1 In the morning - As the sanhedrim used to meet in one of the
courts of the temple, which was never opened in the night, they were forced
to stay till the morning before they could proceed regularly, in the resolution
they had taken to put him to death. Mark 15:1; Luke 22:66; 23:1; John 18:28.
2 Having bound him - They had bound him when he was first apprehended.
But they did it now afresh, to secure him from any danger of an escape,
as he passed through the streets of Jerusalem.
3 Then Judas seeing that he was condemned - Which probably he
thought Christ would have prevented by a miracle.
4 They said, what is that to us? - How easily could they digest
innocent blood! And yet they had a conscience! It is not lawful (say they)
to put it into the treasury - But very lawful to slay the innocent!
5 In that part of the temple where the sanhedrim met.
7 They bought with them the potter's field - Well known, it seems,
by that name. This was a small price for a field so near Jerusalem. But
the earth had probably been digged for potters' vessels, so that it was
now neither fit for tillage nor pasture, and consequently of small value.
Foreigners - Heathens especially, of whom there were then great numbers
9 Then was fulfilled - What was figuratively represented of old,
was now really accomplished. What was spoken by the prophet - The word
Jeremy, which was added to the text in latter copies, and thence received
into many translations, is evidently a mistake: for he who spoke what St.
Matthew here cites (or rather paraphrases) was not Jeremy, but Zechariah.
10 As the Lord commanded me - To write, to record.
11 Art thou the king of the Jews? - Jesus before Caiaphas avows
himself to be the Christ, before Pilate to be a king; clearly showing thereby,
that his answering no more, was not owing to any fear.
15 At every feast - Every year, at the feast of the passover.
Mark 15:6; Luke 23:17; John 18:39.
18 He knew that for envy they had delivered him - As well as from
malice and revenge; they envied him, because the people magnified him.
22 They all say, Let him be crucified - The punishment which Barabbas
had deserved: and this probably made them think of it. But in their malice
they forgot with how dangerous a precedent they furnished the Roman governor.
And indeed within the compass of a few years it turned dreadfully upon
24 Then Pilate took water and washed his hands - This was a custom
frequently used among the heathens as well as among the Jews, in token
25 His blood be on us and on our children - As this imprecation
was dread. fully answered in the ruin so quickly brought on the Jewish
nation, and the calamities which have ever since pursued that wretched
people, so it was peculiarly fulfilled by Titus the Roman general, on the
Jews whom he took during the siege of Jerusalem. So many, after having
been scourged in a terrible manner, were crucified all round the city,
that in a while there was not room near the wall for the crosses to stand
by each other. Probably this befell some of those who now joined in this
cry, as it certainly did many of their children: the very finger of God
thus pointing out their crime in crucifying his Son.
26 He delivered him to be crucified - The person crucified was
nailed to the cross as it lay on the ground, through each hand extended
to the utmost stretch, and through both the feet together. Then the cross
was raised up, and the foot of it thrust with a violent shock into a hole
in the ground prepared for it. This shock disjointed the body, whose whole
weight hung upon the nails, till the persons expired through mere dint
of pain. This kind of death was used only by the Romans, and by them inflicted
only on slaves and the vilest criminals.
27 The whole troop - or cohort. This was a body of foot commanded
by the governor, which was appointed to prevent disorders and tumults,
especially on solemn occasions. Mark 15:16 John 19:2.
28 They put on him a scarlet robe - Such as kings and generals
wore; probably an old tattered one.
32 Him they compelled to bear his cross - He bore it himself,
till he sunk under it, John 19:17.
33 A place called Golgotha, that is, the place of a skull - Golgotha
in Syriac signifies a skull or head: it was probably called so from this
time; being an eminence upon Mount Calvary, not far from the king's gardens.
Mark 15:22; Luke 23:33; John 19:17
34 They gave him vinegar mingled with gall - Out of derision:
which, however nauseous, he received and tasted of. St. Mark mentions also
a different mixture which was given him, Wine mingled with myrrh: such
as it was customary to give to dying criminals, to make them less sensible
of their sufferings: but this our Lord refused to taste, determining to
bear the full force of his pains.
35 They parted his garments - This was the custom of the Romans.
The soldiers performed the office of executioners, and divided among them
the spoils of the criminals. My vesture - That is, my inner garment. Psalm
38 Mark 15:27; Luke 23:32.
44 Mark 15:32; Luke 23:33.
45 From the sixth hour, there was darkness over all the earth
unto the ninth hour - Insomuch, that even a heathen philosopher seeing
it, and knowing it could not be a natural eclipse, because it was at the
time of the full moon, and continued three hours together, cried out, "Either
the God of nature suffers, or the frame of the world is dissolved." By
this darkness God testified his abhorrence of the wickedness which was
then committing. It likewise intimated Christ's sore conflicts with the
Divine justice, and with all the powers of darkness.
46 About the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice - Our Lord's
great agony probably continued these three whole hours, at the conclusion
of which be thus cried out, while he suffered from God himself what was
unutterable. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? - Our Lord hereby
at once expresses his trust in God, and a most distressing sense of his
letting loose the powers of darkness upon him, withdrawing the comfortable
discoveries of his presence, and filling his soul with a terrible sense
of the wrath due to the sins which he was bearing. Psalm 22:1.
48 One taking a sponge, filled it with vinegar - Vinegar and water
was the usual drink of the Roman soldiers. It does not appear, that this
was given him in derision, but rather with a friendly design, that he might
not die before Elijah came. John 19:28.
50 After he had cried with a loud voice - To show that his life
was still whole in him. He dismissed his spirit - So the original expression
may be literally translated: an expression admirably suited to our Lord's
words, John 10:18: No man taketh my life from me, but I lay it down of
myself. He died by a voluntary act of his own, and in a way peculiar to
himself. He alone of all men that ever were, could have continued alive
even in the greatest tortures, as long as he pleased, or have retired from
the body whenever he had thought fit. And how does it illustrate that love
which he manifested in his death? Insomuch as he did not use his power
to quit his body, as soon as it was fastened to the cross, leaving only
an insensible corpse, to the cruelty of his murderers: but continued his
abode in it, with a steady resolution, as long as it was proper. He then
retired from it, with a majesty and dignity never known or to be known
in any other death: dying, if one may so express it, like the Prince of
51 Immediately upon his death, while the sun was still darkened,
the veil of the temple, which separated the holy of holies from the court
of the priests, though made of the richest and strongest tapestry, was
rent in two from the top to the bottom: so that while the priest was ministering
at the golden altar (it being the time of the sacrifice) the sacred oracle,
by an invisible power was laid open to full view: God thereby signifying
the speedy removal of the veil of the Jewish ceremonies the casting down
the partition wall, so that the Jews and Gentiles were now admitted to
equal privileges, and the opening a way through the veil of his flesh for
all believers into the most holy place. And the earth was shaken - There
was a general earthquake through the whole globe, though chiefly near Jerusalem:
God testifying thereby his wrath against the Jewish nation, for the horrid
impiety they were committing.
52 Some of the tombs were shattered and laid open by the earthquake,
and while they continued unclosed (and they must have stood open all the
Sabbath, seeing the law would not allow any attempt to close them) many
bodies of holy men were raised, (perhaps Simeon, Zacharias, John the Baptist,
and others who had believed in Christ, and were known to many in Jerusalem,)
And coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, went into the holy
city (Jerusalem) and appeared to many - Who had probably known them before:
God hereby signifying, that Christ had conquered death, and would raise
all his saints in due season.
54 The centurion - The officer who commanded the guard; and they
that were with him feared, saying, Truly this was the Son of God - Referring
to the words of the chief priests and scribes, Mt 27:43: He said, I am
the Son of God.