|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
28:11-15 What wickedness is it which men will not be brought to by the love of money! Here was large money given to the soldiers for advancing that which they knew to be a lie, yet many grudge a little money for advancing what they know to be the truth. Let us never starve a good cause, when we see bad ones so liberally supported. The priests undertook to secure them from the sword of Pilate, but could not secure these soldiers from the sword of God's justice, which hangs over the heads of those that love and make a lie. Those men promise more than they can perform, who undertake to save a man harmless in doing a wilful sin. But this falsehood disproved itself. Had the soldiers been all asleep, they could not have known what passed. If any had been awake, they would have roused the others and prevented the removal; and certainly if they had been asleep, they never would have dared to confess it; while the Jewish rulers would have been the first to call for their punishment. Again, had there been any truth in the report, the rulers would have prosecuted the apostles with severity for it. The whole shows that the story was entirely false. And we must not charge such things to the weakness of the understanding, but to the wickedness of the heart. God left them to expose their own course. The great argument to prove Christ to be the Son of God, is his resurrection; and none could have more convincing proofs of the truth of that than these soldiers; yet they took bribes to hinder others from believing. The plainest evidence will not affect men, without the work of the Holy Spirit.
Verse 14. - And if this come to the governor's ears; if this be heard before the governor; i.e. if the matter be brought officially before the procurator. For a Roman soldier to sleep on his post was to incur the penalty of death. Pilate would not be likely to hear of what had taken place, as vulgar rumours were not encouraged by his stern and unsympathizing attitude towards the Jewish people, but it was just possible that some officious person might bring the report before him, and ask him to take measures to ascertain the truth, and, if necessary, to punish the delinquents. We (ἡμεῖς, emphatic) will persuade him. Such persuasion usually took the form of bribery, Roman officials being notoriously venal (comp. Acts 24:26); but perhaps the rulers intended to make him believe that the story was not true, but merely a ruse to keep the populace quiet. The soldiers must have fully believed in the Sanhedrists' assertion, or they would never have imperilled their lives by promulgating such a condemnatory tale. Secure you; rid you of care. They promise the guard indemnity and freedom from all penal consequences. Pilate, however, later learned the great fact of Christ's resurrection, and though, as far as we know, he took no steps towards punishing the guard (being probably convinced of its supernatural occurrence), yet, according to a fragment of Hegesippus, and Eusebius, 'Chronic.,' 2:2, he sent an account of the matter to Tiberius, who, in consequence, endeavoured to make the senate pass a decree enrolling Jesus in the list of Roman gods. This fact is attested by Tertullian ('Apolog.,' 5.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And if this come to the governor's ears,.... Not the governor of the watch, but Pontius Pilate the governor of Judea: if this should be told him, and should be heard by him; or this matter should come before him, and be under his examination, and there should be any danger of punishment; for to sleep on the watch was severely punished by the Romans:
we will, persuade him; that this is the true state of the case, and intercede with him, and make use of all our interest, not to punish for it: or will persuade him, that though this is a false account, yet it will be much better that it should go in this way, for his own peace, and the peace of the nation, and the security of the Roman government; since, should it spread among the people, that this person was really raised from the dead, they would, one and all, believe he was the true Messiah, and would set him up as a king, and seize upon the government in favour of him:
and will secure you; indemnify you, bear you harmless, keep you from punishment; so that you need not be under any care, or concern on this account.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. And if this come to the governor's ears—rather, "If this come before the governor"; that is, not in the way of mere report, but for judicial investigation.
we will persuade him, and secure you—The "we" and the "you" are emphatic here—"we shall [take care to] persuade him and keep you from trouble," or "save you harmless." The grammatical form of this clause implies that the thing supposed was expected to happen. The meaning then is, "If this come before the governor—as it likely will—we shall see to it that," &c. The "persuasion" of Pilate meant, doubtless, quieting him by a bribe, which we know otherwise he was by no means above taking (like Felix afterwards, Ac 24:26).
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