Matthew 27:62
Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together to Pilate,
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(62) The next day, that followed the day of the preparation.—The narrative that follows is peculiar to St. Matthew, and, like the report of the rending of the veil of the Temple, may, perhaps, be traced to the converted priests of Acts 6:7. This was, as we find from what follows, the Sabbath. The “preparation” (Paraskeuè) was a technical term, not, as is sometimes said, in reference to preparing for the Passover, but, as in Mark 15:42, to a preparation for the Sabbath (Jos. Ant. xvi. 6, § 2, is decisive on this point), and the use of the term here leaves the question whether the Last Supper or the Crucifixion coincided with the Passover, still an open one. It may be noted that the Jewish use of the term passed into the Christian Church, and that at least as early as Clement of Alexandria (Strom. vii. § 76) it was the received name for the Dies Veneris, or Friday, the anniversary of the Crucifixion being the “great” or “holy” Paraskeue. On either view, however, there is something strange in the way in which St. Matthew describes the day as coming, “after the preparation,” instead of saying simply, “the Sabbath.” It is a possible solution of the difficulty thus presented, on the assumption that the Last Supper was a true Passover, that the day of the Crucifixion as being on the Passover, was itself technically a Sabbath (Leviticus 23:7; Leviticus 23:24). Two Sabbaths therefore came together, and this may have led the Evangelist to avoid the commoner phrase, and to describe the second as being “the day that followed the preparation,” i.e. the ordinary weekly Sabbath. The precise time at which the priests went to Pilate is not stated; probably it was early on the morning of the Sabbath when they had heard from the Roman soldiers of the burial by Joseph of Arimathæa. The fact that the body was under the care of one who was secretly a disciple aroused their suspicions, and they would naturally take the first opportunity, even at the risk of infringing on the Sabbath rest, of guarding against the fraud which they suspected.

Matthew 27:62-66. Now the next day; the day that followed the day of the preparation — That is, after the sun was set, for the Jewish day began then. The day of preparation was the day before the sabbath, whereon they were to prepare for the celebration of it. The next day, then, (namely, Saturday,) was the sabbath, according to the Jews. But the evangelist seems to express it by this circumlocution, to show that the Jewish sabbath was then abolished. The chief priests, &c., came together unto Pilate — The chief priests and Pharisees, remembering that Jesus had predicted his own resurrection more than once, came to the governor and informed him of it begging that a guard might be ordered to the sepulchre, lest the disciples should carry his body away and affirm that he was risen from the dead. But they took this measure not on the morrow, in our sense of the word, but in the evening, after sunsetting, when the Jewish sabbath was begun, and when they understood the body was buried. To have delayed it to sunrising would have been preposterous, as the disciples might have stolen the body away during the preceding night. Besides, there is no inconsistency between this account of the time when the watch was placed and the subsequent articles of the history, which proceed upon the supposition that the women present at our Lord’s funeral were ignorant that any watch was placed at his grave. For they departed so early, that they had time to buy spices and ointments in the city before the preparation of the sabbath was ended; whereas the watch was not placed till the sabbath began. Saying, Sir — Thus the word Κυριε is here very properly rendered, as in many other places it is as improperly translated lord. It should certainly always be translated sir, when no more than civil respect is intended. We remember that deceiver said, After three days — Or, as

μετα τρεις ημερας may be properly rendered, within three days, I will rise again — We do not find that he had ever said this to them, unless when he spoke of the temple of his body, (John 2:19; John 2:21.) And if they here refer to what he then said, how perverse and iniquitous was their construction on these words, when he was on his trial before the council!

Matthew 26:61. Then they seemed not to understand them! Perhaps, however, they may refer to what he said (when the scribes and Pharisees demanded a sign of him) respecting the Prophet Jonas, namely, that as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, the Son of man should be so long in the heart of the earth. Or, on some occasion not mentioned by the evangelists, our Lord may have made a public declaration of his resurrection in the very terms here set down. But, in whatever way they came to the knowledge of it, certain it is that the chief priests and Pharisees were well acquainted with our Lord’s predictions concerning it; and hence the precaution and care which they used in guarding the sepulchre, all which was overruled by the providence of God to give the strongest proofs of Christ’s ensuing resurrection. Command, therefore, that the sepulchre be made sure — This, as being a servile work, it might be thought they would not ask to be done on the sabbath. But we must observe, that they asked this of Romans, whom they did not consider as bound by the law of the sabbath. Jews to this day do not scruple to avail themselves of the work done by Christians on the Jewish sabbath. Pilate said, Ye have a guard — “Pilate, thinking their request reasonable, allowed them to take as many soldiers as they pleased of the cohort which, at the feast, came from the castle Antonia, and kept guard in the porticoes of the temple. For that they were not Jewish but Roman soldiers whom the priests employed to watch the sepulchre, is evident from their asking them of the governor. Besides, when the soldiers returned with the news of Christ’s resurrection, the priests desired them to report that his disciples had stolen him away while they slept; and, to encourage them to tell the falsehood boldly, promised, that if their neglect of duty came to the governor’s ears, proper means should be used to pacify him and keep them safe; a promise which there was no need of making to their own servants.” — Macknight. So they went — The priests and Pharisees having got a party of soldiers, placed them in their post, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone — To hinder the guards from combining in carrying on any fraud. See Daniel 6:17 : where we learn that a precaution of the like kind was made use of in the case of Daniel shut up in the lions’ den. “Thus, while the priests cautiously proposed to prevent our Lord’s resurrection from being palmed upon the world, resolving no doubt to show his body publicly after the third day, as a proof that he was an impostor, they put the truth of his resurrection beyond all question; for, besides that there could be no room for the least suspicion of deceit, when it should be found that his body was raised out of a new tomb, where there was no other corpse, and this tomb hewn out of a rock, the mouth of which was secured by a great stone, under a seal, and a guard of soldiers; by appointing this guard, they furnished a number of unexceptionable witnesses to it, whose testimony they themselves could not refuse. See Matthew 28:11.” “The chief priests and Pharisees,” says Bishop Porteus, “having taken these precautions, waited probably with no small impatience for the third day after the crucifixion — when they made no doubt they should find the body in the sepulchre, and convict Jesus of deceit and imposture.” 27:62-66 On the Jewish sabbath, the chief priests and Pharisees, when they should have been at their devotions, were dealing with Pilate about securing the sepulchre. This was permitted that there might be certain proof of our Lord's resurrection. Pilate told them that they might secure the sepulchre as carefully as they could. They sealed the stone, and set a guard, and were satisfied that all needful care was taken. But to guard the sepulchre against the poor weak disciples was folly, because needless; while to think to guard it against the power of God, was folly, because fruitless, and to no purpose; yet they thought they dealt wisely. But the Lord took the wise in their own craftiness. Thus shall all the rage and the plans of Christ's enemies be made to promote his glory.Now the next day, that followed the days of the preparation - The first day of the feast of the Passover was called the day of "preparation," because all things were on that day got in readiness for the observances of the paschal week. The Jewish day closed at sunset, and the Sabbath at that time commenced. The "next day" mentioned here does not mean the following day in our acceptation of the word, or the following "morning," but the next day in the Jewish way of speaking - that is, after the next day had commenced, or after sundown. To suppose them to have waited until the next morning would be absurd, as the disciples would be as likely to steal him away the first night as the second. 62. Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation—that is, after six o'clock of our Saturday evening. The crucifixion took place on the Friday and all was not over till shortly before sunset, when the Jewish sabbath commenced; and "that sabbath day was an high day" (Joh 19:31), being the first day of the feast of unleavened bread. That day being over at six on Saturday evening, they hastened to take their measures. See Poole on "Matthew 27:66". Now the next day that followed the day of preparation,.... Which was the sabbath day; for the day of preparation was the day before the sabbath, Mark 15:42, in which they prepared every thing necessary for the sabbath, and therefore was so called: and as this introduces the account of the chief priests and Pharisees, making application to Pilate, to secure the sepulchre; and which by his leave they did, by sealing the stone, and setting a guard about the sepulchre; it shows what consciences these men had, who accused the disciples of Christ of a violation of the sabbath, for plucking a few ears of corn on that day; and sought to kill Jesus, because he healed a man on it, and bid him take up his bed and walk; and yet they themselves could leave their devotions, and first meet together and agree upon an address to Pilate, and then go in a body to his palace; and having obtained their request, march to Joseph's garden, and make the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch, which were servile works, and, according to their laws and traditions, not to be done on the sabbath day; and yet they scrupled them not, notwithstanding their characters and profession, which follow:

the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate; these were the inveterate and implacable enemies of Christ; they took counsel how to put him to death; they employed Judas to betray him, and sent a band of soldiers with him to take him; they suborned false witnesses against him; they moved the people to prefer Barabbas to him; they got him condemned to death, and followed him to the cross, where they mocked him; and still, like the troubled sea, they were restless and uneasy; for though he was dead, they feared his resurrection; and though they could not prevent the thing, they consult to hinder the credit of it.

{16} Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,

(16) The keeping of the tomb is committed to Christ's own murderers, so that there might be no doubt of his resurrection.

Matthew 27:62 Ἥτις ἐστὶ μετὰ τὴν παρασκ.] which follows the day of preparation, i.e. on Saturday. For παρασκεύη is used to designate the day that immediately precedes the Sabbath (as in the present instance) or any of the feast days. Comp. on John 19:14. According to the Synoptists, the παρασκεύη of the Sabbath happened to coincide this year with the first day of the feast, which might also properly enough be designated σάββατον (Leviticus 23:11; Leviticus 23:15),—this latter circumstance being, according to Wieseler (Synops. p. 417), the reason why Matthew did not prefer the simpler and more obvious expression ἥτις ἐστὶ σάββατον; an expression which, when used in connection with the days of the Passover week, was liable to be misunderstood. But Matthew had already spoken so definitely of the first day of the feast as that on which Jesus was crucified (see Matthew 24:17 to Matthew 27:1), that he had no cause to apprehend any misunderstanding of his words had he chosen to write ἥτις ἐστὶ σάββατον. But as little does that precise statement regarding the day permit us to suppose that the expression in question has been made to turn on the divergent narrative of John (in opposition to de Wette). The most natural explanation of the peculiar phraseology: ἥτις ἐστὶ μετὰ τ. παρασκ., is to be found in that Christian usage according to which the παρασκεύη (i.e. the προσάββατον, Mark 15:42) has come to be the recognised designation for the Friday of the crucifixion. Michaelis, Paulus, Kuinoel suppose that it is the part of Friday after sunset that is intended, by which time, therefore, the Sabbath had begun. This, however, is distinctly precluded by τῇ ἐπαύριον.Matthew 27:62-66. Precautions against theft of the body; peculiar to Mt., and among the less certain elements of the Passion history, owing its origin and presence in this Gospel apparently to the exigencies of the primitive Christian apologetic against Jewish unbelief, which, as we gather from Matthew 27:64, must have sought to invalidate the faith in the resurrection of Jesus by the hypothesis of theft accounting for an empty grave. The transactions here recorded effectually dispose of that hypothesis by making theft impossible. Is the story true, or must we, with Meyer, relegate it to the category of unhistorical legend? Meyer founds largely on the impossibility of Christ predicting so distinctly as is here implied, even to His own disciples, His resurrection. That means that the priests and Pharisees could have had no such solicitude as is ascribed to them. All turns on that. If they had such fears, so originating, it would be quite natural to take precautions against a trick. I think it quite possible that even independently of the saying in chap. Matthew 12:40, given as spoken to Pharisees, it had somehow reached their ears that Jesus had predicted His Passion, and in speaking of it was wont to connect with it the idea of rising again, and it was natural that at such a time they should not despise such reports.62. the next day, that followed the day of the preparation] It was after sunset on Nisan 14. The preparation (paraskeué) was over, the Sabbath and the Paschal feast had commenced. This explanation of the somewhat unusual phrase accords with the view already taken of the Last Supper and the Passover.

While Christ’s enemies were busy this Sabbath day, His friends rested according to the commandment (Luke 23:56).Matthew 27:62. Τῇ δὲ ἐπαύριον, but on the morrow) A periphrasis for the Sabbath (cf. ch. Matthew 28:1), which St Matthew employed for an important reason; perhaps because he did not choose to call the Jewish Sabbath any longer The Sabbath.—καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι, and the Pharisees) They had taken no part in the actual trial; see ch. Matthew 26:3; Matthew 26:57, yet they had not been altogether inactive; see John 18:3. Perhaps there were also Pharisees among the Scribes and the Elders. Perhaps the Pharisees, from their extreme zeal, did many things which did not exactly belong to their office.Verses 62-66. - The great sabbath. The sepulchre sealed and watched. (Peculiar to St. Matthew.) Verse 62. - The next day, that followed the day of the preparation; ἥτις ἐστὶ μετὰ τὴν παρασκευήν, which is [the day] after the preperation. The language of the original Implies that the day was one of a class. The present day was the 15th of Nisan, and both a sabbath and the chief day of the Passover festival. The term "preparation," or "prosabbath" (Judith 8:6), was applied by the Jews to the day preceding the sabbath or the chief festivals (Josephus, 'Ant.,' 16:06. 2); but by the time the gospel was committed to writing, Paraskeue had become among Christians the usual designation of the day of Christ's death; hence the sabbath, which was of less importance than the crucifixion day, is here called, "the day after the Paraskeue." The language of the synoptists leads to the conclusion that the action of the Sanhedrists in applying to Pilate took place on the sabbath, their uneasy conscience and fear of some surprising event overcoming that scrupulous regard to the sanctity of the holy day which they would have strictly enforced upon others. It is just possible, however, that they postponed their application till the evening, having nothing to fear till "the third day." Came together unto Pilate; were gathered together. A large deputation of the chief men presented itself before the procurator, anxious to obtain his aid to prevent all tampering with the buried body of Jesus, at the same time apprehending some event, they knew not what, which might tend to corroborate his claims. Neologians have argued against the credibility of this section of the gospel history, and have been followed by some commentators of greater faith. A refutation of the most prominent objections will be found in Alford's notes on ver. 62.
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