Matthew 27:56
Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedees children.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(56) Mary Magdalene.—This is the first mention of the name in St. Matthew. The most natural explanation of it is that she came from the town of Magdala, or Magadan (the reading of the chief MSS.), not far from Tiberias, on the western side of the Sea of Galilee. The two prominent facts in her history prior to her connection with the Resurrection are, (1) that our Lord had cast “seven devils out of her” (Mark 16:9, Luke 8:2)—i.e., had freed her from some specially aggravated form of demoniacal possession—and that she followed Him and ministered to Him of her substance. The question whether she was identical (1) with Mary the sister of Lazarus, or (2) with the “woman which was a sinner” of Luke 7:37, will be better discussed in the Notes on the latter passage. It may be enough to intimate here my conviction that there is not the shadow of any evidence for either identification.

Mary the mother of James and Joses.—In St. Mark (Mark 15:40) she is described as the mother of “James the Less” (or, better, the Little) “and Joses,” the epithet distinguishing the former from James the son of Zebedee, and possibly also from James the son of Alphæus. She may, however, have been identical with the wife of Clopas (possibly another form of Alphæus) mentioned in John 19:25 as standing near the cross with the mother of the Lord, and, according to a natural construction of the words, described as her sister. In this case, the word “Little” would attach to the son of that sister. Whether the two names, which occur also in the list of the “brethren of the Lord” (Mark 6:3), indicate that she was the mother of those brethren, is a point which we have no evidence to settle. The presumption seems to me against it, as on this supposition the “brethren” would be identical with the three sons of Alphæus in the list of the Twelve, a view which we have seen reason to reject (see Note on Matthew 12:46).

The mother of Zebedee’s children.—St. Mark (Mark 15:40) gives her name as Salome, and she, and not the wife of Clopas, may, on a perfectly tenable construction of John 19:25, have been identical with the sister of our Lord’s mother there mentioned. St. Luke notes the fact that with the women were those whom he describes as “all His acquaintance,” i.e., friends and disciples of, or at that time in, Jerusalem (Luke 23:49).

27:51-56 The rending of the veil signified that Christ, by his death, opened a way to God. We have an open way through Christ to the throne of grace, or mercy-seat now, and to the throne of glory hereafter. When we duly consider Christ's death, our hard and rocky hearts should be rent; the heart, and not the garments. That heart is harder than a rock that will not yield, that will not melt, where Jesus Christ is plainly set forth crucified. The graves were opened, and many bodies of saints which slept, arose. To whom they appeared, in what manner, and how they disappeared, we are not told; and we must not desire to be wise above what is written. The dreadful appearances of God in his providence, sometimes work strangely for the conviction and awakening of sinners. This was expressed in the terror that fell upon the centurion and the Roman soldiers. We may reflect with comfort on the abundant testimonies given to the character of Jesus; and, seeking to give no just cause of offence, we may leave it to the Lord to clear our characters, if we live to Him. Let us, with an eye of faith, behold Christ and him crucified, and be affected with that great love wherewith he loved us. But his friends could give no more than a look; they beheld him, but could not help him. Never were the horrid nature and effects of sin so tremendously displayed, as on that day when the beloved Son of the Father hung upon the cross, suffering for sin, the Just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God. Let us yield ourselves willingly to his service.Mary Magdalene - Mary of Magdala. She had a special cause of attachment to the Saviour, having been relieved by him of a most dreadful calamity and restored to her right mind, after being possessed by seven devils. See the notes at Luke 8:2.

And the mother of Zebedee's children - That is, of James and John, Matthew 10:2. Her name was Salome, Mark 15:40.

56. Among which was Mary Magdalene—(See on [1380]Lu 8:2).

and Mary the mother of James and Joses—the wife of Cleophas, or rather Clopas, and sister of the Virgin (Joh 19:25). See on [1381]Mt 13:55,56.

and the mother of Zebedee's children—that is, Salome: compare Mr 15:40. All this about the women is mentioned for the sake of what is afterwards to be related of their purchasing spices to anoint their Lord's body.

The Taking Down from the Cross and the Burial (Mt 27:57-60).

For the exposition of this portion, see on [1382]Joh 19:38-42.

The Women Mark the Sacred Spot that They Might Recognize It on Coming Thither to Anoint the Body (Mt 27:61).

Ver. 54-56. Mark saith, Mark 15:39-41, And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God. There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; (who also when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him); and many other women which came up with him to Jerusalem.

Luke saith, Luke 23:47-49, Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man. And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned. And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.

We heard before, Matthew 27:36, that the soldiers sat down and watched Christ. The centurion here mentioned was the captain of this watch; he seeing the earthquake, and all the other things that were done, saith Matthew. Mark saith, When he saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost. He glorified God, saith Luke. Matthew and Mark tell us how he said. Truly this man was the Son of God. Luke saith he said, Certainly this was a righteous man: he glorified God by a confession of the truth, to the glory of God, saying, he was a righteous man, and such a righteous man as was also the Son of God. It seems very probable that this captain, living amongst the Jews, had learned from them their expectation of a Messiah, and speaketh this with reference to that, and acknowledgeth that Christ was he. Luke addeth, that all the people that came to see that sight returned, smiting their breasts, being convinced of the great wickedness committed by their high priests, and chief priests and elders, and fearing that vengeance which followed in less than forty years.

And many women were there: these women had followed Christ out of Galilee: two only are named here,

Mary Magdalene, who probably had her name from Magdala a city in Galilee,

and Mary the mother of James and Joses, ( James the less, saith Mark, to distinguish him from James the son of Zebedee),

and the mother of Zebedee’s children: these stood afar off, these three evangelists say. John told us, John 19:25, that two of these were so near the cross, with the mother of our Lord, that he spake to them. Here we read nothing of the mother of our Lord, probably she was gone with John, to whom Christ had commended her, and the rest withdrew and stood farther off from the cross at this time. Matthew goeth on now, describing the coming of Joseph of Arimathea to beg the dead body of Christ; so doth Mark and Luke.

John interposes something tending to complete the history, John 19:31-37: The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came thereout blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.

The day upon which he was crucified was the fifteenth day of the month Nisan, upon the Friday, as we call it; this appeareth from this text, which saith it was the preparation to the Jewish sabbath; and that sabbath, the evangelist saith, was a high day, not because, as some think, the Jews put off their passover to that day, but because it was the second day of the feast of unleavened bread. It is true, John 19:14, it is called the preparation of the passover; but we must remember, that all the seven days of unleavened bread were so called, as I before noted. This day was indeed the preparation to the sabbath in the paschal week, for otherwise we must say that Christ did not eat the passover the same day that the Jews did, which involves us in many inextricable difficulties, and could not be if the paschal lamb was to be killed by the priests, for they would not have killed it the day before. It is therefore most probable, that John 19:14 must be expounded by John 19:31, and the preparation of the passover, John 19:14; was the preparation to the sabbath, which falling within the compass of the seven days of unleavened bread, was a great day with them, especially being the day following the eating of the paschal lamb. By the law, Deu 21:23, the body of none that was hanged was to abide all night upon the tree. It was between three and four of the clock in the afternoon before that Christ died; they used to set some hours apart for preparation to the sabbath, which that night began as soon as the sun was set; this therefore makes them go to Pilate, and desire that the legs of them that suffered might be broken. Pilate grants their request. The soldiers brake the legs of the two thieves, but when they came to Christ, they found him dead, and brake not his legs, but a soldier with a spear pierced his side. The evangelist takes notice of these minute things, (and assures us he saw them, that we might believe), that he might show us how in every point the things of old spoken of Christ were fulfilled in him. Christ was the true paschal Lamb, as to which the law was, That a bone of it should not be broken, Exodus 12:46 Numbers 9:12; or else the evangelist refers to Psalm 34:20, where it is said of a righteous man, He keepeth all his bones; not one of them is broken. Our Saviour’s side was pierced, and that also is recorded, to let us know the fulfilling of that scripture, Zechariah 12:10, They shall look upon me whom they have pierced. Among which was Mary Magdalene,.... Out of whom Christ had cast out seven devils; and who having received much from him, loved much, which she showed by her zealous and constant attachment to him. She was called Magdalene, either because she was an inhabitant of Magdala, Matthew 15:39, so we read (e) of R. Isaac, of "Magdala", or "Magdalene"; and the rather, because that Magdala was famous, or rather infamous, for whoredom; for which reason the Jews (f) say, it was destroyed: or else she was so called, because she was a "tonstrix", or plaiter of women's hair, as the word signifies (g); and so we often read of Mary, , "the plaiter of women's hair" (h); by whom the Jews seem to design Mary, the mother of Jesus, whom they confound with this Mary Magdalene. Jerom says (i), her name signifies "towered", or "fortified", because of her care and diligence, and the ardour of her faith; and "Migdal", in Hebrew, does signify a tower:

and Mary the mother of James and Joses: the same with the wife of Cleophas, and sister to Mary, the mother of Jesus: instead of Joses, the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions read Joseph: "Jose", in Hebrew, is the same with "Joseph", the last letter being cut off; the Arabic version reads Mary, the mother of James, and the mother of Joses, John 19:25.

And the mother of Zebedee's children: that is, of James and John; her name was Salome, Mark 15:40.

(e) Juchasin, fol. 96. 2.((f) T. Hieros. Taaniot, fol. 69. 1. Echa Rabbati, fol. 52. 4. (g) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Kiddushin, c. 2. sect. 3.((h) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 104. 2. Chagiga, fol. 4. 2. & Sanhedrin, fol. 67. 1.((i) Ad Principiam, Tom. l. fol. 41.

Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedees children.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 27:56. ἐν αἷς: three out of the many named, with a reference to the sequel, or as the best known. Mary of Magdala (first mention in Mt.), Mary, the mother of a well-known pair of brothers, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee (Salome in Mk.).56. St Mark (Mark 15:40) specifies the group as “Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less (rather, the little) and of Joses, and Salome.”

Mary Magdalene] Mentioned here for the first time by St Matthew. She was probably named from Magdala (Mejdel), on the Lake of Gennesaret; see map, p. 49. She had been a victim of demoniacal possession, but was cured by Jesus (Luke 8:2), and then joined the company of faithful women who followed Him with the Twelve. Mary Magdalene is not named by St John among those who at an earlier period “stood by the cross of Jesus,” but even then we may believe she was watching far off, and early in the morning she was present at the sepulchre.

The great Italian painters have identified Mary Magdalene either with the “woman that was a sinner” who anointed Jesus in the house of Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7:36-50), or with Mary the sister of Lazarus. But neither identification can be sustained on critical grounds.

Mary the mother of James and Joses] Perhaps the same Mary who was the wife of Cleophas, Clopas, or Alphæus (different forms of one name), mentioned John 19:25. If so, according to one interpretation of the passage in John, the sister of the Blessed Virgin.

the mother of Zebedee’s children] Salome. See ch. Matthew 20:20.Matthew 27:56. Ἡ τοῦ Ἰακωβου καὶ Ἰωσῆ μήτηρ, the mother of James and Joses) When St Matthew wrote, the sons were better known than their mother; wherefore she was denominated from them.Verse 56. - The historian mentions the most prominent of these pious women. Mary Magdalene (ἡ Μαγδαληςή, the Magdalene). She was a native of Magdala (Matthew 15:39, where see note), a small village on the shore of Gennesaret. Some have identified her with the sister of Lazarus, chiefly because, taking her to be the "sinner" mentioned in Luke 7:37, she is related to have behaved in a somewhat similar way to our Lord as her namesake. But this is clearly a mistake. Of the two events, the locality, the scene, the occasion, the circumstances, are different. Of this Mary of Magdala we really know nothing, except that out of her Jesus had cast seven devils (Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2). That these were demons of impurity, or that she was the sinful woman who anointed our Lord, there is nothing whatever to prove; though the notion connected with the name Magdalene is so rooted in men's minds and language that it is impossible to eradicate it, however erroneous it may be shown to be. She had probably been one who was melancholy mad, and subject to fits; Christ had seen the spiritual cause of this malady, and removed it by freeing her from demoniacal possession. What wonder is it that she followed him from Galilee, tending him lovingly and anxiously until the end? Mary the mother of James and Joses. Some manuscripts read Joseph; but the Received Text is correct. These two persons are mentioned among our Lord's "brethren" in Matthew 13:55. The former is called "James the Less" (Mark 15:40), and is the apostle of that name. Mary is usually supposed to be the wife of Cleophas (John 19:25), and the sister of the mother of our Lord; so that these two disciples would be Christ's first cousins. The matter is shrouded in difficulty, and cannot be decided with absolute certainty. From the present passage, at any rate, one fact is shown, that they were not Christ's uterine brothers - a truth which needed no mention, were not the dishonouring heresy of Helvidius still rife among us. The mother of Zebedee's children. Salome (Matthew 20:20; Mark 15:40). The rejection of her ambitious petition had not lessened her love and devotion to Christ. Magdalene (ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ)

Neither Mary of Bethany (Matthew 26:6-13) nor the woman who had been a sinner (Luke 7:37-48). The word denotes merely her town: She of Magdala.

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