Vincent's Word Studies
When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:
And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.
Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
Repented himself (μεταμεληθεὶς)
See on Matthew 21:29.
What is that to us?
They ignore the question of Christ's innocence. As to Judas' sin or conscience, that is his matter. Thou wilt see to that.
Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.
And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
In the temple
But the best reading is εἰς τὸν ναόν, into the sanctuary. He cast the pieces over the barrier of the enclosure which surrounded the sanctuary, or temple proper, and within which only the priests were allowed, and therefore into the sanctuary.
And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.
It is not lawful
In such cases the Jewish law provided that the money was to be restored to the donor; and if he insisted on giving it, that he should be induced to spend it for something for the public weal. This explains the apparent discrepancy between Matthew's account and that in the book of Acts (Acts 1:18). By a fiction of the law the money was still considered to be Judas', and to have been applied by him to the purchase of the potter's field.
From κόκκος, cochineal, which grew in several parts of Greece. Garments of this color would seem to have been rare among the orientals. Herodotus relates that the admiration of Darius, then an officer in the army, was excited by the scarlet cloak of a Samian exile, who, on his offering to purchase it, presented it to him, and was afterward richly rewarded when Darius came to the throne (iii. 139).
And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in.
Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day.
Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value;
And gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me.
And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.
And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.
Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?
And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.
Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.
And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.
Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?
For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.
But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.
The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.
Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.
And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.
When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.
Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.
And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.
The short military cloak which kings and emperors as well as soldiers wore.
And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!
And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.
And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.
And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.
Compelled to go (ἠγγάρευσαν)
See on Matthew 5:41. Rev. has impressed in margin.
And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,
An Aramaic word, Gulgoltha, equals the Hebrew, Gulgoleth, and translated skull in Judges 9:53; 2 Kings 9:35. The word Calvary comes through the Latin calvaria, meaning skull, and used in the Vulgate. The New Testament narrative does not mention a mount or hill. The place was probably a rounded elevation. The meaning is not, as Tynd., a place of dead men's skulls, but simply skull.
They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.
The older texts read ὄξος, vinegar. The compound of wine and gall was intended as a stupefying draught.
And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
And sitting down they watched him there;
Or, to give the force of the imperfect tense, kept watch. This was to prevent the infliction of wanton cruelties, and also to prevent what sometimes happened, the taking down and restoring of the victim.
And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Lit., cause, and so rendered by Wyc. Tynd., cause of his death. The word accusation is compounded with the Latin causa, a cause. It is the cause of his condemnation and suffering.
Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.
Rev., robbers. See on Matthew 26:55.
And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,
And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.
Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,
He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.
He saved others, etc
The Greek order is, Others he saved ; himself he cannot save.
He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.
If he will have him (εἰ θέλει αὐτόν)
The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
"Early on Friday afternoon the new course of priests, of Levites, and of the 'stationary men' who were to be the representatives of all Israel, arrived in Jerusalem, and having prepared themselves for the festive season went up to the temple. The approach of the Sabbath, and then its actual commencement, were announced by threefold blasts from the priests' trumpets. The first three blasts were blown when one-third of the evening-sacrifice service was over, or about the ninth hour; that is, about 3 p.m. on Friday" (Edersheim, "The Temple").
Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.
And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.
Sour wine; the posca or ordinary drink of the Roman soldiers.
Gave him to drink (ἐπότιζεν)
The imperfect tense implies was in the act of giving, or about to give. At this point the Jews standing near interposed, saying, Let be (ἄφες)! "Stop! Do not give him the drink. Let us see if Elijah will come to his aid."
The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.
Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
Yielded up the ghost (ἀφῆκε τὸ πνεῦμα)
Lit., dismissed his spirit. Rev., yielded up his spirit. The fact that the evangelists, in describing our Lord's death, do not use the neuter verb, ἔθανεν, he died, but he breathed out his life (ἐξέπνευσε, Mark 15:37), he gave us his spirit (παρέδωκε τὸ πνεῦμα, John 19:30), seems to imply a voluntary yielding up of his life. Compare John 10:18. Augustine says, "He gave up his life because he willed it, when he willed it, and as he willed it."
And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
The veil of the temple
According to the Rabbis this was a handbreadth in thickness, and woven of seventy-two twisted plaits, each plait consisting of twenty-four threads. It was sixty feet long and thirty wide. Two of them were made every year, and according to the exaggerated language of the time it needed three hundred priests to manipulate it. This veil was the one which covered the entrance to the holy of holies, and not, as has been asserted, the veil which hung before the main entrance to the sanctuary. The holy of holies contained only a large stone, on which the high-priest sprinkled the blood on the day of atonement, occupying the place where the ark with the mercy-seat had stood.
And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
The Son of God. But there is no article
The words must not be construed as a recognition of Christ's divine son-ship. They were uttered by a pagan soldier in his own sense of a demigod or hero. Yet they may have taken color from the fact that the soldiers had heard from the chief priests and others that Christ had claimed to be God's son.
And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:
Which had followed (αἵτινες)
Denoting a class: who were of the body of women that had followed him.
Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.
Magdalene (ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ)
When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple:
When even was come
The Hebrews reckoned two evenings, an earlier and a later. The former began midway between noon and sunset, or at three o'clock in the afternoon. The latter began at sunset, six o'clock. The reference here is to the earlier evening, though the time may have been well on toward the beginning of the later. The preparations had to be hurried because the Sabbath would begin at sunset,
He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.
New tomb (καινῷ)
See on Matthew 26:29. Not newly hewn, but fresh, undefiled by anybody.
A great stone
Though in the Jews' sepulchres in general there were doors hung on hinges, the grooves and perforations for which may still be seen. Joseph's tomb may have been differently constructed, or else was in an unfinished state.
And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.
Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,
Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.
We remember (ἐμνήσθημεν)
Lit., we remembered: i.e., it occurred to us: we have just remembered, and have come to tell you before it shall be too late.
That deceiver (ἐκεῖνος ὁ πλάνος)
The pronoun that is very picturesque; being used of distant objects, and therefore here as pointing to one who is out of the way and far removed. Πλάνος, deceiver, is akin to πλανάω, to wander; and hence a vagabond impostor.
Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
Not, as many render, deceit or imposture, referring to πλάνος above; but the error on the people's part. The last error, namely, the false impression that he has risen from the dead, will be worse than the first error - the impression made by his impostures that he was the Messiah.
Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.
Ye have (ἔχετε)
Or, as some render, imperatively: Have a guard! Rev., in margin, take.
So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
Sealing the stone and setting a watch (σφραγίσαντες τὸν λίθον, μετὰ τῆς κουστωδίας)
Lit., having sealed the stone with the watch. Rev., Sealing the stone, the guard being with them. This is rather awkward, but the rendering rightly corrects the A. V. The idea is that they sealed the stone in the presence of the guard, and then left them to keep watch. It would be important that the guard should witness the sealing. The sealing was performed by stretching a cord across the stone and fastening it to the rock at either end by means of sealing clay. Or, if the stone at the door happened to be fastened with a cross beam, this latter was sealed to the rock.