|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
27:62-66 On the Jewish sabbath, the chief priests and Pharisees, when they should have been at their devotions, were dealing with Pilate about securing the sepulchre. This was permitted that there might be certain proof of our Lord's resurrection. Pilate told them that they might secure the sepulchre as carefully as they could. They sealed the stone, and set a guard, and were satisfied that all needful care was taken. But to guard the sepulchre against the poor weak disciples was folly, because needless; while to think to guard it against the power of God, was folly, because fruitless, and to no purpose; yet they thought they dealt wisely. But the Lord took the wise in their own craftiness. Thus shall all the rage and the plans of Christ's enemies be made to promote his glory.
Verse 66. - So they (οἱ δὲ, and they) went. They left the procurator's presence, relieved at having gained their request and precluded all fear of collusion. Sealing the stone, and setting a watch (μετὰ τῆς κουστωδίας, with the watch; cum custodibus). The last words are variously rendered. Thus: "scaled the stone by means of the watch" (Alford); "scaling the stone, the guard being with them" (Revised Version); "as well as having the watch" (Webster and Wilkinson); "in concert with the guard" (Morison). This last expositor has best seized the complex notion contained in the evangelist's language: "They made the sepulchre sure by sealing the stone in concert with the guard (and thereafter leaving the guard to keep watch)." The stone was sealed probably in this manner: a cord was passed round the stone that closed the mouth of the sepulchre to the two sides of the entrance; this was scaled with wax or prepared clay in the centre and at the ends, so that the stone could not be removed without breaking the seals or the cord (comp. Daniel 6:17). Thus carefully did Christ's enemies obviate the possibility of any fraud or collusion; thus did they themselves prove unanswerably the truth and reality of the resurrection of that same Jesus whoso dead body they so carefully guarded. "Everywhere deceit recoils upon itself, and. against its will supports the truth. It was necessary for it to be believed that he died, and that he rose again, and that he was buried, and all these things are brought to pass by his enemies .... The proof of his resurrection has become incontrovertible by what ye [his enemies] have put forward. For because it was sealed, there was no unfair dealing. But if there was no unfair dealing, and the sepulchre was found empty, it is manifest that he is risen, plainly and incontrovertibly. Seest thou how even against their will they contend for the proof of the truth?" (St. Chrysostom, in loc.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
So they went,.... From Pilate's palace, to the garden of Joseph, and to the sepulchre there; which whether more than a sabbath day's journey, or two thousand cubits, may be inquired; and if so, then they broke one of their own traditions, which allowed a person to go no further on a sabbath day; See Gill on Acts 1:12.
And made the sepulchre sure; in the following manner,
sealing the stone; that was rolled to the door of it, it may be with some public seal, with Pilate's, or with the sanhedrim's; as the stone at the mouth of the lions' den, in which Daniel was put, was sealed with the king's signet, and with the signet of his lords, Daniel 6:17, that there might be no change of the sentence upon him, and by which it appeared, that his deliverance was by no human assistance: so the stone at Christ's sepulchre was sealed, that it could not be removed without breaking it; which would show, whether any fraudulent methods were taken to remove the body:
and setting a watch; a guard of soldiers, to observe and prevent any person coming near it; or "with the watch": they made sure the sepulchre with the watch; or sealed the stone, the watch being present; all which was overruled by the providence of God, for the greater confirmation of the truth of Christ's resurrection: by the methods taken, it clearly appears, there could be no fraud in the case; the body was laid in a tomb, where no corpse had ever been before; in a tomb hewed out of a rock, to which there was no access, but at the door; where a great stone was rolled; and this had a seal upon it, and a guard of soldiers about it; and hereby there were more witnesses of Christ's resurrection, than otherwise would have been; as the soldiers, though they were afterwards bribed to tell another story; and even the chief priests and Pharisees were convicted that he was risen, or they would never have taken such a method with the soldiers, as they did.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
66. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone—which Mark (Mr 16:4) says was "very great."
and setting a watch—to guard it. What more could man do? But while they are trying to prevent the resurrection of the Prince of Life, God makes use of their precautions for His own ends. Their stone-covered, seal-secured sepulchre shall preserve the sleeping dust of the Son of God free from all indignities, in undisturbed, sublime repose; while their watch shall be His guard of honor until the angels shall come to take their place.
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