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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Matthew 27

 

 

Verse 1-2

Matthew 27:1 f. Jesus Brought to Pilate (Mark 15:1*).

Matthew 27:1. took counsel: or "made up their minds"—the actual sentence lay outside their power.


Verses 3-10

Matthew 27:3-10. The Death of Judas.—Mt. only, but for a variant account see Acts 1:18 f. This section breaks the narrative, and its historicity is not beyond question. The evangelist has in mind Zechariah 11:12 f.*, which he curiously attributes to Jeremiah, influenced perhaps by Jeremiah 32:6-15; Jeremiah 18:2. There was in Jerusalem a cemetery for strangers, or more likely for criminals, known as the "field of blood" (possibly before it was so used it had been called "the potter's field"), and the story here given is the Christian explanation of the name.

Matthew 27:5. treasury: cf. mg. of Zechariah 11:13. The difference in Heb. is between tsr' and ytsr.

Matthew 27:6. Cf. Deuteronomy 23:18.

Matthew 27:9 f. "The story has influenced the text just as the original text influenced and modelled the story."

Matthew 27:10. they gave: read "I gave" (mg.).


Verses 11-26

Matthew 27:11-26. Jesus before Pilate (Mark 15:1-15*, Luke 23:1-3; Luke 23:18-27).—Mt. follows Mk. closely, but has an additional source of information on which he draws for Pilate's wife's dream and Pilate's handwashing. This source may also be the origin of the reading "Jesus Barabbas" (Matthew 27:16, Syr. Sin. and Origen), a reading which gives point to Pilate's question in Matthew 27:17 (Jesus Barabbas or Jesus "Messiah"?). Such a name would be quite natural. In place of Mk.'s information about Barabbas, Mt. simply says he was "a notable prisoner"; he also makes Pilate anticipate the demand for a release.—Jesus who is called Christ (Matthew 27:17; Matthew 27:22) is a phrase which would be more natural on the lips of an early Christian than on Pilate's. The whole narrative intensifies the guilt of the Jews; there is little doubt that Matthew 27:25 has been largely responsible for the malignity with which "Christian" communities and individuals long pursued Jews.


Verses 27-31

Matthew 27:27-31. The Soldiers Mock Jesus (Mark 15:16-20*, which Mt. rearranges and slightly expands).—Lk. (Luke 23:11) makes something of the kind happen at Herod's house, but there is some doubt about the text.


Verses 32-44

Matthew 27:32-44. The Crucifixion (Mark 15:21-32*, Luke 23:26-43).—Mt. still follows Mk. clearly, the chief alterations being (a) "gall" (Matthew 27:34) for "myrrh" (this is due to Psalms 69:21, and turns a kindly act into a cruel one); (b) Matthew 27:36; (c) the addition of "if thou art the SOD of God" (Matthew 27:40); (d) Matthew 27:43, from Psalms 22:8 and Wisdom of Solomon 2:18.


Verses 45-56

Matthew 27:45-56. The Death of Jesus (Mark 15:33-41*, Luke 23:44-49).

Matthew 27:48 f. is to be preferred to Mark 15:36. vv. Matthew 27:51-53 is found only in Mt., and may have as its basis Ezekiel 37:12.—after his resurrection: a still later insertion to fit the statement that Christ was "the first fruits of them that sleep." We can hardly suppose that the original account of the miracle represented them as staying alive in their tombs from Friday afternoon till Sunday morning. The phrase "the holy city" (cf. Matthew 4:5) is picturesque. By "the saints" the writer probably meant devout Jews of the type of Simeon (Luke 2), or even patriarchs, prophets, and martyrs. According to Mt. not only the centurion but his comrades were impressed—but by the earthquake.


Verses 57-61

Matthew 27:57-61. The Burial of Jesus (Mark 15:42-47*, Luke 23:50-56).—Mt. is the briefest of the three; he omits Pilate's inquiry of the centurion (which Mk. gives) and the description of Joseph (Mk., Lk.). He simply calls him "a rich man, Jesus' disciple." Perhaps he thought that by calling him "a councilor" he might be grouping him with those who condemned Jesus; "a rich man" may be a reminiscence of Isaiah 53:9.


Verses 62-66

Matthew 27:62-66. The Guarding of the Tomb (Mt. only).—The story arose as a reply to Jews who averred that the disciples had removed the body of Jesus, itself a reply to the disciples' assertion of the empty grave (cf. Matthew 28:11-15). It is a relic of controversy "in which each side imputed unworthy motives to the other and stated suggestions as established facts."—the day after the preparation (Matthew 6:2) is a curious paraphrase for "the Sabbath."

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Matthew 27:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/matthew-27.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, September 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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