There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulcher was near at hand.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The Jews’ preparation day.—Comp. John 19:14; John 19:31, and Excursus F: The Day of the Crucifixion of our Lord, p. 559.Matthew 27:57-61. preparation (for the whole day was so called) was nigh at hand. See a fuller account of the history of our Saviour’s passion, death, and burial:
See Poole on "Matthew 27:1", and following verse to Matthew 27:66, where what is said by all the evangelists is compared together, and made one complete history.
because of the Jews' preparation day; either for the Chagigah, or the sabbath, which was just at hand; the Persic version reads, "the night of the sabbath": for this reason, they could not dig a grave purposely for him; for it was forbidden on feast days; and therefore they put him into a tomb ready made: the canon runs (i),
"they may not dig pits, "nor graves", on a solemn feast day.''
The former of these, the commentators say (k), are graves dug in the earth, and the latter edifices built over graves; and for the same reason, because it was such a day, they did not take his body to any of their houses, and embalm and anoint it, as they otherwise would have done; but this being a solemn day, and the sabbath drawing on apace, they hastened the interment, and took the most opportune place that offered:
for the sepulchre was nigh at hand; some say about an hundred and eight feet from the cross, and others an hundred and thirty feet, though some say but fifty or sixty, at furthest it was not far off.There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 19:42. “There, accordingly, on account of the preparation of the Jews, because the tomb was at hand, they laid Jesus.” The Friday was so nearly at an end that they had not time to go to any distance, and therefore availed themselves of the neighbouring tomb as a provisional, if not permanent, resting-place.42. the Jews’ preparation day] Perhaps another slight indication that the Gospel was written outside Palestine. Or the addition ‘of the Jews’ may point to the time when there was already a Christian ‘preparation-day.’ See notes on ‘the Passover of the Jews’ (John 2:13; John 11:55).
It would seem as if the burial was hastily and temporarily performed. They probably intended after the Sabbath to make a more solemn and complete burial elsewhere.
was nigh at hand] Perhaps this fact suggested to Joseph the thought of going to Pilate. He had a sepulchre of his own close to Golgotha.Verse 42. - There, therefore, by reason of the preparation of the Jews, for the sepulcher was nigh at hand, they laid Jesus. John assigns the rapidity with which the process could be completed as a reason for entombment in this particular garden sepulcher, and the ground of the urgency was the "preparation" solemnities. Once more the critics divide into two groups as to the significance of this reference to the date of the Lord's death. It is obvious that both the synoptists and John imply that it was a "Friday," and that the next day was the sabbath. Why, for the third time in the space of a few lines, should this circumstance be noticed? On the first occasion, the morning of the day is said to be "the preparation of the Passover;" on the second it is called "preparation before the sabbath," and John adds that that particular sabbath was a "high day," which, as we have seen, is explained by remembering that its sanctity was doubled, seeing that on that particular year the weekly sabbath would coincide with the 15th of Nisan, which had a sabbatic value of its own. Now he says for the third time it was the "preparation of the Jews" - as we understand it, a day or a time when special preparations were being made by the Jews, and that before sunset, for the slaying of the Paschal lamb. Moreover, the sabbath was drawing on (ἐπέφωσκεν, Luke 23:54). This threefold statement implies that there was something more in the παρασκευή than the Friday of the Passover week. It is curious to observe the precisely contradictory conclusions drawn from this statement by two classes of interpreters. Godet has given an interesting sketch (vol. 3. pp. 286, 287) of the extraordinary idea of M. Lutteroth, that the Lord was crucified on the 10th of Nisan! that he rose from the dead three full days and nights afterwards, on the morning of the 14th. But why should John three times over thus designate the day? and why should the synoptists lay such emphasis on its being the "preparation," if the day were really the first great day of the Passover Feast? It is remarkable that St. Paul, referring to the institution of the Eucharist, does not say "on the night of the Passover meal," but on "the night in which he was betrayed" (1 Corinthians 11:23), and he speaks of Jesus as the (ἀπαρχή) "Firstfruits of the dead," as though the resurrection morning coincided with the presentation of the firstfruits, which, on the idea that Jesus suffered on the 15th, would have been presented on the morning of the Jewish sabbath, while the reference in 1 Corinthians 5:7-9, written at the time of a Passover, is rather in favor of the slaying of the Paschal lamb coinciding with the death of Jesus than the institution of the Eucharist doing so. The most extraordinary reference to the Παρασκεύη is that which St. Matthew 28:62 introduces, when he actually refers to the sabbath when it had begun (on the evening of the 14th or 15th, whichever it was, i.e. after 6 p.m.) under the designation of "the day after the preparation." Generally the more important day would receive its own proper name, and not be designated by the less signal day. Why did not St. Matthew say, "On the morrow, which was the Sabbath"? The one group of interpreters answer that he wished to discriminate the veritable sabbath as distinct from the half-sabbath of the previous day, made so by being also the great day of the feast! But it is more natural to suppose that "the day of preparation," the death-day of the Lord, loomed so largely in the mind of the evangelist, that its morrow derived importance in this particular instance from itself. The only real difficulty in settling this wearisome controversy arises from one statement in the synoptists, which, if resolved in the rigid sense of limiting their expressions to the evening of the 14th and beginning of the 15th, involves us in grave difficulties when considering five or six distinct and independent statements of John's Gospel. We have shown at each of these places the double method of exegetical treatment that has been attempted, and in each case honesty compels us to admit that John is here in apparent discord with the synoptists. If, however, our Lord anticipated by a few hours the celebration of the Paschal supper, seeing that his "hour was come," not indeed deviating from the legal day (though, as Lord of the sabbath and greater than the temple, he was amply justified in doing so), but hurrying on the process between the 13th and 14th, when the water-bearers would be seen fetching their pure water for the purpose; and if he celebrated the Passover at the beginning rather than the end of the 14th of Nisan, then the apparent discord between John and the synoptists vanishes, and the terrible events of the trials and crucifixion of Jesus really took place at the time when the Jews (not Christ himself) were preparing for the Passover proper. On this hypothesis the two narratives would be no longer in hopeless antagonism. With this conclusion we are more satisfied, since, as we have seen in John 13:1 and elsewhere, the synoptists themselves afford numerous corroboratory evidences (Introduction, pp. 92-95.).
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