Matthew 26:69-70. Now Peter, &c. Our Lord’s trial in the high-priest’s palace, and Peter’s denying him, being contemporary events, either of them might be related first, as the historian might think most proper. Matthew and Mark describe the trial first, as being the principal fact, but Luke introduces it after Peter’s denials. John has preserved the exact natural order, for he begins with the first denial, because it happened immediately after Peter entered the palace; then gives the history of the trial, as the principal fact, and concludes with the subsequent denials. The apostles, no doubt, were in great consternation when their Master was apprehended, as appears from their forsaking him and fleeing. Some of them, however, recovering out of the panic that had seized them, followed the band at a distance, to see what the end would be. Of this number was Peter, and another disciple, whom John has mentioned without giving his name, and who, therefore, is generally supposed to have been John himself, it being his manner to speak of himself in the third person. See John 13:23; John 21:10. “Matthew and Mark seem to differ in the account which they give of the place where Peter first denied his Master. Matthew’s words are, Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, &c. Mark says, Mark 14:66, the denial happened as Peter was beneath in the palace. To reconcile this difference, some suppose that the high- priest’s palace was built so as to form a court; that the fire at which the servants sat was lighted in the court; and that Jesus was examined in the porch, called by Matthew πυλων , and by Mark προαυλιον . Accordingly they think persons in the court might be said to have been ( εξω ) without, in the palace, that is, without in respect of the covered buildings; and ( κατω ) beneath in the palace with respect to the porch, which was higher than the level of the court. But it appears from John 18:25, that Peter was with the servants at the fire when he denied his Master the third time; and from Luke 22:61, that Jesus looked upon Peter just as he was pronouncing the words of the third denial. Our Lord, therefore, and his disciple, were not, the one in the court and the other in the porch of the palace during his trial, but they were together in one room, Jesus with his judges at the upper end of it, and Peter with the servants at the fire in the other. According to this disposition, Peter might be said to have been without in the hall, that is, without in relation to the crowd of judges, witnesses, and soldiers around Jesus; but in relation to the place where the council sat, he was beneath in the hall, a way of speaking common even in our own language. Further, John says, Matthew 26:18, that Peter, after the first denial, stood with the officers at the fire; whereas Matthew and Luke tell us, when he first denied his Master he sat by the fire. It seems, the maid’s words had put him into such confusion, that before he answered her he rose from the seat which the servants had given him on his first coming in.” Macknight. According to John, the maid who attacked Peter, was the damsel who kept the door. It seems, after having admitted him, she followed him to the fire, and spoke to him in an angry tone, having been informed that it was he who had cut off her fellow-servant’s ear, see John 18:26. Thou also wast with Jesus She meant when he was apprehended in the garden. This blunt attack threw Peter into such confusion, that he flatly denied his having any thing to do with Jesus, saying, I know not what thou sayest I do not understand what thou meanest by speaking to me in this manner. Here we see that apostle, who had formerly acknowledged his Master to be the Messiah, who was honoured with the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and who had most confidently boasted of fortitude, and a firm attachment to him in the greatest dangers, proved a very coward upon trial.
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