Matthew 27:29
And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!
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(29) A crown of thorns.—The word is too vague to enable us to identify the plant with certainty, but most writers have fixed on the Zizyphus Spina Christi, known locally as the Nebk, a shrub growing plentifully in the valley of the Jordan, with branches pliant and flexible, and leaves of a dark glossy green, like ivy, and sharp prickly thorns. The likeness of the crown or garland thus made to that worn by conquering kings and emperors, fitted it admirably for the purpose. The shrub was likely enough to be found in the garden attached to the Prætorium.

A reed in his right hand.—Here also the word is vague, and it may have been the stalk either of a sugar-cane, a Papyrus, or an Arundo. It represented, of course, the sceptre which, even under the Republic, had been wielded by generals in their triumphs, and which under the Empire, as with Greek and Eastern kings, had become the received symbol of sovereignty.

They bowed the knee before him.—We have to represent to ourselves the whole cohort as joining in the derisive homage. The term in Mark 15:19 implies a continued, not a momentary act—the band filing before the mock-king, and kneeling as they passed.

27:26-30 Crucifixion was a death used only among the Romans; it was very terrible and miserable. A cross was laid on the ground, to which the hands and feet were nailed, it was then lifted up and fixed upright, so that the weight of the body hung on the nails, till the sufferer died in agony. Christ thus answered the type of the brazen serpent raised on a pole. Christ underwent all the misery and shame here related, that he might purchase for us everlasting life, and joy, and glory.Had platted - The word "platted" here means "woven together." They made a "wreath" of a thorn-bush.

A crown - Or perhaps, rather, a wreath.

A crown was worn by kings, commonly made of gold and precious stones. To ridicule the pretensions of Jesus that he was a king, they probably plucked up a thornbush growing near, made it into something resembling in shape a royal crown, so as to correspond with the old purple robe, and to complete the mockery.

Of thorns - What was the precise species of shrub denoted here is not certainly known. It was, however, doubtless, one of that species that has sharp points of very hard wood. They could therefore be easily pressed into the slain and cause considerable pain. Probably they seized upon the first thing in their way that could be made into a crown, and this happened to be a "thorn," thus increasing the sufferings of the Redeemer. Palestine abounds with thorny shrubs and plants. "The traveler finds them in his path, go where he may. Many of them are small, but some grow as high as a man's head. The Rabbinical writers say that there are no less than 22 words in the Hebrew Bible denoting thorny and prickly plants." Professor's Hackett's Illustrations of Scripture, p. 135. Compare Proverbs 24:30-31; Proverbs 15:19; Jeremiah 4:3.

And a reed in his right hand - A reed is a straight, slender herb, growing in marshy places, and abundant on the banks of the Jordan. It was often used for the purpose of making staves for walking, and it is not improbable that this was such a staff in the possession of some person present. The word is several times thus used. See 2 Kings 18:21; Isaiah 36:6; Ezekiel 29:6. Kings commonly carried a "sceptre," made of ivory or gold, as a sign of their office or rank, Esther 4:11; Esther 8:4. This "reed" or "staff" they put in his hand, in imitation of a "sceptre," to deride, also, his pretensions of being a king.

And they bowed the knee - This was done for mockery. It was an act of pretended homage. It was to ridicule his saying that he was a king. The common mode of showing respect or homage for kings was by kneeling or prostration. It shows amazing forbearance on the part of Jesus that he thus consented to be ridiculed and set at naught. No mere human being would have borne it. None but he who loved us unto death, and who saw the grand results that would come from this scene of sufferings, could have endured such mockery.

Hail, King of the Jews! - The term "hail" was a common mode of salutation to a king, or even to a friend. It implies, commonly, the highest respect for office as well as the person, and is an invocation of blessings. Here it was used to carry on what they thought to be the farce of his being a king; to ridicule in every possible way the pretensions of a poor, unattended, unarmed man of Nazareth, as if he was a weak impostor or was deranged.

Mt 27:27-33. Jesus Scornfully and Cruelly Entreated of the Soldiers, Is Led Away to Be Crucified. ( = Mr 15:16-22; Lu 23:26-31; Joh 19:2, 17).

For the exposition, see on [1374]Mr 15:16-22.

See Poole on "Matthew 27:31".

And when they had platted a crown of thorns,.... What sort of thorn this crown was made of, whether of the bramble, or of the white thorn, is not very material (b): the word used in the Syriac version, is rendered by interpreters, "white thorns", and which were common in Judea: these, be they what they will, they made into the form of a crown, and

they put it upon his head; both to reproach him as a king, and to torture him as a man: however, it had its significance, and was an emblem of men, comparable to thorns; either of wicked men, and of his being encompassed with them at this time; or of good men, chosen out from among them, redeemed by him, and accounted as a royal diadem with him (c): or it might represent the sins of his people, which, like thorns, pierced him, and like a crown of them surrounded him every side; or else the many troubles he was exercised with, and through which he did, as his members do, enter the kingdom: and especially, his being made a curse for us, thorns and briers being the curse which was inflicted on the earth, for the sin of man: in this Christ was the antitype of the ram, caught by his horns among the thickets, which "Abraham" sacrificed in the room of his son. This may teach us many useful lessons: we may see what a curse sin brought upon man, and upon the earth for man's sake; and even upon the Messiah, in the stead of men: we may observe the difference between us and Christ: we are a crown of glory, and a royal diadem in his hand; we are crowned with loving kindness and tender mercies, and have a crown of righteousness, life, and glory, laid up for us, and he was crowned with thorns; as also the difference between Christ in his state of humiliation wearing such a crown, and his state of exaltation, in which he is crowned with glory and honour. The Jews acknowledge this circumstance of the sufferings of Jesus, though they ascribe it to the elders of Jerusalem; who, they say (d),

"took thorns and made a crown of them, and put it upon his head.''

Which are the very words of the evangelist:

and a reed in his right hand, or "cane"; and Munster's Hebrew Gospel uses the word, "a cane", such as men walk with; and this may be confirmed from the barbarous use they afterwards made of it, by smiting him on the head with it: a "reed" indeed may fitly express the weakness of his kingdom in the eye of the world: but any cane or common staff, or stick, put into his hands in the room of a sceptre, would also signify the meanness of his kingdom, which was not of this world, and came not with observation: they meant to reproach him with it, but they will find one time or another, that he, has another sceptre, even a sceptre of righteousness, a staff of strength, a rod of iron, with which he will rule and break in pieces, all the wicked of the earth. However, we may learn from hence, Christ does not disdain to hold a reed in his hand: nor will he break the bruised reed, or discourage, or crush the weakest believer.

And they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, king of the Jews: being thus clad in a scarlet, or purple robe, or both; and having a crown of thorns on his head, and a reed instead of a sceptre in his hand, they carry on the mockery still further, and bend the knee to him, as to a prince just come to his throne, and salute as such; and in a mock way, wish him long life and prosperity: thus deriding him in his kingly office, as all such do, who call him Lord, Lord, but disregard his commands.

(b) Vid. Bartholin. de Spinea Corona, sect. 1. 2. (c) Vid. Paschal. de Coronis, l. 10. c. 12. p. 701, 702. (d) Toldos Jesu, p. 17.

And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!
Matthew 27:29 f. Ἐξ ἀκανθῶν] belongs to πλέξαντες. What is meant is something made by twisting together young flexible thorns so as to represent the royal diadem. The object was not to produce suffering, but to excite ridicule; so that while we cannot altogether dissociate the idea of something painful from this crown of thorns, we must not conceive of it as covered with prickles which were intentionally thrust into the flesh. Michaelis adopts the rendering Bärenklau (ἄκανθος); but this is incompatible with the ἀκάνθινον of Mark 15:17, which adjective is never used with reference to the plant just mentioned. Besides, this latter was a plant that was highly prized (for which reason it was often used for ornamental purposes in pieces of sculpture and on the capitals of Corinthian pillars), and therefore would be but ill suited for a caricature. It is impossible to determine what species of thorn it was (possibly the so-called spina Christi?; see Tobler, Denkbl. pp. 113, 179).

καὶ κάλαμον] ἔθηκαν] being understood, the connection with ἐπέθηκαν is zeugmatic.

Observe the imperfects ἐνέπαιζον and ἔτυπτον as indicating the continuous character of the proceeding.

29. a crown of thorns] It cannot be ascertained what especial kind of thorn was used. The soldiers, as Bp Ellicott remarks, would take what first came to hand, utterly careless whether it was likely to inflict pain or no.

King of the Jews] Cp. ch. Matthew 2:2, and Matthew 27:37.

Matthew 27:29. Ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων, the King of the Jews) They treated Jesus as a madman who fancied Himself a King.

Verse 29. - Platted a crown of thorns. In carrying out their mockery, the soldiers next supply a regal crown. Palestine was a country thickly set with brambles and thorn-growing bushes. They would have no difficulty in finding plants to suit their cruel purpose, and in plucking with their gauntlet-covered bands sprays sufficient to weave into a rude coronet. What was the particular shrub employed cannot be known for certainty. The zizyphus, Spina Christi, a kind of acacia with long reflex thorns, is of too brittle a nature to be used in this way. Some variety of the cactus or prickly pear may be meant. "Hasselquist, a Swedish naturalist, supposes a very common plant, naba or nabka of the Arabs, with many small and sharp spines, soft, round, and pliant bushes, leaves much resembling those of ivy, being of a very deep green, as if in designed mockery of a victor's wreath, 'Travels,' 288" (F.M.). Thorns were the fruits of the primal curse, which Christ, the second Adam, was now bearing, and by bearing removed. A reed in his right hand. By way of sceptre. This must have been a reed or cane of a thick and solid character (see ver. 30, and note on ver. 48). Bowed the knee before him. Doing mock obeisance to him as King. Thus these wretched heathens did that in derision which sonic day all Gentiles shall do in solemn earnest, when "all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before him" (Psalm 22:27). Hail, King of the Jews! Doubtless they cried, "Ave, Rex Judaeorum!" in imitation of the "Ave, Imperator!" addressed to the Emperor ot Rome. Matthew 27:29
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