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great influence on the sense. Chrysostom, who is quoted for this reading, says, " that as Joseph was thrown into an empty pit, and taken out again without injury, so was Jesus buried in an empty grave and rose again on the third day.” He may have been deceived by the similarity of sound, although he might fairly use it, since Luke xxiii. 53, very strongly confirms this explanation.
“ Rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre.”] This is alone mentioned by Matthew, and by his follower Mark, probably because Matthew wished to add the circumstance of the high priest's having sealed the stone; nor is the silence of Luke and John tradiction to it, because Luke xxiv. 2, and John xx. 1, both allude to the stone being rolled away, either from a Jewish custom, or from the presumption, that it was known to have been previously sealed and guarded. When this happened, it was the first day of Easter, which, according to Exodus xii. 16, was a Sabbath ; a person, fond of doubting, might here say, “ Could Joseph envelope Jesus for burial on the first day of Easter ? Could he bury him? Could he roll the stone before
It was per
the door of the sepulchre ?"
The answer is easy; Joseph did not do this himself, but others might do it, under his directions, and those, who have lived with Jews in the same city, know that they employ people to do for them on the Sabbath day, that labour, which they consider forbidden in their own persons. Joseph might do this, therefore, through men, who were not Jews. But, besides this, the first day of Easter is not such a complete sabbath, as the weekly Sabbath. mitted, as indeed appears from the passage I have quoted, to prepare food on that day. To inter a dead body, previous to the coming of the weekly Sabbath, was considered by the Jews, as a work of necessity, and therefore, for this purpose, an infringement upon the feast-day, was a due respect paid to the weekly Sabbath. Even where there is no coincidence of the two Sabbaths, (the weekly Sabbath, or the festival,) our Jews make no scruple of burying the dead who have died upon the first day of Easter, but they do not consider burial to be allowed upon the weekly Sabbath, or our Saturday
MARK XV, 42—47. 42. “And now, when the even was come, because it wus the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,
43. “ Joseph of Arimathea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.
44. “ And Pilate marvelled, if he were already dead; and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him, whether he had been any while dead.
45. “ And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.
46. “ And he brought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre, which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.
47. “ And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses, beheld where he was laid."
42. “ Because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath.”] Mark explains this denomination of Friday to his readers, because he wrote at Rome, where this word might not have been generally known, although Augustus, as I before observed, had used it in an edict.
· Of Arimathea.”] I have shewn from Matthew, that this does not mean his coming from Arimathea, but that he was of that place,
which the article “ he of Arimathea," used by Mark, explains very clearly.
“ IIonourable.”] The Greek word has three significations, which all apply to Joseph “ rich, respectable, virtuous.” I prefer
I prefer “ rich,” because Matthew, whom Mark generally follows, calls him so. It has been said, that the unlearned translate the word into the two first meanings, the learned into the last. In this respect, I think the saying wrong, but it is of no great import, because Mark is the least refined Greek writer in the New Testament.
“ Counsellor.”] It is a received opinion, that Joseph of Arimathea was a member of the sanhedrim of Jerusalem ; I own this does not appear to me probable. If I read in a Roman author, " Sempronius of Capua, an eminent counsellor,” I should not suppose he was a counsellor of Rome, but of Capua; why should I think otherwise of Joseph of Arimathea ? but the word “ counsellor" applied both by Luke and Mark to Joseph, is applied to no other in the New Testament; the members of the sanhedrim are frequently mentioned, but always in a different way. It is rarely used to express a dignity, except in the Septuagint (Job iii. 14, and xii. 17.) It would seem to
apply to a city more than a nation, and the letters of Pliny give it to the civic counsel in the cities of Asia. From the Greek, it travelled into the Asiatic languages, so that Joseph may have had this distinction in his own. The old Syriac translation retains it, and the Jews use it for the great officers of a city, but not for the great council of a nation. The circumstance of all the evangelists calling him Joseph of Arimathea, makes me think him to have been counsellor of that place, or perhaps of the adjoining district. This supposition has been opposed upon a passage in Luke xxiii. 51, but the authority of Luke speaking humanly, who wrote from tradition and inquiry, is not to be considered as valuable as Mark's whose home was in Palestine. But more of this hereafter.
“ Which also waited for the kingdom of God.”] He believed Jesus to be the Messiah, and expected his kingdom soon to begin. Upon this he would probably have as erroneous notions, as the apostles themselves. Some have translated it, " who received the word of God,” but, as the Jews actually expected the kingdom of the Messiah, and it was represented as approaching in the discourses of