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intended to embalm the body early on our Sunday morning. He is perfectly silent with respect to spices and embalming.
2. Where Mark omits, what Matthew omits, for the gospel of Matthew was in the hands of Mark, it does not render Mark in any degree more suspicious than Matthew.
60. “ In his own new tomb, which he had hewn out, in the rock.”] A doubt here occurs to me which has not yet been noticed by our commentators, nor seems to have attracted the remarks of the enemies of Christianity; the latter always reason, as if Jesus had been placed in the grave of Joseph. If the objection has not been made, it is a proof that their acuteness and acrimony are not equal. According to the language of Matthew, it is evident, that the grave of Jesus was the property of Joseph of Arimathea. This circumstance is not mentioned by any other evangelist, and there is something improbable in the thing itself. According to Mark, Joseph was counsellor of Arimatheamhow comes he to have his own sepulchre hewn in a rock at Jerusalem ? and the more so, because the Jews were not in the habit, as we are, of transporting our dead, but of burying them immediately
after their decease. He who reads John will not easily believe it was the separate property of Joseph, but only used on account of its proximity, and near approach to the Sabbath.
“ Now in the place, where he was crucified, there was a garden ; and in the garden a new sepuchre, wherein was never yet man laid ; there laid they Jesus, therefore, because of the Jews' preparation day (Friday), for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.” I confess, that in this main point, there is, according to my translation of it, an inconsistency between Matthew and John, but yet so, that the case itself, and the other evangelists determine it, in favour of John. In Matthew there are two various readings, which give a new construction to the thing, and adapt it to the translation of Mark,“ laid him in a sepulchre, which was hewn out of a rock.” The various readings are these :
1. “ His own," (avrov) is omitted in the Winchelsea manuscript, which is a very important one, and we cannot suppose that this was done to avoid the inconsistency, because it has still the words," which he had hewn out, in the rock," and this leaves the property in Joseph of Arimathea. Mark, who had the
Hebrew gospel of Matthew before him, and at times confined himself to translation, does not use the word, “ his own.'
2. The old Syriac translation has “ was hewn out,” for “ he had hewn out,” and the new Syriac translation has the same version in the margin, a proof, that the marginal reading was not from the old Syriac, but from Greek manuscripts of the sixth century. It gains additional importance from its coincidence with Mark, who so generally follows Matthew.
The probability therefore, is, that the authorised version is incorrect, and that the original reading is, “ in a new tomb, which had been hewn out in a rock.” But supposing this reading not to be acquiesced in, the following will be the result. We have not Matthew in the original Hebrew, but only a Greek translation, which may be, from the very nature of translation, in itself, defective. In the original Hebrew, it must have been different, for Mark possessed and read it, and he writes, “ laid him in a sepulchre, which was hewn out of a rock.” The translator, (for every one, accustomed to translation, knows the extreme difficulty of preserving the perfect sense of the
original,) probably considered it to be Joseph's own grave, and by introducing the word “ his own,” gave rise to a belief which John, whose gospel was not known to the translator of Matthew, finding in the Greek copies, mildly corrects. The following may be considered as trifling, but they are the laborious, and at times, erroneous conclusions of learned philologists. The word we translate “ hewn out" signifies also to “ wall up," and " a rock ” signifies also“ stones." Salmasius, and afterwards Krebs, have both observed this from the modern Greek, and from a passage in Josephus. The remark is not of much importance, so far as it relates to that which is now shown as the holy sepulchre, but for which we have no authentic guarantee, although hewn out of a rock, and consisting of square stones.
The comment, however, is true, so far as it applies to Mark, but not, as it applies to Matthew, for with him it is “ in the rock.'. Of course, it means not stones, which made the wall of “the tomb,” but “ the rock, in which it was hewn." I should prefer the illustration of the Septuagint, written in the Greek of the New Testament, and where, in the case of sepulchres, it says, Isaiah xxii. 16, “ What hast
thou here? and whom hast thou here? that thou hast hewn thee out a sepulchre here, as he that heweth him out a sepulchre on high, and that graveth an habitation for himself in a rock ?" . We know, from travellers, that in Palestine, graves were frequently worked into the rocks, like grottoes, and that they subsequently served, as asylums to hermits and to robbers. A very unnecessary doubt has arisen upon the use of the article, whether it should not be “a rock," and if not, what rock? In German the question is easily answered, but in English we frequently say, “cut out of the rock,” as applying to rocks generally. But to inquire into the locality of the rock, is to inquire into the locality of Golgotha, of which the only certainty is, that it is not the one now pointed out as the place of crucifixion. The whole neighbourhood of Jerusalem is so rocky, as easily to afford an excavated sepulchre in its vicinity. The word (KALVW KEVW) “ new,” has in one important manuscript (Reüchlen) another reading, “ empty,” of which a Greek, and especially a modern Greek reader, will immediately perceive the reason, from the similarity of pronunciation; it has, however, a