Matthew 26:53
Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
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(53) Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray . . .?—There is a strange and suggestive blending of the possible and the impossible in these words. Could He have brought Himself to utter that prayer, it would have been answered. But He could not so pray unless He knew it to be in harmony with His Father’s will, and He had been taught, in that hour of agony, that it was not in harmony, and therefore He would not utter it.

Presently.—The modern English reader needs to be reminded once more that the word means immediately, without a moment’s delay.

Twelve legions.—The number is probably suggested by that of the Apostles. Not twelve weak men, one a traitor and the others timorous, but twelve legions of the armies of the Lord of Hosts. Note the Roman word appearing here, as in Mark 5:9; Mark 5:15, as the representative of warlike might.

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!Thinkest thou ... - Jesus says that not only would Peter endanger himself, but his resistance implied a distrust of the protection of God, and was an improper resistance of his will.

If it had been proper that they should be rescued, God could easily have furnished far more efficient aid than that of Peter - a mighty host of angels.

Twelve legions - A legion was a division of the Roman army amounting to more than 6,000 men. See the notes at Matthew 8:29. The number "twelve" was mentioned, perhaps, in reference to the number of his apostles and himself. Judas being away, but eleven disciples remained. God could guard him, and each disciple, with a legion of angels: that is, God could easily protect him, if he should pray to him, and if it was his will.

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.

See Poole on "Matthew 26:54".

Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father,.... Meaning, if he thought proper, or that there was any necessity for it, or that he was desirous of being rescued out of such hands he was falling into. This must be understood of him as man: for, as God, the angels were his creatures and ministering servants, whom he had the command of himself, and so had no need, as such, to pray to his Father to detach a number of them to his assistance, and which, as man, he could only want,

And he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels. A Roman legion consisted of about six thousand soldiers, or upwards; some add six hundred sixty six; and others make the number far greater. Twelve are mentioned, either with respect to the twelve apostles; or in allusion, as others think, to the Roman militia; a proper and full army with them consisting of such a number of legions: and that there is an innumerable company of angels, thousand thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand, is certain; and the Persic version here reads; "twelve myriads" of legions; and that these are at the command of God, and he can dispatch them at once, on any emergent occasion, is very evident; and what is it that such a company of angels is not capable of, when a single angel slew in one night an hundred, fourscore, and five thousand men,

2 Kings 19:35, wherefore had Christ had any inclination to have been rescued from the present danger, he stood in no need of Peter's sword.

{15} Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?

(15) Christ was taken because he was willing to be taken.

Matthew 26:53. ] or, in case this should not be sufficient to induce thee to thrust back thy sword.

ἄρτι] this instant. See on Galatians 1:10.

The interrogation does not extend merely as far as μου, in which case it would lose much of its significance, while the language would be rendered too abrupt, but on to ἀγγέλων; yet not as though καί (for that, ὅτι) introduced a broken construction, but thus: Thinkest thou that I am not ableand He will (not) place at my side, etc.? so that I can thus dispense entirely with thy protection! The force of the negative runs through the whole sentence.

πλείω δώδεκα λεγεώνας ἀγγέλων (see the critical remarks) is a genuine Attic usage, according to which it is permissible to have the neuter πλεῖον or πλείω without a change of construction, or even without inserting . Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 410 f.; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Apol. p. 17 D; Kühner, II. 2, p. 847. The number twelve corresponds to the number of the apostles, because of these only one had shown a disposition to defend him.

Matthew 26:53 gives another reason for not using the sword: if it were God’s will that His Son should be rescued it could be done in a different way. he way suggested is described in military language, the verbs παρακαλεῖν and παριστάναι being both used in classics in connection with military matters, and the word λεγεῶνας suggesting the battalions of the Roman army.—δώδεκα, twelve legions, one for each of the twelve disciples.—πλείω, even more than that vast number, Divine resources boundless. The free play of imagination displayed in this conception of a great army of angels evinces the elasticity of Christ’s spirit and His perfect self-possession at a critical moment.

53. presently] = “immediately”; see ch. Matthew 21:19.

twelve legions of angels] It is characteristic of this gospel that the authority and kingly majesty of Jesus should be suggested at a moment when every hope seemed to have perished.

legions] In contrast to the small company of Roman soldiers.

Matthew 26:53. Ἄρτι, now) Even now.—τὸν Πατέρα Μου, My Father) Jesus even, when He is just about to drink the cup, retains that filial disposition which He had previously and always towards the Father; see Matthew 26:42.—πλείους ἤ δώδεκα λεγεῶας, more than twelve legions) A legion consisted of six thousand; twelve legions therefore of seventy-two thousand. A legion is contrasted with each of the twelve apostles; a thousand angels with each of the seventy disciples. The angels are divided into their numbers and ranks.

Verse 53. - Thinkest thou that I cannot now (ἄρτι) pray to (παρακαλέσαι, beseech) my Father? Jesus proceeds to show that he needs not Peter's puny assistance. Η δοκεῖς; An putas? Or thinkest thou? The particle, neglected by the Authorized Version, marks the transition to a new motive. The verb παρακαλεῖν has the special meaning of "to summon with authority," "to call upon as an ally." Peter needed still to learn the lesson of Christ's Divinity, his oneness with the Father; and this is furnished by the right interpretation of this word, which was not, as our version seems to make it, the cry of an inferior to one mightier than himself, but the summons of an equal to his great Ally in heaven. So Jesus virtually says, "Have I not power through my own Godhead to summon my Father to support me?" (Sewell, 'Microscope of the New Testament'). Shall presently give me (παραστήσει μοι ἄρτι). The Authorized Version seems to have read ἄρτι twice, "now... presently." The manuscripts show it only once, but vary its position. It most probably belongs to the first clause. The verb rendered "give" has a more pregnant meaning. It is a military term meaning "to place by the side," "to post on one's flank." Hence the Lord implies that at a word the serried ranks of angels would range themselves at his side, true flank comrades, to defend and support him. Twelve legions of angels. Not a dozen weak men. He employs the Roman term "legion" with intention. He had been arrested by a cohort (John 18:3, 12, σπεῖρα), the tenth part of the legion, which numbered six thousand men; he could, it he chose, call to his aid twelve times six thousand angels, who would deliver their Lord from his enemies. If there was to be an appeal to force, which Peter's rash assault suggested, what could withstand his angelic allies, the heavenly hosts, infinitely more numerous, better disciplined, more effectively officered, prompt and happy to do the will of the great Commander? Matthew 26:53Twelve legions of angels

Compare the story of Elisha at Dothan (2 Kings 6:17).

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