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39 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,

40 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.

41 Likewise, also, the chief priests, mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,

42 He saved others, himself he cannot save. If he be the

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fore, and their execution delayed till the return of the passover. Luke (23: 34) informs us, that when the act of crucifying was completed, Jesus meekly prayed for the forgiveness of those who were accessory to his death.

39. Wagging; shaking the head by way of derision.

40. Thou that destroyest, &c. Compare 26: 61. || If thou be the Son of God. Compare 26: 63.

41. Mocking; deriding, insulting. 42. If he be the king of Israel. Compare John 19: 14, 15.

43. He trusted, &c. These revilings of the chief priests, scribes, and elders, appear to have excited the Roman soldiers to similar abuse of Jesus. Luke (23: 36) relates that they, coming near, offered him vinegar (that is, the inferior sort of wine used by the Roman soldiers), and reproached him in much the same style as did the principal men among the Jews.

44. Cast the same in his teeth. This was a phrase more common formerly than at present, meaning that the robbers reviled Jesus, by using much the same language. Luke relates (23: 39-43) that one of the robbers relented, exhibited a penitent spirit, and received a gracious assurance from Jesus that he should speedily be in bliss. Matthew and Mark (15: 32), without intending to be precise, speak only in a general way of the robbers; while Luke descends to particulars.

At this point of time, probably, oc

king of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.

43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.

44 The thieves, also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.

45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land, unto the ninth hour.

curred the interesting facts related in John 19: 25-27.

45. From the sixth hour there was darkness, &c.; that is, from our twelve o'clock to our three o'clock. The darkness here mentioned could not have been an eclipse of the sun; because it was the time of full moon, when the passover occurred; and such is the position of the moon at that time, that an eclipse of the sun cannot take place. Besides, the duration of this darkness altogether opposes the thought of its having been what we call an eclipse. Undoubtedly it was a supernatural darkness, caused by the Author of nature, as being harmonious with the events then passing on Golgotha. || Over all the land. Luke says (23: 44) in our translation, over all the earth;" but precisely the same word in the original is employed by him, as by the other evangelists. It would have been better to have translated the word in Luke in the same manner as it is in the other evange lists. The word is often used to express a comparatively small portion of the earth; and it is probable that only Palestine, the country of the Jews, and the neighboring regions, were here intended.

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It may be well to mention here, that John (19: 14,16) mentions that it was about the sixth hour, when Jesus was given up by Pilate to be crucified. It is probable, however, that some manuscripts of John's Gospel were, at an

46 And about the ninth hour | them ran, and took a sponge, Jesus cried with a loud voice, and filled it with vinegar, and saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabach- put it on a reed, and gave him thani? that is to say, My God, to drink. my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.

48 And straightway one of early date, incorrectly copied in this instance, and the letter of the alphabet which signifies six, was by mistake written instead of the letter signifying three. There are also some manuscripts, and other similar authority, which present the verse in John as agreeing with the statement in Mark 15: 25, that Jesus was crucified about the third hour.

46. Eli, Eli, &c. These words and the two following are expressed in the language spoken at that time by the Jews in Judea; and Matthew immediately gives the translation of them. Mark (15: 34) slightly varies the sound of the word which signifies God, but without at all affecting the meaning. Whichever of these two forms of expression the Saviour employed, the Jews who were present readily understood the language.

ther to deride him. It was a common
opinion among the Jews, that Elias,
that is, Elijah, was personally to ap-
pear just before the Messiah, and to
assist him in entering upon his
office. There being some similarity
in the words employed by Jesus to
the word Elias, some,
who were pres-
ent, abused them, as if the Saviour
were calling for the interposition of
Elias to rescue him from his present
unhappy state.

48. With vinegar; that is, the common drink of the Roman soldiers, an inferior sort of wine, but not mingled with myrrh and other intoxicating drugs. It appears from John (19: 28) that Jesus had said, "I thirst." The sponge filled with this drink was fastened round a reed; John (19: 29) says, "upon hyssop," that is, a stick or small branch of a hyssop-bush. For reaching the mouth of a crucified person, a stick two or three feet long would be quite sufficient.

49. The rest said, &c. They endeavored to induce the person to desist from offering drink to Jesus, on the plea that perhaps Elias would come to his succor; thus still further deriding him. It would seem from Mark 15: 36, that this person persevered in offering the drink, saying, Let alone; that is, Permit me. And his reason for giving the drink would seem to have been, to lengthen out the life of this professed Messiah till Elias should come; lest he would die before Elias should make his appearance. Thus no indignity, that the in

47. This man calleth for Elias. The Saviour's language was doubtless un-nocent, holy sufferer could endure, derstood; but some Jews who were was spared. present took occasion from it still fur- 50. Cried again. Compare v. 46.

Jesus did not here utter the language of despair, but of extreme anguish. And O, how dreadful must have been the anguish of his soul, to have extorted such a cry! And what a lesson do we here learn respecting the evil and the desert of sin, in the anguish of the Saviour, when thus our iniquities were laid on him! How dreadful the woe of those who, in addition to all the sense of Jehovah's displeasure against them personally as sinners, must suffer the pangs of a guilty conscience for having slighted the provisions of saving love, and turned away from him that speaketh from heaven!

49 The rest said, Let be; let us see whether Elias will come to save him.

50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

51 And, behold, the vail of the temple was rent in twain, from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

52 And the graves were 55 And many women were opened; and many bodies of there, beholding afar off, which saints, which slept, arose, followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him;

53 And came out of the graves, after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

54 Now, when the centurion, and they that were with him,

Luke (23: 46) and John (19: 30) inform us of the sentiments which the Saviour uttered. || Yielded up the ghost; gave up his spirit; that is, died.

51-53. The vail of the temple. The most retired and sacred part of the temple was called the holy of holies, and was separated by a veil from the other parts of the temple. It was this veil which was now torn in two pieces. Compare Heb. 9: 3. || The graves; several graves; not graves in general.

And came out of the graves after his resurrection. The arrangement of

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some of these words in our translation
ought probably to be different. By
placing a comma and the word and
after the word graves, the sentence
would stand thus: "And came out of
the graves, and after his resurrection
went into the holy city," that is, Je-
rusalem. Such a rendering is in ac-
cordance with the original. As the
words stand in our version, the idea
seems to be that "many bodies arose
at the time of the crucifixion, but did
not leave the graves till after the res-
urrection of Jesus. Matthew here
groups together several circumstances,
some of which, however, did not oc-
cur till after the resurrection of Christ,
as he himself states. These were, in-
deed, remarkable events, and fitted to
make a deep impression on reflecting
minds. They may be regarded as ap-
propriate attestations to the truth of
the claims of Jesus, and anticipations

watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly, this was the Son of God.

56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.

of what was afterwards to be wrought by his power.

54. The centurion; the Roman of ficer who superintended the crucifixion. | Feared greatly; they regarded the earthquake and the rending of the rocks as proofs of the divine indignation against what had been done, and against themselves as the agents of the Jews. || Truly, this was the Son of God. The centurion, doubtless, knew that Jesus had claimed to be the Son of God; that is, in the understanding of Jesus and of the Jews, to be the Messiah. The centurion, recalling this, expressed himself as here stated, but probably understood the language differently. He was a heathen, and was accustomed to think of many gods, and to regard some beings as sons of gods, as inferior deities, or as peculiarly allied to the gods. He may have meant to say, He was a son of a god; and his idea, perhaps, included no more than that he certainly was in high favor with some god; that is, that he must have been a truly good man. Accordingly, Luke mentions (23:47), that the centurion said, Certainly, this was a righteous man.

55. Ministering unto him; waiting on him; supplying his wants.

56. Mary Magdalene; that is, Mary of the town of Magdala, a town not far from Capernaum; but the precise situation of which is uncertain. See Luke 8: 2. || Mary, the mother of

57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple:

58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the

James and Joses. This Mary was sister to our Lord's mother (John 19: 25), and wife of Cleophas. James is the one called James the Less (Mark 15: 40), to distinguish him from James the brother of John. This James and Joses are named in 13: 55, as relatives of our Lord. The mother of Zebedee's children; that is, Salome. See Mark 15: 40. Zebedee's children were James and John. See 10: 2. Luke, without particular mention of names, says (23:49), that "all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off [afar, compared with the people just around the cross], beholding."

body to be delivered.

59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,

60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled

of the Sanhedrim, disregarding the ill-will and the reproach which he would incur from the Jews. John also relates (19: 39), that Nicodemus (John 3: 1,2) came forward at this time to testify his respect for Jesus.

58. Begged the body of Jesus, &c. John relates (19: 31--37), that previously to this, the Jews had requested of Pilate, that the death of the three crucified persons might be hastened, as the Jews were unwilling that the bodies should remain on the crosses during the Sabbath, which would be the next day. It was, however, discovered that Jesus was already dead. This circumstance led Joseph to request the body of Jesus. According to Mark (15: 44), Pilate wondered at Jesus' having died so soon; for it was frequently the case, that crucified persons did not die till after the day on which they had been crucified; sometimes they remained alive several days. The exhausted condition of the Saviour's body and mind sufficiently accounts for his so soon expiring. Among the Romans, the corpses of crucified persons were not buried, except by express permission; they reabout four miles distant from Jerusa-mained on the cross, and there wasted lem; but which of them is here spo- away. But an exception to this genken of, we have not the means of de- eral practice was made in favor of the termining. Mark (15: 43) calls Joseph Jews, on account of the regulation in "an honorable counsellor," as being Deut. 21: 22, 23. When there was a probably a distinguished member of prospect that death would not speedthe Sanhedrim. That he was a mem-ily ber, would appear from Luke 23: 51. All the evangelists agree to his being in heart a good man, a favorer of Jesus; but, according to John (19: 38), he was a disciple secretly. At the time of which the evangelist is now speaking, he seems to have acquired a commendable boldness, and to have plainly maintained his dissent from the doings

57. When the even was come. The Jews reckoned two evenings; one commencing some time before sunset, and the other at sunset. What is related in this verse and the following, commenced before the latest evening; so that nothing might remain to be done on the Sabbath. The Jewish Sabbath commenced on our Friday evening. A rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph. There were several towns, called Arimathea, in Palestine; one was in the tribe of Benjamin,

take place, they used various methods to hasten it. In the present instance, the near approach of the passover Sabbath furnished an additional reason. Even the Romans were in the habit of delivering up to their friends the corpses of deceased criminals,

when one of their festivals was about to be celebrated.

60. In the rock; in a rock. The

a great stone to the door of the 64 Command, therefore, that sepulchre, and departed. the sepulchre be made sure, 61 And there was Mary Mag- until the third day; lest his dalene, and the other Mary, sit-disciples come by night and ting over against the sepulchre. steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.

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

65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.

66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days, I will rise again. country around Jerusalem was rocky. The tomb was in a garden, near the place where Jesus was crucified. See John 19: 41. It was common for tombs to be out of cities, and to be excavated from a solid rock; frequently having the appearance of a cave.

His own new tomb. Luke says (23: 53), and John (19: 41), that no one had been buried in it. How wisely did Providence order this circumstance, so that after the resurrection of Jesus, there was no possibility of mistake as to his person. He rolled a great stone to the door. The entrance to sepulchres used to be closed either by stone doors or by a flat stone placed up against it. John informs us (19: 39), that Nicodemus brought a quantity of myrrh and aloes, and that the body of Jesus was prepared for burial in the same becoming manner as was usually practised among the Jews in respect to their deceased friends. The kind interposition of Joseph and of Nicodemus doubtless prevented the body of Jesus from being deposited with those of the robbers in some public burying place, devoted to the rying of

criminals.

61. The other Mary; the one mentioned in v. 56; the mother of Joses. See Mark 15: 47. || Sitting over against the sepulchre; noticing where he was laid, and waiting affectionately to see, as it were, the last of their beloved Lord. See Luke 23: 55. They then returned to their lodgings, and

prepared spices and ointment for anointing the body, and, having made what preparation they could, rested on the Sabbath. Compare Luke 23: 56.

62. The day of the preparation. The day preceding the Sabbath, or any festival, was called the preparation. || The next day; the Jewish Sabbath, our Saturday. || The chief priests and Pharisees; doubtless a few of them, as they went on a business which they would not wish to be made public.

63. After three days, I will rise again. Matt. 12: 38-40. 16: 21. Mark 8: 31. Though Jesus spoke some things on this subject to his disciples alone, yet the knowledge of them might be imparted to others. John 10: 15, 17, 18.

64. That the sepulchre be made sure; by stationing guards there.

65. Ye have a watch; the soldiers who had already been engaged at the crucifixion. It was customary among the Romans, when appointing a guard over a prisoner, to employ four soldiers for each watch of three hours, so that the four would be successively relieved by another set of four. They usually employed four of these sets.

66. Sealing the stone. Probably a rope was passed over it in such a way, that the two ends meeting upon it were fastened, and some public seal was attached to them. No one, then, could pass into the sepulchre without resisting the public authority.

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