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47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.
48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.
49 The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.
50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks
52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.
62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the Chief Priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,
59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.
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
66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
15 Psal. 69. 21. 16 Mark 15. 42. Luke 23 50. John 19.38.
Verse 2. "Pontius Pilate the governor."-This person came to Judea as procurator in the year 26 A.D., and continued to fill that office to the year 38. Nothing of his previous history is known. The Jews had in later days worse governors than Pilate; but the general character of his government appeared to much disadvantage as compared with that of most of his predecessors. He was a man of stern and inflexible temper, and understood but little of, or cared but little for, the peculiar character of the people whom he was appointed to rule. By his utter disregard for the religious feelings of the people, to which most of the former procurators had shown some respect, he gave much offence, greatly disturbed the repose of the country, and laid the foundation for many troubles and revolts that afterwards followed. On one occasion, when he sent troops to winter in Jerusalem, he caused their ensigns, on which were the worshipped images of the emperor, to be carried into the city, which no previous governor had allowed for fear of exasperating the people, who regarded the presence of such idolatrous symbols and images as an insult to their religion, and a pollution to their land. Pilate's ensigns were brought in covered, by night; but their presence being discovered the next day, many of the Jews hastened to Cæsarea to entreat the procurator to withdraw them. He kept them waiting five days and nights before his palace; but on the sixth sent for them to an open place where he had set up his tribunal. Here he caused them to be surrounded by soldiers, and threatened them with instant death unless they returned home. But they threw themselves on the ground, and, baring their necks, declared that they would sooner die than that the idolatrous standards should remain in the holy city contrary to the law. Pilate, astonished at their resolution, for once
relented, and gave orders for the standards to be brought back to Cæsarea. On another occasion Pilate bethought himself of consecrating golden bucklers to Tiberius in the palace of Herod at Jerusalem. The bucklers bore no images of any kind, but only an inscription expressing their dedication to Tiberius. The Jews, however, took alarm, and a great body of the people, headed by the magistrates and the four sons of Herod, repaired to Pilate, to entreat him not to persist in a matter so contrary to their law. But Pilate was deaf to their entreaties and expostulations; and was not moved from his purpose even by their final intimation that they should be obliged to send their complaints to the em peror. They accordingly did write to Rome, and Tiberius wrote back immediately to Pilate, expressing great displeasure, and ordering the bucklers to be withdrawn. This anecdote rests on the authority of Philo the Jew; and may serve, with the other, to illustrate the character of the man who ruled Judea during the years of our Lord's ministry. The conduct of Pilate, in the matter of Christ's condemnation, sufficiently appears in the narratives of the Evangelists, and requires no comment. Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Eusebius, and others, state with confidence that Pilate, as, they say, was his duty, sent an account of these transactions to Tiberius, with some particulars concerning the history and miracles of Christ; and that the emperor was so struck by the account, that he wrote to the senate on the subject, intimating a favourable opinion of the character of Jesus, with an inclination that divine honours should be allowed him. The senate did not however enter into his views, and the matter dropped. Various spurious copies of the document thus attributed to Pilate were formerly in circulation.
About a year after the death of Christ, a great tumult arose among the Jews, in which many of them were killed by disguised soldiers, whom Pilate sent into the crowd with daggers and bludgeons concealed under their garments. The tumult arose from a demand which he made upon the sacred treasury of the Temple, to meet the expenses of an aqueduct to Jerusalem from a fountain twenty miles from the city. In a subsequent year, Pilate dispersed, with great slaughter, a large body of Samaritans, who, under the conduct of an impostor, had assembled on Mount Gerizim to search for hid treasures. The Samaritans, asserting the innocence of their intentions, complained to Vitellius, the prefect of Syria, who ordered Pilate to repair to Rome to give an account of his conduct to the emperor. But Tiberius died before his arrival at the imperial city; and it is not known with certainty what afterwards became of Pilate. But Eusebius, citing his authorities, certain Roman histories no longer extant, says that he was banished to Vienne in Gaul, where, being reduced to great extremities, he was induced to kill himself with his own sword.
The station which Pilate occupied during our Lord's ministry, and the part which he took in his condemnation, may render these particulars interesting; particularly as they also serve to illustrate the history and condition of the Jews during that most interesting period which his administration embraced.
5. "Went and hanged himself.”—A vast quantity of writing has been expended on the explanation and illustration of this passage, and in the attempt to reconcile it with the account which Peter gives (Acts i. 18) of the same event:"Falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out." Without attempting to state the various difficulties which have been suggested, the most easy and natural explanation appears to be, that Judas suspended himself from some high place, and the cord, or that to which it was fastened, giving way, he fell to the ground with the result which St. Peter states.
The Orientals generally have never been much addicted to suicide; nor does it appear that the Jews were so in the times of the Old Testament. They had perhaps learnt this melancholy and criminal practice from the Greeks and Romans, among whom it was notoriously common. At all events, as we learn from Josephus, suicide was, in these later times, frequently resorted to by miserable and despairing men; and among the forms in which this awful relief was sought, hanging is mentioned as having been particularly common.
7. "The potter's field," &c.—roũ xsqauías. We copy the following from a note in Bloomfield's Greek Testament:"The article rou expresses a particular field, known by that name; so called from having been used by a potter: no doubt to dig clay for his wares. Thus several villages in England have the prefix Potter, probably from part of the ground having been formerly occupied for potteries; for example, Pottersbury in Northamptonshire. So the field at Athens, appropriated as a cemetery for those who fell in the service of their country, was called Ceramicus, from having been formerly used for brick-making. This of course would make a field unfit for tillage, though good enough for a burying ground: and thus the smallness of the price may be accounted for."
19. "This day in a dream."-That she says "this day," may seem to imply that this was a dream of the early morning, perhaps since Pilate had risen. It is only worth while to notice this on account of the particular importance which the Romans and other heathen attached to morning dreams, particularly such as occurred about day-break.
24. "He took water, and washed his hands.”—The Law directed that in certain cases the Jews should wash their hands, to signify that they were guiltless of the blood of an unknown person found murdered. Pilate was probably aware of this custom, and therefore knew that this symbolical act was calculated to make an impression, and would be distinctly understood. To himself also the adoption of this ceremony was perfectly natural, as the rite was commen among the Greeks and Romans as one of expiation for an act of unintentional or unwilling homicide.
26. "Scourged Jesus."-It was the custom among the Romans to scourge condemned persons previous to executionparticularly those condemned to crucifixion, which was considered a most ignominious form of capital punishment, and, except in times of civil war, was seldom inflicted unless on slaves and most atrocious offenders. In the previous scourging, the condemned person was tied to a column: and if a free man, he was beaten with rods; but if a slave, was whipped with an exceedingly sharp and torturing scourge, frequently composed of ox-nerves, and mostly interwoven with the huckle bones of sheep. It was with this flagellum, and not with rods, that our Lord was tortured, as the original word (gayiλλúras) denotes. Indeed most crucified persons were scourged in this manner, the most severe and ignominious form of scourging being associated with the most terrible and infamous form of death.
27. "The common hall.”—rò xpuirágiov, the prætorium, which here denotes a magnificent edifice built by Herod the Great, for his palace, at Jerusalem, and which was occupied by the Roman procurators when they came to Jerusalem, which they did regularly at the great festivals, when multitudes of the Jews resorted to that city, that they might be at hand to repress any seditions or tumults which might at such times arise. This accounts for the presence of Pilate at Jerusalem; for the usual residence of the Roman governors was at Cæsarea. The building in question was, after the Temple, the most magnificent in Jerusalem; and within its bounds were included the armoury, and the barracks of the Roman soldiers—a fact which explains the facility with which the whole band was called together. In front of this palace was a raised pavement of mosaic work-called by St. John (xix. 13) Gabbatha, or elevated place—where the governors set their tribunals when they sat, in a judicial capacity, to hear and determine causes of importance. "The whole band of soldiers."-The original word (tiga) denotes a cohort, which was the tenth part of a legion. Concerning the legion, see Mark v. 9: its numbers varied at different times; but at this time seems to have been gene
rally about 6000, and then of course a cohort consisted of 600 men. The first and most distinguished cohort of the legion, however, usually contained more men than the other nine, whose numbers were generally equal. The military force at the disposal of the procurator of Judea, consisted of six cohorts, of which five were usually stationed at Cæsarea, and one at Jerusalem: but the Jerusalem cohort was larger than any of the others; and the number of soldiers at Jerusalem was considerably augmented, at the great festivals, when, as just intimated, the governor himself came to the city.
28. "Put on him a scarlet robe."-Mark says "purple:" but there is no discrepancy, as the word rendered purple is often by other writers employed in an indifferent sense to signify bright red, and all colours that had a mixture of red in them. And hence the words for "scarlet" and "purple" are frequently interchanged. As to the "robe" (xauda), it was a kind of round cloak, which was confined on the right shoulder by a clasp, so as to cover only the right side of the body, and under which the other vestments were worn. It was used by generals and other officers, and even by the privates, and was called by the Romans paludamentum, sagum. The saga of the generals were made of a superior kind of wool, and were twice dyed in scarlet; the paludamenta of emperors were purple, and were longer than the soldiers' cloaks, the wool of which (of an inferior quality, though of the same colour) was once dyed in scarlet. Pilate's soldiers therefore put upon Jesus a shabby and worn out cloak, belonging to a general or principal officer, for the purpose of mockery when they heard from the Jews that he had called himself their king. See Bloomfield, Recensio Synoptica,' in loc.
57. "A rich man of Arimathaa."-On the road from Joppa to Jerusalem, about nine miles from the former town and thirty (or, as some say, thirty-seven) miles from the latter, occurs a town which now bears the name of Rama, or Ramla, and is usually identified with the Arimathea of the text. Jerome, after indicating the situation so as to show that he had this place in view, speaks of it under the name of Arimathæa; and as he stated the prevalent opinion of his time, it has scarcely been since questioned. It is easy indeed to see that the name Arimathæa is but a Greek modification of the Hebrew Rama or Ramah. We have mentioned on former occasions that several places of this name occur in the Old Testament: and hence, it is reasonable to conclude that the Arimathæa of the New Testament is sometimes noticed in the Old by this its more ancient and still surviving name; although, from the want of discriminating indications, we are unable to distinguish the occasions on which it is named. Jerome seems to describe it as a small village, then the sole remain of a noble city built by Solomon, coupling it in this notice with Beth-horon, which Solomon built in this district. That magnificent monarch certainly built Beth-horon (1 Kings ix. 17; 2 Chron. viii. 5), but we find no notice of his building a place called Ramah. It is doubtless, however, the same place which is mentioned in the history of the Maccabees under the name of Ramathem (1 Macc. xi. 32); and must then have been a place of consequence, as it gave name to one of the governments of Samaria. We again find it a place of very great importance in the early ages of the Moslem dominion, and distinguished by the Arabian geographers as the metropolis of Palestine. When the Crusaders arrived in the Holy Land they found Rama a fenced city, abounding in all the luxuries of the East. It was exceedingly populous, adorned with stately buildings, and well fortified with walls and towers. Rama and the neighbouring town of Lydda were the two first places in Palestine which fell into the hands
of the Christians. The former was gained without resistance, the inhabitants having evacuated the town on the approach of the crusading army. There are existing remains to attest the importance which Rama in those times possessed, and which it has never since recovered.
The buildings of the present Rama are spread widely over the face of the level plain in which it stands, and which is described as one of the most fertile parts of the Holy Land, resembling a continued garden. The town makes rather an imposing appearance in the distance; and stands embosomed among olive, fig, and pomegranate trees, and surrounded with large nopals, which shoot up into singular shapes, and confusedly pile their tufts of prickly pallets one upon another. This mingled group of trees and houses is overtopped by some of the finest palm-trees in the country. The adjacent country is to a considerable extent planted with lofty olive-trees, disposed in quincunxes, the greatest part of which are said by Volney to have been as large as the walnut trees of France. Amidst these plantations we meet at every step with dry wells, cisterns fallen in, and vast vaulted reservoirs, which prove that in ancient times the town must have been upwards of a league and a half in circumference. The subterraneous cisterns at Rama are mentioned with admiration by most travellers who have visited the spot. Buckingham considers them not inferior in extent of execution to many of those at Alexandria. Rama, like most other towns, disappoints the expectations which a distant view may have created. Much of the town is in a ruinous state, and rubbish constantly occurs. Chateaubriand describes the houses of Rama as plaster huts crowned with a small dome. But this author, as well as C.arke and Volney, saw it to disadvantage, in very troubled times; and since then it has somewhat revived. Buckingham says, "The style of building here is that of high square houses with flattened domes covering them; and some of the terraced roofs are fenced around with raised walls, in which are seen pyramids of hoilow earthenware pipes, as if to give air and light without destroying the strength of the wall itself." There are some remains of Gothic architecture, doubtless the work of the Crusaders: of these the most remarkable specimen is exhibited in the tower of the great mosque, which however has received some incongruous Saracenic additions. The population is estimated by Buckingham at 5000 perso.s, two-thirds of whom are Christians of the Catholic and Greek communions; and the rest Moslems, chiefly Arabs. The principal occupation of the people is husbandry, for which the surrounding country is highly favourable; and the staple commodities produced by them are corn, olives, oil. cotton, with some soap and coarse cloth made in the town. the respective Travels of Volney, Clarke, Chateaubriand, and Buckingham.
1 Mal. 2. 1. 2 Isa. 40. 3. 8 Or, cloven, or, rent.
Luke 3. 4. 9 Matt. 4. 1.
HE beginning of the Gospel of Jesus
before thy face, which shall prepare thy way way before thee.
3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance *for the remission of sins.
2 As it is written
in the prophets, 'Behold, I send
5 "And there went out unto him all the land of Judæa, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.
6 And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;
7 And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.
8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
9 'And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.
10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
12 And immediately the spirit driveth him into the wilderness.
13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.
14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Gospel of the kingdom of God.
15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the Gospel.
16 "Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.
18 And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.
19 And when he had gone a little farther thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.
20 And straightway he called them and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.
21 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.
22 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the Scribes.
23 "And there was in their synagogue a