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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
Matthew 26



Verse 1

Matthew 26:1. ἐτέλεσε πάντας, ended all) He had said all that He had to say. He did not enter on his Passion sooner, or defer it later than this point. A regular systematic plan of our Lord’s Discourses may be produced from the Harmony of the Gospels.

Verse 2

Matthew 26:2. ΄ετὰ δύο ἡμέρας, after two days) Our Lord foretold His death by various measures of time.(1108) καὶ, and) sc. and therefore, as this time is suitable for the transaction.— παραδίδοται, is betrayed) The present tense. Our Lord was preparing Himself entirely(1109) for suffering, and His enemies were labouring to effect the same object: see Mark 14:1.

Verse 3

Matthew 26:3. συνήχθησαν, were gathered together) Thus also in Matthew 26:57, and ch. Matthew 27:1; Matthew 27:17; Matthew 27:27; Matthew 27:62; cf. Luke 22:66; Matthew 28:12; Acts 4:5; Acts 4:26-27.— οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς, the chief priests) They took the principal part in that matter; they were supported, however, by the scribes, the lawyers, and the elders of the people, who formed the remainder of the Jewish council.— τοῦ λεγομένου, who was called) St Matthew wrote for readers of times and places, in which the names of Caiaphas and Judas (see Matthew 26:14) would not be known from any other source.(1110)

Verse 4

Matthew 26:4. δόλῳ, by craft) An unworthy consultation.

Verse 5

Matthew 26:5. ἐν τῇ ἑορτῇ, in the feast(1111)) Even then! They wished to delay the matter until the people, who were then collected in great numbers on account of the Passover, should have departed, after the conclusion of the festival. But as the traitor offered his services, they cast delay aside. Thus the Divine counsel was fulfilled.— τῷ λαῷ, the people) who acknowledged Jesus as a Prophet, and were then assembled in great numbers.

Verse 7

Matthew 26:7. ἀλάβαστρον, alabaster) Rather of thin stone than glass, otherwise it could not have been (see Mark 14:3) broken without inflicting wounds.— ἔχουσα, having) She had one alabaster-box, and did not know how to employ it better.— ἀνακειμένου, as He reclined) at table.(1112)—Others were anointed after death; it behoved Christ rather to be anointed whilst living: after His death it was needless.

καὶ κατέχεεν, and poured it down) The mode of anointing in such a case is more readily understood, when it is taken into consideration that the ancients rather lay reclined at table than sat at it. They had couches furnished with cushions, and they lay in such a posture as that their feet rested backwards.—V. g.

Verse 8

Matthew 26:8. ἀπώλεια, waste) or perdition.—Nay, thou, Judas, art [the son] of Perdition;(1113) see John 17:12.

Verse 9

Matthew 26:9. ἠδύνατο, might) The disciples exhibit in this instance great ignorance of comparative theology.— τοῖς πτωχοῖς, to the poor) Which is, generally speaking, a right employment of our means;(1114) see ch. Matthew 19:21, and Luke 19:8.

Verse 10

Matthew 26:10. τί κόπους παρέχετε τῇ γυναικί, Why trouble ye the woman?) For it is a trouble to be doubtful in one’s conscience, not only concerning a thing to be done hereafter (see Romans 14:15), but also concerning a thing already done.— τῇ γυναικὶ, the woman) The disciples acted with incivility towards the Lord Himself; but this He finds less fault with than the annoyance given to the woman.— καλὸν, good) Although she was not herself aware that she had done so well. The simplicity of an action does not detract from its goodness.(1115) It was not waste with regard to the poor (Matthew 26:11) nor the disciples (Mark 14:7. middle of the verse), nor the woman (Matthew 26:13), nor the Lord Himself (Matthew 26:12).

Verse 12

Matthew 26:12. βαλοῦσα, in that she hath poured) The word implies profusion.— πρὸς τὸ ἐνταφιάσαι ΄ε, for My burial) These words intimate that His death was certain and near at hand. The verb ἐνταφιάζειν does not mean “to place in the sepulchre,” but “to prepare for the sepulchre.” The ἐνταφιασμὸς of Jacob (Genesis 50:2, S. V.) took place in Egypt, his sepulture afterwards [in Canaan].

Verse 13

Matthew 26:13. τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦτο, this Gospel) i.e. which Christ preached.(1116)λαληθήσεται, shall be spoken of) And so it is. This saving of our Lord was both heard and afterwards committed to writing by St Matthew. Its fulfilment furnishes a proof of the truth of Christianity. No earthly monarch can bestow immortality on any action, even though he employ all his wealth and power to do so.— μνημόσυνον, a memorial) The memory of the godly may flourish even though their names be unknown.(1117)

Verse 14

Matthew 26:14. πορευθεὶς, departing(1118)) The disciples were not under restraint. The wicked could depart when he would.

Verse 15

Matthew 26:15. ἔστησαν, they weighed out(1119)) The LXX. frequently render the Hebrew שקל (to weigh out, or pay) by ἵστηυι, and in Zechariah 11:12, where the prediction occurs concerning these thirty pieces of silver, the very word ἔστησαν is found.— τριάκοντα ἀργύρια, thirty pieces of silver) Such was the value of a slave, in Exodus 21:32; that of a freeman was double.

Beng. seems to take ἕστησαν in the sense “they weighed out to him.” So ἵστημι is found used in Homer’s Iliad xix. 247, xxii. 350) more than once; lit., I place in the balance, I poise.—ED.

Verse 17

Matthew 26:17. τῇ δὲ πρώτῃ τῶν ἀζύμων, now on the first day of unleavened bread) It was now Thursday, the fourteenth day of the first month;(1120) cf. Exodus 12:6; Exodus 12:15.— ποῦ, where?) They ask not whether, but where, they should prepare the Passover.(1121) Jesus was wont to perform all things which were enjoined by the law.— σοὶ, for Thee) Jesus was as the father of a family, surrounded by the family of His disciples.

On which they were bound to put away all leaven; and so the consumption of the paschal lamb could not be put off beyond 24 hours, to the evening of the Friday.—Harm., p. 490.

Verse 18

Matthew 26:18. τὸν δεῖνα, a certain man) This word is put instead of a proper name.(1122) διδάσκαλος, the Master) Therefore the host in question was a disciple, but not one of the Twelve.— καιρός ΄ου, My time) which I have long foreseen and foretold, when I shall suffer.— ποιῶ τὸ πάσχα, κ. τ. λ., I celebrate the Passover, etc.) A courteous mode of announcing the fact to that ready disciple at whose house the Master was about to celebrate the Passover. It is astonishing that some learned men should have called in question, or denied the fact, of our Lord’s having then celebrated the Passover; see Matthew 26:17-19, the commencement of Matthew 26:30, and Luke 22:7-8; Luke 22:12; Luke 22:14-15.

Verse 23

Matthew 26:23.(1123) ἐμβάψας, he that dippeth) The use of the same small dish, of which there were several on the table, and the dipping of the sop in it at the same moment with our Lord, was to be the distinctive mark of the traitor; see Matthew 26:25. St Mark uses ἐμβαπτόμενος (present part. middle) to denote the same idea which St Matthew expresses by ἐ΄βάψας (1st Aor. part. act.); The former therefore employs the present in an indefinite sense.

Verse 24

Matthew 26:24. ὑπάγει, goeth) Through Passion to Glory.— καθὼς γέγραπται, as it is written) And therefore the woe does not affect the Son of Man. A consolatory consideration.— οὐαὶ δὲ, but woe!) The Divine foreknowledge of the traitor’s sin does not diminish its heinousness.— ἐκείνῳ, to that man); concerning which very man also it has been written.— παραδίδοται, is betrayed) By this word something further is added to ὑπάγει, goeth.— εἰ οὐκ ἐγεννήθη, if he had not been born) sc. if he either had not been conceived, or had died before his birth; see Job 3:2; Job 3:10-11. This phrase does not necessarily imply the interminable eternity of perdition: for it is a proverbial expression; cf. Luke 23:29; Sirach 23:19 (Gr. Matthew 26:14).(1124) Judas obtains a situation of exclusively pre-eminent misery amongst the souls of the damned. For so long a time he accompanied our Lord, not without sharing the sorrows connected therewith; a little before the joyful Pentecost he died.— ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖνος, “THAT” man) The words, “that man,” might seem a predicate. THAT is the designation of one who is considered already far off.

A degree of misery is here awarded to him greater than that which is set forth in ch. Matthew 18:6.—V. g.

Verse 25

Matthew 26:25.(1125) ῥαββί, Master) It is not recorded in Scripture that Judas ever called Jesus, Lord.— σὺ εἶπας, thou hast said) A formula of replying affirmatively, first to those who affirm, thence also to those who enquire, when the interrogation is taken away (as though it were a mode) and the sentence is left categorical.(1126) The question is asked, “JUDAS is the traitor?” the interrogation is taken away, and the categorical reply remains: “Judas IS the traitor.” A similar form of expression is found in Exodus 10:29, כן דברת, So it is as thou hast said;(1127) cf. 1 Kings 20:40, and Gnomon on Matthew 26:64.

Categorical, naked, and absolute, as opposed to a sentence in which there is a “modus,” i.e. some accompanying expression of feeling, thanksgiving, a prayer, or such like. See Append. on Sermo Modalis.—ED.

Verse 26

Matthew 26:26. ἐσθιόντων δὲ αὐτῶν, And as they were eating) As in Matthew 26:21. Judas(1128) therefore was present;(1129) cf. the πάντες, κ. τ. λ. (all, etc.) in Mark 14:23, and πλὴν, κ. τ. λ. (but, etc.) in Luke 22:21.— λαβὼν, taking) sc. in His hand. This implies the supreme dignity of the holy supper; cf. John 4:2.(1130)τὸν ἄρτον, the bread) which was at hand.— εὐλογήσας, having blessed) In the next verse we find εὐχαριστήσας, having given thanks (corresponding to the Hebrew ברך). Each verb explains the other. He gave thanks to the Father, and at the same time blessed the bread and also the wine by the act of giving of thanks and by prayer; cf. Luke 9:16; John 6:11; 1 Corinthians 14:16-17.— ἔκλασε, brake) after blessing it (post benedictionem): which is inconsistent with the notion of transubstantiation. For an accident, as the Romanists declare the bread to be after it has been blessed (post benedictionem, cannot be broken.— καὶ ἐδίδου, and gave) Our Lord is not said Himself to have eaten and drunk on this occasion: since not for Himself was His body being given, nor His blood being shed.— λάβετε, Take) Who could have taken (“received”) if the Lord had not instituted it? Cf. John 3:27.— τοῦτο, This) sc. in opposition to the shadows of the Old Dispensation; as much as to say, you have Me, My actual self; This, sc. which I command you to take: for it is immediately followed by My blood, which is of the New Testament— σῶ΄α, Body, must be taken as literally as αἶμα, blood. The separate distribution, however, of His body and blood represents the actual death(1131) of our Lord, in which His blood was drawn forth from His body. The benediction preceded and precedes the utterance of the words, This is My body. We readily allow that there is an allusion to the formula of the Jews, who, in celebrating the Passover, when asked by their children, What is this? replied, זה גוף של פסח וגו, This is the body of the Lamb which our fathers ate in Egypt.— τὸ σῶμά ΄ου, My body) understand here “ τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑ΄ῶν διδό΄ενον,” which is given for you, words implied in Matthew 26:28, and expressed in Luke 22:19.—The Evangelist describes the matter briefly, as being well known by the practice of those for whom he writes. The expression, “This do in remembrance of Me” (which is recorded by St Luke), is implied in Matthew 26:29.

In the very moment of death Christ approached that state which is different from the life that He lived before His death and after His resurrection, and thenceforward for ever.—Harm., p. 510.

1. If Judas had departed before the singing of the hymn, he would have been doing the same as if one in the present day were to depart before the offering of the grace and prayers at the close of a banquet, and would have thereby the more disclosed his atrocious design.

2. During the continuance of our Lord’s supplications on the Mount of Olives, Judas had no lack of time sufficient for bringing the cohort to effect his purpose.

3. Luke, ch. Matthew 22:21, immediately subjoins after the words of the Institution, these words, BUT, NEVERTHELESS ( πλὴν), behold the hand of him that betrayeth Me is with Me on the table; and as this very complaint is placed before the Lord’s Supper by Matthew and Mark, these speeches [that as to Judas, and that in which the Institution took place] cannot be severed from one another.

4. To explain our Lord’s words (Luke 22:21) of the table, in the sense, the counting-board [of the chief priests] on which Judas’ hand was laid, with Jesus as the merchandize which he offered for sale, is out of place; for (1) It is not the seller that is said to be with the merchandize, but the merchandize with the seller [whereas Jesus says that Judas is with Him]; (2) Thirty pieces of silver was not so large a sum as to suggest the idea of a counting-board or banking-table; (3) The money had been already reckoned out to Judas, Matthew 26:15; (4) The ἰδοὺ, Behold, Luke 22:21, implies, in fact, the presence of the traitor, as reclining at the same banqueting table with Jesus (comp. Luke 22:30; Luke 16:21), and dipping his hand in the dish.

5. The words πλὴν ἰδοὺ, But, nevertheless, behold, being taken in their usual sense, are we to say that the traitor was driven away from the bread and the cup after these had been blessed? But Mark, after having made mention of the twelve, ch. Matthew 14:17, immediately subjoins the statement, that they ALL drank of the cup, Matthew 26:23, with which comp. Matthew 26:27.

6. If you say, the traitor was known to John or even to Peter already, on the preceding day, how, then, is it that they, not till now, one by one, are represented as having said, Is it I? For, in fact, when John, in a covert way, made enquiry, it was in a secret manner that the traitor was disclosed to him: and as to his having informed Peter of the fact, it is easier to suspect than to affirm this. The remaining nine disciples did not even observe the nod of Peter [beckoning to John to ask the Lord]: therefore both the question of John and the reply of the Lord escaped their notice, John 13:28.

7. That the traitor should have been vouchsafed the washing of feet, is a circumstance almost as astonishing as his being admitted to the Lord’s Supper: nor does even the permission of the kiss, given for the purposes of treachery, move us to less astonishment. As to the rest, we are here treating only of a question of historical truth: nor is it our intention ever to uphold the cause of unfair adapters of facts to their own aims (perfidorum œconomorum.)—Harm., p. 511, etc.

Verse 27

Matthew 26:27. τὸ ποτήριον, the cup) The same which was there already, from which they had all drunk.— πάντες, all) Hence it is clear that even if one species(1132) were sufficient, it must rather be the wine than the bread. Thus also in 1 Corinthians 11:25, the expression ὀσάκις, as often as, is employed in the mention of the cup [as well as of the bread].(1133) Scripture expressed itself thus, foreseeing (Galatians 3:8) what Rome would do.(1134) The disciples then represented the “many” ( πολλῶν) who are mentioned in Matthew 26:28, where the reason of the injunction is given. Thus “many” and “all” are used together in 1 Corinthians 10:17. The Holy Supper ought not to be a matter of indifference to Christians.

Verse 28

Matthew 26:28. τοῦτο, this) The true blood of Christ is shown to be actually present, just as the blood of the victims was in the Mosaic formula cited in Hebrews 9:20; for that formula is here referred to.— τῆς καινῆς, of the New) in contradistinction to the Old: see Exodus 24:8, sc. “And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said “Behold the blood of the covenant,” etc.— διαθήκης, testament, disposition, dispensation) Many theologians of the Reformed Church, and some even of the Evangelical communion,(1135) endeavoured in the last generation to reduce the whole scheme of Christian doctrine to the form of a covenant: a method pre-eminently suited to the Jewish theology; but Scripture expresses the New divine economy in this case, as it is wont in other cases, by a word belonging to the Old scheme, although employed in a sense not exactly coinciding with its original meaning: nor can we easily speak of the NEW, διαθήκη, or Dispensation (Dispositio), except in contrast to the Old, either expressed or implied. In short, the very words ברית and διαθήκη [by which the Old and New Dispensation are severally indicated] differ from each other, and their difference corresponds wonderfully with the actual state of the case. For the word ברית accords more with the Old economy, which had the form of a covenant, whereas διαθήκη accords more with the New economy, which has the form of a testament; on which account the Talmudists employ the Greek word דייתיקי [ διαθήκη, written in Hebrew characters] as not having a Hebrew word whereby to express it. But the idea of a covenant does not so well agree with that entire son-ship which exists under the New Testament dispensation. Even the very notion of a testament, will at last, as it were, come to an end, on account of our intimate union with God: see John 17:21-22, and 1 Corinthians 15:28.— πολλῶν, many) even beyond the limits of Israel.— ἐκχυνόμενον, which is being shed) The present tense. There is the same potency in the Holy Supper, as if in that self-same moment the body of Christ was always being given, and His blood being shed.— ἄφεσιν ἁ΄αρτιῶν, remission of sins) the especial blessing of the New Testament dispensation. [Ephesians 1:7, E. B.]

Verse 29

Matthew 26:29. λέγω, I say) Concerning the order of these words, and those that immediately precede them: cf. Luke 22:15-17, etc.(1136)ἀπʼ ἄρτι, from henceforth) A phrase suitable to taking leave.— γεννήματος τῆς ἀμπέλου, of the produce of the vine) A periphrasis for wine, somewhat different from the common language of the inhabitants of earth, and therefore the more suitable to the meaning of the Saviour who was about to leave the earth.— γέννημα and γἑνημα occur in the LXX., also promiscuously, when wine and the vine are spoken of.— ἓως τῆς ἡμέρας ἐκείνης κ. τ. λ., until that day, etc.) Which had been foretold: see Luke 22:16; Luke 22:18; Luke 22:30. Hence St Paul (1 Corinthians 11:26) draws the inference that “as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye show forth the Lord’s death till He come.”— αὐτὸ, it) referring to the produce of the vine, i.e. wine, evidently of heaven.— καινὸν, new) sc. in the full consummation of the New Testament. This new is placed above the new spoken of in Matthew 26:28. See the Prelude to this in John 21:12.(1137) The Jewish Passover was superseded by the Lord’s Supper, this will be again succeeded by further things of a heavenly nature. Elsewhere, in ch. Matthew 9:17, instead of “ καινὸς,” we find “ νεός,” οἶνος, new wine [where νέος denotes newness of vintage, not novelty of kind]; but καινὸν in this passage evidently implies a newness in nature, not in age.(1138)ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ πατρὸς ΄ου, in My Father’s kingdom) see 1 Corinthians 15:24; Luke 22:16; Luke 22:30. Thomas Gataker considers new ( καινὸν) wine to be the same as ἕτερον, different (cf. Mark 16:17, with Acts 2:4),(1139) so as to denote wine of a kind entirely different from that which the Lord was then taking with His disciples.

Verse 30

Matthew 26:30. ὑμνήσαντες, having sung a hymn or hymns) sc. they either sang or recited(1140) Psalms 113, 114, 115, 118, 136 in which the mystery of Redemption is notably expressed. The hymn also contained the words which are quoted in ch. Matthew 21:9; Matthew 21:42. Our Lord is frequently said to have prayed while on earth; never to have sung.

Verse 31

Matthew 26:31. πάντες ὑμεῖς, all ye) Our Lord had before foretold the crime of a single traitor.— σκανδαλισθήσεσθε, shall be offended) So that your faith in Me shall totter exceedingly. The same word occurs in Romans 14:21.— γέγραπται, it is written) The disciples might conclude that the prediction was about to be fulfilled that night, from the conjunction of the smiting of the shepherd, and the scattering of the sheep.— πατάξω, I will smite) sc. with the sword, put by metonymy for the Cross, concerning which it was not the part of the prophets to write more expressly. In Zechariah 13:7, the LXX.(1141) have πάταξον τὸν ποι΄ένα, καὶ διασκορπισθήσεται τὰ τρόβατα, smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. God smote Jesus, since He delivered Him to be smitten.— διασκορπισθήσεται, shall be scattered) The whole protection of the disciples, before the advent of the Paraclete, consisted in the presence of Jesus; who being smitten, they were dispersed.— τὰ πρόβατα, the sheep) The disciples were representatives of the whole flock which they were afterwards to collect.

Verse 32

Matthew 26:32. προάξω, I will go before) As a shepherd. A pastoral expression.— γαλιλαίαν, Galilee) Where His appearance was to be exceedingly solemn to His sheep again collected together. Our Lord says to those who had come up with Him from Galilee, “Before you return home from the feast I will rise from the dead.”

Verse 33

Matthew 26:33.(1142) εἰ καὶ πάντες, κ. τ. λ., Even though all, etc.) He might rather have said—“Even though no one else should deny Thee, yet I will do so.”— οὐδέποτε, never) Not merely, not this night.

ABCDabc omit καὶ, reading only εἰ. Vulg., however, has “etsi:” and Orig. 4, 412c; 437a, Hil. 742d read εἰ καὶ.—ED.

Verse 34

Matthew 26:34. ἐν ταύτῃ τῇ νυκτὶ in this very night) It was already night; and it was more wonderful that this should happen by night than by day.— πρὶν, before that) A considerable portion of the night remains after cock-crow. Peter’s never, therefore, is utterly refuted.— ἀλέκτορα, the cock) The bird here intended is that strictly so called, cf. Mark 13:35; see 3 Maccabees 5:23. There were some of them in Jerusalem, though, as Lightfoot says, they were few in number, at least with the Jews. They could not, however, prevent the Romans from having them; and so much the more wonderful, therefore, was our Lord’s prediction.— φωνῆσαι, crow) St Mark adds δὶς, twice. The sense in St Matthew is, Before the cock crow once thou shalt deny Me, and thou shalt deny Me thrice.— τρὶς, thrice) The Saviour knows us much better than we know ourselves.— ἀπαρνήσῃ, thou shalt deny) The sin of the mouth shall be added to the offence of the heart.(1143)

Verse 35

Matthew 26:35. λεγει, says) With a sufficiently determined mind.— οὐ μἡ, by no means(1144)) Peter therefore acknowledges denial to be sin.(1145)εἶπον, they said) The Saviour’s lenity makes no further reply.

Verse 36

Matthew 26:36. αὐτοῦ, here) (an adverb). Thus the LXX. in Numbers 9:8, Numbers 32:6.— στῆτε αὐτοῦ, κ. τ. λ., “stand ye HERE,” etc.; and Ib. Numbers 32:6.— καὶ ὑμεῖς καθήσεσθε αὐτοῦ; “and shall ye sit HERE?”— ἕως οὐ ἀπελθὼν προσεύξωμαι, whilst I go and pray) Our Lord expresses only that which is less distressing; He maintains a reserve with regard to that which is more painful; cf. Genesis 22:5. In Matthew 26:38 He says— γρηγορεῖτε μετʼ ἐμοῦ, Watch with Me; in Matthew 26:41.— γρηγορεῖτε καὶ προσεύχεσθε, watch and pray: but He nowhere says, Pray with Me. The disciples could not join (on an equality) with Him in prayer. There is One Son: one Mediator.

Verse 37

Matthew 26:37. παραλαβὼν, taking with Him) As witnesses the three whom He had employed in the same capacity in ch. Matthew 17:1.— τοὺς δὺο, the two) who had offered themselves, ch. Matthew 20:20-21.— ἤρξατο, He began) immediately.— λυπεῖσθαι καὶ ἀδημονεῖν, to be sorrowful and very heavy) St Mark says, ἐκθαμβεῖσθαι καὶ ἀδημονεῖν, “to be sore amazed and to be very heavy.” Both λυπεῖσθαι and ἐκθαμβεῖσθαι denote the presence and effect of an object of horror,— ἀδημονεῖν, the loss of all power of deriving enjoyment from other sources. The same word occurs in Philippians 2:26, where see Gnomon. Hesychius explains ἀδημεῖν by θαυμάζειν (to be astonied) ἀπορεῖν (to be at a loss, to be in trouble, to be at one’s wit’s end) and ἀδημονεῖν, the word which occurs in the text, Eustathius says, ἀδήμων signifies one who is overwhelmed with ἄδος, irksomeness, that is to say, by satiety or grief.— ἀδημονεῖν signifies, ἀλύειν καὶ ἀμηχανεῖν, i.e. to be in great distress, and to be almost beside one’s self for trouble.

Verse 38

Matthew 26:38.(1146) ἕως θανάτου, even unto death) Such sorrow as might have led an ordinary mortal to commit suicide.— μείνατε ὧδε, tarry ye here) You must not go with Me.— μετʼ ἐμοῦ, with Me) In great trials solitude is pleasing, yet so that friends be near at hand. Jesus commands His disciples to watch with Him, though He knew that they would not afford Him any assistance.

Verse 39

Matthew 26:39. ἐπὶ πρόσωπον, on His face) not only on His knees(1147)—the deepest humiliation.(1148)πάτερ ΄ου, My Father) Jesus prays as a Son.— εἰ δυνατόν ἐστι, if it is possible) cf. Matthew 26:53, from which verse it also appears how promptly and perfectly Jesus surrendered Himself to the will of the Father.— τὸ ποτήριον, the cup) offered by the Father, brimful with the whole draught of suffering.— θέλω, I will) This Will of Jesus that the cup might pass away from Him, was not absolute without reference to His Fathers Will. Cf. the latter part of John 21:18.(1149)

Verse 40

Matthew 26:40. εὑρίσκει καθεύδοντας, findeth them asleep) The disciples should have been differently prepared. In this sleep they forgot the promise which they had made in the thirty-fifth verse.— τῷ πέτρῳ, to Peter) referring to Matthew 26:35. Although Peter had heard that he was about to fall, he is nevertheless commanded to watch and pray.— οὕτως οὐκ ἰσχύσατε, have you proved so utterly incapable?(1150)) You who promised such great things! This is too great weakness; see Matthew 26:41.— μίαν, one) Jesus therefore frequently watched alone for a long time together.— γρηγορῆσαι, to watch) Prayers would gush forth spontaneously, if they watched; see the following verse.

Verse 41

Matthew 26:41. ἵνα μὴ εἰσέλθητε, κ. τ. λ., that ye enter not, etc.) This was to be the subject of their prayer; see Luke 22:40; cf. ἵνα μὴ in ch. Matthew 24:20.— εἰς πειρασμὸν, into temptation) which is close at hand, nay, which is already here.— τὸ μὲν πνεῦμα,(1151) κ. τ. λ., the spirit indeed, etc.) This statement, sin only excepted, was true also of Jesus at that time; see Hebrews 5:7. Therefore He also both watched and prayed, Matthew 26:39-40.— πνεῦμα, spirit) Thence it is that the Apostles mention frequently flesh and spirit.— σὰρξ, flesh) We ought to take this, not as an excuse for torpor, but as an incentive to watchfulness.— ἀσθενὴς, weak) for the right performance of the matter in hand.

Verse 42

Matthew 26:42. ἐάν μὴ, κ. τ. λ., except, etc.) Whilst Jesus drank the cup it passed away.— πίω, I drink) And now by this very utterance of that word He brings Himself nearer to the act of drinking.— γενηθήτω, be done) The prayer of Jesus approached now nearer to suffering; cf. Matthew 26:39. Behold His obedience.

Verse 43

Matthew 26:43. γὰρ, κ. τ. λ., for, etc.) The cause of their sleeping a second time [‘Aetiologia;’ see Appendix].— βεβαρημένοι, weighed down. Such slothfulness frequently overpowers the godly when it is least becoming.

Verse 44

Matthew 26:44. ἐκ τρίτου, the third time) The third and last time.— τὸν αὐτὸν, the same) as suitable to sorrow. The repetition of the same words is frequently congenial to the soul.

Verse 45

Matthew 26:45. καθεύδετε τὸ λοιπὸν, sleep on now) An imperative, leaving the disciples, as it were to themselves, wholly given up as they were to sleep, and thus exciting them so much the more urgently by tenderness joined with severity. It is not an instance of irony, but metonymy, q.d. “You do not listen to Me when attempting to rouse you, others soon will come and rouse yon. In the meanwhile sleep, if you have leisure for so doing.” In St Luke (Luke 22:46) we find τί καθεύδετεwhy sleep ye?” with an interrogation, which some have introduced into St Matthew and St Mark.— ἀναπαύεσθε, take your rest), as Sleep is opposed to Watching, so Rest to the labour of prayer.— ὥρα, the hour) often foretold. In Matthew 26:18 He had said less definitely “My time.”

Verse 46

Matthew 26:46. παραδιδούς ΄ε, he that betrayeth Me) Of whom I have already spoken: “that betrayeth Me,” He says, not “you.”

Verse 47

Matthew 26:47. ξύλων, staves) as in a sudden tumult; see Matthew 26:55.

Verse 48

[48. κρατήσατε αὐτὸν, seize hold of Him) Judas feared lest Jesus should escape on the present, as He had done on a former occasion.— καὶ ἐκράτησαν αὐτὸν, and they seized hold of Him) First the multitude seized upon Jesus; in the meantime occurred the blow and the miracle on Malchus, whose ear the Saviour touched and healed;(1152) then they surrounded and apprehended Him as an actual prisoner. The former is expressed in Matthew and Mark by the verb κρατεῖν, to seize hold of, the latter in Luke [Luke 22:54] and John [John 18:12], by συλλαμβάνειν, to apprehend. Then they moreover bound Him.—B. H. E., p. 530.]

Verse 49

Matthew 26:49. κατεφίλησε, kissed Him repeatedly, Lat. deosculatus est) He kissed Him more than once in opposition to what He had said in the preceding verse, and did so as if from kindly feeling. He violated the inviolable countenance of Jesus with the utmost temerity.

Verse 50

Matthew 26:50. ἑταῖρε, comrade(1153)) Ammonious says, “ ἑταῖρος does not correspond exactly with φίλος” (a friend) “and ἑταῖροι” (in the plural number) “are those who have associated together for a long time in conversation and employment.” In Luke 22:48 we have ἰούδα, Judas; see Ps. 54:14, and Eccles. 37:5, with ibid. Matthew 26:1-4.— ἐφ πάρει, for which thou are come(1154)) An eliptical mode of expression for, Is this the object for which thou art come? Hesychius renders the words, “With what aim art thou present, and hast come here?”

Verse 51

Matthew 26:51. εἷς, one) St Matthew does not mention Peter by name. He might have had more reasons than one for his silence. Danger might possibly threaten Peter from the unbelieving Jews.— τὸν δοῦλον, the slave) He perhaps acted more violently than the rest by his master’s desire.— τὸ ὠτίον, his ear) with a most dangerous stroke, He had aimed at the shoulder of the principal aggressor.

Verse 52

Matthew 26:52. σου τὴν μάχαιραν, THY sword) most foreign to MY cause.— τοπον, place) The sword, when out of the scabbard, is not in its place, except when it ministers to the wrath of God.— λαβόντες, they who take) When God does not give it them.— ἐν μαχαίρᾳ, by the sword) Thus the LXX. use ἐν μαχαίρᾳ ἀποθνήσκειν (to die by the sword); 2 Chronicles 23:14, and Jeremiah 21:9.— ἀποθανοῦνται, shall die) This word implies a punishment in kind.

Verse 53

Matthew 26:53. ἄρτι, now) Even now.— τὸν πατέρα ΄ου, My Father) Jesus even, when He is just about to drink the cup, retains that filial disposition which He had previously and always towards the Father; see Matthew 26:42.— πλείους δώδεκα λεγεῶας, more than twelve legions) A legion consisted of six thousand; twelve legions therefore of seventy-two thousand. A legion is contrasted with each of the twelve apostles; a thousand angels with each of the seventy disciples. The angels are divided into their numbers and ranks.

Verse 54

Matthew 26:54. πῶς οὖν, κ. τ. λ., how then, etc.) The Saviour altogether voluntarily undertakes His Passion.— ὅτι, κ. τ. λ., that thus it must be) The Scriptures had said that thus it must be; see Matthew 26:56.(1155)

Verse 55

Matthew 26:55. τοῖς ὄχλοις, the multitudes) Our Lord calmed their violence, so that, even though now under the influence of the chief men they did not return to sanity, they might do so more easily at a future period.— ὡς ἐτὶ ληστὴν, as against a thief) against whom, in a sudden tumult, all staves are used for arms.— καθʼ ἡμέραν, daily) Especially from the Feast of Tabernacles, to that of the Dedication in the same year.— ἐν τῷ ἰερῷ, in the Temple) where you might easily have laid hold of Me.— οὐκ ἐκρατησετε ΄ε, ye laid not hold on Me) An instance of Metonvmia Consequents; q. d. “You were not able to take Me before;” cf. Luke 22:53.(1156)

John, for a considerable time before his being beheaded, was kept in prison. But the world was obliged to permit Christ to walk at large, and discourse unrestrictedly, up to these His last moments.—Harm., p. 532.

Verse 56

Matthew 26:56. τοῦτο δὲ ὅλον γέγονεν, but all this was done) St Matthew appears to have interwoven this periphrasis with our Lord’s words concerning the fulfilment of the Scriptures: cf. Mark 14:49.— αἱ γραφαὶ, the Scriptures) in the plural number. His Passion was the confluence of their fulfilments.(1157)

Verse 58

Matthew 26:58. ἀπὸ μακρόθεν, afar off) With doubtful mind and the sense of danger midway between the spirit, displayed in Matthew 26:51, and the fear evinced in Matthew 26:70.— ἐκαθήτο, κ. τ. λ., sat, etc.) An unseasonable fellowship.(1158)

Verse 59

Matthew 26:59. ἐζήτουν, sought) Upon this arose that host of false witnesses. No greater act of injustice was ever committed than that against our Lord: in respect of God, however, it was the highest exercise of justice.(1159)

Verse 61

Matthew 26:61. δύναμαι καταλῦσαι, κ. τ. λ., I am able to destroy, etc.) He had not said so. False evidence seizes upon some true particulars; and a great calumny may frequently be produced by no great change of words. They distort the expression used by our Lord three years before, and now unconsciously subserve to its fulfilment.

Verse 62

Matthew 26:62. τί, κ. τ. λ., what etc.?) A separate interrogation.

Verse 63

Matthew 26:63. υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, the Son of God) Caiaphas, in common with the rest of his nation, did not entertain a merely political idea of the promised Messiah.

Verse 64

Matthew 26:64. σὺ εἶπας, Thou hast said) “With regard to the question of Caiaphas, our Lord declares that He is the Christ, as though it were affirmed in the words of the interrogator. Nor is this form of speech uncommon in ordinary Greek discourse. In the Hyppolytus of Euripides, we find, σοῦ τάδʼ οὐκ ἐμοῦ κλύεις,(1160) Thou hearest those things from thyself, not from me. And in the third book of Xenophon’s Memorabilia, αὐτὸς, ἔφη, τοῦτο λέγεις, σώκρατες, Thou thyself, said he, sayest this, O Socrates,”—CAMERARIUS.— πλὴν, nevertheless) although ye do not believe it.— πλὴν as well as ἀλλὰ is frequently used epitatically.(1161)ἀπʼ ἄρτι, κ. τ. λ., From this time forward, etc.(1162)) From this time forward, it shall come to pass that ye shall see and know, by visible proofs, that I am HE who shall sit on the right hand of power, and come in the clouds of heaven. A pregnant mode of expression (sermo complexus). Henceforward YE SHALL SEE me sitting and COMING.(1163) The return to judgment is combined with the sitting on the right hand: and after the Lord’s Passion they believed (see John 8:28), that which hereafter they shall see. They did not believe in the past; therefore Jesus (as He frequently did) appeals to the future. In the glory of Jesus this is the first thing, that He is the Son of God: that He will come to judgment is the last. The former is the foundation of the latter; the latter the most glorious proof of the former. In the most adverse circumstances, it always especially consoles the sons of God to contemplate the consummation of all things: cf. Gnomon on 2 Corinthians 11:15.— τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, the Son of Man) He speaks in the third person, modestly but openly.— καθήμενον, sitting) Jesus was then standing. On His ascension, He sat down at the right hand of God.— ἐκ δεξιῶν, κ. τ. λ., on the right hand, etc.) A manifestation of the deity of Christ.— δεξιῶν, the rigid hand) The neuter plural, τὰ δεξιὰ, is used in this sense.— τῆς δυνά΄εως, of power) that is of God. The Hebrews often call God הגבורה [Power]. Power is manifested most widely and openly in all the works of God.

Verse 65

Matthew 26:65. διέῤῥηξε, rent) as if his garments were too tight for the intensity of his feelings. That old custom had some suitableness to the emotions which it indicated.— χρείαν, need) They had the greatest need, because the innocence of Jesus was undisproved.

Verse 66

Matthew 26:66. τί ὑμῖν δοκεῖ, what think ye?) He treats the matter as already finished. Moses says, “Let the blasphemer die;” Caiaphas says, “Jesus is a blasphemer;” his assessors, from these premises, draw the conclusion, “Let Jesus die.” St Mark has (ch. Mark 14:64) τί ὑμῖν φαίνεται, how does it seem to you?θανατου, of death) Such is also their declaration to Pilate. See John 19:7.

Verse 67

Matthew 26:67. τότε, κ. τ. λ., then, etc.) As if no outrage would now be unjust towards Him. The elders insult Him with greater subtlety, the multitude more grossly. He who assails the honour of God, deserves every contumely. Such an one they considered Jesus to be.— ἐκολάφισαν, they struck Him) with the fist, with the hand.— ἐῤῥάπισαν, they smote Him) with rods, for the attendants carried these. See Mark 14:65. Chrysostom observes, οὐδὲν ταύτης τῆς πληγῆς ἀτιμότερον, nothing is more disgraceful than this blow.

Verse 68

Matthew 26:68. λέγοντες, saying) most insolently.— τίς, κ. τ. λ., who, etc.?) You will hereafter each of you see Whom you have smitten.

Verse 69

Matthew 26:69. ΄ία παιδίσκη, one maid-servant) The temptation was not great, if you consider only the interrogatrix; far greater, if you consider all who were present. [She feared lest it might bring her into trouble, if she were to admit any one of our Lord’s followers, and on this ground she took Peter to task; the others took up the matter after her. None of them appear to have intended to bring Peter into danger. Careless worldlings frequently produce greater harm or advantage to the saints than they suppose or intend—B. G. V.]— ἦσθα, for the ordinary ἦς, thou wast. Thus also the LXX. in Psalms 9:14.

Verse 70

Matthew 26:70. λέγων, saying) In how few words how great a sin may be committed! See ch. Matthew 12:24, and the close of Acts 5:8.

Verse 71

Matthew 26:71. ἐξελθόντα, as he was going forth) The flying from temptation, when it is too late, involves fresh danger.— ἄλλη, another) sc. maid-servant; and simultaneously the former, who instigated this other, and also a male attendant. See Mark 14:69, and Luke 22:58. The denial, made under one impulse, to the questions of more than one interrogator, is considered as one: and yet he is said to have denied thrice:(1164) [how often, therefore, must he have uttered the denial!]— ἰησοῦ τοῦ ναζωραίου, Jesus the Nazarene) the surname Nazarene is added to distinguish Him from the many others who bore the name at that time. The Son of God bore a name common amongst men.

Verse 72

Matthew 26:72. ΄εθʼ ὅρκου, with an oath) Oaths do not seem to have been inconsistent with Peter’s former habits.— τὸν ἄνθρωπον, the man) as if Peter did not even know the name of Jesus.

Verse 73

Matthew 26:73. εἶ, thou art) The present tense. The temptation increases. Previously they had said ἦσθα, thou wast, Matthew 26:69, in the imperfect.— λαλία, speech) i.e., manner of speaking, dialect. If Peter had remained silent, he would have been in less danger of discovery: by denying, which involved speaking, he increased the danger. Those men had, however, stronger proofs by which to convict Peter (see Matthew 26:47; Matthew 26:51); but the world generally employs the weakest arguments of all against the godly, especially in cases of misdirected zeal. Even as far back as the days of the Judges, tribes had peculiar dialects.(1165)

Verse 74

Matthew 26:74. ἤρξατο, κ. τ. λ., he began, etc.) Hitherto He had not gone so far: now he altogether lost command of himself.— καταθεματίζειν,(1166) to curse) others read καταναθεματίζειν:(1167) that double compound, however, is nowhere to be met with: whereas Irenaeus (Book I., ch. 13, § 2) has καταθεματίσαντες [the participle first aorist active of καταθεματίζω]. Justin Martyr also says, “ κατάθεμα τὸ συνθέσθαι τοῖς ἀναθεματίζουσι,” “it is a cursed thing to be joined with them that curse.” And again he joins together ἀναθεματισμὸς [an universally recognised word] and καταθεματισμὸς [a derivative of καταθεματίζω]. Œcumenius, on Acts 23:12, says, “ κατʼ ἐπίτασιν εἴρηται τὸ ἀνάθεμα ὡς καὶ τὸ κατάθεμα· συγκατατίθεται γὰρ τῷ ὄντι τῷ ἐναντίῳ καὶ συγκαταδικάζεται,” i.e., “The word ἀνάθεμα is used with an intensive force, as also the word κατάθεμα [from which καταθεματίζω is derived]: for it is placed together with that which is opposed, and is condemned together with it.” The word κατάθεμα is always taken in an evil sense as in Revelation 22:3; whereas ἀνάθεμα is also used in a good sense.— τὸν ἄνθρωπον, the man) compare however ch. Matthew 16:16.— εὐθέως, immediately) An important circumstance (magna circumstantia).— ἐφώνησε, crowed) Sins committed in the early morning are heinous.

καταθεματίζειν is supported by the oldest uncial MSS. ABCD Vulg. has ‘detestari;’ abc, “devotare se;” which latter probably is the rendering of καταναθεματίζειν of the Rec. Text, as this word expresses more strongly than καταθεματίζειν, extremis diris aliquem devovere; “to make himself anathema.”—ED.

Verse 75

Matthew 26:75. καὶ, and) then at last. Unbelief, fear, sorrow, bind even the natural faculties, which the joy of faith revives. See Luke 24:7-8.(1168)εἰρηκότος, which said) A participle of mighty force.— πικρῶς, bitterly) Tears are bitter or sweet, according to the emotion from which they spring. Even if Peter’s weeping was not of long duration, his grief was so undoubtedly: see Mark 16:7. [All his former presumption ceased then and for ever.—B. G. V.] The tears of the godly, even of men, who do not easily weep from any other cause, furnish a great proof of the power, and consequently the truth, of Christianity.


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Matthew 26:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, October 29th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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