Matthew 26:25
Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.
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(25) Then Judas, which betrayed him . . .—The words appear to have been spoken in the spirit of reckless defiance, which St. John indicates by saying that “after the sop Satan entered into him” (John 13:27). Did his Master (he calls Him by the wonted title of honour, Rabbi) indeed know his guilt? It would appear from St. John’s narrative (John 13:29) that the dread answer, “Thou hast said;” was not heard by all. All that they did hear was the command, “What thou doest, do quickly;” and some at least, probably the rest who were not in the secret of the signal, thought that that command referred to some matter connected with his customary work as the bursar of the company. He was to buy what was needed for the feast (i.e., probably, the customary solemn meal, or Chagigah, of the day that followed on the Paschal Supper), or to give alms to the poor. He, however, understood the meaning of the words, and straightway went out (John 13:27-30). It follows, from this view of the sequence of events, that though he had eaten bread with his Master, he did not partake of the bread and the cup that were to be the signs of the New Covenant. At this stage St. John inserts the words as to the new commandment, “that ye should love another,” which was embodied in that act of fellowship.

26:17-25 Observe, the place for their eating the passover was pointed out by Christ to the disciples. He knows those hidden ones who favour his cause, and will graciously visit all who are willing to receive him. The disciples did as Jesus had appointed. Those who would have Christ's presence in the gospel passover, must do what he says. It well becomes the disciples of Christ always to be jealous over themselves, especially in trying times. We know not how strongly we may be tempted, nor how far God may leave us to ourselves, therefore we have reason not to be high-minded, but to fear. Heart-searching examination and fervent prayer are especially proper before the Lord's supper, that, as Christ our Passover is now sacrificed for us, we may keep this feast, renewing our repentance, our faith in his blood, and surrendering ourselves to his service.Thou hast said - That is, thou hast said the truth. It is so. Thou art the man. Compare Matthew 26:64 with Mark 14:62. Mt 26:17-30. Preparation for and Last Celebration of the Passover Announcement of the Traitor, and Institution of the Supper. ( = Mr 14:12-26; Lu 22:7-23; Joh 13:1-3, 10, 11, 18-30).

For the exposition, see on [1362]Lu 22:7-23.

Mark hath the same, Mark 14:17-21: And in the evening he cometh with the twelve. And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, one of you which eateth with me shall betray me. And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? And he answered and said unto them, It is one of the twelve, that dippeth with me in the dish. The Son of man indeed goeth as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! Good were it for that man if he had never been born. Luke saith, Luke 22:14-16, &c., And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire have I desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: for I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: for I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. Then Luke passeth to our Lord’s institution of the supper. Luke mixes the discourse about the person that should betray him with the relation about the institution of the supper, contrary to the relation both of Matthew and Mark, and John, so as we may reasonably think that Luke misplaces it, giving us an account of that passage, Luke 22:21-23, within his relation of the history of his receiving the passover, and instituting of the supper, which immediately followed each other, but not strictly in that order in which our Saviour spake them, which appeareth plainly by the other three evangelists to have been during the eating of the passover, and before the institution of the Lord’s supper. For the understanding of the history, we must understand something of the Jewish order in their eating of the passover: which was this, as we have it described by the learned Doctor Lightfoot;

"Their sitting at meat was commonly upon beds or couches, made for that purpose, with the table before them. Now at other meats they either sat, as we do, with their bodies erect, or when they would enlarge themselves to more freedom of feasting, or refreshing, they sat upon the beds, and leaned upon the table on their left elbow; and this or the other posture they used indifferently at other times, as they were disposed, but on the passover night they thought they were obliged to use this leaning composure, and you may take their reason for it in some of their own words. They used their leaning posture as free men do, in memorial of their freedom. And Levi said, Because it is the manner of servants to eat standing, therefore now they eat sitting and leaning, to show that they were got out of servitude into freedom... Upon this principle and conceit of freedom they used this manner of discumbency frequently at other times, but indispensably this night, so far different from the posture enjoined and practised at the first passover in Egypt, when they ate it with their loins girded, their shoes on their feet, their staves in their hands, and in haste, Exodus 12:11. And as the thought of their freedom disposed them to this leaning, reposed, secure composure of their elbow upon the table, and their head leaning on their hand, so, to emblem out the matter the more highly, they laid their legs under them, sitting on them, and laying out their feet behind them."

(Thus the woman, Luke 7:38, could conveniently come at our Saviour’s feet to wash, anoint, and wipe them).

"Thus removing and acquitting their legs and feet, as far as possible, from the least show of standing to attend, or readiness to go upon any one’s employment, which might carry with it the least colour of servitude, or contrariety to their freedom. Now according to the manner of sitting and leaning are the texts to be understood, about the beloved disciple’s leaning in the bosom of Jesus, John 13:23, and on the breast of Jesus, John 13:25John 21:20. ’ Anakeimenov en kolpw kai epipesan, or epipeswn epi to sthyov, which some translators not having observed, or at least not expressed, they have intricated the reader in such gross conceptions about this matter, as that some have thought, and some have pictured, John reposing himself or lolling on the breast of Jesus, contrary to all order and decency: whereas the manner of sitting together was only thus, Jesus leaning upon the table with his left elbow, and so turning his face and breast away from the table, on one side; John sat in the same posture next before him, with his back towards Jesus, his breast or bosom not so near as that John’s back and Jesus’s breast did join together, and touch one another, but at such a distance as that there was space for Jesus to use his right hand upon the table, to reach his meat at his pleasure, and so for all the rest, as they sat in like manner. For it is but a strange fancy with which some have satisfied themselves about this matter, conceiving either that they lay upon the beds before the table, one tumbling upon or before the breast of another; or if they sat leaning on the table, that they sat so close that the back of one joined to the breast of another: they sat leaning, but with such distance between each other, that the right hand of every one of them had liberty to come and go between himself and his fellow, to reach his meat, as he had occasion."

Thus far that learned man, in his discourse of the temple service, in the time of our Saviour, in John 13:1-38. By which discourse we may learn;

1. That the Jews at the eating of the passover used the very same posture as at other times they did eat their meat in.

2. That this was not lying along, but sitting upon their legs, and sometimes leaning their head upon their left elbow, yet at such a distance one front another, as every one that sat might freely use their right hand to take their meat, and reach it to their mouths: nor did they always sit at meat so leaning, but at their pleasure leaned or not leaned; only at the paschal supper they always leaned, as an emblem of their more perfect liberty. By this we easily understand what is meant by Christ’s sitting down with the twelve, after the manner of that country in eating their meat.

And as they did eat, he said. For the understanding of this we must a little inquire into the Jewish manner of eating that holy supper, which I will take out of the aforementioned learned author in the same book and chapter, paragraph third.

"They being thus set, the first thing towards this passover supper that they went about was, that they every one drank off a cup of wine."

So do their own directories and rituals about this thing inform us. Now the consideration of this is of mighty use to us to help us to understand the two cups mentioned by Luke, Luke 22:17, and again Luke 22:20. The latter was the cup which our Saviour consecrated for the institution of his supper, as is plain by the consecration of the bread mentioned immediately before it, Luke 22:19. The cup mentioned Luke 22:17 was their first cup of wine, which they drank before the passover supper, mentioned by Luke only. Our Saviour’s giving thanks when he took it, was but his blessing of the whole paschal supper. Luke before this mentions some words of our Saviour, Luke 22:15,16, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: for I say unto you, I will not eat any more thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God: that is, I am now about to suffer, I know that I am betrayed, I have therefore earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I die, to put an end to this legal service, which hath now continued so many years, and hath all this time been but a type of me and my death, and oblation for sin, John 1:29 1 Corinthians 5:7. For this is the last passover I shall eat with you or that you shall eat before you see those things fulfilled in gospel providences which this service doth but typify. This indeed was but the preface to the paschal supper, nor doth Luke mention more of it, only addeth, Luke 22:18, For I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come; of which words I shall here say nothing, for they are doubtless by Luke put out of the true order, being both by Mark and Matthew mentioned as spoken after that our Saviour had blessed and taken the sacramental cup. So as, questionless, Luke 17:21,22 should have been before the Luke 17:18, according to the order in which Matthew and Mark put them, and Luke 22:18 should be put after Luke 22:20, and so also both Matthew and Mark do place them. Luke mentions no more of the paschal supper; let us therefore return to our evangelist.

And as they did eat, that is, the paschal supper, which (according to the law, Exodus 12:8) was the lamb or kid roasted, which they were to eat with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. The Jews had a hundred traditional rites, which they observed about the paschal supper; but there seems to have none of them been of any Divine institution. The law required no more than the eating of the lamb or kid roasted, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. As to their drink, it prescribed nothing, they were left to liberty: for their tradition of four cups of wine to be drank, &c., I cannot find any of the evangelists mentioning our Saviour’s usage of any such thing, but very probably he drank wine at his pleasure, as at other meals, keeping only to the rule of the law. Now saith Matthew and Mark, And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. He had before told them the Son of man should be betrayed, Matthew 17:22 Matthew 20:18, where he had also told them he should be scourged, mocked, and crucified; but he now cometh to discover the traitor to them, One of you. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one to say unto him, Lord, is it I? They were sorrowful that he should be betrayed by any, but more troubled that one of themselves should be so accursed an instrument: every one mistrusts his own heart, and saith, Is it I? Christ replies, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. The dish here could be no other than the dish at the passover supper; probably the hand of Judas was at that time with our Saviour’s in the dish, for we read of no more reply from any but from Judas. Our Saviour addeth, The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It had been good for that man if he had not been born. By these words our Saviour dooms the traitor, though withal he tells them, that for his suffering it was determined by God, foretold by the prophets, and so eventually necessary; he was not dragged to it, The Son of man goeth. But God’s decree as to the thing did neither take away the liberty of Judas’s will in acting, nor yet excuse the fact he did. Woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! A text worthy of their study, who will not understand how God should decree to permit sin, and make a sinful act as to the event necessary, without being the author of sin. As to our Saviour’s death, God had determined it, foretold it, it was necessary to be; but yet Satan put the evil motion into the heart of Judas, and Judas acted freely in the doing what he did.

Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said. This (as I said) maketh it very probable that the hand of Judas was in the dish with our Saviour’s, dipping in the sauce, when our Saviour spake these former words. That Judas, as well as the other disciples, was with our Lord at this action, is out of doubt. That he stayed any longer may very well be questioned, not only because John 13:30, He then having received the sop went immediately out; but because one cannot in reason think that his guilty conscience should suffer him to stay beyond that word, or that our Saviour would have admitted of the society of so prodigious a traitor at his last supper, the institution of which immediately followed.

Then Judas, which betrayed him,.... Or that was about to betray him, as the Ethiopic version reads it: he had taken a step towards it, was seeking an opportunity to do it, and at length effected it: the Persic version reads, Judas Iscariot; who after all the rest had put the question,

answered and said, Master, is it I? Who though he knew what he had been doing, and what he further resolved to do, and was conscious to himself he was the man; nay, though he had been pointed out as the person, and the most dreadful woe denounced on him, that should be the betrayer, in his hearing; yet all this did not at all affect his marble heart; but in the most audacious manner, and without any concern of mind, or show of guilt, asks if he was the person; suggesting, that surely he could, not mean him. It is observed by some, that the word Rabbi, used by Judas, is a more honourable name than that of Lord, used by the disciples; thereby reigning to give Christ more honour, and exceed in his respect to him, than the rest of the disciples; in order, if he could, to cover his wicked designs:

he said unto him, thou hast said: that is, it is as thou hast said; thou hast said right, thou art the man; a way of speaking used, when what is asked is assented to as truth: thus it being

"said to a certain person, is Rabbi dead? He replied to them, , "ye have said"; and they rent their clothes (i).''

Taking it for granted, by that answer, that so it was.

(i) T. Hieros Kilaim, fol. 32. 2.

Then Judas, {k} which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.

(k) Who was thinking of nothing else but to betray him.

Matthew 26:25. This final direct intimation regarding the betrayer (ὁ παραδιδούς), and addressed to this latter himself, is at variance with John 13:26 ff., where Matthew 26:29 presupposes that it had not been given. Matthew 26:25 is an outgrowth of tradition, the absence of which from the older narrative of Mark is unquestionably correct.

σὺ εἶπας] a Rabbinical formula by which an emphatic affirmation is made, as in Matthew 26:64. See Schoettgen. There is no such usage in the Old Testament or among classical writers. At this point in the narrative of Matthew, just after this declaration on the part of Jesus, we must suppose the withdrawal (mentioned at John 13:30) of Judas (who, notwithstanding the statement at Luke 22:21, was not present at the celebration of the last supper; see on John 13:38, Remark) to have taken place. Matthew likewise, at Matthew 26:47, presupposes the withdrawal of the betrayer, though he does not expressly mention it; so that his account of the matter is less precise. The objection, that it was not allowable to leave before the Passover lamb was eaten, is sufficiently disposed of by the extraordinary nature of the circumstances in which Judas found himself; but see on Matthew 26:26.

25. Thou hast said] This is a formula of assent both in Hebrew and Greek, and is still used in Palestine in that sense. These words seem also to have been spoken in a low voice inaudible to the rest.

The special mention of Judas is omitted by St Mark and St Luke.

Matthew 26:25.[1125] Ῥαββί, Master) It is not recorded in Scripture that Judas ever called Jesus, Lord.—σὺ εἶπας, thou hast said) A formula of replying affirmatively, first to those who affirm, thence also to those who enquire, when the interrogation is taken away (as though it were a mode) and the sentence is left categorical.[1126] The question is asked, “JUDAS is the traitor?” the interrogation is taken away, and the categorical reply remains: “Judas IS the traitor.” A similar form of expression is found in Exodus 10:29, כן דברת, So it is as thou hast said;[1127] cf. 1 Kings 20:40, and Gnomon on Matthew 26:64.

[1125] μήτι ἐγώ εἰμι) Is it I? [Surely it is not I?] Hypocrites counterfeit by imitation that which the sincere-hearted speak under the influence of genuine love.—V. g.

[1126] i.e. a simple and absolute affirmation.—(I. B.)

[1127] S. V. Εἴρηκας thou hast said.—E. V. Thou hast spoken well.—(I. B.)

Categorical, naked, and absolute, as opposed to a sentence in which there is a “modus,” i.e. some accompanying expression of feeling, thanksgiving, a prayer, or such like. See Append. on Sermo Modalis.—ED.

Verse 25. - Answered and said, Master, is it I? Μήτι ἐγώ εἰμι; It is not I, is it? as ver. 22. Judas probably had not been one of those who put this question before, and now, availing himself of his proximity to Jesus (see on ver. 23), he has the inconceivable effrontery to make this inquiry privately, as if to assure himself whether Christ was conscious of his treachery or not. It is remarked that he does not call Jesus "Lord," as the other apostles, but "Rabbi," a coldly ceremonious title (so in the garden, ver. 49) The gentle Jeans reproaches him not, but answers him in low tones unheard by the rest (John 13:28, 29). Thou hast said. A common formula, equivalent to "yes." So ver. 64. Matthew 26:25Which betrayed (ὁ παραδιδοὺς)

The article with the participle has the force of an epithet: The betrayer.

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