Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Whomsoever I shall kiss.—It is probable, from the known customs (1) of the Jews and (2) of the early Christians (Romans 16:16; 1Thessalonians 5:26) that this was the usual salutation of the disciples to their Master. St. John, it may be noted, makes no mention of the sign; probably because here, as elsewhere, he seeks to give touches that others had passed over, rather than to repeat what the oral or written teaching of the Church had already made familiar.
It was night. Jesus was, besides, probably personally unknown to the "Romans" - perhaps to the others also. Judas, therefore, being well acquainted with him, to prevent the possibility of mistake, agreed to designate him by one of the tokens of friendship.
John tells us that Jesus, knowing all things that should come upon him, when they approached him, asked them whom they sought, and that they replied, Jesus of Nazareth. He then informed them that he was the person they sought. They, when they heard it, overawed by his presence and smitten with the consciousness of guilt, went backward and fell to the ground. He again asked them whom they sought. They made the same declaration - Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus then, since they professed to seek only Him, claimed the right that his disciples should be suffered to escape, "that the saying might be fulfilled which he spake John 18:9; Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none."
For the exposition, see on Joh 18:1-12.See Poole on "Matthew 26:49". John 18:3, yet Judas himself might not be able to discern, him, so as to point him out, until he came very near him: moreover, Christ and his apostles might be clothed alike, so that a mistake might be easily made, and one of them be took for him: and so the Jews say (l), that the two thousand men, they pretend were with him, were clothed with the same apparel; which story may take its rise from hence: add to this, that James, the son of Alphaeus, called the brother of our Lord, is reported to be very like unto him. Besides, it is very likely that the Roman soldiers, who were to be the principal persons in apprehending, binding, and carrying him away, might never have seen him, and so could not know him without some sign was given them; and which Judas gave them before he came out with them: and is as follows:
saying, whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he, hold him fast. Judas might the rather pitch upon this to be the sign, partly because it might be what had been usual with the disciples, when they had been at any time absent from Christ, and which he admitted of; and partly because he might think this would best cover his treacherous designs, who, with all his wickedness, had not effrontery enough to come sword in hand and seize him in a violent manner, and besides, might not judge such a method advisable, had he impudence enough to prosecute it, lest this should put Jesus upon taking some measures to make his escape. The reason of his advice, "hold him fast", was, because he knew that once and again, when attempts were made to seize him, he easily disengaged himself, passed through the midst, and went his way; see Luke 4:30.
John 10:39; and therefore gave them this caution, and strict charge, lest, should he slip from them, he should lose his money he had agreed with the chief priests for; or to let them know, that when he was in their hands, he had made good his agreement, and should expect his money: and that it lay upon them then to take care of him, and bring him before the sanhedrim. The account the Jews themselves give of the directions of Judas, is not very much unlike this; who represent him advising in this manner, only as on the day before:
"gird yourselves ready about this time tomorrow, and the man whom shall worship and bow to, the same is he; behave yourselves like men of war, fight against his company, and lay hold on him (m).Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Matthew 26:48. It is usual, though unwarrantable (see on John 18:24), to take ἔδωκεν in the sense of the pluperfect (comp. Mark 14:44), in which case it is necessary, with Ewald, to make Matthew 26:48 a parenthesis. The Vulgate correctly renders by: dedit. He communicated the signal to them while they were on the way.
ὃν ἂν φιλήσω, κ.τ.λ.] Fritzsche inserts a colon after φιλήσω, and supposes the following words to be understood: Esther vobis comprehendendus. It may be given more simply thus: Whomsoever I shall have kissed, He it is (just He, no other is the one in question)! This αὐτός serves to single out the person intended, from those about Him. Hermann, ad Viger. p. 733.Matthew 26:48. ἔδωκεν: the traitor, as he approached the place where he shrewdly guessed Jesus would be, gave (dedit, Vulg), not had given. His plan was not cut and dry from the first. In flashed upon him as he drew near and began to think how he would meet his Master. The old charm of the Master reasserts itself in his soul, and he feels he must salute Him affectionately. At the same instant it flashes upon him that the kiss which both smouldering love and cowardice compel may be utilised as a sign. Inconsistent motives? Yes, but such is human nature, especially in the Judas type: two-souled men, drawn opposite ways by the good and evil in them; betraying loved ones, then hanging themselves.
 Vulgate (Jerome’s revision of old Latin version).Κρατήσατε Αὐτὸν, seize hold of Him) Judas feared lest Jesus should escape on the present, as He had done on a former occasion.—καὶ ἐκράτησαν Αὐτὸν, and they seized hold of Him) First the multitude seized upon Jesus; in the meantime occurred the blow and the miracle on Malchus, whose ear the Saviour touched and healed; then they surrounded and apprehended Him as an actual prisoner. The former is expressed in Matthew and Mark by the verb κρατεῖν, to seize hold of, the latter in Luke [Luke 22:54] and John [John 18:12], by συλλαμβάνειν, to apprehend. Then they moreover bound Him.—B. H. E., p. 530.]
 In the German this is beautifully expressed by the words, “dessen Ohr der HEYLAND angerühret und GEHEILET.”—(I. B.)Verse 48 - A sign. As they approached, Judas gave them a sign which would point out the person whom they were to seize. Probably these did not know Jesus by sight; at any rate, amid the crowd he might easily escape detection; it was also night, and even the Paschal moon might not enable the guards to distinguish faces under the shade of the dark olive grove. Whomsoever I shall kiss. In the East such salutation was common among friends, masters, and pupils; and it would awaken no surprise to see Judas thus salute his Teacher. Perhaps he desired to save appearances in the eyes of his fellow disciples. We marvel at the audacity and obduracy of one who could employ this mark of affection and respect to signal an act of the blackest treachery. That same is he whom you have to arrest. Hold him fast. As if he feared an attempt at rescue, or that Jesus might, as before (Luke 4:30; John 8:59), use his miraculous power to effect his escape.
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