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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW - Chapter 26 - Verse 36

Verses 36-45. Jesus' agony in Gethsemane. This account is also recorded in Mr 14:32-42; Lu 22:39-46; Joh 18:1.

 

Verse 36. Then cometh, etc. After the institution of the Supper, in the early part of the night, he went out to the Mount of Olives. In his journey he passed over the brook Cedron, (Joh 18:1,) which bounded Jerusalem on the east.

Unto a place. John calls this a garden. This garden was evidently on the western side of the Mount of Olives, a short distance from Jerusalem, and commanding a full view of the city. It is doubted whether the word rendered garden means a villa or country seat, or a garden, properly so called. It is probable that it might include both: a cluster of houses, or a small village in which was a garden. The word here means not properly a garden for the cultivation of vegetables, but a place planted with the olive and other trees, perhaps with a fountain of waters, and with walks and groves—a proper place of refreshment in a hot climate, and of retirement from the noise of the adjacent city. Such places were doubtless common in the vicinity of Jerusalem. Messrs. Fisk and King, American missionaries, were there in 1823. They tell us that the garden is about a stone's cast from the brook of Cedron; that it now contains eight large and venerable-looking olives, whose trunks show their great antiquity. The spot is sandy and barren, and appears like a forsaken place. A low broken wall surrounds it. Mr. K. sat down beneath one of the trees, and read Isa 53:1-12, and also the gospel history of our Redeemer's sorrow during that memorable night in which he was there betrayed; and the interest of the association was heightened by the passing through the place of a party of Bedouins, armed with spears and swords. Jesus, in the silence of the night, free from interruption, made it a place of retirement and prayer.

Luke says, he went as he was wont, i.e., accustomed, to the Mount of Olives. Probably he had been in the habit of retiring from Jerusalem to that place for meditation and prayer; thus enforcing by his example what he had so often done by his precepts, the duty of retiring from the noise and bustle of the world to hold communion with God.

Gethsemane. This word is made up either of two Hebrew words, signifying valley of fatness, i.e., a fertile valley; or of two words, signifying an olive press, given to it probably because the place was filled with olives.

Sit ye here. That is, in one part of the garden, to which they first came.

While I go and pray yonder. That is, at the distance of a stone's cast, Lu 22:41. Luke adds, that when he came to the garden, he charged them to pray that they might not enter into temptation—i, e., into deep trials and afflictions—or, more probably, into scenes and dangers that would tempt them to deny him.

{g} "Then cometh Jesus" Mr 14:32; Lu 22:39; Joh 18:1

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