Matthew 26 Bible Commentary

John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible

(Read all of Matthew 26)
Matthew 26:38-75

Verse 1. And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings,.... Meaning either all that are recorded by this evangelist, all the sermons and discourses of Christ, delivered both to the people of the Jews, and to his disciples; his conversation with the former, and his divine instructions and prudent advice to the latter, together with all his excellent parables, which are largely related in this book; or else what is said in the two preceding chapters, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, and the end of the world, the state of the church, and conduct of his servants to the end of time, expressed in the parables of the virgins and talents, and concerning the last judgment and final state of all men:

he said unto his disciples; who now were alone with him: having finished his prophetic, and being about to enter on his priestly office, he gives his disciples some intimations of its near approach.

Verse 2. Ye know that after two days is [the feast of] the passover,.... Which was kept in commemoration of the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt; and was typical of Christ the passover, who was now to be sacrificed for his people. This was said on Tuesday, and on the Thursday following, the passover began. Christ speaks of this as a thing well known to the disciples, as it must be, since it always began on a certain day, the fourteenth of the month Nisan; which month answered to part of our March, and part of our April; and though there was very frequently an intercalation of a whole month in a year, made by the sanhedrim, to keep their festivals regularly in the proper season of the year; yet previous public notice was always given of this, either by fixing a paper upon the door of the sanhedrim {r}, signifying such an intercalation made, which served for the inhabitants of Jerusalem; or by sending messengers with letters into all distant places {s}, acquainting them with it. So that the times of these festivals were always well known; even to the common people:

and the son of man is betrayed to be crucified; it must not be thought that this was equally known by the disciples, as the former; for though they might know, or at least remember, that Christ had told them that he should suffer many things of the priests, Scribes, and elders, who would deliver him to the Gentiles, to be crucified; yet might not understand that this passover was to be the time, when this should be done: by "the son of man," Christ means himself, who was truly and really man, the seed of the woman, the son of Abraham and of David; a character by which the Messiah is described in the Old Testament, Psalm 80:17 Daniel 7:13, and hence frequently used by Christ of himself; which, as it expresses the truth of his human nature, so the weaknesses and infirmities he bore in it; and is very properly used here, when he is speaking of his being to be betrayed and crucified. What he says of himself is, that he is "betrayed"; that is, is to be betrayed, or will be betrayed, meaning at the passover, which was to be in two days time. Christ speaks of his being betrayed, as if it was already done; not only because it was so near being done, there being but two days before it would be done; but because it was a sure and certain thing, being determined in the purpose of God, and foretold in prophecy that it should be; and besides, Judas had now resolved upon it within himself, and was forming a scheme how to bring it about. And this respects not only the act of Judas in betraying him into the hands of the chief priests, but also the delivery, as the word here used signifies, of him by them, to the Roman governors; for they, as Stephen says, were also his betrayers and murderers; yea, it may include the delivery of him by Pilate, to the Jews and Roman soldiers; and the rather, because it follows, "to be crucified"; which was a Roman, and not a Jewish punishment.

This was typified by the lifting up the brazen serpent on a pole, and foretold by the prophets of the Old Testament, Psalm 22:16, and predicted by Christ himself, sometimes more covertly, John 12:32, and sometimes in express words, Matthew 20:19, and was a very painful and shameful death, and which showed him to be made a curse for his people. It appears from hence; that the crucifixion and death of Christ, were not casual and contingent events, but were determined by the counsel of God, with all circumstances attending: the betraying and delivery of him were by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God; and not only his death, but the manner of it by crucifixion, was pointed out in prophecy, and was a certain thing; and the very time of his death was fixed; which shows the early concern of God for the salvation of his people, and his wonderful grace and mercy to them: and it is clear from hence, that Christ had perfect knowledge of all this: he knew not only that he should be betrayed, but he knew from the beginning who would betray him; he not only knew that he should die, but he knew what kind of death he should die, even the death of the cross; and he knew the exact time when he should die, that it would be at the following passover, which was just at hand; and he had suggested this to his disciples, and therefore he speaks of it as a thing known unto them; at least what they might have known, and concluded from what he had said to them, Matthew 20:18, and the whole is a considerable proof of his being God omniscient. And he thought fit to put his disciples in mind of it, because the time drew nigh; that their memories being refreshed with it, they might be prepared for it, and not be surprised, shocked, and offended at it, when it came to pass; which shows the tender concern our Lord had for them.

{r} Targum in Cant. vii. 4. {s} Maimon Hilch. Kiddush Hachodesh, c. 4. sect. 17.

Verse 3. Then assembled together the chief priests,.... About the same time, two days before the passover, that Jesus said these things to his disciples, as is plain from Mr 14:1. By "the chief priests" are meant, either such who had been high priests, or such as were the heads of the twenty four courses of the priests; or rather, the principal men of the priesthood, who were chosen out of the rest, to be members of the great sanhedrim:

and the Scribes; the doctors, of the law, who wrote out copies of the law for the people, and interpreted it to them in a literal way: this clause is left out in the Vulgate Latin, and in Munster's Hebrew Gospel, and in the Arabic and Ethiopic versions, and in the Alexandrian copy, and some others, but is retained in, the Syriac version; and no doubt, but these men had a place in this grand council:

and the elders of the people; these were the civil magistrates; so that this assembly consisted both of ecclesiastics and laymen, as the sanhedrim did, of priests, Levites, and Israelites {t}: these came

unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas; his name was Joseph, but his surname Caiaphas; a word not of the same original with Cephas, as Camero thought; for these two words begin with different letters, nor are the rest the same. Now, though a king of Israel might not sit in the sanhedrim, yet an high priest might, provided he was sufficiently qualified with wisdom {u}. The president of this grand council at this time, should be Rabban Gamaliel, Paul's master; unless it was Caiaphas, at whose house they were: how they came to meet at the high priest's palace, deserves inquiry; since their proper and usual place of meeting, was a chamber in the temple, called Gazith {w}, or the paved chamber: now let it be observed, that according to the accounts the Jews themselves give, the sanhedrim removed from this chamber, forty years before the destruction of the temple {x}; and which, as Dr. Lightfoot conjectures, was about a year and a half before the death of Christ; and as others say {y}, four years; at least three years and a half before that time: but then, though the sanhedrim removed from the paved chamber, they met at Chanoth, "the sheds," which was a place within the bounds of the temple, in the mountain of the house; and the question still returns, how came it to pass they did not meet there? To me the reason seems to be, that they chose not to meet there, but at the high priest's palace, because of privacy, that it might not be known they were together, and about any affair of moment; and particularly this: the high priest's house was always in Jerusalem, and he never removed from thence; nor did he go from the temple thither only in the night, or an hour or two in the day; for he had an apartment in the temple, which was called the chamber of the high priest, where he was the whole day {z}.

{t} Maimon. Hilch. Sanhedrin, c. 2. sect. 1. {u} lb. sect. 4. {w} Misn. Middot c. 5. sect. 3. {x} T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 15. 1. Avoda Zara, fol. 8. 2. Sanhedrin, fol. 41. 1. Maimon. Hilch. Sanhedrin, c. 14. sect. 13. Juchasin, fol. 21. 1. {y} Edzard. not. in Avoda Zara, c. 1. p. 236. {z} Maimon. Cele Hamikdash, c. 5. sect. 7.

Verse 4. And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtlety,.... The Jews had often attempted his life, but he escaped out of their hands; they had sent officers to apprehend him, but to no purpose; they therefore meet and consult together, to form some scheme, and make use of some stratagem, that they might lay hold on him, and keep him; they were for doing this in the most private manner they could:

and kill him; not with their own hands, nor privately; but their scheme was to apprehend him privately, by some secret artifice, and then deliver him to the Roman governor; to put him to death according to law, publicly, for crimes they had to charge him with; hereby Psalm 2:2, had its accomplishment, at least in part.

Verse 5. And they said, not on the feast day,.... Upon mature deliberation, it was an agreed point with them, at least it was carried by a majority, that nothing of this kind should be attempted to be done on the feast day, on any of the days of the feast of passover, which was now at hand; though this was contrary to their common rules and usages: for, a person that sinned presumptuously, and such an one they accounted Jesus to be, they say {a}, "they do not put him to death by the order of the sanhedrim of his own city, nor by the sanhedrim of Jabneh; but they bring him up to the great sanhedrim at Jerusalem, and keep him "until the feast," and put him to death, lgrb, "on a feast day"; as it is said, Deuteronomy 17:13, "and all the people shall hear and fear," &c." But what influenced them at this time to take another course, is the reason following;

lest there be an uproar among the people: they had no fear of God before their eyes, or in their hearts, only the fear of the people; many of whom believed in Christ, and others that did not, yet had a great veneration for him, having seen his miracles, and received favours from him; themselves, or their friends and relations, being cured by him of various diseases: besides, at the feast, people from all parts came up to Jerusalem; and they knew that large numbers from Galilee, where he had the greatest interest, would be present; and they feared, should they attempt anything of this nature at this time, the people would rise, and rescue him out of their hands. But God had determined otherwise, and his counsel shall stand; it was his pleasure, that he should be put to death at this feast, that the truth might answer the type of the passover lamb; and that all Israel, whose males now met together, might be witnesses of it: and so it was, that though these men had concluded otherwise in their council; yet an opportunity offering by Judas, to get him into their hands, they embrace it; and risk the danger of the people's uprising, who they found compliant enough to their wishes.

{a} Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 10. sect. 4. Maimon. Hilch. Memarim, c. 3. sect 8.

Verse 6. Now when Jesus was in Bethany,.... Which was about fifteen furlongs from Jerusalem, John 11:18, or about two miles from it. The time of Christ's death being at hand, he keeps nigh to Jerusalem, where he was to suffer and die, in the room and stead of sinners:

in the house of Simon the leper; so called, to distinguish him from others of the name. This epithet was either a family one, some person of note in it having been a leper; or else he is so named, because he himself had been one, but was now cured; though the reason interpreters give for this, that otherwise he would not have been suffered to live in a town, is not a good one; for lepers, according to the Jewish {b} canons, were only forbid Jerusalem, and towns and cities that were walled round, and not others, such as the village of Bethany. There were many lepers healed by Christ, which, among other things, was an evidence of his being the Messiah, and a proof of his deity, and this Simon was one of them; whether the same mention is made of in Matthew 8:1, is not certain, nor very probable; since that man lived in Galilee, at, or near Capernaum; this at Bethany, near Jerusalem: however, he was one of those lepers that had a sense of his mercy, and was grateful for it, as appears by his entertaining Christ at his house; and may teach us thankfulness to Christ, who has healed all our diseases; and particularly, the spreading leprosy of sin, with which all the powers and faculties of our souls were infected; and which was not in our own power, or any creature's, to cure, but his blood cleanses from it: and it may be observed, that Christ goes in and dwells with such whom he heals, and with such he is always welcome.

{b} Misn. Celim, c. 1. sect. 7. Maimon. Beth Hamikdash, c. 3. sect. 8.

Verse 7. There came unto him a woman,.... By some thought to be the same that is spoken of in Luke 7:37, and by most, to be Mary, the sister of Lazarus, John 12:3, which may be true; for it is possible that one and the same woman, might perform a like action at different times; for to neither of the above, at the same time, will the following agree: not to the former, for though that was done in the house of one Simon, yet not Simon the leper, but Simon the Pharisee; who though he had a particular respect for Christ, which few of that sect had, yet appeared to be then of a Pharisaical spirit; that was done in Galilee, this near Jerusalem in Bethany; the woman there anointed the feet of Christ, but this woman poured the ointment on his head; nor did any such conversation as here follow upon it, between Christ and his disciples; but what discourse was had on that occasion, was between Simon and Christ. Not to the latter, for that does not appear to be done in Simon's house, but rather in the house of Lazarus; no mention is made of the alabaster box, nor was the ointment poured on his head, but on his feet; besides, that was done six days before the passover, whereas this was but two; moreover, Judas only objected to that, but the disciples in general had indignation at this; and though the objections to it, and Christ's defence of it, are much in the same language, in one place as in the other, yet it was no unusual thing with Christ, to make use of the same words on a like incident, or when the same objections were made. The fact here recorded, is the same as in Mr 14:3, where it stands in the same order as here, and seems to have been done at the supper, of which mention is made, John 13:2, when Satan entered into Judas, and put it into his heart to betray his master, the account of which follows this here:

having an alabaster box of very precious ointment; Mark calls it, "ointment of spikenard," Mr 14:3, which was very odorous, and of a very fragrant smell; see Song of Solomon 1:12. Some there render it, "pure nard"; unadulterated, unmixed, sincere and genuine; others, "liquid nard," which was drinkable, and easy to be poured out; and some "Pistic" nard, so called, either from "Pista," the name of a place in India, from whence it was brought, as some think; or as Dr. Lightfoot, from aqtoyp, "Pistaca," which is the maste of a tree {c}, and of which, among other things, Pliny says {d}, the ointment of nard was made. The Persic version in both places read it, "ointment of Gallia"; and the just now mentioned writer {e}, speaks of "nardum Gallicum," "Gallic nard," which is what may be meant by that interpreter; but be it what ointment it will; it was ointment, very precious: very costly, and of a very great price; for the disciples observe, it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence: and for the better preserving of such ointments incorrupt, they used to be put into vessels made of "alabaster" {f}; though some think not the matter, but the form of these vessels is referred to; and observe, that vessels of gold, silver, and glass, for this use, being made in the form of "alabasters," were called by that name; and that this might be made of the latter, since Mark says, that she brake the box; not into pieces, for then she could not be said to pour it out; but either the top, or side of it: though some critics observe, that the word signifies no more, than that she shook it, that the thicker parts of the ointment might liquify, and be the more easily poured out. The Arabic version has omitted that clause, and the Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic, read it, "she opened it"; that is, as the Persic adds, "the top of the vessel": she took off the covering of the box, or took out the stopple,

and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat: which was usually done at festivals, or at any considerable entertainments, as at weddings, &c. "Says Rab, they "pour ointment on the heads of the doctors"; (the gloss is, the women put ointment on the heads of the scholars;) says R. Papa to Abai, does the doctor speak of the ointment of the bridechamber? He replies, thou orphan, did not thy mother cause for thee, that "they poured out ointment on the heads of the doctors," at thy wedding? for lo! one of the Rabbins got a wife for his son, in the house of R. Bar Ula; and they say, that R. Bar Ula got a wife for his son in the house of one of the Rabbins, Nnbrd avyra axvym gydrdw, "and poured ointment on the head of the doctors" {g}:" to this custom are the allusions in Psalm 23:5. The pouring of this ointment on the head of Christ was emblematical of his being anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows; of his having the holy Spirit, and his gifts and graces without measure; which, like the ointment poured on Aaron's head, that ran down to his beard, and the skirts of his garments, descends to all the members of his mystical body: and was a symbol of the Gospel, which is like ointment poured forth; and of the sweet savour of the knowledge of Christ, which was to be diffused, throughout all the world, by the preaching of it; and was done by this woman in the faith of him, as the true Messiah, the Lord's anointed, as the prophet, priest, and king of his church.

{c} T. Bab. Gittin, fol. 69. 1. Gloss. in ib. {d} Hist. Nat. l. 13. c. 1. {e} Ib. c. 2. & l. 12. c. 12. {f} Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 13. 2. & 36. 8. {g} T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 17. 2.

Verse 8. But when his disciples saw it,.... What the woman did, what a costly box of ointment it was, and with what profusion she used it,

they had indignation: Mark says, "within themselves," Mr 14:4; either among themselves, or their indignation was secret in their breasts; their resentment was private, though it might be betrayed by their looks, and afterwards showed itself in words. This indignation was either at the woman, for the Evangelist Mark observes, that "they murmured against her," Mr 14:5, that she should act such an imprudent part, and be guilty of such extravagance; or at Christ himself, for suffering such an action to be done unto him; for so the Syriac version reads the above clause in Mark, and "they murmured wb, against him"; so De Dieu observes it should be rendered; though Tremellius, Boderianus, and others, translate it, "against her": or else their indignation was neither at Christ, whom they dearly loved; nor at the woman, they being taught to love their enemies, and much more the friends of Christ; but at the action, which they looked upon as an ill judged thing, that sprung from misguided zeal, and which they thought could never be acceptable to their master, who was not used to encourage such profuseness and extravagance.

Saying, to what purpose is this waste, or "loss?" They call that waste, or loss, which was spent on Christ himself; whereas, whatever is laid out for the honour of Christ, or the good of his interest, ought not to be reckoned loss, for it will be returned with great increase and advantage; but they could not see what end was to be answered by this expense. It is easy to observe the variableness and inconstancy of the disciples: one time, because the inhabitants of a certain village did not receive Christ, they were for calling for fire from heaven to destroy them; and here is a poor woman that exceeds, as they thought, in her respects to him, and they are filled with indignation.

Verse 9. For this ointment might have been sold for much,.... Mark says, "for more than three hundred pence," Mr 14:5: now if this is to be understood of Roman pence, each penny being seven pence half penny of our money, three hundred pence come to nine pounds, seven shillings, and six pence; but if it is to be understood of the penny of the sanctuary, which was one shilling and three pence, they come to just as much more: it might well be called very precious and costly ointment; and this was the reason of the disciples indignation, that so much cost and expense should be thrown away, as they thought, in such a manner, which might have been applied, in their opinion, to a better purpose. For had it been sold for its worth, so much might have been had for it,

and given to the poor; which was a very plausible objection to the action; and which they seem to have taken from Judas, who had made the same, on a like occasion, about four days before this, and he might instigate the disciples now: which shows what mischief an hypocrite may do in a church, and what influence he may have over good men to draw them into his measures, under the specious pretences of carefulness, frugality, and doing good to the poor. It seems our Lord inured his disciples to this good work of relieving the poor: they kept one common purse, and one of them, who was Judas, was appointed the bearer of it; whatever they collected, or was made a present to them, they put into this purse; out of which they were provided with the necessaries of life; and the rest expended on the poor.

Verse 10. When Jesus understood it,.... The indignation of his disciples at this action of the woman's; which he might know, as man, partly by their looks, and partly by their words; though without these, as God, he knew the secret indignation, and private resentment of their minds:

he said unto them, why trouble ye the woman? by blaming her, and censuring the action she had done; as it must, no doubt, greatly trouble her to meet with such treatment from the disciples of Christ: had any of the Pharisees blamed her conduct, it would have given her no pain or uneasiness; but that Christ's own disciples should show indignation at an action done by her from a sincere love to Christ, and to do honour to him, must cut her to the heart: and so it is when either ministers of the Gospel, or private believers, are blamed for their honest zeal in the cause of Christ, by any that profess to love him; this grieves them more than all the enemies of religion say or do unto them:

for she hath wrought a good work upon me; upon his body, by pouring the ointment on it: the Persic version reads it, "according to my mind": it was done, in the faith of him, as the Messiah; it sprung from real and sincere love to him, and was designed for his honour and glory; and so had the essentials of a good work in it. This is the first part of our Lord's defence of the woman: he goes on in the next verse.

Verse 11. For ye have the poor always with you,.... This is said in answer to the objection of the disciples, that the ointment might have been sold, and the money given to the poor. Christ seems to have respect to Deuteronomy 15:11, and which, agreeably to the sense of the Jews, refers to the times of the Messiah: for they say {h}, "there is no difference between this world (this present time) and the times of the Messiah, but the subduing of kingdoms only; as it is said, Deuteronomy 15:11, "for the poor shall never cease out of the land": the gloss on it is, from hence it may be concluded, that therefore, twyne vy Mlwel, 'for ever there will be poverty, and riches.'" Our Lord's words also show, that there will be always poor persons in the world; that there will be always such with his people, and in his churches; for God has chosen, and he calls such by his grace; so that men may always have opportunities of showing kindness and respect to such objects: in Mark it is added, "and whensoever ye will ye may do them good," Mr 14:7; by relieving their wants, and distributing to their necessities:

but me ye have not always; referring not to his divine and spiritual presence, which he has promised to his people, churches, and ministers, to the end of the world, but to his corporeal presence; for he was to be but a little while with them, and then go to the Father; be taken up to heaven, where he now is, and will be until the restitution of all things; so that the time was very short in which any outward respect could be shown to him in person, as man.

{h} T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 63. 1.

Verse 12. For in that she hath poured this ointment,.... Which was so very precious, and cost so much,

upon my body: for being poured on his head, it ran down all over his body.

She did it for my burial; not for the interment of his body, but for the embalming of it, previous to it: the Jews used to embalm their dead, to show their constant respect to the deceased, and their belief of the resurrection; at least not only used to wash them, but anoint them with oil; for so runs one of their canons {i}: "they do all things necessary to the dead, (i.e. on the sabbath day,) Nyko, "they anoint him": that is, as Bartenora adds, "with oil"; and they wash him;" but the body of Christ, when dead, was not to be so used: the women intended it, and prepared materials for it, but the sabbath coming on, they rested according to the commandment; though, according to this canon, they might have anointed him, but they waited till the sabbath was over; and early on the first day, in the morning, they came to the sepulchre, in order to do it, but it was too late, Christ was risen; see Luke 23:56. Now either this woman had some revelation made to her, that the death of Christ was near at hand, and she feared, or knew, she should not be able to anoint him when dead; and therefore, as Mark has it, "she hath done what she could; she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying," Mr 14:8: or if she had no knowledge of all this, nor any such intention, yet the Holy Ghost directed her to this action, with this view, as it were, for the performing of these funeral rites before he was dead; and so the Syriac version renders it, "she hath done it, ynrbqmld Kya, as it were, to bury me."

{i} Misn. Sabbat, c. 23. sect. 5.

Verse 13. Verily I say unto you,.... The following words are prefaced in this manner, to excite attention, and command belief:

wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached in the whole world. The Syriac version reads it, ytrbo, "my Gospel"; and so the Persic version; and has respect chiefly to the doctrine of his death, burial, and resurrection, which this action of the woman had relation to; for though the incarnation of Christ, and all the actions of his life, and whatsoever he did for the good, and in the room and stead of his people, are good news and glad tidings to the sons of men, and so the Gospel; yet his dying for sin, and making atonement for it, thereby satisfying justice, fulfilling the law, destroying death, and him that had the power of it, and his lying in the grave, and leaving the sins of his people behind him, and rising again for their justification, which were the ends of his coming into the world, make up the most glorious and principal part of the Gospel: and these words of Christ show that "this" Gospel should be preached; for which purpose he gave a commission and gifts to his disciples, and has done so, more or less, to men, ever since, for the conversion of sinners, and the edification of saints, and the glory of his name; and that this Gospel shall be preached all over the world, as it was by the apostles, agreeably to the commission; and will be again, towards the close of time, when the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord and then

there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her; of her faith, love, and gratitude; for the memory of the just is blessed, and the righteous are had in everlasting remembrance. Christ suggests, that, though the disciples blamed this action, it should be spoken of by others to her praise and commendation, in all succeeding ages, throughout the world: "a good name," the wise man says, "is better than precious ointment," Ecclesiastes 7:1. This woman got a good name, and obtained a good report by her precious ointment; and if this woman's action was to be told for a memorial of her, much more what Christ has done and suffered should be told as a memorial of him.

Verse 14. Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot,.... Who was provoked and exasperated, to the last degree, by this action of the woman, and Christ's defence of it, and because the ointment was not sold, and the money put into his hand; and being instigated by Satan, who had now entered into him, formed a scheme in his mind to betray his master, and was resolved to put it in execution, whereby he might, in some measure, satisfy both his avarice and revenge; and, as an aggravation of this his wickedness, he is described, as "one of the twelve": of his twelve disciples; so the Persic and Ethiopic versions: this is a way of speaking used by the Jews {k}; they call the twelve lesser prophets, rve Mynv or rve yrt "the twelve," without any other word added thereunto. He was not an open enemy, nor one of Christ's common hearers, nor one of the seventy disciples, but one of his twelve apostles, whom he made his intimates and associates; whom he selected from all others, and called, qualified, and sent forth to preach his Gospel, and perform miracles: it was one of these that meditated the delivery of him into the hands of his enemies, and never left pursuing his scheme till he had effected it, even Judas Iscariot by name; so called, to distinguish him from another disciple, whose name was also Judas. This man

went to the chief priests; of his own accord, unasked, from Bethany, to Jerusalem, to Caiaphas's palace, where the chief priests, the implacable enemies of Christ, with the Scribes, and elders of the people, were met together, to consult his death: Mark adds, "to betray him unto them," Mr 14:10, which was manifestly his intent in going to them; and Luke, that he "communed" with them "how he might betray him unto them," Luke 22:4; in the safest, and most private manner; and both observe that they were glad; for nothing could have fallen out more to their wishes, who were met together on this design. The Jews, in their blasphemous account of Jesus {l}, say as much: they own, that Judas, or Juda, as they call him, offered to betray him into the hands of the wise men, saying to them, almost in the words expressed in the following verse, "if you will hearken unto me, wtwa rwoma, "I will deliver him into your hands tomorrow";" and which agrees very well with the time also: for it was two days before the passover that Jesus was in Bethany, where he supped with his disciples, and washed their feet, and had the box of ointment poured on his head; and on the night of the day after all this was done, Judas set out from thence to Jerusalem; see John 13:30, so that it must be the next day before he could meet the high priests, and on the morrow, at night, he delivered him into their hands; on the proposal of which, they say, that Simeon ben Shetach, whom they make to be present at this time, and all the wise men and elders, hlwdg hxmv wxmv "rejoiced exceedingly."

{k} T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 14. 2. & 15. 1. {l} Toldos Jesu, p. 16.

Verse 15. And said [unto them],.... Though the words, "to them," are not in the original text, they are rightly supplied; as they are by the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic versions, and in Munster's Hebrew Gospel; and mean the chief priests to whom Judas went, and to whom he made the following proposal;

what will ye give me, and I will deliver him to you? They did not ask him to do it, he first made the motion; a barbarous and shocking one! to deliver his Lord and Master, with whom he had familiarly conversed, and from whom he had received so many favours, into the hands of those that hated him; nor was he concerned what they would do to him, or what would become of him, when in their hands: all his view, and what he was intent upon, was, what they would give him for doing it. They did not tempt him, by first offering him so much money, if he would betray him; but he himself first moves it to them, and tempts them with it to offer him an handsome reward: and it is to be observed, that he does not mention the name of Jesus, either because they might be talking of him, when he came into their company; or else as suiting his language to theirs, who, when they spake of him, usually said, "he," or "that man," or "this fellow." And in the same rude way Judas now treats his master:

and they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver; that is, thirty shekels of silver; for it is a rule with the Jews, that when mention is made in Scripture of pieces of silver, without expressing the species, shekels are meant: so Onkelos, and Jonathan ben Uzziel, in their Targums on Genesis 20:16, render pieces of silver, by shekels of silver; so pieces of gold signify shekels of gold: thus the 1700 pieces of gold in Judges 8:26, are, in the Septuagint, Arabic, and Vulgate Latin versions, called so many shekels of gold; and our version supplies the word "shekels" also, as it does in 2 Chronicles 9:15, and yet some learned men have asserted {m}, that there were no shekels of gold among the Jews, though express mention is made of them in 1 Chronicles 21:25. The value of a shekel of gold, according to Brerewood {n}, was, of our money, "fifteen shillings"; and some make it to come to a great deal more; to "one pound sixteen shillings and sixpence" sterling: had these thirty pieces been pieces, or shekels of gold, they would have amounted to a considerable sum of money; but they were pieces of silver, and not talents, or pounds, but shekels. The silver shekel had on one side stamped upon it the pot of manna, or, as others think, "a censer," or incense cup, with these words around it, in Samaritan letters, "shekel Israel," "the shekel of Israel"; and, on the other, "Aaron's rod" budding, with this inscription about it, "Jerusalem Hakedushah," "Jerusalem the holy" {o}.

As for the weight and value of it, R. Gedaliah says {p}, we know by tradition that the holy shekel weighs 320 grains of barley of pure silver; and the same writer observes {q}, that the "selah," or holy shekel, is four "denarii," or pence; that is, Roman pence, each being of the value of seven pence halfpenny of our money: and to this agrees what Josephus {r} says, that a "shekel" is a coin of the Hebrews, which contains four Attic drachms, or drams; and an Attic dram is of the same value with a Roman penny: so that one of these shekels was worth about "half a crown"; and it usually weighed half an ounce, as not only some Jewish writers affirm, who profess to have seen them, and weighed them themselves, as Jarchi {s}, Gerundensis {t}, Abarbinel {u}, and Gedaliah ben Jechaiah {w}; but other writers also, as Masius {x} Arias Montanus {y}, Waserus {z} and Bishop Cumberland. Now thirty shekels of silver were the price of a servant, Exodus 21:32. So {b} Maimonides observes, that the "atonement of "servants," whether great or small, whether male or female, the fixed sum in the law is "thirty shekels of good silver," whether "the servant" is worth an hundred pound, or whether he is not worth but a farthing," and which was in value of our money about "three pounds fifteen shillings." This was the "goodly price," which Christ, who appeared in the form of a servant, was prized at, according to the prophecy in Zechariah 11:12, and which the high priests thought a very sufficient one; and the wretch Judas, as covetous as he was, was contented with.

{m} Waseras de numis Heb. l. 2. c. 3. {n} De numis Jud. c. 3. {o} Waser ib. & Ar. Montan. Ephron. sive de Siclo in Jud. Antiq. p. 126. Brerewood de ponder. & pret. vet. num. c. 1. {p} Shaishelet Hakabala, fol. {q} Ib. {r} Antiq. l. 3. c. 8. sect. 2. {s} Perush in Exod. xxi. 32. {t} Ad fin. Expos. in Pentateuch. {u} Comment. in 1 Reg. 7. fol. 221. 2. {w} Shalshelet Hahohala, fol. 72. 2. {x} In Joshua, 7. 21. p. 135. {y} De Siclo, ut supra. (in Jud. Antiq. p. 126) {z} De numis Heb. l. 2. c. 3. {b} Hilch. Niske Mammon. c. 11. sect. 1.

Verse 16. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him. Luke adds, "in the absence of the multitude," Luke 22:6; in the most private manner, when he was alone, and in some solitary place, that no tumult might arise, and that there might be no danger of a rescue: for so he, and the chief priests, had consulted, and settled it, as what would be most prudent and advisable; and therefore, from that time forward, being prompted on by Satan, and the lucre of the money he was to receive, he narrowly watched, and diligently observed, the best and most fitting season to perform his enterprise, and quickly offered.

Verse 17. Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread,.... There were seven of these days, and this was the first of them, in which the Jews might not eat leavened bread, from the fourteenth, to the twenty first of the month Nisan; in commemoration of their being thrust out of Egypt, in so much haste, that they had not time to leaven the dough, which was in their kneading troughs: wherefore, according to their canons {c}, on the night of the fourteenth day; that is, as Bartenora explains it, the night, the day following of which is the fourteenth, they search for leaven in all private places and corners, to bring; it out, and burn it, or break it into small pieces, and scatter it in the wind, or throw it into the sea. Mark adds, "when they killed the passover," Mark 14:12; and Luke says, "when the passover must be killed," Luke 22:7; which was to be done on the fourteenth day of the month Nisan, after the middle of the day; and this was an indispensable duty, which all were obliged to: for so they say {d}, "every man, and every woman, are bound to observe this precept; and whoever makes void this commandment presumptuously, if he is not defiled, or afar off, lo! he is guilty of cutting off." The time of killing the passover was after the middle of the day; and it is said {e} that "if they killed it before the middle of the day it was not right; and they did not kill it till after the evening sacrifice, and after they had offered the evening incense; and after they had trimmed the lamps, they began to slay the passovers, or paschal lambs, unto the end of the day; and if they slayed after the middle of the day, before the evening sacrifice, it was right." The reason of this was, because the lamb was to be slain between the two evenings; the first of which began at noon, as soon as ever the day declined: and this was not done privately, but in the temple; for thus it is {f} affirmed, "they do not kill the passover but in the court, as the rest of the holy things." The time and manner of killing the lamb, and by whom, of the sprinkling of the blood, and of their flaying it, and taking out the fat, and burning it on the altar, may be seen in the Misna {g}.

The disciples came to Jesus; that is, Peter and John, as may be learnt from Luke 22:8, for these only seem to have had any notion of Judas's betraying Christ, from what had been said at the supper in Bethany, two days before; the rest thought he was gone to prepare for the feast, and therefore were under no concern about it; but these two judged otherwise, and therefore came to Christ to know his mind concerning it; for it was high time that a preparation should be made; for this was Thursday morning, and the lamb was to be killed in the afternoon, and ate at even.

Saying unto him, where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? This question in Luke follows upon an order which Christ gave to these disciples; "saying, go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat," Luke 22:8: for masters used to give their servants orders to get ready the passover for them; and which were expressed in much such language as this {h}: "he that says to his servant, xop ta yle jwxvw au, "go and slay the passover for me": if he kills a kid, he may eat of it." It is reported {i} of "Rabban Gamaliel, that he said to his servant Tabi, hluw au, "go and roast" the passover for us upon an iron grate." The disciples having received such an order from their master, inquire not in what town or city they must prepare the passover, for that was always ate in Jerusalem; see Deuteronomy 16:5, where they were obliged, by the Jewish canon {k}, to lodge that night; though they might eat the unleavened bread, and keep the other days of the feast any where, and in every place {l}; but they inquire in what house he would have it got ready; for they might make use of any house, and the furniture of it, where they could find room, and conveniency, without any charge; for they did not let out their houses, or any of their rooms, or beds, in Jerusalem; but, at festivals, the owners of them gave the use of them freely to all that came {m}: and it is {n} observed among the wonders and miracles done at Jerusalem, that though there were such multitudes at their feasts, yet "a man could never say to his friend, I have not found a fire to roast the passover lambs in Jerusalem, nor I have not found a bed to sleep on in Jerusalem, nor the place is too strait for me to lodge in, in Jerusalem."

{c} Misn. Pesach. c. 1. sect, 1. Maimon. Chametz Umetzah, c. 2. sect. 3, 4. & 3. 11. {d} Maimon. Hilch. Korban Pesaeh. c. 1. sect. 1. 2. {e} Ib. sect. 4. Moses Kotsensis Mitavot Tora pr. affirm. 39. {f} Maimon. lb. sect. 3. {g} Pesachim, c. 5. sect. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10. {h} Ib. c. 8. 2. {i} Ib. c. 7. sect. 2. {k} T. Bab. Pesach. fol. 95. 2. & Gloss in ib. {l} Maimon. Hilch. Chametz Umetzah, c. 6. sect. 1. {m} T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 12. 1. Megilia, fol. 26. 1. & Gloss. in ib. Maimon Hilch. Beth Habbechira, c. 7. sect. 14. & Ceseph Misna in ib. {n} Abot R. Nathan, c. 35. Pirke Abot, c. 5. sect. 5.

Verse 18. And he said, go into the city to such a man,.... That is, to such a man in the city of Jerusalem, for, as yet, they were in Bethany, or at the Mount of Olives however, without the city; he does not mention the man's name, but describes him, as Mark and Luke say, and tells them, "there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house, where he entereth in," Mr 14:13; who seems to be not the master of the house, but a servant, that was sent on such an errand. This is a very considerable instance of our Lord's prescience of future contingencies; he knew beforehand, that exactly at the time that the disciples would enter Jerusalem, such a man, belonging to such a house, would be returning with a pitcher of water in his hand; and they should meet him; and follow him, where he went, which would be a direction to them what house to prepare the passover in;

and say unto him; not to the man bearing the pitcher of water; but, as the other Evangelists say, to the good man of the house, the owner of it, who probably might be one of Christ's disciples secretly; for many of the chief rulers in Jerusalem believed on Christ, though they did not openly confess him, for fear of the Pharisees, as Nicodemus, and Joseph of Arimathea; and this man might be one of them, or some other man of note and wealth; since they were to find, as they did, a large upper room furnished and prepared. For, it seems, that without mentioning his name, the man would know him by their language, he dictates to them in the following clause, who they meant;

the master saith; the Syriac and Persic versions read, our master; thine and ours, the great master in Israel, the teacher sent from God:

my time is at hand; not of eating the passover, as if it was distinct from that of the Jews, and peculiar to himself, for he ate it at the usual time, and when the Jews ate theirs; and which time was fixed and known by everybody, and could be no reason to move the master of the house to receive him: but he means the time of his death, that he had but a little while to live; and that this instance of respect would be the last he would have an opportunity of showing him whilst living, and the last time Christ would have an opportunity of seeing him; and he might say this to prepare him to meet the news of his death with less surprise:

I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples; not with him and his family, but with his disciples, who were a family, and a society of themselves, and a sufficient number to eat the passover together; for there might be two companies eating their distinct passovers in one house, and even in one room: concerning which is the following rule, "dxa tybb Mylkwa wyhv twrwbx ytv, "two societies that eat in one house"; the one turn their faces this way and eat, and the other turn their faces that way and eat, and an heating vessel (in which they heat the water to mix with the wine) in the middle; and when the servant stands to mix, he shuts his mouth, and turns his face till he comes to his company, and eats; and the bride turns her face and eats {o}."

{o} Misn. Pesachim, c. 7. sect. 13.

Verse 19. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them,.... They went into the city of Jerusalem; they met the man carrying a pitcher of water home; they followed him into the house he entered; they addressed the master of the house, in the manner Christ directed, who showed them a large upper room, prepared with all proper furniture for such an occasion, as Christ had foretold:

and they made ready the passover; they went and bought a lamb; they carried it to the temple to be slain in the court, where it was presented as a passover lamb for such a number of persons; they had it flayed, cut up, the fat taken out, and burnt on the altar, and its blood sprinkled on the foot of it: they then brought it to the house where they were to eat it; here they roasted it, and provided bread, and wine, and bitter herbs, and a sauce called "Charoseth," into which the herbs were dipped: and, in short, everything that was necessary.

Verse 20. Now when the even was come,.... The second evening, when the sun was set, and it was dark, and properly night; for "on the evenings of the passovers near the Minchah, a man might not eat Kvxtv de, "until it was dark" {p}." This was according to the rule, Exodus 12:8,

he sat down with the twelve, his twelve disciples; so the Vulgate Latin, and all the Oriental versions, and Munster's Hebrew Gospel; and which also adds, "at table"; even all the twelve apostles, who were properly his family, and a sufficient number for a passover lamb {q}: for "they do not kill the passover for a single man, according to the words of R. Judah, though R. Jose permits it: yea, though the society consists of an hundred, if they cannot eat the quantity of an olive, they do not kill for them: nor do they make a society of women, servants, and little ones?" Judas was now returned again, and took his place among the disciples, as if he was as innocent, and as friendly, as any of them: this he might choose to do, partly to avoid all suspicion of his designs; and partly that he might get intelligence where Christ would go after supper, that he might have the opportunity he was waiting for, to betray him into the hands of his enemies. "He sat, or lay down with them," as the word signifies; for the posture of the Jews, at the passover table especially, was not properly sitting, but reclining, or lying along on coaches, not on their backs, nor on their right side, but on their left; See Gill on "Joh 13:23." The first passover was eaten by them standing, with their loins girt, their shoes on, and staves in their hands, because they were just ready to depart out of Egypt: but in after passovers these circumstances were omitted; and particularly sitting, or lying along, was reckoned so necessary to be observed, that it is said {r}, that "the poorest man in Israel might not eat, boyv de, "until he lies along," or leans;" that is, as some of their commentators {s} note, either upon the couch, or on the table, after the manner of free men, and in remembrance of their liberty: and another of them {t} says, "we are bound to eat, hbohb, "lying along," as kings and great men eat, because it is a token of liberty."

Hence they elsewhere say {u}, "it is the way of servants to eat standing; but here (in the passover) to eat, Nybwom, "sitting," or "lying along," because they (the Israelites) went out of bondage to liberty. Says R. Simon, in the name of R. Joshua ben Levi, that which a man is obliged to in the passover, though it be but the quantity of an olive, he must eat it, bowm, 'lying along.'" The account Maimonides gives of this usage, is in these words {w}: "even the poorest man in Israel may not eat until he "lies along": a woman need not lie; but if she is a woman of worth and note, she ought to lie: a son by a father, and a servant before his master ought to lie: "but a disciple before his master does not lie, except his master gives him leave" (as Christ did his); and lying on the right hand is not lying; and so he that lies upon his neck, or upon his face, this is not lying; and when ought they to lie? at the time of eating, the quantity of an olive, of unleavened bread, and at drinking of the four cups; but at the rest of eating and drinking, if he lies, lo! it is praiseworthy: but if not, there is no necessity." This custom was so constantly and uniformly observed at the passover, that it is taken particular notice of in the declaration, or showing forth of the passover by the master of the family, when he says {x}, "how different is this night from all other nights," &c. and among the many things he mentions, this is one; "in all other nights we eat either sitting, or lying along; that is, which way we please, but this night all of us Nybwom, "lie along.""

{p} Ib. c. 10. sect. 1. {q} Ib. c. 8. sect. 7. {r} Misn. Pesachim, c. 10. sect. 1. {s} Jarchi & Bartenora in ib. {t} Maimonides in ib. {u} T. Hieros. Pesach. fol. 37. 2. {w} Hilch. Chametz Umetzah, c. 7. sect. 8. {x} Maimon ib. c. 8. 2. Haggadah Shel Pesach. p. 5.

Verse 21. And as they did eat,.... The passover lamb, the unleavened bread, and bitter herbs: he said it was usual, whilst they were thus engaged, to discourse much about the reason and design of this institution. What they talked of may be learnt from what follows {y}: "it is an affirmative precept of the law, to declare the signs and wonders which were done to our fathers in Egypt, on the night of the fifteenth of Nisan, according to Exodus 13:3, "remember this day," &c. and from whence on the night of the fifteenth? from Exodus 13:8, "and thou shalt show thy son," &c. at the time that the unleavened bread, and bitter herbs lie before thee. And though he has no son, or though they are wise, and grown up, they are bound to declare the going out of Egypt; and everyone that enlarges, or dwells long on the things that happened and came to pass, lo! he is praiseworthy. It is a command to make known to children, even though they do not ask; as it is said, "and thou shalt show thy son": according to the son's knowledge, his father teaches him; how if he is a little one, or foolish? he says to him, my son, all of us were servants, as this handmaid, or this servant, in Egypt; and on this night the holy, blessed God redeemed us, and brought us into liberty: and if the son is grown up and a wise man, he makes known to him what happened to us in Egypt, and the wonders which were done for us by the hands of Moses, our master; all according to the capacity of the son. And it is necessary to make a repetition on this night, that the children may see, and ask, and say, how different is this night from all other nights? until he replies to them, and says to them, so and so it happened, and thus and thus it was.

—If he has no son, his wife asks him; and if he has no wife, they ask one another, how different is this night? and though they are all wise men, everyone asks himself alone, how different is this night? and it is necessary to begin with reproaches, and end with praise, how? he begins and declares, how at first our fathers were in the days of Terah, and before him, deniers (of the divine being), and wandering after vanity, and following idolatrous worship; and he ends with the law of truth, how that God brought us near to himself, and separated us from the nations, and caused us to draw nigh to his unity; and so begins and makes known, that we were servants to Pharaoh in Egypt, and all the evils he recompensed us with; and ends with the signs and wonders which were wrought for us, and with our liberties: and he that expounds from—"a Syrian was my father, ready to perish": till he has finished the whole section: and every one that adds and enlarges in expounding this section, lo! he is praiseworthy. And everyone that does not say these three words on the night of the fifteenth, cannot be excused from blame; and they are these, the passover, the unleavened bread, and the bitter herbs: "the passover," because God passed over the houses of our fathers in Egypt, as it is said, Exodus 12:27, "the bitter herbs," because the Egyptians made bitter the lives of our fathers in Egypt: "the unleavened bread," because they were redeemed: and these things all of them are called the declaration, or showing forth." Christ now took up some part of the time, at least, whilst they were eating, in discoursing with his disciples about the traitor:

he said, verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me; meaning to the chief priests and Scribes, who should condemn him to death, and deliver him to the Gentiles, to be mocked, scourged, and crucified, as he had told them some time before, Matthew 20:18, though he did not tell them as now, that it should be done by one of them; he had indeed signified as much as this two days before, at the supper in Bethany, but none seemed to understand whom he meant, but Peter and John, and the thing wore off their minds; and therefore he mentions it again to them, with great seriousness, and in the most solemn manner, declaring it as a certain and undoubted truth.

{y} Maimon. ib. c. 7. sect. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Vid. c. 8. 2, 3, 4, 5. & Haggadah Shel. Pesach. p. 5, 6, 7, 8.

Verse 22. And they were exceeding sorrowful,.... Partly that Christ should be betrayed at all, into the hands of his enemies, by whom they knew he would be ill used; and partly, that so vile an action should be done, by one from among themselves; and greatly, because they knew not, nor could not conceive, who of them could be guilty of such an horrid sin:

and began everyone of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? excepting Judas, who afterwards spoke for himself. This they said, though conscious to themselves the thing had never entered into their hearts; nor had they taken any step towards it, but with their whole souls abhorred it; yet, as knowing the treachery and deceitfulness, of their hearts, which they could not trust to; and fearing lest should they be left thereunto, they might commit such a dreadful iniquity; and as desirous of being cleared by Christ from any such imputation, and even from all suspicion of anything of this kind.

Verse 23. And he answered and said,.... In order to make them easy, and point out the betrayer to them,

he that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. This seems to refer to the dipping of the unleavened bread, or bitter herbs, both, into the sauce called "Charoseth," which the Jews {z} say, "was made of figs, nuts, almonds, and other fruits; to which they added apples; all which they bruised in a mortar, and mixed with vinegar; and put spices into it, calamus and cinnamon, in the form of small long threads, in remembrance of the straw; and it was necessary it should be: thick, in memory of the clay." The account Maimonides {a} gives of it is, "the "Charoseth" is a precept from the words of the Scribes, in remembrance of the clay in which they served in Egypt; and how did they make it? They took dates, or berries, or raisins, and the like, and stamped them, and put vinegar into them, and seasoned them with spices, as clay in straw, and brought it upon the table, in the night of the passover." And in this he says, the master of the family dipped both the herbs, and the unleavened bread {b}, and that both separately and conjunctly; for he says {c}, that "he rolled up the unleavened bread and bitter herbs together, lbjmw and dipped them in the Charoseth." And this was twice done in eating the passover; for so it is observed {d} among the many things, which distinguished this night from others: "in all other nights we dip but once, but in this night twice." By this action, Christ gave his disciples a signal, whereby they might know the betrayer: for this is not the general description of one, that sat at the table, and ate of his bread with him, and so fulfilled the prediction, in Psalm 41:9, though this is too true; but then, this was saying no more than he had before done, when he said, "one of you shall betray me"; though the phrase is so {e} used; for instance, "if a man goes and sits at table with them, Nhme lbwjw, and "dips with them," though he does not eat the quantity of an olive, they bless for him." But this refers to a particular action then performed by Judas, just at the time Christ spoke these words; and who might sit near him, and dip into the same dish he did; for since there were thirteen of them, there might be more dishes than one; and two or three might have a dish to themselves, and Judas dip in the same dish with Christ.

{z} Bartenora in Misn. Pesach. c. 10. sect. 3. Vid. Maimon. & Yom Tob, in ib. & Piske Tos. Pesach. art. 322. {a} Hilch. Chametz Umetzah, c. 7. sect. 11. {b} Ib. c. 8. sect. 2. 8. {c} Ib. sect. 6. & T. Bab. Pesach. fol. 115. 1. {d} Misn. Pesach. c. 10. sect. 4, Maimon. Chametz Umetzah, c 8. sect. 2. Haggadah Shel Pesach, p. 5. {e} Bereshit Rabba, sect. 91. fol. 78. 4.

Verse 24. The son of man goeth,.... Meaning himself, not to the Mount of Olives, or Gethsemane, or the garden, whither he went a little after this, but out of the world, to his Father: the phrase is expressive of his death, as in Joshua 23:14, and denotes the voluntariness of it, and which is no ways inconsistent with the divine determinations about it: nor the violence that was offered to him by his enemies.

As it is written; in the book of God's eternal purposes and decrees; for Luke says, "as it was determined" Luke 22:22: or as it was recorded in the books of the Old Testament; in Psalm 22:1, Isaiah 53:1 and Daniel 9:1 for Christ died for the sins of his people, in perfect agreement with these Scriptures, which were written of him:

but woe unto that man by whom the son of man is betrayed; for God's decrees concerning this matter, and the predictions in the Bible founded on them, did not in the least excuse, or extenuate the blackness of his crime; who did what he did, of his own free will, and wicked heart, voluntarily, and to satisfy his own lusts:

it had been good for that man if he had not been born. This is a Rabbinical phrase, frequently, used in one form or another; sometimes thus; as it is said {f} of such that speak false and lying words, and regard not the glory of their Creator, amlel Nwtyy ald Nwl bj, it would have been better for them they had never come into the world; and so of any other, notorious sinner, it is at other times said {g}, yrba ald hyl bj, or {h}, arbn alv wl xwn, "it would have been better for him if he had not been created"; signifying, that it is better to have no being at all, than to be punished with everlasting destruction; and which was the dreadful case of Judas, who fell by his transgression, and went to his own place.

{f} Zohar in Gen. fol. 41. 1. Vid. Misn. Chagiga, c. 2. sect. 1. T. Bab Chagiga, fol. 16. 1. {g} Zohar in Gen. fol, 46. 4. & in Exod. fol. 1. 4. & 36. 3. & 62. 3. & 66. 3. & 105. 4. & 106. 1. {h} T. Hieros. Sabbat, fol. 3. 2. T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 17. 1. & Erubin, fol. 13. 2. Midrash Kobelet, fol. 79. 1.

Verse 25. Then Judas, which betrayed him,.... Or that was about to betray him, as the Ethiopic version reads it: he had taken a step towards it, was seeking an opportunity to do it, and at length effected it: the Persic version reads, Judas Iscariot; who after all the rest had put the question,

answered and said, Master, is it I? Who though he knew what he had been doing, and what he further resolved to do, and was conscious to himself he was the man; nay, though he had been pointed out as the person, and the most dreadful woe denounced on him, that should be the betrayer, in his hearing; yet all this did not at all affect his marble heart; but in the most audacious manner, and without any concern of mind, or show of guilt, asks if he was the person; suggesting, that surely he could, not mean him. It is observed by some, that the word Rabbi, used by Judas, is a more honourable name than that of Lord, used by the disciples; thereby reigning to give Christ more honour, and exceed in his respect to him, than the rest of the disciples; in order, if he could, to cover his wicked designs:

he said unto him, thou hast said: that is, it is as thou hast said; thou hast said right, thou art the man; a way of speaking used, when what is asked is assented to as truth: thus it being "said to a certain person, is Rabbi dead? He replied to them, Nwtyrma Nwta, "ye have said"; and they rent their clothes {i}." Taking it for granted, by that answer, that so it was.

{i} T. Hieros Kilaim, fol. 32. 2.

Verse 26. And as they were eating,.... The paschal lamb, and just concluding the whole solemnity, which was done by eating some of the {k} lamb: for "last of all he (that kept the passover) eats of the flesh of the passover, though it be but the quantity of an olive, and he does not taste anything after it; and at the same time he eats the quantity of an olive of unleavened bread, and does not taste anything after it; so that his meal endeth, and the savour of the flesh of the passover, or of the unleavened bread, is in his mouth; for the eating of them is the precept." So that the paschal supper was now concluded, when Christ entered upon the institution of his own supper:

Jesus took bread; which lay by him, either on the table, or in a dish. Though this supper is distinct from the "passover," and different from any ordinary meal, yet there are allusions to both in it, and to the customs of the Jews used in either; as in this first circumstance, of "taking" the bread: for he that asked a blessing upon bread, used to take it into his hands; and it is a rule {l}, that "a man does not bless, wdyb Mxlh owptyv de, "until he takes the bread into his hand," that all may see that he blesses over it." Thus Christ took the bread and held it up, that his disciples might observe it:

and blessed [it]; or asked a blessing over it, and upon it, or rather blessed and gave thanks to his Father or it, and for what was signified by it; and prayed that his disciples, whilst eating it, might be led to him, the bread of life, and feed upon him in a spiritual sense; whose body was going to be broken for them, as the bread was to be, in order to obtain eternal redemption for them: so it was common with the Jews, to ask a blessing on their bread: the form in which they did it was this {m}: "Blessed art thou, O Lord, our God, the king of the world, that produceth bread out of the earth." What form our Lord used, is not certain; no doubt it was one of his composing, and every way suitable to the design of this ordinance. It was customary also when there were many at table, that lay down there, however, as Christ and his disciples now did, for one to ask a blessing for them all; for so runs the rule {n}, "if they sit to eat, everyone blesses for himself, but if they lie along, Mlkl Krbm dxa, 'one blesses for them all.'" Moreover, they always blessed, before they brake: "Says Rabba {o}, he blesses, and after that he breaks:" this rule Christ likewise carefully observes, for it follows,

and brake it. The rules concerning breaking of bread, are these {p}; "The master of the house recites and finishes the blessing, and after that he breaks:—no man that breaks, is allowed to break, till they have brought the salt, and what is to be eaten with the bread, before everyone—and he does not break neither a small piece, lest he should seem to be sparing; nor a large piece, bigger than an egg, lest he should be thought to be famished;—and on the sabbath day he breaks a large piece, and he does not break, but in the place where it is well baked: it is a principal command to break a whole loaf." Christ broke the bread, as the symbol of his body, which was to be broken by blows, and scourges, thorns, nails, and spear, and to be separated from his soul, and die as a sacrifice for the sins of his people: and having so done, he

gave it to the disciples; which being a distinct act from breaking the bread, shows that the latter does not design the distribution of the bread, but an act preceding it, and a very significant one: and which ought not to be laid aside: according to the Jewish {q} usages, "He that broke the bread, put a piece before everyone, and the other takes it in his hand; and he that breaks, does not give it into the hand of the eater, unless he is a mourner; and he that breaks, stretches out his hand first and eats, and they that sit, or lie at the table, are not allowed to taste, until he that blesses, has tasted; and he that breaks, is not allowed to taste, until the Amen is finished out of the mouth of the majority of those that sit at table."

And said, take, eat, this is my body; in Luke it is added, "which is given for you," Luke 22:19; that is, unto death, as a sacrifice for sin; and by the Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 11:24, "which is broken for you"; as that bread then was, and so expressive of his wounds, bruises, sufferings, and death, for them. Now when he says, "this is my body," he cannot mean, that that bread was his real body; or that it was changed and converted into the very substance of his body; but that it was an emblem and representation of his body, which was just ready to be offered up, once for all: in like manner, as the Jews in the eating of their passover used to say {r} of the unleavened bread, "ayned amxl ah, this is "the bread of affliction," which our fathers ate in the land of Egypt." Not that they thought that was the selfsame bread, but that it resembled it, and was a representation of the affliction and distress their fathers were in at that time: to which some think our Lord here alludes: though rather, the reference is to the passover lamb, which is frequently, in Jewish writings, called "the body" of the lamb: thus mention being made of the bringing of the herbs, the unleavened bread, and the sauce "Charoseth," with other things to the master of the house, it is added {s}: "and in the sanctuary (whilst that stood) they bring unto him, xop lv wpwg, 'the body of the lamb.'" Again, elsewhere {t} it is said, "they bring a table furnished, and on it the bitter herbs and other greens, and the unleavened bread, and the sauce, xoph vbk lv wpwgw 'and the body of the paschal lamb.'" And a little further {u}, "he recites the blessing, blessed art thou O Lord, &c. for the eating of the passover, and he eats, xop lv wpwgm, 'of the body of the passover.'" And now it is, as if Christ had said, you have had "the body" of the lamb set before you, and have eaten of it, in commemoration of the deliverance out of Egypt, and as a type of me the true passover, quickly to be sacrificed; and this rite of eating the body of the paschal lamb is now to cease; and I do here by this bread, in an emblematical way, set before you "my body," which is to be given to obtain spiritual deliverance, and eternal redemption for you; in remembrance of which, you, and all my followers in successive generations, are to take and eat of it, till I come. The words, "take, eat," show that Christ did not put the bread into the mouths of the disciples, but they took it in their hands, and ate it; expressive of taking and receiving Christ by the hand of faith, and feeding on him in a spiritual manner.

{k} Maimon. Hilch. Charnetz Umetzah, c. 8. sect. 9. Vid. Bartenora in Misn. Pesach. c. 10. sect. 8. {l} Levush hattecheleth Num. 167. sect. 3. & Shlchan Aruch in Buxtorf. Exercit. de Coena Dominic. Thes. 45. {m} Haggadah Shel. Pesach. fol. 249. 2. Ed. Basil. Misn. Beracot, c. 6. sect. 1. {n} Ib. sect. 6. T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 42. 2. & 43. 1. {o} T. Bab. Berncot, fol. 39. 2. {p} Maimon. Hilch. Beracot, c. 7. sect. 2, 3, 4. T. Bab. Berncot, fol. 47. 1. {q} Ib. sect. 5. {r} Haggadah Shel Pesach, p. 4. Ed. Rittangel. fol. 242. 2. Ed. Basil. {s} Misn. Pesach, c. 10. sect 3. {t} Maimon. Chametz Umetzah, c. 8. sect. 1. {u} Ib. sect. 7.

Verse 27. And he took the cup and gave thanks,.... For the Jews blessed, or gave thanks for their wine, as well as for their food, and generally did it in this form {w}: "Blessed art thou, O Lord, our God, the king of the world, who hast created the 'fruit of the vine.'" Hence the phrase, "the fruit of the vine," in Matthew 26:29, not that we are to suppose, that Christ used or confined himself to this form of words: and it is to be observed, that they not only gave thanks for their wine before food, and whilst they were eating {x}, but also after meat; and as this relates to the blessing of the cup after eating, or as the Apostle Paul says, "when he had supped," 1 Corinthians 11:25. I shall only transcribe what the Jews say {y} concerning that: "When wine is brought to them after food, if there is but that cup there, the house of Shammai say, Nyyh le Krbm, "he blesses," or gives thanks "for the wine," and after that gives thanks for the food: the house of Hillell say, he gives thanks for the food, and after that gives thanks for the wine." And as this was usual at ordinary meals, to bless or give thanks for the wine, so at the passover; and which our Lord continued in his supper, and is to be practised by us. It should be further known, that the wine at the passover, and so what Christ used at his supper, was red. "Says R. Jeremiah {z} it is commanded to perform this duty, Mwda Nyyb 'with red wine.'" And elsewhere it is said {a}, "that it is necessary, that there should be in it (the wine) taste and look." The gloss on it is, Mwda ahyv, "that it should be red": and which, as it most fitly represented the blood sprinkled on the door posts of the Israelites, when the Lord passed over their houses; so the blood of Christ, shed for the remission of the sins of his people. It is scarcely worth observing the measure of one of the cups, that was used at such a time: they say {b}, that the four cups which were drank at this feast, held an, Italian quart of wine, so that one cup contained half a pint. More particularly, they ask how much is the measure of a cup? the answer is, two fingers square, and a finger and a half and the third part of a finger deep; or as it is elsewhere {c}, the fifth part of a finger:

and gave it to them, saying, drink ye all of it; for this is not to be restrained from one sort of communicants, and only partook of by another; but all are to drink of the cup, as well as eat of the bread: whether here is not an allusion to the custom of the Jews at the passover, when they obliged all to drink four cups of wine, men, women, and children, and even the poorest man in Israel, who was maintained out of the alms dish {d}, may be considered.

{w} Haggadah Shel Pesach. fol. 241. 1. {x} Vid. Misn. Beracot, c. 6. sect. 1. 6. {y} Ib. c. 8. sect. 8. {z} T. Hieros. Pesach. fol. 37. 3. & Sabbat, fol. 11. 1. {a} T. Bab. Pesach. fol. 108. 2. & R. Samuel ben Meir in ib. {b} T. Hieros. Sabbat, fol. 11. 1. {c} T. Bab. Pesach. fol. 109. 1. {d} Misn. Pesach. c. 10. sect. 1. T. Bab. Pesach. fol. 108. 1. Mitzvot Torah, pr. affirm. 41.

Verse 28. For this is my blood of the New Testament,.... That is, the red wine in the cup, was an emblem and representation of his precious blood, whereby was exhibited a new dispensation, or administration of the covenant of grace; and by which it was ratified and confirmed; and whereby all the blessings of it, such as peace, pardon, righteousness, and eternal life, come to the people of God: the allusion is to the first covenant, and the book of it being sprinkled with the blood of bulls, and therefore called the blood of the covenant, Exodus 24:8. But the second covenant, or the new administration of the covenant of grace, for which reason it is called the New Testament, is exhibited and established in the blood of Christ the testator. It was usual, even among the Heathens, to make and confirm their covenants by drinking human blood, and that sometimes mixed with wine {e}.

Which is shed for many, for the remission of sins; that is, was very shortly to be shed, and since has been, for all the elect of God; for the many that were ordained to eternal life, and the many that were given to Christ, the many that are justified by him, and the many sons he will bring to glory: whereby the full forgiveness of all their sins was procured, in a way consistent with, and honourable to the justice of God; full satisfaction being made to the law of God, for all their transgressions.

{e} Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 5. c. 3.

Verse 29. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth,.... From whence it seems natural to conclude, that Christ had drank of the cup in the supper, as well as at the passover; and it is reasonable to believe, that he also ate of the bread; since it appears from what has been observed before, See Gill on "Mt 26:26," that none might eat, till he that blessed and brake the bread had tasted of it {f}: the reason why wine is here called

the fruit of the vine, and not wine, See Gill on "Mt 26:27." The design of this expression is to show, that his stay would be very short: the cup he had just drank of, was the last he should drink with them: he should drink no more wine at the passover; he had kept the last, and which now of right was to cease; nor in the Lord's supper, for though that was to continue to his second coming, he should be no more present at it corporeally, only spiritually; nor in common conversation, which is not contradicted by Acts 10:41. Since, though the apostles drank with him in his presence, it does not necessarily follow, that he drank with them; and if he did, it was not in a mortal state, nor in the ordinary manner and use of it, but to confirm his resurrection from the dead, nor can it be proved that he drank of the fruit of the vine: the design of the phrase, as before observed, is to signify his speedy departure from his disciples. The allusion is to an usage at the passover, when after the fourth cup, they tasted of nothing else all that night, except water; and so Christ declares, that he would drink no more, not only that night, but never after.

Until the day I drink it new with you, in my Father's kingdom: Mark says, "in the kingdom of God," Mark 14:25; and Luke, "until the kingdom of God come," Luke 22:18; and both the Syriac and Persic versions read it here, "in the kingdom of God"; by which is meant, something distinct from the kingdom of the Son, or of the Messiah, which was already come; and appeared more manifestly after the resurrection of Christ, upon his ascension to heaven, and the effusion of the holy Spirit, and the success of the Gospel, both among Jews and Gentiles; and which will be more glorious in the latter day: and when all the elect of God are gathered in, and have been presented to Christ by himself, he will then deliver up the kingdom to the Father, and God shall be all in all; and then the kingdom of the Father will take place here mentioned, and which is no other than the ultimate glory; so called, because it is of the Father's preparing and giving, and in which he will reign and dwell, and the saints with him, to all eternity; which must not be understood to the exclusion of Christ, for it is called his kingdom also, Luke 22:30, in this state, Christ will drink new wine, not literally, but spiritually understood; and which designs the joys and glories of heaven, the best wine which is reserved to the last: which is sometimes signified by a feast, of which wine is a principal part; by sitting down as at a table, in the kingdom of heaven, with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Matthew 8:11, and expressed by "wine," because of its refreshing and exhilarating nature, in God's presence is "fulness of joy"; and by "new wine," because these joys are the most excellent, because they are always new, and never change; they are "pleasures for evermore": to "drink" hereof, denotes the full enjoyment of them, which Christ, as man and mediator, and his people with him, shall be possessed of; and is different from the superficial "taste of the powers of the world to come," Hebrews 6:5, which hypocrites have, and those real prelibations of glory which saints have in this life; there being a difference between drinking and tasting, Matthew 27:34, and this will be social; Christ and his true disciples shall be together; and drink this new wine together; or enjoy the same glory and felicity in the highest measure and degree, they are capable of; and which society therein will yield a mutual pleasure to each other, as the words here suggest. The Jews often express the joys of the world to come, by such like figurative phrases: they make mention of, ytad amled Nyy, "the wine of the world to come" {g}; and of ynxwr rkv, "a spiritual drink," in the last days, which is called the world to come {h}: and so they explain {i} after this manner, Isaiah 64:4. "Neither hath the eye seen, O God," &c., Nyy hz, "this is the wine," which is kept in the grapes from the six days of the creation; of which they often speak in their writings {k}

{f} Maimon. Chametz Umetzah, c. 8. sect. 10. Piske Toseph. Pesach. art. 328. {g} Zohar in Lev. fol. 17. 2. {h} Tzeror Hammor, fol. 3. 4. En Israel, fol. 30. 1. {i} T. Bab. Berncot, fol. 34. 2, & Sanhed. fol. 99. 1. {k} Targum in Cant. viii. 2. Zohar in Gen. fol. 81. 4. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 30. 3.

Verse 30. And when they had sung an hymn,.... The "Hallell," which the Jews were obliged to sing on the night of the passover; for the passover, they say {l}, was llh Nwej, "bound to an hymn." This "Hallell," or song of praise, consisted of six Psalms, the 113th, 114th, 115th, 116th, 117th, and 118th {m}: now this they did not sing all at once, but in parts. Just before the drinking of the second cup and eating of the lamb, they sung the first part of it, which contained the 113th and 114th Psalms; and on mixing the fourth and last cup, they completed the "Hallell," by singing the rest of the Psalms, beginning with the 115th Psalm, and ending with the 118th; and said over it, what they call the "blessing of the song," which was Psalm 145:10, &c., and they might, if they would, mix a fifth cup, but that they were not obliged to, and say over it the "great Hallell," or "hymn," which was the 136th Psalm {n}. Now the last part of the "Hallell," Christ deferred to the close of his supper; there being many things in it pertinent to him, and proper on this occasion, particularly Psalm 115:1, and the Jews themselves say {o}, that xyvm lv wlbx, "the sorrows of the Messiah" are contained in this part: that this is the hymn which Christ and his disciples sung, may be rather thought, than that it was one of his own composing; since not only he, but all the disciples sung it, and therefore must be what they were acquainted with; and since Christ in most things conformed to the rites and usages of the Jewish nation; and he did not rise up from table and go away, until this concluding circumstance was over; though it was allowed to finish the "Hallell," or hymn, in any place they pleased, even though it was not the place where the feast was kept {p} however, as soon as it was over,

they went out to the Mount of Olives; he and his disciples, excepting Judas: first he himself alone, and then the disciples followed him, according to Luke 22:39, and the Persic version here reads it, "he went out." This seems to be contrary to a Jewish canon; for the passover was hnyl Nwej, "bound to lodging a night" {q}; that is, as the gloss explains it, "the first night (i.e. of the passover) a man must lodge in Jerusalem; thenceforward it was lawful to dwell without the wall, within the border." And a little after, the same phrase, being bound to lodge, is explained, one night in the midst of the city: but Christ had more important business to attend unto, than to comply with this rule, which was not obligatory by the word of God, though the Jews pretend to found it on Deuteronomy 16:7 {r}. The place where he went with his disciples, was the Mount of Olives, which was on the east side of Jerusalem; and was the place where the high priest stood, and burnt the red heifer, and sprinkled its blood {s}: now from the temple, or from the mountain of the house, there was a causeway, or bridge on arches, made to the Mount of Olives, in which the high priest and the heifer, hydeom lkw, "and all his assistants," (the priests that helped him in this service,) went to this mount {t}: in this same way it is very probable, went Christ the great high priest, who was typified by the red heifer, and his companions the disciples, to the same place, where he had his bloody sweat, and where his sorrows and sufferings began.

{l} Misn. Pesach. c. 9. 3. T. Bab. Pesach. fol. 95. 1, 2. {m} Seder Tephillot, fol. 101, &c. Ed. Amstelod. {n} Maimon. Hilch. Chametz Umetzah, c. 8. sect. 5. 10. {o} T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 118. 1. {p} Maimon. ut supra. (Hilch. Chametz Umetzah, c. 8. sect. 5. 10.) {q} T. Bab. Pesach. fol. 95. 2. {r} Talmud ib. & Jarchi in Dent. xvi. 7. {s} Misn. Middot, c. 2. sect. 4. T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 16. 1. {t} Misn. Parah, c. 3. sect. 6. & Middot, c 1. sect. 3. & Maimon. & Bartenora in ib.

Verse 31. Then saith Jesus unto them,.... Either before they went out of the house, where they had been eating the passover, and the supper; or as they were going along to the Mount of Olives; which latter rather seems to be the case:

all ye shall be offended because of me this night. The words are spoken to the eleven disciples; for Judas was now gone to the high priests, to inform them where Jesus was going that night, and to receive of them a band of men and officers to apprehend him; which is what would be the occasion of all the rest of the disciples being offended: for when they should see their master betrayed by one of themselves, and the officers seize him and bind him, and lead him away as a malefactor, our Lord here suggests, that they would be filled with such fear and dread, that everyone of them would forsake him and run away, and provide for their own safety; yea, would be so stumbled at this unexpected event, that they would begin to stagger and hesitate in their minds, whether he was the Messiah, or not, as the two disciples going to Emmaus, seem to intimate; they would be so shocked with this sad disappointment, and so offended, or stumble, as to be ready to fall from him: and their faith in him must have failed, had he not prayed for them, as he did for Peter; for they thought of nothing else but a temporal kingdom, which they expected would now quickly be set up, and they be advanced to great honour and dignity; but things taking a different turn, it must greatly shock and affect them; and it was to be the case not of one or two only, but of all of them: and that because of him, whom they dearly loved, and with whom they had been eating the passover, and his own supper, and had had such a comfortable opportunity together; and because of his low estate, his being seized and bound, and led away by his enemies; as the Jews were before offended at him, because of the meanness of his parentage and education: and this was to be that very night; and it was now very late, it may reasonably be supposed to be midnight: for since the last evening, or sun setting, they had ate the passover, the ceremonies of which took up much time, and after that the Lord's supper; then the Hallell, or hymn was sung, when Christ discoursed much with his disciples, and delivered those consolatory and instructive sermons, about the vine and other things, occasioned by the fruit of the vine, they had been just drinking of, recorded in the 15th and 16th chapters of John; and put up that prayer to his Father for them, which stands in the 17th chapter; and indeed within an hour or two after, see Mark 14:37, this prediction of Christ's had its accomplishment, and which he confirms by a prophetic testimony:

for it is written, in Zechariah 13:7,

I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered. This text is miserably perverted by the Jewish writers; though they all agree, that by "the shepherd," is meant some great person, as a king; so the Targum renders it, "kill the king, and the princes shall be scattered": one {u} of them says, that a wicked king of Moab is designed; another {w}, a king of the Ishmaelites, or of the Turks; and a third {x}, that any, and every king of the Gentiles is meant; a fourth says {y}, it is a prophecy of the great wars that shall be in all the earth, in the days of Messiah ben Joseph; and a fifth {z}, after having taken notice of other senses, mentions this as the last: that "the words "my shepherd, and the man my fellow," in the former part of the verse, are to be understood of Messiah, the son of Joseph; and because he shall be slain in the wars of the nations, therefore the Lord will whet his glittering sword against the nations, to take vengeance on them; and on this account says, "awake, O sword! for my shepherd, and for the man my fellow": as if the Lord called the sword and vengeance to awake against his enemies, because of Messiah ben Joseph, whom they shall slay; and who shall be the shepherd of the flock of God, and by reason of his righteousness and perfection, shall be the man his fellow; and when the nations shall slay that shepherd, the sword of the Lord shall come and smite the shepherd; that is, every shepherd of the Gentiles, and their kings; for because of the slaying of the shepherd of Israel, every shepherd of their enemies shall be slain, and their sheep shall be scattered; for through the death of the shepherds, the people that shall be under them, will have no standing."

Now though this is a most wretched perversion of the passage, to make the word "shepherd" in the former part of it, to signify one person, and in the other part of it another; yet shows the conviction of their minds, that the Messiah is not be excluded from the prophecy, and of whom, without doubt, it is spoken, and rightly applied by him, who is concerned in it, the Lord Jesus Christ; who feeds his flock like a shepherd, is the great shepherd of the sheep, the chief shepherd, the good shepherd, that laid down his life for the sheep; which is intended by the smiting of him: in the text in Zechariah 13:7 it is read, "smite the shepherd"; being an order of Jehovah the Father's, to Justice, to awake its sword, and sheath it in his son, his equal by nature, his shepherd by office; and here, as his own act, and what he would do himself, "I will smite the shepherd"; for his ordering Justice to smite, is rightly interpreted doing it himself. The Jews cannot object to this, when their own interpreters in general explain it thus, tyrky Mvh, "God shall cut off the shepherd" {a}. The sufferings of Christ, which are meant by the smiting him, were according, not only to the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, the will of his good pleasure, but according to his will of command; which justice executed, and Christ was obedient to, and in which Jehovah had a very great hand himself: he bruised him, he put him to grief, he made his soul an offering for sin; he spared him not, but delivered him up into the hands of men, justice, and death, for us all: the latter clause, "and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered," respects the disciples, and their forsaking Christ, and fleeing from him, when be was apprehended; for then, as was foretold in this prophecy, and predicted by Christ, they all forsook him and fled, and were scattered every man to his own, and left him alone. In Zechariah it is only said, "the sheep shall be scattered," Zechariah 13:7: here, the sheep of the flock; though the Evangelist Mark reads it, as in the prophet, Mark 14:27, and so the Arabic here, and the sense is the same; for the sheep are the sheep of the flock, Christ's little flock, the flock of slaughter, committed to his care; unless it may be thought proper to distinguish between the sheep and the flock; and by "the flock" understand, all the elect of God, and by "the sheep," the principal of the flock; "the rams of his sheep," or "flock," as the Syriac version renders it; the apostles of Christ, who are chiefly, if not solely intended; though others of Christ's followers might be stumbled, offended, and staggered, as well as they; as Cleophas was, one of the two that went to Emmaus.

{u} R. Sol. Jarchi, in Zech. xiii. 7. {w} Isaac Chizzuk Emuna, par. 1. c. 37. p. 310. {x} R. David Kirachi, in Zech. xiii. 7. {y} R. Aben Ezra in ib. {z} Abarbitnel, Mashmia Jeshua, fol. 74. 4. {a} R. Aben. Ezra, R. David Kimchi, & Miclol Yophi in loc.

Verse 32. But after I am risen again,.... This he says for their comfort, that though he, their shepherd, should be apprehended, condemned, and crucified, should be smitten with death, and be laid in the grave, yet he should rise again; and though they should be scattered abroad, yet should be gathered together again by him, their good shepherd; who would after his resurrection, appear to them, be at the head of them, and go before them, as a shepherd goes before his sheep: for it follows,

I will go before you into Galilee; the native place of most, if not all of them. This the women that came to the sepulchre after Christ's resurrection, were bid, both by the angel, and Christ himself, to remind the disciples of, and ordered them to go into Galilee, where they might expect to see him: accordingly they did go thither, and saw and worshipped him; see Matthew 28:7.

Verse 33. Peter answered and said unto him,.... Who was always a forward man, free to speak his mind, and was often the mouth of the rest; observing what Christ had affirmed concerning all of them, that that very night, in a very short space of time, they would be offended because of him; and knowing the strong love he had for Christ, and being persuaded it could never be his case, thus addresses him;

though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended: his sense is, that though all the men in the world, friends, and foes, though even all the rest of the disciples, who were his most intimate friends, most closely attached to him, and who dearly loved him, and sincerely believed in him, should be so stumbled at what should befall him, as to flee from him, and be tempted to relinquish his cause, and interest; yet nothing should ever cause him, in the least, to stumble and fall, to desert him, or hesitate about him, or cause him to take the least umbrage and offence at what might come upon him; and this he was positive of would be the case, not only that night, but ever after. No doubt he said this in the sincerity of his heart, and out of his great fervour of affection for Christ; but what he failed in, was trusting to his own strength, being self-confident; and in entertaining greater opinion of himself, and his steady attachment to Christ, than of the rest of the disciples; and in contradicting what Christ had so strongly affirmed of them all, without any exception, and so of himself, and had confirmed by so glaring a prophecy concerning this matter.

Verse 34. Jesus said unto him, verily I say unto thee,.... Christ, the more strongly to asseverate what he was about to say, uses the word verily, or prefixes his "Amen" to it, as being a certain truth, and what Peter might assure himself of would certainly come to pass:

that this night before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice; which is, as if he should say, thou wilt not only be offended because of me, and flee from me, and be scattered with the rest, as will be the case of all of you; but thou wilt deny that thou knowest me, that thou belongest to me, or hast any concern with me; and this thou wilt do not only once, but again and again, even three times, one after another, and that this very night, before the cock has done crowing. In Mark it is said, "that this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice," Mr 14:30; which may be reconciled with the words of Matthew, and the other evangelists, by observing, that the word "twice" is not in Beza's ancient copy, which he gave to the university of Cambridge, nor is it in the Ethiopic version; which if allowed to be the true reading, the difficulty is removed at once; but whereas it is in other copies, no stress must be laid on this, nor is there any need of it: for whereas the cock crows twice in the night, once at midnight, and again near break of day; and which latter crowing being louder, and more welcome, and most taken notice of, is, by way of eminence, called the cock crowing; and is what Matthew here has respect to, and so designs the same as Mark does; and the sense of both is, that before the cock crow a second time, which is most properly the cock crowing, Peter should three times deny his master, as he did; see Mr 13:35, where cock crowing is distinguished from midnight, the first time the cock crows, and means the second time of crowing; and where Mark is to be understood in the same sense as Matthew, and both entirely agree. So cock crowing and midnight are distinguished by the Jews, who say {b}, "that on all other days they remove the ashes from the altar, rbgh tayrqb, "at cock crowing," or near unto it, whether before or after; but on the day of atonement, twuhm, "at midnight":" and who also speak of the cocks crowing a first and second, and even a third time {c}. "Says R. Shila, he that begins his journey before cock crowing, his blood be upon his head. R. Josiah says, he may not proceed bwvyv de, "until he repeats"; that is, until he crows twice: and there are, who say, until he trebles it, or crows a third time: of what do they speak? of a middling one, i.e. which neither crows too soon, nor too late."

{b} Misn. Yoma, c. 1. sect. 8. {c} T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 21. 1.

Verse 35. Peter saith unto him,.... Mark says, "he spake the more vehemently," Mr 14:31; his spirits were raised to a greater pitch of resentment, and he expressed himself in stronger terms, and in more peremptory and self-confident language;

though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee: he seems to have understood Christ, that he should suffer death, and that he would be in great danger himself, and therefore rather than lose his life would deny his master; wherefore he most confidently affirms, that should this be the case, should he be called to suffer death for his sake, or along with him, he would most cheerfully embrace it, rather than be guilty of so dreadful a crime, which he could not look upon but with the utmost detestation and abhorrence, as to deny his dear Lord and Saviour:

likewise also said all the disciples; that they would never be offended because of him, and would die with him rather than deny him. This they said, being also self-confident and ignorant of their own weakness, and drawn into these expressions through Peter's example; and that partly to show their equal abhorrence of so horrible an iniquity, as denying Jesus; and partly to remove all suspicion from them, lest they should be thought to have less love and zeal for Christ than Peter had.

Verse 36. Then cometh Jesus with them,.... The eleven disciples,

unto a place called Gethsemane; the Syriac version calls it Ghedsiman; the Persic, Ghesmani, so the Arabic; the Vulgate Latin, and the Ethiopic, Gethsemani: in Munster's Hebrew Gospel, and in the Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions, it is called a "village"; and in the Ethiopic version, "a village of wine"; and in the Syriac and Persic versions, a place. Here, according to an Ethiopic writer, the Virgin Mary was buried by the apostles {d}. Its etymology is very differently given: some read, and explain it, as if it was Mynmv yg, "a valley of fatness," or "of olives," as it is called in Munster's Hebrew Gospel; see Isaiah 28:1; others as if it was ynmyod yg, "a valley of signs," or a very famous valley; so Mount Sinai is called {e}, yanmyo rh, "Harsemanai," the mountain of signs: but, to take notice of no more; the true reading and signification of it is, ynmv tg, "an olive press," or a press for olives: so we read {f} of a chamber in the temple which is called "the chamber," aynmv tyb, "Beth Semania," or "Bethsemani," where they put their wine and oil for temple service. It is very probable that at, or near this place, was a very public olive press, where they used to squeeze the olives, for the oil of them, which they gathered in great plenty from off the Mount of Olives; at the foot of which this place was; and a very significant place it was for our Lord to go to at this time, when he was about to tread the wine press of his Father's wrath, alone, and of the people there were none with him: for it follows,

and saith unto the disciples, sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder: perceiving a time of distress was coming upon him, he betakes himself to prayer, an example worthy of our imitation; in the performance of which duty he chose to be retired and solitary, and therefore left eight of his disciples at a certain place, whilst he went to another at some distance, convenient for his purpose; who perhaps might be the weakest of the disciples, and not able to bear the agonies and distress of their Lord and Master.

{d} Ludolph. Lex. Ethiop. p. 554. {e} T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 89. 1. {f} T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 16. 1.

Verse 37. And he took with him Peter, and the two sons of Zebedee,.... James and John, who perhaps were the strongest, and best able to bear the shocking sight, and were his favourite disciples; who were admitted to be with him at other times, when the rest were not; as at the raising of Jairus's daughter, Mark 5:37, and moreover, these were at his transfiguration on the mount, Matthew 17:1, which was a representation and presage of his glory; and so were very proper persons to be witnesses of his sorrows and agonies, which were the way to it; and three of them were taken by him for this purpose, being a sufficient number to bear testimony, since by the mouth of two or three witnesses everything is established:

and began to be sorrowful; his soul was troubled on the same account six days before, John 12:27, but was now sorrowful. He was a man of sorrows all his days, and acquainted with griefs, being reproached and persecuted by men: but now a new scene of sorrows opened; before he was afflicted by men, but now he is bruised, and put to grief by his Father: his sorrows now began, for they did not end here, but on the cross; not that this was but a bare beginning of his sorrows, or that these were but light in comparison of future ones; for they were very heavy, and indeed seem to be the heaviest of all, as appears from his own account of them; his vehement cry to his Father; his bloody sweat and agony; and the assistance he stood in need of from an angel; and the comfort and strength he received from him in his human nature: all which, put together, the like is not to be observed in any part of his sufferings:

and to be very heavy; with the weight of the sins of his people, and the sense of divine wrath, with which he was so pressed and overwhelmed, that his spirits were almost quite gone; he was just ready to swoon away, sink and die; his heart failed him, and became like wax melted in the midst of his bowels, before the wrath of God, which was as a consuming fire: all which shows the truth, though weakness of his human nature, and the greatness of his sufferings in it. The human nature was still in union with the divine person of the Son of God, and was sustained by him, but left to its natural weakness, without sin, that it might suffer to the utmost, and as much as possible for the sins of God's elect.