Matthew 26:69
Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.
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(69) Now Peter sat without in the palace.—Better, had sat down in the court. The word rendered “palace” here and in Matthew 26:58, is strictly the court-yard or quadrangle round which a house was built. It may be well to bring together the order of the Apostle’s thrice-repeated denials.

(1) On his entry into the court-yard of the palace, in answer to the female slave who kept the door (John 18:17).

(2) As he sat by the fire warming himself, in answer (a) to another damsel (Matthew 26:69) and (b) other by-standers (John 18:25; Luke 22:58), including (c) the kinsman of Malchus (John 18:26).

(3) About an hour later (Luke 22:59), after he had left the fire, as if to avoid the shower of questions, and had gone out into the porch, or gateway leading out of the court-yard, in answer (a) to one of the damsels who had spoken before (Mark 14:69; Matthew 26:71), and again (b) to other by-standers (Luke 22:59; Matthew 26:13; Mark 14:20).

There were thus three distinct occasions, but as the hasty words of denial rose to his lips, it is probable enough that they were repeated more than once on each occasion, and that several persons heard them.

As far as we can analyse the impulse which led to the denial, it was probably shame not less than fear. The feeling which had shown itself in the cry, “Be it far from thee, Lord,” when he first heard of his Master’s coming passion (Matthew 16:22), came back upon him, and he shrank from the taunts and ridicule which were sure to fall upon the followers of One whom they had acknowledged as the Christ, and whose career was ending in apparent failure. It was against that feeling of shame that our Lord on that occasion had specially warned him (Mark 8:38). The element of fear also was, however, probably strong in Peter’s nature. (Comp. Galatians 2:12.)

Matthew 26:69-70. Now Peter, &c. — Our Lord’s trial in the high-priest’s palace, and Peter’s denying him, being contemporary events, either of them might be related first, as the historian might think most proper. Matthew and Mark describe the trial first, as being the principal fact, but Luke introduces it after Peter’s denials. John has preserved the exact natural order, for he begins with the first denial, because it happened immediately after Peter entered the palace; then gives the history of the trial, as the principal fact, and concludes with the subsequent denials. The apostles, no doubt, were in great consternation when their Master was apprehended, as appears from their forsaking him and fleeing. Some of them, however, recovering out of the panic that had seized them, followed the band at a distance, to see what the end would be. Of this number was Peter, and another disciple, whom John has mentioned without giving his name, and who, therefore, is generally supposed to have been John himself, it being his manner to speak of himself in the third person. See John 13:23; John 21:10. “Matthew and Mark seem to differ in the account which they give of the place where Peter first denied his Master. Matthew’s words are, Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, &c. Mark says, Mark 14:66, the denial happened as Peter was beneath in the palace. To reconcile this difference, some suppose that the high- priest’s palace was built so as to form a court; that the fire at which the servants sat was lighted in the court; and that Jesus was examined in the porch, called by Matthew πυλων, and by Mark προαυλιον. Accordingly they think persons in the court might be said to have been (εξω) without, in the palace, that is, without in respect of the covered buildings; and (κατω) beneath in the palace with respect to the porch, which was higher than the level of the court. But it appears from John 18:25, that Peter was with the servants at the fire when he denied his Master the third time; and from Luke 22:61, that Jesus looked upon Peter just as he was pronouncing the words of the third denial. Our Lord, therefore, and his disciple, were not, the one in the court and the other in the porch of the palace during his trial, but they were together in one room, Jesus with his judges at the upper end of it, and Peter with the servants at the fire in the other. According to this disposition, Peter might be said to have been without in the hall, that is, without in relation to the crowd of judges, witnesses, and soldiers around Jesus; but in relation to the place where the council sat, he was beneath in the hall, a way of speaking common even in our own language. Further, John says, Matthew 26:18, that Peter, after the first denial, stood with the officers at the fire; whereas Matthew and Luke tell us, when he first denied his Master he sat by the fire. It seems, the maid’s words had put him into such confusion, that before he answered her he rose from the seat which the servants had given him on his first coming in.” — Macknight. According to John, the maid who attacked Peter, was the damsel who kept the door. It seems, after having admitted him, she followed him to the fire, and spoke to him in an angry tone, having been informed that it was he who had cut off her fellow-servant’s ear, see John 18:26. Thou also wast with Jesus — She meant when he was apprehended in the garden. This blunt attack threw Peter into such confusion, that he flatly denied his having any thing to do with Jesus, saying, I know not what thou sayest — I do not understand what thou meanest by speaking to me in this manner. Here we see that apostle, who had formerly acknowledged his Master to be the Messiah, who was honoured with the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and who had most confidently boasted of fortitude, and a firm attachment to him in the greatest dangers, proved a very coward upon trial.

26:69-75 Peter's sin is truly related, for the Scriptures deal faithfully. Bad company leads to sin: those who needlessly thrust themselves into it, may expect to be tempted and insnared, as Peter. They scarcely can come out of such company without guilt or grief, or both. It is a great fault to be shy of Christ; and to dissemble our knowledge of him, when we are called to own him, is, in effect, to deny him. Peter's sin was aggravated; but he fell into the sin by surprise, not as Judas, with design. But conscience should be to us as the crowing of the cock, to put us in mind of the sins we had forgotten. Peter was thus left to fall, to abate his self-confidence, and render him more modest, humble, compassionate, and useful to others. The event has taught believers many things ever since, and if infidels, Pharisees, and hypocrites stumble at it or abuse it, it is at their peril. Little do we know how we should act in very difficult situations, if we were left to ourselves. Let him, therefore, that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall; let us all distrust our own hearts, and rely wholly on the Lord. Peter wept bitterly. Sorrow for sin must not be slight, but great and deep. Peter, who wept so bitterly for denying Christ, never denied him again, but confessed him often in the face of danger. True repentance for any sin will be shown by the contrary grace and duty; that is a sign of our sorrowing not only bitterly, but sincerely.Now Peter sat without in the palace - Mark says the first denial took place while Peter was "beneath in the palace." This "palace" was the large hall or court belonging to the residence of the high priest. The part of it where Jesus and the council were was "elevated," probably above the rest for a tribunal. Peter was "beneath or in the "lower part" of the hall, with the servants at the fire. Yet, as Matthew says, he sat without in the palace - that is, out of the palace where they were trying Jesus - to wit, in the lower part of the hall with the servants: both narratives are therefore consistent.

And a damsel came unto him - John Joh 18:17 says that this damsel was one that kept the door.

Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee - Probably she suspected him from his being in company with John. This was in the early part of the trial of Jesus.

Mt 26:57-75. Jesus Arraigned before the Sanhedrim Condemned to Die, and Shamefully Entreated—The Denial of Peter. ( = Mr 14:53-72; Lu 22:54-71; Joh 18:13-18, 24-27).

For the exposition, see on [1366]Mr 14:53-72.

See Poole on "Matthew 26:70".

Now Peter sat without in the palace,.... Peter's denial of his Lord, the account of which follows, is related among the sufferings of Christ; and indeed, the ill usage he met with from his enemies, their spitting in his face, buffeting him with their fists, smiting him on the cheeks with their hands, and rods, did not give him so much pain and grief, as to be denied by his own disciple: we are before told, Matthew 26:58, that Peter followed Christ afar off, and went into the high priest's palace, and sat with the servants there, to see what would be the end and issue of these things: and here now he was in the apartment, where the council sat, and were examining and trying Jesus; though, as Mark says, "beneath in the palace", Mark 14:66; in the lower part of the room, in the great hall, in the midst of which the servants had made a fire: the Arabic version reads it, "in the area of the court": here Peter had placed himself, and here he sat making his observations:

and a damsel came unto him; one of the maids of the high priest, as Mark says, Mark 14:66; and according to the Evangelist John, was she that kept the door, and had let him in, John 18:16,

saying, thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. The Arabic and Persic versions read, Jesus the Nazarene, or of Nazareth, as below. So she called him, not so much to distinguish him from any other of that name, as by way of reproach; suggesting, that he could not be the Messiah, or that prophet; since Christ comes not out of Galilee, nor does any prophet arise from thence: and when she charges him with being "with" him, her meaning is not, that he was with him in the garden, when he was taken; where it cannot be thought she was to see him; nor with him in the temple, or in any part of Jerusalem, where she possibly might have seen him; but that he was a disciple of his, one that believed in him, embraced him as the Messiah, had imbibed his principles and doctrines, and was of his party; and was only come thither as a spy, to see what would be done to him.

{17} Now Peter {h} sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.

(17) Peter by the wonderful providence of God, in being appointed to be a witness of all these things, is prepared to be an example of outstanding faithfulness through this experience of unbelief.

(h) That is, outside the place where the bishop sat, but not outside of the house, for afterward he went from there into the porch.

Matthew 26:69. Ἔξω] with reference to the interior of the particular building in which the trial of Jesus had been conducted. In Matthew 26:58 ἔσω is used because in that instance Peter went from the street into the court-yard.

μία παιδίσκη] μία is here used in view of the ἄλλη of Matthew 26:71 below. Comp. on Matthew 8:19. Both of them may have seen (ἦσθα, ἦν) Peter among the followers of Jesus somewhere in Jerusalem, and may have preserved a distinct recollection of his appearance. παιδίσκη, in the sense of a female slave, corresponds exactly to our (German) Mädchen; see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 239.

καὶ σὺ ἦσθα, κ.τ.λ.] categorical accusation, as in Matthew 26:71; Matthew 26:73, and not a question (Klostermann).

τοῦ Γαλιλ.] which specific designation she may have heard applied to the Prisoner. The other slave (Matthew 26:71) is still more specific, inasmuch as she calls Him ὁ Ναζωραῖος.

Matthew 26:69-75. Peter’s denial (Mark 14:66-72, Luke 22:54-62). The discrepancies of the four accounts here are perplexing but not surprising. It would be difficult for any one present in the confused throng gathered within the palace gate that night to tell exactly what happened. Peter himself, the hero of the tale, had probably only hazy recollections of some particulars, and might not always relate the incident in the same way. Harmonistic efforts are wasted time. Comparative exegesis may partly explain how one narrative, say Mt.’s, arose out of another, e.g., Mk.’s (Weiss, Marcus-Evang.). But on the whole it is best to take each version by itself, as one way of telling a story, which in the main is accepted even by writers like Brandt as one of the certainties of the Passion history.

69. in the palace] Rather, in the court. In Oriental houses the street door opens into an entrance hall or passage: this is the “porch” of Matthew 26:71; beyond this is a central court open to the sky and surrounded by pillars. The reception rooms are usually on the ground floor, and are built round the central court. Probably the hall or room in which Jesus was being tried opened upon the court. Thus Jesus was able to look upon Peter.

69–75. The Denial of Peter

St Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:55-62; John 18:15-18; John 18:25-27The accounts differ slightly, and exactly in such a way as the evidence of honest witnesses might be expected to differ in describing the minor details (which at the time would appear unimportant) in a scene full of stir and momentous incidents. Discrepancies of this kind form the strongest argument for the independence of the different gospels. St Luke mentions that “the Lord turned and looked upon Peter.” St John states that the third question was put by a kinsman of Malchus.

Matthew 26:69. Μία παιδίσκη, one maid-servant) The temptation was not great, if you consider only the interrogatrix; far greater, if you consider all who were present. [She feared lest it might bring her into trouble, if she were to admit any one of our Lord’s followers, and on this ground she took Peter to task; the others took up the matter after her. None of them appear to have intended to bring Peter into danger. Careless worldlings frequently produce greater harm or advantage to the saints than they suppose or intend—B. G. V.]—ἦσθα, for the ordinary ἦς, thou wast. Thus also the LXX. in Psalm 9:14.

Verses 69-75. - The three denials of St. Peter. (Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:55-62; John 18:17, 18, 25-27.) Verse 69. - There is much apparent discrepancy in the four accounts of Peter's denials, both as regards the scene, the persons, and the words used. St. Matthew groups them all together in one view without special regard to time and place. The fact doubtless is this - that Peter did not distinctly three times, in three separate utterances, deny Christ, but that on three occasions, and under different circumstances, and in many different words, he committed this sin. There are, as it were, three groups of questions and replies, and the evangelists have recorded such portions of these details as seemed good to them, or such as they were best acquainted with. Peter sat (was sitting) without in the palace (τῇ αὐλῇ). We have seen (ver. 48) that Peter was introduced by John into the open court round which the palace was built, and on one side of which was the chamber in which the examination of Jesus was going on. He was within the palace enclosure, but outside the principal apartment; hence he is said in the text to have been without. Admission to the courtyard was gained by a passage through the side of a house, which formed the vestibule or porch; this was closed towards the street by a heavy gate, having in it a small wicket for the use of visitors, kept by a porter or other servant. A damsel. This was the female porteress who kept the wicket by which Peter was admitted. She appears to have had some suspicion of him from the first, and to have followed him with her remarks from the gate, and to have continued them when he sat down with the servants at the fire kindled in the open court. Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. She says, "Thou also" in reference to John, whom she had first admitted, and who seems to have been in no danger, though Peter had great fears for his own safety. Though the porteress probably had no personal knowledge of the apostle, yet scanning his features by the light of the fire, noting his perturbed aspect and his restless actions, and reflecting on his companionship with John, she conjectured that he was a disciple of Christ, and more than once hazarded the assertion with the view of eliciting a definite answer. Matthew 26:69A damsel (μία παιδίσκη)

Lit., one damsel, because the writer has in mind a second one (Matthew 26:71).

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