Matthew 27:47
Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calls for Elias.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(47) This man calleth for Elias.—There is no ground for looking on this as a wilful, derisive misinterpretation. The words may have been imperfectly understood, or some of those who listened may have been Hellenistic Jews. The dominant expectation of the coming of Elijah (see Notes on Matthew 16:14; Matthew 17:10) would predispose men to fasten on the similarity of sound, and the strange unearthly darkness would intensify the feeling that looked for a supernatural manifestation of His presence.

Matthew 27:47-49. Some said, This man calleth for Elias — These must have been some of the strangers, of whom there was always a great concourse at the passover, who did not understand the dialect then spoken in Jerusalem. And one of them ran, &c. — Jesus knowing that he had now accomplished every thing required by God of the Messiah, and foretold by the prophets, excepting that circumstance of his sufferings, which was predicted Psalm 69:21, In my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink, in order to give occasion to the accomplishment of this like wise, he said aloud, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar, (John 19:28.) And one took a sponge and filled it with vinegar — It is well known, that vinegar and water (which mixture was called posca) was the common drink of the Roman soldiers, for which purpose they usually carried vinegar with them in vessels when on duty. Perhaps, therefore, this vinegar was set here for their use, or for that of the crucified persons, whose torture would naturally make them thirsty. And put it on a reed — They put the sponge, as John tells us, upon hyssop, that is, a stalk of hyssop, called by the other evangelists καλαμος, which signifies not only a reed, but the stalk of any plant. For that hyssop was a shrub, appears from 1 Kings 4:33, where it is reckoned among the trees. This office they performed to Jesus, not so much from pity, as to preserve him alive, in the hopes of seeing the miracle of Elijah’s descent from heaven, as appears from the next verse.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.This man calleth for Elias - This was done purposely to deride him and his pretensions to be the Messiah. The words "Eli, Eli," they might easily pretend that they understood to mean Elias, or so pervert them. The taunt would be more cutting, because it was the universal belief of the Jews, as well as the doctrine of Christ, that "Elias" would come before the Messiah. They derided him now, as calling upon "Elias" when God would not help him; still keeping up the pretensions to being the Messiah, and invoking "Elijah" to come from the dead to aid him. Or it is possible that this might have been said by some bystanders who did not understand the language in which he spoke, or who might not have been near enough to hear him distinctly. 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". Some of them that stood there,.... Near the cross, looking on, and mocking at him,

when they heard that; the words, "Eli, Eli", spoken by Christ,

said, this man calleth for Elias. These could not be the Roman soldiers that said so, who had no notion of Elias; rather the Hellenistic Jews, who not so well understanding the Hebrew language, hearing the above words, and having some notion of the prophet Elias, fancied he was calling for him; though it seems most likely to be the Jews, who either through the nearness of the sound of the words, and mistake of them, and not near enough to hear and distinguish them, really thought he called for that prophet; or rather wilfully mistook him, with an intent to banter and ridicule him.

Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for {p} Elias.

(p) They allude to Elias' name, not because they did not understand what he said, but because of a profane impudence and disrespect, and he repeated those words so that this repetition of the name might be understood.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 27:47 A heartless Jewish witticism founded upon a silly malicious perversion of the words ἠλί, ἠλί, and not a misunderstanding of their meaning on the part of the Roman soldiers (Euthymius Zigabenus), or illiterate Jews (Theophylact, Erasmus, Olshausen, Lange), or Hellenists (Grotius), for the whole context introduces us to one scene after another of envenomed mockery; see Matthew 27:49.

οὗτος] that one there! pointing Him out among the three who were being crucified.Matthew 27:47. τινὲς δὲ: not Roman soldiers, for they knew nothing about Elias; might be Hellenistic Jews who did not understand Hebrew or Aramaean (Grotius); more probably heartless persons who only affected to misunderstand. It was poor wit, and showed small capacity for turning to advantage the words spoken. How much more to the purpose to have said: Hear Him! He actually confesses that His God in whom He trusted has forsaken Him.47. This man calleth for Elias] This was probably spoken in pure mockery, not in a real belief that Jesus expected the personal reappearance of Elijah.Matthew 27:47. Ἡλίαν, Elias) It is impious to distort sacred words, formularies, and prayers.Verse 47. - Some of them that stood there. These could not have been the Roman soldiers, for they would not have understood the Saviour's language, and could have known nothing about Elias. Edersheim supposes that the guards were provincial soldiers, and not necessarily of Latin extraction. At any rate, the speakers are Jews standing near enough to the cross to catch more or less the words uttered by Jesus. This man (οῦτος, he, pointing at him) calleth for Elias. Whether they wilfully misinterpreted the half-heard cry, "Eli, Eli!" or whether they really misunderstood it, is an undecided question. In the first case, we must suppose that they spoke in cruel mockery - the last of the brutal insults vented on the meek Sufferer. He cannot save himself; he appeals to the old prophet to come to rescue him; was there ever such presumption? There are two considerations which militate against this supposition. The time of ribaldry and abuse is now past; the supernatural darkness has had a calming and terrifying effect; and there is no spirit of mockery left in the awed bystanders. Besides this, it is not likely that Jews, who with all their errors and vices paid an outward respect to holy things, would have presumed to make a play on the sacred name of God. Therefore it is no more reasonable to hold that, misunderstanding Christ's words, they spoke seriously, with some vague, superstitious idea that Elijah might appear at this crisis, and rescue the Sufferer (see ver. 49).
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