Matthew 27:58
He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
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(58) He went to Pilate.—Assuming the death of our Lord to have been soon after the ninth hour (3 P.M.), Joseph would seem to have hastened at once to the Prætorium, and asked Pilate’s permission to inter the body. St. Mark records Pilate’s wonder that death should have come so soon (Mark 15:44). In his compliance with the petition we trace, as before, a lingering reverence and admiration. As far as he can, he will help the friends and not the foes of the righteous Sufferer.

27:57-61 In the burial of Christ was nothing of pomp or solemnity. As Christ had not a house of his own, wherein to lay his head, while he lived, so he had not a grave of his own, wherein to lay his body, when he was dead. Our Lord Jesus, who had no sin of his own, had no grave of his own. The Jews designed that he should have made his grave with the wicked, should have been buried with the thieves with whom he was crucified, but God overruled it, so that he should make it with the rich in his death, Isa 53:9. And although to the eye of man the beholding a funeral may cause terror, yet if we remember how Christ by his burial has changed the nature of the grave to believers, it should make us rejoice. And we are ever to imitate Christ's burial in being continually occupied in the spiritual burial of our sins.He went to Pilate - Because no one had a right to remove the body but by authority of the magistrate. Jesus was condemned to be crucified, usually a long and most bitter death, and in common cases it would have been unlawful to have removed the body so soon. 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).

See Poole on "Matthew 27:61".

He went to Pilate,.... To his house where he lived, and went in, as Mark says, Mark 15:43, boldly; not being ashamed of Christ crucified, or afraid to own him, and show his respect to him as dead, though he knew he should incur the displeasure, reproach, and persecution of the Jews:

and begged the body of Jesus; which could not be taken down and interred, without the leave of the Roman governor; and which was generally granted to the friends of the deceased, when asked; otherwise they were buried in places (l) appointed for such persons,

See Gill on Matthew 27:33. And this would have been the case of Christ, had not Joseph craved his body; and which he did, to prevent its being abused by the Jews, and interred in such an ignominious manner:

then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered; to Joseph, after he had understood by the centurion that Jesus was dead, which he at first could not tell how to believe, and marvelled at it,

Mark 15:44. Joseph might the more easily obtain his request, as he was a person of character and riches; and because Pilate himself had a good opinion of Jesus, and of his innocence, as well as his wife was much in his favour: so that Joseph had no difficulty to obtain the body of Christ; but as soon as he asked, he had the favour granted, and orders were given to the centurion and his soldiers, to deliver it to him,

(l) See Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 6. sect. 5, 6. Maimon. Hilch. Sanhedrin, c. 14. sect. 9.

He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
Matthew 27:58 According to Roman usage, the bodies of criminals were left hanging upon the cross, where they were allowed to decompose and be devoured by birds of prey. Plaut. mil. glor. ii. 4. 9; Horace, Ep. i. 16. 48. However, should the relatives in any case ask the body for the purpose of burying, there was nothing to forbid their request being complied with. Ulpian, xlviii. 24. 1, de cadav. punit.; Hug in the Freyb. Zeitschr. 5, p. 174 ff.

προσελθ.] therefore from the place of execution to the praetorium.

ἀποδοθῆναι τὸ σῶμα] τὸ σῶμα is due not merely to the simple style of the narrative, but in its threefold repetition expresses with involuntary emphasis the author’s own painful sympathy. ἀποδοθ. has the force of reddi (Vulg.), the thing asked being regarded as the petitioner’s own peculiar property. Comp. Matthew 22:21.

Matthew 27:58. προσελθὼν: from the cross Joseph returns, and approaches Pilate to beg the body of Jesus for burial. In the case of the crucified such a request was necessary, but was generally granted (“Eorum in quos animadvertitur corpora non aliter sepeliuntur quam si fuerit petitum et permissum”. Ulpian. de Cadav. punit. in Justinian, Corpus Jur. Civ. xlviii. 24, 1). The general practice was to leave the bodies to waste. The privilege of burial was sometimes granted for money. There is nothing to show that Pilate condescended to such meanness, at least in the present instance, though Theophy. suggests that he did.—ἐκέλευσεν ἀποδοθῆναι, he ordered it to be delivered.

58. Pilate commanded the body to be delivered] after having ascertained from the centurion that Jesus was dead. Usually those who suffered crucifixion lingered for days upon the cross. By Roman law the corpse of a crucified person was not buried except by express permission of the Emperor. A concession was made in favour of the Jews, whose law did not suffer a man to hang all night upon a tree. Deuteronomy 21:23. (See Jahn, Bib. Ant., 296.) “The readiness of Pilate to grant Joseph’s request is quite in accordance with his anxiety to release Jesus and his displeasure against the Jews. If Joseph had not made this request, the body of Jesus would have been placed in one of the common burying-places appointed by the Council” (Lightfoot, Hor. Hebr. ad loc.).

Matthew 27:58. Ἠτήσατο, begged) Then the power of the Prætor was great over the bodies of those who had been executed; cf. in Mark 15:45, ἐδωρήσατο, he gave as a gift. Buxtorf in his Lexic. Talm. fol. xix. 62, says, “For this cause, perchance, did Joseph of Arimathea beg that the body of Christ might be given to him, lest it should be committed to the public sepulchre of criminais.”—τὸ σῶμα, the body) All the Evangelists use this word for our Lord’s frame when dead, since it would not have been becoming to designate it by the expression corpse (cadaver). Such is the Divine propriety of style, which has indeed been abandoned by human commentators.—ἀποδοθῆναι, to be restored[1216]) The Jews had alienated it; Joseph, a member of the Sanhedrim, as it were in the public name received it from the Gentiles, and together with Nicodemus restored it to the Jews; cf. the conclusion of John 19:40.

[1216] Engl. Vers. To be delivered.—(I. B.)

Verse 58. - He went to Pilate. St. Mark says, "came and went in boldly unto Pilate." He had hitherto been a disciple of Christ, "secretly for fear of the Jews" (John 19:38); now that Christ was dead, and his death accompanied with such manifest wonders, according absolutely with ancient prophecy, and fulfilling Christ's own predictions, he hesitated no longer, he openly professed his partisanship, and threw in his lot with the Crucified. If from expediency or pusillanimity he had refrained from taking a prominent position as a favourer of this wonderful Teacher, he had lately learned a new lesson, and hailed the opportunity of publicly honouring him deceased whom in his heart he had loved and reverenced while alive. So he went to the Praetorium to see the procurator, whose sanction was required for removing the body of a criminal from the cross. It was probably after the deputation of the Jews to Pilate, mentioned by St. John (John 19:31), that Joseph had his interview. Begged the body of Jesus. It was not unusual for friends to obtain leave to pay the last rites and to give decent sepulture in such cases; otherwise the corpses were thrown carelessly into nameless graves, if they were not left to rot on the cross. The indignities which Christ had suffered during life now began to be reversed. Commanded the body to be delivered. Pilate first, we are told, sent for the officer in charge of the execution, and finding from him that Jesus was really dead, granted Joseph's request. Perhaps he desired at the same time to flout the chief priests, and likewise to make some slight reparation to the innocent Victim of his policy. Matthew 27:58
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