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1. Brook (ceimarrou). From ceima, winter, and rJew, to flow. Properly, a winter torrent. Only here in the New Testament. Rev., in margin, ravine. In classical Greek it occurs in Demosthenes in the sense of a drain or conduit. It may be taken as equivalent to the Arabic wady, which means a stream and its bed, or properly, the valley of a stream even when the stream is dry.
Kidron (Kedrwn). Which might also be rendered of the cedars, which some editors prefer. There is some uncertainty as to the exact meaning of the word cedar, which occurs frequently, some supposing it to be a general name for the pine family. A tree of dark foliage is mentioned in the Talmud by the name of cedrum. The ravine of Kidron separated the Mount of Olives from the Temple-Mount. Westcott cites from Derenbourg ("On the History and Geography of Palestine") a passage of the Talmud to the effect that on the Mount of Olives there were two cedars, under one of which were four shops for the sale of objects legally pure; and that in one of them pigeons enough were sold for the sacrifices of all Israel. He adds: "Even the mention of Kidron by the secondary and popular name of 'the ravine of the cedars' may contain an allusion to a scandal felt as a grievous burden at the time when the priests gained wealth by the sale of victims by the two cedars." The Kidron is the brook over which David passed, barefoot and weeping, when fleeing from Absalom (2 Samuel xv. 23-30). There King Asa burned the obscene idol of his mother (1 Kings xv. 13). It was the receptacle for the impurities and abominations of idol-worship, when removed from the temple by the adherents of Jehovah (2 Chron. xxix. 16); and, in the time of Josiah, was the common cemetery of the city (2 Kings xxiii. 6). In the vision of Ezekiel (xlvii. 5, 6, 7) he goes round to the eastern gate of the temple, overhanging the defile of Kidron, and sees the waters rushing down into the valley until the stream becomes a mighty river.
A garden. Neither John nor Luke give the name Gethsemane.
2. Which betrayed (o paradidouv). The present participle, marking the betrayal as in progress. Literally, who is betraying.
Resorted (sunhcqh). Literally, assembled. The items of this verse are peculiar to John.
Officers (uphretav). See on Matt. v. 25. Sent from the Sanhedrim. The temple police. The Synoptists speak of the body which arrested Jesus as oclov, a multitude or rabble; but both Matthew and Mark mention the band (speira) later in the narrative (Matt. xxvii. 27; Mark xv. 16).
4. That should come (ta ercomena). Literally, that are coming. The details in 4-9 are peculiar to John.
5. Of Nazareth (ton Nazwraion). Literally, the Nazarene.
Stood (eisthkei). Imperfect tense. Rev., correctly, was standing.
8. These. The disciples.
Go their way (upagein). Withdraw.
10. Simon Peter. The names of Simon Peter and Malchus are mentioned only by John in connection with this incident. The incident itself is related by all the Evangelists.
Right ear. Luke and John. The others do not specify which ear. For ear John and Mark have wjtarion, a diminutive; Luke, oujv, and Matthew, wjtion, a diminutive in form, but not in force. See on Matt. xxvi. 51.
11. Thy sword. Omit thy, and read, the sword.
Sheath (qhkhn). Only here in the New Testament. From tiqhmi, to put. That into which the sword is put.
Took (sunelabon). Rev., better, seized. It is the technical word for arresting. Literally, took with them, of which there is a suggestion in the modern policeman's phrase, go along with me. Compare Luke xxii. 54.
13. Annas first. This supplies the detail of an examination preliminary to that before the high-priest, which is omitted by the Synoptists.
Father-in-law (penqerov). Only here in the New Testament.
That same year. See on xi. 49.
15. Followed (hkolouqei). Imperfect, was following.
The other disciple. The correct reading omits the article. Another. Probably John himself.
16. Stood. Properly, was standing.
Her that kept the door (th qurwrw). See on x. 3.
17. The damsel (h paidiskh). See on Acts xii. 13.
Also. Showing that she recognized John as a disciple.
18. Stood. It is discouraging to see how the A.V. habitually ignores the imperfect tense, and thus detracts from the liveliness of the narrative. Render, as Rev., were standing.
Warmed. Rev., correctly, were warming. So, ver. 25, was standing and was warming, for stood and warmed.
19. Asked (hrwthsen). Or, questioned.
Doctrine (didachv). Rev., better, teaching.
20. In the synagogue (en th sunagwgh). The best texts omit the article. Render, in synagogue: when the people were assembled. Like our phrase, in church.
Always resort (pantote sunercontai). For pantote always, read pantev all. Sunercontai is rather come together, assemble. Rev., where all the Jews come together.
22. Struck - with the palm of his hand (edwke rapisma). Literally, gave a blow. Interpreters differ as to whether it was a blow with a rod, or with the hand. The kindred verb rJapizw, from rJapiv, a rod, is etymologically related to rJabdizw, from rJabdov, a rod, and occurs Matt. v. 39, of smiting on the cheek, and Matt. xxvi. 67, where it is distinguished from kolafizw, to strike with the fist. This latter passage, however, leaves the question open, since, if the meaning to smite with a rod can be defended, there is nothing to prevent its being understood there in that sense. The earlier meaning of the word was, undoubtedly, according to its etymology, to smite with a rod. So Herodotus of Xerxes. "It is certain that he commanded those who scourged (rapi.zontav) the waters (of the Hellespont) to utter, as they lashed them, these barbarian and wicked words" (vii. 35). And again: "The Corinthian captain, Adeimantus, observed, 'Themistocles, at the games they who start too soon are scourged (rapizontai)'" (viii. 59). It passes, in classical Greek, from this meaning to that of a light blow with the hand. The grammarian Phrynichus (A. D. 180) condemns the use of the word in the sense of striking with the hand, or slapping, as not according to good Attic usage, and says that the proper expression for a blow on the cheek with the open hand is ejpi korrhv pataxai. This shows that the un-Attic phrase had crept into use. In the Septuagint the word is clearly used in the sense of a blow with the hand. See Isa. l. 6: "I gave my cheeks to blows (eiv rapi.smata). Hos. xi. 4, "As a man that smiteth (rapizwn) upon his cheeks" (A.V. and Rev., that take off the yoke on their jaws). In 1 Kings xxii. 24, we read, "Zedekiah - smote Micaiah on the cheek (epataxe epi thn siagona)." The word in ver. 23, dereiv, literally, flayest, hence, do beat or thrash (compare Luke xii. 47), seems better to suit the meaning strike with a rod; yet in 2 Cor. xi. 20, that verb is used of smiting in the face (eiv proswpon derei), and in 1 Cor. ix. 27, where Paul is using the figure of a boxer, he says, "So fight I (pukteuw, of boxing, or fighting with the fists), not as one that beateth (derwn) the air." These examples practically destroy the force of the argument from dereiv. It is impossible to settle the point conclusively; but, on the whole, it seems as well to retain the rendering of the A.V. and Rev. 52
24. Annas had sent (apesteilen o Annav). The best texts insert oun, therefore. The rendering of the aorist by the pluperfect here is inadmissible, and is a device to bring this examination of Jesus into harmony with that described in Matt. xxvi. 56-68, and to escape the apparent inconsistency between the mention of the high-priest (Caiaphas) as conducting this examination and the statement of ver. 13, which implies that this was merely a preliminary examination before Annas. Render, Annas therefore sent him.
Bound. Probably He had been unbound during His examination.
28. Led (agousin). Present tense, lead.
Hall of judgment (praitwrion). A Latin word, proetorium, transcribed. Originally, the general's tent. In the Roman provinces it was the name for the official residence of the Roman governor, as here. Compare Acts xxiii. 35. It came to be applied to any spacious villa or palace. So Juvenal: "To their crimes they are indebted for their gardens, palaces (proetoria), etc." ("Sat.," i. 75). In Rome the term was applied to the proetorian guard, or imperial bodyguard. See on Philip. i. 13. Rev., palace.
Early (prwi). Used technically of the fourth watch, 3-6 A. M. See Mark xiii. 35. The Sanhedrim could not hold a legal meeting, especially in capital cases, before sunrise; and in such cases judicial proceedings must be conducted and terminated by day. A condemnation to death, at night, was technically illegal. In capital cases, sentence of condemnation could not be legally pronounced on the day of trial. If the night proceedings were merely preliminary to a formal trial, they would have no validity; if formal, they were, inso facto, illegal. In either case was the law observed in reference to the second council. According to the Hebrew computation of time, it was held on the same day.
Be defiled (mianqwsin). Originally, to stain, as with color. So Homer: "Tinges (mihnh) the white ivory with purple." Not necessarily, therefore, in a bad sense, like moluvw, to besmear or besmirch with filth (1 Corinthians viii. 7; Apoc. iii. 4). In classical Greek, miainw, the verb here used, is the standing word for profaning or unhallowing. So Sophocles:
"Not even fearing this pollution (miasma) dire, Will I consent to burial. Well I know That man is powerless to pollute (miainein) the gods."
And Plato: "And if a homicide... without purification pollutes the agora, or the games, or the temples," etc. ("Laws," 868). See on 1 Pet. i. 4. The defilement in the present case was apprehended from entering a house from which all leaven had not been removed.
29. Pilate. Note the abruptness with which he is introduced as one well known. Two derivations of the name are given. Pilatus, one armed with the pilum or javelin, like Torquatus, one adorned with a collar (torques). Or, a contraction from Pileatus, wearing the pileus or cap, which was the badge of manumitted slaves. Hence some have supposed that he was a freedman. Tacitus refers to him as connected with Christ's death. "The author of that name (Christian), or sect, was Christ, who was capitally punished in the reign of Tiberius, by Pontius Pilate" ("Annals," xv. 44). He was the sixth Roman procurator of Judea.
31. Take ye him (labete auton umeiv). The A.V. obscures the emphatic force of uJmeiv, you. Pilate's words display great practical shrewdness in forcing the Jews to commit themselves to the admission that they desired Christ's death. "Take him yourselves (so Rev.), and judge him according to your law." "By our law," reply the Jews, "he ought to die." But this penalty they could not inflict. "It is not lawful," etc.
33. Art thou (su ei). Thou is emphatic. Thou, the despised malefactor. King of the Jews. The civil title. The theocratic title, king of Israel (i. 49; xii. 13) is addressed to Jesus on the cross (Matt. xxvii. 42; Mark xv. 32) in mockery.
35. Am I a Jew? As if Jesus' question implied that Pilate had been taking counsel with the Jews.
Fight (hgwnizonto). The imperfect tense, denoting action in progress: would now be striving.
37. Art thou then (oukoun ei su). The interrogative particle oujkoun, not therefore, occurs only here in the New Testament. It is ironical. In ver. 33 the emphasis is on thou: here upon king. So then, after all, thou art a king.
Was I born - came I (gegennhmai - elhluqa). Both perfects. Have I been born-am I come. So Rev. The Greek order is I for this have been born, etc., throwing the emphasis on Christ's person and destiny. The perfect describes His birth and coming not merely as historical facts, but as abiding in their results. Compare this confession before Pilate (1 Timothy vi. 13) with the corresponding confession before the high-priest (Matt. xxvi. 64). "The one, addressed to the Jews, is framed in the language of prophecy; the other, addressed to a Roman, appeals to the universal testimony of conscience. The one speaks of a future manifestation of glory, the other speaking of a present manifestation of truth. The one looks forward to the Return, the other looks backward to the Incarnation" (Westcott).
38. Truth. Not with the article as in the previous verse, the truth. Jesus meant the absolute truth: Pilate, truth in any particular case. "Pilate's exclamation is neither the expression of an ardent thirst for truth, nor that of the despair of a soul which has long sought it in vain; it is the profession of a frivolous skepticism, such as is frequently met with in the man of the world, and especially in the statesman" (Godet).
39. Ye have a custom. The word sunhqeia, custom, originally means intimacy, habitual intercourse, and thence naturally passes into the meaning of habit or custom. Only John puts the statement of this custom into the mouth of Pilate. Matthew and Mark relate it as a fact.
At the Passover (en tw pasca). More specific than Matthew and Mark, where the expression is general, kata eJorthn, at feast-time.
40. Cried (ekraugasan). Peculiarly of a loud, importunate cry; a shout. Plato uses it of the howling of a dog: "The yelping hound, howling (kraugazousa) at her Lord" ("Republic," 607). Others, of the cries of spectators in the theaters and of the croak of a raven. See on Matthew xv. 22.
Again. Assuming John's recollection of a previous "crying out," which he has not recorded.
Robber (lhsthv). See on Matt. xxvi. 55; Mark xi. 17; Luke x. 30. Matt. calls him a "notable prisoner" (xxvii. 16). Mark states that he had made insurrection, and had committed murder (xv. 7), speaking of the insurrection as a well-known event. Luke says, "for some insurrection (stasin tina) that had arisen in the city, and for murder" (xxiii. 19). Writing for Gentiles, Luke would not refer to the event as something familiar. Bandits of this kind were numerous in the neighborhood of Jerusalem under the Roman dominion. Their leaders were well known. Josephus describes them by the same word which Matthew uses, ejpishmoi, notable. Their depredations were often committed under patriotic pretenses, so that Barabas might have had influential friends among the people.