|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
22:1-6 Christ knew all men, and had wise and holy ends in taking Judas to be a disciple. How he who knew Christ so well, came to betray him, we are here told; Satan entered into Judas. It is hard to say whether more mischief is done to Christ's kingdom, by the power of its open enemies, or by the treachery of its pretended friends; but without the latter, its enemies could not do so much evil as they do.
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And he went his way,.... From Christ, and the rest of the apostles, out of Bethany; and when it was night, about two miles from Jerusalem, whither he went directly:
and communed with the chief priests and captains; that is, of the temple, as in Luke 22:52 and so the Persic version reads, "the militia of the temple"; and the Syriac version renders it, "the captains of the militia of the temple"; instead of captains, the Ethiopic version, reads "Scribes", and so does the Arabic, and which, adds, "and the soldiers"; but these captains were not Roman officers, or soldiers, but ecclesiastical persons, who presided in the temple, and were heads and governors, over bodies of men employed there, of which sort were the following (i):
"there were fifteen, presidents, or governors in the sanctuary, and so they were appointed for ever over each of these fifteen things, one governor; and they are these: one was over the times, or solemn seasons; the second, over the shutting of the gates: the third, over those that kept watch; the fourth, over the singers; the fifth, over the cymbal, with the rest of the singing instruments; the sixth, over the lots; the seventh over the nests (of doves); the eighth, over the seals, or tickets; the ninth, over the drink offerings; the tenth, over the sick (priests); the eleventh, over the waters; the twelfth, over the business of the shewbread; the thirteenth, over the business of the incense; the fourteenth, over the business of the vail; and the fifteenth, over the business of the priests' garments; and every one of these governors had under him "abundance of men", that so they might prepare the business they presided over.''
These seem rather to be meant, than the watch in the temple; which, though kept in several places, there was but one single person that presided over it; as appears from the above account, and from what follows; and who was called the man of the mountain of the house, or the governor of the temple (k):
"in three places the priests kept watch in the sanctuary, in the house of Abtines, and in the house of Nitzotz, and in the house of Moked, and the Levites in twenty and one places--the man of the mountain of the house, went round every ward with torches burning before him, and every one that was not standing, he said unto him, peace be on thee; and if he found he was asleep, he struck him with his staff, and had power to burn his garments.''
Whence it does not appear to me, that there were heads or captains over every ward, as Dr. Lightfoot suggests, but one over them all; perhaps these captains may be the same with the governors of the temple, as in 1:Esdras:
And Helkias, Zacharias, and Syelus, the governors of the temple, gave to the priests for the passover two thousand and six hundred sheep, and three hundred calves. (1 Esdras 1:8)
Did very carefully oversee the holy works, assisting the ancients of the Jews and governors of the temple. (1 Esdras 7:2)
But be these who they will, Judas it seems was informed where, and upon what they were met together, and he went to them, and conversed with them:
how he might betray him unto them; in the most secret manner, and with, the least noise and disturbance.
(i) Maimon. Hilch. Cele Hamikdash, c. 7. sect. 1, 2. Misu. Shekalim, c. 5. sect. 1, 2.((k) Misn. Middot, c. 1. sect. 1, 2.
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