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Chapter 23

23:1 The whole company [hapan to plēthos]. All but Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea who were probably not invited to this meeting.

23:2 Began to accuse [ērxanto katēgorein]. They went at it and kept it up. Luke mentions three, but neither of them includes their real reason nor do they mention their own condemnation of Jesus. They had indulged their hatred in doing it, but they no longer have the power of life and death. Hence they say nothing to Pilate of that. We found [heuramen]. Second aorist active indicative with first aorist vowel [a]. Probably they mean that they had caught Jesus in the act of doing these things (in flagrante delicto) rather than discovery by formal trial. Perverting our nation [diastrephonta to ethnos hēmōn]. Present active participle of [diastrephō], old verb to turn this way and that, distort, disturb. In the N.T. only here and Ac 13:10). The Sanhedrin imply that the great popularity of Jesus was seditious. Forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, [kōluonta phorous kaisari didonai]. Note object infinitive [didonai] after the participle [kōluonta]. Literally, hindering giving tribute to Caesar. This was a flat untruth. Their bright young students had tried desperately to get Jesus to say this very thing, but they had failed utterly (Lu 20:25). Saying that he himself is Christ a king [legonta hauton Christon basilea einai]. Note the indirect discourse here after the participle [legonta] with the accusative [hauton] where [auton] could have been used), and the infinitive. This charge is true, but not in the sense meant by them. Jesus did claim to be the Christ and the king of the kingdom of God. But the Sanhedrin wanted Pilate to think that he set himself up as a rival to Caesar. Pilate would understand little from the word “Christ,” but “King” was a different matter. He was compelled to take notice of this charge else he himself would be accused to Caesar of winking at such a claim by Jesus.

23:3 Thou sayest [su legeis]. A real affirmative as in 22:70). The Gospels all give Pilate’s question about Jesus asking of the Jews in precisely the same words (Mr 15:2; Mt 27:11; Lu 23:3; Joh 18:33).

23:4 The multitude [tous ochlous]. The first mention of them. It is now after daybreak. The procession of the Sanhedrin would draw a crowd (Plummer) and some may have come to ask for the release of a prisoner (Mr 15:8). There was need of haste if the condemnation went through before friends of Jesus came. I find no fault [ouden heuriskō aition]. In the N.T. Luke alone uses this old adjective [aitios] (Lu 23:4,14,22; Ac 19:40) except Heb. 5:9. It means one who is the author, the cause of or responsible for anything. Luke does not give the explanation of this sudden decision of Pilate that Jesus is innocent. Evidently he held a careful examination before he delivered his judgment on the case. That conversation is given in Joh 18:33-38. Pilate took Jesus inside the palace from the upper gallery (Joh 18:33) and then came out and rendered his decision to the Sanhedrin (Joh 18:38) who would not go into the palace of Pilate (Joh 18:28).

23:5 But they were the more urgent [hoi de epischuon]. Imperfect active of [epischuō], to give added [epi] strength [ischuō]. And they kept insisting. Evidently Pilate had taken the thing too lightly. He stirred up the people [anaseiei ton laon]. This compound is rare, though old (Thucydides), to shake up (back and forth). This is a more vigorous repetition of the first charge (verse 2, “perverting our nation”). Beginning from Galilee [arxamenos apo tēs Galilaias]. These very words occur in the address of Peter to the group in the house of Cornelius (Ac 10:37). The idiomatic use of [arxamenos] appears also in Ac 1:22. Galilee (Grote) was the mother of seditious men (see Josephus).

23:6 A Galilean [Galilaios]. If so, here was a way out for Herod without going back on his own decision.

23:7 When he knew [epignous]. Second aorist active participle from [epiginōskō], having gained full [epi], added knowledge). Of Herod’s jurisdiction [ek tēs exousias Hērōidou]. Herod was naturally jealous of any encroachment by Pilate, the Roman Procurator of Judea. So here was a chance to respect the prerogative [exousia] of Herod and get rid of this troublesome case also. Sent him up [anepempsen]. First aorist active indicative of [anapempō]. This common verb is used of sending back as in verse 11 or of sending up to a higher court as of Paul to Caesar (Ac 25:21). Who himself also was [onta kai auton]. Being also himself in Jerusalem. Present active participle of [eimi].

23:8 Was exceeding glad [echarē lian]. Second aorist passive indicative of [chairō], ingressive aorist, became glad. Of a long time [ex hikanōn chronōn]. For this idiom see 8:27; 20:9; Ac 8:11. He hoped [ēlpizen]. Imperfect active. He was still hoping. He had long ago gotten over his fright that Jesus was John the Baptist come to life again (9:7-9). Done [ginomenon]. Present middle participle. He wanted to see a miracle happening like a stunt of a sleight-of-hand performer.

23:9 He questioned [epērōtā]. Imperfect active, kept on questioning. In many words [en logois hikanois]. Same use of [hikanos] as in verse 8.

23:10 Stood [histēkeisan]. Second perfect active intransitive of [histēmi] with sense of imperfect. They stood by while Herod quizzed Jesus and when he refused to answer, they broke loose with their accusations like a pack of hounds with full voice [eutonōs], adverb from adjective [eutonos], from [eu], well, and [teinō], to stretch, well tuned). Old word, but in the N.T. only here and Ac 18:28.

23:11 Set him at nought [exouthenēsas]. First aorist active participle from [exoutheneō], to count as nothing, to treat with utter contempt, as zero. Arraying him in gorgeous apparel [peribalōn esthēta lampran]. Second aorist active participle of [periballō], to fling around one. [Lampran] is brilliant, shining as in Jas 2:2, so different from the modest dress of the Master. This was part of the shame.

23:12 For before they were at enmity between themselves [proupērchon gar en echthrāi ontes pros heautous]. A periphrastic imperfect of the double compound [prouperchō], an old verb, to exist [huparchō] previously [pro-], here alone in the N.T., with [ontes] (participle of [eimi] added.

23:13 Called together [sunkalesamenos]. First aorist middle participle (to himself). Pilate included “the people” in the hope that Jesus might have some friends among them.

23:14 As one that perverteth the people [hōs apostrephonta ton laon]. Pilate here condenses the three charges in verse 2 into one (Plummer). He uses a more common compound of [strephō] here, [apostrephō], to turn away from, to seduce, to mislead, whereas [diastrephō] in verse 2 has more the notion of disturbing (turning this way and that). Note the use of [hōs] with the particle, the alleged reason. Pilate understands the charge against Jesus to be that he is a revolutionary agitator and a dangerous rival to Caesar, treason in plain words. Having examined him before you [enōpion humōn anakrinas]. Right before your eyes I have given him a careful examination [ana] up and down, [krinō], to judge, sift. Old and common verb in the general sense and in the forensic sense as here and which Luke alone has in the N.T. (Lu 23:14; 4:9; 12:19; 28:18; Ac 24:8) except 1Co 9:3. Whereof [hōn]. Attraction of the relative [ha] to the case (genitive) of the unexpressed antecedent [toutōn].

23:15 No nor yet [all’ oude]. But not even. Hath been done by him [estin pepragmenon autōi]. Periphrastic perfect passive indicative of [prassō], common verb, to do. The case of [autōi] can be regarded as either the dative or the instrumental (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 534, 542).

23:16 Chastise [paideusas]. First aorist active participle of [paideuō], to train a child [pais], and then, as a part of the training, punishment. Our English word chasten is from the Latin castus, pure, chaste, and means to purify (cf. Heb 12:6f.). Perhaps Pilate may have split a hair over the word as Wycliff puts it: “I shall deliver him amended.” But, if Jesus was innocent, Pilate had no doubt to “chastise” him to satisfy a mob. Verse 17 is omitted by Westcott and Hort as from Mr 15:6; Mt 27:15.

23:18 All together [panplēthei]. An adverb from the adjective [panplēthēs], all together. Used by Dio Cassius. Only here in the N.T. Away [aire]. Present active imperative, Take him on away and keep him away as in Ac 21:36; 22:22, of Paul. But release [apoluson] is first aorist active imperative, do it now and at once.

23:19 Insurrection [stasin]. An old word for sedition, standing off, the very charge made against Jesus (and untrue). If Jesus had raised insurrection against Caesar, these accusers would have rallied to his standard. And for murder [kai phonon]. They cared nought for this. In fact, the murderer was counted a hero like bandits and gangsters today with some sentimentalists. Was cast [ēn blētheis]. Periphrastic aorist passive indicative of [ballō], a quite unusual form.

23:21 But they shouted [hoi de epephōnoun]. Imperfect active of [epiphōneō], to call to. Old verb and a verb pertinent here. They kept on yelling. Crucify, crucify [staurou, staurou]. Present active imperative. Go on with the crucifixion. Mr 15:13 has [staurōson] (first aorist active imperative), do it now and be done with it. No doubt some shouted one form, some another.

23:22 Why, what evil? [Ti gar kakon;]. Note this use of [gar] (explanatory and argumentative combined).

23:23 But they were instant [hoi de epekeinto]. Imperfect middle of [epikeimai], an old verb for the rush and swirl of a tempest. With loud voices [phōnais megalais]. Instrumental case. Poor Pilate was overwhelmed by this tornado. Prevailed [katischuon]. Imperfect active of [katischuō] (see Mt 16:18; Lu 21:36). The tempest Pilate had invited (23:13).

23:24 Gave sentence [epekrinen]. Pronounced the final sentence. The usual verb for the final decision. Only here in the N.T.

23:25 Whom they asked for [hon ēitounto]. Imperfect middle, for whom they had been asking for themselves. Luke repeats that Barabbas was in prison “for insurrection and murder.” To their will [tōi thelēmati autōn]. This is mob law by the judge who surrenders his own power and justice to the clamour of the crowd.

23:26 They laid hold [epilabomenoi]. Second aorist middle participle of the common verb [epilambanō]. The soldiers had no scruples about taking hold of any one of themselves (middle voice). Mr 15:21; Lu 27:32 use the technical word for this process [aggareuō], which see for discussion and also about Cyrene. Laid on him [epethēkan]. [K] first aorist of [epitithēmi]. To bear it [pherein]. Present infinitive, to go on bearing.

23:27 Followed [ēkolouthei]. Imperfect active, was following. Verses 27-32 are peculiar to Luke. Bewailed [ekoptonto]. Imperfect middle of [koptō], to cut, smite, old and common verb. Direct middle, they were smiting themselves on the breast. “In the Gospels there is no instance of a woman being hostile to Christ” (Plummer). Luke’s Gospel is appropriately called the Gospel of Womanhood (1:39-56; 2:36-38; 7:11-15, 37-50; 8:1-3; 10:38-42; 11:27; 13:11-16). Lamented [ethrēnoun]. Imperfect active of [thrēneō], old verb from [threomai], to cry aloud, lament.

23:28 Turning [strapheis]. Luke is fond of this second aorist passive participle of [strephō] (7:9, 44, 55; 10:23). If he had been still carrying the Cross, he could not have made this dramatic gesture. Weep not [mē klaiete]. Present active imperative with [], Stop weeping.

23:29 Blessed [makariai]. A beatitude to the barren, the opposite of the hopes of Jewish mothers. Childless women are commiserated (1:25, 36). To the hills [tois bounois]. A Cyrenaic word. In the N.T. only here and 3:5. Quotation from Ho 10:8.

23:31 In the green tree [en hugrōi xulōi]. Green wood is hard to burn and so is used for the innocent. In the dry [en tōi xērōi]. Dry wood kindles easily and is a symbol for the guilty. This common proverb has various applications. Here the point is that if they can put Jesus to death, being who he is, what will happen to Jerusalem when its day of judgment comes? What shall be done [ti genētai]. Deliberative subjunctive.

23:32 Were led (ēgonto). Imperfect passive of [agō], were being led. Malefactors [kakourgoi]. Evil [kakon], doers (work, [ergon]. Old word, but in the N.T. only in this passage (32, 33, 39) and 2Ti 2:9. Luke does not call them “robbers” like Mr 15:27; Mt 27:38,44. To be put to death [anairethēnai]. First aorist passive infinitive of [anaireō], old verb, to take up, to take away, to kill.

23:33 The skull [to kranion]. Probably because it looked like a skull. See on Mt 27:33; Mr 15:22. There they crucified him [ekei estaurōsan]. There between the two robbers and on the very cross on which Barabbas, the leader of the robber band, was to have been crucified. One [hon men], the other [hon de]. Common idiom of contrast with this old demonstrative [hos] and [men] and [de].

23:34 Father forgive them [Pater, aphes autois]. Second aorist active imperative of [aphiēmi], with dative case. Some of the oldest and best documents do not contain this verse, and yet, while it is not certain that it is a part of Luke’s Gospel, it is certain that Jesus spoke these words, for they are utterly unlike any one else. Jesus evidently is praying for the Roman soldiers, who were only obeying, but not for the Sanhedrin. Cast lots [ebalon klēron]. Second aorist active indicative of [ballō]. See Mr 15:24; Mt 27:35. Joh 19:23f. shows how the lot was cast for the seamless garment, the four soldiers dividing the other garments.

23:35 The people stood beholding [histēkei]. Past perfect active of [histēmi], intransitive and like imperfect. A graphic picture of the dazed multitude, some of whom may have been in the Triumphal Entry on Sunday morning. Scoffed [exemuktērizon]. Imperfect active, perhaps inchoative, began to turn up (out, [ex] at the dying Christ. The language comes from Ps 22:7. The Christ of God [ho Christos tou theou]. He had claimed to be just this (22:67, 70). The sarcastic sneer (he saved others; let him save others, for himself he cannot save) is in Mr 15:31; Mt 27:42. Luke alone gives the contemptuous use of [houtos] (this fellow) and the fling in “the elect” [ho eklektos]. These rulers were having their day at last.

23:36 Mocked [enepaixan]. Even the soldiers yielded to the spell and acted like boys in their jeers. Aorist tense here and different verb also from that used of the rulers. They were not so bitter and persistent.

23:37 If [ei]. Condition of the first class as is text in verse 35 used by the rulers. The soldiers pick out “the king of the Jews” as the point of their sneer, the point on which Jesus was condemned. But both soldiers and rulers fail to understand that Jesus could not save himself if he was to save others.

23:38 A superscription [epigraphē]. Mr 15:26 has “the superscription of his accusation” Mt 27:37, “his accusation,” Joh 19:19 “a title.” But they all refer to the charge written at the top on the cross giving, as was the custom, the accusation on which the criminal was condemned, with his name and residence. Put all the reports together and we have: This is Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews. This full title appeared in Latin for law, in Aramaic for the Jews, in Greek for everybody (Joh 19:20).

23:39 Railed [eblasphēmei]. Imperfect active, implying that he kept it up. His question formally calls for an affirmative answer [ouchi], but the ridicule is in his own answer: “Save thyself and us.” It was on a level with an effort to break prison. Luke alone gives this incident (39-43), though Mr 15:32; Mt 27:44 allude to it.

23:40 Rebuking [epitimōn]. From what Mark and Matthew say both robbers sneered at Jesus at first, but this one came to himself and turned on his fellow robber in a rage. Dost thou not even fear God? [Oude phobēi ton theon;]. [Oude] here goes with the verb. [Phobēi] (second person singular present indicative middle of [phobeomai]. Both of you will soon appear before God. Jesus has nothing to answer for and you have added this to your other sins.)

23:41 Nothing amiss [ouden atopon]. Nothing out of place [a] privative, [topos], place). Old word, three times in the N.T. (Lu 23:44; Ac 28:6; 2Th 3:2). This can only mean that this robber accepts the claims of Jesus to be true. He is dying for claiming to be Messiah, as he is.

23:42 In thy kingdom [eis tēn basileian sou], text of Westcott and Hort or [en tei basileiāi sou], margin). Probably no difference in sense is to be found, for [eis] and [en] are essentially the same preposition. He refers to the Messianic rule of Jesus and begs that Jesus will remember him. It is not clear whether he hopes for immediate blessing or only at the judgment.

23:43 Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise [Sēmeron met’ emou esēi en tōi paradeisōi]. However crude may have been the robber’s Messianic ideas Jesus clears the path for him. He promises him immediate and conscious fellowship after death with Christ in Paradise which is a Persian word and is used here not for any supposed intermediate state; but the very bliss of heaven itself. This Persian word was used for an enclosed park or pleasure ground (so Xenophon). The word occurs in two other passages in the N.T. (2Co 12:4; Re 2:7), in both of which the reference is plainly to heaven. Some Jews did use the word for the abode of the pious dead till the resurrection, interpreting “Abraham’s bosom” (Lu 16:22f.) in this sense also. But the evidence for such an intermediate state is too weak to warrant belief in it.

23:45 The sun’s light failing [tou hēliou ekleipontos]. Genitive absolute of the present active participle of [ekleipō], an old verb, to leave out, omit, pass by, to fail, to die. The word was used also of the eclipse of the sun or moon. But this was impossible at this time because the moon was full at the passover. Hence many documents change this correct text to “the sun was darkened” [eskotisthē ho hēlios] to obviate the difficulty about the technical eclipse. But the sun can be darkened in other ways. In a London fog at noon the street lights are often turned on. The Revised Version translates it correctly, “the sun’s light failing.” Leave the darkness unexplained. In the midst [meson]. In the middle. Mr 15:38; Mt 27:51 have “in two” [eis duo].

23:46 Father [Pater]. Jesus dies with the words of Ps 31:5 on his lips. Gave up the ghost [exepneusen]. First aorist active indicative of [ekpneō], to breathe out, to expire, old word, but in the N.T. only here and Mr 15:37,39. There is no special reason for retaining “ghost” in the English as both Mt 27:50 (yielded up his spirit, [aphēken to pneuma] and Joh 19:30 (gave up his spirit, [paredōken to pneuma] use [pneuma] which is the root of [ekpneō], the verb in Mark and Luke.

23:47 Glorified [edoxazen]. Imperfect active. Began to glorify (inchoative) or kept on glorifying.

23:48 Certainly [ontōs]. Really, old adverb from the participle [on] from [eimi], to be. Used also in 24:34 of the resurrection of Jesus. A righteous man [dikaios]. Mr 15:39 (Mt 27:54) which see, represents the centurion as saying [theou huios] (God’s Son) which may mean to him little more than “righteous man.” That came together [sunparagenomenoi]. Double compound [sun], together, [para], along), that came along together. To this sight [epi tēn theōrian tautēn]. This spectacle [theōrian] from [theōreō], verse 35). Returned [hupestrephon]. Imperfect active of [hupostrephō]. See them slowly wending their way back to the city from this Tragedy of the Ages which they had witnessed in awe.

23:49 Stood afar off [histēkeisan apo makrothen]. Same verb as in verse 35. Melancholy picture of the inner circle of the acquaintances of Jesus and the faithful band of women from Galilee. Seeing these things [horōsai tauta]. And helpless either to prevent them or to understand them. They could only stand and look with blinded eyes.

23:51 He had not consented to their counsel and deed [houtos ouk ēn sunkatatetheimenos tēi boulēi kai tēi praxei autōn]. This parenthesis is given by Luke alone and explains that, though a councillor [bouleutēs], Mr 5:43) he had not agreed to the vote of the Sanhedrin. It is fairly certain that both Joseph and Nicodemus were suspected of sympathy with Jesus and so were not invited to the trial of Jesus. Was looking for [prosedecheto]. Imperfect middle. Mr 15:43 has the periphrastic imperfect [ēn prosdechomenos].

23:52 Asked for [ēitēsato]. First aorist middle (indirect) indicative as in Mr 15:43; Mt 27:58. The middle voice shows that Joseph of Arimathea asked the body of Jesus as a personal favour.

23:53 Took it down [kathelōn]. Second aorist active participle of [kathaireō] as in Mr 15:46. Wrapped [enetulixen], as in Mt 27:59 where Mr 15:46 has [eneilēsen] (wound), which see. Joh 19:40 has “bound” [edēsan]. See Matt. and Mark also for the linen cloth [sindoni]. Hewn in stone [laxeutōi]. From [laxeuō] [las], a stone, [xeō], to polish). In the LXX and here only in the N.T. Nowhere else so far as known. See the usual Greek verb [latomeō] in Mr 15:46; Mt 27:60). Where never man had yet lain [hou ouk en oudeis oupō keimenos]. Triple negative and periphrastic past perfect passive in sense [keimai], though periphrastic imperfect passive in form. Same item in Joh 19:40 who uses [ēn tetheimenos] (periphrastic past perfect passive in form).

23:54 The day of the Preparation [hēmera paraskeuēs]. The technical Jewish phrase for the day before the sabbath for which see discussion on Mt 27:62. Drew on [epephōsken]. Imperfect active, began to dawn or give light. However, it was sundown, not sunrise when the Jewish sabbath (twenty-four-hour day) began. The confusion is to us, not to the Jews or the readers of the Greek New Testament. Luke is not speaking of the twelve-hour day which began with sunrise, but the twenty-four-hour day which began with sunset.

23:55 Had come with him [ēsan sunelēluthuiai]. Periphrastic past perfect active of [sunerchomai]. Followed after [katakolouthēsasai]. Aorist active participle of [katakoloutheō], an old verb, but in the N.T. only here and Ac 16:17. It is possible that they followed after Joseph and Nicodemus so that they “beheld the tomb,” [etheasanto to mnēmeion], and also “how his body was laid” [hōs etethē to sōma autou]. First aorist passive indicative of [tithēmi]. They may in fact, have witnessed the silent burial from a distance. The Syriac Sinaitic and the Syriac Curetonian give it thus: “and the women, who came with Him from Galilee went to the sepulchre in their footsteps, and saw the body when they had brought it in there.” At any rate the women saw “that” and “how” the body of Jesus was laid in this new tomb of Joseph in the rocks.

23:56 On the sabbath they rested [to sabbaton hēsuchasan]. They returned and prepared spices before the sabbath began. Then they rested all during the sabbath (accusative of extent of time, [to sabbaton].

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