Mark 14:56
For many bore false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(56) Their witness agreed not together.—St. Mark gives what St. Matthew only implies as the cause of the failure.

14:53-65 We have here Christ's condemnation before the great council of the Jews. Peter followed; but the high priest's fire-side was no proper place, nor his servants proper company, for Peter: it was an entrance into temptation. Great diligence was used to procure false witnesses against Jesus, yet their testimony was not equal to the charge of a capital crime, by the utmost stretch of their law. He was asked, Art thou the Son of the Blessed? that is, the Son of God. For the proof of his being the Son of God, he refers to his second coming. In these outrages we have proofs of man's enmity to God, and of God's free and unspeakable love to man.See this fully explained in the notes at Matthew 26:57-75. 56. For many bare false witness against him—From their debasing themselves to "seek" them, we are led to infer that they were bribed to bear false witness; though there are never wanting sycophants enough, ready to sell themselves for naught, if they may but get a smile from those above them: see a similar scene in Ac 6:11-14. How is one reminded here of that complaint, "False witnesses did rise up: they laid to my charge things that I knew not" (Ps 31:11)!

but their witness agreed not together—If even two of them had been agreed, it would have been greedily enough laid hold of, as all that the law insisted upon even in capital cases (De 17:6). But even in this they failed. One cannot but admire the providence which secured this result; since, on the one hand, it seems astonishing that those unscrupulous prosecutors and their ready tools should so bungle a business in which they felt their whole interests bound up; and, on the other hand, if they had succeeded in making even a plausible case, the effect on the progress of the Gospel might for a time have been injurious. But at the very time when His enemies were saying, "God hath forsaken Him; persecute and take Him; for there is none to deliver Him" (Ps 71:11), He whose Witness He was and whose work He was doing was keeping Him as the apple of His eye, and while He was making the wrath of man to praise Him, was restraining the remainder of that wrath (Ps 76:10).

See Poole on "Mark 14:53" For many bare false witness against him,.... The word "false", is not expressed in the Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions: which only signify, that they bore witness against him, accused him of, and laid many things to his charge:

but their witness agreed not together; which showed it to be false, and so not to be admitted; for witnesses were to be as one in their testimony, or not to be received: the, rules concerning them with the Jews, are these (l);

"the tradition is, for ever let not their testimony be joined together, unless they both see, "as one": says R. Joshua ben Korcha, even one after another; and their testimony is not ratified in the council, until they both witness "as one".''

Though this is not much the sense of the passage here; it was not the falsehood of their testimony, which this council was unconcerned about, or the contradiction that was in it, which does not appear; but their testimonies were not, "equal", or answerable to the wishes of the council; they were not sufficient to prove a capital crime upon him, in order to, put him to death, which was what they wanted: they only respected some light and trivial matters, and did not amount to a charge of blasphemy, or sedition.

(l) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 30. 1. Maimon. Hilch. Eduth, c. 4. sect. 1.

For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Mark 14:56. ἴσαι, equal, to the same effect, as the testimonies of true witnesses would, of course, be. Grotius takes the word as meaning, not equal to one another, but equal to the demands of weighty evidence and justifying condemnation. Elsner agrees, arguing from the use of the word again, in reference to the evidence about the temple logion of Jesus. These witnesses, he holds, are not represented as making conflicting statements, but simply as making statements not sufficiently weighty—not equal to the occasion. There is some force in this.56. but their witness agreed not together] “þe witnessingis weren not couenable,” Wyclif. The Law required that at least two witnesses must agree. See Deuteronomy 17:6; Deuteronomy 19:15. But now some who came forward had nothing relevant to say, and others contradicted themselves.Verse 56. - For many bare false witness against him, and their witness agreed not together. Whatever things these witnesses brought forward were either false, or self-contradictory, or beside the purpose. Their witness agreed not

Peculiar to Mark. Lit., their testimonies were not equal. Hence the difficulty of fulfilling the requirement of the law, which demanded two witnesses. See Deuteronomy 17:6; and compare Matthew 18:16; 1 Timothy 5:19; Hebrews 10:28.

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