Matthew 26:45
Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
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(45) Sleep on now, and take your rest.—There is an obvious difficulty in these words, followed as they are so immediately by the “Rise, let us be going,” of the next verse. We might, at first, be inclined to see in them a shade of implied reproach. “Sleep on now, if sleep under such conditions is possible; make the most of the short interval that remains before the hour of the betrayal comes.” Something of this kind seems obviously implied, but the sudden change is, perhaps, best explained by the supposition that it was not till after these words had been spoken that the Traitor and his companions were seen actually approaching, and that it was this that led to the words seemingly so different in their purport, bidding the slumberers to rouse themselves from sleep. The past, which, as far as their trial went, might have been given to sleep, was over. A new crisis had come calling for action.

26:36-46 He who made atonement for the sins of mankind, submitted himself in a garden of suffering, to the will of God, from which man had revolted in a garden of pleasure. Christ took with him into that part of the garden where he suffered his agony, only those who had witnessed his glory in his transfiguration. Those are best prepared to suffer with Christ, who have by faith beheld his glory. The words used denote the most entire dejection, amazement, anguish, and horror of mind; the state of one surrounded with sorrows, overwhelmed with miseries, and almost swallowed up with terror and dismay. He now began to be sorrowful, and never ceased to be so till he said, It is finished. He prayed that, if possible, the cup might pass from him. But he also showed his perfect readiness to bear the load of his sufferings; he was willing to submit to all for our redemption and salvation. According to this example of Christ, we must drink of the bitterest cup which God puts into our hands; though nature struggle, it must submit. It should be more our care to get troubles sanctified, and our hearts satisfied under them, than to get them taken away. It is well for us that our salvation is in the hand of One who neither slumbers nor sleeps. All are tempted, but we should be much afraid of entering into temptation. To be secured from this, we should watch and pray, and continually look unto the Lord to hold us up that we may be safe. Doubtless our Lord had a clear and full view of the sufferings he was to endure, yet he spoke with the greatest calmness till this time. Christ was a Surety, who undertook to be answerable for our sins. Accordingly he was made sin for us, and suffered for our sins, the Just for the unjust; and Scripture ascribes his heaviest sufferings to the hand of God. He had full knowledge of the infinite evil of sin, and of the immense extent of that guilt for which he was to atone; with awful views of the Divine justice and holiness, and the punishment deserved by the sins of men, such as no tongue can express, or mind conceive. At the same time, Christ suffered being tempted; probably horrible thoughts were suggested by Satan that tended to gloom and every dreadful conclusion: these would be the more hard to bear from his perfect holiness. And did the load of imputed guilt so weigh down the soul of Him of whom it is said, He upholdeth all things by the word of his power? into what misery then must those sink whose sins are left upon their own heads! How will those escape who neglect so great salvation?Sleep on now and take your rest - Most interpreters have supposed that this should be translated as a question rattler than a command,

"Do you sleep now and take your rest? Is this a time, amid so much danger and so many enemies. to give yourselves to sleep?" This construction is strongly countenanced by Luke 22:46, where the expression. Why sleep ye? evidently refers to the same point of time. There is no doubt that the Greek will bear this construction, and in this way the apparent inconsistency will be removed between this command "to sleep," and that in the next verse, "to rise" and be going. Others suppose that, his agony being over, and the necessity of watching with him being now past, he kindly permitted them to seek repose until they should be roused by the coming of the traitor; that while they slept Jesus continued still awake; that some considerable time elapsed between what was spoken here and in the next verse; and that Jesus suffered them to sleep until he saw Judas coming, and then aroused them. This is the most probable opinion. Others have supposed that he spoke this in irony: "Sleep on now, if you can; take rest, if possible, in such dangers and at such a time." But this supposition is unworthy the Saviour and the occasion. Mark adds, "It is enough." That is, sufficient time has been given to sleep. It is time to arise and be going.

The hour is at hand - The "time" when the Son of man is to be betrayed is near.

Sinners - Judas, the Roman soldiers, and the Jews.

Mt 26:36-46. The Agony in the Garden. ( = Mr 14:32-42; Lu 22:39-46).

For the exposition, see on [1364]Lu 22:39-46.

See Poole on "Matthew 26:46".

Then cometh he to his disciples,.... The three that were nearest to him, "the third time", as Mark says, Mark 14:41, and as it was,

and saith unto them, sleep on now, and take your rest. The Evangelist Mark adds, "it is enough", Mark 14:41; which has induced some interpreters to think, that these words were spoken seriously by Christ: though the sense cannot be that they had watched sufficiently, and now might sleep, and take their rest, for they had not watched at all; but rather, that he had now no need of them, or their watching with him; the conflict was over for the present; or, as the Syriac version renders it, "the end is come"; and so the Arabic; and to the same purpose the Persic, "the matter is come to an end", or to an extremity; the sense being the same with what is expressed in the following clause, "the hour is at hand"; and shows, that the words are to be understood in an ironical sense, sleep on and take your rest, if you can: I have been exhorting you to watchfulness, but to no purpose, you will be alarmed from another quarter; a band of soldiers is just at hand to seize and carry me away, and now sleep if you can: that this is the sense appears from the reason given, and from the exhortation in the following verse, and the reason annexed to that:

behold the hour is at hand, and the son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners: by the son of man Christ means himself, and under this diminutive title expresses his Messiahship, this being a character of the Messiah in the Old Testament; and the truth of his human nature, and the weakness and infirmities of it: by the "betraying", or delivery of him, is intended either the betraying of him by Judas into the hands of the high priest, Scribes, and Pharisees; or the delivery of him, by them, into the hands of Pilate, and by him to the Roman soldiers; all which were by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. The high priest, elders, Scribes, and Pharisees, notwithstanding all their pretensions to religion, righteousness, and holiness, were very wicked persons; though the Gentiles, the band of Roman soldiers, Judas brought with him to take Christ, are here rather meant, it being usual to call the Gentiles sinners. This betraying and delivery of Christ into the hands of these, was determined by God; the time, the very hour was fixed, and was now approaching; the last sand in the glass was dropping; for as soon as Christ had said these words, Judas, with his band of soldiers, appeared.

Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
Matthew 26:45. The annoyance at finding the disciples asleep (Matthew 26:40 : οὕτως οὐκ ἰσχύσατε, κ.τ.λ.) now deepens into an intensely painful irony: “sleep on now, and have out your rest” (the emphasis is not on τὸ λοιπόν, but on καθεύδετε κ. ἀναπ.)! He had previously addressed them with a γρηγορεῖτε, but to how little purpose! and, accordingly, He now turns to them with the sadly ironical abandonment of one who has no further hope, and tells them to do quite the reverse sleep on, etc. Comp. Euthymius Zigabenus, Beza, Münster, Erasmus, Calvin, Er. Schmid, Maldonatus, Bengel, Jansen, Michaelis, Fritzsche, Keim, Ewald. On λοιπόν and τὸ λοιπόν, for the rest of the time, in the sense of jam (Vulgate), henceforward (Plat. Prot. p. 321 C), see Schaefer, ad Long. p. 400; Jacobs, ad Philostr. p. 663. Comp. on Acts 27:20. To object, as is frequently done, that the ironical view does not accord with the frame of mind in which Jesus must have been, is to fail to appreciate aright the nature of the situation. Irony is not inconsistent even with the deepest anguish of soul, especially in cases where such anguish is also accompanied with such clearness of judgment as we find in the present instance; and consider what it was for Jesus to see such an overpowering tendency to sleep on the part of His disciples, and to find everything so different from what He needed, and might reasonably have expected! Winer, p. 292 [E. T. 391], following Chrysostom, Theophylact (who, however, admits the plausibility of the ironical view), and Grotius, excludes the idea of irony, and interprets thus: “sleep on, then, as you are doing, and take your rest,” which words are supposed to be spoken permissively in accordance with the calm, mild, resigned spirit produced by the prayers in which He had just been engaged. This is also substantially the view of Kuinoel, de Wette, Morison, Weiss on Mark; and see even Augustine, who says: “verba indulgentis eis jam somnum.” But the idea that any such indulgence was seriously intended, would be incompatible with the danger referred to at Matthew 26:41, and which He knew was threatening even the disciples themselves. There are others, again, who are disposed to take the words interrogatively, thus: are ye still asleep? Such is the view of Henry Stephens, Heumann, Kypke, Krebs, in spite of the ordinary usage with regard to τὸ λοιπόν, to understand which in the sense of “henceforth” (Bleek, Volkmar) would be entirely out of keeping with the use of the present here. If, however, the mark of interrogation be inserted after καθεύδετε, and τὸ λοιπὸν καὶ ἀναπαύεσθε be then taken imperatively (Klostermann), in that case καί would have the intensive force of even; but its logical position would have to be before τὸ λοιπόν, not before ἀναπαύεσθε, where it could be rendered admissible at all only by an artificial twisting of the sense (“now you may henceforth rest on, even as long as you choose”).

While Jesus is in the act of uttering His καθεύδετε, κ.τ.λ., He observes the hostile band approaching; the painful irony changes to a painful earnestness, and He continues in abrupt and disjointed words: ἰδοὺ, ἤγγικεν, κ.τ.λ. The ἡ ὥρα should be taken absolutely: hora fatalis, John 17:1. The next clause describes in detail the character of that hour.

εἰς χεῖρας ἁμαρτ.] into sinners’ hands. He refers to the members of the Sanhedrim, at whose disposal He would be placed by means of His apprehension, and not to the Romans (Maldonatus, Grotius, Hilgenfeld), nor to both of these together (Lange). The παραδιδούς is not God, but Judas, acting, however, in pursuance of the divine purpose, Acts 2:23.

Matthew 26:45. καθεύδετε λ. κ. ἀναπαύεσθε, sleep now and rest; not ironical or reproachful, nor yet seriously meant, but concessive = ye may sleep and rest indefinitely so far as I am concerned; I need no longer your watchful interest. The Master’s time of weakness is past; He is prepared to face the worst.—ἡ ὥρα: He expects the worst to begin forthwith: the cup, which He prayed might pass, to be put immediately into His hands.—παραδίδοται, betrayal the first step, on the point of being taken.—ἁμαρτωλῶν, the Sanhedrists, with whom Judas has been bargaining.—ἐγείρ. ἄγωμ.: sudden change of mood, on signs of a hostile approach: arise, let us go; spoken as if by a general to his army.—ὁ παραδιδούς, the traitor is seen to be coming. It is noticeable that throughout the narrative, in speaking of the action of Judas the verb παραδίδωμι is used instead of προδίδωμι: the former expresses the idea of delivering to death, the latter of delivering into the hands of those who sought His life (Euthy. on Matthew 26:21).

The scene in the garden is intrinsically probable and without doubt historical. The temptation was to suppress rather than to invent in regard both to the behaviour of Jesus and to that of His disciples. It is not the creation of theology, though theology has made its own use of it. It is recorded simply because it was known to have happened.

45, 46. Sleep on now … Rise, let us be going] The sudden transition may be explained either (1) by regarding the first words as intended for a rebuke, or else (2) at that very moment Judas appeared, and the time for action had come. The short, quick sentences, especially as reported by St Mark, favour the second suggestion.

Matthew 26:45. Καθεύδετε τὸ λοιπὸν, sleep on now) An imperative, leaving the disciples, as it were to themselves, wholly given up as they were to sleep, and thus exciting them so much the more urgently by tenderness joined with severity. It is not an instance of irony, but metonymy, q.d. “You do not listen to Me when attempting to rouse you, others soon will come and rouse yon. In the meanwhile sleep, if you have leisure for so doing.” In St Luke (Luke 22:46) we find τί καθεύδετεwhy sleep ye?” with an interrogation, which some have introduced into St Matthew and St Mark.—ἀναπαύεσθε, take your rest), as Sleep is opposed to Watching, so Rest to the labour of prayer.—ἠ ὥρα, the hour) often foretold. In Matthew 26:18 He had said less definitely “My time.”

Verse 45. - Cometh he. St. Hilary comments on these three visits: "On his first return he reproves, on the second he holds his peace, on the third he bids to rest." The contest was over; the human will was now entirely one with the Divine will. Sleep on now (τὸ λοιπόν, henceforward), and take your rest. This is probably to be understood literally. There was a short interval still before the apprehension and the subsequent events; as they could not watch, they might use this in finishing their sleep, and recruiting their wearied bodies in preparation for the coming trial. Many expositors find an irony in Christ's words, taken in connection with those that follow, as if he meant, "In a few minutes I shall be seized; sleep on if you can; you will soon be miserably awakened, make the most of the present." But at this moment the tender Jesus would surely never have condescended to address his friends in such a style. All his words and actions were animated with the deepest love for them and anxiety on their account. A change to irony is really inconceivable under the circumstances. Nor is there any reason to take the sentence interrogatively, "Sleep ye at such a moment?" It is more simple to regard the words as said bona fide, with no mental reservation and no implied censure. We may suppose that a pause ensued before the utterance of the next clause, and that the Lord allowed his fatigued followers to sleep on till the last moment. Behold, the hour is at hand, and (καὶ, equivalent to when) the Son of man is betrayed (παραδίδοται, is being betrayed) into the hands of sinners. He calls all simmers who take part in his apprehension, trial, and death - not the Romans only (as Acts 2:23), but priests, eiders, multitude, who joined in the crowd and incurred the guilt. There is now no sign of wavering; he is ready, yea, eager to meet the sufferings which he foresees. Matthew 26:45The hour is at hand

He probably heard the tramp and saw the lanterns of Judas and his band.

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