Matthew 27:38
Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.
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(38) Then were there two thieves crucified with him.—Better, robbers, the word being the same as that used of Barabbas (John 18:40). It would seem, as there is no record of their trial, as if they were already under sentence of death; and it is probable enough that they were members of the same band, and had been sharers in the same insurrection. The legends of the Apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemns (i. 10), give their names as Dysmas and Gysmas, and these names appear still in the Calvaries and Stations of Roman Catholic countries.

27:35-44 It was usual to put shame upon malefactors, by a writing to notify the crime for which they suffered. So they set up one over Christ's head. This they designed for his reproach, but God so overruled it, that even his accusation was to his honour. There were crucified with him at the same time, two robbers. He was, at his death, numbered among the transgressors, that we, at our death, might be numbered among the saints. The taunts and jeers he received are here recorded. The enemies of Christ labour to make others believe that of religion and of the people of God, which they themselves know to be false. The chief priests and scribes, and the elders, upbraid Jesus with being the King of Israel. Many people could like the King of Israel well enough, if he would but come down from the cross; if they could but have his kingdom without the tribulation through which they must enter into it. But if no cross, then no Christ, no crown. Those that would reign with him, must be willing to suffer with him. Thus our Lord Jesus, having undertaken to satisfy the justice of God, did it, by submitting to the punishment of the worst of men. And in every minute particular recorded about the sufferings of Christ, we find some prediction in the Prophets or the Psalms fulfilled.Two thieves crucified ... - Rather two "robbers." Pilate did not reside in Jerusalem. When he came there on the great feasts, or at other times, it was, in part, to hold courts for the trial of criminals. These robbers had been probably condemned at that time; and to show greater contempt for Jesus, he was crucified between men of that abandoned character, and on a cross that should have been occupied by their companion and leader, Barabbas. Mt 27:34-50. Crucifixion and Death of the Lord Jesus. ( = Mr 15:25-37; Lu 23:33-46; Joh 19:18-30).

For the exposition, see on [1375]Joh 19:18-30.

See Poole on "Matthew 27:44".

Then were there two thieves crucified with him,.... Which seems contrary to one of their canons, which runs thus; .

, "they do not judge two in one day" (y), unless they were both in the same crime, and died the same death: but here were three persons, Jesus, and these two malefactors, condemned and executed in one, and the same day: these two thieves were led out with Jesus, to be put to death with him, according to Luke 23:32, and were crucified with him upon the same spot of ground; their death was the same, but not their crime:

one the right hand, and another on the left; and Jesus in the midst, as John relates, John 19:18, and hereby was fulfilled, as Mark observes, Mark 15:28, a prophecy in Isaiah 53:12. If this was so ordered by Pilate, it might be done in order to cover the sin, and take off the reproach of putting an innocent person to death, suggesting hereby he was one of them; though this seems rather to be done by the Jews, the soldiers agreeing to it, for the greater reproach of Jesus; intimating, that he was the worst of these malefactors, and a ringleader of such sort of persons: and whereas they had observed, he took it ill at their hands that they should come to apprehend him with swords and staves, as if he was a thief and a robber; to vex and distress him the more, they crucify him between two such persons: but the grand reason why it was so ordered, was, that though Christ was no transgressor, he was accounted one, and stood in the room and stead of sinners, and was numbered with them, and as such was treated by divine justice, and accordingly died for them,

(y) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 35. 1. & 46. 1. Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 8. fol. 190. 1.

{10} Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.

(10) Christ then began to judge the world, when after his judgment he hung between two thieves.

Matthew 27:38 Τότε] then, after the crucifixion of Jesus was thus disposed of.

σταυροῦνται] spoken with reference to another band of soldiers which takes the place of καθήμενοι ἐτήρουν αὐτὸν ἐκεῖ, Matthew 27:36. The whole statement is merely of a cursory and summary nature.

Matthew 27:38 : τότε introduces the fact mentioned as an accompaniment of the crucifixion of Jesus, ithout indicating its precise place in the course of events.—σταυροῦνται, the historical present with lively effect; and passive, probably to imply that this act was performed by other soldiers. This very slight notice grows into a considerable incident in the hands of Luke.

38. two thieves] Rather, robbers; in all probability partners in the crime of Barabbas. The mountain robbers, or banditti, were always ready to take part in such desperate risings against the Roman power. In the eyes of the Jews they would be patriots.

Josephus tells of one leader of robbers who burnt the palaces in Jericho (B. J. ii. 6), and of another who for twenty years had wasted the country with fire and sword.

Verse 38. - Then. St. Matthew does not give the exact sequence of events, generally grouping them together for ethical and other kindred reasons. Probably these two malefactors were crucified immediately after cur Lord. Thieves; λῃσταί: robbers, brigands (Matthew 21:13). Thus was Christ "numbered with the transgressors" (Isaiah 53:12). St. Luke alone relates the acceptance of the penitent thief. If he was the one set on the right hand, possibly the careful mention of the position of the two robbers, which is found in the ether evangelists, may have a silent reference to this episode. We know from Josephus ('Ant.,' 16:10, 8; 20:8, 10; 'Belt. Jud.,' 2:12, 2, etc.) that Palestine was infested with banditti, who were rigorously pursued by the Romans, and were commonly crucified when captured. Doubtless these two criminals had been taken red-handed in some act of robbery and murder, and it was an exquisite malice that treated Jesus as their comrade and accomplice, and placed him in the position of their leader. But Augustine sees a spiritual signification in this scene: "The very cross was the tribunal of Christ; for the Judge was placed in the middle; one thief, who believed, was set free; the other, who reviled, was condemned; which signified what he was already about to do with the quick and dead; being about to set some on his right hand, but ethers on his left." Matthew 27:38Thieves (λῃσταί)

Rev., robbers. See on Matthew 26:55.

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