Matthew 27:46
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
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(46) Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani.—The cry is recorded only by St. Matthew and St. Mark. The very syllables or tones dwelt in the memory of those who heard and understood it, and its absence from St. John’s narrative was probably due to the fact that he had before this taken the Virgin-Mother from the scene of the crucifixion as from that which was more than she could bear (John 19:27). To the Roman soldiers, to many of the by standers, Greeks or Hellenistic Jews, the words would be, as the sequel shows, unintelligible. We shrink instinctively from any over-curious analysis of the inner feelings in our Lord’s humanity that answered to this utterance. Was it the natural fear of death? or the vicarious endurance of the wrath which was the penalty of the sins of the human race, for whom, and instead of whom, He suffered? Was there a momentary interruption of the conscious union between His human soul and the light of His Father’s countenance? or, as seems implied in John 19:28, did He quote the words in order to direct the thoughts of men to the great Messianic prophecy which the Psalm contained? None of these answers is altogether satisfactory, and we may well be content to leave the mystery unfathomed, and to let our words, be wary and few. We may remember (1) that both the spoken words of His enemies (Matthew 27:43) and the acts of the soldiers (Matthew 27:35) must have recalled the words of that Psalm; (2) that memory thus roused would pass on to the cry of misery with which the Psalm opened; (3) that our Lord as man was to taste death in all its bitterness for every man (Hebrews 2:9), and that He could not so have tasted it had His soul been throughout in full undisturbed enjoyment of the presence of the Father; (4) that the lives of the saints of God, in proportion to their likeness to the mind of Christ, have exhibited this strange union, or rather instantaneous succession, of the sense of abandonment and of intensest faith. The Psalmist himself, in this very Psalm, is one instance; Job (Job 19:6-9, Job 19:23-26) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:7-9; Jeremiah 20:12-13) may be named as others. Conceive this conflict—and the possibility of such a conflict is postulated in John 12:27 and in the struggle of Gethsemane—and then, though we cannot understand, we may in part at least conceive, how it was possible for the Son of Man to feel for one moment that sense of abandonment, which is the last weapon of the Enemy. He tasted of despair as others had tasted, but in the very act of tasting, the words “My God” were as a protest against it, and by them He was delivered from it. It is remarkable, whatever explanation may be given of it, that as these words are recorded by the first two Gospels only, so they are the only words spoken on the cross which we find in their report of the Crucifixion.

Matthew 27:46. About the ninth hour — Just before he expired; Jesus cried with a loud voice — Our Lord’s great agony probably continued these three whole hours, at the conclusion of which he thus cried out, while he suffered from God himself, and probably also from the powers of darkness, what was unutterable; Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani — These words are quoted from the first verse of the twenty-second Psalm. (where see the note,) but it is to be observed, that they are not the very words of the Hebrew original; but are in what is called Syro-Chaldaic, at that time the language of the country, and the dialect which our Lord seems always to have used. Mark expresses the two first words rather differently, namely; Eloi, Eloi, which comes nearer to the Syriac. Some think our Lord, in his agony, repeated the words twice, with some little variation, saying at one time, Eloi, and the other, Eli. “This,” says Dr. Doddridge, “is possible, and if it were otherwise, I doubt not but Mark has given us the word exactly, and Matthew a kind of contraction of it.” Both the evangelists have added the interpretation of the words, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? which words the last-mentioned divine paraphrases thus: “O my heavenly Father, wherefore dost thou add to all my other sufferings, those which arise from the want of a comfortable sense of thy presence? Wherefore dost thou thus leave me alone in the combat, destitute of those sacred consolations, which thou couldst easily shed abroad upon my soul, and which thou knowest I have done nothing to forfeit.” — Thus, in a most humble and affectionate manner, he intimated to his heavenly Father that he was only by imputation a sinner, and had himself done nothing to incur his displeasure, and showed that the want of the light of God’s countenance on his soul, and the sense of divine wrath due to the sins of mankind, were far more than all his complicated sufferings; but that his confidence in his Father, his love to him, and submission to his will, were unabated, even in that dreadful hour. In other words, while he utters this exclamation of the psalmist, he at once expresses his trust in God, and a most distressing sense of his withdrawing the comfortable discoveries of his presence, and filling his soul with a terrible sense of the wrath due to the sins which he was bearing. Some would interpret the words, My God, my God, to what a degree, or, to what length of time, or, to what [sort of persons] hast thou forsaken me? because lama, in the Hebrew, may have this signification, and the expression εις τι, whereby Mark has rendered it. But certainly the word ινατι, which answers to it here in Matthew, is not liable to such ambiguity; nor can such an interpretation of Psalm 22:1, be made in any degree to accord with the verses immediately following, as the reader will see, if he will please to turn to them. The truth is, our Lord’s words here must be viewed in the same light with his prayer in the garden. For as that prayer expressed only the feelings and inclinations of his human nature, sorely pressed down with the weight of his sufferings, so his exclamation on the cross proceeded from the greatness of his sufferings then, and expressed the feelings of the same human nature, namely, an exceeding grief at God’s forsaking him, and a complaint that it was so. But as his prayer in the garden was properly tempered with resignation to the will of his Father, while he said, Not as I will, but as thou wilt; so his complaint on the cross was doubtless tempered in the same manner, though the evangelists have not particularly mentioned it. For that in the inward disposition of his mind he was perfectly resigned while he hung on the cross, is evident beyond all doubt, from his recommending his spirit to his Father in the article of death, which he could not have done if he had either doubted of his favour, or been discontented with his appointments. That the sufferings which made our Lord utter this exclamation, “were not merely those which appeared to the spectators, namely, the pains of death which he was then undergoing, is evident from this consideration, that many of his followers have suffered sharper and more lingering bodily torture, ending in death, without thinking themselves on that account forsaken of God; on the contrary, they both felt and expressed raptures of joy under the bitterest torments. Why then should Jesus have complained and been dejected under inferior sufferings, as we must acknowledge them to have been, if there were nothing in them but the pains of crucifixion? Is there any other circumstance in his history which leads us to think him defective in courage or patience? In piety and resignation came he behind his own apostles? Were his views of God and religion more confined than theirs? Had he greater sensibility of pain than they, without a proper balance arising from the superiority of his understanding? In short, was he worse qualified for martyrdom than they? The truth is, his words on the cross cannot be accounted for but on the supposition that he endured in his mind distresses inexpressible, in consequence of the withdrawing of his heavenly Father’s presence, and a sense of the wrath due to the sins of mankind, which he was now suffering.” — See Macknight. It is justly observed here by Dr. Doddridge, “That the interruption of a joyful sense of his Father’s presence (though there was, and could not but be, a rational apprehension of his constant favour, and high approbation of what he was now doing) was as necessary as it was that Christ should suffer at all. For had God communicated to his Son on the cross those strong consolations which he has given to some of the martyrs in their tortures, all sense of pain, and consequently all real pain, would have been swallowed up; and the violence done to his body, not affecting the soul, could not properly have been called suffering.” Some think Jesus on this occasion repeated the whole twenty-second Psalm. And, as it contains the most remarkable particulars of our Lord’s passion, being a sort of summary of all the prophecies relative to that subject, it must be acknowledged, that nothing could have been uttered more suitable to the circumstances wherein he then was, or better adapted to impress the minds of the beholders with becoming sentiments. For by citing it, and thereby applying it to himself, he signified that he was now accomplishing the things predicted therein concerning the Messiah. See the notes on that Psalm.27:45-50 During the three hours which the darkness continued, Jesus was in agony, wrestling with the powers of darkness, and suffering his Father's displeasure against the sin of man, for which he was now making his soul an offering. Never were there three such hours since the day God created man upon the earth, never such a dark and awful scene; it was the turning point of that great affair, man's redemption and salvation. Jesus uttered a complaint from Ps 22:1. Hereby he teaches of what use the word of God is to direct us in prayer, and recommends the use of Scripture expressions in prayer. The believer may have tasted some drops of bitterness, but he can only form a very feeble idea of the greatness of Christ's sufferings. Yet, hence he learns something of the Saviour's love to sinners; hence he gets deeper conviction of the vileness and evil of sin, and of what he owes to Christ, who delivers him from the wrath to come. His enemies wickedly ridiculed his complaint. Many of the reproaches cast upon the word of God and the people of God, arise, as here, from gross mistakes. Christ, just before he expired, spake in his full strength, to show that his life was not forced from him, but was freely delivered into his Father's hands. He had strength to bid defiance to the powers of death: and to show that by the eternal Spirit he offered himself, being the Priest as well as the Sacrifice, he cried with a loud voice. Then he yielded up the ghost. The Son of God upon the cross, did die by the violence of the pain he was put to. His soul was separated from his body, and so his body was left really and truly dead. It was certain that Christ did die, for it was needful that he should die. He had undertaken to make himself an offering for sin, and he did it when he willingly gave up his life.Eli, Eli ... - This language is not pure Hebrew nor Syriac, but a mixture of both, called commonly "Syro-Chaldaic." This was probably the language which the Saviour commonly spoke. The words are taken from Psalm 22:1.

My God, my God ... - This expression is one denoting intense suffering. It has been difficult to understand in what sense Jesus was "forsaken by God." It is certain that God approved his work. It is certain that he was innocent. He had done nothing to forfeit the favor of God. As his own Son - holy, harmless, undefiled, and obedient - God still loved him. In either of these senses God could not have forsaken him. But the expression was probably used in reference to the following circumstances, namely:

1. His great bodily sufferings on the cross, greatly aggravated by his previous scourging, and by the want of sympathy, and by the revilings of his enemies on the cross. A person suffering thus might address God as if he was forsaken, or given up to extreme anguish.

2. He himself said that this was "the power of darkness," Luke 22:53. It was the time when his enemies, including the Jews and Satan, were suffered to do their utmost. It was said of the serpent that he should bruise the heel of the seed of the woman, Genesis 3:15. By that has been commonly understood to be meant that, though the Messiah would finally crush and destroy the power of Satan, yet he should himself suffer "through the power of the devil." When he was tempted Luke 4, it was said that the tempter "departed from him for a season." There is no improbability in supposing that he might be permitted to return at the time of his death, and exercise his power in increasing the sufferings of the Lord Jesus. In what way this might be done can be only conjectured. It might be by horrid thoughts; by temptation to despair, or to distrust God, who thus permitted his innocent Son to suffer; or by an increased horror of the pains of dying.

3. There might have been withheld from the Saviour those strong religious consolations, those clear views of the justice and goodness of God, which would have blunted his pains and soothed his agonies. Martyrs, under the influence of strong religious feeling, have gone triumphantly to the stake, but it is possible that those views might have been withheld from the Redeemer when he came to die. His sufferings were accumulated sufferings, and the design of the atonement seemed to require that he should suffer all that human nature "could be made to endure" in so short a time.

4. Yet we have reason to think that there was still something more than all this that produced this exclamation. Had there been no deeper and more awful sufferings, it would be difficult to see why Jesus should have shrunk from these sorrows and used such a remarkable expression. Isaiah tells us Isaiah 53:4-5 that "he bore our griefs and carried our sorrows; that he was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities; that the chastisement of our peace was laid upon him; that by his stripes we are healed." He hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us Galatians 3:13; he was made a sin-offering 2 Corinthians 5:21; he died in our place, on our account, that he might bring us near to God. It was this, doubtless, which caused his intense sufferings. It was the manifestation of God's hatred of sin, in some way which he has not explained, that he experienced in that dread hour. It was suffering endured by Him that was due to us, and suffering by which, and by which alone, we can be saved from eternal death.

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 27:50". And about the ninth hour,.... Or three o'clock in the afternoon, which was about the time of the slaying and offering of the daily sacrifice, which was an eminent type of Christ. The Jews say (i), that "every day the daily sacrifice was slain at eight and a half, and was offered up at nine and a half:

about which time also the passover was killed, which was another type of Christ; and as they say (k), "was offered first, and then the daily sacrifice." Though the account they elsewhere (l) give of these things, is this,

"the daily sacrifice was slain at eight and a half, and was offered up at nine and a half; (that is, on all the common days of the year;) on the evenings of the passover, it was slain at seven and a half, and offered at eight and a half, whether on a common day, or on a sabbath day: the passover eve, that happened to be on the sabbath eve, it was slain at six and a half, and offered at seven and a half, and the passover after it.

At this time,

Jesus cried with a loud voice: as in great distress, having been silent during the three hours darkness, and patiently bearing all his soul sufferings, under a sense of divine wrath, and the hidings of his Father's countenance, and his conflicts with the powers of darkness; but now, in the anguish of his soul, he breaks out,

saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani: which words are partly Hebrew, and partly Chaldee; the three first are Hebrew, and the last Chaldee, substituted in the room of "Azabthani"; as it was, and still is, in the Chaldee paraphrase of the text in Psalm 22:1, from whence they are taken,

that is to say, my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? He calls him his God, not as he was God, but as he was man; who, as such, was chosen by him to the grace of union to the Son of God; was made and formed by him; was anointed by him with the oil of gladness; was supported and upheld by him in the day of salvation; was raised by him from the dead, and highly exalted by him at his own right hand; and Christ, as man, prayed to him as his God, believed in him, loved him, and obeyed him as such: and though now he hid his face from him, yet he expressed strong faith and confidence of his interest in him. When he is said to be "forsaken" of God; the meaning is not, that the hypostatical union was dissolved, which was not even by death itself; the fulness of the Godhead still dwelt bodily in him: nor was he separated from the love of God; he had the same interest in his Father's heart and favour, both as his Son, and as mediator, as ever: nor was the principle and habit of joy and comfort lost in his soul, as man, but he was now without a sense of the gracious presence of God, and was filled, as the surety of his people, with a sense of divine wrath, which their iniquities he now bore, deserved, and which was necessary for him to endure, in order to make full satisfaction for them; for one part of the punishment of sin is loss of the divine presence. Wherefore he made not this expostulation out of ignorance: he knew the reason of it, and that it was not out of personal disrespect to him, or for any sin of his own; or because he was not a righteous, but a wicked man, as the Jew (m) blasphemously objects to him from hence; but because he stood in the legal place, and stead of sinners: nor was it out of impatience, that he so expressed himself; for he was entirely resigned to the will of God, and content to drink the whole of the bitter cup: nor out of despair; for he at the same time strongly claims and asserts his interest in God, and repeats it; but to show, that he bore all the griefs of his people, and this among the rest, divine desertion; and to set forth the bitterness of his sorrows, that not only the sun in the firmament hid its face from him, and he was forsaken by his friends and disciples, but even left by his God; and also to express the strength of his faith at such a time. The whole of it evinces the truth of Christ's human nature, that he was in all things made like unto his brethren; that he had an human soul, and endured sorrows and sufferings in it, of which this of desertion was not the least: the heinousness of sin may be learnt from hence, which not only drove the angels out of heaven, and Adam out of the garden, and separates, with respect to communion, between God and his children; but even caused him to hide his face from his own Son, whilst he was bearing, and suffering for, the sins of his people. The condescending grace of Christ is here to be seen, that he, who was the word, that was with God from everlasting, and his only begotten Son that lay in his bosom, that he should descend from heaven by the assumption of human nature, and be for a while forsaken by God, to bring us near unto him: nor should it be wondered at, that this is sometimes the case of the saints, who should, in imitation of Christ, trust in the Lord at such seasons, and stay themselves on their God, and which may be some support unto them, they may be assured of the sympathy of Christ, who having been in this same condition, cannot but have a fellow feeling with them. The Jews themselves own (n), that these words were said by Jesus when he was in their hands. They indeed apply the passage to Esther; and say (o), that "she stood in the innermost court of the king's house; and when she came to the house of the images, the Shekinah departed from her, and she said, "Eli, Eli, lama Azabthani?" my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Though others apply the "Psalm" to David, and others to the people of Israel in captivity (p): but certain it is, that it belongs to the Messiah; and many things in it were fulfilled with respect to Jesus, most clearly show him to be the Messiah, and the person pointed at: the first words of it were spoken by him, as the Jews themselves allow, and the very expressions which his enemies used concerning him while suffering, together with their gestures, are there recorded; and the parting his garments, and casting lots on his vesture, done by the Roman soldiers, are there prophesied of; and indeed there are so many things in it which agree with him, and cannot with any other, that leave it without all doubt that he is the subject of it (q),

(i) T. Hieros. Pesachim, fol. 31. 3, 4. (k) lb. (l) Misn. Pesachim, c. 5. sect. 1.((m) Vet. Nizzachon, p. 162. (n) Toldos Jesu, p. 17. (o) Bab. Megilia, fol. 15. 2. & Gloss. in T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 29. 1.((p) Vid. Jarchi & Kimchi in Psal. xxii. 1.((q) See my Book of the Prophecies of the Old Test. &c. p. 158.

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou {o} forsaken me?

(o) That is, in this misery: And this crying out is a natural part of his humanity, which, even though it was void of sin, still felt the wrath of God, the wrath which is due to our sins.

Matthew 27:46 Ἀνεβόησεν] He cried aloud. See Winer, de verbor. cum praepos. compos, usu, 1838, III. p. 6 f.; comp. Luke 9:38; LXX. and Apocr., Herod., Plato.

The circumstance of the following exclamation being given in Hebrew) is sufficiently and naturally enough accounted for by the jeering language of Matthew 27:47, which language is understood to be suggested by the sound of the Hebrew words recorded in our present passage.

σαβαχθανί] Chald.: שְׁבַקְתַּנִי = the Heb. עֲזַבְתָּנִי. Jesus gives vent to His feelings in the opening words of the twenty-second Psalm. We have here, however, the purely human feeling that arises from a natural but momentary quailing before the agonies of death, and which was in every respect similar to that which had been experienced by the author of the psalm. The combination of profound mental anguish, in consequence of entire abandonment by men, with the well-nigh intolerable pangs of dissolution, was all the more natural and inevitable in the case of One whose feelings were so deep, tender, and real, whose moral consciousness was so pure, and whose love was so intense. In ἐγκατέλιπες Jesus expressed, of course, what He felt, for His ordinary conviction that He was in fellowship God had for the moment given way under the pressure of extreme bodily and mental suffering, and a mere passing feeling as though He were no longer sustained by the power of the divine life had taken its place (comp. Gess, p. 196); but this subjective feeling must not be confounded with actual objective desertion on the part of God (in opposition to Olshausen and earlier expositors), which in the case of Jesus would have been a meta-physical and moral impossibility. The dividing of the exclamation into different parts, so as to correspond to the different elements in Christ’s nature, merely gives rise to arbitrary and fanciful views (Lange, Ebrard), similar to those which have been based on the metaphysical deduction from the idea of necessity (Ebrard). To assume, as the theologians have done, that in the distressful cry of abandonment we have the vicarious enduring of the wrath of God (“ira Dei adversus nostra peccata effunditur in ipsum, et sic satisfit justitiae Dei,” Melanchthon, comp. Luther on Psalms 22, Calvin, Quenstedt), or the infliction of divine punishment (Köstlin in the Jahrb. f. D. Theol. III. 1, p. 125, and Weiss himself), is, as in the case of the agony in Gethsemane, to go farther than we are warranted in doing by the New Testament view of the atoning death of Christ, the vicarious character of which is not to be regarded as consisting in an objective and actual equivalent. Comp. Remarks after Matthew 26:46. Others, again, have assumed that Jesus, though quoting only the opening words of Psalms 22., had the whole psalm in view, including, therefore, the comforting words with which it concludes (Paulus, Gratz, de Wette, Bleek; comp. Schleiermacher, Glaubensl. II. p. 141, ed. 4, and L. J. p. 457). This, however, besides being somewhat arbitrary, gives rise to the incongruity of introducing the element of reflection where only pure feeling prevailed, as we see exemplified by Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 309, who, in accordance with his view that Jesus was abandoned to the mercies of an ungodly world, substitutes a secondary thought (“request for the so long delayed deliverance through death”) for the plain and direct sense of the words. The authenticity of our Lord’s exclamation, which the author of the Wolferibüttel Fragnents has singularly misconstrued (in describing it as the cry of despair over a lost cause), is denied by Strauss (who speaks of Psalms 22 as having served the purpose of a programme of Christ’s passion), while it is strongly questioned by Keim, partly on account of Psalms 22 and partly because he thinks that the subsequent accompanying narrative is clearly (?) of the nature of a fictitious legend. But legend would hardly have put the language of despair into the mouth of the dying Redeemer, and certainly there is nothing in the witticisms that follow to warrant the idea that we have here one legend upon another.

ἵνατι] the momentary but agonizing feeling that He is abandoned by God, impels Him to ask what the divine object of this may be. He doubtless knew this already, but the pangs of death had overpowered Him (2 Corinthians 13:4),—a passing anomaly as regards the spirit that uniformly characterized the prayers of Jesus.

ἐγκαταλείπω] means: to abandon any one to utter helplessness. Comp. 2 Corinthians 4:9; Acts 2:27; Hebrews 13:5; Plat. Conv. p. 179 A; Dem. p. 158, 10, al.; Sir 3:16; Sir 7:30; Sir 9:10.Matthew 27:46. ἠλί, ἠλί, etc.: the opening words of Psalms 22, but partly at least in Aramaic not in Hebrew, wholly so as they stand in Codex [155] (W.H[156]), ἐλωί, ἐλωί, etc., corresponding exactly to the version in Mark.—ἠλί, ἠλί, if the true reading in Matthew, seems to be an alteration made to suit what follows, whereby the utterance of Jesus becomes a mixture of Hebrew and Aramaic. It is not likely that Jesus would so express Himself. He would speak wholly either in Hebrew or in Aramaic, saying in the one case: “eli eli lamah asavtani”; in the other: “eloi eloi lema savachtani”. The form the utterance assumed in the earliest evangelic report might be an important clue. This Resch finds in the reading of Codex [157], which gives the words in Hebrew. Resch holds that [158] often preserves the readings of the Urevangelium, which, contrary to Weiss, he believes to have contained a Passion history in brief outline (Agrapha, p. 53). Brandt expresses a similar view (E. G., pp. 228–232). The probability is that Jesus spoke in Hebrew. It is no argument against this that the spectators might not understand what He said, for the utterance was not meant for the ears of men. The historicity of the occurrence has been called in question on the ground that one in a state of dire distress would not express his feelings in borrowed phrases. The alternative is that the words were put into the mouth of Jesus by persons desirous that in this as in all other respects His experience should correspond to prophetic anticipations. But who would have the boldness to impute to Him a sentiment which seemed to justify the taunt: “Let Him deliver Him if He love Him”? Brandt’s reply to this is: Jewish Christians who had not a high idea of Christ’s Person (E. G., p. 245). That in some Christian circles the cry of desertion was an offence appears from the rendering of “eli eli” in Evang. Petri—ἡ δύναμίς μου ἡ δ. μ. = my strength, my strength. Its omission by Luke proves the same thing.

[155] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[156] Westcott and Hort.

[157] Codex Bezae

[158] Codex Bezae46. Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?] (Psalm 22:1). Eli is the Hebrew form. In Mark 15:34 the Aramaic words are preserved exactly as they were pronounced by Jesus. The repetition, “My God! My God!” gives a deeply pathetic force; cp. ch. Matthew 23:37. It is an expression of utter loneliness and desolation, the depth of which it is not for man to fathom. “It is going beyond Scripture to say that a sense of God’s wrath extorted that cry. For to the last breath He was the well-beloved of the Father, and the repeated ‘My God! My God!’ is a witness even then to His confidence in His Father’s Love” (Canon Perowne. Psalm 22:1).

This was probably the fourth word from the cross; the fifth “I thirst” (John); the sixth “It is finished” (John); the seventh “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke). It is thought by some that after these words the darkness, which had lasted to the ninth hour, rolled away; others think that it lasted till the death of Jesus.Matthew 27:46. Περὶ δὲ, κ.τ.λ., but about, etc.) From this connection, it may be inferred that the darkening of the sun (at the full moon[1200]) represented, not so much the malice of the Jews, as the dereliction of Jesus; which lasted, as it may be supposed, the whole of that three hours, at the conclusion of which He uttered this exclamation. St Luke (Luke 23:45) joins the darkening of the sun with the rending of the veil without mentioning the dereliction. As soon as the dereliction was ended, the Holy of Holies became immediately open to the Mediator.[1201]—ἀνεβόησεν, cried out) Both this cry (repeated in Matthew 27:50), and the silence which preceded it, are of the utmost importance.—σαβαχθανὶ, sabachthani) i.e. שבקתני, hast Thou forsaken Me? The ק is rendered in Greek by χ, [1202][1203], when θ, th, follows.—Θεέ Μου, My God) On other occasions He was accustomed to say, “Father”: now He says, “My God,” as being now in a degree estranged;[1204] yet He does so twice, and adds “MY” with confidence, patience, and self-resignation. Christ was עבר, the servant of the Lord:[1205] and yet He calls Him God, not Master (δεσπότην). In Psalms 22(21):1, the LXX. have ὁ Θεὸς ὁ Θεός μου, πρόσχες μοι, ἱνατί ἐγκατέλιπές με; “My God, My God, protect Me! Why hast Thou forsaken Me?” where the meaning is evident from the remainder of that and the following verse. He does not only say that He has been delivered by God into the hands of men, but also that He has suffered something, to us ineffable, at the hand of God.—ἱνατί, why?) Jesus knew the cause, and had prepared Himself for all things: but yet the why expresses that the Son would not have had to endure the dereliction on His own account, but that it happened to Him for a new cause, and would last but for a short time; after which His yearning desire[1206] towards the Father would be again gratified.—ἘΓΚΑΤΈΛΙΠΕς, hast Thou forsaken) The past tense.[1207] At that very instant the dereliction came to an end, and shortly afterwards the whole Passion. In the midst and deepest moment of dereliction He was silent. He complains of the dereliction alone.[1208]

[1200] This could not have been an eclipse of the sun, for the passover was celebrated at the time of full moon, when the moon is opposite to the sun. Luke 23:45 says, “The sun was darkened.”—ED.

[1201] ἐννάτην ὥραν, the ninth hour) Some one has thrown out the surmise that it was at mid-day the definitive sentence was pronounced by Pilate, and that His being led forth was delayed up to that point of time, so that the crucifixion would thus take place on the third hour from mid-day (3 o’clock), at the time of the evening sacrifice. Nay, rather His death occurred at that time, after that the gracious Saviour had hung for six whole hours on the cross.—Harm., p. 571.

[1202] Colbertinus, do.

[1203] Primasius in Apocalypsin.

[1204] In the original, “quasi jam alienior.”—(I. B.)

[1205] Isaiah 42:1.—ED.

[1206] In the original, “desiderium,” a word which is said by some to have no equivalent in any other language. It implies here longing and love in the highest and fullest degree, accompanied by sorrow for, and privation of, the object desired; and corresponds very nearly with the Portuguese word saudade, which I believe to be utterly untranslatable.—(I. B.)

[1207] Some recent interpreters render it, Why (How) can it (ever) come to pass, that thou shouldest forsake Me? And yet that interpretation, however soothing it be to natural weakness (softness), does not satisfy the demands of divine rigorous strictness in this most momentous transaction. We may term it, as it were, a filial expostulation, wherein, if we may be permitted to express the sense with some little change of the words, the beloved Son speaks thus to His beloved Father, What is this that thou hast done unto Me? In truth, the best of deeds! Most excellently endured! A brief time so extraordinary, that, on account of it, He is to have [or else feel] everlasting thanks.—Harm., p. 573.

[1208] Not of His sufferings.—ED.

The Greek πόθος.—ED.Verse 46. - Cried (ἀνεβόησεν, cried out) with a loud voice. The loud cry at this terrible moment showed that there was still an amount of vitality in that mangled form from which extreme anguish of soul and body forced that pleading utterance. Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say (that is), My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken (ἐγκατέλιπες, didst thou forsake) me? This is the only one of our Lord's seven sayings from the cross recorded by St. Matthew and St. Mark. The other evangelists do not mention it at all. The language is Aramaic, doubtless that used commonly by our Lord. He quotes the words of the twenty-second psalm as applicable to himself, as offering a foreordained expression of his agony of soul. Into the full meaning of this bitter cry we cannot venture irreverently to intrude. At the same time, thus much may be said. It was not mere bodily anguish that elicited it; it arose from some incalculable affliction of soul. He was bearing the sins of the whole world; the Lord had laid on him the iniquity of us all; there was no one to comfort him in his heaviness; and the light of God's countenance was for the time withdrawn from him. He was "left" that he might bear man's sins in their full and crushing weight, and by bearing save. Yet there is no despair in this lamentable outcry. He who could thus call upon God has God with him, even in his utter loneliness. "Amid the faintness, or the confusion of mind, felt at the approach of death, he experiences his abandonment by God; and yet his soul rests firmly on, and his wilt is fully subject to, God, while he is thus tasting death forevery man through God's grace .... He held firmly to God and retained the Divinity of his life, at the time when in his unity with mankind, and in his human feeling, the feeling of abandonment by God amazed him" (Lange). The verb "forsaken" is not in the perfect tense, as translated in the Authorized Version, but in the aorist; and it implies that during the three hours of darkness Christ had been in silence enduring this utter desolation, which had now come to its climax. The Man Christ Jesus asked why he was thus deserted; his human heart would fain comprehend this phase of the propitiatory sufferings which he was undergoing. No answer came from the darkened heaven; but the cry was heard; the unspeakable sacrifice, a sacrifice necessary according to the Almighty's purpose, was accepted, and with his own blood he obtained eternal redemption for man. Ninth hour

"Early on Friday afternoon the new course of priests, of Levites, and of the 'stationary men' who were to be the representatives of all Israel, arrived in Jerusalem, and having prepared themselves for the festive season went up to the temple. The approach of the Sabbath, and then its actual commencement, were announced by threefold blasts from the priests' trumpets. The first three blasts were blown when one-third of the evening-sacrifice service was over, or about the ninth hour; that is, about 3 p.m. on Friday" (Edersheim, "The Temple").

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