And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)One of them which were with Jesus.—It is remarkable that, though all four Gospels record the fact, St. John alone (John 18:10-11) records the names both of the disciple who struck the blow (Peter) and of the servant whom he attacked. The reticence of the first three Gospels in this instance, as in that of the woman with the box of ointment, must have been obviously intentional; but it is not easy to conjecture its motive.
Drew his sword.—We learn from Luke 22:33 that there were but two swords in the whole company of the twelve. One of these naturally was in Peter’s possession, as being the foremost of the whole band.
A servant of the high priest’s.—St. John (John 18:11) with the precision characteristic of his narrative, especially in this part of the Gospel history, gives the servant’s name as Malchus, and states that it was the right ear that was cut off. He came, it would seem, not as one of the officers of the Temple, but as the personal slave of Caiaphas. Three of the four Gospels use the diminutive form of the Greek for “ear,” St. Luke only (Luke 22:50) giving the primitive word. It is doubtful, however, whether the former was used with any special significance. St. Luke also (Luke 22:51) alone records the fact that our Lord touched and healed the wound thus made.
The other evangelists concealed the name, probably because they wrote while Peter was living, and it might have endangered Peter to have it known.
And drew his sword - The apostles were not commonly armed. On this occasion they had provided "two swords," Luke 22:38. In seasons of danger, when traveling, they were under a necessity of providing means of defending themselves against the robbers that infested the country. This will account for their having any swords in their possession. See the notes at Luke 10:30. Josephus informs us that the people were accustomed to carry swords under their garments as they went up to Jerusalem.
A servant of the high-priest - His name, John informs us, was "Malchus." Luke adds that Jesus touched the ear and healed it, thus showing his benevolence to his foes when they sought his life, and giving them proof that they were attacking him that was sent from heaven.
For the exposition, see on Joh 18:1-12.See Poole on "Matthew 26:54". John 18:10; whose Gospel being wrote last, and many years after the rest, there was no danger like to accrue, by telling who it was that did the following action: he being now thoroughly awaked with the rest, by what Christ had said to him; and more so by the surprise of the multitude of armed men about him; and remembering his solemn protestations of abiding by his master; and seeing him just now ready to be seized, and carried away; without knowing his master's mind, or waiting his answer to the question the other disciples put,
stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear. It seems he had a sword by his side, upon what account is not certain; this he drew, and struck at a servant of the high priest's, who might show great malignity against Christ, and was foremost, and most busy in apprehending him. The blow was levelled at his head, and with an intention, no doubt, to have, cleaved him down, but sloping on one side took off his ear. The servant's name was Malchus, as John says; and it was his right ear that was cut off, as both he and Luke relate, John 18:10.And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Matthew 26:51. It is strange that the Synoptists have not mentioned the name of Peter here (John 18:10, where the name of the high priest’s servant is also given). It may be that, with a view to prevent the apostle from getting into trouble with the authorities, his name was suppressed from the very first, and that, accordingly, the incident came to be incorporated in the primitive gospel traditions without any names being mentioned, it having been reserved for John ultimately to supply this omission.
αὐτοῦ τὸ ὠτίον] his ear (see on Matthew 8:3). On ὠτίον, see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 211. He missed the head at which the stroke was aimed.Matthew 26:51-54. Blood drawn.—ἰδού, introducing a second scene connected with the apprehension (cf. Matthew 26:47); the use of a weapon by one of Christ’s disciples. A quite likely occurrence if any of them happened to have weapons in their hands, though we may wonder at that. It might be a large knife used in connection with the Paschal feast. Who used the weapon is not said by the Synop. Did they know? The article before μάχαιραν might suggest that the whole party were armed, each disciple having his sword. The fear that they might be explains the largeness of the band following Judas.51. one of them] This was St Peter, named by St John, but not by the earlier Evangelists, probably from motives of prudence.
his sword] Probably a short sword or dirk, worn in the belt.
a servant] Rather, the servant, or rather slave; St John gives his name, Malchus. St Luke alone records the cure of Malchus.Matthew 26:51. Εἷς, one) St Matthew does not mention Peter by name. He might have had more reasons than one for his silence. Danger might possibly threaten Peter from the unbelieving Jews.—τὸν δοῦλον, the slave) He perhaps acted more violently than the rest by his master’s desire.—τὸ ὠτίον, his ear) with a most dangerous stroke, He had aimed at the shoulder of the principal aggressor.Verse 51. - One of them which were with Jesus. St. John names Peter as the agent in the attack on the high priest's servant; he also alone gives the name of the servant, Malchus. Of the circumstances which led to the subsequent miracle all the evangelists give an account; the miracle itself is related only by St. Luke. Conjecture has attempted to give reasons for these deficiencies in some of the narratives, and the complementary details in others; but it is wisest to say that thus it has seemed good to the Holy Ghost who guided the writers, and there to leave the subject. Drew his sword. The apostles had evidently misunderstood the Lord's words uttered a little while before (Luke 22:36-38), "He that hath no sword, let him sell his cloke, and buy one." Two of them had then exhibited the weapons with which they had armed themselves, as if ready to repel violence And now one of these, thinking that the hour was arrived for striking a blow in his Master's defence, resorted to violence. Physical courage, indeed, Peter possessed, as was proved by his attitude in the face of fearful odds, but of moral courage he and his comrades exhibited little evidence, when, as soon as their Master was apprehended and led away, they "all forsook him, and fled" (ver. 56). Struck a (the) servant of the high priest's. The man was the high priest's servant in a special way - what we should call his bodyservant; he had evidently made himself conspicuous in the arrest, and Peter struck fiercely at his head as the foremost of the aggressors. St. John, who was acquainted with the high priest and his household, gives his name as Malchus, a Syriac word, meaning "Counsellor." Smote off his ear. The blow fell short, but inflicted a serious wound. How the mischief was repaired by the healing touch of Christ is mentioned alone by Luke the physician, for whom the incident would have special interest. We may note, in passing, that this miracle (the last which Christ worked before his death) was wholly unsolicited and unexpected on the part of the recipient, and was performed upon an enemy actually engaged in hostility. What more striking proof of the Lord's mercy and forgiveness could have been given? What better way could there be of demonstrating the nature of the kingdom which he came to establish? Thus he displayed his superhuman power even while surrendering himself to captivity and death. By this immediate action too he secured his followers from reprisal, so that they were allowed to retire unmolested, and Peter, though recognized to have been one of those in the garden (John 18:26), was not punished for his part in the transaction.
The article marks the special servant; the body-servant.
A diminutive in form but not in sense; according to a Greek popular usage which expressed parts of the body by diminutives; as ῥίνια, the nostrils; ὀμμάτιον, the eye; σαρκίον, the body. Peter aimed his blow at the servant's head, but missed.
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