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Deity speaks in the preceding text, it could scarcely have been translated “they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced ;” but rather
they shall look upon me with him, whom they pierced;" that is, they shall fix their eyes and their hopes upon me, and upon him whom they have pierced. The latter person might certainly be the Messiah ; but John does not so translate it, but “ they shall look upon him whom they have pierced.” There had been long an opinion that John read the Hebrew in this way, and I made known to the learned world, from two Erfurt manuscripts, and on many satisfactory grounds, that such reading existed. (Oriental Library, p. 210.) But what are two manuscripts in the decision of an important inquiry? The last time, therefore, I gave a course of lectures upon this subject in 1777, I own I had my doubts; but the case is now different, since the publication of the second part of Kennicott's Hebrew Bible. The multiplicity of manuscripts decides in favour of my supposition, and that John, in deviating from the Septuagint, still retained the original sense. The question now, however, is “ Does this passage of Zechariah relate to Christ?” Not to adopt the revolting and decisive tone which I have blamed in others,
I make two questions of it. “ Does it actually relate to Christ?” and “ Does it not relate to him ?" To answer this decisively would be answering precipitately, unless we at once admitted the infallibility of John; we understand the last chapter of Zechariah (the most difficult of the prophets) much too little ; and no commentator has hitherto been satisfactory. But if the question is confined to this, “ Does the passage relate to Christ, or is it a palpable error, when John applies it to Christ?” I answer to the first, “ Yes; it can easily relate, and probably does relate to Christ.” It has been said, it cannot relate to Christ, because in the preceding text the times of the Maccabees constitute the subject. I admit in the chapter which precedes, but in the eleventh chapter the prophet advances into later times (v. 5 and 6,) and contemplates the injustice of the Asmonæan dynasty subsequent to Alexander Iannæus, and, finally, the tyrannical government of Herod. But I have not room to enter upon it here. The beginning of the twelfth chapter, which has no connection with the eleventh, does not appear to me to coincide with the history of the Maccabees. Indeed, I should say distinctly the reverse; I conjecture, therefore, that it relates to
another history, or is not yet fulfilled. But supposing another to be of a different opinion, and to conceive himself capable of reconciling the striking contradictions between this prophecy and the history of the Maccabees, he will still admit that his illustration of a text, hitherto so little understood, is mere conjecture, and that he has no right, therefore, positively to assert that the prophecy quoted by John does not relate to Christ. I shall not dwell more upon this subject; an illustration of the most difficult chapter of the most difficult and the least understood of all the prophets is not to be mixed up with an investigation into the history of the burial and resurrection of Jesus. What I have to say upon the subject, I have already said, in my Commentaries upon Zechariah, and to them I refer my young readers.
II. THE BURIAL OF Jesus.
MATTH. XXVII. 57–61.
MARK XV. 42–17.
MATTH. XXVII, 57-61. 57. “ When the even wus come, there came a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus's 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 the door of the sepulchre and departed.
61. “ And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre."
57. “ When the even was come."] As this word frequently occurs in the history of the burial and the resurrection, and not always in the same sense, and has, at times, occasioned misunderstanding, I must observe, once for all, that in Greek, and still more in Hebrew, it has a double meaning. The time from three o'clock in the afternoon to sunset, is named evening, and signifies much the same as vespers in certain parts of Germany. The time also from sunset to complete darkness, probably from six to nine or ten o'clock, is called evening. They have, therefore, a first and second evening. According to the popular use of the word in our own country, we may easily understand this; only that as we have longer days in summer, we begin the evening in summer later; but with
respect to its use in the Hebrew language, I intend saying more when I shall publish my collections for the Hebrew Lexicon. In this passage the word “ evening” is decidedly taken in the first sense, namely, from about four to six ; for Jesus died soon after three, and the Sabbath commenced with, sunset, that is, in the month of April, soon after six o'clock; this is, in fact, the real meaning of the Greek word. Julius Pollux writes, b. i. ch. 69, “ when the sun declines (which it does sensibly from three o'clock) it is then the evening of the day,” using here the same Greek word ove for " evening,' as the Greek translator of Matthew. Our
passage here, therefore, is easy, others will follow, that will be more difficult.
“ There came a rich man of Arimathea named Joseph.”] That Arimathea is the same city which, in the Old Testament is called Ramathaim, and where Samuel was born, (1 Sam.i. 1.) is tolerably ascertained; but, on the contrary, it is a great mistake, if we confound it with Ramla or Ramula, a much younger city. This Ramathaim lay, according to the first book of Samuel i. 1, in Mount Ephraim ; consequently, it has created some surprise that it should be here described as a Jewish city, (although Luke