Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary - Alford
Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover.Chap. 22:1, 2.] Conspiracy of the Jewish authorities to kill Jesus. Matthew 26:1-5.Mar 14:1Mar 14:1, Mark 14:2. The account of Matt. is the fullest: see notes there. The words here give us a mere compendium of what took place.
3-6.] Compact of Judas with them to betray Him. Matthew 26:14-16. Mark 14:10, Mark 14:11. Our account is strikingly peculiar and independent of the others. The expression εἰσῆλθ. δὲ σατ. is found in John 13:27,—and certainly in its proper place. Satan had not yet entered into Judas,—only (John 13:2) put it into his heart to betray our Lord.
4.] καὶ στρατηγοῖς is peculiar to Luke: the others have merely the chief priests.
On στρατ., see Acts 4:1. The Levitical guard of the temple would be consulted, because it had been of late especially in the temple that our Lord had become obnoxious to them (see ver. 53 and ch. 21:37, 38).
5, 6.] The words συνεθ. and ἐξωμολ. here seem clearly to imply that the money was not now paid, but afterwards, when the treachery was accomplished;—see note on Matthew 26:15.
ἄτερ ὄχλ. = καταμόνας Theophyl., or perhaps χωρὶς θορύβου,
7.] ἦλθεν is not ‘appropinquabat,’ but ‘venit.’
ᾗ ἔδει, the legal time of the Passover being sacrificed. So the narrators in the three Gospels evidently intend.
8, 9.] It was a solemn message, and for it were chosen the two chief Apostles.
In the report of Matthew, the suggestion is represented as coming from the disciples themselves. The question, ποῦ θέλ. was asked, but only in reply to the command of our Lord.
10.] There can, I think, be no question that this direction was given in superhuman foresight, just as that in ch. 19:30: see also 1Samuel 10:2-8, and Matthew 17:27. This person carrying water would probably be a slave, and the time, towards evening, the usual hour of fetching in water.
11, 12.] The οἰκοδεσπ. was a man of some wealth, and could not be identical with the water-carrier (see notes on Matt.).
κατάλ. is not here, as in ch. 2:7, an inn, but a room set apart at this season of the feast, by residents in Jerusalem, in which parties coming from the country might eat the Passover. The question therefore would be well understood;—and the room being ἐστρωμένον, and as Mark adds, ἕτοιμον, would be no matter of surprise.
14.] The ὥρα was evening, see above on ver. 10, and Matthew 26:20.
15-18.] Peculiar to Luke. The desire of our Lord to eat this His last Passover may be explained from ch. 12:50: not merely from his depth of love for His disciples, though this formed an element in it,—see John 13:1 sq. The γάρ in ver. 16 gives us the leading reason.
15. παθεῖν] This is the only instance in the Gospels, of the absolute use of πάσχω, as in the Creed, ‘He suffered.’ We have several times πολλὰ παθεῖν, ch. 9:22; 17:25: Matthew 16:21 . ταῦτα παθεῖν, ch. 24:26, and οὕτως παθεῖν, ditto ver. 46.
16.] The full meaning of this declaration is to be sought in the words τοῦτο τὸ πάσχα. It was that particular Passover, not merely the Passover generally—though of course that also,—that was to receive its fulfilment in the kingdom of God. And to this fulfilment our Lord alludes again in ver. 30, ἵνα ἔσθητε καὶ πίνητε ἐπὶ τῆς τραπέζης μου ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ μου. It is to this marriage supper of the Lamb, that the parable Matthew 22:1-14 in its ultimate application refers: nor can we help thinking on the faithless Apostle at this very supper, in ib. vv. 11-13: see notes there.
17.] Some (e.g. De Wette) suppose that it is here implied that our Lord did not drink of the cup Himself. But surely this cannot be so. The two members of the speech are strictly parallel: and if He desired to eat the Passover with them, He would also drink of the cup, which formed a usual part of the ceremonial. This seems to me to be implied in δεξάμενος: λαβών is the word used by all afterwards, when He did not partake of the bread and wine. This most important addition in our narrative, amounts I believe to a solemn declaration of the fulfilment of the Passover rite, in both its usual divisions,—the eating the flesh of the lamb, and drinking the cup of thanksgiving. Henceforward, He who fulfilled the Law for man will no more eat and drink of it. I remark this, in order further to observe that this division of the cup is not only not identical with, but has no reference to, the subsequent one in ver. 20. That was the institution of a new rite;—this the abrogation of an old one, now fulfilled, or about to be so, in the person of the true Lamb of God.
This is generally supposed to have been the first cup in the Passover-meal, with which the whole was introduced.
On the possible connexion of this speech of our Lord with the celebration of the Passover at this particular time, see note on Matthew 26:17.
After these verses, in order of time, follows the washing of the disciples’ feet in John 13:1-20, referred to in our ver. 27.
20. τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν ἐκχυννόμενον] These words cannot be said of ποτήριον, ‘nam poculum plenum non effunditur, sed bibitur’ (Bengel), but are said πρὸς τὸ σημαινόμενον, which is the wine poured out from the grapes (τὸ γέννημα τῆς ἀμπέλου) and represents the Blood poured out from the Lord’s Body.
Here follows, in Matt. ver. 29, Mark ver. 25, a second declaration, respecting not drinking any more of this fruit of the vine.
21-23.] Announcement of a betrayer. See notes on Matthew 26:20-25. I would not venture absolutely to maintain that this announcement is identical with that one; but I own the arguments of Stier and others to prove them distinct, fail to convince me. The expression πλὴν ἰδού bears marks of verbal accuracy, and inclines us to believe that this announcement was made after the institution of the cup, as here related. ‘Notwithstanding this My declaration of love, in giving My Body and Blood for you, there is one here present who shall betray Me.’
ἐπὶ τ. τρ., viz. in dipping into the dish with the Lord.
πορεύεται] A somewhat similar πορεύεσθαι to this occurs ch. 13:33; but that is used of our Lord’s ministerial progress; this of His progress through suffering to glory.
24-30.] Dispute for pre-eminence. Our Lord’s reply. Without attempting to decide the question whether this incident is strictly narrated in order of time, or identical with one of those strifes on this point related Matthew 18:1; Matthew 20:20, I will offer one or two remarks on it as it here stands. (1) Its having happened at this time is not altogether unaccountable. They had been just enquiring among themselves (ver. 23), who among them should do this thing. May it not reasonably be supposed, that some of them (Judas at least) would be anxiously employed in self-justification, and that this would lead, in some part of the table, to a dispute of the kind here introduced? The natural effect of the Lord’s rebuke would be to give rise to a different spirit among them, and the question “Lord, is it I?” may have been the offspring of this better mind;—but see note on Matt. vv. 20-25. (2) It is surprising to find the very declaration of our Lord on the former strife related in this Gospel (ch. 9:46-48), repeated as having been made at this Paschal meal,—by John (13:20). May not this lead us to suppose that there has been a transposition of some of the circumstances regarding these various contentions among the Apostles, and that these words occurring in John may possibly point to a strife of this kind? (3) The ἐγώ εἰμι ἐν μέσῳ ὑμῶν ὡς ὁ διακονῶν is too clear an allusion to the washing of their feet by the Lord, to have escaped even those Commentators who are slow to discern such hints (e.g. De Wette). The appeal, if it had taken place, is natural and intelligible; but not otherwise. (4) The diction is repeatedly allusive to their then employment: ἀνακείμενος—διατίθεμαι—ἔσθειν καὶ πίνειν—ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ μου—all these have reference to things present, or words spoken, during that meal.
I therefore infer that the strife did happen at this time, in the order related here.
25.] See on Matthew 20:25. The expression here οἱ ἐξουσ. αὐτ. εὐεργ. καλ. also seems to be connected with what had just taken place. ‘Among them, the εὐεργέται are those who ἐξουσιάζουσιν αὐτῶν—but among you, I, your εὐεργέτης (see vv. 19, 20, ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν, bis), do not so, but am in the midst of you as your servant.’
Ptolemy εὐεργέτης at once occurs to us;—numerous other examples are given by Wetstein.
26.] οὕτως, i.e. ἔσεσθε.
27.] Compare John 13:13-17.
28.] These words could hardly have been spoken except on this occasion, when τὸ περὶ ἐμοῦ τέλος ἔχει, ver. 37.
29, 30.] See above, and note on Matthew 19:28, see also Revelation 2:27. The word βασιλείαν belongs to both verbs—not, ‘I appoint to you (as my Father hath appointed to me a kingdom) that ye &c.,’ but, I appoint to you, as my Father hath appointed to me, a kingdom, that ye &c.
ἐπὶ τῆς τρ.] See above, ver. 21, and note on ver. 16.
31-34.] Appeal to Peter: his confidence, and our Lord’s reply. (See Matthew 26:30-35: Mark 14:26-31: John 13:36-38.) The speech appears to proceed continuously. There are marks in these words of our Lord, of close connexion with what has gone before. His way which the Father διέθετο to Him, is to His kingdom—but it is through πειρασμοί. To these, who have been with Him in these trials, He διατίθεται βασιλείαν,—but His way to it must be their way, and here is the πειρασμός,—the sifting as wheat.
The sudden address to Simon may perhaps have been occasioned by some remark of his,—or, which I think more probable, may have been made in consequence of some part taken by him in the preceding strife for precedence. Such sudden and earnest addresses spring forth from deep love and concern awakened for another.
31. ἐξῃτήσ.] Not only ‘hath desired to have you,’ E. V., but hath obtained you;—‘his desire is granted.’
ὑμᾶς—all. This must include Judas, though it does not follow that he was present—the sifting separated the chaff from the wheat, which chaff he was, see Amos 9:9.
32.] ἐγὼ δὲ ἐδ. π. σοῦ] As Peter was the foremost (the rest are here addressed through him), so he was in the greatest danger. It must not be supposed that our Lord’s prayer was not heard, because Peter’s faith did fail, in his denial; ἐκλίπῃ implies a total extinction which Peter’s faith did not suffer.
Though the ὑμᾶς included Judas, he is not included in the prayer: see John 17:6-12. We may notice here, that our Lord speaks of the total failure of even an Apostle’s faith, as possible.
ἐπιστρέψας] There can, I think, be little doubt that this word is here used in the general N.T. sense, of returning as a penitent after sin, turning to God; and not in the almost expletive meaning which it has in such passages as Psalm 84:6, ὁ θεός, σὺ ἐπιστρέψας ζωώσεις ἡμᾶς (although even here it may have a somewhat similar sense to the above—see Joel 2:14: Acts 7:42).
στήρισον] The use of this word and the cognate substantive thrice by Peter in his two epistles (see reff.), and in the first passage in a connexion with the mention of Satan’s temptations, is remarkable.
33, 34.] Whether these words are in close connexion with the preceding, may I think be doubted. They may represent the same reply of our Lord as we have recorded in John 13:38. One thing seems clear, without any attempt at minutely harmonizing: that two announcements were made by our Lord to Peter of his future denial, occasioned by two very different professions of his. One,—during the last meal, i.e. before going out, and occasioned by Peter’s professed readiness to go to prison and to death (= to lay down his life) for and with the Lord:—the other,—on the way to the Mount of Olives, after the declaration that all should be offended, and occasioned by Peter’s profession that though all should be offended, yet would not he. Nothing is more natural or common than the repetition, by the warm-hearted and ardent, of professions like these, in spite of warning:—and when De Wette calls such an interpretation eine Nothhulfe, all that we can say is to disclaim any wish to clear up difficulties, except by going into their depths and examining them honestly and diligently. If the above view be correct, I conceive that the account in John of this profession and our Lord’s answer, being in strict coherence, and arising out of the subject of conversation, must be taken as the exact one: and Luke must be supposed to have inserted them here without being aware of the intermediate remarks which led to them.
This is the only place in the Gospels where our Lord addresses Peter by the name Πέτρε. And it is remarkable as occurring in the very place where He forewarns him of his approaching denial of Himself.
35-38.] Forewarning of perils at hand. Peculiar to Luke. The meaning of our Lord in this much controverted passage appears to be, to forewarn the Apostles of the outward dangers which will await them henceforward in their mission:—unlike the time when He sent them forth without earthly appliances, upheld by His special Providence, they must now make use of common resources for sustenance, yea and even of the sword itself for defence. This they misunderstand, and point to the two swords which they have,—for which they are rebuked (see below).
35.] See ch. 9:3; 10:4; also Matthew 10:9.
36.] αἴρειν was the very word used in the prohibition before.
There is a question what should be supplied after μὴ ἔχων. Very many authorities make μάχαιραν understood (as in E. V.);—but the simpler construction and better sense is to place μὴ ἔχων in contrast with ἔχων, he who has a purse, &c., and he who has none, let him &c., see reff. Thus the sense will be complete—for he who has a purse, can buy a sword, without selling his garment.
μάχαιρα must be here used in the sense of a sword,—compare ver. 49:—and not a knife to eat with, which some have understood. The ‘sword of the Spirit’ (Olshausen and others) is wholly out of the question. The saying is both a description to them of their altered situation with reference to the world without, and a declaration that self-defence and self-provision would henceforward be necessary. It forms a decisive testimony, from the mouth of the Lord Himself, against the views of the Quakers and some other sects on these points. But it does not warrant aggression by Christians, nor, as some R. Catholics (see the bull “Unam sanctam” of Boniface VIII., cited in Wordsw. ad loc.), spreading the gospel by the sword.
By the very form of the expression it is evident, that the sword alluded to could have no reference to that night’s danger, or the defending Him from it.
τὸ περὶ ἐμ. τέλος ἔχει] The prophecy cited closes the section of Isaiah, which eminently predicts the Lord’s sufferings (ch. 52:13-53:12).
τὸ περὶ ἐμοῦ—supply γεγραμμένον, or perhaps more generally, ‘determined in the counsel of God.’
τέλος ἔχει does not merely mean ‘must be fulfilled,’ which would be an assertion without any special reference here—but (as E. V.) have an end;—are coming to the completion of their accomplishment. So τετέλεσται, John 19:30.
38.] Two of them were armed,—either from excess of zeal to defend Him, excited by His announcement of His sufferings during this feast,—or perhaps because they had brought their weapons from Galilee as protection by the way. The road from Jericho to Jerusalem (see ch. 10:30) was much infested with robbers;—and it was the custom for the priests, and even the quiet and ascetic Essenes, to carry weapons when travelling. Chrysostom (Hom. in Matt. lxxxiv. vol. vii. p. 797) gives a curious explanation of the two swords: εἰκὸς οὖν καὶ μαχαίρας εἶναι ἐκεῖ διὰ τὸ ἀρνίον. This certainly agrees with the number of the disciples sent to get ready the Passover: but it has nothing else to recommend it. They exhibit their swords, misunderstanding His words and supposing them to apply to that night. Our Lord breaks off the matter with ἱκανόν ἐστιν,—‘It is enough;’ not ‘they are sufficient;’—but, It is well,—we are sufficiently provided—‘it was not to this that My words referred.’ The rebuke is parallel with, though milder than, the one in Mark 8:17,—as the misunderstanding was somewhat similar.
39-46.] Christ’s agony at the Mount of Olives. Matthew 26:36-46. Mark 14:32-42. John 18:1. For all comment on the general narrative, see notes on Matthew. Our account is compendious, combines the three prayers of our Lord into one, and makes no mention of the Three Apostles being taken apart from the rest. On the other hand it inserts the very important additional details of vv. 44, 45, besides the particularity of ὡσεὶ λίθου βολήν, ver. 41.
42.] εἰ is not to be rendered ‘utinam,’ but ‘si,’ and the sentence is broken off at ἐμοῦ: thus rendering the meaning equivalent to a wish. Some suppose παρενεγκεῖν to be an inf. for an imperative, but incorrectly.
43.] The principal testimonies of the Fathers, &c. against and for vv. 43, 44, are collected in the digest. With the early and weighty evidence there cited in favour of the passage, it is impossible that it should have been an apocryphal insertion. It was perhaps, as states of ἔκλαυσε, expunged by the orthodox, who imagined they found in it an inconsistency with the divine nature of our Lord. We have reason to be thankful, that orthodoxy has been better understood since. The strengthening by means of the angel is physical—and the appearance likewise. See an interesting reply to the scoffs of Julian on this point, in Theodore of Mopsuestia, in loc. ed. Migne, p. 723. It is strange how Olshausen can have so far deceived himself as to imagine that ὤφθη αὐτῷ can imply a merely inward and spiritual accession of strength from above. It is strange likewise that the analogy of the ministration of angels in the Lord’s former temptation should not have occurred to those modern Commentators who have objected to this circumstance as improbable.
This strengthening probably took place between the first and the second prayer;—and the effect of it is the ἐκτενέστερον προσηύχετο of ver. 44, and the entire resignation expressed in the second and third prayer of Matthew’s narrative.
44.] The intention of the Evangelist seems clearly to be, to convey the idea that the sweat was (not fell like, but was) like drops of blood;—i.e. coloured with blood,—for so I understand the ὡσεί, as just distinguishing the drops highly coloured with blood, from pure blood. Aristotle, speaking of certain morbid states of the blood, says, ἐξυγραινομένου δὲ λίαν νοσοῦσιν· γίνεται γὰρ ἰχωροειδές, καὶ διοῤῥοῦται, οὕτως ὥστε ἤδη τινὲς ἴδισαν αἱματώδη ἱδρῶτα, Hist. Anim. iii. 19. To suppose that it only fell like drops of blood (why not drops of any thing else? and drops of blood from what, and where?) is to nullify the force of the sentence, and make the insertion of αἵματος not only superfluous but absurd.
We must not forget, in asking on what testimony this rests, that the marks of such drops would be visible after the termination of the agony. An interesting example of a sweat of blood under circumstances of strong terror, accompanied by loss of speech, is given in an article by Dr. Schneider in Casper’s Wochenschrift for 1848: and cited in the Medical Gazette for December of that year.
45.] ἀπὸ τῆς λύπης—the effect of anxiety and watching. The words may possibly express an inference of the Evangelist (Meyer): but I would rather understand them as exactly describing the cause of their sleeping.
47-53.] Betrayal and apprehension of Jesus. Matthew 26:47-56. 2John 1:2-112Jn_1:2-112Jn_1:2-11. Our narrative is here distinguished even more than before by minute and striking details (see on the whole the notes to Matt.).
The first of these is the address to Judas ver. 48, calling the traitor by name, and setting before him the whole magnitude of his crime in the very words in which the treason had lately (Matt. ver. 45: Mark ver. 41) and so often (Matthew 26:2; Matthew 20:18; Matthew 17:22) been announced.
Another is in ver. 49, where the disciples seeing τὸ ἐσόμενον, ask Κύριε, εἰ πατάξ. ἐν μαχαίρῃ; which question refers to, and is the filling up of their misunderstanding of our Lord in ver. 38.
Again ver. 51 is peculiar to Luke.
51.] ἐᾶτε ἕως τούτου I understand as addressed, not to the disciples, but to the multitude, or rather to those who were holding Him;—His hands were held,—and He says, Suffer, permit me, thus far: i.e. to touch the ear of the wounded person. If this interpretation be correct, it furnishes an additional token of the truthfulness of our narrative—for the previous laying hold of Jesus has not been mentioned here, but in Matthew (ver. 50) and Mark (ver. 46).
53.] There is an important addition here to the other reports of our Lord’s speech;—ἀλλὰ … σκότους. It stands here instead of the declaration that this was done that the Scriptures might be fulfilled (Matt. ver. 56: Mark ver. 49). The inner sense of those words is indeed implied here—but we cannot venture to say that our report is of the same saying.
Our Lord here distinguishes between the power exercised over Him by men, and that by the Evil One:—but so as to make the ἐξουσία which rules over them to be that of darkness—while His own assertion of this shews that all was by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. In the word σκότος there is also an allusion to the time—midnight. Compare with this declaration of the power of darkness over Him, the declaration, in ch. 4:13, that the devil left Him ἄχρι καιροῦ.
54.] Matthew 26:57. Mark 14:53. John 18:13. Our narrative leaves it undecided who this high-priest was,—inasmuch as, ch. 3:2, Annas and Caiaphas are mentioned as high-priests. From John we find that it was Annas; who having questioned Jesus, sent Him bound to Caiaphas, before whom His trial took place. Luke omits this trial altogether—or perhaps gives the substance of it in the account (vv. 66-71) of the morning assembly of the Sanhedrim. See notes on Matt.
58. ἕτερος] In Matt. it is ἄλλη,—in Mark ἡ παιδίσκη.
61.] See extract from Robinson’s notes on Matt. ver. 69. If, as there supposed, the trial was going on in an open chamber looking on the court (αὐλή), the look might well have been given from a considerable distance. We need not enquire, how our Lord could hear what was going on round the fire in the court, as some Commentators have done. But even were such an enquiry necessary, I see no difficulty in answering it. The anathemas of Peter, spoken to οἱ παρεστῶτες with vehemence, and the crowing of the cock,—were not these audible? But our Lord needed not these to attract His attention.
63-65.] He is mocked. Luke does not, as some Commentators say, place this mocking before the trial in Caiaphas’s house, but in the same place as Matt. vv. 67, 68, and Mark ver. 65, viz. after what happened there. The trial he omits altogether, having found no report of it. How those who take this view of Luke’s arrangement can yet suppose him to have had Matt. and Mark before him while writing, I am wholly at a loss to conceive.
66-71.] Hearing before the council. (Probably) Matthew 27:1.Mar 14:1Mar 14:1. It seems probable that Luke here gives us an account of a second and formal judgment held in the morning. The similarity of the things said at the two hearings may be accounted for by remembering that they were both more or less formal processes in legal courts, one the precognition, the other, the decision, at which the things said before would be likely to be nearly repeated.
66. ὡς ἐγ. ἡμ.] Some trace of a meeting of the Sanhedrim after daylight I believe our Evangelist to have found, see Matthew 27:1—and to have therefore related as then happening, the following account of what really took place at the former meeting.
λέγοντες—but first took place the μαρτυρία referred to in ver. 71; and the person who said this was the high-priest, and with an adjuration, Matt. ver. 63. The ordinary rendering is the most natural and correct: If thou art (not if thou be) the Christ, tell us. The others, ‘Tell us whether thou be the Christ;’ and, ‘Art thou the Christ? tell us’ (see the question in ver. 49), are forced and unusual.
68.] I believe these words to have been said as a formal protest on the part of our Lord against the spirit and tendency of the question asked Him, before He gives an answer to it: and as such, I regard them as an original and most valuable report.—‘It is with no view to examine and believe, that you ask this question: nor, were I to attempt to educe from your own mouths my innocence, would you answer Me [or release Me]. I am well aware of the intention of this question: but (πλήν, Matt. ver. 64) the time is come for the confession to be made:—ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν κ.τ.λ.’
69.] On ἀπὸ τ. ν. = ἀπʼ ἄρτι, see notes on Matt.
καθ. ἐκ δ. τ. δυν. is common to all Three: only Luke adds τοῦ θεοῦ. 70.
70.] We find ὁ υἱὸς τ. θ. used as synonymous with ὁ υἱ. τ. ἀνθ. καθ. ἐκ δεξ. τῆς δυν. τοῦ θ., i.e. with the glorified Messiah.
On ὑμ. λέγ.… see note on Matt., ver. 64.
71.] How would it have been possible that these words should have been said, if no μαρτυρία had been brought forward at this examination, and if the very same question had been asked at the termination of the former one?