« PreviousContinue »
expressly states it xxiii. 51,) as it rather ought to have belonged to the Samaritans. The case in which great geographers seem to differ is this; when Palestine, after the death of Alexander the Great, fell under the Egyptian yoke, three districts of Samaria, Ephraim, Lydda, and Ramathaim were appropriated to Judæa, and after the victories of the Maccabees, the Syrian kings confirmed it. These three districts were attached always to the Jews. See 1 Maccabees xi. 28, and my observations.
The expression “ Joseph of Arimathea,” is generally understood that Joseph was one of the high council, and resident at Jerusalem, but that Arimathea was his birth-place. It does not, I confess, strike me in the same light, as all the four evangelists use the word “ of Arimathea.” They are not in the habit of noting exclusively all the Jews from the place of their birth, therefore I conclude, from the words
Joseph of Arimathea,” (and I shall make it more evident from Mark) that he was resident at Arimathea-was a counsellor there and not invested with the high situation which has been assigned to him of belonging to the Sanhedrim of Jerusalem. I mention this in the outset, because it has a great influence upon the history
of the resurrection of Jesus, and affects notions, which have been generally received. When it is said," there came,” we are not to understand, that he came that evening from Arimathea to Jerusalem, This would have been inconsistent, for as this was the first day of the Passover, he must have been at Jerusalem the evening before, and have eaten the Paschal Lamb in the night. But “there came,” frequently occurs in Hebrew narrative, and was probably so placed by Matthew in the original. Mark also, who had this original before him, retains it, but he averts the ambiguity of the Greek translation, and writes, chap. xv. 43, translating literally " Joseph came, he of Arimathea.”
“ A disciple of Jesus.”] One who heard, believed in, and honoured him.
58. My readers will not here expect from me, that I should repeat what others have collected from Roman jurisprudence relative to the permitted or prohibited interment of criminals. It belongs not to this place. Malefactors must have been buried in Palestine, as the reverse would have been too obvious an infraction of the Mosaic law, which the Roman authorities conceded to the Jews. The two
who were crucified with Jesus, were without doubt buried before the evening expired, for they were put to death, that their bodies might not lie all night upon the cross. The acquiescence of Pilate did not consist in permitting the body of Jesus to be buried, but in giving it up to Joseph, that he might bury him at his own discretion.
59.“ A clean linen cloth.”] The Greek word ovồóvi, has different meanings, which do not apply here; as for instance, where it relates to clothing the living, instead of, as here, wrapping the dead. A passage to this effect, has been quoted by Wetstein, but without comment. Herodotus says, book ii. chap. 86, speaking of the Egyptians, they wrapped up the embalmed body in cotton linen, cut into long strips."
That I have translated Brooivos, " cotton,” with propriety, is shown in professor Forster's book upon Byssus, who remarks, that our Egyptian mummies are not wrapped up in linen, but in a cotton garment, or rather calico, and that the Greek word “ sindon” for linen, is originally Egyptian. I understand this so far as it relates to Egypt, but here there was no incision, but merely embalming according to the custom of the Jews.
The dead body was wrapped up in fine cotton or chintz. The expression “ wrapping up" and
linen ” is common to the three evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and as they coincide in this, I believe it to apply not to the regular cloth, in which the dead were, properly speaking, enveloped, but to these wrappers. John alone uses another expression, which makes the case still stronger, and which I will endeavour to explain. From John xi. 44, it seems it was the fashion to wrap the rich in bandages, exactly according to the Eyyptian custom, every foot and hand separately, so that Lazarus, although he was wrapped up in bandages, could still walk. But it
But it may be asked, what “ clean linen" means? For it is not probable that Matthew would inform us, which is in itself intelligible without his information, that the rich Joseph would not wrap up the dead body in dirty linen. This word has been generally overlooked by commentators. I believe, that, in that ambiguous word
sindon,” which, as Forster observes, is common both to linen and to cotton, it is confined to the last, for cotton garments were clean both to Egyptians and to Jews, and, I might almost
say, sacred, since with both people the priests clothed themselves in calico, and not in linen. It is for this reason, I prefer my own interpretation of the word " a burial cloth” to the Lutheran and to the common translation of the word “ clean linen." When Luther translated the Bible, he could not have known this.
Matthew says nothing of the spices, which were wrapped up with the body of Jesus. As this silence, as well as that of Mark and Luke, has been considered by the adversaries of the christian religion, as an argument against the fact, I hope I may be allowed to make a few observations
upon 1. The enemies of Christianity contend that there is great inconsistency in Mark and Luke relating the fact of the women bringing spices, and intending to embalm Jesus on our Sunday morning, and at the same time omitting what is related by John, of Joseph and Nicodemus having already wrapped up the body of Jesus with spices, when they interred him. This ceases to be, in point of fact, remarkable, when we consider, that Matthew, although he describes the wrapping, says nothing of the women having brought spices, or of their having