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who certainly was not favourable to him. This shows, that the evangelists did not write from feelings of party or of passion—a very extraordinary circumstance in
LUKE XXIII. 50—55. 50. “ And behold, there was a man, named Joseph, a counsellor, he was a good man, and a just ;
51. “ The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them, he was of Arimathea, a city of the Jews ; who also himself waited for the kingdom of God.
52. “ This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.
53. “ And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and luid it in a sepulchre, that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.
54. “ And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.
55. “ And the women also, which came with him, from Galilee, followed after, und beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid."
51.“ The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them.”] This is the passage from which it has been inferred that Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrim, at Jerusalem, I cannot say that this is an inevitable inference. It may be said of a man who disapproves the conduct of his own nation, even though he is not a member of the highest council in the
country, that “his not consenting" is only a gentler mode of saying, "he disapproved,” and is not uncommon in ordinary life. Wetstein has shown that the word is not judicial ; and indeed, if Joseph had been a member of the High Council, I should rather have expected the words, “ he had not given his vote," unless indeed, in such an assembly, he had been deterred by fear from attending.
54. “ And that day was the preparation."] That is to say, Friday. The Cambridge manuscript reads, " and it was the day before the sabbath.” Now although this is an evident comment, or marginal interpretation, which has crept into the text, yet it shows the meaning which commentators attached to the word preparation.”
“ And the sabbath drew on.”] This is a Syriasm, which I have amply illustrated in my introduction to the New Testament.
JOHN XIX. 38–42. 38. “ And after this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate, that he might take away the body of Jesus ; and Pilate gave him leave. He came, therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
39. “ And there came also Nicodemus, which, at the first,
came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pounds weight.
40. “ Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes, with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
41. “ Now in the place, where he was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden, a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.
42. “ There laid they Jesus, therefore, because of the Jews preparation day, for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.”
John proceeds in his own manner to relate what his predecessors have related before him, and to add circumstances, which, as an eyewitness, came within his knowledge, and tend to make the history clearer.
38. “ And after this.”] We must not understand this to be an exact register, by quarters of hours, and by minutes, of what occurred subsequent to the breaking of the bones of the two thieves, and the piercing of Jesus, for it might then have been too late to go to Pilate, as the bodies were immediately afterwards taken down, but to be confined solely to the actual history after the death of Jesus. When Joseph saw that Jesus was actually dead, he went to Pilate, and begged the body.
39. A commentary entirely in the manner of John. The other evangelists either knew
thing of Nicodemus, who is not here a principal person, but who comes to bring spices, and do honour to his burial, or they intentionally suppress the name to prevent any personal inconvenience. The same applies to Lazarus, whose life might have been endangered, if the enemies of Jesus knew that such a proof of the resurrection was in their immediate neighbourhood. The name of Peter also, as having cut off the ear of the high priest's servant, is probably suppressed from the same cause. The last supposition is to me the most probable. Nicodemus may have been from fear, a private disciple of Jesus, for although his name is honourably mentioned in the Talmud, he never appears in the Acts of the Apostles as the public defender of Christianity, nor does he even venture as far as Gamaliel, Acts v. 34, 39. Whether he was right does not affect my argument; but the fact is so, and it would have been, perhaps, indiscreet to have dragged him by name from his privacy. But, after his death, and after the destruction of Jerusalem, John might mention his name without scruple, especially as he wrote at Ephesus, and in the Greek language. The Talınud, in mentioning the name of Nicodemus with respect says merely, that Bonai, (the
Jewish name of Nicodemus) was considered to be a disciple of Jesus. Nicodemus showed himself a friend of Jesus as other good men were to Stephen, and provided for his burial; (Acts viii. 2,) the burial was always reckoned amongst the Jews a good work. (Tobit i. 17-19, ii. 4–8, iv, 17, xii. 12, 13.) But afterwards, when the persecutions became more violent against the Christians, he appears to have been passive, and, probably, did not attend the meetings of the Sanhedrim, for we should otherwise have met with his name in the Acts of the Apostles.
39. “ Aloes”] Not the Aloes of the shops, but the Indian, the tree of which emits a very pleasant fragrance.
“ Hundred pounds' weight”] We do not know what the libra or pound is in the original. It has been generally translated “ pounds,” and then doubts have been raised upon the word, and upon the quantity. Some have supposed such a quantity to have been unnecessary. But this is not my doubt! I question whether “ pounds” is the right translation; it is worth while to examine it, as it occurs only here and at John xii. 3. One commentator generally follows the labours of his predecessor, and weights and measures do not enter the minds