Matthew 27:59
And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
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(59) A clean linen cloth.—The word for “linen cloth,” Sindôn, points, according to different derivations, to a Sidonian or an Indian fabric. It was probably of the nature of muslin rather than linen, and seems to have been specially used by the Egyptians for folding round their mummies, but sometimes also for the sheet in which a man slept (Herod. ii. 82, 95). In the New Testament it appears only in the account of our Lord’s burial and in the strange narrative of Mark 14:51.

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 wrapped it in a clean linen cloth." John adds that this was done "with spices" John 19:40. The Jews were accustomed to use myrrh, aloes, and other aromatics in large quantities when they buried their dead. When they were not regularly embalmed, which was a long and tedious process, they enclosed the spices in the folds of the linen, or wrapped the body in it. Spices were sometimes used in such quantities as to form a "heap or bed," on which the dead body was laid. Thus it is said of Asa 2 Chronicles 16:14, "they laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odors and spices," etc. There not being time properly to embalm the body of Jesus, he was buried in this manner. The women who attended him, either not being aware of this, or desirous of showing a further regard for him, returned from the sepulchre and prepared other spices with which to embalm him on the first day of the week, Luke 23:56; Luke 24:1. 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".

And when Joseph had taken the body,.... Down from the cross, with the assistance of others, or from the hands of those who had orders to deliver it to him:

he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth: that is, he wound up the body in it round and round, as was the custom of the Jews; see Acts 5:6.

John 11:44. Nor was it usual to bury in any thing but linen: so it is said (m),

"let the wrappings, or grave clothes, be , "of white linen"; and let not the price of them be dear, for it is forbidden to bury in wrappings of silk, or broidered garments, even to a prince of Israel: for this is pride and destruction, and the work of the Gentiles.

This clean linen cloth, in which the dead body of Christ was wrapped, may be an emblem of his purity and innocence, who did no sin; nor did he die for any of his own, but for the sins of others; and also of his pure and spotless righteousness, which is compared to fine linen, clean and white, and which he now had wrought out, and brought in; see Revelation 19:8.

(m) Juchasin, fol. 54. 2. Vid. Maimon. Hilchot Ebel, c. 4. sect. 2.

And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
Matthew 27:59 “Jam initia honoris,” Bengel.

σινδόνι καθαρᾷ] with pure (unstained linen) linen, the dative of instrument. Keeping in view the ordinary practice on such occasions, it must not be supposed that the reference here is to a dress (Kuinoel, Fritzsche), but (comp. Herod, ii. 86) to strips or bands (John 19:40), in which the body was swathed after being washed. Comp. Wetstein. Matthew makes no mention of spices (John 19:40), but neither does he exclude their use, for he may have meant us to understand that, in conformity with the usual practice, they would be put in, as matter of course, when the body was wrapped up (in opposition to Strauss, de Wette, Keim). Mark 16:1 and Luke 23:56 represent the putting in of the spices as something intended to be done after the burial. This, however, is in no way inconsistent with the statement of John, for there is no reason why the women may not have supplemented with a subsequent and more careful dressing of the body (ἀλείψωσιν, Mark 16:1) what had been done imperfectly, because somewhat hurriedly, by Joseph and (see John 19:39) Nicodemus.

Matthew 27:59. ἐνετύλιξεν (little used, found in Aristophanes), wrapped.—σινδόνι καθαρᾷ, in clean, i.e., never before used linen.—σινδών is of uncertain derivation and varying sense, being applied to cloths of diverse material, but here generally understood as meaning linen cloth, wrapped in strips round the body as in the case of mummies in Egypt, the body being first washed (Acts 9:37). As to this way of preparing dead bodies for burial we have no details in O. T. (Benzinger, p. 163).

59. linen cloth] Sindon, or fine linen.

Matthew 27:59. Σινδόνι, a very fine linen or muslin cloth) Such as had not hitherto been worn by our Lord. The beginnings of honour[1217] already appear. Joseph is called in Mark 15:43, ΕὐΣΧΉΜΩΝ ΒΟΥΛΕΥΤῊς, an honourable senator) It was not allowable to wrap the dead in anything more costly.

[1217] Cf. 1 Corinthians 15:4.—E. B.

Verse 59. - When Joseph had taken the body. In order to effect this, the cross would be taken up and deposited upon the ground, the nails would be drawn from hands and feet, the cord unbound (if cord there was), and the corpse laid reverently down. We must remember that this act of Joseph and his friends was not only a bold proceeding, but an act of great self-denial. Contact with a corpse caused ceremonial defilement of seven days' duration, and thus they would be debarred from taking their part in the great Paschal solemnity, with its solemn and joyful observances. But the love of Jesus and the unselfish desire to render him honour enabled them to rise superior to religious prejudices, and willingly to make the required sacrifice. Wrapped it in a clean linen cloth; literally, swathed it in clean linen. The body was enveloped in a sheet of fine linen, pure and clean, as was fitting. The linen was a fine Indian cloth or muslin, much used for such purposes in Egypt. The body would then be taken to its destination on an open bier. St. John adds the fact that Nicodemus took part in the entombment, bringing a large amount of myrrh and aloes for a temporary embalming, the near approach of the sabbath leaving no time for more elaborate offices. All had to be done with the utmost expedition consistent with propriety and reverence, to avoid encroachment on the rest of that high sabbath. Some of the preparations for burial would doubtless be made in the vestibule of the tomb, which was a small court, but spacious enough for the purpose. Here the limbs would be separately bound with folds of linen, between layers of spices, the head being wrapped in a napkin. Matthew 27:59
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