|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
23:50-56 Many, though they do not make any show in outward profession, yet, like Joseph of Arimathea, will be far more ready to do real service, when there is occasion, than others who make a greater noise. Christ was buried in haste, because the sabbath drew on. Weeping must not hinder sowing. Though they were in tears for the death of their Lord, yet they must prepare to keep holy the sabbath. When the sabbath draws on, there must be preparation. Our worldly affairs must be so ordered, that they may not hinder us from our sabbath work; and our holy affections so stirred up, that they may carry us on in it. In whatever business we engage, or however our hearts may be affected, let us never fail to get ready for, and to keep holy, the day of sacred rest, which is the Lord's day.
Verse 54. - And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. It was the preparation for the sabbath, but more especially for the great Passover Feast. St. John, for this reason, calls the coming sabbath "a high day." Drew on; literally began to dawn; although the sabbath began at sunset, the whole time of darkness was regarded as anticipatory of the dawn. The evening of Friday was sometimes even called "the daybreak."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And that day was the preparation,.... Both for the sabbath, and for the "Chagigah", or grand festival, which they kept on the fifteenth day of the month, in a very pompous manner; so that the day following was an high day;
and the sabbath drew on, or "shone out"; which is so said, though it was evening, on account of the lights, which were every where, in every house, lighted up at this time, and which they were, by their traditions, obliged to: for so run their canons (c);
"three things a man is obliged to say in the midst of his house on the evening of the sabbath, when it is near dark, have ye tithed? have ye mixed? (i.e. the borders of the sabbath, the courts and food) , "light the lamp".''
This was what could by no means be dispensed with; for so they say (d),
"the lighting of the lamp on the sabbath is not in a man's power, (or at his liberty,) if he pleases he may light, and if not, he may not light.----But it is what he is obliged to, and every man and woman are bound to have in their houses a lamp lighted up on the sabbath; and though he has nothing to eat, he must beg, and get oil, and light a lamp; for this is included in the delight of the sabbath.----And he that lights, ought to light within the day, before the setting of the sun.''
So that when these lamps were every where lighting, before the sun was set, and the sabbath properly come, it might be said to draw on, or to be shining forth. Besides, it was usual to call the evening of any day by the name of "light": thus it is said (e),
, on the light (i.e. the night) of the fourteenth (of the month "Nisan"), they search for leaven, &c.''
So that the evangelist might, very agreeably to the way of speaking with the Jews, say, that the sabbath was enlightening, or growing light, though the evening was coming on.
(c) Misn. Sabbat, c. 2. sect. 7. (d) Maimon. Hilch. Sabbat, c. 5. sect. 1, 3.((e) Misn. Pesachim, c. 1. sect. 1.
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