And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say to him, Lord, is it I?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)They were exceeding sorrowful.—St. John (John 13:22) describes their perplexed and questioning glances at each other, the whisper of Peter to John, the answer of our Lord to the beloved disciple, announcing the sign by which the traitor was to be indicated. All this passed apparently as a by-play, unheard or unheeded by the other disciples. It was followed by the hands of the Master and the Traitor meeting in the dish (probably that which contained the conserve of fruit above referred to); and dipping a piece of the unleavened bread in the syrup, the One gave it to the other. The signal was, of course, understood by Peter and John, but probably not by the others.John 13:22 "they looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake" - that is, they anxiously looked one at another, conscious each one, except Judas, of no such intention, and each one beginning to examine himself to find whether he was the person intended.
This showed their innocence, and their attachment to Jesus. It showed how sensitive they were to the least suspicion of the kind. It showed that they were willing to know themselves, thus evincing the spirit of the true Christian. Judas only was silent, and was the last to make the inquiry, and that after he had been plainly pointed out Matthew 26:25, thus showing:
1. that guilt is slow to suspect itself;
2. that it shrinks from the light;
3. that it was his purpose to conceal his intention; and,
4. that nothing but the consciousness that his Lord knew his design could induce him to make inquiry.
The guilty would, if possible, always conceal their crimes. The innocent are ready to suspect that they may have done wrong. Their feelings are tender, and they inquire with solicitude whether there may not be something in their bosoms, unknown to themselves, that may be a departure from right feeling.
For the exposition, see on Lu 22:7-23.See Poole on "Matthew 26:25".
and began everyone of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? excepting Judas, who afterwards spoke for himself. This they said, though conscious to themselves the thing had never entered into their hearts; nor had they taken any step towards it, but with their whole souls abhorred it; yet, as knowing the treachery and deceitfulness, of their hearts, which they could not trust to; and fearing lest should they be left thereunto, they might commit such a dreadful iniquity; and as desirous of being cleared by Christ from any such imputation, and even from all suspicion of anything of this kind.And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Matthew 26:22. Ἤρξαντο] portrays the unfolding of one scene after another in the incident. Jesus did not answer till this question had been addressed to Him by all of them in turn.
μήτι ἐγώ εἰμι] surely it is not I? presupposes a reply in the negative. “Cum scelus exhorreant, cupiunt ab ejus suspicione purgari; bona tamen conscientia freti, libere testari volunt, quam procul remoti sint a tanto scelere,” Calvin. The account in John 13:22 ff. does not exclude, but supplements that before us, particularly because it also mentions that Judas had retired before the supper was instituted.Matthew 26:22. λυπούμενοι seems a weak word, and the addition of the evangelist’s pet word σφόδρα does not make it strong. None of the accounts realistically express the effect which must have been produced.—ἤρξαντο helps to bring out the situation: they began to inquire after some moments of mute astonishment.—μήτι ἐγώ, etc., can it be I? expecting or hoping for a negative answer; yet not too sure: probably many of them were conscious of fear; even Peter might be, quite compatibly with his boldness a little later.22. they were exceeding sorrowful] St John (John 13:22) has the graphic words “then the disciples looked on one another, doubting of whom he spake.” It is this moment of intense and painful emotion which Leonardo da Vinci has interpreted by his immortal picture, so true to the spirit of this scene, so unlike the external reality of it.Verse 22. - Exceeding sorrowful. Such an announcement filled them with amazement and grief; they scarcely dared suspect one another, but began to doubt their own constancy, though at the time conscious of their integrity. Is it I? Μήτι ἐγώ εἰμι; Numquid ego sum? It is not I, is it? where the negative answer is expected. It is remarkable that the real character of Judas had never been discovered by the fellow disciples who for three years had mixed with him in closest companionship. Either he was a consummate hypocrite, or the other apostles were too simple-minded, good, and charitable to think evil of any one. Thus his peculations passed unnoticed, and the greed and. avarice which wrecked his spiritual life were entirely unsuspected.
Denoting the commencement of a series of questions; one after the other (every one) saying, Is it I?
Is it I? (μήτι ἐγώ εἰμι)
The form of the negative expects a negative answer. "Surely I am not the one."
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