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Chapter 14

14:1 After two days [meta duo hēmeras]. This was Tuesday evening as we count time (beginning of the Jewish Wednesday). In Mt 26:2 Jesus is reported as naming this same date which would put it our Thursday evening, beginning of the Jewish Friday. The Gospel of John mentions five items that superficially considered seem to contradict this definite date in Mark and Matthew, but which are really in harmony with them. See discussion on Mt 26:17 and my Harmony of the Gospels, pp. 279 to 284. Mark calls it here the feast of “the passover and the unleavened bread,” both names covering the eight days. Sometimes “passover” is applied to only the first day, sometimes to the whole period. No sharp distinction in usage was observed. Sought [ezētoun]. Imperfect tense. They were still at it, though prevented so far.

14:2 Not during the feast [Mē en tēi heortēi]. They had first planned to kill him at the feast (Joh 11:57), but the Triumphal Entry and great Tuesday debate (this very morning) in the temple had made them decide to wait till after the feast was over. It was plain that Jesus had too large and powerful a following. See on Mt 26:47.

14:3 As he sat at meat [katakeimenou autou]. Mt 26:7 uses [anakeimenou], both words meaning reclining (leaning down or up or back) and in the genitive absolute. See on Mt 26:6 in proof that this is a different incident from that recorded in Lu 7:36-50. See on Mt 26:6-13 for discussion of details. Spikenard [nardou pistikēs]. This use of [pistikos] with [nardos] occurs only here and in Joh 12:3. The adjective is common enough in the older Greek and appears in the papyri also in the sense of genuine, unadulterated, and that is probably the idea here. The word spikenard is from the Vulgate nardi spicati, probably from the Old Latin nardi pistici. Brake [suntripsousa]. Only in Mark. She probably broke the narrow neck of the vase holding the ointment.

14:5 Above three hundred pence [epanō dēnariōn triakosiōn]. Matthew has “for much” while Joh 12:5 has “for three hundred pence.” The use of “far above” may be a detail from Peter’s memory of Judas’ objection whose name in this connection is preserved in Joh 12:4. And they murmured against her [kai enebrimōnto autēi]. Imperfect tense of this striking word used of the snorting of horses and seen already in Mr 1:43; 11:38. It occurs in the LXX in the sense of anger as here (Da 11:30). Judas made the complaint against Mary of Bethany, but all the apostles joined in the chorus of criticism of the wasteful extravagance.

14:7 She hath done what she could [ho eschen epoiēsen]. This alone in Mark. Two aorists. Literally, “what she had she did.” Mary could not comprehend the Lord’s death, but she at least showed her sympathy with him and some understanding of the coming tragedy, a thing that not one of her critics had done. She hath anointed my body aforehand for the burying [proelaben murisai to sōma mou eis ton entaphiasmon]. Literally, “she took beforehand to anoint my body for the burial.” She anticipated the event. This is Christ’s justification of her noble deed. Mt 26:12 also speaks of the burial preparation by Mary, using the verb [entaphiasai].

14:9 For a memorial of her [eis mnēmosunon autēs]. So in Mt 26:13. There are many mausoleums that crumble to decay. But this monument to Jesus fills the whole world still with its fragrance. What a hint there is here for those who wish to leave permanent memorials.

14:10 He that was one of the twelve [ho heis tōn dōdeka]. Note the article here, “the one of the twelve,” Matthew has only [heis], “one.” Some have held that Mark here calls Judas the primate among the twelve. Rather he means to call attention to the idea that he was the one of the twelve who did this deed.

14:11 And they, when they heard it, were glad [hoi de akousantes echarēsan]. No doubt the rabbis looked on the treachery of Judas as a veritable dispensation of Providence amply justifying their plots against Jesus. Conveniently [eukairōs]. This was the whole point of the offer of Judas. He claimed that he knew enough of the habits of Jesus to enable them to catch him “in the absence of the multitude” (Lu 22:6) without waiting for the passover to be over, when the crowds would leave. For discussion of the motives of Judas, see on Mt 26:15. Mark merely notes the promise of “money” while Matthew mentions “thirty pieces of silver” (Zec 11:12), the price of a slave.

14:12 When they sacrificed the passover [hote to pascha ethuon]. Imperfect indicative, customary practice. The paschal lamb (note [pascha] was slain at 6 P.M., beginning of the fifteenth of the month (Ex 12:6), but the preparations were made beforehand on the fourteenth (Thursday). See on Mt 26:17 for discussion of “eat the passover.”

14:13 Two of his disciples [duo tōn mathētōn autou]. Lu 22:7 names them, Peter and John. Bearing a pitcher of water [keramion hudatos bastazōn]. This item also in Luke, but not in Matthew.

14:14 The goodman of the house [tōi oikodespotēi]. A non-classical word, but in late papyri. It means master [despot] of the house, householder. The usual Greek has two separate words, [oikou despotēs] (master of the house). My guest-chamber [to kataluma mou]. In LXX, papyri, and modern Greek for lodging-place (inn, as in Lu 2:7 or guest-chamber as here). It was used for [khan] or [caravanserai]. I shall eat [phagō]. Futuristic aorist subjunctive with [hopou].

14:15 And he [kai autos]. Emphatic, and he himself. A large upper room [anagaion mega]. Anything above ground [], and particularly upstairs as here. Here and in Lu 22:12. Example in Xenophon. Jesus wishes to observe this last feast with his disciples alone, not with others as was often done. Evidently this friend of Jesus was a man who would understand. Furnished [estrōmenon]. Perfect passive participle of [strōnnumi], state of readiness. “Strewed with carpets, and with couches properly spread” (Vincent).

14:17 He cometh [erchetai]. Dramatic historical present. It is assumed here that Jesus is observing the passover meal at the regular time and hour, at 6 P.M. at the beginning of the fifteenth (evening of our Thursday, beginning of Jewish Friday). Mark and Matthew note the time as evening and state it as the regular passover meal.

14:17 As they sat [anakeimenōn autōn]. Reclined, of course. It is a pity that these verbs are not translated properly in English. Even Leonardo da Vinci in his immortal painting of the Last Supper has Jesus and his apostles sitting, not reclining. Probably he took an artist’s license for effect. Even he that eateth with me [ho esthiōn met’ emou]. See Ps 4:9. To this day the Arabs will not violate hospitality by mistreating one who breaks bread with them in the tent.

14:20 One of the twelve [heis tōn dōdeka]. It is as bad as that. The sign that Jesus gave, the one dipping in the dish with me [ho embaptomenos met’ emou eis to trublion], escaped the notice of all. Jesus gave the sop to Judas who understood perfectly that Jesus knew his purpose. See on Mt 26:21-24 for further details.

14:23 A cup [potērion]. Probably the ordinary wine of the country mixed with two-thirds water, though the word for wine [oinos] is not used here in the Gospels, but “the fruit of the vine” [ek tou genēmatos tēs ampelou]. See Mt 26:26-29 for discussion of important details. Mark and Matthew give substantially the same account of the institution of the Supper by Jesus, while Lu 22:17-20 agrees closely with 1Co 11:23-26 where Paul claims to have obtained his account by direct revelation from the Lord Jesus.

14:26 Sung a hymn [humnēsantes]. See Mt 26:30 for discussion.

14:29 Yet will not I [all’ ouk egō]. Mark records here Peter’s boast of loyalty even though all desert him. All the Gospels tell it. See discussion on Mt 26:33.

14:30 Twice [dis]. This detail only in Mark. One crowing is always the signal for more. The Fayum papyrus agrees with Mark in having [dis]. The cock-crowing marks the third watch of the night (Mr 13:35).

14:31 Exceeding vehemently [ekperissōs]. This strong compounded adverb only in Mark and probably preserves Peter’s own statement of the remark. About the boast of Peter see on Mt 26:35.

14:32 Which was named [hou to onoma]. Literally, “whose name was.” On Gethsemane see on Mt 26:36. While I pray [heōs proseuxōmai]. Aorist subjunctive with [heōs] really with purpose involved, a common idiom. Matthew adds “go yonder” [apelthōn ekei].

14:33 Greatly amazed and sore troubled [ekthambeisthai kai adēmonein]. Mt 26:37 has “sorrowful and sore troubled.” See on Matt. about [adēmonein]. Mark alone uses [exthambeisthai] (here and in 9:15). There is a papyrus example given by Moulton and Milligan’s Vocabulary. The verb [thambeō] occurs in Mr 10:32 for the amazement of the disciples at the look of Jesus as he went toward Jerusalem. Now Jesus himself feels amazement as he directly faces the struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane. He wins the victory over himself in Gethsemane and then he can endure the loss, despising the shame. For the moment he is rather amazed and homesick for heaven. “Long as He had foreseen the Passion, when it came clearly into view its terror exceeded His anticipations” (Swete). “He learned from what he suffered,” (Heb 5:8) and this new experience enriched the human soul of Jesus.

14:35 Fell on the ground [epipten epi tēs gēs]. Descriptive imperfect. See him falling. Matthew has the aorist [epesen]. Prayed [prosēucheto]. Imperfect, prayed repeatedly or inchoative, began to pray. Either makes good sense. The hour [hē hōra]. Jesus had long looked forward to this “hour” and had often mentioned it (Joh 7:30; 8:20; 12:23,27; 13:1). See again in Mr 14:41. Now he dreads it, surely a human trait that all can understand.

14:36 Abba, Father [Abba ho patēr]. Both Aramaic and Greek and the article with each. This is not a case of translation, but the use of both terms as is Ga 4:6, a probable memory of Paul’s childhood prayers. About “the cup” see on Mt 26:39. It is not possible to take the language of Jesus as fear that he might die before he came to the Cross. He was heard (Heb 5:7f.) and helped to submit to the Father’s will as he does instantly. Not what I will [ou ti egō thelō]. Matthew has “as” [hōs]. We see the humanity of Jesus in its fulness both in the Temptations and in Gethsemane, but without sin each time. And this was the severest of all the temptations, to draw back from the Cross. The victory over self brought surrender to the Father’s will.

14:37 Simon, sleepest thou? [Simōn, katheudeis;]. The old name, not the new name, Peter. Already his boasted loyalty was failing in the hour of crisis. Jesus fully knows the weakness of human flesh (see on Mt 26:41).

14:40 Very heavy [katabarunomenoi]. Perfective use of [kata-] with the participle. Matthew has the simple verb. Mark’s word is only here in the N.T. and is rare in Greek writers. Mark has the vivid present passive participle, while Matthew has the perfect passive [bebarēmenoi]. And they wist not what to answer him [kai ouk ēideisan ti apokrithōsin autōi]. Deliberative subjunctive retained in the indirect question. Alone in Mark and reminds one of the like embarrassment of these same three disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration (Mr 9:6). On both occasions weakness of the flesh prevented their real sympathy with Jesus in his highest and deepest experiences. “Both their shame and their drowsiness would make them dumb” (Gould).

14:41 It is enough [apechei]. Alone in Mark. This impersonal use is rare and has puzzled expositors no little. The papyri (Deissmann’s Light from the Ancient East and Moulton and Milligan’s Vocabulary) furnish many examples of it as a receipt for payment in full. See also Mt 6:2ff.; Lu 6:24; Php 4:17 for the notion of paying in full. It is used here by Jesus in an ironical sense, probably meaning that there was no need of further reproof of the disciples for their failure to watch with him. “This is no time for a lengthened exposure of the faults of friends; the enemy is at the gate” (Swete). See further on Mt 26:45 for the approach of Judas.

14:43 And the scribes [kai tōn grammateōn]. Mark adds this item while Joh 18:3 mentions “Pharisees.” It was evidently a committee of the Sanhedrin for Judas had made his bargain with the Sanhedrin (Mr 14:1; Mt 26:3; Lu 22:2). See discussion of the betrayal and arrest on Mt 26:47-56 for details.

14:44 Token [sussēmon]. A common word in the ancient Greek for a concerted signal according to agreement. It is here only in the New Testament. Mt 26:47 has [sēmeion], sign. The signal was the kiss by Judas, a contemptible desecration of a friendly salutation. And lead him away safely [kai apagete asphalōs]. Only in Mark. Judas wished no slip to occur. Mark and Matthew do not tell of the falling back upon the ground when Jesus challenged the crowd with Judas. It is given by John alone (Joh 18:4-9).

14:47 A certain one [heis tis]. Mark does not tell that it was Peter. Only Joh 18:10 does that after Peter’s death. He really tried to kill the man, Malchus by name, as John again tells (Joh 18:10). Mark does not give the rebuke to Peter by Jesus in Mt 26:52ff.

14:47 Against a robber [epi lēistēn]. Highway robbers like Barabbas were common and were often regarded as heroes. Jesus will be crucified between two robbers in the very place that Barabbas would have occupied.

14:51 A certain young man [neaniskos tis]. This incident alone in Mark. It is usually supposed that Mark himself, son of Mary (Ac 12:12) in whose house they probably had observed the passover meal, had followed Jesus and the apostles to the Garden. It is a lifelike touch quite in keeping with such a situation. Here after the arrest he was following with Jesus [sunēkolouthei autōi], imperfect tense). Note the vivid dramatic present [kratousin] (they seize him).

14:52 Linen cloth [sindona]. An old Greek word of unknown origin. It was fine linen cloth used often for wrapping the dead (Mt 27:59; Mr 15:46; Lu 23:53). In this instance it could have been a fine sheet or even a shirt.

14:54 Peter had followed him afar off [Ho Petros apo makrothen ēkolouthēsen autōi]. Here Mark uses the constative aorist [ēkolouthēsen] where Mt 26:58, and Lu 22:54 have the picturesque imperfect [ēkolouthei], was following. Possibly Mark did not care to dwell on the picture of Peter furtively following at a distance, not bold enough to take an open stand with Christ as the Beloved Disciple did, and yet unable to remain away with the other disciples. Was sitting with [ēn sunkathēmenos]. Periphrastic imperfect middle, picturing Peter making himself at home with the officers [hupēretōn], under rowers, literally, then servants of any kind. Joh 18:25 describes Peter as standing [hestōs]. Probably he did now one, now the other, in his restless weary mood. Warming himself in the light [thermainomenos prōs to phōs]. Direct middle. Fire has light as well as heat and it shone in Peter’s face. He was not hidden as much as he supposed he was.

14:56 Their witness agreed not together [isai hai marturiai ouk ēsan]. Literally, the testimonies were not equal. They did not correspond with each other on essential points. Many were bearing false witness [epseudomarturoun], imperfect, repeated action) against him. No two witnesses bore joint testimony to justify a capital sentence according to the law (De 19:15). Note imperfects in these verses (55-57) to indicate repeated failures.

14:57 Bare false witness [epseudomarturoun]. In desperation some attempted once more (conative imperfect).

14:57 Made with hands [cheiropoiēton]. In Mark alone. An old Greek word. The negative form [acheiropoiēton] here occurs elsewhere only in 2Co 5:1; Col 2:11. In Heb 9:11 the negative [ou] is used with the positive form. It is possible that a real [logion] of Jesus underlies the perversion of it here. Mark and Matthew do not quote the witnesses precisely alike. Perhaps they quoted Jesus differently and therein is shown part of the disagreement, for Mark adds verse 59 (not in Matthew). “And not even so did their witness agree together,” repeating the point of verse 57. Swete observes that Jesus, as a matter of fact, did do what he is quoted as saying in Mark: “He said what the event has proved to be true; His death destroyed the old order, and His resurrection created the new.” But these witnesses did not mean that by what they said. The only saying of Jesus at all like this preserved to us is that in Joh 2:19, when he referred not to the temple in Jerusalem, but to the temple of his body, though no one understood it at the time.

14:60 Stood up in the midst [anastas eis meson]. Second aorist active participle. For greater solemnity he arose to make up by bluster the lack of evidence. The high priest stepped out into the midst as if to attack Jesus by vehement questions. See on Mt 26:59-67 for details here.

14:61 And answered nothing [kai ouk apekrinato ouden]. Mark adds the negative statement to the positive “kept silent” [esiōpā], imperfect, also in Matthew. Mark does not give the solemn oath in Matthew under which Jesus had to answer. See on Matthew.

14:62 I am [ego eimi]. Matthew has it, “Thou hast said,” which is the equivalent of the affirmative. But Mark’s statement is definite beyond controversy. See on Mt 26:64-67 for the claims of Jesus and the conduct of Caiaphas.

14:64 They all [hoi de pantes]. This would mean that Joseph of Arimathea was not present since he did not consent to the death of Jesus (Lu 23:51). Nicodemus was apparently absent also, probably not invited because of previous sympathy with Jesus (Joh 7:50). But all who were present voted for the death of Jesus.

14:65 Cover his face [perikaluptein autou to prosōpon]. Put a veil around his face. Not in Matthew, but in Lu 22:64 where Revised Version translates [perikalupsantes] by “blind-folded.” All three Gospels give the jeering demand of the Sanhedrin: “Prophesy” [prophēteuson], meaning, as Matthew and Luke add, thereby telling who struck him while he was blindfolded. Mark adds “the officers” (same as in verse 54) of the Sanhedrin, Roman lictors or sergeants-at-arms who had arrested Jesus in Gethsemane and who still held Jesus [hoi sunechontes auton], Lu 22:63). Mt 26:67 alludes to their treatment of Jesus without clearly indicating who they were. With blows of their hands [rapismasin]. The verb [rapizō] in Mt 26:67 originally meant to smite with a rod. In late writers it comes to mean to slap the face with the palm of the hands. The same thing is true of the substantive [rapisma] used here. A papyrus of the sixth century A.D. uses it in the sense of a scar on the face as the result of a blow. It is in the instrumental case here. “They caught him with blows,” Swete suggests for the unusual [elabon] in this sense. “With rods” is, of course, possible as the lictors carried rods. At any rate it was a gross indignity.

14:66 Beneath in the court [katō en tēi aulēi]. This implies that Jesus was upstairs when the Sanhedrin met. Mt 22:69 has it without in the court [exō en tēi aulēi]. Both are true. The open court was outside of the rooms and also below.

14:67 Warming himself [thermainomenon]. Mark mentions this fact about Peter twice (14:54, 67) as does John (Joh 18:18, 25). He was twice beside the fire. It is quite difficult to relate clearly the three denials as told in the Four Gospels. Each time several may have joined in, both maids and men. The Nazarene [tou Nazarēnou]. In Mt 26:69 it is “the Galilean.” A number were probably speaking, one saying one thing, another another.

14:67 I neither know nor understand [oute oida oute epistamai]. This denial is fuller in Mark, briefest in John. What thou sayest [su ti legeis]. Can be understood as a direct question. Note position of thou [su], proleptical. Into the porch [eis to proaulion]. Only here in the New Testament. Plato uses it of a prelude on a flute. It occurs also in the plural for preparations the day before the wedding. Here it means the vestibule to the court. Mt 26:71 has [pulōna], a common word for gate or front porch. And the cock crew [kai alektōr ephōnēsen]. Omitted by Aleph B L Sinaitic Syriac. It is genuine in verse 72 where “the second time” [ek deuterou] occurs also. It is possible that because of verse 72 it crept into verse 68. Mark alone alludes to the cock crowing twice, originally (Mr 14:30), and twice in verse 72, besides verse 67 which is hardly genuine.

14:69 To them that stood by [tois parestōsin]. This talk about Peter was overheard by him. “This fellow [houtos] is one of them.” So in verse 70 the talk is directly to Peter as in Mt 26:73, but in Lu 22:59 it is about him. Soon the bystanders [hoi parestōtes] will join in the accusation to Peter (verse 70; Mt 26:73), with the specially pungent question in Joh 18:26 which was the climax. See on Mt 26:69-75 for discussion of similar details.

14:71 Curse [anathematizein]. Our word anathema [ana, thema], an offering, then something devoted or a curse). Finally the two meanings were distinguished by [anathēma] for offering and [anathema] for curse. Deissmann has found examples at Megara of [anathema] in the sense of curse. Hence the distinction observed in the N.T. was already in the Koinē. Mt 26:74 has [katathematizein], which is a [hapax legomenon] in the N.T., though common in the LXX. This word has the notion of calling down curses on one’s self if the thing is not true.

14:72 Called to mind [anemnēsthē]. First aorist passive indicative. Mt 26:75 has the uncompounded verb [emnēsthē] while Lu 22:61 has another compound [hupemnēsthē], was reminded. When he thought thereon [epibalōn]. Second aorist active participle of [epiballō]. It is used absolutely here, though there is a reference to [to rhēma] above, the word of Jesus, and the idiom involves [ton noun] so that the meaning is to put the mind upon something. In Lu 15:12 there is another absolute use with a different sense. Moulton (Prolegomena, p. 131) quotes a Ptolemaic papyrus Tb P 50 where [epibalōn] probably means “set to,” put his mind on. Wept [eklaien]. Inchoative imperfect, began to weep. Mt 26:75 has the ingressive aorist [eklausen], burst into tears.

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