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dead with spices. The original word in John, which we translate “to bury," has been held by some to be,“ to prepare for burial.” I know the word will bear this extended signification, and Kypke so explains it, Mark xiv. 8. but as the passage here relates to embalming, and occurs in the Septuagint three times, in this sense I confine myself to it. In Genesis 1. 2, the Hebrew word is thus translated into Greek ; in the new Testament it solely relates to embalming; and in Acts v. 6, the Greek word is different, and applies to burial only. In fact, translating “ according to the manner of the Jews, when they prepare for interment” would be inconsistent, for the rich can only afford to envelope in spices, and the custom was so rare as not even to be described in the Talmud.*
* An exposition of Jewish laws and commentaries, subsequent to the birth of Christ. It consists of two parts: the Mischna and the Gamara. The origin of the Mischna was about two centuries after Christ. Rabbi Jude, surnamed the Saint, made himself particularly distinguished in this collection, and it was called the second law. Its object was to adapt the existing institutions of . the Jews to the Mosaic dispensation. Subsequent Rabbis, and particularly the Rabbi Jochanen occupied themselves in the illustration of the Mischna, about 230 years after Christ; this gave rise to the Gamara. The two composed
41, 42. John does not any where say, that the grave belongs to Joseph; we must conclude the contrary, from his statement, and that it was only chosen on account of its vicinity. The grave does not seem, in the first instance, to have been destined for the reception of Jesus, and Joseph would probably have taken him, if there had been time before sunset, to a greater distance, but as a rich man, he easily obtained the accommodation of placing the dead body during the sabbath in an adjoining spot. It is impossible to say, to what place he would have taken him, and what he intended to do after the sabbath, or whether he meant the body to remain, indeed no evangelist mentions it, and for a very good reason, for he could not know it. The resurrection, however, of Jesus, becomes in a degree more credible, in proportion as we adopt this explanation of it, and suppose the dead body to have been placed in a sepulchre, only selected on account of its proximity. What John mentions in these verses, are mere additions to the three first evangelists; such, for instance,
the Talmud of Jerusalem, which was afterwards modified about 500 years after Christ, and is now best known as the Talmud of Babylon. I. D.
as the fact of the grave being in a garden. If the reader of the new Testament had previously understood Matthew, according to what we now read, that Joseph had laid him in his own grave, it becomes a mild correction of a pardonable error, committed not by Matthew himself, but by his Greek translator. John furnishes us with more instances where he gently obviates the possibility of misapprehension, arising from passages in the three first evangelists, which would otherwise, without him, have been ob
“ Because of the Jews' preparation day.”] We should not translate this “ on account of its being Friday," or as Luther has done " on account of the day of preparation of the Jews,” but " while it was yet Friday, before the sun had set, and consequently before the sabbath had commenced."
III. APPOINTMENT OF THE WATCH AT THE
GRAVE OF JESUS.
MATTH. XXVII. 62-67.
62. “ Now, the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,
63. “ Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. 64. “ ,
Command, therefore, that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead; so the last error shall be worse than the first.
65. " Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch ; go your way, make it as sure as ye can.
66.“ So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.”
Matthew alone relates this history, probably as a prelude to that, which he relates in the subsequent chapter, of the current rumour that
pervaded Jerusalem, and the consequent argument which it produced against the resurrection of Jesus, namely, that his disciples had, whilst the
guard were asleep, stolen the dead body, out of the grave, which was thus missing on the third day. The object of the narrative is, therefore, local, and intended to counteract a rumour, which had gone abroad in the city, and militated strongly against the truth of the resurrection. A person writing in Jerusalem and in the Hebrew language, could do this with propriety; the other evangelists, who wrote in places remote from Jerusalem, and where this rumour was unknown, had no reason to revive it, or even to mention the fact of the sepulchre having been guarded. Mark, therefore, who had the gospel of Matthew before him, and so scrupulously follows him, leaves this passage out; for as he wrote at Rome or Alexandria, he had no object in relating or answering reports prevalent at Jerusalem, but not perhaps even known in any other cities. The silence of the other evangelists is, therefore, no contradiction to Matthew ; but because this silence is made an argument against the truth of Christianity, I shall examine it, as far as it relates to Mark and John. Both of them had read Matthew, they could not, therefore, omit the history of che keepers, because they knew nothing of it, but because they considered it false, or be