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half the vengeance which they were now calling down from heaven upon themselves, and upon their country. This imprecation appears to have been remarkably fulfilled in the circumstances connected with the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus. Bp. Newton traces a striking correspondence between their sin and punishment, "They put Jesus to death when the nation was assembled to celebrate the passover; and when the nation was assembled to celebrate the passover, Titus shut them up within the walls of Jerusalem. The rejection of the true Messiah was their crime; and the following of false Messiahs to their destruction, was their punishment. They sold and bought Jesus as a slave; and they themselves were afterwards sold and bought as slaves at the lowest prices. They preferred a robber and a murderer to Jesus, whom they crucified between two thieves; and they themselves were afterwards infested with bands of thieves and robbers. They put Jesus to death, lest the Romans should come and take away their place and nation; and the Romans did come, and took away their place and nation. They crucified Jesus before the walls of Jerusalem; and before the walls of Jerusalem they themselves were crucified
in such numbers, that it is said room was wanting for the crosses, and crosses for the bodies. I should think it hardly possible for any man to lay these things together, and not conclude the Jews' own imprecation to be remarkably fulfilled upon them; his blood be on us, and on our
"We Christians cannot, indeed, be guilty of the very same offence in crucifying the Lord of glory: but it behoves us to consider whether we may not be guilty in the same kind, and by our sins and iniquities crucify the son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame' (Heb. vi. 25), and therefore whether, being like them in their crime, we may not also resemble them in their punishment. They rejected the Messiah, and we, indeed, have received him; but have our lives been at all agreeable to our holy profession? or rather, as we have had opportunities of knowing our Lord more, have we not obeyed him less than other Christians? And have not some of us (as in Heb. x. 29) even trodden under foot the Son of God, and counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith we are sanctified, an unholy thing, and done despite unto the Spirit of Grace?'" (Newton's Dissert. vol. ii. Diss. xxi, pt. 4.)
Ver. 27. The common hall.-Gr. (or rather Latin) Pretorium; Eng. Margin, "The house of the gover nor," or Prætor. The whole band what we might call his "body guard."
Ver. 28. Put on him a scarlet robe- that is, no doubt, a decayed and left off robe. Mark calls the robe purple. See Mark xv. 20. Such pieces of mockery were not uncommon in those times. When Herod Agrippa wished to display his royal dignity to the people, the mob, in ridicule, dressed up a half crazy man, with a pasteboard crown, a reed for a sceptre, and a robe of matting, Orient. Lit. No. 124; compare No. 1243.
Ver. 29. A crown of thorns. The species of thorns here employed is doubtful, and of no conse quence. The object was, to inflict pain and ridicule; but, query, Have not all crowns more thorns than jewels in them?A reed-most probably a common walking cane. (Calamus.)
Ver. 31. And led him away.-Capital punishments were, both by Jews and Romans, generally inflicted without their cities; especially crucifixion. Orient. Cust. No. 1230.
Ver. 32. To bear his cross.-St. John informs us, that at first Jesus went forth bearing his cross; it may be, however, this referred only to the transverse beam, and that Simon carried the upright part after him; or if the cross was formed, that Jesus fainted under the weight, and it was then laid on Simon.
Ver. 33. Golgotha .... a place of a scull-Camp. "of sculls;" supposed to be so called from its having been a place of public execution. It is more usually called Mount Calvary; but of the mount there are no remains, nor do the Scriptures mention it; though as a place of execution it might probably be an elevated spot; and some think its shape, being round,
a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,
34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.
35 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.
36 And sitting down they watched him there;
37 And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.
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
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 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. (R)
45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
EXPOSITION-Chap. XXVII. Continued.
(R) Ver. 26-44. Jesus scourged, mocked, and crucified.-Were this narrative anonymous, or were it wrought into a scene in one of our most popular novels, how would it affect our sympathetic feelings! Were it then converted into history, and the name of some dear relative or friend inserted, to fill up the blank, how greatly would its interest be increased? But were it also discovered, that all this suffering had been occasioned by some fault of ours, and that all these miseries had been endured on our account, which of us could then read the narrative without agony and tears? That we can now read it with so
like a human skull, was the true origin of the name Golgotha. The present Calvary is covered with religious buildings, pretending to enclose our Saviour's tomb, and other Christian antiquities, all of which are doubtful, and some gross impositions; though they afford a rich revenue to monks and priests, both Greek and Roman Catholic. See Dr. R. Richardson's interesting Travels along the Mediterranean," vol. ii. pp. 322-333. Ver.34. Vinegar..........mingled with gall--The LXX use the same Greek word for wormwoo). Mark says, "Wine mingled with myrrh; probably sour wine (used as vinegar) mingled with myrrh, bitter as gali. Myrth itself, says Dr. Harris, is extremely bitter." Nat. Hist. of the Bible. This mixture, or something like it, is said to have been given to criminals to deaden the sense of pain; which might be the reason why our Lord refused to drink it. See Orient. Lit. No. 1249.
Ver. 35. That it might be fulfilled.-Psalm xxii. 18. See our Exposition. Persons crucified were always stripped of their clothes, which became the perquisites of the executioners. Orient. Lit. No. 1250. This quotation, according to Campbell, is "wanting in a very great number of MSS. in which the most valuable are included; in the works of some an
little feeling or effect, can be attributed to nothing so justly as our want of faith. Not that we are positive infidels, or reject the facts of Scripture history as fabulous; but we want that faith of appropriation that might enable each of us to say, "This was my friend, or brother! and all this he endured for me!"
"Twas for my sins, my dearest Lord
For thee, my soul, for thee!"
Let us, by divine help, attempt briefly to review his sufferings under these impressious. 1. They preferred Barabtas! Ah! was
cient commentators, in several early versions and editions." He thinks it was introduced here from John xix. 24, to which place it belongs; but as it belongs there, the question is of no importance.
Ver. 37. This is Jesus, &c.-On this inscription see John xix. 19, &c.
Ver. 40. Thou that destroyest.-See Note, chap xxvi. 61.
Ver. 42. We will believe him. So unbeliever argue. Could they see a miracle, they would be lieve; but our Lord says they would not, and fact confirm his words. They saw Lazarus raised fro the dead, yet would not believe. See John xi. 40 Compare Luke xvi. 41,
Ver. 44. Cast the same in his teeth.-Doddr. "Un braided him with the same reproach;" Camp. "I the same manner."
Ver. 45. Now from the sixth hour. It is evider that Matthew and Mark reckon from sunrise, whic at this time (about the equinox was six o'clock, b our reckoning. Christ was then crucified at nine the morning (the third hour, Mark xv. 25); t darkness came on at noon, the sixth hour, and co tinued till three in the afternoon, which was th ninth hour. But John (if there be no mistake) rec oned differently. See John xix. 14.
that wretch, who had been convicted of insurrection, robbery, and murder, released in preference to my dear and benevolent friend? the worst of men spared, and the best given up to punishment, and all to appease an infatuated mob? O how are our resentments kindled at such base injustice!
2. They scourged Jesus? Who? The soldiers! Much has been said of the severity of military punishments, even when justly inflicted, and upon hardy soldiers; but was this severity exercised upon an innocent and benevolent individual, upon my dearest friend and benefactor? Alas! what language is sufficient to express our compassion and our grief!
Again, 3. They mocked him. Yes; while bleeding from the lashes of the Roman Scourge, and from the crown of thorns with which his temples were environed, they array him in the faded and dirty robe, probably of some former Roman governor, and having placed a reed, or cane, in his right hand, by way of sceptre, they bow the knee, and hail him as their king, in ridicule. Thus injury is heaped on injustice, and insult upon injury, till they amount to an accumulation of crime altogether unprecedented. Yet this is but the beginning of sorrows! For,
Lastly, They crucify him. form of the cross, painters have made our eyes familiar; and they seem generally correct. Arrived at the place of execution, the pieces of the cross being put together, the criminal was laid naked upon
it, and commonly nailed to it, through the nerves and sinews of his hands and feet. After being thus fastened, the cross was raised erect, with exquisite agony to the sufferer. Yet these wounds being all at the extremities, life departed but very slowly. Cicero calls crucifixion a "most cruel and horrid punishment; a punishment which must be far, not only from the body of a Roman citizen, but also from his eyes, and even his thoughts." It was indeed never inflicted, but upon the vilest criminals and the basest slaves. (See Orient. Lit. No. 1246.)
And is this the manner in which our friend, our brother, and our Saviour died? And was he thus tortured" for us men, and for our salvation?" "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold, they that passed by him, mocked him, wagging their heads and saying, Save thyself;" also the chief priests, and scribes, and elders (who ought to have been far from this scene) said, "He saved others; himself he cannot save!" This, indeed, is the only truth they uttered; for had he saved himself, he could not have saved us. Also one of the thieves crucified with him, and at first probably both of them joined in the reproach and ridicule, even in their dying moments. But let us confine our present meditation to the illustrious sufferer in the centre. There he haugs!
Ver. 46. Eli, Eli, &c. - This is a quotation from Ps. xxii. 1. These are not the precise Hebrew words, but in the Syro-Chaldaic dialect, which accounts for the words being misunderstood by some of the by. standers (ver. 47), who probably came from a distance, and did not well understand the dialect spoken at Jerusalem.
We have said this darkness could not proceed from an eclipse; but we are not therefore bound to assign a cause. Earthquakes have often been preceded or accompanied by dark fogs, as at Lisbon and in London, which might possibly be the case here. See the article Earthquake, in the Encyclo. Brit. Ibid. Why hast thou forsaken me? In the application of this psalm to Christ, the words must not be understood as the language of unbelief; but as Bp. Horne explains them, Christ complains that
"See from his head, his hands, his feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down: Did e'er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown?" (Watts.)
he was deprived, for a time, of the divine presence, and comforting influence, while he suffered for our sins."
Ver. 48. With vinegar-or sour wine (see Note on ver. 34), which was used (as small beer with us) for the drink of the poorer classes. The method of giving this in a sponge to quench the thirst, appears to be still practised in Egypt. It is said that the thirst occasioned by crucifixion is the greatest of its torments, a circumstance, we believe, common to persons that bleed much. Orient. Lit. No. 1252.
Ver. 50. Yielded up the Ghost - Doddr. "Dismissed his spirit." But Campbell remarks, the same phrase is used by the LXX respecting Rachel, Gen. Xxxv. 18; also frequently by Josephus, and other Greek writers.
Ver.51. The vail was rent.—Ancient writers tell us
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 opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
[at his death; 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, watching
EXPOSITION-Chap. XXVII. Continued.
(S) Ver. 45-54. Prodigies attending our Saviour's death.-These were, 1. A preternatural darkness in the middle of the day, which could not proceed from a solar eclipse at passover time, because that was always at the time of the full moon: nor could the sun be eclipsed for any such length of time as is here specified. 2. An earthquake, whereby the veil of the temple was rent in twain; the earth did quake, and the rocks rent, and the graves were opened." Whether any monument of this event now remains, or whether the fissure in the rock now exhibited in the church of the sepulchre occurred at this early period, we presume not to decide; nor is it reasonable to demand ocular demonstration of an event which occurred nearly eighteen centuries ago. 3. Many bodies of the saints which slept, arose and came out of their graves after his (our Lord's) resurrection, and went into the holy city (Jerusalem) and appeared unto many. The expression "after his resurrection," demands our particular notice, as it secures to our Lord the honour of being the first-fruits of the resurrection. Who these individuals were, or to whom they appeared, are secrets as impenetrable as the foundations of the world; nor can we guess the object of their resurrection, unless it were to bear witness to the resurrection of our Lord. Their going to show themselves in the holy city, seems to imply that they were persons recently deceased, and well known there. The design of providence in all the previous circumstances appears to have been to prepare the minds of the spectators for the acknowledgment which immediately follows: "Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus (namely, the Roman guard), saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly
this was a good man: this was the Son of God." Here let us briefly consider the persons before us; what they saw and heard; what they felt, and what they said.
The persons were, the Roman centurion and his soldiers; men accustomed to view scenes of blood and horror, whose feelings, whatever they might naturally have been, we may reasonably suppose to have been greatly blunted by their profession, and the last feeling likely to possess them, was that of fear; yet they "feared greatly." What did they see? They saw a man of the most unblemished character treated as the very chief of sinners, and that merely to gratify a few bigoted and cruel priests, and their blind, infuriated adherents. They saw those meu transformed into worse than beasts 1 - into monsters; for none other could surely ridicule a man in the article of death, and jest with his dying agonies. They heard their taunts and their revilings; they heard, too, the dying prayers of the illustrious sufferer: they heard him address the Almighty as his father and his friend; they heard him (so Luke informs us) pray for mercy to his murderers, and then pa tiently resign his soul into the hands of God. But what effect had all these extraordinary scenes upon them? "They feared greatly," being convinced by what they had seen and heard that Jesus could be neither an enthusiast nor an impostor, nor merely a wise and good man; they believed him to be truly what he declared himself to be "the Son of God!"
"I think (says Dr. Boothroyd) that th centurion could not be ignorant of wha our Lord had so often said of himself (tha he was the Son of God), and that unde the impression which these awful even had made on his mind, he speaks, not as heathen polytheist, but as admitting th claim which our Lord had made to be just
NOTES-Chap. that there were two vails; ore in the entrance to the outer temple, and the other between that and the most holy. The Greek term here made use of, is applied by Philo to the latter only, whic hinay represent the way opened to us into heaven by the death of Christ, Heb vi. 19; x. 21.
Ibid. The earth did quake and the rocks rent. -Maundrell, Sandys and other Christian travellers have been much gratified with the sight of a rent, or fissure, in the rock of what is called the Holy Sepulchre; but Dr. Richardson, a pious physician, and one of its latest visitants, considers the whole of this exhibition to be a trick of the monks to raise contri.
butions on the Christians, as already mention Note on ver. 33. The truth, however, generally i between extremes, and it is very possible there m have been some foundation of truth to many of th fables. The rent in the rock chiefly excites st picion from its being cased with marble.
Ver 53. The holy city." The Orientals ne call Jerusalem by any other name than El-kods, holy; sometimes adding the epithet El-sherif, noble." Volney, vol. ii. p. 304.
Ver. 54. Truly this was the Son of God.-F the omission of the Greek article to these no Campbell chooses to render this text, "The so
Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. (S)
55 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto
56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.
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 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 a great stone to
[in a new tomb.
the door of the sepulchre, and departed.
61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.
62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,
63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.
64 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.
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. (T)
(T) Ver. 55-66. The burial of our Saviour.-It is much to the honour of the female sex, that the evangelists have taken so much notice of the attachment and fidelity of those women who attended on the ministry of our Lord; and who themselves ministered to his necessities and comfort. It was not a woman that betrayed him, or that denied him; nor is it said of them, they all forsook him, and fled." Dr. Doddridge, who remarks the pious attachment of these females, is inclined to think that their sex, "in the sight of God, constitute by far the better half of mankind: and to whose care and tenderness the wisest and best of men gene
rally owe and ascribe much of the daily comfort and enjoyment of their lives." Ledyard, the celebrated American traveller, has remarked, that "women, in all countries, are civil, obliging, tender, and humane. In wandering over the barren plains of Denmark; through honest Sweden, and frozen Lapland; rude and churlish Finland; unprincipled Russia; and the regions of the wandering Tartar; if hungry, cold, wet, or sick, the women have ever been friendly to me, and uniformly so." Mungo Park, the unfortunate African traveller, bears a like testimony in favour of female benevolence. But when to this natural virtue (if we may so call it) the
a god," considering this centurion as a polytheist; Jet we cannot but think, though he might not well understand the Scripture phrase, he clearly meant that Jesus was a most extraordinary character, and all that he pretended to be, when he called himself "the Son of God," of which it is most likely that he had heard.
Ver. 56. Mary Magdalene--that is, Mary of Magdala; see Luke viii. 2.- - Mary (the wife of Cleophas, or Alphens, and sister of the Virgin Mary) the mother of James and Joses (or Joseph) called "brethren," or cousins of our Lord. The mother of Zebedee's children was Salome, Mark xvi. 1. See Calmet's Dict.
Ver.6. Sitting over against the Sepulchre.Among the Greeks, as well as the Jews, women were accustomed to sit at the graves of their de
ceased friends. See Oriental Literature, p. 360. Ver. 62. The day of the preparation-viz. Friday. Ver. 64. Until the third day-that this, and" after three days (ver. 63), were conversible terms, we have here decisive proof, the Jews themselves being witnesses.
Ver. 65. Ye have a watch.-Perhaps referring to the Roman guard in the castle of Antonio, which is here offered them.
Ver. 66. Sealing the stone.-This was usually done with clay. Norden, in bisTravels in Egypt, Nubia, &c. speaking of sealing a granary, says, "The doors are shut only with wooden locks; but the inspectors of the granary, after having shut a door, put on it their seal, on a handful of clay, which they make use of as wax. Query, Was this the kind of seal used to secure our Lord's sepulchre ?" Fragments to Calmet, No. 1xxx.