And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answer you the high priest so?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)With the palm of his hand.—The Greek word occurs again in the New Testament only in John 19:3, and Mark 14:65 (see Note there, and on Matthew 26:67). It is uncertain whether it means here a blow with the hand or, as the margin renders it, “with a rod.” The word originally means a stroke with a rod, but in classical usage it acquired also the meaning of a slap in the face, or box on the ear, and the corresponding verb is certainly used in this sense in Matthew 5:39. We may gather from Acts 23:2 that a blow on the face was a customary punishment for a supposed offence against the dignity of the high priest; but in that case it was ordered by the high priest himself, and the fact that it was here done without authority by one of the attendants confirms the opinion that this was not a legal trial before the judicial authority.
With the palm, of his hand - This may mean: "Gave him a blow either with the open hand or with a rod" - the Greek does not determine which. In whatever way it was done, it was a violation of all law and justice. Jesus had showed no disrespect for the office of the high priest, and if he had, this was not the proper way to punish it. The Syriac reads thus: "Smote the cheek of Jesus." The Vulgate and Arabic: "Gave him a blow."
one of the officers which stood by; it may be one of those who had been sent to him and had been a hearer of him, whom Jesus might look wistfully at, or point unto, when he said the above words, at which he might be provoked: and therefore
stroke Jesus with the palm of his hand; or gave him a rap with a rod, or smote him with a staff, as some think, is the sense of the phrase; though the Syriac, agreeably to our version, reads it, he smote him, , "upon his cheek"; gave him, what we commonly call, a slap on the face; and which is always esteemed a very great affront, and was a piece of rudeness and insolence to the last degree in this man:
saying, answerest thou the high priest so? This he said, as well as gave the blow, either out of flattery to the high priest, or to clear himself from being a favourer of Christ; which, by what had been said, he might think would be suspected: some have thought this was Malchus, whose ear Christ had healed; if so, he was guilty of great ingratitude.And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 18:22-23. Whether ῥάπισμα is a blow on the face, box on the ear (so usually), or stroke with a rod (Beza, Bengel, Godet), cannot be decided. Comp. on Matthew 26:67. But the former, because the blow was wont to be the chastisement for an impudent speech (comp. Acts 23:2), is the more probable, and δέρεις is not opposed to it (2 Corinthians 11:20). That which here one of the officers of justice, who stood in waiting (see the critical notes), takes upon himself for the honour of his master (“fortis percussor et mollis adulator,” Rupert.), can hardly be conceived as taking place in an orderly sitting of the Sanhedrim before the acting high priest (in Acts 23:2 it is done at the command of the latter), but rather at an extra-judicial sitting.
οὕτως] So unbecomingly (Fritzsche, ad Marc. p. 150 f.; Bremi, ad Lys. et Aesch. p. 124, 355); comp. on 1 Corinthians 5:3.
John 18:23. Important for the ethical idea expressed in Matthew 5:39. Comp. the note on Matthew 5:41.
μαρτύρησον] bear witness. He must, in truth, have been an ear-witness.
 Luther: “This thou shouldest therefore understand, that there is a great difference between these two; to turn the cheek to the one, and with words to punish him who strikes us. Christ must suffer, but nevertheless the word is put in His mouth, that He should speak and punish what is wrong. Therefore, I should separate the mouth and the hand from one another.”John 18:22. Ταῦτα … ἀρχιερεῖ; ῥάπισμα. The older meaning of ῥαπίζειν was “to strike with a rod” sc. ῥαβδίζειν; but in later Greek it meant “to give a blow on the cheek with the open hand”. This is put beyond doubt by Field, Otium Noru., p. 71; cf. Rutherford’s New Phryn., p. 257. R.V marg. “with a rod” is not an improvement on R.V text.
 Revised Version.
 Revised Version.22. struck Jesus with the palm of his hand] Literally, gave a blow, and the word for ‘blow’ (elsewhere John 19:3, Mark 14:65 only) etymologically means a ‘blow with a rod,’ but is also used for a ‘blow with the open hand.’ The word used for ‘smite’ in John 18:23 is slightly in favour of the former: but Matthew 5:39 and Acts 23:2 are in favour of the latter.John 18:22. Ῥάπισμα, a stroke) with a rod or stick [Engl. Vers. “with the palm of his hand”]. Comp. ch. John 19:3, note; [not as Engl. Vers. “They smote Him with their hands,” but with a reed, as appears from Mark 15:19; or else with rods, as appears from] Matthew 26:67, where ἐκολάφισαν is the word used to express blows with the hand; ἐῤῥάπισαν, blows with rods, which the servants had, note, Mark 14:65.—οὓτως, so) in such a manner. He was not able to impugn the truth itself; he wishes to indicate that Jesus erred in the manner, as each most innocent person is often accused by the unjust. But Jesus defends even His manner, declaring that He has spoken, not ill, but well.Verse 22. - And when he had said these things, one of the officers standing by, anxious to win with his officious zeal the approval of his master, gave Jesus a ῤάπισμα. (Meyer says it cannot be settled whether this word means a stroke with a rod (as Godet, Bengel) or a blow on the cheek or ear, which was the current punishment for a word supposed to be insolent; but δέρεις of Ver. 23, which means "to flay," implies a more severe punishment than a blow on the face with the hand.) This is the beginning of the coarse and terrible mockery which was the lot of the sublime Sufferer through the remaining hours of the awful day which is now dawning on him. Saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?
Literally, gave a blow. Interpreters differ as to whether it was a blow with a rod, or with the hand. The kindred verb ῥαπίζω, from ῥαπίς, a rod, is etymologically related to ῥαβδίζω, from ῥάβδος, a rod, and occurs Matthew 5:39, of smiting on the cheek, and Matthew 26:67, where it is distinguished from κολαφίζω, to strike with the fist. This latter passage, however, leaves the question open, since, if the meaning to smite with a rod can be defended, there is nothing to prevent its being understood there in that sense. The earlier meaning of the word was, undoubtedly, according to its etymology, to smite with a rod. So Herodotus of Xerxes. "It is certain that he commanded those who scourged (ῥαπι.ζοντας) the waters (of the Hellespont) to utter, as they lashed them, these barbarian and wicked words" (vii., 35). And again: "The Corinthian captain, Adeimantus, observed, 'Themistocles, at the games they who start too soon are scourged (ῥαπίζονται)'" (viii., 59). It passes, in classical Greek, from this meaning to that of a light blow with the hand. The grammarian Phrynichus (A. D. 180) condemns the use of the word in the sense of striking with the hand, or slapping, as not according to good Attic usage, and says that the proper expression for a blow on the cheek with the open hand is ἐπὶ κόρρης πατάξαι. This shows that the un-Attic phrase had crept into use. In the Septuagint the word is clearly used in the sense of a blow with the hand. See Isaiah 50:6 : "I gave my cheeks to blows (εἰς ῥαπι.σματα). Hosea 11:4, "As a man that smiteth (ῥαπίζων) upon his cheeks" (A.V. and Rev., that take off the yoke on their jaws). In 1 Kings 22:24, we read, "Zedekiah - smote Micaiah on the cheek (ἐπάταξε ἐπὶ τὴν σιαγόνα)." The word in John 18:23, δέρεις, literally, flayest, hence, do beat or thrash (compare Luke 12:47), seems better to suit the meaning strike with a rod; yet in 2 Corinthians 11:20, that verb is used of smiting in the face (εἰς πρόσωπον δέρει), and in 1 Corinthians 9:27, where Paul is using the figure of a boxer, he says, "So fight I((πυκτεύω, of boxing, or fighting with the fists), not as one that beateth (δέρων) the air." These examples practically destroy the force of the argument from δέρεις. It is impossible to settle the point conclusively; but, on the whole, it seems as well to retain the rendering of the A.V. and Rev.
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