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Verse 34. They gave him vinegar, etc. Mark says that "they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh." The two evangelists mean the same thing. Vinegar was made of light wine rendered acid, and was the common drink of the Roman soldiers; and this might be called either vinegar or wine, in common language. Myrrh is a bitter substance, produced in Arabia, but is used often to denote anything bitter. The meaning of the name is bitterness. See Barnes "Mt 2:11".

Gall is, properly, a bitter secretion from the liver; but the word is also used to denote anything exceedingly bitter, as wormwood, etc. The drink, therefore, was vinegar or wine, rendered bitter by the infusion of wormwood, or some other very bitter substance. The effect of this, it is said, was to stupify the senses. It was often given to those crucified, to render them insensible to the pains of death. Our Lord knowing this, when he had tasted it, refused to drink, he was unwilling to blunt the pains of dying. The cup which his Father gave him he rather chose to drink, He came to suffer. His sorrows were necessary for the work of the atonement; and he gave himself up to the unmitigated sufferings of the cross. This was presented to him in the early part of his sufferings, or when he was about to be suspended on the cross. Afterward, when he was on the cross, and just before his death, vinegar was offered to him without the myrrh —the vinegar which the soldiers usually drank—and of this he received. See Mt 27:49; Joh 19:28-30. Where Matthew and Mark say that he "would not drink," they refer to a different thing and a different time from John, and there is no contradiction.

{d} "gall" Ps 69:21

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