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He is denied]
palace and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.
70 But he denied before them all,
[by Peter, i saying, I know not what thou sayest.
71 And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This
Jews uniformly expected their Messiah to
EXPOSITION-Chap. called for the purpose of murdering him. We call it so also in reference to the false witnesses, who were evidently suborned expressly for the purpose; but probably, through the hurry of the proceedings, were not properly trained, and therefore gave so confused and contradictory evidence that even such a court could not found any proceedings on it. At length two men came forward, who had heard Jesus say something respecting the temple of his body, which they applied to the temple at Jerusalem, contrary to his design. (See John ii. 19-22.) Even this, however, had the evidence been perfectly correct, the high priest himself saw, could not amount to a capital offence, since they only quote him as saying, he was able to destroy and to rebuild it; the high priest therefore, in virtue of his office, administers an oath, or adjuration, respecting other words, which some reported him to have uttered, and perhaps truly; for he had asserted his divine character, and neither could nor would retract it. Hitherto, it may be observed, Jesus had been silent, as thinking it beneath his character to notice charges so trivial, and (to say the least) unfounded. But when the oath of God is laid upon him by the high priest, reverence to truth, to himself, and to God's holy name, all induce him to speak out; especially as being about to suffer voluntarily, he had now no reason to shun the declaration. We think, however, as already intimated, that our Lord's prompt reply to the question here put to him upon oath, is a very satisfactory proof of the legality of judicial oaths, though too much care cannot be taken to preserve their solemnity, and guard against their trifling or improper use.
The form of adjuration is-"I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us, Whether thou be the Christ (or Messiah), the Son of God:" on which we may in the first place remark, that the ancient
"Mistaken Caiaphas! ah! which blasphem'd, Thou, or thy prisoner?-Which shall be co demn'd?" Young.
But it is not for us to penetrate the s crets of eternal judgment: this we kno that among the redeemed by the blood the Lamb, shall be some who persecu and pierced him: nay more; which of can plead, not guilty?
NOTES-Chap. XXVI. Con.
Ver. 67. Then did they spit, &c.-This mark of contempt and malice is still continued in the East. In 1744, when a rebel prisoner was brought before Nadir Shah's general," the soldiers were ordered to spit in his face; an indignity of great antiquity in the East." Hanway's Travels, vol. 1. p. 298. Smote him with the palms of their hands-There is good authority for this sense of the words; but the etymology inclines others to render it," with rods," or staves; i. e. with their official staffs.
Ver. 68. Who is he that smote thee?-- Dr. Gill thinks this alludes to a play, resembling blind man's buff, called by the Greeks, Kollabismos. Thus was
our Saviour made a jest of! But we rather t this was done in allusion to an ancient custor covering the faces of condemned persons, as in instance of Haman, Esther vii. 8, and Note. also Jer. xiv. 3. Likewise Harmer, vol. ii. p.9 Ver. 69. Peter sat without in the palace. term aule, rendered palace, more properly sig an open court. Faber's Heb. Archæology, p. and compare Note on ver. 58.
Ver. 73. Thy speech bewrayeth —or betr thee; meaning that his accent was Galilean. Markiv. 79.
fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth.
72 And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.
73 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.
74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.
75 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. (O)
[by the Sanhedrim.
WHEN the morning was come,
all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus, to put him to death:
2 And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.
3 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,
4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.
(0) Ver. 69-75. Peter denies his Master, with oaths and curses.-There is nothing more important for us to learn than our own weakness. Who that saw Peter vaunting but the day before this-"Though all men forsake thee, yet will not I,"-could have supposed that in so short a time he could have forgotten, or at least have broken all his promises? What! an apostle prevaricate and lie; yea, and curse and swear, that he knew not the man to whom he had professed so strong an attachment; for whom, in fact, he had fought, and nearly committed murder? Alas, how weak is mau! But all this arises from too much confidence in our own strength. This leads us into temptation, and throws us off our guard. As Paul said, "When I am weak, then am I strong;" Peter might reverse the phrase, and say, When I was strong, then was I weak indeed! The question of a silly damsel confused and terrified him; and the fear of being taken for one of the followers of Jesus, led him to prevarication, lying, and perjury.
But how was Peter recovered, and put to shame? His foolish vaunting is reproved by the crowing of a cock! How small the means by which the Lord often accomplishes the most important ends ! This seemingly trivial incident brings to mind the prediction of his Master: the recollection of his words "kindled his repentings," and led him to seek retirement; and a glance from his eye in pass
ing, penetrated, like a flash of lightning, to his heart: he went out and wept bitterly. And whereas his fall is recorded as a beacon, to warn us against apostacy, so is his repentance exhibited as a model to penitent backsliders. "He wept bitterly!" Such a bitter apostacy indeed requires bitter tears; and if they are not produced on earth, they will be mingled with "wailing and guashing of teeth" in hell. "This deep sorrow is required (says Mr. Henry) not to satisfy divine justice (as a sea of tears will not do that); but to evidence that there is a real change of mind, which is the essence of repentance; to make pardon more welcome, and sin, in future, more loathsome. Peter, who wept so bitterly for denying Christ, never denied him again; but confessed him often and openly, and in the face of danger. So far from ever again saying, "I know not the man," he made all the house of Israel know assuredly, that this same Jesus was both Lord and Christ. True repentance for any sin will be best evidenced by our abounding in the contrary grace and duty; that is a sign of our weeping, not only bitterly, but sincerely. Some of the ancients report, that as long as Peter lived, he never heard a cock crow but he burst into tears.
We may have never sinned with Peter in openly declaring we did not know him but actions speak louder than words;" and is there no part of our conduct which in effect says, "I know not the man?" Conscience! Do thy office.
CHAP. XXVII. Ver. 1. Took counsel - that is, Consulted afresh; the preceding transactions took place during the night and early dawn. Their prisoner was now probably sent out of court, while they
obtained some interval of rest or refreshment: but they again consulted together, so soon as the day was fully come.
[and hangs himself.
8 Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day.
9 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;
10 And gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me. (P)
11 ¶ And Jesus stood before the governor and the governor asked him,
(P) Ver. 1-10. The fatal end of Judas. -The repentance of Judas was an awful contrast to that of Peter. The one was a "repentance not to be repented of;" the other, a worldly sorrow which worketh death." (2 Cor. vii. 10.) Judas was certainly disappointed when he saw his late Master condemned to die, and that he was resolved to submit thereto, without any effort for his own rescue; nay, with a determination to resist any such effort, as in the case of Peter. Conscience told him, and compelled him to tell the Jews, that he had indeed "betrayed innocent blood." Alas! for the thirty shekels of silver; had they been talents of gold, they could now have given him no satisfaction. Riches cannot purchase ease to the body, much less to the guilty mind. The wretch's only hope of relief, is by getting rid of them but they were like a garment spot
Ver. 5. And went and hanged himself.-Camp. "Strangled himself," as the word certainly may mean; but Parkhurst also shows it is used for hanging, both by the LXX and in the Classics; and we agree with Doddridge in preferring this interpretation.
Ver.7. The potter's field-which, according to Mr. Taylor (the late Editor of Calmet), was situated on the south, beyond the valley of Tophet, and at some distance without the walls. This had no doubt been formerly occupied as a pottery (see Zech. xi. 13), and the earth having been dug away for pottery, accounts for its being bought so cheap.
Ver. 9. By Jeremy (or Jeremiah) the prophet.But this passage is now found in Zechariah xi. 13. Various methods have been taken to account for this. The simplest, and in our view the most probable is, to admit that Matthew inserted not the name of any particular prophet (as in chap. ii. 5), but an early transcriber, recollecting a passage somewhat similar in Jer. xxxii. 9, and supposing that to be the passage here referred to, ventured to insert his name. Others suppose the name to have been contracted in the original, and the contraction for Jeremiah differs only in the initial letter.
Certain it is that the prophet's name is not in the Syriac or Persic versions. Augustin also mentions that the name is wanting in some MSS. of his time. Griesbach marks it to be omitted, and Mill (though he inserts it) thinks it to be a mistake. Dr. Doddr. gives his deliberate opinion in favour of its omission,
ted with the plague; all were afraid to touch them. "I have betrayed innocent blood," says he: "What is that to us?” reply they, see thou to that." Thus sinners attempt to shuffle off their guilt to one another. Judas may rid himself of the silver, by throwing it on the temple pavement; but guilt had seized his conscience, as a vulture fastens on his prey, and he fled to the last resource of hopeless misery "he hanged himself!" And as he di this in the hurry of despair, he probabl hung himself on the walls either of th temple or the city, where, the cord givin way, he fell into some part of the deep ra vine beneath, when his bowels gushed ou and he perished miserably. (Acts i. 18, 19 Surely, "it had been good for that man he had not been born." (Chap. xxvi. 24.)
Suicide is a crime so awful and so fr quent, that we must not pass it without observation. In general, it proceeds eith
Ibid. The price of him that was valued, &c.may either render these words, "of one who sold, whom the children of Israel did sell," an consider them as the price of a common slave "of him that was sold, or valued (Messiab), v the children of Israel sold," at the shameful here named. See Doddr., who considers these v as a parenthesis, and the words of Matthew. Marg. reads, "Whom they bought of the child: Israel."
Ver. 10. And gave them-Doddr. "And they given," &c. Comp. Zech xi. 13, and Notes Campbell renders it," The thirty shekels, the Jated price at which he was valued, 1 took, : Lord appointed me, from the sons of Israel, who them for the potter's field."
Ver. 11. Art thou the king of the Jews ? — "Thou art the king of the Jews?" This form words is most literal, and ambiguity might be a by introducing the adverb then-"Thou art th of the Jews then?" Answer, "Thou sayest "thou sayest truly."
saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.
12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.
13 Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?
14 And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.
15 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.
16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.
17 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?
18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
19 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.
from insanity, or infidelity. In the former case it is much to be pitied; and all who have the care of persons constitutionally melancholy, owe a duty of constant vigilance over them, since we have an enemy who, "like a roaring lion, seeketh whom be may devour," and is never negligent in seizing such opportunities of doing mischief. The writer knew an instance of a good man-a minister of irreproachable character-who, in such a season of depression of mind, being alone, seized a razor and cut his throat; but immediately, as his friends came about him, he uttered this memorable sentence: "The Lord hath left me but one moment, and see what I have done!" Let us not be too severe in judging acts of unpremeditated suicide.
But it is much to be feared that the far greater part of self-murders are the fruit o infidelity. Among the higher classes of society, the writings of Hume, who justified the crime, may have deluded many; but among the lower classes, those of Paine have probably led astray many more. Not that he absolutely denied a future state; but he laboured to remove all the barriers of Christianity, and to persuade himself and others that there is nothing to be dreaded beyond the grave.
The suicide of an apostate is, of all others, the most awful; and that of Judas the most dreadful crime of this class.
"Here we behold the rebel dead ;
He seals the curse on his own head,
But what did the hypocritical priests, to They whom the money was returned? dare not put it into the treasury of the tem"It is the price of ple, because, they said, blood!" thus acknowledging that they had received it as the purchase of the blood of Jesus! But they aim to cover their flagitious crimes by an act of charity; they will buy with it" the potter's field, to bury strangers in." Ah! this was in perfect consistence with the character of their nation. They are famed for having killed the prophets, and then raised sepulchres to their memory (chap. xxiii. 29, 30). They now buy a field to bury foreigners in, with the price of the blood of their own Messiah ! Alas! how many professing Christians are there, who attempt to cover the sins of a whole life of injustice and oppression by a giving away that property which they can post-obit act of charity? very benevolently by no possibility retain a moment longer! Such is the charity of legacies, in innumerable cases.
But God accomplishes his own will as well by the crimes as by the virtues of mankind; and those who oppose it with all their might, do but thereby fulfil it. This act of hypocrisy and villany had been predicted some centuries before. (See Note on ver. 9.) "Wherefore it was called the field of blood unto this day;" the time when Matthew wrote his Gospel, and probably much later. Indeed, the memorial is still preserved by tradition.
Ver. 15. At that feast (the Passover) the governor was wont to release.... a prisoner.-This was, it seems, in memorial of their being released from Egyptian Bondage. The like custom, it seems, preOrient. Lit. vailed among some of the Greeks. No. 1241.
Ver. 16, 17. Barabbas—a thief, guilty also of mur
der and sedition. Origen says, that in many copies of his time, Barabbas was also called Jesus; and the Armenian version reads, "Whom will ye that I deliver up unto you, Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ Calmet and Michaelis.
Ver. 18,19. For he knew, &c.-Campbell considers these two verses as a parenthesis.
(Q) Ver. 11-25. Jesus brought before Pilate, who orders him to be crucified.The Sanhedrim having condemned Jesus, would scarcely, we think, have hesitated to stone him immediately, according to their law, but that they were restrained by the Roman power from capital execution, without the sanction of the governor; and no inferior punishment would satisfy the malice of the chief priests and scribes. They therefore bring Jesus before Pilate, and, in order the more to prejudice him against the prisoner, instead of accusing him with calling himself the Messiah, aud the Son of God, to which Pilate was not likely to pay much attention, they bring another charge against him, more likely to offend the Romans, namely, that he styled himself" the king of the Jews." The first question, therefore, which Pilate proposes to Jesus is, "Thou art the king of the Jews, then?" Jesus admitted this under the explanation (John xviii. 36) that his kingdom was "not of this world;" which seems so far to have satisfied Pilate, that he laboured hard for his discharge, and therefore proposed, as it was customary for him to release to them a prisoner at the passover, that Jesus should be the man: they, however, were so bitter against their Messiah, that they prefer a robber and a murderer.
When the governor had again" sat down upon the judgment seat," his wife sent to intreat him to "have nothing to do with that just man (Jesus), for (added she) I have suffered much because of him in a dream this day." The chief priests and elders, who had always great influence with
Ver. 24. He washed his hands before the multitude. This rite of "washing the bands in innocency," appears to have originated in a Mosaical institution, Deut. xxi. 6, 7, is alluded to by David, Ps. xxvi., and was copied by the Gentiles. Ovid Fast. 1. 2.
Ver. 26. When he had scourged Jesus. - This punishment was used both by the Jews and Romans,
the multitude, persuaded them, however, to ask for Barabbas, and for the death of Jesus; insomuch that Pilate at length, in opposition to his own conscience, and to the entreaties of his wife, consented to their request, lest the Jews, who were prone to insurrection, should raise a tumult, which being reported to the emperor, might be fatal to his interests, and occasion his recall. We cannot, however, omit to regret that any man who was a governor and a judge, should sacrifice an innocent persou (to say no more) to the clamour of a mob. The scene must one day be reversed. Pilate must stand at the bar of Jesus, and can it then be pleaded in extenuation of his guilt, that he was obliged to crucify Christ to save himself? We have nothing to do with the Roman Governor now, but mention this merely to introduce the question
Have we, in any instance, sacrificed truth or justice to our temporal interests? "God knoweth."
But O, how awful is the imprecation of the multitude: "Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children!" It may be recollected, that it was but a few days before, that "this same Jesus," whom they now exe crate, was ushered into the city amidst the hosaunas of " a very great multitude' (chap. xxi. 3), many, very many of whom it is to be feared, now joined in the cry o "Crucify him! crucify him!" So uncer tain, so fleeting, is the breath of popula applause! But what mean they by th imprecation, "His blood be upon us an upon our children?" Many perhaps, kne not what they said; none, certainly, kne
the latter being administered by military executio ers, was no doubt severe, and some think it might the more so in this instance, as Pilate hoped that t Jews, when they saw him scourged, might be pa fied, without insisting on his crucifixion; but nothi could satisfy these cruel hypocrites, short of dea in its most tremendous form. See Doddr,