|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
19:1-18 Little did Pilate think with what holy regard these sufferings of Christ would, in after-ages, be thought upon and spoken of by the best and greatest of men. Our Lord Jesus came forth, willing to be exposed to their scorn. It is good for every one with faith, to behold Christ Jesus in his sufferings. Behold him, and love him; be still looking unto Jesus. Did their hatred sharpen their endeavours against him? and shall not our love for him quicken our endeavours for him and his kingdom? Pilate seems to have thought that Jesus might be some person above the common order. Even natural conscience makes men afraid of being found fighting against God. As our Lord suffered for the sins both of Jews and Gentiles, it was a special part of the counsel of Divine Wisdom, that the Jews should first purpose his death, and the Gentiles carry that purpose into effect. Had not Christ been thus rejected of men, we had been for ever rejected of God. Now was the Son of man delivered into the hands of wicked and unreasonable men. He was led forth for us, that we might escape. He was nailed to the cross, as a Sacrifice bound to the altar. The Scripture was fulfilled; he did not die at the altar among the sacrifices, but among criminals sacrificed to public justice. And now let us pause, and with faith look upon Jesus. Was ever sorrow like unto his sorrow? See him bleeding, see him dying, see him and love him! love him, and live to him!
Verse 14. - Now it was the preparation of the Passover. Once more the question of the discrepancy between the Johannine and synoptic implication of the day of our Lord's death reappears. This statement is claimed eagerly by both classes of critics. Hengstenberg, M'Clellan, Lange, Schaff, etc., all urge that the word "preparation" is simply the "Friday" before the sabbath - "the eve of the sabbath," and that τοῦ Πάσχα is added in the broad Johannine sense of the entire Paschal festival, and means the "Friday" of the Passover week, and that thus John only confirms the synoptic narrative that the Passover had been sacrificed on the previous evening. To this it is replied, by Meyer, Godet, Westcott, Farrar, etc., that this use of παρασκευή belongs to a much later period, and here it is used in the sense of the "preparation" for the Paschal meal, without interfering with the fact afterwards mentioned, that it was the pro-sabbaton, the day before the sabbath; the first day of unleavened bread coinciding with the ordinary weekly sabbath. The τοῦ πάσχα here would have no meaning for a reader, who had not learned this technical and later patristic usage. Why should not John, on that understanding, have simply used the word in the sense which the synoptists give to it, as equivalent to the προσάββατον? [There is another difficulty in the former interpretation: if our Lord was crucified on the first day of unleavened bread and after the Paschal meal, there would be a second preparation of the Passover on that day week, so that John could not have spoken of it with the precision which he used (see notes on John 13:1; 18:28).] The balance of argument, so far as John is concerned, is in favor of the Passover meat being still in prospect, and the statement is made to call attention to the fact that, as St. Paul said, "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us." Thus doubtless the blindness of the Jews is aggravated, and the typical and symbolic meaning of the correspondence between the ritual and its antitype emphasized. Another serious perplexity occurs. It was about the sixth hour. This is in manifest opposition with Mark's statement (Mark 15:25) that the Crucifixion took place at the third hour, and with all three of the synoptists, that the supernatural darkness overspread Jerusalem from the sixth to the ninth hour. This is represented as taking place after our Lord had been hanging for some time upon the cross. Some relief to this great difficulty of horology is found in the slight modification of the text from ὥρα δὲ ὡσεὶ ἕκτη of T.R. to ὥρα η΅ν ὥς ἕκτη, which may suffer the reading of Lange ("es war gegen die"), "it was going on towards the sixth hour" - the third hour, 9 a.m., was passed, and it was moving on to midday. Westcott, in an elaborate note on John's measurement of time, endeavors to prove that he always uses the Roman system of measure from midnight to midday, instead of the Oriental method of measurement from sunrise to sunset, and that he meant by the sixth hour 6 a.m., not 12 midday. But if this is possible, the perplexity is rather increased than diminished. It is difficult to imagine that this stage of the proceedings could have been reached by six o'clock a.m., and that three hours still followed before the Lord was crucified. M'Clellan hotly espouses this interpretation, and, against Farrar, maintains that the Romans did adopt this computation, by quotations from Censorinus ('De Die Nat.,' 23.), Pithy ('Nat. Hist.,' 2:77), Aulus Gellius, and Maerobius; and he reminds his readers that John wrote in Ephesus, and proves that there was an Asiatic computation of time which corresponded with the Roman, and that there is abundant time before 6 a.m. for all that is needed to have taken place. This is the interpretation of Townson ('Discourses on the Four Gospels'), and it is espoused by Cresswell, Wieseler, Ewald, Westcott, Moulton. Coder, however, gives strong proof, on John 1:39, that the Greeks of Asia Minor were familiar with the Jewish reckoning from sunrise to sunset (see notes on John 1:39; 4:6; 11:9). Eusebius supposed an alteration of the text of John, converting Γ = 3 into ς = 6. It is strange that no manuscripts have revealed the fact, though the third correcter of א and the supplement to D suggest this early solution of the difficulty. Eusebius was followed by Ammonius and Severus of Antioch. Beza, Bengel, and Alford with hesitation accept this conclusion. Luthardt, Farrar, and Schaff seem inclined to think that this may be the explanation, unless the ὡς be used with great latitude of meaning, and that what is really intended was that it was moving on to midday. The nine o'clock had been passed. Luthardt is dissatisfied with every explanation, not simply because it is inconsistent with the synoptic narrative, but because it is incompatible with John's own reckoning. Hengstenberg thought that the division of the day into four periods of three hours each is far older than either the Talmud or Maimonides (cf. Mark 13:35; Luke 12:38; Matthew 20:3, 4), and that the synoptic narrative reckoned by the terminus a quo, which, taken literally, would be too early for the act of crucifixion, and that John's reckoning points to the terminus ad quem, which, taken literally, would be too late. M'Clellan thinks this "outrageous!" though Andrewes, Lewin, Ellicott, and Lange practically adopt it. Augustine says, "At the third hour (Mark) he was crucified by the tongues of the Jews, at the sixth hour (John) by the hands of the soldiers." Da Costa suggested that the sixth hour was reckoned backward from 3 p.m., the commencement of the preparation. Mark, by using the aorist, cannot have intended to convey that the whole process of crucifixion, commencing with the scourging, including the procession to Golgotha, and the last scene of all, was included in the verb. (Hesychius argued this view at length, saying that Mark refers to the verdict of Pilate, and John to the nailing to the cross.) At the hour, thus indicated by a term which cannot be finally interpreted, Pilate, trembling with rage and impotent fury, endeavored to fling at the head of the haughty priesthood another maddening taunt, and yet with a flash of inward conviction which, after all, staggered him: he pointed once more to the sublime Sufferer, bleeding from his wounds and crowned with thorns, having every mark upon him of their insulting cruelty and insensate hate, wearing the mock and cruel habiliments of royalty, and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! There is the King whom you have crowned, and whose claim lies altogether beyond your ken. Wavering between the favor of Tiberius and the claims of justice, remembering that Sejanus, to whom he had personally owed his own appointment, had already been a victim to the jealousy of their common master, he yet cannot suppress the bitter taunt involved in Ἴδε ὁ Βασιλεὺς ὑμῶν
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And it was the preparation of the passover,.... So the Jews (x) say, that Jesus suffered on the eve of the passover; and the author of the blasphemous account of his life says (y), it was the eve both of the passover and the sabbath; which account so far agrees with the evangelic history; but then this preparation of the passover was not of the passover lamb, for that had been prepared and eaten the night before. Nor do I find that there was any particular day which was called "the preparation of the passover" in such sense, and much less that this day was the day before the eating of the passover. According to the law in Exodus 12:3 the lamb for the passover was to be separated from the rest of the flock on the tenth day of the month, and to be kept up till the fourteenth; but this is never called the preparation of the passover; and was it so called, it cannot be intended here; the preparing and making ready the passover the evangelists speak of, were on the same day it was eaten, and design the getting ready a place to eat it in, and things convenient for that purpose, and the killing the lamb, and dressing it, and the like, Matthew 26:17 there is what the Jews call , which was a space of fifteen days before the passover, and began at the middle of the thirty days before the feast, in which they used to ask questions, and explain the traditions concerning the passover (z): but this is never called the preparation of the passover: and on the night of the fourteenth month they sought diligently, in every hole and corner of their houses, for leavened bread, in order to remove it (a); but this also never went by any such name: wherefore, if any respect is had to the preparation for the passover, it must either design the preparation of the "Chagigah", which was a grand festival, commonly kept on the fifteenth day, and which was sometimes called the passover; or else the preparation for the whole feast all the remaining days of it; See Gill on John 18:28 but it seems best of all to understand it only of the preparation for the sabbath, which, because it was in the passover week, is called the passover preparation day: and it may be observed, that it is sometimes only called "the day of the preparation", and "the preparation", Matthew 27:62 and sometimes the "Jews' preparation day", John 19:42 and it is explained by the Evangelist Mark 15:42. "It was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath"; on which they both prepared themselves for the sabbath, and food to eat on that day; and this being the time of the passover likewise, the preparation was the greater: and therefore to distinguish this preparation day for the sabbath, from others, it is called the passover preparation; nor have I observed that any other day is called the preparation but that before the sabbath: the Jews dispute about preparing food for the sabbath on a feast day, as this was; they seem to forbid it, but afterwards soften their words, and allow it with some provisos: their canon runs thus (b);
"a feast day which falls on the eve of the sabbath, a man may not boil (anything) at the beginning of the feast day for the sabbath; but he may boil for the feast day; and if there is any left, it may be left for the sabbath; and he may make a boiling on the eve of a feast day, and depend on it for the sabbath: the house of Shamtoni say two boilings; and the house of Hillell say one boiling.''
Bartenora on the passage observes, that some say the reason of this boiling on the evening of a feast day, is for the honour of the sabbath; for because from the evening of the feast day, the sabbath is remembered, that which is best is chosen for the sabbath, that the sabbath may not be forgotten through the business of the feast day. The account Maimonides (c) gives of this matter is,
"on a common day they "prepare" for the sabbath, and on a common day they prepare for a feast day; but they do not prepare on a feast day for the sabbath, nor is the sabbath, "a preparation" for a feast day.''
This seems to be contrary to the practice of the Jews in the time of Christ, as related by the evangelists, understanding by the preparation they speak of, a preparation of food for the sabbath; but what he afterwards says (d) makes some allowance for it:
"a feast day, which happens to be on the eve of the sabbath, (Friday,) they neither bake nor boil, on a feast day what is eaten on the morrow, on the sabbath; and this prohibition is from the words of the Scribes, (not from the word of God,) that a man should not boil any thing on a feast day for a common day, and much less for the sabbath; but if he makes a boiling (or prepares food) on the evening of a feast day on which he depends and boils and bakes on a feast day for the sabbath, lo, this is lawful; and that on which he depends is called the mingling of food.''
And this food, so called, was a small portion of food prepared on a feast for the sabbath, though not less than the quantity of an olive, whether for one man or a thousand (e); by virtue of which, they depending on it for the sabbath, they might prepare whatever they would, after having asked a blessing over it, and saying (f),
"by this mixture it is free for me to bake and boil on a feast day what is for the morrow, the sabbath; and if a man prepares for others, he must say for me, and for such an one, and such an one; or for the men of the city, and then all of them may bake and boil on a feast day for the sabbath.''
And about the sixth hour; to which agrees the account in Matthew 27:45, Luke 23:44 but Mark 15:25 says that "it was the third hour, and they crucified him"; and Beza says, he found it so written in one copy; and so read Peter of Alexandria, Beza's ancient copy, and some others, and Nonnus: but the copies in general agree in, and confirm the common reading, and which is differently accounted for; some by the different computations of the Jews and Romans; others by observing that the day was divided into four parts, each part containing three hours, and were called the third, the sixth, the ninth, and the twelfth hours; and not only that time, when one of these hours came, was called by that name, but also from that all the space of the three hours, till the next came, was called by the name of the former: for instance, all the space from nine o'clock till twelve was called "the third hour"; and all from twelve till three in the afternoon "the sixth hour": hence the time of Christ's crucifixion being supposed to be somewhat before, but yet near our twelve of the clock, it may be truly here said that it was about the sixth hour; and as truly by Mark the third hour; that space, which was called by the name of the third hour, being not yet passed, though it drew toward an end. This way go Godwin and Hammond, whose words I have expressed, and bids fair for the true solution of the difficulty: though it should be observed, that Mark agrees with the other evangelists about the darkness which was at the sixth hour, the time of Christ's crucifixion, Mark 15:33 and it is to be remarked, that he does not say that it was the third hour "when" they crucified him, or that they crucified him at the third hour; but it was the third hour, "and" they crucified him, as Dr. Lightfoot observes. It was the time of day when they should have been at the daily sacrifice, and preparing for the solemnity of that day particularly, which was their Chagigah, or grand feast; but instead of this they were prosecuting his crucifixion, which they brought about by the sixth hour. And about this time Pilate said, and did the following things:
and he saith unto the Jews, behold your king; whom some of your people, it seems, have owned for their king, and you charge as setting up himself as one; see what a figure he makes; does he look like a king? this he said, in order to move upon their affections, that, if possible, they might agree to release him, and to shame them out of putting such a poor despicable creature to death; and as upbraiding them for their folly, in fearing anything from so mean and contemptible a man.
(x) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 43. 1. & 67. 1.((y) Toldos Jesu, p. 18. (z) Misn. Shekalim, c. 3. sect. 1. & Bartenora in ib. T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 6. 1.((a) Misn. Pesachim, c. 1. sect. 1, 2, 3.((b) Misn. Betza, c. 2. sect. 1.((c) Hilchot Yom Tob. c. 1. sect. 19. (d) Ib. c. 6. sect. 1.((e) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Betza, c. 2. sect. 1.((f) Maimon. Hilchot Yom Tob, c. 6. sect. 8.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. It was the preparation—that is, the day before the Jewish sabbath.
and about the sixth hour—The true reading here is probably, "the third hour"—or nine A.M.—which agrees best with the whole series of events, as well as with the other Evangelists.
he saith to the Jews, Behold your King!—Having now made up his mind to yield to them, he takes a sort of quiet revenge on them by this irony, which he knew would sting them. This only reawakens their cry to despatch Him.
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