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9

They made his grave with the wicked

and his tomb with the rich,

although he had done no violence,

and there was no deceit in his mouth.

 


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9. And he laid open to wicked men his grave. Jerome renders it, “And he gave wicked men for burial;” as if the Prophet spake of the punishment by which the Lord took vengeance for the sin of wicked men, who crucified Christ. But he rather speaks of the death of Christ, and of the fruit of it, and says nothing about that revenge. Others think that the particle את (eth) denotes comparison, in the same manner as the particle כ (caph). “He gave his grave as of wicked men.” Others interpret את (eth) to mean with, and explain “the rich man” to be Joseph of Arimathea, in whose sepulcher Christ was buried. (Matthew 27:60; John 19:38) But such an interpretation is too unnatural. I rather think that the real meaning is, that God the Father delivered Christ into the hands of wicked men.

And to the rich man his death. I consider the singular עשיר (gnashir,) “the rich man,” to be put for the plural עשרים (gnashirim), as is frequently done by Hebrew writers. I see no reason why Oecolampadius rendered it “high places.” 5252     “Je ne voy point de raison pourquoy OEcolampade a traduit, II a expose ses hants lieux au riche.” “I see no reason why OEcolampadius translated it, ‘He laid open his high places to the rich man.’” By “rich men” he means “violent men;” for men grow haughty and disdainful on account of their riches, and abuse their wealth to savage cruelty. And thus by the terms “wicked men” and “rich men” the same thing, in my opinion, is denoted. He means, therefore, that Christ was exposed to the reproaches, and insolence, and lawless passions of wicked men. For, on the one hand, the Pharisees and priests (Matthew 26:66) rush upon him with unbridled rage and foul slander; on the other hand, Pilate, though well aware of his innocence, (Mark 15:14) condemns him in opposition to law and justice; and again, on another hand, the Roman soldiers, ready for every kind of barbarity, cruelly and wickedly execute the cruel and wicked sentence. (John 19:16) Who would not conclude that Christ was crushed and “buried” amidst those impious and bloody hands?

I consider the word grave to be here used metaphorically, because wicked and violent men might be said to have overwhelmed him. If it be objected that Christ had an honorable burial, I reply, that burial was the commencement of a glorious resurrection; but at present the Prophet speaks of death, which is often denoted by “the grave.” I consider this, therefore, to be the real meaning, though I wish to leave every person free to form his own opinion.

Though he did no iniquity. על (gnal) signifies “because;” but sometimes it is used in the sense of “though,” as in this passage. 5353     “על(gnal), for על אשר (gnal asher), is properly a causative particle, equivalent to ‘for that’ or ‘because;’ but most interpreters regard it as equivalent to ‘although,’ which is more agreeable to our idiom in this connection. Knobel observes, with great naivete, that the reference of this verse to the burial of Christ has found its way into the exposition of the passage in connection with its general application to that subject; to which we may add, that it can only find its way out in connection with a wish to get rid of that unwelcome application. At the same time it must be observed, that even if עשיר (gnashir) be taken in the sense of ‘wicked,’ although we lose the striking allusion to the burial of Christ in the sepulcher of Joseph, the verse is still applicable to his burial, as the last clause then means, like the first, that they appointed him his grave with malefactors.” ­ Alexander Here the Prophet applauds the innocence of Christ, not only in order to defend him from slander, but to speak highly of the benefit of his death, that we may not think that he suffered by chance. Though innocent, he suffered by the decree of God; and therefore it was for our sake, and not for his own, that he suffered. He bore the punishment which was due to us.

Neither was there deceit in his mouth. In two words he describes the perfect innocence of Christ; namely, that he never offended either in deed or in word. That this cannot be said of any mortal man is universally acknowledged, and hence it follows that it applies to Christ alone.




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