Matthew 26
Vincent's Word Studies
And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples,
Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.
Is betrayed (παραδίδοται)

The present tense expresses here something which, though future, is as good as present, because already determined, or because it must ensue in virtue of an unalterable law. Thus the passover is (γίνεται): it must come round at the fixed season. The Son of Man is betrayed according to the divine decree. Compare Matthew 26:24.

Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,
Palace (αὐλὴν)

But the word never means palace in the New Testament. It is the court, the open court or hall, forming the centre of an oriental building, and often used as a meeting-place. Rev., court. Wyc., hall.

And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.
But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.
Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,
There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.
An alabaster box (ἀλάβαστρον)

Rev., cruse; flask in margin. Lit., an alabaster, just as we call a drinking-vessel made of glass a glass. Luther renders glass. It was a kind of cruet, having a cylindrical form at the top. Pliny compares these vessels to a closed rosebud, and says that ointments are best preserved in them.

But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste?
To what purpose is this waste?

Wyc., Whereto this loss? Tynd., What needed this waste? See on John 12:3.

For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.
When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.
When Jesus understood it (γνοὺς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς)

The A. V. implies that some time elapsed before Jesus was aware of the disciples' complaint. But the statement is that Jesus perceived it at once. Rev., rightly, Jesus perceiving it.

Good work (καλὸν)

Lit., beautiful, but in a moral sense: an excellent, morally beautiful deed.

For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.
For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.
Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.
Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,
And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
What will ye give? (τί θέλετέ μοι δοῦναι?)

Rather, What are ye willing to give me? It brings out the chaffering aspect of the transaction. So Rev.

They covenanted with him for (ἔστησαν αὐτῷ)

But the meaning is, they weighed unto him; or, very literally, they placed for him (in the balance). Although coined shekels were in circulation, weighing appears to have been practised, especially when considerable sums were paid out of the temple-treasury.

Thirty pieces of silver (τριάκοντα ἀργύρια)

Matthew refers to Zechariah 11:12. These pieces were shekels of the sanctuary, of standard weight, and therefore heavier than the ordinary shekel. See on Matthew 17:24. Reckoning the Jerusalem shekel at seventy-two cents, the sum would be twenty-one dollars and sixty cents. This was the price which, by the Mosaic law, a man was condemned to pay if his ox should gore a servant (Exodus 21:32). Our Lord, the sacrifice for men, was paid for out of the temple-money, destined for the purchase of sacrifices. He who "took on him the form of a servant" was sold at the legal price of a slave.

And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.
Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?
And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.
Such a man (τὸν δεῖνα)

The indefiniteness is the Evangelist's, not our Lord's. He, doubtless, described the per- son and where to find him.

And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.
Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.
He sat down (ἀνέκειτο)

But this rendering misses the force of the imperfect tense, which denotes something in progress. The Evangelist says he was sitting or reclining, introducing us to something which has been going on for some time.

And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?
Began to say (ἤρξεντο)

Denoting the commencement of a series of questions; one after the other (every one) saying, Is it I?

Is it I? (μήτι ἐγώ εἰμι)

The form of the negative expects a negative answer. "Surely I am not the one."

And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.
The dish (τρυβλίῳ)

Wyc., platter. A dish containing a broth made with nuts, raisins, dates, figs, etc., into which' pieces of bread were dipped.

The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.
Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.
Which betrayed (ὁ παραδιδοὺς)

The article with the participle has the force of an epithet: The betrayer.

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Testament (διαθήκης)

From διατίθημι, to distribute; dispose of. Hence of the disposition of one's property. On the idea of disposing or arranging is based that of settlement or agreement, and thence of a covenant. The Hebrew word of which this is a translation is primarily covenant, from a verb meaning to cut. Hence the phrase, to make a covenant, in connection with dividing the victims slain in ratification of covenants (Genesis 15:9-18). Covenant is the general Old Testament sense of the word (1 Kings 20:34; Isaiah 28:15; 1 Samuel 18:3); and so in the New Testament. Compare Mark 14:24; Luke 1:72; Luke 22:20; Acts 3:25; Acts 7:8. Bishop Lightfoot, on Galatians 3:15, observes that the word is never found in the New Testament in any other sense than that of covenant, with the exception of Hebrews 9:15-17, where it is testament. We cannot admit this exception, since we regard that passage as one of the best illustrations of the sense of covenant. See on Hebrews 9:15-17. Render here as Rev., covenant.

Is shed (ἐκχυννόμενον)

The present participle, is being shed. Christ's thought goes forward to the consummation.

But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.
New (καινὸν)

Another adjective, νεόν, is employed to denote new wine in the sense of freshly-made (Matthew 9:17; Mark 2:22; Luke 5:37, Luke 5:38, Luke 5:39). The difference is between newness regarded in point of time or of quality. The young, for instance, who have lately sprung up, are νείοι, or νεώτεροι (Luke 15:12, Luke 15:13). The new garment (Luke 5:36) is contrasted as to quality with a worn and threadbare one. Hence καινοῦ. So a new heaven (2 Peter 3:13) is καινὸς, contrasted with that which shows signs of dissolution. The tomb in which the body of Jesus was laid was καινὸν (Matthew 27:60); in which no other body had lain, making it ceremonially unclean; not recently hewn. Trench ("Synonyms") cites a passage from Polybius, relating a stratagem by which a town was nearly taken, and saying "we are still new (καινοί) and young (νέοι) in regard of such deceits." Here καινοί expresses the inexperience of the men; νέοι, their youth. Still, the distinction cannot be pressed in all cases. Thus, 1 Corinthians 5:7, "Purge out the old leaven that ye may be a new (νέον) lump;" and Colossians 3:10, "Put on the new (νέον) man," plainly carry the sense of quality. In our Lord's expression, "drink it new," the idea of quality is dominant. All the elements of festivity in the heavenly kingdom will be of a new and higher quality. In the New Testament, besides the two cases just cited, νέος is applied to wine, to the young, and once to a covenant.

And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
Sung a hymn

Very probably the second part of the Jewish Hallel or Hallelujah, embracing Psalm 115, 116, Psalm 117:1-2, 118.

They went out

In the original institution of the Passover it was enjoined that no one should go out of his house until morning (Exodus 12:22). Evidently this had ceased to be regarded as obligatory.

Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.
But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.
I will go before you

The thought links itself with what Christ had just said about the shepherd and the sheep. Compare John 10:4. I will go before you, as a shepherd before his flock.

Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.
Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
Before the cock crow

A little more graphic if the article is omitted, as in the Greek. Before a single cock shall be heard, early in the night, thou shalt deny me. Dr. Thomson ("Land and Book") says that the barn-door fowls "swarm round every door, share in the food of their possessors, are at home among the children in every room, roost overhead at night, and with their ceaseless crowing are the town-clock and the morning-bell to call up sleepers at early dawn."

Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.
Though I should die (κἂν δέῃ με ἀποθανεῖν)

The A. V. misses the force of δέῃ: "Though it should be necessary for me to die." Wyc., "If it shall behove me to die." Rev., excellently, "Even if I must die."

Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.

Meaning oil-press. Beyond the brook Kedron, and distant about three-quarters of a mile from the walls of Jerusalem. Dean Stanley says of the olive-trees there: "In spite of all the doubts that can be raised against their antiquity, the eight aged olive-trees, if only by their manifest difference from all others on the mountain, have always struck the most indifferent observers. They will remain, so long as their already protracted life is spared, the most venerable of their race on the surface of the earth. Their gnarled trunks and scanty foliage will always be regarded as the most affecting of the sacred memorials in or about Jerusalem; the most nearly approaching to the everlasting hills themselves in the force with which they carry us back to the events of the gospel history" ("Sinai and Palestine").

And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?

It is hardly possible to convey the exact force of the Greek οὕτως, thus or so. The idea is, "are ye thus unable, or so utterly unable to watch?"

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
The hour is at hand

He probably heard the tramp and saw the lanterns of Judas and his band.

Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.
And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.
One of the twelve

Repeated in all three evangelists, in the narratives both of the betrayal and of the arrest. By the time Matthew's Gospel was written, the phrase had become a stereotyped designation of the traitor, like he that betrayed him.

A great multitude

The Sanhedrin had neither soldiery nor a regularly-armed band at command. In John 18:3, Judas receives a cohort of soldiers and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees. Part of the band would consist of this regularly-armed cohort, and the rest of a crowd armed with cudgels, and embracing some of the servants of conspicuous men in the Sanhedrin.

Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.
And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.
Kissed him (κατεφίλησεν)

The compound verb has the force of an emphatic, ostentatious salute. Meyer says embraced and kissed. The same word is used of the tender caressing of the Lord's feet by the woman in the Pharisee's house (Luke 7:38), of the father's embrace of the returned prodigal (Luke 15:20), and of the farewell of the Ephesian elders to Paul (Acts 20:37).

And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.
Wherefore art thou come ? (ἐφ' o pa/rei)

The interrogation of the A. V. is wrong. The expression is elliptical and condensed. Literally it is, that for which thou art here; and the mind is to supply do or be about. The Lord spurns the traitor's embrace, and says, in effect, "Enough of this hypocritical fawning. Do what you are here to do." So Rev., Do that for which thou art come.

And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear.
The servant (τὸν δοῦλον)

The article marks the special servant; the body-servant.

Ear (ὠτίον)

A diminutive in form but not in sense; according to a Greek popular usage which expressed parts of the body by diminutives; as ῥίνια, the nostrils; ὀμμάτιον, the eye; σαρκίον, the body. Peter aimed his blow at the servant's head, but missed.

Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
Put up again

Peter was still brandishing his sword.

Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
Twelve legions of angels

Compare the story of Elisha at Dothan (2 Kings 6:17).

But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?
In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.
A thief (λῃστὴν)

Better Rev., a robber. See John 10:1, John 10:8; and Luke 23:39-43. It is more than a petty stealer; rather one with associates, who would require an armed band to apprehend him. Hence the propriety of the reference to swords and staves.

I sat (ἐκαθεζόμην)

The imperfect tense, denoting something habitual. I was accustomed to sit.

But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.
And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.
But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest's palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.
Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;
But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses,
And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.
And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?
But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.
I adjure thee

I call upon thee to swear. The high-priest put Christ upon oath.

That (ἵνα)

In order that; signifying the design with which he adjured the Lord.

Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
Thou hast said

An affirmation. You have spoken the truth. What thou hast asked me is the fact. Compare Matthew 26:25.

Nevertheless (πλὴν)

However. Apart from my affirmation, you shall see for yourself.

Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.
What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.
Guilty of death (ἔνοχος θανάτου)

Rev., worthy of death. See on Matthew 23:18. ἐν, in, ἔχω, to hold. The idea is, literally, holden of death; in bonds to death.

Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands,
Buffet (ἐκολάφισαν)

With the fist.

Smote with the palms of their hands

All expressed by one word, ἐράπισαν, from ῥαπίς, a rod, and meaning to smite with rods, not with the palms. The same word is employed in Matthew 5:39. It came to mean generally to strike.

Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?
Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.
A damsel (μία παιδίσκη)

Lit., one damsel, because the writer has in mind a second one (Matthew 26:71).

But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.
And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth.
Gone out

Through fear of being further questioned.

And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.
The man

As if he did not know Jesus' name.

And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee.
Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.
To curse (καταθεματίζειν)

A new development of profanity. Hitherto he had merely sworn. Now he adds imprecation; invoking curses on himself if the case be not as he says.

And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.
Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent [1886].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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