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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Matthew 26

 

 

Introduction

CHAPTER 26

Matthew 26:3. After ἀρχιερεῖς Elz. Scholz have καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς, which, in accordance with A B D L א, min. vss. Or. Aug., has been deleted as an interpolation from Mark 14:1, Luke 22:2.

Matthew 26:4. The order δόλῳ κρατήσωσι (reversed in Elz.) is supported by decisive evidence.

Matthew 26:7. βαρυτίμου] Lachm. and Tisch. 8 : πολυτίμου, which, though in accordance with A D L M π א, min., is, nevertheless, taken from John 12:3. Comp. Mark 14:3. From this latter passage is derived the order ἔχουσα ἀλάβ. μύρου (Lachm. and Tisch. 8, following B D L א, min.).

τὴν χεφαλήν] Lachm. and Tisch. 8 : τῆς κεφαλῆς, following B D M א, min. Chrys. But the genitive would be suggested to the transcribers by a comparison with Matthew 26:12, quite as readily as by Mark 14:3.

Matthew 26:8. αὐτοῦ] is, with Lachm. and Tisch., to be deleted, both here and in Matthew 26:45, as being a common interpolation; similarly with Tisch. after βλασφ., Matthew 26:65.

Matthew 26:9. τοῦτο] Elz. inserts τὸ μύρον, against decisive evidence; borrowed from Mark 14:5; John 12:5.

The article, before πτωχοῖς, which may as readily have been omitted, in accordance with John 12:5, as inserted, in accordance with Mark 14:3, is, with Elz. and Tisch. 8, to be left out. There is a good deal of evidence on both sides; but the insertion might easily take place out of regard to Matthew 26:11.

Matthew 26:11. πάντοτε γὰρ τοὺς πτωχούς] E F H M γ, min. Chrys.: τοὺς πτωχοὺς γὰρ πάντοτε. Recommended by Griesb., adopted by Fritzsche. As this reading may have been taken from John 12:8 as readily as that of the Received text from Mark 14:7, the matter must be determined simply by the balance of evidence, and this is in favour of the Received text.

Matthew 26:17. ἑτοιμάσωμεν] The evidence of D K U, min. Or. in favour of the reading ἑτοιμάσομεν (Fritzsche) is inadequate.

Matthew 26:20. Lachm. and Tisch. read μαθητῶν after δώδεκα, on the authority of A L M δ π א, min. vss. Chrys. Correctly; the omission is due to Mark 14:17.

For ἕκαστος αὐτῶν, Matthew 26:22, it is better, with Lachm. and Tisch., to adopt εἷς ἓκαστος, in accordance with weighty evidence. Had εἷς been derived from Mark 14:19, we should have had εἷς καθʼ εἷς; κὐτῶν, again, was an interpolation of extremely common occurrence.

Matthew 26:26. εὐλογήσας] Scholz: εὐχαριστήσας, following A E F H K M S U V γ δ π, min. vss. Fathers. Considering, however, the weight of evidence that still remains in favour of εὐλογ. (B C D L Z א), and having regard to the preponderating influence of Luke and Paul (1 Corinthians 11:23 ff.) rather than Mark, upon the ecclesiastical phraseology of the Lord’s Supper, it is better to retain εὐλογ.

For this reason we should also retain τόν before ἄρτον, though deleted by Lachm. and Tisch. 8, and not found in B G D G L Z א, min. Chrys. Theophyl.

For ἐδίδου Lachm. reads δούς, omitting at the same time καί before εἶπε, in accordance with B D L Z א** min. Cant. Copt. Due to a desire to make the construction uniform with the preceding. Had δούς been changed to a tense in accordance with Mark and Luke, we should have had ἔδωκε.

Matthew 26:27. τὸ ποτήριον] The article, which is deleted by Tisch., and is wanting in B E F G L Z δ א, min., is due to the ecclesiastical phraseology to which Luke and Paul have given currency.

Matthew 26:28. τὸ τῆς] Lachm. and Tisch. have simply τῆς, in accordance with B D L Z א, 33. τὸ is an exegetical addition.

καινῆς before διαθ. is wanting in B L Z א, 33, 102, Sahid. Cyr., and is a liturgical addition. Had it been originally written, this is just the place of all others where it would not have been omitted.

Matthew 26:31. διασκορπισθήσεται] A B C G H* I L M א, min. Or. (once): διασκορπισθήσονται. So Lachm. and Tisch. The reading of the Received text is a grammatical correction.

Matthew 26:33. Instead of εἰ καί of the Received text, there is decisive evidence for the simple εἰ. καί would be written in the margin from Mark 14:29, but would not be inserted in the text as in the case of Mark.

ἐγώ] The evidence in favour of inserting δέ (which is adopted by Griesb., Matth., Fritzsche) is inadequate. An addition for the purpose of giving prominence to the contrast.

Matthew 26:35. After ὁμοίως important witnesses read δέ, which has been adopted by Griesb., Matth., Scholz, Fritzsche. Taken from Mark 14:31.

Matthew 26:36. ἓως οὗ] Lachm.: ἓως οὗ ἄν; D K L δ, min.: ἓως ἃν. The reading of Lachm., though resting only on the authority of A, is nevertheless to be regarded as the original one. οὗ ἄν would be omitted in conformity with Mark 14:32 (C M* א, min. have simply ἓως), and then there would come a restoration in some instances of οὗ only, and, in others, merely of ἄν.

Matthew 26:38. We should not follow Griesb., Matth., Fritzsche, Scholz, Tisch. 7, in adopting ἰησοῦς; after αὐτοῖς; a reading which, though attested by important witnesses, is nevertheless contradicted by a preponderance of evidence (A B C* D J L א, and the majority of vss.), while, moreover, it would be inserted more readily and more frequently (in this instance probably in conformity with Mark 14:34) than it would be omitted.

Matthew 26:39. προελθών] so B M π, It. Vulg. Hilar. Elz. Lachm. and Tisch. 7. The preponderance of evidence is in favour of προσελθών, which, indeed, has been adopted by Matth., Scholz, and Tisch. 8; but it is evidently a mechanical error on the part of the transcriber; προέρχεσθαι occurs nowhere else in Matth.

The μου after πάτερ (deleted by Tisch. 8) is suspected of being an addition from Matthew 26:42; however, the evidence in favour of deleting it (A B C D א, etc.) is too weighty to admit of its being retained.

Matthew 26:42. τὸ ποτήριον] is wanting in A B C I L א, min. vss. and Fathers; in D it comes before τοῦτο (as in Matthew 26:39); in 157, Arm., it comes before ἐάν, in which position it also occurs in δ, though with a mark of erasure. Suspected by Griesb., deleted by Fritzsche, Lachm., and Tisch. A supplement from Matthew 26:39. Further, the ἀπʼ ἐμοῦ following, though the evidence against it is not quite so strong (B D L א, however), and though it is defended by Fritzsche, and only bracketed by Lachm., is to be condemned (with Griesb., Rinck, Tisch.) as an interpolation from Matthew 26:39.

Matthew 26:43. εὑρίσκει αὐτοὺς πάλιν] Lachm. and Tisch., with the approval of Griesb. also: πάλιν εὗρεν αὐτούς, following B C D I L א, min. and the majority of vss.; while other important witnesses (such as A K δ) also read εὗρεν, but adhere to the order in the Received text. Accordingly, εὗρεν is decidedly to be adopted, while εὑρίσκει is to be regarded as derived from Matthew 26:40; as for πάλιν, however, there is so much diversity among the authorities with reference to its connection, and consequently with reference to its position, that only the preponderance of evidence must decide, and that is favourable to Lachm. and Tisch.

In Matthew 26:44, again, πάλιν is variously placed; but, with Lachm. and Tisch., it should be put before ἀπελθών, in accordance with B C D I L א, min. vss. ἐκ τρίτου, which Lachm. brackets, is, with Tisch., to be maintained on the strength of preponderating evidence. Had it been inserted in conformity with Matthew 26:42, it would have been placed after πάλιν; had it been from Mark 14:41, again, we should have had τὸ τρίτον. The omission may have been readily occasioned by a fear lest it should be supposed that Jesus prayed τὸν αὐτὸν λόγον but once before.

After εἰπών Tisch. 8 repeats the πάλιν (B L א, min. Copt.), which may easily have been omitted as superfluous. However, the preponderance of evidence (especially that of the vss. also) is against adopting it, so that there is reason to regard it rather as a mechanical repetition.

Matthew 26:50. The reading ἐφʼ (instead of ἐφʼ , as in Elz.) is attested by decisive evidence.

Matthew 26:52. ἀπολοῦνται] F H K M S U V γ δ, min. vss. and Fathers: ἀποθανοῦνται. Approved by Griesb. in opposition to the principal mss.; a gloss, for which Sahid. must have read πεσοῦνται.

Matthew 26:53. The placing of ἄρτι after παραστ. μοι, by Tisch. 8, is in opposition to a preponderance of evidence, and is of the nature of an emendation; ὧδε is likewise inserted by some.

πλείους] Lachm. and Tisch.: πλείω, after B D א*. Correctly; the reading of the Received text is an unskilled emendation. For the same reason the following , which Lachm. brackets, should, with Tisch., be deleted, in accordance with B D L א; though we should not follow Tisch. 8 in reading λεγιώνων (A C K L δ π* א*) for λεγεῶνας, because the genitive is connected with the reading πλείους.

Matthew 26:55. πρὸς ὑμᾶς] is, with Tisch., following B L א, 33, 102, Copt. Sahid. Cyr. Chrys., to be deleted as an interpolation from Mark 14:49.

Matthew 26:58. ἀπὸ μακρόθεν] ἀπό should be deleted, with Tisch., in accordance with important evidence. Taken from Mark 14:54.

Matthew 26:59. καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι] is wanting, no doubt, in B D L א, min. vss. and Fathers, but it was omitted in conformity with Mark 14:55. Suspected by Griesb., deleted by Lachm. and Tisch. 8. A desire to conform with Mark also serves to explain the fact that, in a few of the witnesses, ὅλον is placed before τὸ συνέδρ.

θανατώσωσιν] θανατώσουσιν, as read by Lachm. and Tisch., is supported by decisive evidence, and had been altered to the more usual subjunctive. αὐτόν should likewise be put before θανατ. (B C D L N א, min. Vulg. It.).

Matthew 26:60. The reading of the Received text, which is attested by the important evidence of A C** E F G, etc., and likewise maintained by Fritzsche and Scholz, is: καὶ οὐχ εὗρον. καὶ πολλῶν ψευδομαρτύπων προσελθόντων οὐχ εὗρον. Griesb.: καὶ οὐχ εὗρον πολλῶν ψευδ. προσελθ. Lachm. and Tisch.: καὶ οὐχ εὗρον πολλ. προσελθ. ψευδ., after which Lachm. gives the second οὐχ εὗρον in brackets. This second οὐχ εὗρον is wanting in A C* L N* א, min. vss. and Fathers (Or. twice); while in A B L θ.f א, min. Syr. Or. Cyr. the order of the words is: πολλ. προσελθ. ψευδ. Further, Syr. Arr. Pers.p Syr.jer Slav., though omitting the second οὐχ εὗρον, have retained καὶ before πολλῶν; and this reading (accordingly: καὶ οὐχ εὗρον καί πολλῶν προσελθόντων ψευδομαρτύρων) I agree with Rinck, Lucubr. crit. p. 282 f., regarding as the original one. This καὶ, the force of which was missed from its not being followed by a verb, occasioned considerable embarrassment to the transcribers, who disposed of the difficulty by adding a second οὐχ εὗρον, while others got rid of the troublesome καί by simply omitting it.

δύο-g0- ψευδομάρτ-g0-.] Tisch., following B L א, min. vss. (also Syr.) and Or. (once), reads merely δύο. Correctly; ψευδομάρτ. is an addition, which might seem all the more necessary since a saying of Christ’s actually underlay the words.

Matthew 26:65. ὅτι] is wanting before ἐβλασφήμ. in such important witnesses, that Lachm. and Tisch. are justified in deleting it as a common interpolation.

Matthew 26:70. For αὐτῶν πάντων read, with Tisch. 8, following preponderating evidence, merely πάντων, to which αὐτῶν was added for sake of greater precision.

Matthew 26:71. For τοῖς ἐκεῖ, which Tisch. 8 has restored, Scholz and Tisch. 7 read αὐτοῖς ἐκεῖ. Both readings are strongly attested; but the latter is to be preferred, because the current τοῖς ἐκεῖ would involuntarily suggest itself and supersede the less definite expression αὐτοῖς ἐκεῖ.

Matthew 26:74. καταθεματίζειν] Elz., Fritzsche: καταναθεματίζειν, against decisive evidence. A correction.


Verse 1

Matthew 26:1 f.(21) For this form of transition, by which a marked pause is indicated at the close of a somewhat lengthened discourse, comp. Matthew 7:28, Matthew 11:1, Matthew 13:53, Matthew 19:1.

πάντας] referring back, without any particular object in view (such as to call attention to the fact that our Lord’s functions as a teacher were now ended, Wichelhaus and the earlier expositors), to the preceding discourse, consisting, as it does, of several sections (Matthew 24:4 to Matthew 25:46), not a parallel to LXX. Deuteronomy 31:1 (Delitzsch).

΄ετὰ δύο ἡ΄έρας] after the lapse of two days, i.e. the day after next the Passover commenced. It would therefore be Tuesday, if, as the Synoptists inform us (differently in John, see on John 18:28), the feast began on Thursday evening.

τὸ πάσχα] פֶּסַח, Aram. פַּסְחָא, the passing over (Exodus 12:13), a Mosaic feast, in commemoration of the sparing of the first-born in Egypt, began after sunset on the 14th of Nisan, and lasted till the 21st. On its original meaning as a feast in connection with the consecration of the first-fruits of the spring harvest, see Ewald, Alterth. p. 466 f.; Dillmann in Schenkel’s Lex. IV. p. 387 f.

καὶ υἱός, κ. τ. λ.] a definite prediction of what was to happen to Him at the Passover, but represented as something already known to the disciples (from Matthew 20:19), and which, though forming part of the contents of οἴδατε, is at the same time introduced by a broken construction (not as dependent on ὅτι), in accordance with the depth of His emotion.


Verses 3-5

Matthew 26:3-5. τότε] i.e. at the time that Jesus was saying this to His disciples. Fatal coincidence.

εἰς τὴν αὐλὴν τοῦ ἀρχ.] It is usual to understand the palace of the high priest, in direct opposition to the use of αὐλή(22) in the New Testament (not excluding Luke 11:21). We should rather interpret it of the court enclosed by the various buildings belonging to the house (see Winer, Realw. under the word Häuser; Friedlieb, Archäol. d. Leidensgesch. p. 7 f.), such courts having been regularly used as meeting-places. Comp. Vulg. (atrium), Erasmus, Castalio, Calvin, Maldonatus. This meeting is not to be regarded as one of the public sittings of the Sanhedrim (on the probable official meeting-place of this body at that time, the so-called taverns, see Wieseler, Beitr. p. 209 ff.), but as a private conference of its members.

τοῦ λεγομ. καϊάφα] who bore the name of Caiaphas. Comp. Matthew 2:23. This was a surname; the original name was Joseph (Joseph. Antt. xviii. 2. 2); but the surname having become his ordinary and official designation, it was used for the name itself: hence λεγομένου, not ἐπικαλουμένου or ἐπιλεγομένου. Caiaphas (either = בַּיְפָא, depressio, or כֵּיפָא, rock) obtained his appointment through the procurator Valerius Gratus, and, after enjoying his dignity for seventeen years, was deposed by Vitellius, Joseph. Antt. xviii. 2. 2, 4. 3.

συνεβουλεύσαντο, ἵνα] they consulted together, in order that they, John 11:53.

μὴ ἐν τῂ ἑορτῇ] namely: let us arrest him, and put him to death! For the absolute ΄ή, comp. on Galatians 5:13. The reference is to the entire period over which the feast extended, not to the place where it was celebrated (Wieseler, Chronol. Synops. p. 367). It is true no scruple was felt, especially in urgent and important cases (comp. on Acts 12:3 f), about having executions (Sanhedr. f. 89. 1) during the feast days (although most probably never on the first of them, on which, according to Mischna Jom tob v. 2, the trial took place; comp. on John 18:28, and see, above all, Bleek’s Beitr. p. 136 ff.), and that with a view to making the example more deterrent (Deuteronomy 17:13). But the members of the Sanhedrim dreaded an uprising among the numerous sympathizers with Jesus both within and outside the capital (a very natural apprehension, considering that this was just the season when so many strangers, and especially Galilaeans, were assembled in the city; comp. Joseph. Antt. xvii. 9. 3; Bell. i. 4. 3), though, by and by, they overcame this fear, and gladly availed themselves of the opportunity which Judas afforded them (Matthew 26:14). “Sic consilium divinum successit,” Bengel. To regard μὴ ἐν τῇ ἑορτῇ as meaning: previous to the feast! as though, during the feast itself, the execution were to be considered as already a thing of the past (Neander, p. 678; Hausrath), would be quite in keeping with John’s statement as to the day on which the crucifixion took place (comp. on Mark 14:2); but it would not suit the connection as found in Matthew and Mark, because, according to them, the consultation among the members of the Sanhedrim had taken place so very shortly before the Passover (Matthew 26:2) that the greater part of the multitude, whose rising was apprehended, must have been present by that time.


Verse 6

Matthew 26:6. γενομ. ἐν βηθαν] i.e. having come to Bethany, 2 Timothy 1:17; John 6:25, and frequently in classical writers; comp. on Philippians 2:7. To remove this visit back to a point of time previous to that indicated at Matthew 26:2, with the effect of simply destroying the sequence (Ebrard, Lange), is to do such harmonistic violence to the order observed in Matthew and Mark as the τότε of Matthew 26:14 should have been sufficient to avert.

σίμωνος τοῦ λεπροῦ] In a way no less unwarrantable has the person here referred to (a person who had formerly been a leper, and who, after his healing, effected probably by Jesus, had continued to be known by this epithet) been associated with the family of Bethany; he has been supposed to have been the deceased father of this family (Theophylact, Ewald, Gesch. Chr. p. 481), or some other relative or friend (Grotius, Kuinoel, Ebrard, Lange, Bleek), or the owner of the house. Of the person who, according to Matthew and Mark, provided this entertainment, nothing further is known; whereas, according to John, the entertainment was given by the family of which Lazarus was a member; the latter is the correct view, the former is based upon the similar incident recorded in Luke 7.


Verse 7

Matthew 26:7. γυνή] According to John, it was Mary.

ἀλάβαστρον] Among classical writers the neuter of this word does not occur except in the plural; in the singular ἀλάβαστρος is masculine, as also in 2 Kings 21:13, and feminine. “Unguenta optime servantur in alabastris,” Plin. N. H. iii. 3; Herod, iii. 20; Theocr. Id. xv. 114; Anth. Pal. ix. 153. 3; Jacobs, ad Anthol. XI. p. 92.

ἐπὶ τ. κ. αὐτοῦ] A divergence from John’s account, not to be reconciled in the arbitrary manner in which Calvin and Ebrard have attempted, as though the oil had been so unsparingly poured on that it ran down and was used for the feet as well (comp. Morison). Matthew narrates an anointing of the head; John, of the feet. The practice of anointing the heads of guests by way of showing them respect is well known (comp. Plat. Rep. p. 398 A, and Stallbaum thereon). Seeing, however, that the anointing of the feet was unusual (in opposition to Ebrard), and betokened a special and extraordinary amount of respect (as is, in fact, apparent from Luke 7:46), our passage would have been all the less likely to “omit” it (Lange), had it really formed part of the tradition.

ἀνακειμένου] while He was reclining at table, a circumstance qualifying the αὐτοῦ.


Verse 8

Matthew 26:8. The feature peculiar to John, and having an essential bearing upon the character of his narrative, to the effect that it was Judas who censured the proceeding, had come to be obliterated in the tradition represented by our present passage. Our narrative, then, is certainly not contradictory of that of John, but only less precise. Arbitrary attempts have been made to explain our passage by saying either that, in Matthew, the narrative is to be regarded as sylleptical (Jerome, Beza, Maldonatus), or that Judas simply gave utterance to an observation in which the others have innocently concurred (Augustine, Calvin, Grotius, Kuinoel, Paulus, Wichelhaus), or that several of them betrayed symptoms of murmuring (Lange).

ἀπώλεια αὕτη] this loss, in making such a use of an expensive oil. This word never occurs in the New Testament in a transitive sense (as in Polyb. vi. 59. 5).


Verse 9

Matthew 26:9. πολλοῦ] put more precisely in Mark 14:5; John 12:5. On the expensiveness of spikenard, a pound of which is alleged to have cost even upwards of 400 denarii, see Plin. N. H. xii. 26, xiii. 4.

καὶ δοθῆναι] the subject (the equivalent in money, had it been sold) may be inferred from the context ( πραθῆναι πολλοῦ). See Kühner, II. 1, p. 30 f.


Verse 10

Matthew 26:10. γνούς] Comp. Matthew 16:8. We may imagine what precedes to have been spoken among the disciples in a low murmuring tone.

κόπους παρέχειν, to give trouble, to cause annoyance. See Kypke, Obss. I. p. 130. Comp. πόνον παρέχειν (Herod, i. 177), and such like.

ἔργον γάρ, κ. τ. λ.] Justification of the disapproval implied in the foregoing question. καλόν, when used with ἔργον, is, according to ordinary usage, to be taken in an ethical sense; thus (comp. Matthew 5:16): an excellent deed, one that is morally beautiful, and not a piece of waste, as ye are niggardly enough to suppose. The disciples had allowed their estimate of the action to be determined by the principle of mere utility, and not by that of moral propriety, especially of love to Christ.


Verse 11

Matthew 26:11 f. Justification of the καλόν on the ground of the peculiar circumstances under which the anointing took place. Jesus was on the very threshold of death; they would always have opportunities of showing kindness to the poor, but by and by it would be no longer in their power to do a loving service to Him in person upon earth! Accordingly there is a moral propriety in making the special manifestation of love, which was possible only now, take precedence of that general one which was always possible.

οὐ πάντοτε ἔχετε] a sorrowful litotes involving the idea: but I will soon be removed by death, to which idea the γάρ of Matthew 26:12 refers.

βαλοῦσα] inasmuch as she has poured … she has done it (this outpouring) with the view (as though I were already a corpse) of embalming me (Genesis 50:2). The aorist participle represents the act as finished contemporaneously with ἐποίησαν. Comp. Matthew 27:4; Ephesians 1:9, al.; Hermann, ad Viger. p. 774; Müller in the Luther. Zeitschr. 1872, p. 631 ff. For the rest, it may be said that, under the influence of grateful emotion, Jesus ascribes a special motive to the woman, though she herself simply meant to testify her love and reverence. Such feelings, intensified as they were by the thought of the approaching death of the beloved Master, and struggling to express themselves in this particular form, could not but receive the highest consecration.


Verse 13

Matthew 26:13. τὸ εὐαγγ. τοῦτο] comp. on Matthew 24:14. In this instance, however, the emphasis is not on τοῦτο (as in Matthew 24:14), but on τὸ εὐαγγέλιον: this message of redemption, where τοῦτο points to the subject of the message just hinted at, Matthew 26:11-12, viz. the death of Jesus; and although the allusion may be but slight, still it is an allusion in living connection with the thoughts of death that filled His soul, and one that naturally springs from the sorrowful emotion of His heart. The thing to which τοῦτο refers is, when put in explicit terms, identical with τὸ εὐαγγ. τῆς χάριτος τ. θεοῦ (Acts 20:24), τὸ εὐαγγ. τῆς σωτηρίας ὑμ. (Ephesians 1:13), τὸ εὐαγγ. τῆς εἰρήνης. (Ephesians 6:15), λόγος τοῦ σταυροῦ (1 Corinthians 1:18).

ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ κόσμῳ] is not to be connected with λαληθ. (Fritzsche, Kuinoel), but with κηρυχθῇ. Comp. Mark 14:9; ὅπου denotes the locality in its special, ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ κόσμῳ in its most comprehensive sense.

εἰς μνημος. αὐτ.] belongs to λαληθ. She has actually been remembered, and her memory is blessed.


Verses 14-16

Matthew 26:14-16. On ἰούδας ἰσκαρ., see on Matthew 10:4.

τότε] after this repast, but not because he had been so much offended, nay, embittered (Wichelhaus, Schenkel, following the older expositors), by the reply of Jesus, Matthew 26:10 ff. (comp. John 12:7 f.),—a view scarcely in keeping with the mournful tenderness of that reply in which, moreover, according to Matthew, the name of Judas was not once mentioned. According to John 13:27, the devil, after selecting Judas as his instrument (Matthew 13:2), impelled him to betray his Master, not, however, till the occasion of the last supper,—a divergence from the synoptical narrative which ought, with Strauss, to be recognised, especially as it becomes very marked when Luke 22:3 is compared with John 13:27.

εἷς τῶν δώδεκα] tragic contrast; found in all the evangelists, even in John 12:4; Acts 1:17.

In Matthew 26:15 the mark of interrogation should not be inserted after δοῦναι (Lachmann), but allowed to remain after παραδ. αὐτόν. Expressed syntactically, the question would run: What will ye give me, if I deliver Him to you? In the eagerness of his haste the traitor falls into a broken construction (Kühner, II. 2, p. 782 f.): What will ye give me, and I will, etc. Here καί is the explicative atque, meaning: and so; on ἐγώ, again, there is an emphasis expressive of boldness.

ἔστησαν] they weighed for him, according to the ancient custom, and comp. Zechariah 11:12. No doubt coined shekels (Otto, Spicil. p. 60 ff.; Ewald in the Nachr. v. d. Gesellsch. d. Wiss., Gött. 1855, p. 109 ff.) were in circulation since the time of Simon the Maccabee (143 B.C.), but weighing appears to have been still practised, especially when considerable sums were paid out of the temple treasury; it is, in any case, unwarrantable to understand the ἔστησαν merely in the sense of: they paid. For ἵστημι, to weigh, see Wetstein on our passage; Schleusner, Thes. III. p. 122; Valckenaer, ad Eurip. Fragm. p. 288. The interpretation of certain expositors: they arranged with him, they promised him (Vulg. Theophylact, Castalio, Grotius, Elsner, Fritzsche, Käuffer, Wichelhaus, Lange), is in opposition not only to Matthew 27:3, where the words τὰ ἀργύρια refer back to the shekels already paid, but also to the terms of the prophecy, Zechariah 11:12 (comp. Matthew 27:9).

τριάκ. ἀργ.] ἀργύρια, shekels, only in Matthew, not in the LXX., which, in Zechariah 11:12, has τριάκοντα ἀργυροῦς (sc. σίκλους); comp. Jeremiah 32:9. They were shekels of the sanctuary ( שֶׁקֶל הַקֹּדֶשׁ), which, as containing the standard weight, were heavier than the ordinary shekels; according to Joseph. Antt. iii. 8. 2, they were equivalent to four Attic drachmae, though, according to Jerome (on Micah 3:10), whose estimate, besides being more precise, is found to tally with existing specimens of this coin, they were equal to twenty oboli, or to 3⅓ drachmae—i.e. to something like 26 to 27 silbergroschen (2s. 6d.). See Bertheau, Gesch. d. Isr. pp. 34, 39; Keil, Arch. II. p. 146.

ἐζήτει εὐκαιρίαν, ἵνα] he sought a good opportunity (Cic. de off. i. 40) for the purpose of, etc. Such a εὐκαιρία as he wanted would present itself whenever he saw that συλληφθέντος οὐκ ἔμελλε θόρυβος γενέσθαι, Euthymius Zigabenus; comp. Matthew 26:5.

REMARK 1.

As the statement regarding the thirty pieces of silver is peculiar to Matthew, and as one so avaricious as Judas was would hardly have been contented with so moderate a sum, it is probable that, from its not being known exactly how much the traitor had received, the Gospel traditions came ultimately to fix upon such a definite amount as was suggested by Zechariah 11:12. Then, as tending further to impugn the historical accuracy of Matthew’s statement, it is of importance to notice that it has been adopted neither by the earlier Gospel of Mark, nor the later one of Luke, nor by John. Comp. Strauss, Ewald, Scholten.

REMARK 2.

As regards the idea, that what prompted Judas to act as he did, was a desire to bring about a rising of the people at the time of the feast, and to constrain “the dilatory Messiah to establish His kingdom by means of popular violence” (Paulus, Goldhorn in Tzschirn. Memor. i. 2; Winer, Theile, Hase, Schollmeyer, Jesus u. Judas, 1836; Weisse, I. p. 450),—the traitor himself being now doubtful, according to Neander and Ewald, as to whether Jesus was the Messiah or not,—it may be affirmed that it has no foundation whatever in the Gospel record, although it may be excused as a well-meant effort to render a mysterious character somewhat more comprehensible, and to make so strange a choice on the part of Jesus a little less puzzling. According to John especially, the subjective motive which, in conjunction with Satanic agency (Luke 22:3; John 13:2; John 13:27), led to the betrayal was simply avarice, not wounded ambition as well, see on Matthew 26:14; nor love of revenge and such like (Schenkel); nor shipwrecked faith on the occasion of the anointing of Christ (Klostermann); nor melancholy, combined with irritation against Jesus because the kingdom He sought to establish was not a kingdom of this world (Lange). Naturally passionate at any rate (Pressensé), and destitute of clearness of head as well as force of character (in opposition to Weisse), he was now so carried away by his own dark and confused ideas, that though betraying Jesus he did not anticipate that he would be condemned to death (Matthew 27:3), and only began to realize what he had done when the consequences of his act stared him in the face. Those, accordingly, go too far in combating the attempts that have been made to palliate the deed in question, who seek to trace it to fierce anger against Jesus, and the profoundest wickedness (Ebrard), and who represent Judas as having been from the first—even at the time he was chosen—the most consummate scoundrel to be found among men (Daub, Judas Ischar. 1816). That fundamental vice of Judas, πλεονεξία, became doubtless, in the abnormal development which his moral nature underwent through intercourse with Jesus, the power which completely darkened and overmastered his inner life, culminating at last in betrayal and suicide. Moreover, in considering the crime of Judas, Scripture requires us to keep in view the divine teleology, Peter already speaking of Jesus (Acts 2:23) as τῇ ὡρισμένη βουλῇ καὶ προγνώσει τοῦ θεοῦ ἔκδοτον, in a way corresponding very much to the view taken of the conduct of Herod and Pilate in Acts 4:28. Judas is thus the tragic instrument and organ of the divine εἱμαρμένη, though not in such a sense as to extenuate in the least the enormity and culpability of his offence, Matthew 26:24. Comp. John 17:12; Acts 1:25; and see, further, on John 6:70, Remark 1.


Verse 17

Matthew 26:17. τῇ δὲ πρώτῃ τῶν ἀζύμ.] on the first day of the unleavened bread, i.e. on the first day of the feast, the day on which the unleavened bread ( המצות) is eaten. The day referred to is the 14th of Nisan (Thursday, according to the synoptic evangelists), which, following the loose popular mode of reckoning, to which Josephus (Antt. ii. 15. 1) also conforms when he represents the feast as extending over eight days, was counted as one of the feast days, although the Passover did not begin till the evening of that day, Numbers 28:16; Exodus 12:18 (Otto, Spicil. p. 70).

ποῦ] in what house.

σοι] “Jesus est ut paterfamilias inter discipulorum familiam,” Bengel.

τὸ πάσχα] the Passover lamb, to be eaten on the evening of the 14th of Nisan. See on John 18:28. This lamb was slain (not by the priests) in the fore-court of the temple in the afternoon before sunset ( בֵּיו הֵעַרְבָיִם, see Hupfeld, de primitiva festor. ap. Hebr. ratione, I. p. 12).

It may seem strange that, at a season when the presence of such multitudes of strangers in the city was certain to create a scarcity of accommodation (Joseph. Bell. ii. 1. 3, vi. 9. 3; Antt. xvii. 9. 3), Jesus should have put off His arrangements for celebrating the feast till now. This, however, may be accounted for by the fact that He must have had certain friends in the town, such as the one referred to in Matthew 26:18, whose houses were so much at His disposal at all times that it was unnecessary to make any earlier preparation.

REMARK.

According to John’s account, the last meal of which Jesus partook was not that of the Passover; while His death is represented as having taken place on the day before the feast, the day which Matthew here calls the πρώτη τῶν ἀζύμων. On this great and irreconcilable discrepancy, which even the most recent exhaustive inquiry, viz. that of Wieseler (Beitr. p. 230 ff.), has failed to dispose of, see on John 18:28.


Verse 18

Matthew 26:18. εἰς τὴν πόλιν] to Jerusalem. According to Matthew 26:6 ff., they were still at Bethany.

πρὸς τὸν δεῖνα] as we say when we either cannot or will not mention the name of the person intended: to so and so. See Wetstein and Hermann, ad Vig. p. 704. But it was not Jesus Himself who omitted to mention the name (“ut discipulus ex diuturna consuetudine notissimum,” Fritzsche), for, after the question of the disciples, Matthew 26:17, He could not assume that it was quite well understood who it was that He referred to; but it has been omitted by the evangelist in his narrative (comp. even Augustine, de cons, ev. ii. 80), either because it had not been preserved as part of the tradition, or for some other reason, to us unknown.

διδάσκ.] the Teacher κατʼ ἐξοχήν. Doubtless the unknown person here referred to was also a believer. Comp. Matthew 21:3.

καιρός μου] i.e. the time of my death (John 13:1), not: for my observing the Passover (Kuinoel), which would render the words singularly meaningless; for this time was, in fact, the same for all There is nothing whatever to justify the very old hypothesis, invented with a view to reconcile the synoptic writers with John, that Jesus partook of His last Passover meal a day earlier than that on which it was wont to be eaten by the Jews. See on John 18:28. Further, this preliminary preparation implies a pious regard for Jesus on the part of the δεῖνα, who was thus singled out; this Passover observance, for which preparations are being made, was destined, in fact, to be a farewell feast! According to Ewald, καιρός μου denotes the time when the Messianic phenomena would appear in the heavens (comp. Matthew 24:34), which, however, is at variance with the text, where the death of Jesus is the all-pervading thought (see Matthew 26:2; Matthew 26:4; Matthew 26:11 f., 21). Comp. ἐλήλυθεν ὥρα, John 17:1.

ποιῶ] is not the Attic future (Fritzsche, Bleek), but the present, representing what is future as now going on, and suited to the idea of a distinct friendly arrangement beforehand: at thy house I observe the Passover. Comp. Exodus 12:48; Joshua 5:10; Deuteronomy 15:1; Deuteronomy 3 Esdr. Matthew 1:6. Similarly classical writers frequently use ποιεῖν in the sense of to observe a feast.

Matthew’s account presupposes nothing miraculous here, as Theophylact and Calvin would have us believe, but simply an arrangement, of which nothing further is known, which Jesus had come to with the person in question, and in consequence of which this latter not only understood what was meant by the καιρός μου, but was also keeping a room in reserve for Jesus in which to celebrate the Passover. It is probable that Jesus, during His stay in Jerusalem after the triumphal entry, had come to some understanding or other with him, so that all that now required to be done was to complete the preparations. It was reserved for the later tradition, embodied in Mark and Luke, to ascribe a miraculous character to these preparations, in which respect they seem to have shared the fate of the incident mentioned at Matthew 21:2 f. This being the case, the claim of originality must be decided in favour of what is still the very simple narrative of Matthew (Strauss, Bleek, Keim), in preference to that of Mark and Luke (Schulz, Schleiermacher, Weisse, Ewald, Weiss). As represented, therefore, by Matthew (who, according to Ebrard and Holtzmann, seems to have regarded the circumstance about the man bearing a pitcher of water as only “an unnecessary detail,” and whose narrative here is, according to Ewald, “somewhat winnowed”), this incident is a natural one, though the same cannot be said of the account given by Mark and Luke (in opposition to Olshausen and Neander).

Who that unknown person above referred to might be, is a point which cannot be determined.


Verse 20

Matthew 26:20. ἀνέκειτο] for the enactment (Exodus 12:11) requiring the Passover lamb to be eaten standing, staff in hand, and in travelling attire, had been subsequently superseded by the necessity of reclining. See Hieros Pesachim f. 37. 2 : “Mos servorum est, ut edant stantes, at nunc comedant recumbentes, ut dignoscatur, exisse eos e servitute in libertatem.” See Usteri, Comment. Joh. ev. genuin. esse. 1823, p. 26 ff.

It was considered desirable that no Passover party should ever consist of fewer than ten guests (Joseph. Bell. vi. 9. 3), for the lamb had to be entirely consumed (Exodus 12:4; Exodus 12:43 ff.)


Verse 21

Matthew 26:21. ἐσθιόντων αὐτῶν] whilst they were eating, but previous to the institution of the supper, Matthew 26:26, which is at variance with Luke 22:21. The correct version of the matter is unquestionably that of Matthew, with whom John also agrees in so far as he represents the announcement of the betrayer as having taken place immediately after the feet-washing and the accompanying discourse, Matthew 13:21 ff.


Verse 22

Matthew 26:22. ἤρξαντο] portrays the unfolding of one scene after another in the incident. Jesus did not answer till this question had been addressed to Him by all of them in turn.

μήτι ἐγώ εἰμι] surely it is not I? presupposes a reply in the negative. “Cum scelus exhorreant, cupiunt ab ejus suspicione purgari; bona tamen conscientia freti, libere testari volunt, quam procul remoti sint a tanto scelere,” Calvin. The account in John 13:22 ff. does not exclude, but supplements that before us, particularly because it also mentions that Judas had retired before the supper was instituted.


Verse 23

Matthew 26:23. ἐμβάψας, κ. τ. λ.] he who has dipped (not: is dipping, Luther, following the Vulgate). We have here no such definite allusion as John 13:26 represents Jesus to have made to Judas. For it is not probable that the dipping in question took place subsequent to the intimation by Jesus in Matthew 26:21 and the commotion of Matthew 26:22,—two circumstances calculated to interrupt for a little the progress of the meal,—but rather before them, when there may have been others besides Judas dipping into the dish from which Jesus was eating. The allusion can be said to point specially to Judas only in so far as, happening to recline near to Jesus, he must have been eating out of the same dish with Him (for there would be several of such dishes standing on the table). Comp. Grotius. The ἐμβαπτόμενος of Mark 14:20 (see on the passage) is not a substantial variation; neither has it been misunderstood by Matthew (in opposition to Weiss in the Stud. u. Krit. 1861, p. 53 f.), and converted by him into a special means of recognition (Holtzmann). The contents of the dish were the broth charoset ( חרוסת), made out of dates, figs, etc., and of the colour of brick (to remind those who partook of it of the bricks of Egypt, Maimonides, ad Pesach. vii. 11). See Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. p. 831.

ἐν τῷ τρυβλίῳ] has dipped in the dish, into which he has put his hand, holding a piece of bread. Hom. Od. ix. 392; Aesch. Prom. 863; LXX. Deuteronomy 33:24; Ruth 2:14.


Verse 24

Matthew 26:24. ὑπάγει] μεταβαίνει ἀπὸ τῆς ἐνταῦθα ζωῆς, Euthymius Zigabenus. Comp. οἴχεσθαι, ἀπέρχεσθαι, הָלַךְ. Jesus is conscious that His death will be a going away to the Father (John 7:33; John 8:22).

καλὸν, κ. τ. λ.] well would it have been for him, etc.; for in that case he would not have existed at all, and so would not have been exposed to the severe punishment (of Gehenna) which now awaits him. Comp. Sirach 23:14; Job 3:1 ff.; Jeremiah 20:14 ff., and the passages from Rabbinical writers in Wetstein. The expression is a popular one, and not to be urged with logical rigour, which it will not admit of. The fundamental idea embodied in it is: “multo melius est non subsistere quam male subsistere,” Jerome. Observe, further, the tragic emphasis with which ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖνος is repeated; but for καλὸν ἦν without ἄν, see Buttmann, Neut. Gr. pp. 188, 195 [E. T. 217, 226]; and on οὐ as a negative, where there is only one idea contained in the negation, consult Kühner, II. 2, p. 748; Buttmann, p. 299 [E. T. 347]. Euthymius Zigabenus aptly observes: οὐ διότι προώριστο, διὰ τοῦτο παρέδωκεν· ἀλλὰ διότι παρέδωκε, διὰ τοῦτο προώριστο, τοῦ θεοῦ προειδότος τὸ πάντως ἀποβησόμενον· ἔμελλε γὰρ ὄντως ἀποβῆναι τοιοῦτος οὐ ἐκ φύσεως, ἀλλʼ ἐκ προαιρέσεως.


Verse 25

Matthew 26:25. This final direct intimation regarding the betrayer ( παραδιδούς), and addressed to this latter himself, is at variance with John 13:26 ff., where Matthew 26:29 presupposes that it had not been given. Matthew 26:25 is an outgrowth of tradition, the absence of which from the older narrative of Mark is unquestionably correct.

σὺ εἶπας] a Rabbinical formula by which an emphatic affirmation is made, as in Matthew 26:64. See Schoettgen. There is no such usage in the Old Testament or among classical writers. At this point in the narrative of Matthew, just after this declaration on the part of Jesus, we must suppose the withdrawal (mentioned at John 13:30) of Judas (who, notwithstanding the statement at Luke 22:21, was not present at the celebration of the last supper; see on John 13:38, Remark) to have taken place. Matthew likewise, at Matthew 26:47, presupposes the withdrawal of the betrayer, though he does not expressly mention it; so that his account of the matter is less precise. The objection, that it was not allowable to leave before the Passover lamb was eaten, is sufficiently disposed of by the extraordinary nature of the circumstances in which Judas found himself; but see on Matthew 26:26.


Verse 26

Matthew 26:26.(24) The meal—having been, naturally enough, interrupted by the discussion regarding Judas—would now be resumed; hence the repetition of the ἐσθιόντων αὐτῶν of Matthew 26:21 with the continuative δέ, which latter is so often used in a similar way after parentheses and other digressions, especially in cases where previous expressions are repeated; comp. on 2 Corinthians 5:8; Ephesians 2:4.

λαβὼν ἰης. τ. ἄρτον] According to the Rabbis, the order of the Passover meal was as follows (see Tr. Pesach. c. 10; Otho, Lex. Rabb. p. 448 ff.; Lightfoot, p. 474 ff.; Lund, Jüd. Heiligth., ed. Wolf, p. 1125 ff.; Wichelhaus, p. 248 ff.; Vaihinger in Herzog’s Encykl. XI. p. 141 ff.):—(1) It began with drinking wine, before partaking of which, however, the head of the family offered up thanks for the wine and the return of that sacred day (according to the school of Sammai, for the day and for the wine). “Poculum ebibit, et postea benedicit de lotione manuum, et lavat,” Maimonides. (2) Then bitter herbs ( מרורים, intended to represent the bitter life of their forefathers in Egypt) were put upon the table, some of which being dipped in a sour or brinish liquid, were eaten amid thanksgivings. (3) The unleavened bread, the broth charoset (see on Matthew 26:23), the lamb and the flesh of the chagiga (see on John 18:28), were now presented. (4) Thereupon the head of the family, after a “Benedictus, qui creavit fructum terrae,” took as much of the bitter herbs as might be equal to the size of an olive, dipped it in the broth charoset, and then ate it, all the other guests following his example. (5) The second cup of wine was now mixed, and at this stage the father, at the request of his son, or whether requested by him or not, was expected to explain to him the peculiarities of the several parts of this meal. (6) This did not take place till the Passover viands had been put a second time upon the table; then came the singing of the first part of the Hallel (Psalms 113, 114), another short thanksgiving by the father, and the drinking of the second cup. (7) The father then washed his hands, took two pieces of bread, broke one of them, laid the broken pieces upon that which remained whole, repeated the “Benedictus sit ille, qui producit panem e terra,” rolled a piece of the broken bread in bitter herbs, dipped this into the broth charoset, and ate, after having given thanks; he then took some of the chagiga, after another thanksgiving, and so also with regard to the lamb. (8) The feast was now continued by the guests partaking as they felt inclined, concluding, however, with the father eating the last bit of the lamb, which was not to be less than an olive in size, after which no one was at liberty to eat anything more. The father now washed his hands, and, praise having been offered, the third cup ( כסא הברכה) was drunk. Then came the singing of the second part of the Hallel (Psalms 115-118) and the drinking of the fourth cup, which was, in some instances, followed by a fifth, with the final singing of Psalms 120-137 (Bartolocc. Bibl. Rabb. II. p. 736 ff.).

Seeing that, according to this order, the feasting, strictly speaking, did not begin till No. 8, for all that preceded had the character of a ceremonial introduction to it; seeing, further, that it is in itself improbable that Jesus would interrupt or alter the peculiarly ceremonial part of the feast by an act or utterance in any way foreign to it; and considering, in the last place, that when Judas retired, which he did immediately after he was announced as the betrayer, and therefore previous to the institution of the last supper,—the Passover meal had already extended pretty far on into the night (John 13:30),—we must assume that the ἐσθιόντων αὐτῶν of Matthew 26:21, as well as the similar expression in Matthew 26:26, should come in after No. 7, and that the eating under No. 8 is the stage at which the Lord’s supper was instituted; so that the bread which Jesus took and brake would not be that mentioned under No. 7 (Fritzsche), but the ἄρτον (with the article, see the critical remarks), the particular bread with which, as they all knew, He had just instituted the supper. He would have violated the Passover itself if He had proclaimed any new and peculiar symbolism in connection with the bread before conforming, in the first place, to the popular ceremonial observed at this feast, and before the less formal and peculiarly festive part of the proceedings was reached. Again, had the breaking and distributing of the bread been that referred to under No. 7, one cannot see why he should not have availed Himself of the bitter herbs as well, furnishing, as they would have done, so appropriate a symbol of the suffering inseparable from His death.

καὶ εὐλογήσας] after having repeated a blessing—whether the “Benedictus ille, qui producit panem e terra” (comp. No. 7 above), or some other more appropriate to the particular act about to be performed, it is impossible to say. The latter, however, is the more probable, as it would be more in accordance with the very special nature of Christ’s feelings and intention on this occasion. Now that the meal was drawing to a close (before the second part of the Hallel was sung, Matthew 26:30), He felt a desire to introduce at the end a special repast of significance so profound as never to be forgotten. The idea that His εὐλογεῖν, as being the expression of His omnipotent will (Philippi, p. 467 ff.), possessed creative power, so that the body and blood became realized in the giving of bread and wine, may no doubt accord with the orthodox view of the sacrament, but can be as little justified, on exegetical grounds, as that orthodox view itself; even in 1 Corinthians 10:16 nothing more is implied than a eucharistical consecration prayer for the purpose of setting apart bread and wine to a sacred use.

It is, further, impossible to determine whether by καὶ ἐδίδου τοῖς μαθητ. we are to understand the handing of the bread piece by piece, or simply the presenting of it all at once upon a plate. Considering, however, that the guests were reclining, the latter is the more probable view, and is quite in keeping with the λάβετε. This λάβετε denotes simply a taking with the hand, which then conveys to the mouth the thing so taken, not also a taking in a spiritual sense (Ebrard). Further, it must not be inferred from the words before us, nor from our Lord’s interpretation (my body) of the bread which He presents, that He Himself had not eaten of it. See on Matthew 26:29. He must, however, be regarded as having done so before handing it to the disciples, and before uttering the following words.

τοῦτό ἐστι τὸ σῶμά μου] There can be no doubt that τοῦτο is the subject, and (avoiding the Lutheran synecdoche) can only refer to the bread that was being handed to them, and not to the living body of Christ (Carlstadt), nor to the predicate which first follows (Ströbel), while it is equally certain that no emphasis of any kind is to be laid upon the enclitic ΄ου (in opposition to Olshausen and Stier). But seeing, moreover, that the body of Jesus was still unbroken (still living), and that, as yet, His blood had not been shed, none of the guests can have supposed what, on the occasion of the first celebration of the supper, was, accordingly, a plain impossibility, viz., that they were in reality eating and drinking the very body and blood of the Lord,(25) and seeing also that, for the reason just stated, Jesus Himself could not have intended His simple words to be understood in a sense which they did not then admit of,—for to suppose any essential difference between the first and every subsequent observance of the supper (Schmid, Bibl. Theol. I. p. 341; Thomasius, Chr. Pers. u. Werk, III. 2, p. 62; Stier; Gess, I. p. 167) is to have recourse to an expedient that is not only unwarrantable, but extremely questionable (see, on the other hand, Tholuck in the Stud. u. Krit. 1869, p. 126 f.), and because, so long as the idea of the κρέας is not taken into account, any substantial partaking of the σῶ΄α alone and by itself, without the αἷ΄α, appears utterly inconceivable;(26) for here, again, the idea of a spiritual body, which it is supposed Jesus might even then have communicated (Olshausen; Rodatz in the Luther. Zeitschr. 1843, 3, p. 56; Kahnis, Abendm. p. 453; Hofmann; Schoeberlein, üb. d. heil. Abendm. 1869, p. 66), belongs entirely to the region of non-exegetical and docetic fancies, for which even the transfiguration furnishes no support whatever (see on 1 Corinthians 10:16), and is inconsistent with the αἷμα (1 Corinthians 15:50; Philippians 3:21): it follows that ἐστί is neither more nor less than the copula of the symbolic statement:(27)This, which ye are to take and eat, this broken bread,(28) is, symbolically speaking, my body,”—the body, namely, which is on the point of being put to death as a λύτρον ἀντὶ πολλῶν (Matthew 20:28). The symbolical interpretation has also been correctly adhered to by David Schulz, de Wette, Julius Müller, Bleek, Rückert, Keim, Weizsäcker; comp. Ewald, Morison, Weiss on Mark, and others. According to Matthew, as also according to Paul (1 Corinthians 11:24, where κλώμενον is spurious), Jesus omits entirely the tertium comparationis,—an omission, however, which in itself is more in keeping with the vivid symbolism of the passage and the deep emotion of our Lord. The symbolical act of breaking, which cannot possibly have anything to do with the glorified body, but which refers solely to that which was about to be put to death, was sufficient to enable us to perceive in this breaking what the point of comparison was; for the breaking of the bread and the putting to death of the body resemble each other in so far as the connection of the whole is violently destroyed, so that the bread in fragments can no longer be said to be the bread, nor the body when put to death to be any longer a living being.(29) The eating (and the drinking), on the other hand, is a symbol of the reception and appropriation, in saving faith (John 6:51 ff.), of the atoning and redeeming virtue inherent in the death of the body (Paul as above: τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν) and in the shedding of the blood of Jesus; so that the act of receiving the elements in the consciousness of this, establishes a κοινωνία with the body and blood that is spiritually living and active, and therefore, in all ethical respects, genuine and real (see on 1 Corinthians 10:16),—a fellowship in which the believing communicant realizes in his inward experience that the divine-human life of the crucified Redeemer is being imparted to him with saving efficacy, and in which he acquires a full assurance of eternal life. With regard to the divers views that have prevailed upon this point in the church, and of which the two held by Protestants do not admit of being harmonized without sacrificing their distinctive peculiarities (in opposition to Ebrard, Lange), it may be said that those of the Catholics and Lutherans are exegetically at one in so far as their interpretation of the ἐστί is concerned, for they agree in regarding it as the copula of actual being; it is only when they attempt a more precise dogmatic definition of the mode of this actual being that the divergence begins to show itself. Similarly, there is no difference of an exegetical nature (Rodatz in Rudelbach’s Zeitschr. 1843, 4, p. 11) between the interpretation of Zwingli (and Oecolampadius) and that of Calvin (“externum signum dicitur id esse, quod figurat,” Calvin). On the relation of Luther’s doctrine to that of Calvin, see Julius Müller’s dogmat. Abh. p. 404 ff. For ἐστί (which, however, Jesus would not express in Aramaic, His words probably being הָא גוּשְׁמִי) as a copula of symbolical or allegorical being, comp. Matthew 13:38 f.; Luke 12:1; John 10:6; John 14:6; Galatians 4:24; Hebrews 10:20; Revelation 1:20.

That Jesus might also have used σάρξ instead of σῶμα (comp. John 6) is clear; in that case prominence would have been given to the material of which the σῶμα is composed (comp. Colossians 1:22). Comp. Rückert, p. 69. But it would not have been proper to use κρέας (dead flesh, the flesh of what has been slain, Romans 14:21; 1 Corinthians 8:13; see Schulz, Abendm. p. 94).


Verse 27

Matthew 26:27. Matthew says indefinitely: a cup, for τό before ποτήρ. is spurious. Luke and Paul are somewhat more precise, inasmuch as they speak of the cup as having been the one which was presented μετὰ τὸ δειπνῆσαι. Accordingly, the cup in question here is usually understood to have been the poculum benedictionis, referred to above under No. 8, the third cup. But in that case what becomes of the fourth one, over which the second part of the Hallel was sung? As it is not likely that this latter would be omitted; as it is no less improbable that Jesus, after investing the cup now under consideration with the symbolism of His blood, would have sent round another after it with which no such symbolical significance was associated; as Matthew 26:29 expressly forbids the supposition of another cup having followed; and as, in the last place, mention is made of the Hallel (the second portion of it) as coming immediately after the drinking of this one,—we are bound to suppose that it is the fourth cup that is here meant, and in regard to which Maimonides (as quoted by Lightfoot) observes: “Deinde miscet poculum quartum, et super illud perficit Hallel, additque insuper benedictionem cantici ( ברכת השיר), quod est: Laudent te, Domine, omnia opera tua, etc., et dicit: Benedictus sit, qui creavit fructum vitis,—et postea non quicquam gustat ista nocte.” Paul, no doubt, expressly calls the cup used at the supper τὸ ποτήριον τῆς εὐλογίας (1 Corinthians 10:16), which corresponds with the name of the third cup (see on Matthew 26:26); but, as the epexegetical εὐλογοῦμεν shows, this designation is not a terminus technicus taken from the Jewish ritual, but it is to be traced to the Christian standpoint, in fact, to the Christian act of consecration. See on 1 Corinthians 10:16.

For the size of the Passover cups, and what is said about the wine being red and mixed with water, consult Grotius and Lightfoot. In the Constitt. Ap. viii. 12. 16, Christ Himself is even spoken of as τὸ ποτήριον κεράσας ἐξ οἴνου καὶ ὕδατος.

εὐχαριστ.] is substantially the same as εὐλογ., Matthew 26:26, which latter has reference to the phraseology of the prayer (benedictus, etc.), comp. Matthew 14:19; Luke 24:30; Acts 27:35; 1 Timothy 4:3 f.; Matthew 15:36. The ברכה was a thanksgiving prayer. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 14:16.


Verse 28

Matthew 26:28. The death-symbolism is now applied to that which contains the life (Genesis 9:4 ff., and comp. on Acts 15), viz. the blood, which is described as sacrificial blood that is to be shed in order to make atonement. Neither here nor anywhere else in the New Testament (Hebrews 12:24 not excepted) can there be any question of the glorified blood of Christ. Comp. on Matthew 26:26, and on 1 Corinthians 10:16. According to New Testament ideas, glorified blood is as much a contradictio in adjecto as glorified flesh. This also in opposition to Hofmann, p. 220.

τοῦτο] this, which ye are about to drink, the wine which is in this cup. Although this wine was red, it must not be supposed that the point of the symbolism lay in the colour (Wetstein, Paulus), but in the circumstance of its being poured out (see below: τὸ π. πολλ. ἐκχυνόμ.) into the cup; the outpouring is the symbolical correlative to the breaking in the case of the bread.

γάρ] justifies the πίετεπάντες, on the ground of the interpretation given to that which is about to be drunk.

ἐστί] as in Matthew 26:26.

τὸ αἷμά μου τῆς διαθήκης] This is the preferable reading; see the critical remarks. “This is my blood of the covenant, my covenant blood ( דַּם הַבְּרִית, Exodus 24:8), my blood which serves to ratify the covenant with God. This is conceived of as sacrificial blood (in opposition to Hofmann). See Delitzsch on Hebrews 9:20. In a similar way Moses ratified the covenant with God by means of the sacrificial blood of an animal, Exodus 24:6 ff. On the double genitive with only one noun, see Fritzsche, Quaest. Luc. p. 111 f.; Lobeck, ad Aj. 309; Winer, p. 180 [E. T. 239]. For the arrangement of the words, comp. Thuc. iv. 85. 2 : τῇ τε ἀποκλήσει μου τῶν πυλῶν. The connecting of the μου with αἷμα corresponds to the τὸ σῶμά μου of Matthew 26:26, as well as to the amplified form of our Lord’s words as given by Luke and Paul; consequently we must not, with Rückert, connect the pronoun with τ. διαθήκης (the blood of my covenant). The covenant which Jesus has in view is that of grace, in accordance with Jeremiah 31:31 ff., hence called the new one (by Paul and Luke) in contradistinction to the old one under the law. See on 1 Corinthians 11:26.

τὸ περὶ πολλῶν ἐκχυν. εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν] Epexegesis of τὸ αἷμά μου τῆς διαθήκης, by way of indicating who are to participate in the covenant ( περὶ πολλῶν), the divine benefit conferred upon them ( εἰς ἄφες. ἁμαρτ.), and the means by which the covenant is ratified ( ἐκχυνόμ.): which is shed (expressing as present what, though future, is near and certain) for the benefit of many, inasmuch as it becomes instrumental in procuring the forgiveness of sins. The last part of this statement, and consequently what is implied in it, viz. the atoning purpose contemplated by the shedding of blood (comp. Leviticus 17:11), is to be understood as setting forth more precisely the idea expressed by περί. It must not be supposed, however, that ὑπέρ, which is used by Luke instead of περί, is essentially different from the latter; but is to be distinguished from it only in respect of the different moral basis on which the idea contained in it rests (like the German um and über), so that both the prepositions are often interchanged in cases where they have exactly one and the same reference, as in Demosthenes especially. See generally, on Galatians 1:4; 1 Corinthians 1:13; 1 Corinthians 15:3.

The shedding of the blood is the objective medium of the forgiveness of sins; the subjective medium, viz. faith, is contained by implication in the use made in this instance, as in Matthew 20:28 (see on the passage), of πολλῶν, as well as in the symbolic reference of the πίετε.

It is to be observed, further, that the genuineness of the words εἰς ἄφες. ἁμαρτ. is put beyond all suspicion by the unexceptionable evidence in their favour (in opposition to David Schulz), although, from their being omitted in every other record of the institution of the supper (also in Justin, Ap. i. 66, c. Tr. 70), they should not be regarded as having been originally spoken by Christ, but as an explanatory addition introduced into the tradition, and put into the mouth of Jesus.

REMARK 1.

That Jesus meant to institute a regular ordinance to be similarly observed by His church in all time coming, is not apparent certainly from the narrative in Matthew and Mark; but it is doubtless to be inferred from 1 Corinthians 11:24-26, no less than from the practice of the apostolic church, that the apostles were convinced that such was the intention of our Lord, so much so, that to the words of the institution themselves was added that express injunction to repeat the observance εἰς τ. ἐμὴν ἀνάμνησιν which Paul and Luke have recorded. As bearing upon this matter, Paul’s declaration: παρέλαβον ἀπὸ τοῦ κυρίου, Matthew 26:23, is of such decisive importance that there can no longer be any doubt (Rückert, p. 124 ff.) as to whether Jesus intended to institute an ordinance for future observance. We cannot, therefore, endorse the view that the repetition of the observance was due to the impression made upon the minds of the grateful disciples by the first celebration of the supper (Paulus, comp. also Weisse, Evangelienfr. p. 195).

REMARK 2.

The two most recent and exhaustive Protestant monographs treating of the Lord’s supper on the lines of the Confessions, but also discussing the subject exegetically, are: Ebrard, das Dogma vom heil. Abendm., Frankf. 1845 f., as representing the Reformed view, and Kahnis, d. Lehre vom Abendm., Lpz. 1851, as representing the Lutheran. Rückert, on the other hand, d. Abendm., s. Wesen u. s. Gesch. (Lpz. 1856), ignores the Confessions altogether, and proceeds on purely exegetical principles. The result at which Ebrard arrives, p. 110 (comp. what he says, Olshausen’s Leidensgesch. 1862, p. 103), is as follows: “The breaking of the bread is a memorial of the death of Jesus; the eating of the bread thus broken is a symbolical act denoting that this death is appropriated by the believer through his fellowship with the life of Christ. But inasmuch as Jesus gives the bread to be eaten and the wine to be drunk, and inasmuch as He declares those substances to be pledges of the new covenant in His blood, the bread and the wine are, therefore, not mere symbols, but they assume that he who partakes of them is an actual sharer in the atonement brought about by the death of Christ. And since such a fellowship with Christ’s death cannot exist apart from fellowship with His life; since, in other words,” the new covenant “consists in an actual connection and union,—it follows that partaking of the Lord’s supper involves as its result a true, personal central union and fellowship of life with Christ.” The result at which Kahnis arrives in his above-cited work published in 1851(30) is the orthodox Lutheran view, and is as follows: “The body which Christ gives us to feed upon in the supper is the same that was broken for us on the cross,—just as its substratum, the bread, was broken,—with a view to its being eaten. The blood which Christ gives us to drink in the supper is the same that was shed for us on the cross,—just as its substratum, the wine, was poured out,—with a view to its being drunk” (p. 104). He comes back to Luther’s synecdoche in regard to τοῦτο, which latter he takes as representing the concrete union of two substances, the one of which, viz. the bread, constitutes the embodiment and medium of the other (the body); the former he understands to be, logically speaking, only accidental in its nature, the essential substance being brought out in the predicate. As for the second element, he considers that it expresses the identity of the communion blood with the blood of the atoning sacrifice, and that not in respect of the function, but of the thing itself (for he regards it as an arbitrary distinction to say that the former blood ratifies, and that the latter propitiates); and that, accordingly, the reality in point of efficacy which, in the words of the institution, is ascribed to the latter necessarily implies a corresponding efficacy in regard to the former.

By adopting the kind of exegesis that has been employed in establishing the strictly Lutheran view, it would not be difficult to make out a case in favour of that doctrine of transubstantiation and the mass which is still keenly but awkwardly maintained by Schegg, and which finds an abler but no less arbitrary and mistaken advocate in Döllinger (Christenth. u. Kirche, pp. 37 ff., 248 ff., ed. 2), because in both cases the results are based upon the application of the exegetical method to dogmatic premises.

Then, in the last place, Rückert arrives at the conclusion that, as far as Matthew and Mark are concerned, the whole stress is intended to be laid upon the actions, that these are to be understood symbolically, and that the words spoken serve only as hints to enable us to interpret the actions aright. He thinks that the idea of an actual eating of the body or drinking of the blood never crossed the mind either of Jesus or of the disciples; that it was Paul who, in speculating as to the meaning of the material substances, began to attach to them a higher importance, and to entertain the view that in the supper worthy and unworthy alike were partakers of the body and blood of Christ in the supersensual and heavenly form in which he conceived them to exist subsequent to the Lord’s ascension. In this way, according to Rückert, Paul entered upon a line of interpretation for which sufficient justification cannot be found either in what was done or in what was spoken by our Lord, so that his view has furnished the germs of a version of the matter which, so far at least as its beneficial results are concerned, does not tell in his favour (p. 242). In answer to Rückert in reference to Paul, see on 1 Corinthians 10:16.

REMARK 3.

As for the different versions of the words of the institution that are to be met with in the four evangelists, that of Mark is the most concise (Matthew’s coming next), and, considering the situation (for when the mind is full and deeply moved the words are few) and the connection of this evangelist with Peter, it is to be regarded as the most original. Yet the supplementary statements furnished by the others are serviceable in the way of exposition, for they let us see what view was taken of the nature of the Lord’s supper in the apostolic age, as is pre-eminently the case with regard to the τοῦτο ποιεῖτε εἰς τ. ἐμὴν ἀνάμνησιν of Paul and Luke. Comp. on Luke 22:19. According to Gess, I. p. 147, the variations in question are to be accounted for by supposing that, while the elements were circulating, Jesus Himself made use of a variety of expressions. But there can be no doubt that on an occasion of such painful emotion He would utter the few thoughtful words He made use of only once for all. This is the only view that can be said to be in keeping with the sad and sacred nature of the situation, especially as the texts do not lead us to suppose that there was any further speaking; comp., in particular, Mark 14:23-24.


Verse 29

Matthew 26:29. The certainty and nearness of His death, which had just been expressed in the symbolism of the wine, impel Jesus to add a sorrowful but yet comforting assurance (introducing it with the continuative autem).

ὅτι οὐ μὴ πίω] that I will certainly not drink. According to the synoptic conception of the meal as being the one in connection with the Passover, this presupposes that the cup mentioned at Matthew 26:27 f. was the last one of the meal (the fourth), and not the one before the last. For it may be held as certain that, at this feast above all, and considering His present frame of mind, He would take care not to give offence by omitting the fourth Passover-cup; and what reason, it may be asked, would He have had for doing so? The cup in question was the concluding one, during the drinking of which the second portion of the Hallel was sung (Matthew 26:30).

ἀπάρτι] from this present occasion, on which I have just drunk of it. To suppose that Jesus Himself did not also partake of the cup (Olshausen, de Wette, Rückert, Weiss) is a gratuitous assumption, incompatible with the ordinary Passover usage. We are to understand the drinking on the part of Jesus as having taken place after the εὐχαριστήσας, Matthew 26:27, before He handed the cup to the disciples, and announced to them the symbolical significance that was to be attached to it. Comp. Chrysostom. Matthew does not mention this circumstance, because he did not regard it as forming part of the symbolism here in view. Euthymius Zigabenus correctly observes: εἰ δὲ τοῦ ποτηρίου μετέσχε, μετέλαβεν ἄρα καὶ τοῦ ἄρτου. Comp. on Matthew 26:26.

ἐκ τούτου τοῦ γεννήμ. τ. ἀμπ.] τούτου is emphatic, and points to the Passover-wine. Mark and Luke are less precise, not having τούτου. From this it must not be assumed that Jesus never drank any wine after His resurrection. Acts 10:41; Ignat. Smyrn. 3. For γέννημα as used by later Greek writers (likewise the LXX.) in the sense of καρπός, see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 286. For the reasons for rejecting the reading γενήματος (Lachmann, Tischendorf), notwithstanding the far greater number of testimonies in its favour, see Fritzsche on Mark, p. 619 f. The use of this term instead of οἶνος has something solemn about it, containing, as it does, an allusion to the form of thanksgiving for the Passover wine: “benedictus sit, qui creavit fructum vitis.” Comp. Lightfoot on Matthew 26:27.

καινόν] novum, different in respect of quality; “novitatem dicit plane singularem,” Bengel; not recens, νέον. This conception of the new Passover wine, which is to be the product of the coming aeon and of the glorified κτίσις, is connected with the idea of the renewal of the world in view of the Messianic kingdom. Luke 22:16, comp. Matthew 26:30. To understand the new celebration of the Passover in the perfected kingdom only in a figurative sense, corresponding somewhat to the feasts of the patriarchs, alluded to at Matthew 8:11 (“vos aliquando mecum in coelo summa laetitia et felicitate perfruemini,” Kuinoel, Neander), would, in presence of such a characteristic allusion to the Passover, be as arbitrary on the one hand as the referring of the expression (Chrysostom, Euthymius Zigabenus, Münster, Clarius) to the period subsequent to the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 10:41) would be erroneous on the other, and that on account of the τούτου and the words ἐν τῇ βασιλ. τ. π. μ., which can only be intended to designate the kingdom of Messiah. It is wrong to take καινόν, as Kuinoel and Fritzsche have done, in the sense of iterum, for it is a characteristic predicate of the wine that it is here in question; besides, had it been otherwise, we should have had anew: ἐκ καινῆς, Thuc. iii. 92. 5, or the ordinary πάλιν of the New Testament.


Verse 30

Matthew 26:30. ὑμνήσαντες] namely, the second portion of the Hallel (Psalms 115-118). See Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. p. 613 f. Jesus also took part in the singing. Comp. Justin, c. Tr. 106.

ἐξῆλθον, κ. τ. λ.] The regulation (comp. Exodus 12:22), which required that this night should be spent in the city (Lightfoot, p. 564), appears not to have been universally complied with. See Tosapht in Pesach. 8 in Lightfoot, minister templi, p. 727.


Verse 31

Matthew 26:31. τότε] whilst they were going out, Matthew 26:36.

πάντες] put first so as to be highly emphatic.

σκανδαλ.] Comp. on Matthew 11:6. In this instance it means: instead of standing faithfully by me till the last, ye will be cowardly enough to run away and leave me to my fate, and thus show that your faith has not been able to bear the brunt of the struggle. Comp. John 16:32. See Matthew 26:56. With what painful astonishment these words must have filled the disciples, sincerely conscious as they were of their faithful devotion to their Master! Accordingly this announcement is followed up with quoting the prediction in which the tragic event is foretold. The passage here introduced with γέγρ. γάρ is from Zechariah 13:7 (quoted with great freedom). In the shepherd who, according to this passage, is to be smitten, Jesus sees a typical representation of Himself as devoted to death by God, so that the words cannot have had reference (Ewald, Hitzig) to the foolish shepherd (ch. Matthew 11:15 ff.), but only to the one appointed by God Himself (Hofmann), whose antitype is Jesus, and His disciples the scattered sheep; comp. Hengstenberg, Christol. III. 1, p. 528.


Verse 32

Matthew 26:32 f. προειπὼν τὰ λυπηρὰ, προλέγει καὶ τὰ παραμυθούμενα, Euthymius Zigabenus.

They were again to gather around Him in Galilee, the native scene of His ministry. Comp. Matthew 28:10. The authenticity of these words in their present form may be called in question, in so far as Christ cannot have predicted His resurrection in such explicit terms. See on Matthew 16:21. The answer of Peter, given in the bold self-confidence of his love, savours somewhat of self-exaltation; consequently the impression made upon him by the experience of his shortcomings was all the deeper.


Verse 34

Matthew 26:34 f. πρὶν ἀλέκτορα φωνῆσαι] before a cock crows, therefore before the day begins to dawn. Cock-crowing occurs in the third of the four night watches (see on Matthew 14:24), which watch lasted from midnight till about three o’clock, and is called ἀλεκτοροφωνία in Mark 13:35. For the opposite of the πρὶν ἀλ. φων., see Plat. Symp. p. 223 C: πρὸς ἡμέραν ἤδη ἀλεκτρυόνων ᾀδόντων; Lucian, Ocyp. 670: ἐπεὶ δʼ ἀλέκτωρ ἡμέραν ἐσάλπισεν; Horace, Sat. i. 1. 10. For a later modification of the expression in conformity with the repeated denials, see Mark 14:30. On the question as to whether or not ἀλέκτωρ can be considered good Greek, consult Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 228 f. This prediction as to the time was subsequently confirmed by the actual crowing of a cock, Matthew 26:74.

ἀπαρνήσῃ με] thou wilt deny me, deny that I am thy Lord and Master. Comp. Celsus in Origen, ii. 45: οὔτε συναπέθανον οὔτε ὑπεραπέθανον αὐτοῦ, οὐδὲ κολάσεων καταφρονεῖν ἐπείσθησαν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἠρνήσαντο εἶναι μαθηταί. For σὺν σοὶ ἀποθ. comp. John 11:16.

ἀπαρνήσομαι] The future after οὐ μή (see Hartung, Partikell. p. 157; Winer, p. 471 f. [E. T. 635]) is rather more expressive of a confident assertion than the subjunctive, the reading of A E G, etc.

ὁμοίως καὶ πάντες, κ. τ. λ.] Considering the sincere but as yet untried love of each, this is not an improbable statement, though it is found only in Matthew and Mark.


Verse 36

Matthew 26:36. γεθσημανῆ or, according to a still better attested form, γεθσημανεί (Lachmann, Tischendorf), is most likely the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew גַּת שֶׁמֶן, an oil-press. It was a plot of ground ( χωρίον, John 4:5; Acts 1:18; Acts 4:34; Acts 5:3; Acts 28:7), perhaps a small estate with a garden (John 18:1); according to Keim, an olive-yard where nobody lived. If the place was not public property, Jesus, according to John 19:2, must have been on friendly terms with the owner. On the place (the present Dschesmanije), which subsequent tradition has fixed upon as the site of the ancient Gethsemane, see Robinson, Pal. I. p. 389; Tobler, d. Siloahquelle u. d. Oelberg, 1852.

αὐτοῦ] here; the only other instances in the New Testament are found in Acts 15:34; Acts 18:19; Acts 21:4; of frequent occurrence in classical writers.

ἐκεῖ] pointing toward the place.


Verse 37

Matthew 26:37 f. Anticipating the inward struggle that awaited Him, He retired farther into the garden, taking with Him none (Matthew 17:1) but the three most intimate disciples.

ἤρξατο] indicating the first symptoms of the condition in question.

λυπεῖσθαι κ. ἀδημονεῖν] Climax. Suidas explains ἀδημον. as meaning: λίαν λυπεῖσθαι. See Buttmann, Lexilog. II. p. 135 f.; Ael. V. H. xiii. 3; Philippians 2:26.

περίλυπος] very sorrowful, Psalms 63:5; Psalms 3 Esdr. 8:71 f.; Isocr. p. 11 B Aristot. Eth. iv. 3; Diog. L. vii. 97. The opposite of this is περιχαρής.

ψυχή μου] Comp. John 12:27; Xen. Hell. iv. 4. 3 : ἀδημονῆσαι τὰς ψυχάς. The soul, the intermediate element through which the spirit ( τὸ πνεῦμα, Matthew 26:41) is connected with the body in the unity of the individual (see Beck, Bibl. Seelenl. p. 11), is the seat of pleasure and pain. Comp. Stirm in the Tüb. Zeitschr. 1834, 3, p. 25 ff.

ἕως θανάτου] defining the extent of the περίλυπος: unto death, so as almost to cause death, so that I am nearly dead from very grief; Jonah 4:9; Isaiah 38:1; and see on Philippians 2:27. The idea of the mors infernalis (Calovius), as though Christ had been experiencing the pains of hell, is here exegetically unwarrantable. Euthymius Zigabenus correctly observes: φανερώτερον ἐξαγορεύει τὴν ἀσθένειαν τῆς φύσεως ὡς ἄνθρωπος.

μείνατεἐμοῦ] “In magnis tentationibus juvat solitudo, sed tamen, ut in propinquo sint amici,” Bengel.


Verse 39

Matthew 26:39. ΄ικρόν] belongs to προελθών: after He had gone forward a short distance. For μικρόν comp. Xen. Cyrop. iv. 2. 6 ( μικρὸν πορευθέντες); Hist. Gr. vii. 2. 13 ( μικρὸν δʼ αὐτοὺς προπέμψαντες).

ἐπὶ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ] The article was not necessary before πρόσωπ. (in opposition to Fritzsche, who takes αὐτοῦ as meaning there). Comp. Matthew 11:10, Matthew 17:6, and elsewhere. Winer, p. 116 [E. T. 152]. Bengel appropriately observes: “in faciem, non modo in genua; summa demissio.”

εἰ δυνατόν ἐστι] ethical possibility according to the divine purpose. Similarly the popular expression πάντα δυνατά σοι is to be understood, according to the sense in which Jesus uses it, as implying the necessary condition of harmony with the divine will.

τὸ ποτήριον τοῦτο] i.e. this suffering and death immediately before me. Comp. Matthew 20:22.

πλὴν οὐχ, κ. τ. λ.] The wish, to which in His human dread of suffering He gave utterance, that, if possible, He should not be called upon to endure it ( ἔδειξε τὸ ἀνθρώπινον, Chrysostom), at once gives place to absolute submission, John 5:30; John 6:38. The word to be understood after σύ ( θέλεις) is not γενέσθω, but, as corresponding with the οὐχ (not μή, observe), γενήσεται, or ἔσται, in which the petitioner expresses his final determination. It may be observed further, that the broken utterance is in keeping with the deep emotion of our Lord.

For ὡς, which, so far as the essential meaning is concerned, is identical with the relative pronoun, comp. Hermann, ad Hom. h. in Cer. 172.


Verse 40

Matthew 26:40. The fact that the disciples slept, and that these disciples did so in circumstances such as the present, and that all three gave way, and that their sleep proved to be of so overpowering a character, is, notwithstanding Luke’s explanation that it was ἀπὸ τῆς λύπης; (Matthew 22:45), a psychological mystery, although, after utterances of Jesus so manifestly authentic as those of Matthew 26:40; Matthew 26:45, the statement that they did sleep is not to be regarded as unhistorical, but is to be taken as implying that Jesus had spent a considerable time in prayer, and that the disciples, in consequence of their deep mental exhaustion, found it impossible to keep awake.

καί] three times; the narrative is characterized by a simple pathos.

τῷ πέτρῳ] to him He addressed words that were equally applicable to them all; but then it was he who a little ago had surpassed all the others in so boldly declaring how much he was prepared to do for his Master, Matthew 26:33; Matthew 26:35.

οὕτως] siccine, thus, uttered with painful surprise, is to be taken in connection with what follows, without inserting a separate mark of interrogation (in opposition to Euthymius Zigabenus and Beza). Comp. 1 Corinthians 6:5.


Verse 41

Matthew 26:41. ἵνα] indicating, not the object of the προσεύχεσθε, but purpose, and that of the watching and praying.

εἰσέλθητε εἰς πειρασμόν] in order that ye may not be betrayed into circumstances in which ye might be led to show yourselves unfaithful to me (into the σκανδαλίζεσθαι of Matthew 26:31). Comp. Matthew 6:13. By watching and praying, as a means of maintaining clearness of judgment, freedom, and a determination to adhere to Christ, they were to avoid getting into such outward circumstances as might prove dangerous to their moral wellbeing. The watching here is no doubt of a physical nature (Matthew 26:40), but the προσεύχεσθαι has the effect of imparting to it the character and sacredness belonging to spiritual watchfulness (Colossians 4:2).

τὸ μὲν πνεῦμα, κ. τ. λ.] a general proposition (all the more telling that it is not introduced with a γάρ), intended to refer, by way of warning, to the circumstances in which the disciples were placed, as though it had been said: ye are no doubt, so far as the principle of your ethical life in its general aim and tendency is concerned, willing and ready to remain true to me; but on the individual side of your nature, where the influence of sense is so strong, you are incapable of resisting the temptations to unfaithfulness by which you are beset. Comp. on John 3:6. Euthymius Zigabenus: δὲ σὰρξ, ἀσθενὴς οὖσα, ὑποστέλλεται καὶ οὐκ εὐτονεῖ. In order, therefore, to avoid getting into a predicament in which, owing to the weakness in question, you would not be able to withstand the overmastering power of influences fatal to your salvation without the special protection and help of God that are to be obtained through vigilance and prayerfulness, watch and pray!


Verse 42

Matthew 26:42 ff. πάλιν ἐκ δευτέρου] a well-known pleonasm. John 21:15; Acts 10:15. Comp. δεύτερον πάλιν, Plat. Polit. p. 260 D, αὖθις πάλιν (p. 282 C), and such like. We sometimes find even a threefold form: αὖθις αὖ πάλιν, Soph. Phil. 940, O. C. 1421.

εἰ] not quandoquidem (Grotius), but: if. The actual feelings of Jesus are expressed in all their reality in the form of acquiescence in that condition of impossibility ( οὐ δύναται) as regards the divine purpose which prevents the thing from being otherwise.

τοῦτο] without τὸ ποτήριον (see the critical remarks): this, which I am called upon to drink.

ἐὰν μὴ αὐτὸ πίω] without my having drunk it; if it cannot pass from me unless it is drunk.

γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου] this is the ὑπακοὴ μεχρὶ θανάτου σταυροῦ, Philippians 2:8; Romans 5:19. Observe in this second prayer the climax of resignation and submission; His own will, as mentioned in Matthew 26:39, is completely silenced. Mark’s account is here less precise.

Matthew 26:43. ἦσαν γὰρ, κ. τ. λ.] for their eyes (see on Matthew 8:3) were heavy (weighed down with drowsiness). Comp. Eur. Alc. 385.

Matthew 26:44. ἐκ τρίτου] belongs to προσηύξ. Comp. 2 Corinthians 12:8.

τ. αὐτ. λόγ.] as is given at Matthew 26:42.


Verse 45

Matthew 26:45. The annoyance at finding the disciples asleep (Matthew 26:40 : οὕτως οὐκ ἰσχύσατε, κ. τ. λ.) now deepens into an intensely painful irony: “sleep on now, and have out your rest” (the emphasis is not on τὸ λοιπόν, but on καθεύδετε κ. ἀναπ.)! He had previously addressed them with a γρηγορεῖτε, but to how little purpose! and, accordingly, He now turns to them with the sadly ironical abandonment of one who has no further hope, and tells them to do quite the reverse sleep on, etc. Comp. Euthymius Zigabenus, Beza, Münster, Erasmus, Calvin, Er. Schmid, Maldonatus, Bengel, Jansen, Michaelis, Fritzsche, Keim, Ewald. On λοιπόν and τὸ λοιπόν, for the rest of the time, in the sense of jam (Vulgate), henceforward (Plat. Prot. p. 321 C), see Schaefer, ad Long. p. 400; Jacobs, ad Philostr. p. 663. Comp. on Acts 27:20. To object, as is frequently done, that the ironical view does not accord with the frame of mind in which Jesus must have been, is to fail to appreciate aright the nature of the situation. Irony is not inconsistent even with the deepest anguish of soul, especially in cases where such anguish is also accompanied with such clearness of judgment as we find in the present instance; and consider what it was for Jesus to see such an overpowering tendency to sleep on the part of His disciples, and to find everything so different from what He needed, and might reasonably have expected! Winer, p. 292 [E. T. 391], following Chrysostom, Theophylact (who, however, admits the plausibility of the ironical view), and Grotius, excludes the idea of irony, and interprets thus: “sleep on, then, as you are doing, and take your rest,” which words are supposed to be spoken permissively in accordance with the calm, mild, resigned spirit produced by the prayers in which He had just been engaged. This is also substantially the view of Kuinoel, de Wette, Morison, Weiss on Mark; and see even Augustine, who says: “verba indulgentis eis jam somnum.” But the idea that any such indulgence was seriously intended, would be incompatible with the danger referred to at Matthew 26:41, and which He knew was threatening even the disciples themselves. There are others, again, who are disposed to take the words interrogatively, thus: are ye still asleep? Such is the view of Henry Stephens, Heumann, Kypke, Krebs, in spite of the ordinary usage with regard to τὸ λοιπόν, to understand which in the sense of “henceforth” (Bleek, Volkmar) would be entirely out of keeping with the use of the present here. If, however, the mark of interrogation be inserted after καθεύδετε, and τὸ λοιπὸν καὶ ἀναπαύεσθε be then taken imperatively (Klostermann), in that case καί would have the intensive force of even; but its logical position would have to be before τὸ λοιπόν, not before ἀναπαύεσθε, where it could be rendered admissible at all only by an artificial twisting of the sense (“now you may henceforth rest on, even as long as you choose”).

While Jesus is in the act of uttering His καθεύδετε, κ. τ. λ., He observes the hostile band approaching; the painful irony changes to a painful earnestness, and He continues in abrupt and disjointed words: ἰδοὺ, ἤγγικεν, κ. τ. λ. The ὥρα should be taken absolutely: hora fatalis, John 17:1. The next clause describes in detail the character of that hour.

εἰς χεῖρας ἁμαρτ.] into sinners’ hands. He refers to the members of the Sanhedrim, at whose disposal He would be placed by means of His apprehension, and not to the Romans (Maldonatus, Grotius, Hilgenfeld), nor to both of these together (Lange). The παραδιδούς is not God, but Judas, acting, however, in pursuance of the divine purpose, Acts 2:23.


Verse 46

Matthew 26:46. Observe the air of quick despatch about the words ἐγείρεσθε, ἄγωμεν, ἰδού.

ἄγωμεν] is not a summons to take to flight, in consequence perhaps of a momentary return of the former shrinking from suffering (which would be inconsistent with the fact of the victory that had been achieved, and with the clear consciousness which He had that υἱὸς τ. . παραδίδοται, κ. τ. λ. Matthew 26:45), but: to go to meet the betrayer, with a view to the fulfilling of the παραδίδοται of which He had just been speaking. κἀντεῦθεν ἔδειξεν, ὅτι ἑκὼν ἀποθανεῖται, Euthymius Zigabenus.

REMARK.

On the agony in the garden (see, in general, Ullmann, Sündlos., ed. 7, p. 127 ff.; Dettinger in the Tüb. Zeitschr. 1837, 4, 1838, 1; Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 306 ff.; Keim, III. p. 306 ff.), the following points may be noted: (1) As to the nature of it, we must not regard it simply as bodily suffering (Thiess, Paulus), nor as consisting in sorrow on account of the disciples and the Jews (Jerome), nor as pain caused by seeing His hopes disappointed (Wolfenbüttel Fragments), nor as grief at the thought of parting from His friends (Schuster in Eichhorn’s Bibl. IX. p. 1012 ff.); but, as the prayer Matthew 26:39; Matthew 26:42 proves, as consisting in fear and dread of the cruel suffering and death that were so near at hand, the prospect of which affected Christ—whose sensibilities were purely human, and not of the nature of a philosophical abstraction, like the imperturbability of Socrates or the apathy of the Stoic (Celsus, in Origen, ii. 24, charges Him with cowardice)—all the more powerfully in proportion to the greater purity, and depth, and genuineness of His feelings, and the increasing distinctness with which He foresaw the approach of the painful and, according to the counsel of the Father, inevitable issue. For having been victorious hitherto over every hostile power, because His hour had not yet come (John 7:30; John 8:20), He realized, now that it was come (Matthew 26:45), the whole intensity of horror implied in being thus inevitably abandoned, in pursuance of God’s redemptive purpose, to the disposal of such powers, with the immediate prospect before Him of a most dreadful death, a death in which He was expected, and in which He Himself desired, to manifest His perfect obedience to the Father’s will. The momentary disturbing of the complete harmony of His will with that of God, which took place in Gethsemane, is to be ascribed to the human ἀσθένεια incidental to His state of humiliation (comp. 2 Corinthians 13:4; Hebrews 5:7), and should be regarded simply as a natural shrinking from suffering and death, a shrinking entirely free from sin (comp. Dorner, Jesu sündlose Vollkommenh. p. 6 f.). Neither was it in any way due to the conviction, unwarrantably ascribed to Him by Schenkel, that His death was not absolutely necessary for the redemption of the world. That touch of human weakness should not even be described as sin in embryo, sin not yet developed (Keim), because the absolute resignation to the Father’s will which immediately manifests itself anew precludes the idea of any taint of sin whatever. To suppose, however, that this agony must be regarded (Olshausen, Gess) as an actual abandonment by God. i.e. as a withdrawing of the presence of the higher powers from Jesus, is to contradict the testimony of Hebrews 5:7, and to suppose what is inconsistent with the very idea of the Son of God (Strauss, II. p. 441); and to explain it on the ground of the vicarious character of the suffering (Olshausen, Ebrard, Steinmeyer, following Luther, Melanchthon, Calvin, Beza, and the dogmatic writers of the orthodox school), as though it were to be regarded as “a concrete bearing of the whole concentrated force of a world’s sin” (Ebrard), and of the wrath of God in all its fulness (comp. Thomasius, III. 1, p. 69 f.; Weber, v. Zorne Gottes, p. 266 ff.), is erroneously to take a materialistic and quantitative view of the ἱλαστήριον of Jesus; whereas Scripture estimates His atoning death according to its qualitative value,—that is to say, it regards the painful death to which the sinless Son of God subjected Himself in obedience to the Father’s will as constituting the efficient cause of the atonement, and that not because He required to undergo such an amount of suffering as might be equivalent in quantity and intensity to the whole sum of the punishment due to mankind, but because the vicarious λύτρον on behalf of humanity consisted in the voluntary surrender of His own life. Comp. Matthew 26:27 f., Matthew 20:8; John 1:29; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 3:5; 1 Timothy 2:6; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13. But it would be unwarrantable, on the other hand, to ascribe the dread which Jesus felt merely to the thought of death as a divine judgment, and the agonies of which He was supposed to be already enduring by anticipation (Köstlin in the Jahrb. f. D. Theol. III. p. 125). Those who adopt this view lay great stress upon the sinlessness of our Lord as tending to intensify this painful anticipation of death (Dettinger, comp. Ullmann, Neander). (2) John, notwithstanding the fact that he was both an eye and ear witness of the agony in Gethsemane, makes no mention of it whatever, although he records something analogous to it as having taken place somewhat earlier, Matthew 12:27. With the view of accounting for this silence, it is not enough to suppose that John had omitted this incident because it had been sufficiently recorded by the other evangelists, for a mere external reason such as this would accord neither with the spirit of his Gospel nor with the principle of selection according to which it was composed (in opposition to Lücke, Tholuck, Olshausen, Ebrard). We should rather seek the explanation of the matter in the greater freedom which characterizes the composition of this Gospel, and therefore in the peculiarities of style and form which are due to this work of John being an independent reproduction of our Lord’s life. After the prayer of Jesus, which he records in ch. 17, John felt that the agony could not well find a place in his Gospel, and that, after Matthew 12:23 ff., there was no reason why it should be inserted any more than the cry of anguish on the cross. Comp. Ewald, Gesch. Chr. p. 557 f. In John, too, ch. 18, the transition from acting to suffering is somewhat abrupt (in opposition to Hofmann); but after the high-priestly prayer, the suffering appears as one series of victories culminating in the triumphant issue of John 18:30; in fact, when Jesus offered up that prayer, He did so as though He were already victorious (John 16:33). It is quite unfair to make use of John’s silence either for the purpose of throwing discredit upon the synoptic narrative (Goldhorn in Tzschirner’s Magaz. f. chr. Pred. 1, 2, p. 1 ff.; Schleiermacher, L. J. p. 422 f.), or as telling against John (Bretschneider, Probab. p. 33 ff.; Weisse, II. p. 268; Baur, Keim; likewise Theile in Winer’s Journ. II. p. 353 ff., comp. however, his Biogr. Jesu, p. 62), or with a view to impugn the historical character of both narratives (Strauss, Bruno Bauer). The accounts of the two earliest evangelists bear the impress of living reality to such an extent that their character is the very reverse of that which one expects to find in a legend (in opposition to Gfrörer, Heil. Sage, p. 337; Usteri in the Stud. u. Krit. 1829, p. 465); nor is there any reason why, even after the high-priestly prayer, such an agony as that in question should not find a place in the Gospel narrative; for who shall presume to say what changes of feeling, what elevation and depression of spirit, may not have taken place on the eve of such a catastrophe in a heart so noble, so susceptible, and so full of the healthiest sensibilities, and that not in consequence of any moral weakness, but owing to the struggle that had to be waged with the natural human will (comp. Gess, p. 175; Weizsäcker, p. 563)? Comp. John, remark after ch. 17. (3) The report of Jesus’ prayer should not be (unpsychologically) supposed to have been communicated by the Lord Himself to His disciples, but ought rather to be regarded as derived from the testimony of those who, before sleep had overpowered them, were still in a position to hear at least the first words of it.


Verse 47

Matthew 26:47. εἷς τῶν δώδεκα] precisely as in Matthew 26:14, and repeated on both occasions in all three evangelists. In the oral and written tradition this tragic designation ( κατηγορία, Euthymius Zigabenus) had come to be so stereotyped that if would be unconsciously inserted without there being any further occasion for doing so. The same holds true with regard to παραδιδοὺς αὐτόν, Matthew 26:48; Matthew 27:3.

ὄχλος πολύς] Matthew makes no reference to the Roman cohort, John 18:3; his account, however, does not, at the same time, exclude it, as it is simply less precise. Luke 22:52 likewise represents the high priests and elders as appearing at this early stage among the throng; but this is an unwarrantable amplification of the tradition; see on Luke.

ξύλων] cudgels, fustibus (Vulgate). Herod. ii. 63, iv. 180; Polyb. vi. 36. 3. Wetstein on the passage.

ἀπὸ τῶν, κ. τ. λ.] belongs to ἦλθε; see on Galatians 2:12.


Verse 48

Matthew 26:48. It is usual, though unwarrantable (see on John 18:24), to take ἔδωκεν in the sense of the pluperfect (comp. Mark 14:44), in which case it is necessary, with Ewald, to make Matthew 26:48 a parenthesis. The Vulgate correctly renders by: dedit. He communicated the signal to them while they were on the way.

ὃν ἂν φιλήσω, κ. τ. λ.] Fritzsche inserts a colon after φιλήσω, and supposes the following words to be understood: est vobis comprehendendus. It may be given more simply thus: Whomsoever I shall have kissed, He it is (just He, no other is the one in question)! This αὐτός serves to single out the person intended, from those about Him. Hermann, ad Viger. p. 733.


Verse 49

Matthew 26:49. εὐθέως] is not to be taken with εἶπε (Fritzsche), but with προσελθών: immediately, as soon as he had given them this signal, he stepped up, etc. No sooner said than done.

κατεφίλησεν] embraced and kissed Him, kissed Him most endearingly. Xen. Mem. ii. 6. 33: ὡς τοὺς μὲν καλοὺς φιλήσαντός μου, τοὺς δʼ ἀγαθοὺς καταφιλήσαντος; Tobit 7:6; Sirach 29:5; 3 Maccabees 5:49; Test. XII. patr. p. 730. It is not the case, as de Wette imagines (see Luke 7:38; Luke 7:45; Acts 20:37), that in the New Testament (and the LXX.) the compound has lost the force here ascribed to it; but it is to be insisted on in our present passage as much as in classical Greek. The signal, as arranged, was to be simply a kiss; the signal actually given was kissing accompanied with embraces, which was entirely in keeping with the excitement of Judas, and the desire he felt that there should be no mistake as to the person intended.


Verse 50

Matthew 26:50. ἑταῖρε] as in Matthew 20:13.

ἐφʼ πάρει] As the relative ὁς is never used in a direct (see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 57), but only in an indirect question (Kühner, II. 2, p. 942; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 372), it follows that the ordinary interrogative interpretation must be wrong; and that to suppose (Winer, p. 157 [E. T. 207 f.]) that we have here one of those corrupt usages peculiar to the Greek of a less classical age, is, so far as ὅς is concerned, without any foundation whatever. Fritzsche, followed by Buttmann, Neut. Gr. p. 217 [E. T. 253], understands the expression as an exclamation: “ad qualem rem perpetrandam ades!” But even then, Greek usage would have required that it should have been put in an interrogative form and expressed by τί, or failing this we might have had the words ἐφʼ οἷον instead (Ellendt, as above, p. 300 f.). The language, as might be expected from the urgent nature of the situation, is somewhat abrupt in its character: Friend, mind what you are here for! attend to that. With these words He spurns the kisses with which the traitor was overwhelming Him. This suits the connection better than the supplying of εἰπέ (Morison). Instead of this hypocritical kissing, Jesus would prefer that Judas should at once proceed with the dark deed he had in view, and deliver Him to the catchpolls.

John 18:3 ff., it is true, makes no mention whatever of the kissing; but this is not to be taken as indicating the legendary character of the incident, especially as there is nothing to prevent us from supposing that it may have taken place just before the question τίνα ζητεῖτε, John 18:4; see on this latter passage.


Verse 51

Matthew 26:51. It is strange that the Synoptists have not mentioned the name of Peter here (John 18:10, where the name of the high priest’s servant is also given). It may be that, with a view to prevent the apostle from getting into trouble with the authorities, his name was suppressed from the very first, and that, accordingly, the incident came to be incorporated in the primitive gospel traditions without any names being mentioned, it having been reserved for John ultimately to supply this omission.

αὐτοῦ τὸ ὠτίον] his ear (see on Matthew 8:3). On ὠτίον, see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 211. He missed the head at which the stroke was aimed.


Verse 52

Matthew 26:52. Put back thy sword into its place ( θήκην, John 18:11; κολεόν, 1 Chronicles 21:27). A pictorial representation; the sword was uplifted.

πάντες γὰρ, κ. τ. λ.] All, who have taken a sword, will perish by the sword,—an ordinary axiom in law (Revelation 13:10) adduced for the purpose of enforcing His disapproval of the unwarrantable conduct of Peter, not a προφητεία τῆς διαφθορᾶς τῶν ἐπελθόντων αὐτῷ ἰουδαίων (Euthymius Zigabenus, comp. Grotius), nor “an ideal sentence of death” (Lange) pronounced upon Peter—all such interpretations being foreign to our passage. Luther, however, fitly observes: “Those take the sword who use it without proper authority.”


Verse 53

Matthew 26:53. ] or, in case this should not be sufficient to induce thee to thrust back thy sword.

ἄρτι] this instant. See on Galatians 1:10.

The interrogation does not extend merely as far as μου, in which case it would lose much of its significance, while the language would be rendered too abrupt, but on to ἀγγέλων; yet not as though καί (for that, ὅτι) introduced a broken construction, but thus: Thinkest thou that I am not ableand He will (not) place at my side, etc.? so that I can thus dispense entirely with thy protection! The force of the negative runs through the whole sentence.

πλείω δώδεκα λεγεώνας ἀγγέλων (see the critical remarks) is a genuine Attic usage, according to which it is permissible to have the neuter πλεῖον or πλείω without a change of construction, or even without inserting . Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 410 f.; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Apol. p. 17 D Kühner, II. 2, p. 847. The number twelve corresponds to the number of the apostles, because of these only one had shown a disposition to defend him.


Verse 54

Matthew 26:54. πῶς οὖν] How, in that case, could it be, if, that is, I were to be defended by thee or angel hosts, how could it be possible that, etc. In his comment on οὖν, Euthymius Zigabenus aptly analyses it as follows: εἰ μὴ οὕτως ἀναιρεθῷ. For πῶς, comp. on Matthew 23:33.

ὅτι] states the purport of the γραφαί, so that to complete the sense a λέγουσαι or γράφουσαι may be understood (Fritzsche, Quaest. Luc. p. 58 f.; Maetzner, ad Antiph. p. 215): how shall the Scriptures be fulfilled which say that it must happen thus, and not otherwise? Jesus here alludes to the fact of His arrest, which, according to Scripture, is a necessary part of the destiny assigned Him; comp. Acts 4:28; Luke 24:25 f. We must not expect to find what is here referred to in any passages of Scripture in particular; suffice it to know, that all the predictions relating to the sufferings of the Messiah find their necessary fulfilment in the historical events of our Lord’s life, the arrest itself not excluded. Comp. Matthew 26:31.

The healing of the wounded servant is peculiar to Luke 22:51. It probably came to be engrafted upon the tradition at a later period; for this act of healing, in virtue of the peculiarity of its alleged occasion and character, as well as in virtue of its being the last which Jesus performed, would otherwise scarcely have been omitted by all the other evangelists; see also on Luke as above.


Verse 55

Matthew 26:55. ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ] in that hour, in which that was going on which is recorded between Matthew 26:47 and the present passage, subsequently, however, to the scene with Peter, and while the arrest was taking place. Comp. Matthew 18:1, Matthew 10:19.

τοῖς ὄχλοις] not to the high priests, etc., as Luke 22:52 would have us suppose. What is meant is the crowds of which the ὄχλος πολύς of Matthew 26:47 was composed.


Verse 56

Matthew 26:56. τοῦτοπροφητῶν] It is still Jesus who speaks, and who with these words closes His address. Comp. also Mark 14:19. In Luke 22:53 we find a somewhat different conclusion given. Erasmus, Jansen, Bengel, Fritzsche, de Wette, Schegg, Bleek, Weiss, Holtzmann, Hilgenfeld, regard the words in question as a remark by the evangelist (comp. Matthew 1:22, Matthew 21:4); but if that were so, we should have expected some specific quotation instead of such a general expression as at αἱ γραφαὶ τ. πρ., and what is more, our Lord’s words would thus be deprived of their proper conclusion, of that which contains the very point of His remarks. For the gist of the whole matter lay in this avowal of His conviction as the God-man that all that was now taking place was a carrying out of the divine purpose with regard to the fulfilling of the Scriptures, and—thus the mystery of Matthew 26:55 is solved.

τότε οἱ μαθηταὶ, κ. τ. λ.] Observe the πάντες. Not one of them stood his ground. Here was the verification of the words of Jesus, Matthew 26:31; comp. John 16:32.


Verse 57

Matthew 26:57 f. The Synoptists make no mention of the judicial examination before Annas (John 18:13); their narrative is for this reason incomplete, though it does not exclude such examination (Luke 22:66). As for the trial before the members of the Sanhedrim, which took place at the house of Caiaphas, John merely alludes to it, Matthew 18:24, where, however, ἀπέστειλεν is not to be taken as a pluperfect.

ἀπὸ μακρόθεν] a well-known pleonasm: in later Greek the ἀπό is dropped. Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 93. Bengel appropriately observes: “medius inter animositatem Matthew 26:51 et timorem Matthew 26:70.”

τῆς αὐλῆς] not the palace but the court, as in Matthew 26:3.

εἰσελθὼν ἔσω] see Lobeck, ad Aj. 741; Paralip. p. 538.

τὸ τέλος] exitum rei; 3 Maccabees 3:14, common in classical writers. Luther renders admirably: “wo es hinaus wollte” (what the upshot would be).


Verse 59

Matthew 26:59 f. καὶ τὸ συνέδριον ὅλον] and the whole Sanhedrim generally. This is a legitimate enough use of the words, even although certain individual members (Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea) did not concur in this proceeding.

ψευδομαρτυρίαν] so called from the historian’s own point of view. Euthymius Zigabenus well remarks: ὡς μὲν ἑκείνοις ἐδόκει, μαρτυρίαν, ὡς δὲ τῇ ἀληθείᾳ, ψευδομαρτυρίαν.

ὅπως θανατ. αὐτ.] with a view to putting Him to death, which could only be effected by their pronouncing in the first instance a capital sentence, and then having it ratified by the authority of the imperial procurator.

καὶ οὐχ εὗρον καὶ πολλῶν προσελθόντων ψευδομαρτύρων (see the critical remarks): and they found no means of doing so, even though many false witnesses had come forward. There were many who presented themselves to bear witness against Jesus; yet the Sanhedrim did not find what it wanted to find, doubtless because of the lack of that agreement between two of the witnesses at least which the law required (Numbers 35:30; Deuteronomy 17:6; Deuteronomy 19:15). See what immediately follows: ὕστερον δὲ προσελθ. δύο, and comp. Mark 14:56. Though there was a show of complying with the ordinary forms of judicial process, they were nevertheless shamefully violated (in opposition to Salvador, Saalschutz), in that exculpatory evidence (John 18:20 f.) was never called for.


Verse 61

Matthew 26:61. The expression John 2:19, which Jesus had made use of with reference to His own body, was not only misunderstood by those witnesses, but also misrepresented (John: λύσατε): whether wilfully or not, cannot be determined. But in any case the testimony was objectively false, and even in the case of the two who agreed it was in all probability subjectively so. Comp. Acts 6:13 f.

διὰ τριῶν ἡμερ.] not: after three days (Galatians 2:1), but: during three days. The work of building was to extend over this short period, and would then be complete. See on Galatians 2:1.


Verse 62

Matthew 26:62. With the sublime calm of one who is conscious of his own superior worth, Jesus meekly abstains from uttering a single word before this contemptible tribunal in the way of self-vindication, εἰδὼς δὲ καὶ, ὅτι μάτην ἀποκρινεῖται παρὰ τοιούτοις, Euthymius Zigabenus; whereas the high priest who finds, and that with considerable gratification, that the charge of being a Messianic pretender is now fully substantiated by the language of Jesus just deponed to (see Matthew 26:63), quite forgets himself, and breaks out into a passion.

The breaking up of the following utterance into two questions: answerest thou not? what (i.e. how heinous a matter) do these witness against thee? is, so far as the latter question is concerned, neither feeble (de Wette) nor unnatural (Weiss), but entirely in keeping with the passionate haste of the speaker. This being the case, the two clauses should not be run into one. We should neither, on the one hand, following Erasmus, with Fritzsche, take τί in the sense of cur, or (ad Marc. p. 650) the whole sentence as equivalent to τί τοῦτό ἐστιν, οὗτοί σου καταμαρτυροῦσιν; nor, on the other, with the Vulgate, Luther, de Wette, Ewald, Bleek, Keim, Weiss, should we adopt the rendering: “nihil respondes ad ea, quae isti adversum te testificantur?” This latter, however, would not be inconsistent with the strict meaning of the terms employed, for it is quite permissible to use ἀποκρίνεσθαί τι in the sense of: to reply to anything (see Ast, Lex. Plat. I. p. 239), and to take τί as equivalent to , τι (Buttmann, Neut. Gr. p. 216 [E. T. 251], who supposes “hörend” (hearing) to be understood before τί).


Verse 63

Matthew 26:63. The high priest answers this second refusal to speak by repeating a formal oath, in which Jesus is adjured to declare whether He be the Messiah or not. For this confession would determine how far they would be justified in pronouncing a capital sentence, and such as the Roman procurator would not fail to confirm.

ἐξορκίζω] means, like the earlier form ἑξορκόω: I call upon thee to swear, Dem. 1265, 6; Polyb. iii. 61. 10, vi. 21. 1, xvi. 31. 5. Comp. הִשְּׁבִּיעַ, Genesis 24:3, al. To give an affirmative answer to this formula was to take the full oath usually administered in any court of law. Michaelis, Mos. R. § 302; Matthaei, doctr. Christi de jurejur. 1847, p. 8; Keil, Arch. II. p. 256. The fact that Jesus took the oath has been denied, though without any reason whatever, by Wuttke, Döllinger, Steinmeyer.

κατὰ τοῦ θεοῦ, κ. τ. λ.] by the living God. Comp. 1 Kings 3:24; Judith 1:12; common in Greek authors, see Kühner, I. 1, p. 434; also Hebrews 6:13, and Bleek thereon. The living God as such would not fail to punish the perjured, Hebrews 10:31. It was the uniform practice in courts of law to swear by God. See Saalschutz, M. R. p. 614.

υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ] ordinary, recognised designation of the Messiah, into which, naturally enough, the metaphysical conception does not enter here, however much it may have been present to the mind of Christ Himself in making the affirmation which follows.


Verse 64

Matthew 26:64. σὺ εἶπας] see on Matthew 26:25. Mark 14:62 : ἐγώ εἰμι. A distinguished confession on the part of the Son in presence of the Father, and before the highest tribunal of the theocratic nation.

πλήν] not profecto (Olshausen), nor quin (Kuinoel), but: however, i.e. (comp. Klotz, ad Devar. p. 725) apart from what I have just affirmed, ye shall henceforward have reason to be satisfied, from actual observation, that I am the Messiah who was seen by Daniel in his vision (Daniel 7:13).

ἀπάρτι] is not to be taken with λέγω ὑμῖν (Schulz in 3d ed. of Griesbach), but—since in any other connection it would lose its force—with ὄψεσθε; nor is it to be understood in any other sense than that of henceforth, i.e. from the time of my impending death, through which I am to enter into my δόξα. But seeing that ἀπάρτι forbids us to understand ὄψεσθε as denoting only a single momentary glance (comp. on the contrary, John 1:51), we are bound to suppose that Jesus used it somewhat loosely to express the idea of coming to perceive in the course of experience (as in the passage of John just referred to) the fact of His being seated at the right hand of God (in allusion to Psalms 110:1), and that He did not intend ἐρχόμενον, κ. τ. λ. to refer to the second advent, but (Beza, Neander, Holtzmann, Schenkel, Gess, Weissenbach) to a coming in the figurative sense of the word, namely, in the shape of those mighty influences which, from His place in heaven, He will shed upon the earth,—manifestations, all of them, of His sovereign sway. We are shut up to this view by the fact that the sitting cannot possibly be regarded as an object of actual sight, and that ἀπάρτι ὄψεσθε can only be said of something that, beginning now, is continued henceforth.

τῆς δυνάμ.] The Mighty One is conceived of as power (the abstract for the concrete). Similarly in the Talmud הַגְּבוּרָה, Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. p. 385. Such abstract terms (as for instance our: majesty) have somewhat of an imposing character. Comp. 2 Peter 1:17.


Verse 65

Matthew 26:65. As may be seen from 2 Kings 18:17, the rending of the garments as an indication of unusual vexation was indulged in above all on hearing any utterance of a blasphemous nature. See Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. p. 2146; Schoettgen, p. 234; Wetstein on our passage. Maimonides, quoted by Buxtorf as above, thus describes the usual mode of proceeding in such cases: “Laceratio fit stando, a collo anterius, non posterius, non ad latus neque ad fimbrias inferiores vestis. Longitudo rapturae palmus est. Laceratio non fit in interula seu indusio linteo, nec in pallio exteriori: in reliquis vestibus corpori accommodatis omnibus fit, etiamsi decem fuerint.” The last-mentioned particular may serve to account for the use of the plural τὰ ἱμάτια (1 Maccabees 2:14). That part of the law which forbade the high priest to rend his garments (Leviticus 10:6; Leviticus 21:10) had reference merely to ordinary mourning for the dead. Comp. 1 Maccabees 11:71; Joseph. Bell. ii. 15. 4.

ἐβλασφήμησε] in so far as by falsely pretending to be the Messiah, the Son of God, and by further arrogating to Himself participation in divine honour and authority, Matthew 26:64, He had been guilty of insulting the majesty of God; comp. John 5:18; John 10:33. The pain of the high priest no doubt represented the genuine vexation of one who was most deeply moved; but the judgment which he formed regarding Jesus was based upon the gratuitous assumption that He was not the Messiah, and indicates a predisposition to find Him guilty of the capital charge (Leviticus 24:16). For τί ἔτι χρ. ἔχ. μαρτ., comp. Plat. Rep. p. 340 A.


Verse 66

Matthew 26:66. At this point the high priest, notwithstanding the precipitancy with which the trial is being hurried through, and notwithstanding the candid confession just made by the accused, calls for a formal vote, the result of which is a verdict of guilty, and that of an offence deserving to be punished by death. The next thing that had to be considered was the course to be adopted with a view to the carrying out of the sentence. It was this that formed the subject of deliberation at that conclave to which reference is made at Matthew 27:1.


Verse 67

Matthew 26:67. Those to whom Matthew here refers are the members of the Sanhedrim (as are also the τινές of Mark 14:65). ΄ετὰ γὰρ τὴν ἄδικον καταδίκην ὡς ἄτιμόν τινα καὶ τριωβολιμαῖον λάβοντες, κ. τ. λ., Euthymius Zigabenus. Coarse outburst of passion on the verdict being announced. A somewhat different form of the tradition is adopted by Luke (Luke 22:63), who, moreover, represents the maltreatment here referred to as having taken place before the trial. The way in which harmonists have cut and carved upon the individual features of the narrative is altogether arbitrary. The account in John 18:22 has no connection with that now before us, but refers to an incident in the house of Annas, which the Synoptists have entirely omitted.

ἐκολάφ.] buffetings, blows with the fist. Comp. the Attic expression κόνδυλος.

ἐῤῥάπτ.] slaps in the face with the palm of the hand; ῥαπισμὸς δὲ τὸ πταίειν κατὰ τοῦ προσώπου, Euthymius Zigabenus; comp. Matthew 5:39; Hosea 11:5; Isaiah 50:6; Dem. 787, 23; Aristot. Meteor. ii. 8. 9; 3 Esdr. 4:30; Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 176; Becker, Anecd. p. 300. It is in this sense that the word is usually taken. But Beza, Bengel, Ewald, Bleek, Lange, maintain that it is a blow with a rod that is meant (Herod. viii. 59; Anacr. vii. 2; Plut. Them. xi.), the sense in which the word is commonly used by Greek authors, and which ought to be preferred here, because οἱ δέ (see on Matthew 28:16) introduces the mention of a different kind of maltreatment, and because in Mark 14:65 the ῥαπίζειν is imputed to the officers of the Sanhedrim, which, however, would not warrant us in identifying with the latter the οἱ δέ of Matthew.


Verse 68

Matthew 26:68. προφήτευσον ἡμῖν] Differently in Mark 14:65. But so far as the προφήτ., τίς ἐστιν, κ. τ. λ. is concerned, Luke 22:64 agrees with Matthew, although the favourite mode of accounting for this would seem to be that of tracing it to the obscuring influence of a later tradition; in no case, however, is this theory to be applied to the exposition of Matthew, for it would involve a point of essential consequence. According to Matthew, the sport lay in the demand that Jesus as Messiah, and consequently as a prophet (Matthew 21:11), should tell who it was that had struck Him, though He had no natural means of knowing. This conduct, of course, proceeds on the assumption that the Messiah possessed that higher knowledge which is derived from divine revelation; hence also the scoffing way in which they address Him by the title of χριστός. Fritzsche thinks that the prominent idea here is that of foretelling, as being calculated, when thus conjoined with the preterite παίσας, to form an acerba irrisio. But that would be more likely to result in an absurda irrisio, unmarked by the slightest touch of humour.


Verse 69

Matthew 26:69. ἔξω] with reference to the interior of the particular building in which the trial of Jesus had been conducted. In Matthew 26:58 ἔσω is used because in that instance Peter went from the street into the court-yard.

μία παιδίσκη] μία is here used in view of the ἄλλη of Matthew 26:71 below. Comp. on Matthew 8:19. Both of them may have seen ( ἦσθα, ἦν) Peter among the followers of Jesus somewhere in Jerusalem, and may have preserved a distinct recollection of his appearance. παιδίσκη, in the sense of a female slave, corresponds exactly to our (German) Mädchen; see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 239.

καὶ σὺ ἦσθα, κ. τ. λ.] categorical accusation, as in Matthew 26:71; Matthew 26:73, and not a question (Klostermann).

τοῦ γαλιλ.] which specific designation she may have heard applied to the Prisoner. The other slave (Matthew 26:71) is still more specific, inasmuch as she calls Him ναζωραῖος.


Verse 70

Matthew 26:70. ἔμπροσθεν πάντων (see the critical remarks): before all who were present.

οὐκ οἶδα τί λέγεις] evasive denial: so little have I been with Him, that I am at a loss to know what is meant by this imputation of thine.


Verse 71

Matthew 26:71. ἐξελθόντα] from the court-yard to the porch, which, passing through some part of the buildings that stood round the four sides of the former, conducted into the anterior court outside ( προαύλιον; according to Mark 14:68, it was in this latter that the present denial took place). Comp. Hermann, Privatalterth. § 19. 9 ff. In spite of the plain meaning of πυλών, door, doorway (see Luke 16:20; Acts 10:17; Acts 12:13 f., Matthew 14:13; Revelation 21), it is usually supposed that it is the outer court in front of the house, the προαύλιον (see Poll. i. 77, ix. 16), that is meant.

αὐτοῖς ἐκεῖ] ἐκεῖ belongs to λέγει, while αὐτοῖς, in accordance with a loose usage of frequent occurrence (Winer, p. 137 f. [E. T. 181]), is meant to refer to the people generally whom she happened to meet with. It would be wrong to connect ἐκεῖ with καὶ οὗτος (Matthaei, Scholz), because in such a connection it would be meaningless.


Verse 72

Matthew 26:72. Observe the climax in the terms of the threefold denial.

μεθʼ ὅρκου] is peculiar to Matthew, and is here used in the sense of an oath.

τὸν ἄμθρωπον] the man (in question). Alas, such is the language, cold and distant, which Peter uses with reference to his Master! What a contrast to Matthew 16:16! “Ecce, columna firmissima ad unius aurae impulsum tota contremuit,” Augustine.


Verse 73

Matthew 26:73. The answer of Peter given at Matthew 26:72, and in the course of which his Galilaean dialect was recognised, gave occasion to those standing by (that they were exactly Sanhedrim officers, apparitores, Kuinoel, Paulus, does not necessarily follow from the use of ἑστῶτες) to step up to Peter after a little while, and to corroborate ( ἀληθῶς) the assertion of the maid-servant.

ἐξ αὐτῶν] of those who were along with Jesus, Matthew 26:71.

καὶ γάρ] for even, apart from circumstances by which thou hast been already identified.

λαλιά σου] thy speech (see on John 8:43), namely, through the coarse provincial accent. The natives of Galilee were unable to distinguish especially the gutturals properly, pronounced the letter שׁ like a ת, etc. See Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. p. 435, 2417; Lightfoot, Centur. Chorogr. p. 151 ff.; Wetstein on our passage; Keim, I. p. 310.


Verse 74

Matthew 26:74. τότε ἤρξατο] for previously he had not resorted as yet to the καταθεματίζειν, but had contented himself with the simple ὀμνύειν (Matthew 26:72, μεθʼ ὅρκου). Whereas before he had only sworn, he now takes to cursing as well. “Nunc gubernaculum animae plane amisit,” Bengel. The imprecations were intended to fall upon himself (should he be found, that is, to be telling an untruth). For the word καταθεματίζω, which was in all probability a vulgar corruption, comp. Revelation 22:3; Iren. Haer. i. 13. 2, 16. 3; Oecolampadius, ad Act. xxiii. 12.

ὅτι] recitantis, as in Matthew 26:72.

ἀλέκτωρ] a cock. There are Rabbinical statements (see the passages in Wetstein) to the effect that it was not allowable to keep animals of this sort in Jerusalem; but as there are other Rabbinical passages again which assert the opposite of this (see Lightfoot, p. 483), it is unnecessary to have recourse (Reland, Wolf) to the supposition that the bird in question may have belonged to a Gentile, may even have been about Pilate’s house, or some house outside the city.


Verse 75

Matthew 26:75. ἐξελθ. ἕξω] namely, from the porch (Matthew 26:71) in which the second and third denial had taken place. Finding he could no longer repress the feeling of sorrowful penitence that filled his heart, the apostle must go outside to be all alone with his remorse and shame. The fear of being detected (Chrysostom) had by this time undoubtedly become to him a very secondary consideration; he was now himself again.

εἰρηκότος αὐτῷ] who had said to him (Matthew 26:34), in itself a superfluous expression, and yet “grande participium,” Bengel.

πικρῶς] he wept bitterly. Comp. Isaiah 22:4, and the passages in Wetstein. How totally different was it with Judas! “Lacrymarum physica amaritudo (comp. Hom. Od. iv. 153) aut dulcedo (comp. γλυκύδακρυς, Meleag. 45), congruit cum affectu animi,” Bengel.

REMARK.

Seeing that the whole four evangelists concur in representing Peter as having denied Jesus three times, we are bound to regard the threefold repetition of the denial as one of the essential features of the incident (in opposition to Paulus, who, in the discrepancies that occur in the various accounts, finds traces of no less than eight different denials). The information regarding this circumstance can only have been derived from Peter himself; comp. also John 21:1 ff. As for the rest, however, it must be acknowledged—(1) that John (and Luke too, see on Luke 22:54 ff.) represents the three denials as having taken place in a different locality altogether, namely, in the court of the house in which Annas lived, and not in that of Caiaphas; while to try to account for this by supposing that those two persons occupied one and the same dwelling (Euthymius Zigabenus, Ebrard, Lange, Lichtenstein, Riggenbach, Pressensé, Steinmeyer, Keim), is a harmonistic expedient that is far from according with the clear view of the matter presented in the fourth Gospel; see on John 18:16; John 18:25. (2) That the Synoptists agree neither with John nor with one another as to certain points of detail connected with the three different scenes in question, and more particularly with reference to the localities in which they are alleged to have taken place, and the persons by whom the apostle was interrogated as to his connection with Jesus; while to say, in attempting to dispose of this, that “Abnegatio ad plures plurium interrogationes facta uno paroxysmo, pro una numeratur” (Bengel), is to make a mere assertion, against which all the accounts of this incident without exception enter, so to speak, an emphatic protest. (3) It is better, on the whole, to allow the discrepancies to remain just as they stand, and to look upon them as sufficiently accounted for by the diverse forms which the primitive tradition assumed in regard to details. This tradition has for its basis of fact the threefold denial, not merely a denial several times repeated, and, as Strauss alleges, reduced to the number three to agree with the prediction of Jesus. It is to the narrative of John, however, as being that of the only evangelist who was an eye-witness, that we ought to trust for the most correct representation of this matter. Olshausen, however, gives to the synoptic narratives with the one hand so much of the merit in this respect as he takes from the Johannine with the other, and thus lays himself open to the charge of arbitrarily confounding them all.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Matthew 26:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/matthew-26.html. 1832.

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Thursday, November 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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