Matthew 26:49
And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.
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(49) Hail, master.—Better, Rabbi, both St. Matthew and St. Mark (Mark 14:45) giving the Hebrew word. The Greek word for “hail” is somewhat more familiar than the English has come to be for us. It was, we may believe, the disciples’ usual greeting.

26:47-56 No enemies are so much to be abhorred as those professed disciples that betray Christ with a kiss. God has no need of our services, much less of our sins, to bring about his purposes. Though Christ was crucified through weakness, it was voluntary weakness; he submitted to death. If he had not been willing to suffer, they could not conquer him. It was a great sin for those who had left all to follow Jesus; now to leave him for they knew not what. What folly, for fear of death to flee from Him, whom they knew and acknowledged to be the Fountain of life!Hail, Master - The word translated "hail," here, means to "rejoice," to have joy, and also to have "cause" of joy.

It thus expresses the "joy" which one friend has when he meets another, especially after an absence. It was used by the Jews and Greeks as a mode of salutation among friends. It would here seem to express the "joy" of Judas at finding his Master and again being "with him."

Master - In the original, "Rabbi." See the notes at Matthew 23:7.

Kissed him - Gave him the common salutation of friends when meeting after absence. This mode of salutation was more common among Eastern nations than with us.

Mt 26:47-56. Betrayal and Apprehension of Jesus—Flight of His Disciples. ( = Mr 14:43-52; Lu 22:47-54; Joh 18:1-12).

For the exposition, see on [1365]Joh 18:1-12.

Ver. 48-49. Mark, Mark 14:44,45, differs not, only instead of hold him fast, he hath, lead him away safely; and instead of

Hail, master, he saith, Master, master. There is in these words nothing difficult or doubtful: Judas had given them a sign how to know Christ, that was his kissing of him: being come where he was, he steps to our Saviour and kissed him, by which he let them know that he was the person against whom their warrant was.

And forthwith he came to Jesus,.... As soon as ever he appeared, before the rest could come up; for, he went before them, as Luke says, and that not only as, their guide to direct them to the person they wanted, but he separated himself from them, that it might not be thought that he came with them, or belonged to them:

and said, hail, master; and kissed him. Just as Joab asked Amasa of his health, and took him by the beard to kiss him, and smote him under the fifth rib, 2 Samuel 20:9. The salutation he gave him was wishing him all health, prosperity, and happiness. The Syriac version renders it, "peace, Rabbi"; and the Persic, "peace be upon thee, Rabbi"; which was the very form of salutation the disciples of the wise men gave to their Rabbins,

"Says (n) Aba bar Hona, in the name of R. Jochanan, in what form is the salutation of a disciple to his master?

, "peace be upon thee, Rabbi".

In Mark 14:45, the word "Rabbi" is repeated, this being usual in the salutation of the Jewish doctors; and the rather used by Judas under a pretence of doing him the greater honour, and of showing the highest respect, and strongest affection for him. So this deceitful wretch still addresses him as his master, though he was now serving his most implacable enemies; and wishes him all peace and joy, when he was going to deliver him into the hands of those that sought his life; and to cover all, kissed him, as a token of his friendship and the sincerity of it. It is rightly observed by Dr. Lightfoot, that it was usual for masters to kiss their disciples, particularly their heads; but then not for disciples to kiss their masters: of the former there are many instances in the Jewish writings, but not of the latter: yet, I can hardly think that this was done out of open contempt and derision; but under a pretence of respect and love; and even as being concerned for his present case, and as condoling him under the circumstances he was now likely to be in, through an armed hand, which was just upon him; and which he, by this artifice, would have suggested he had no concern with,

(n) T. Hieros. Shebuot. fol. 34. 1.

And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.
Matthew 26:49. Εὐθέως] is not to be taken with εἶπε (Fritzsche), but with προσελθών: immediately, as soon as he had given them this signal, he stepped up, etc. No sooner said than done.

κατεφίλησεν] embraced and kissed Him, kissed Him most endearingly. Xen. Mem. ii. 6. 33: ὡς τοὺς μὲν καλοὺς φιλήσαντός μου, τοὺς δʼ ἀγαθοὺς καταφιλήσαντος; Tob 7:6; Sir 29:5; 3Ma 5:49; Test. XII. patr. p. 730. It is not the case, as de Wette imagines (see Luke 7:38; Luke 7:45; Acts 20:37), that in the New Testament (and the LXX.) the compound has lost the force here ascribed to it; but it is to be insisted on in our present passage as much as in classical Greek. The signal, as arranged, was to be simply a kiss; the signal actually given was kissing accompanied with embraces, which was entirely in keeping with the excitement of Judas, and the desire he felt that there should be no mistake as to the person intended.

Matthew 26:49. κατεφίλησεν, kissed Him heartily. In late Greek there was a tendency to use compounds with the force of the simple verb, and this has been supposed, to be a case in point (De Wette). But coming after φιλήσω, Matthew 26:48, the compound verb is plainly used with intention. It occurs again in Luke 7:38; Luke 7:45; Luke 15:20, obviously with intensive force. What a tremendous contrast between the woman in Simon’s house (Luke 7) and Judas! Both kissed Jesus fervently: with strong emotion; yet the one could have died for Him, the other betrays Him to death. Did Jesus remember the woman at that moment?

49. Hail, master] Rather, Rabbi.

kissed him] The Greek verb is forcible, kissed him with fervour or repeatedly.

Matthew 26:49. Κατεφίλησε, kissed Him repeatedly, Lat. deosculatus est) He kissed Him more than once in opposition to what He had said in the preceding verse, and did so as if from kindly feeling. He violated the inviolable countenance of Jesus with the utmost temerity.

Verse 49. - Forthwith. The blood money was to become due on the accomplishment of the betrayal; so Judas, now that the opportunity had arrived, lost no time in completing his part of the bargain. Kissed him (κατεφίλησεν, a strong word, kissed him eagerly, or, kissed him much). Judas was more than usually demonstrative in his salutation. "The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords" (Psalm 55:21). So Joab treated Amasa before he murdered him (2 Samuel 20:9, 10). What infinite patience for the Lord to submit to this hypocritical caress! It is a type of the wonderful goodness and long suffering of God towards sinners, how he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good. Matthew 26:49Kissed him (κατεφίλησεν)

The compound verb has the force of an emphatic, ostentatious salute. Meyer says embraced and kissed. The same word is used of the tender caressing of the Lord's feet by the woman in the Pharisee's house (Luke 7:38), of the father's embrace of the returned prodigal (Luke 15:20), and of the farewell of the Ephesian elders to Paul (Acts 20:37).

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