Mark 15:44
And Pilate marveled if he were already dead: and calling to him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(44) And Pilate marvelled.—The wonder of Pilate, and his calling the centurion (the article points to his being the same that had been mentioned in Mark 15:39), are peculiar to St. Mark.

15:42-47 We are here attending the burial of our Lord Jesus. Oh that we may by grace be planted in the likeness of it! Joseph of Arimathea was one who waited for the kingdom of God. Those who hope for a share in its privileges, must own Christ's cause, when it seems to be crushed. This man God raised up for his service. There was a special providence, that Pilate should be so strict in his inquiry, that there might be no pretence to say Jesus was alive. Pilate gave Joseph leave to take down the body, and do what he pleased with it. Some of the women beheld where Jesus was laid, that they might come after the sabbath to anoint the dead body, because they had not time to do it before. Special notice was taken of Christ's sepulchre, because he was to rise again. And he will not forsake those who trust in him, and call upon him. Death, deprived of its sting, will soon end the believer's sorrows, as it ended those of the Saviour.And Pilate marveled if - Wondered if he was dead, or wondered that he was so soon dead. It was not common for persons crucified to expire under two or three days, sometimes not until the sixth or seventh. Joseph had asked for the "body," implying that he was dead. That he was, had been ascertained by the soldiers. See John 19:33. Mr 15:38-47. Signs and Circumstances Following the Death of the Lord Jesus.—He Is Taken Down from the Cross and Buried—The Sepulchre Is Guarded. ( = Mt 27:51-66; Lu 23:45, 47-56; Joh 19:31-42).

See on [1520]Mt 27:51-56; and [1521]Joh 19:31-42.

See Poole on "Mark 15:42" And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead,.... For death, by crucifixion, was a slow lingering death; persons that were in their full strength hung a great while before they expired; and the two thieves, which were crucified with Christ, were not dead when he was:

and calling unto him the centurion; who was set to watch him:

he asked him, whether he had been any while dead; he inquired of him, whether he was dead, and how long he had been dead.

And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Mark 15:44. Omitted by Mt., whose narrative throughout is colourless compared with Mk.’s.—εἰ τέθνηκε: εἰ = ὅτι, after a verb of wonder (vide Burton, M. and T., § 277, and Winer, § lx., 6).—εἰ ἀπέθανε: τέθνηκε has reference to the present of the speaker, ἀπέθανε to the moment of death.—πάλαι: opposed to ἄρτι, and not implying a considerable time before, but only bare priority to the present. Pilate’s question to the centurion was, did He die before now? = is He actually dead?44. And Pilate marvelled] Death by crucifixion did not generally supervene even for three days, and thirty-six hours is said to be the earliest period when it would be thus brought about. Pilate, therefore, marveled at the request of Joseph, and required the evidence of the centurion to assure himself of the fact.Mark 15:44. Ἐθαύμασεν, marvelled) In fact, it was not the mere cross that deprived Jesus of life. [Those crucified sometimes used to protract life for a considerably longer time. Pilate had permitted the breaking of the legs; but the fact, that Jesus had died before the breaking of the legs (of the other two), came to Pilate’s knowledge through Joseph, and not until then.—V. g.]—πάλαι) Eustathius has showed that this word is used of even a rather short interval of time.Verse 44. - And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. It must have Been somewhat early in the afternoon, probably not long after three o'clock, when Joseph went. The day being the Preparation, the Jews were anxious to satisfy the letter of the Law (Deuteronomy 21:13), and that, more especially, because the coming sabbath was a "high day." So they had gone early to Pilate to obtain permission to accelerate the deaths of the sufferers by the terrible additional punishment called σκελοκοπία. This violence was not inflicted upon our Lord, because he was already dead; and so another Scripture was fulfilled, "A bone of him shall not be broken." But it was necessary that Pilate should be assured of the fact that death had taken place before he gave up the body; and thus, in the providence of God, another evidence was given of the reality of Christ's death. Joseph asked for the body (σῶμα). Then Pilate asked the centurion "whether he had been any while dead." The verb here is in the aorist, and the adverb means "formerly" (εἰ πάλαι ἀπέθανε); literally, if he died some time ago. Wondered

This query and the asking the centurion are peculiar to Mark.

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