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Verses 62-66

Matthew 27:62-66. Now the next day; the day that followed the day of the preparation That is, after the sun was set, for the Jewish day began then. The day of preparation was the day before the sabbath, whereon they were to prepare for the celebration of it. The next day, then, (namely, Saturday,) was the sabbath, according to the Jews. But the evangelist seems to express it by this circumlocution, to show that the Jewish sabbath was then abolished. The chief priests, &c., came together unto Pilate The chief priests and Pharisees, remembering that Jesus had predicted his own resurrection more than once, came to the governor and informed him of it begging that a guard might be ordered to the sepulchre, lest the disciples should carry his body away and affirm that he was risen from the dead. But they took this measure not on the morrow, in our sense of the word, but in the evening, after sunsetting, when the Jewish sabbath was begun, and when they understood the body was buried. To have delayed it to sunrising would have been preposterous, as the disciples might have stolen the body away during the preceding night. Besides, there is no inconsistency between this account of the time when the watch was placed and the subsequent articles of the history, which proceed upon the supposition that the women present at our Lord’s funeral were ignorant that any watch was placed at his grave. For they departed so early, that they had time to buy spices and ointments in the city before the preparation of the sabbath was ended; whereas the watch was not placed till the sabbath began. Saying, Sir Thus the word Κυριε is here very properly rendered, as in many other places it is as improperly translated lord. It should certainly always be translated sir, when no more than civil respect is intended. We remember that deceiver said, After three days Or, as

μετα τρεις ημερας may be properly rendered, within three days, I will rise again We do not find that he had ever said this to them, unless when he spoke of the temple of his body, (John 2:19; John 2:21.) And if they here refer to what he then said, how perverse and iniquitous was their construction on these words, when he was on his trial before the council!

Matthew 26:61. Then they seemed not to understand them! Perhaps, however, they may refer to what he said (when the scribes and Pharisees demanded a sign of him) respecting the Prophet Jonas, namely, that as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, the Son of man should be so long in the heart of the earth. Or, on some occasion not mentioned by the evangelists, our Lord may have made a public declaration of his resurrection in the very terms here set down. But, in whatever way they came to the knowledge of it, certain it is that the chief priests and Pharisees were well acquainted with our Lord’s predictions concerning it; and hence the precaution and care which they used in guarding the sepulchre, all which was overruled by the providence of God to give the strongest proofs of Christ’s ensuing resurrection. Command, therefore, that the sepulchre be made sure This, as being a servile work, it might be thought they would not ask to be done on the sabbath. But we must observe, that they asked this of Romans, whom they did not consider as bound by the law of the sabbath. Jews to this day do not scruple to avail themselves of the work done by Christians on the Jewish sabbath. Pilate said, Ye have a guard “Pilate, thinking their request reasonable, allowed them to take as many soldiers as they pleased of the cohort which, at the feast, came from the castle Antonia, and kept guard in the porticoes of the temple. For that they were not Jewish but Roman soldiers whom the priests employed to watch the sepulchre, is evident from their asking them of the governor. Besides, when the soldiers returned with the news of Christ’s resurrection, the priests desired them to report that his disciples had stolen him away while they slept; and, to encourage them to tell the falsehood boldly, promised, that if their neglect of duty came to the governor’s ears, proper means should be used to pacify him and keep them safe; a promise which there was no need of making to their own servants.” Macknight. So they went The priests and Pharisees having got a party of soldiers, placed them in their post, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone To hinder the guards from combining in carrying on any fraud. See Daniel 6:17: where we learn that a precaution of the like kind was made use of in the case of Daniel shut up in the lions’ den. “Thus, while the priests cautiously proposed to prevent our Lord’s resurrection from being palmed upon the world, resolving no doubt to show his body publicly after the third day, as a proof that he was an impostor, they put the truth of his resurrection beyond all question; for, besides that there could be no room for the least suspicion of deceit, when it should be found that his body was raised out of a new tomb, where there was no other corpse, and this tomb hewn out of a rock, the mouth of which was secured by a great stone, under a seal, and a guard of soldiers; by appointing this guard, they furnished a number of unexceptionable witnesses to it, whose testimony they themselves could not refuse. See Matthew 28:11.” “The chief priests and Pharisees,” says Bishop Porteus, “having taken these precautions, waited probably with no small impatience for the third day after the crucifixion when they made no doubt they should find the body in the sepulchre, and convict Jesus of deceit and imposture.”

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