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Crucifixion was by no means unusual amongst the Persians, and in Genesis xl. 19., a man whose head had been taken off, is afterwards suspended to a tree. It is at least not our method of hanging a man, with a rope round his neck. But if the Hebrews did nail to a post, or in fact, crucify, it was always punishment or disgrace after death, in the same way as we nail the head of a malefactor to the post of a wheel, but living persons were not crucified. The passage in Deuteronomy xxi. 22, 23.—“ If a man have committed a sin, worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain all night upon the tree,” (gallows or cross ?) " but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day,” relates solely to those who were already dead. For the laws of Moses did not enjoin that the living should be crucified, but required that the malefactor, who was crucified or hung, should not remain suspended after he was dead, and thus corrupt the air of the living. Therefore, according to the letter of the law, malefactors might have remained all night, hanging upon

the cross, and have continued even to the third or seventh day. But it would seem that the Jews, who did not explain this so dogma

tically, were shocked if any one, even supposing him to be alive, remained all night upon the cross, and I am not surprised at it. The legislator, who did not wish men to be crucified alive, and that not even the dead should remain all night upon the cross, would have been little inclined to sanction such a severe punishment, as that of leaving a person to expire slowly, and for his body to corrupt upon the spot. It may be said with truth, that their explanation was not the letter, but was the spirit of the Mosaic law. The Roman governors adapted themselves, in many things, to the manners and opinions of the Jews. Pilate does something of the kind in this instance, but we may see from the narration of John himself, that this was only in consequence of the extraordinary sabbath, and that otherwise the Romans allowed those, who were crucified, to hang all night, and even until they died, upon the cross. According to his statement, I represent to myself the case thus; in general the crucified person hung until he died of gangrene, the Jews looked upon this as contrary to the law, and still more so, if it occurred upon a sabbath, of which it was considered a violation. They were, however, obliged to submit. But this

sabbath, falling upon the Easter feast, when só many

hundred thousand Jews were collected at Jerusalem, not merely from the Roman, but from the Parthian dominions, and from the extreme East, seemed to form an exception in their favour, and to justify their application for the removal of a sight, so publicly offensive to the adherents of the Mosaic law. They, therefore, acted upon it, and Pilate acceded to their prayer. This may, indeed, have been the case at other Easter festivals, for upon great occasions, executions of any celebrity were ordinarily postponed, in order to make the greater impression, and the governor was in general then at Jerusalem, although he usually resided at Cæsarea. I have no means of knowing who the Jews were, who made this request to Pilate; whether the Sanhedrim, who are sometimes designated by John, “ the Jews,” or whether they were foreign Jews, who were shocked at the spectacle. If the first, the application must have been early, when Pilate condemned Jesus, and in this case we must translate it “they had besought,” (mpurnoav,)—if the last, the application must have been, in all probability, late before sun-set, and subsequent to Joseph of Arimathea requesting the body of Jesus, after

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he had expired. What I am here saying, I shall explain more fully hereafter, when I come to treat upon ostensible contradictions, between John and Mark, and which, as far as I can trace, has not been noticed by the enemies of Christianity.

Because it was the preparation,"]-namely, Friday. These words, and not as is generally done, those only which follow, should be put into a parènthesis. John uses them to make intelligible to his readers what he says, the bodies should not remain upon the cross, upon the sabbath-day." By this he informs us, that it was upon the day answering to our Friday, when Christ was crucified and died. I here feel myself called upon to explain more minutely the meaning of the word “ preparation,(napaokevn,) as it occurs in Mat. xxvii. 62. Mark xv. 42, where it is explained, as being the day before the sabbath, (npooaßbarov,) Luke xxiii. 54. John xix. 19–42., and here in this 31st verse of the same chapter, the importance of the word, as well as our German translation by Luther seems to require it. I would venture to say, that one half of those who read it, conceive it to be the holy evening before the feast of the passover; and it is thus that many,

even learned men, have reasoned, saying, the sabbath was so great, because the first Easterday, which was a sabbatical festival, fell upon the weekly sabbath, and it has been used even in some instances, as an argument against the truth of the resurrection. The passages, the most illustrative of this word, are to be met with in Wetstein, Walch, and Dufresne. It is worth while to condense and to submit to the reader the sentiments of these writers. The Jews, not those who lived before the Babylonish captivity, (for amongst these last we find no traces of it,) but those who conformed to the subsequent tenets of the Pharisees, strictly observed the Friday afternoon from three o'clock, as a preparation for the sabbath, or as an holy evening, according to our notions of time. The supper (for fasting is not a sabbatical festival, when friends are invited and this day was one of rejoicing,) was a subject of consequence, as they began to abstain from work, with a view to sanctify the day of rest, ordained by God. Hence they named both in Hebrew, and in Chaldee, the whole Friday, “ the evening,” in the same way as we, in German, name the day before the Sunday, “the Sun-evening.” The name, thus, came into the Arabic, and

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