wrote some time after [the events which he recorded]; cf. ch. Matthew 28:15 .

Adrichonius says ” This soil (namely, that of the Field of Blood) possesseth a wonderful virtue, and one almost passing belief, viz., that within four and twenty hours it reduces the bodies of the dead to dust, which virtue, even when carried into other regions, it still preserves; for when, by command of the Empress Helena, as much earth, they say, as 270 vessels could hold, was taken from this field to Rome, and unloaded close by the Vatican Mount, on to that which the inhabitants call CAMPO SANTO, although it has changed its country, yet daily experience shows that it retains its power: for, rejecting Romans, it admits to sepulture only the bodies of strangers, the whole substance of whose flesh it here also entirely consumes within four and twenty hours, leaving only the bones.” This statement is partly confirmed, partly denied, by recent travellers.

Verse 9

Matthew 27:9 . Τοῦ προφήτου , κ . τ . λ ., the prophet , etc.) These words are clearly found in Zechariah, whose writings were well known to St Matthew; see ch. Matthew 21:4-5 ; cf. App. Crit. [1175] p. 493 (Ed. ii. pp. 141, 142). καὶ ἔλαβον , κ . τ . λ ., and they took , etc.) In Zechariah 11:12-13 , the LXX. have καὶ ερῶ πρὸς αὐτοὺς , εἰ καλὸν ἐνώπιον ὑμῶν ἐστι , δότε στήσαντες [1176] τὸν μισθόν μου , ἢ ἀπείπασθε · καὶ ἔστησαν τὸν μισθόν μου τριάκοντα ἀργυροῦς , καὶ εἶπε Κύριος πρός με · κάθες αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸ χωνευτήριον , καὶ σκέψομαι αὐτὸ , εἰ δοκιμόν ἐστιν , ὅν τρόπον ἐδοκιμάσθην ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν . καὶ ἔλαβον τοὺς τριάκοντα ἀργυροῦς , καὶ ἐνέβαλον αὐτοὺς εἰς οἶκον Κυρίου εἰς τὸ χωνευτήριον And I will say unto them, if it is good in your sight, weigh and give me my price, or else refuse it; and they weighed my price, thirty silver pieces. And the Lord said unto me, Cast them into the melting furnace, and I will assay it (whether it be good) in the same manner that I was assayed by them. And I took the thirty silver pieces, and cast them into the house of the Lord, into the melting furnace . The Evangelist regards the scope of the matter, and adds a paraphrase. τὴν τιμὴν τοῦ τετιμημένου , ὅν ἐτιμήσαντο , the value of Him that was valued, whom they valued ) The force of the words is great. ὁ τετιμημένος הַיְּקָר , precious , although in the Hebrew Bible it is הַיְקָר , a price ; see Louis de Dieu. ἀπὸ υἱῶν Ἰσραὴλ , from the children of Israel , or of the children of Israel ) cf. Zec 11:13 מעליחם , of them . The preposition ἈΠῸ , from , may be construed either with ἒλαβον , they received or rather with ἘΤΙΜΉΣΑΝΤΟ , they valued . The Chief Priests, as much as in them lay, alienated Christ from the children of Israel.

[1175] E. M. has’ Ἰερεμίου .

[1176] The Vatican MS. omits the word στήσαντες . (I. B.)

Beng. shows, in his Apparatus, Ed. ii., p. 141, 142, 493, that the word Ἰερεμίου is a gloss, and that many modern writers wish to expunge it. Not. Crit .

But the oldest authorities are against the omission. B reads Ἱερεμίου . A and C corrected, Ἱηρεμίου . Hil. 747, Vulg. and c , and MSS. quoted in Origen, Euseb., and Jerome, read Jeremiah . It is only the later Syr. in the margin, and other recent authorities, read Ζαχαρίου . ab , however, support the omission of Jeremiah or Zechariah , as Beng. would read. Comp. Jeremiah 18:2 . The quotation is not literatim from Zech.: Jeremiah 18:1-2 , and Jeremiah 32:6-12 , may have also been in the mind of Matthew. This may account for the presence of the name Ἱερεμίου . Lightfoot thinks that the 3d division of Scripture, the Prophets , began with Jeremiah; and that the whole body of the prophets is thus quoted by the name Jeremiah , he refers to B. Bathra and D. Kimchi. ED.

Verse 10

Matthew 27:10 . Ἔδωκαν , they gave ) In Zechariah it is ἔδωκα , I gave; and some [1177] have introduced it from the Prophet into the Evangelist, and Gebhardi clearly approves it on Zechariah 11:13 . In this passage, however, it is written ἔδωκαν ; and the force of ἔδωκα , and therefore the whole difference of the words of St Matthew from those of Zechariah, is supplied by the clause, “ As the Lord enjoined me .” [1178] The LXX. have the same formula in Exo 9:12 καθὰ συνέταξε Κύριος τῷ Μωυσῇ , as the Lord enjoined Moses . [1179] συνέταξε , enjoined ) sc. to write or to say.

[1177] In his Apparatus Criticus, Bengel says, “ ἔδωκαν ) ἔδωκα , Aug . 4, duobus locis, Syr. Ex Zacharia. Probat Amama Antibarb., p. 573, et versu 9 construit, ἔλαβον ἀπὸ , κ . τ . λ . Sic quoque Io. Kaiserus et alii, quos notat Rus . T. 3, Harm. Ev., p. 1073, accepi a filiis Israel . ἔβαλον L. Ambigue. Vid. Gnom .” (I. B.)

[1178] E. V. “As the Lord commanded me.” (I. B.)

[1179] This is the reading of the Codex Alexandrinus: the Vatican MS. omits the two last words. (I. B.)

Tisch. says that 3 MSS. and both Syr. Versions read ἔδωκα . But the cass of authority is for ἔδωκαν . ED.

Verse 11

Matthew 27:11 . Ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων , the King of the Jews ) Jesus before Caiaphas confesses Himself to be Christ, before Pilate, King. σὺ λέγεις , thou sayest ) An open and holy confession. [1180] Jesus shows that His subsequent silence would not be from want of freedom of speech, and immediately answers Pilate, after having previously informed the Jews when adjured by Caiaphas. St Mark and St Luke also record the expression, “ Thou sayest; ” and this is clearly the sum of all that St John records to have been said by our Lord to Pilate in ch. John 18:34 ; John 18:36-37 . [1181]

[1180] Cf. 1 Timothy 4:13 . E. B.

[1181] Matthew 27:12 . οὐδὲν ἀπεκρίνατο , answered nothing ) As the accusers brought forward nothing new, the silence of Jesus was a subsequent confirmation of those things which He had already said. Harm. , p. 547.

Verse 13

Matthew 27:13 . Τότε , then ) Pilate conducted himself moderately at first in the judgment of the cause. Πιλάτος , [1182] Pilatus, Pilate ) Nonnus shortens the middle syllable; and passim, the Greeks sharpen [1183] the long vowel of the Latins in πρίμος , Τουρκουάτος Δειτάτος , etc. ( primus, Torquátus, Dentatus , etc.) οὐκ ἀκούεις , Dost thou not hear? ) A separate question; [1184] cf. Mark 15:4 .

[1182] Lachm. and Tisch. write it Πιλᾶτος . ED.

[1183] i.e. They distinguish it with the acute accent. (I. B.)

[1184] Although joined in the V. G. with the following words. E. B.

Verse 14

Matthew 27:14 . Πρὸς οὐδὲ ἕν ῥῆμα , not to one word even) i.e. as far as concerned answering the Jews concerning the kingdom . He afterwards once answered Pilate concerning another matter, John 19:11 . ὥστε θαυμάζειν τὸν ἡγεμόνα λίαν , so that the Procurator marvelled greatly ) For no one is wont to remain silent when his life is at stake, especially after he has once begun to speak.

Verse 15

Matthew 27:15 . Κατὰ δὲ ἑορτὴν , κ . τ . λ ., But at the feast , etc.) This [custom of releasing a prisoner at the Feast] accorded with the deliverance from Egypt. ἑορτὴν , feast ) St John calls it expressly the Passover. εἰώθει , had been wont ) Even political customs subserve Divine Providence. ἓνα , one) i.e. , one, and not more than one.

Verse 16

Matthew 27:16 . Ἐπίσημον , notorious ) A well-known robber, notorious for the gravest crime. [1185] And yet he was preferred to Jesus. How great contempt! Soon after, in the ignominy of punishment, He was preferred to two other robbers. λεγόμενον Βαραββᾶν , called Barabbas ) who was much talked about. It is probable that Barabbas survived long as a monument of the history of Jesus. Barabbas signifies “ son of his parent ;” he had been longed for, loved, spoiled, by his parent.

[1185] One who was, moreover, guilty of that very crime (treason) of which Jesus was accused; nay, even guilty of a worse crime. However, it was by the death of Him who was the Just One that those very persons, who had deserved death, are set free. Harm. , p. 550.

Verse 17

Matthew 27:17 . Λεγόμενον Χριστόν , called Christ ) Therefore Jesus had been already very frequently called Christ.

Verse 18

Matthew 27:18 . Διὰ φθόνον , for envy ) They envied Jesus because the people had adhered to Him.

Verse 19

Matthew 27:19 . Καθημένου δὲ αὐτοῦ , κ . τ . λ ., but when he was set down , etc.) In the very moment of urgent business and impending decision. Warnings of a strange and marvellous character ought not to be neglected in times of noisy excitement. ἐπὶ τοῦ βήματος , on the judgment-seat ) Great was the influence of the dream, the purport of which, however, the woman understood better after the matter had begun to come to pass. Perhaps she had the dream when Pilate was already engaged in the business. λέγουσα , κ . τ . λ ., saying , etc.) A great benefit was offered by this warning to the governor, in contradistinction to the Jews, who had been sufficiently warned from other sources. [1186] τῷ δικαίῳ ἐκείνῳ , to that righteous man ) Thus Pilate also calls Him in Matthew 27:24 , with a feeble reference to these words of his wife.

[1186] μηδὲν , nothing ) saith she, in one word. So Pilate, in the business itself, ought to have taken the conscientious course without delay. V. g. [Vacillation and hesitancy between conscience and love of popularity were his temptation in this case. ED.]

Verse 20

Matthew 27:20 . Ἔπεισαν , persuaded ) by words fair in appearance. Ἰησοῦν ἀπολέσωσιν , they should destroy Jesus ) i.e. they should demand Jesus to be killed .

Verse 22

Matthew 27:22 . Τί οὖν ποιήσω , κ . τ . λ ., what shall I do then? etc.) Pilate did not suppose that the Jews would demand any very severe punishment to be inflicted. He ought not to have asked. It would have been safer to have simply dismissed the prisoner; cf. Acts 18:14-16 . σταυρωθήτω , let Him be crucified ) Barabbas had deserved the cross: hence they demand that Jesus should be crucified.

Verse 24

Matthew 27:24 . Οὐδὲν ὠφελεῖ , he availeth nothing [1187] ) Why not Pilate? This practical prejudging is desperate, when men say, “We do nothing.” [1188] ΟὐΔῈΝ , nothing , is in the nominative, or the accusative; cf. John 12:19 . μᾶλλον , rather ) not greater . He feared a sedition. λέγων , κ . τ . λ ., saying , etc.) A protestation contrary to fact. δικαίου , righteous ) Pilate adopted this word from his wife’s warning; Matthew 27:19 . ὑμεῖς ὄψεσθε , see ye to it ) As the Jews said to Judas, so Pilate says to the Jews. A formula of rejection; see Acts 18:15 .

[1187] E. V. He prevailed nothing. (I. B.)

[1188] Sc. We make no progress, we are effecting nothing; and therefore it is useless to persist in the endeavour. (I. B.)

Verse 25

Matthew 27:25 . Πᾶς ὁ λαὸς , κ . τ . λ ., all the people , etc.) An argument against the Jews why they are at present in exile, although that exile is somewhat less severe than formerly. ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς , κ . τ . λ ., upon us , etc.) cf. Deuteronomy 28:18 ; Psalms 69:24 ; Psalms 109:17 . They mean, “We will be accountable for it.” [1189]

[1189] They bind themselves with the bonds of guilt, but yet do not thereby set Pilate free from it. You may possibly, in a single moment, commit an act which you must pay the penalty of throughout your whole life, nay, even throughout eternity. Nor are there wanting persons who have much less hesitation in incurring guilt than Pilate had. V. g.

Verse 26

Matthew 27:26 . Φραγελλώσας , having scourged ) after passing sentence. [1190]

[1190] The delivering up of Jesus to the will of the Jews was immediately connected with the setting of Barabbas free, and both were followed by the scourging, accompanied with the mocking of our Lord. In the presence of Caiaphas, it was not till after the capital sentence, that the mocking followed; and, on the same principle, the soldiers could not at pleasure vent their wanton ribaldry on Jesus, before that Pilate delivered Him up to the will and pleasure of the Jews. Harm. , p. 553.

Verse 27

Matthew 27:27 . Ὅλην τὴν σπεῖραν , the whole band ) sc. even those soldiers who ought not then to have been present, and had not been so previously. [1191] ΣΠΕῖΡΑΝ , band , Lat. spiram ) Elsewhere the Greeks are wont to put a simple for the Latin i before a consonant, as in Πιλάτος , not ΠΕΙΛΆΤΟς , etc.; they wrote, however, ΣΠΕῖΡΑ , because it is thus nearest to ΠΕῖΡΑ , an attempt; σπεῖρω , to sow , etc.; to the sound of which they were accustomed.

[1191] Hereby the delivery of the Saviour into the hands of the sinful heathen was consummated. B. H. E., p. 220.

Bengel here alludes to our Lord’s words in Matthew 20:19 ; Matthew 26:45 . (I. B.)

Verse 28

Matthew 27:28 . Χλαμύδα κοκκίνην , a crimson robe ) They make sport of His kingdom, as the Jews had done of His prophetical dignity; ch. Matthew 26:68 . It is called πορφύραν , purple , in Mark 15:17 , and ἱμάτιον πορφυροῦν , a purple garment , in John 19:2 . Sometimes these words are used promiscuously; sometimes they differ, as in Revelation 17:4 . The one colour also used formerly to be superinduced upon the other.

Verse 29

Matthew 27:29 . Ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων , the King of the Jews ) They treated Jesus as a madman who fancied Himself a King.

Verse 31

Matthew 27:31 . Καὶ ὅτε , κ . τ . λ ., and when , etc.) When the mockery was concluded, they removed also the crown of thorns. [1192]

[1192] Which ought to be therefore omitted in pictures representing Him crucified. V. g.

Verse 32

Matthew 27:32 . Κυρηναῖον , a Cyrenian ) There was neither Jew nor Roman who was willing to bear the burden of the cross. Men were present at that time from Europe, Asia, and Africa. Even in the remotest regions Christ has since found those who would bear His cross. ἵνα ἄρῃ , to bear ) Simon is not said to have borne it unwillingly. Well has Athanasius (Book i. fol. 10, 11) said, in his sermon on the Passion, “Simon, a mere man, bore the cross, that all might know that the Lord underwent, not His own death, but that of men.”

Verse 33

Matthew 27:33 . Κρανίου , of a skull ) The hill was called so from its shape. [1193]

[1193] Not, as I am inclined to think, from the skulls of malefactors punished with death, which lay about there; for Golgotha, in the singular, means a skull , sc. the place of a skull. B. H. E.

From all quarters in the circuit of the cross the whole world might behold the Son of God suspended thereon. Harm. , p. 562.

Verse 34

Matthew 27:34 . Ὄξος , vinegar ) St Mark ( Mar 15:23 ) calls it, ἐσμυρνισμένον οἶνον , myrrhed wine: the liquor was of a taste between sweet wine and vinegar (cf. the Gnomon on Mat 27:48 ), seasoned with myrrh from custom, adulterated with gall from malice. οὐκ ἤθελε πιεῖν , He would not drink ) for that behoved to be deferred to the end of His sufferings; see John 19:30 . And Jesus wished to retain His senses fully undisturbed, even up to His death. [1194]

[1194] Matthew 27:35 . σταυρώσαντες , having crucified ) Christ, in order to be a blessing to us, was made a curse . Who is there would have dared to assert this, had not the Apostle declared it? Galatians 3:13 . Let the passages also. Genesis 3:6 , John 3:14 , 1 Peter 2:24 , be well weighed. Harm. , p. 563. διεμερισαντο τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ , they parted His garments ) When the very poorest man dies, he has at least some covering on his body: Jesus had none. Not even are His garments given up to His friends and relatives, but to the soldiers. Harm. , p. 564.

Verse 36

Matthew 27:36 . Ἐτήρουν , they watched ) cf. Matthew 27:65 . [1195]

[1195] The crucifixion and the parting of the garments took place about the third hour; the tumult, therefore, having for the most part passed away, they who acted as guards to our Saviour had sufficient time to consider what was the real nature of the matter. Prodigies, however, at length occurred, by which those men were brought to other [and better] thoughts. See verse 54. B. H. E., p. 565.

Verse 37

Matthew 27:37 . Ἐστιν , is ) Yes; He truly is so! The inscription, perhaps, remained longer on the cross than the body of Jesus. [1196]

[1196] δυο λῃσταὶ , two robbers ) Matthew and Mark mention their crucifixion at a later point of time than the other two Evangelists; from which we may infer that the crucifixion of Jesus was regarded by Pilate and his subordinates as the principal and most important case. Harm. , p. 567.

Verse 39

Matthew 27:39 . Οἱ δὲ παραπαρευόμενοι , but they that were passing by ) Many did not even condescend to stand still. κινοῦντες τὰς κεφαλὰς , shaking their heads ) The gesture of one who refuses to acknowledge something.

Verse 40

Matthew 27:40 . Λέγοντες , κ . τ . λ ., saying , etc.) Seven scoffs of His enemies may be counted. [1197] ἐν τρισὶν ἡμέραις , in three days ) Yea, it was already now the first of them. σῶσον , save ) They use in mockery the name of Jesus; then that of “The Son of God,” and that of King, Matthew 27:42-43 , and His own words, Matthew 27:40 . εἰ Υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ Θεοῦ , if thou art the Son of God ) cf. ch. Matthew 4:3 .

[1197] The most heinous robber, when visited with capital punishment, is scarcely ever reviled besides; but the Son of GOD, when hanging on the cross, is most bitingly insulted by word of mouth and by writing, on the part of the rulers and the common people the Jews, as well as also the Gentiles. Harm. , p. 568.

Verse 41

Matthew 27:41 . Ὁμοίως , κ . τ . λ ., in like manner , etc.) Now the chief men imitate the populace: a great confusion! but they surpass them in bitterness. [1198]

[1198] Such persons scarcely at any other time betray in public what is the secret feeling which they cherish inwardly. V. g.

Verse 42

Matthew 27:42 . Πιστεύσομεν Αὐτῷ , we will believe Him ) We [Christians] believe on Him for that very reason, that He did not immediately descend from the Cross, but on the contrary consummated His work.

Verse 43

Matthew 27:43 . Πέποιθεν , He trusted ) cf. the end of the verse. εἶπε γὰρ , κ . τ . λ ., for He said , etc.) We may consider that this was either uttered by those who were passing by, or added by the Evangelist for the sake of explanation. The LXX. in Psalms 22:0 (21):8, have ἥλπισεν ἐπὶ Κύριον , ῥυσάσθω Αὐτόν · σωσάτω Αὐτὸν , ὅτι θέλει Αὐτόν , He trusted in the Lord, let Him deliver Him: let Him save Him, since He delighteth in Him .

Verse 44

Matthew 27:44 . Οἱ λῃσταὶ , the robbers ) Some conceive that the plural is put here synecdochically for the singular, and thus except the converted robber: in such a horrible matter, however, there seems to be no place for Synecdoche; nor are there wanting instances of men who, in the course of dreadful and lingering punishment, have at first blasphemed, and afterwards been converted.

Verse 45

Matthew 27:45 . Πᾶσαν , all ) The whole of our planet is meant; for the sun itself was darkened. [1199] ἕως ὥρας ἐννάτης , until the ninth hour ) A three hours full of mystery. Psalms 8:0 , in the third verse of which the omission of mention of the sun agrees with the darkness here spoken of, may be aptly compared with this period of dereliction and darkness.

[1199] There are some who think that this was the same Eclipse as that which was noted by Phlegon [Trallianus] and others of the ancients, or even as that one, the traces of which are now found among the [traditions of the] Chinese . Whatever degree of plausibility there may be in this, they are convicted of error by far stronger arguments, since, in fact, they must thus thrust forward the passion of Christ beyond the thirtieth year of the Dionys. era. Harm. , p. 571.

Verse 46

Matthew 27:46 . Περὶ δὲ , κ . τ . λ ., but about , etc.) From this connection, it may be inferred that the darkening of the sun (at the full moon [1200] ) represented, not so much the malice of the Jews, as the dereliction of Jesus; which lasted, as it may be supposed, the whole of that three hours, at the conclusion of which He uttered this exclamation. St Luke ( Luk 23:45 ) joins the darkening of the sun with the rending of the veil without mentioning the dereliction. As soon as the dereliction was ended, the Holy of Holies became immediately open to the Mediator. [1201] ἀνεβόησεν , cried out ) Both this cry (repeated in Mat 27:50 ), and the silence which preceded it, are of the utmost importance. σαβαχθανὶ , sabachthani) i.e. שבקתני , hast Thou forsaken Me? The ק is rendered in Greek by χ , [1202][1203] , when θ , th , follows. Θεέ Μου , My God ) On other occasions He was accustomed to say, “ Father ”: now He says, “ My God ,” as being now in a degree estranged; [1204] yet He does so twice, and adds “MY” with confidence, patience, and self-resignation. Christ was עבר , the servant of the Lord: [1205] and yet He calls Him God, not Master ( δεσπότην ). In Psalms 22:0 (21):1, the LXX. have ὁ Θεὸς ὁ Θεός μου , πρόσχες μοι , ἱνατί ἐγκατέλιπές με ; “ My God, My God, protect Me! Why hast Thou forsaken Me ?” where the meaning is evident from the remainder of that and the following verse. He does not only say that He has been delivered by God into the hands of men, but also that He has suffered something, to us ineffable, at the hand of God. ἱνατί , why? ) Jesus knew the cause, and had prepared Himself for all things: but yet the why expresses that the Son would not have had to endure the dereliction on His own account, but that it happened to Him for a new cause, and would last but for a short time; after which His yearning desire [1206] towards the Father would be again gratified. ἘΓΚΑΤΈΛΙΠΕς , hast Thou forsaken ) The past tense. [1207] At that very instant the dereliction came to an end, and shortly afterwards the whole Passion. In the midst and deepest moment of dereliction He was silent. He complains of the dereliction alone. [1208]

[1200] This could not have been an eclipse of the sun, for the passover was celebrated at the time of full moon, when the moon is opposite to the sun. Luk 23:45 says, “The sun was darkened.” ED.

[1201] ἐννάτην ὥραν , the ninth hour ) Some one has thrown out the surmise that it was at mid-day the definitive sentence was pronounced by Pilate, and that His being led forth was delayed up to that point of time, so that the crucifixion would thus take place on the third hour from mid-day (3 o’clock), at the time of the evening sacrifice. Nay, rather His death occurred at that time, after that the gracious Saviour had hung for six whole hours on the cross. Harm. , p. 571.

[1202] Colbertinus, do.

[1203] Primasius in Apocalypsin.

[1204] In the original, “quasi jam alienior.” (I. B.)

[1205] Isaiah 42:1 . ED.

[1206] In the original, “ desiderium ,” a word which is said by some to have no equivalent in any other language. It implies here longing and love in the highest and fullest degree, accompanied by sorrow for, and privation of, the object desired; and corresponds very nearly with the Portuguese word saudade , which I believe to be utterly untranslatable. (I. B.)

[1207] Some recent interpreters render it, Why ( How ) can it ( ever ) come to pass, that thou shouldest forsake Me? And yet that interpretation, however soothing it be to natural weakness (softness), does not satisfy the demands of divine rigorous strictness in this most momentous transaction. We may term it, as it were, a filial expostulation , wherein, if we may be permitted to express the sense with some little change of the words, the beloved Son speaks thus to His beloved Father, What is this that thou hast done unto Me? In truth, the best of deeds! Most excellently endured! A brief time so extraordinary, that, on account of it, He is to have [or else feel ] everlasting thanks. Harm. , p. 573.

[1208] Not of His sufferings. ED.

The Greek πόθος . ED.

Verse 47

Matthew 27:47 . Ἡλίαν , Elias ) It is impious to distort sacred words, formularies, and prayers.

Verse 48

Matthew 27:48 . Ὄξους , with vinegar ) The soldiers were accustomed to drink vinegar [1209] themselves, as Gataker remarks, Posthumous Miscellanies, ch. 4.

[1209] Vinegar, mixed with water, and drunk by the soldiers, was called posca (pusca , Veg. Vet. ii. 48). Pl. Mil. iii. 2. 23: Plin. xxvii. 4, 12, Th. PO of potus; comp. esca . ED.

Verse 49

Matthew 27:49 . Οἱ δὲ λοιποὶ , but the rest) i.e. of those present, opposed to those whose speech and conduct is related in Matthew 27:47-48 . [1210] ἔλεγον , κ . τ . λ ., said , etc.) After the fearful darkness, they return to their scoffs. ἄφες , let be ) They mean, that the aid of their companion [who offered the vinegar] is unnecessary, as Elias has been summoned.

[1210] Not, however, excluding the man who presented to Jesus, on a hyssop stick, the spunge filled with vinegar. We may readily suppose that this man was a Jew enlisted among the Roman soldiery. Comp. with this view Mark 15:36 . Harm. , p. 574.

Verse 50

Matthew 27:50 . Κράξας , κ . τ . λ ., having cried , etc.) A free laying down of life. He was not deprived of life by the power of the cross employed by men; see Mark 15:44 ; but yet they are rightly said to have killed Him, because they did so, as far as lay in their power. ἀφῆκε τὸ πνεῦμα , He gave up the ghost ) The Divine history records the death of Jesus Christ in few words; the homilies and epistles of the Apostles preach the fruit of that death in many: thus the Gospel furnishes the wool, the Apostle makes the dress; which similitude is used by Macarius in his Treatise, de Elevatione mentis, cap. 19. The word κοιμᾶσθαι , to sleep , is never employed concerning the death of the Saviour (cf. Mat 27:52 ), but ἀποθνήσκειν , to die , which verb expresses the truth, the gravity, the brevity, and the virtue of Christ’s death. [1211]

[1211] By it God was reconciled. Truly, a most precious moment! V. g.

Verse 51

Matthew 27:51 . Ἐσχίσθη , κ . τ . λ ., was rent , etc.) Therefore the approach to the Holy Places was now free. [1212] ἡ γῆ , the earth) i.e. the globe (see Mat 27:45 ), but especially the Land of Israel and the vicinity of Jerusalem. [1213] αἱ πέτραι , κ . τ . λ ., the rocks , etc.) Travellers relate that rents in the rocks, the opposite sides of which correspond to each other, are still to be seen.

[1212] Matthew and Mark place this rending of the veil after the death of Christ. Luke places it before the words, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit . Both events occurred at this same incomparable moment. Luke, inasmuch as combining the darkness of the three hours with the rending of the veil, indicates, (1) that after the darkness was ended, all the remaining events, up to the death of the Saviour, mutually succeeded one another in most rapid succession; and (2) that the rending of the veil, which occurred at the very moment of His death, has no less close connection with the supernatural darkness than with the subsequent miracles. To be left by God was the same to the soul of Jesus, as to die was to His body : the former was signified by the darkness, the latter by the rending of the veil. His quickening the Spirit followed immediately after He had drunk the cup of death the uttermost ( 1Pe 3:18 ), and that quickening produced the greatest effects upon things visible and invisible alike. Harm. , p. 576

[1213] Those great commotions in created things went on, in continuous succession, from the moment of Christ’s death to His resurrection, exerting their influence especially in the kingdom of things invisible. Harm., l. c .

Verse 52

Matthew 27:52 . Τῶν κεκοιμημένων ἁγίων , of the saints that had slept ) The name saints belongs equally to the living and the dead; yea, in the mention of the dead, the determining clause is added, “who had slept.” And these saints are reckoned such, not by human, but Divine Canon. Of the Saints , who had died either a long while before the birth of Christ, or not much after (see Gnomon on Joh 11:25 ), from all tribes no doubt. The ancients appear to have considered Job to have been one of these; for, at the end of his book, the LXX. and Theodotion add γέγραπται δὲ αὐτὸν πάλιν ἀναστήσεσθαι μεθʼ ὧν ὁ κύριος ἀνίστησιν , but it is written that he shall rise again with those whom the Lord raises .

Verse 53

Matthew 27:53 . Ἐξελθόντες , having come out ) i.e. the saints whose bodies had been resuscitated, in stately procession. μετὰ τὴν ἔγερσιν Αὐτοῦ , after His resurrection ) This clause refers to the verb ἠγέρθη , were raised , to which the verbal noun ἔγερσις ( the act of being raised ), which does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament, is fitted in this passage; and yet this same clause is placed between the egress of the saints from the tombs, and their ingress into the city. This intermingling of the words admirably corresponds with the facts. Immediately on our Lord’s death, the veil was rent in twain, the earth shook, the rocks were rent; and St Matthew has woven together the other circumstances with these prodigies. From which we are able to gather that there was one continual earthquake from the death to the resurrection of our Lord, which first aroused the living ( Mat 27:54 ), and afterwards the dead. There cannot be assigned any noticeable interval between the resurrection of the bodies of the saints, and their coming forth from the tomb. The first who rose from the dead to die no more was Christ; he had however companions. After His resurrection, that of the saints also took place; but it is recorded that their egress from the tombs, and their ingress into the Holy City, occurred after His resurrection; because those many persons, to whom the saints appeared, knew the time of their ingress and appearance, but had not seen their actual resurrection. The silence of St Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:23 , does not prove, as Artemonius has inferred, ad Init. Ev. Joh . p. 571, that the bodies of the saints came forth from the tombs without their souls, and that their souls afterwards ascended to heaven without their bodies. ἐνεφανίσθησαν , appeared ) singly to individuals, or several at once, to more than one. An instance of real apparition.

Verse 54

Matthew 27:54 . Τηροῦντες , watching ) In their turn. ἀληθῶς , truly ) This refers antithetically to Matthew 27:40 ; Matthew 27:43 . Θεοῦ Υἱὸς , Son of God ) He had said that He was so, and they acknowledge the truth of His assertion from the signs. [1214]

[1214] Matthew 27:55 . ἀπὸ τῆς Γαλιλαίας , from Galilee ) The journey (of Jesus and His followers) from Galilee towards Jerusalem [His last journey], recorded in Luke 9:51 , is the one here meant. What great things these women, equally with the apostles, saw and heard in so short a space of time! These women already make up for His being deserted by the apostles. Harm. , p. 578. They were the steady attendants of Jesus in His life and death. Therefore no part of the Gospel history is destitute of eye-witnesses. V. g.

Verse 56

Matthew 27:56 . Ἡ τοῦ Ἰακωβου καὶ Ἰωσῆ μήτηρ , the mother of James and Joses ) When St Matthew wrote, the sons were better known than their mother; wherefore she was denominated from them.

Verse 57

Matthew 27:57 . Ὃς καὶ αὐτὸς , κ . τ . λ ., who also himself , etc.) As well as those pious women. ἐμαθήτευσε , was a disciple ) and was anxious to make disciples. [1215]

[1215] Beng. takes ἐμαθήτευσε here not only in the intransitive sense, He was a disciple , but in the transitive sense, He made , or wished to make disciples , as in ch. Matthew 28:19 ; Acts 14:21 . ED.

Verse 58

Matthew 27:58 . Ἠτήσατο , begged ) Then the power of the Prætor was great over the bodies of those who had been executed; cf. in Mark 15:45 , ἐδωρήσατο , he gave as a gift . Buxtorf in his Lexic. Talm. fol. xix. 62, says, “For this cause, perchance, did Joseph of Arimathea beg that the body of Christ might be given to him, lest it should be committed to the public sepulchre of criminais.” τὸ σῶμα , the body ) All the Evangelists use this word for our Lord’s frame when dead, since it would not have been becoming to designate it by the expression corpse (cadaver) . Such is the Divine propriety of style, which has indeed been abandoned by human commentators. ἀποδοθῆναι , to be restored [1216] ) The Jews had alienated it; Joseph, a member of the Sanhedrim, as it were in the public name received it from the Gentiles, and together with Nicodemus restored it to the Jews; cf. the conclusion of John 19:40 .

[1216] Engl. Vers. To be delivered . (I. B.)

Verse 59

Matthew 27:59 . Σινδόνι , a very fine linen or muslin cloth ) Such as had not hitherto been worn by our Lord. The beginnings of honour [1217] already appear. Joseph is called in Mark 15:43 , ΕὐΣΧΉΜΩΝ ΒΟΥΛΕΥΤῊς , an honourable senator ) It was not allowable to wrap the dead in anything more costly.

[1217] Cf. 1 Corinthians 15:4 . E. B.

Verse 60

Matthew 27:60 . Καινῷ , new ) Which had not been polluted by any corruption; and also lest any of the ancient saints should be said to have risen instead of Him, or to have given Him the power of rising. αὐτοῦ , his own ) Jesus Christ, the leader and guide of life, was placed in the tomb of another. [1218] τῇ θύρᾳ , the door ) The sepulchre was not a narrow trench, but a crypt. ἀπῆλθεν , he departed ) Not hoping those things which soon were to come to pass.

[1218] Implying that the tomb was something alien and strange for Him, the Lord of Life, to be associated with. Therefore He had no tomb of His own . ED.

Verse 61

Matthew 27:61 . Καθήμεναι , sitting ) A holy and salutary delay. [1219]

[1219] καὶ ἡ ἄλλη , and the other ) of whom Mat 27:56 speaks. V. g.

Verse 62

Matthew 27:62 . Τῇ δὲ ἐπαύριον , but on the morrow ) A periphrasis for the Sabbath (cf. ch. Mat 28:1 ), which St Matthew employed for an important reason; perhaps because he did not choose to call the Jewish Sabbath any longer The Sabbath . καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι , and the Pharisees ) They had taken no part in the actual trial; see ch. Matthew 26:3 ; Matthew 26:57 , yet they had not been altogether inactive; see John 18:3 . Perhaps there were also Pharisees among the Scribes and the Elders. Perhaps the Pharisees, from their extreme zeal, did many things which did not exactly belong to their office.

Verse 63

Matthew 27:63 . Δέγοντες , κύριε , saying, my Lord ) They cringe to Pilate: they had not addressed him so before. ἐκεινος , that ) They already desired Jesus to be obliterated from the memory of all. ἐγείρομαι , I am raised ) The present tense.

Verse 64

Matthew 27:64 . Ἀσφαλισθῆναι , to be made sure, to be secured ) They ignorantly minister to the confirmation of the truth. No human ἀσφάλεια ( making sure ) hinders God; see Acts 5:23 ; Acts 16:23-26 . τῷ λαῷ , unto the people ) The Pharisees supposed that they should not believe it themselves. They wish (as they persuade themselves) to take precautions for the people. καὶ ἔσται ἡ ἐσχάτη πλάνη , κ . τ . λ ., and the last error shall be , etc.) The latter victory of truth, however, spread more widely than the first. ἡ ἐσχάτη , the last ) A similar mode of expression occurs in 2 Samuel 13:16 .

Verse 65

Matthew 27:65 . Ἔχετε , κ . τ . λ ., ye have , etc.) Pilate gives the guards quickly: and yet, as it were with indignation (cf. ch. Mat 28:11-12 ), dismisses the calumniators quickly also.

Verse 66

Matthew 27:66 . Ἠσφαλίσαντο , they secured ) This is the whole: the parts were the seal , and the watch .

Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Matthew 27". Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.