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MARK XV. part of ver. 43. 46.
Jerusalem. 43 Joseph of Arimathea—which also waited for the kingdom of God
46 -took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.
LUKE xxiii. ver. 50. part of ver. 51, 52. and ver. 53.
51 - he was of Arimathea, -
53 And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.
JOHN xix. part of ver. 38. 38 - Joseph of Arimathea.
Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, and the Women from
LUKE xxiii. 55.
Mark xv. 47.
4 ON THE OPINION THAT “ TWO PARTIES OF WOMEN VISITED THE
SEPULCHRE.” As these are the first passages in which the different women are severally referred to, we may take the opportunity of inquiring whether that opinion may be considered as correct, which has within the last century been so strenuously defended, that there were two parties of women who attended at the sepulchre. We must first examine the accounts of the number which were present at the crucifixion, and at the interment of the body.
The women named in this part of the Gospels, besides the Virgin Mother of our Lord, are these :
Mary Magdalene, whose name occurs in all the Gospels, and, except John xix. 25. is constantly mentioned first.
Mary the mother of James the Less, and Joses, supposed to be Mary the wife of Cleophas, the sister of our Lord's mother, John xii. 35; and if so, the Evangelists all speak of her.
Salome, the mother of Zebedee's children; compare Matt. xxvii. 56. with Mark xv. 40. St. Mark only has given us her name.
Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, mentioned by St. Luke only, viii. 3. and xxiv. 10.
The blessed Virgin, mother of Christ, having been recommended by Christ, while she stood by his cross, to the protection of St. John; the mother of this his beloved disciple seems pointed out by that recommendation, as the proper person to attend and support her in the extremity of her grief, and to be with
And the women also, which came with him Lukexxiiï,55.
her at his abode, when he had conducted her thither ; and it is further probable that Salome bore this part in the melancholy offices of that evening, because St. Matthew mentions only the two Maries, with whom she is naturally joined, as sitting over against the tomb after the interment: St. Mark also mentions only these two on that occasion ; whence we presume that she was not with them when they followed the body to the sepulchre.
The Galilean women, who had attended the body of our Lord to the sepulchre, and seen how he was laid, then went back to the city, to prepare spices and ointments before the commencement of the sabbath, that they might be ready for use on the morning after it. To prepare these spices was probably little more than to purchase them, according to a remark of Dr. Lardner; for in so populous a city as Jerusalem, where there was a constant, and often a sudden demand for them, they would be sold ready compounded. Short therefore as the time was before the sabbath began, it would be sufficient for this purpose. And that the women did so employ it, is manifest from St. Luke, whose words literally translated run thus : “And the women also which came with him from Galilee followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid ; and being returned, prepared spices and ointments. And they rested indeed the seventh day, according to the commandment; but on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they went into the sepulchre, carrying the spices which they had prepared.” (Luke xxiii. 55. 56. xxiv. 1.) On which words Grotius observes, that nothing can be clearer than that the spices were purchased by these women on the evening before the sabbath, and not after it. But this, which is so clear of the Galilean women in general, is to be understood with an exception of three of them; Salome, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James.
It is probable, as hath been shewn, that Salome was not in the procession to the sepulchre; and it is no less probable, that the two Maries did not quit it with the other Galilean women. Matt. xxvii. 59–61. The words of St. Matthew seem to imply, that even after the closing of the sepulchre they still lingered near it, till it was too late to purchase their spices that evening. The fact is certain that they purchased none till the sabbath was past.
Let us now consider the objections which have been, or may be made to this arrangement.
It may be said, if we divide the women into two parties, it is not easy to apprehend how they could have been at the sepulchre without any sight of each other ; since all the Evangelists assign nearly the same time for their coming thither. It is to be remembered, that the verb ép xouai, used by the Evangelists, bears the sense of "going" as well as “coming;" and it here means, the time when the women went from their several houses : in which case there is no difficulty in conceiving the means that may have kept the two parties asunder, as long as we suppose it requisite.
Let us but consider the situation of certain places in Jerusalem, and we shall find it not only possible, but probable, that these things should have fallen out as they have been stated ; and indeed that they could not well have happened otherwise, if we may rely on a map of that city, not of arbitrary construction, but compiled from ancient documents. In Zebedee's house, Salome, whether
Lukexxiii.56. from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the se- Jerusalem.
pulchre, and how his body was laid.
then his wife or widow, would abide with her son St. John. It stood very near to that which the map of Dr. Townson, which is here referred to, calls the Dung-gate; which opened the nearest way to the sepulchre from that part of the town. In this house would be deposited the spices prepared on the preceding evening by her, Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, as the most convenient place from which they might be taken to the sepulchre. Her friends, the two Maries, who had staid at the sepulchre by themselves on Friday evening, probably lodged together, in an interior part of the city, at least more remote from the Dung-gate, and on that account went forth before it was clear day-light, that they might be in good time at Zebedee's house : from which, when all things were ready, they and Salome proceeded to the sepulchre, so as to be there at the rising of the sun. The lodgings of Joanna, whose husband was steward to Herod, we may fix in or near the palace; the direct way from which to the sepulchre was through the Gate of the Valley. It is seen, at once, that this palace and Zebedee's house were in different quarters of the city. They therefore who started from either, had little inducement to make such a round, as would be necessary to call at the other; when it was supposed they would all meet at the sepulchre.
The map of Dr. Townson shows also, that the distance from Herod's palace to the sepulchre was at least twice as much as from Zebedee's house. If, therefore, the three women that went from the latter to the sepulchre, and reached it about six, were half an hour in going, they who set out from the palace, at the same rate of walking, twice the distance, would be there half an hour later. But we can hardly believe them to have been thus expeditious, as to have arrived but half an hour after the first party. Early in the morning, as Joanna and one or two of her friends were prepared to set out, they had to wait for others, who might live at some distance, or not be quite so punctual; and, when they were collected, the women of Galilee, and the women of Jerusalem, if any of them were siow walkers, the rest could get on no faster, if they were to keep together in a body. We may therefore well allow near an hour between the arrivals of the two companies at the sepulchre ; and this is amply sufficient for all that is supposed to have happened in the interim.
The errand of the women, who had seen an angelic vision, was to the Apostles; of whom, St. John would dwell in his own house, that had been his father Zebedee's. Nor was St. Peter's far from him, John xxii. 2. To these the women would first repair, as Mary Magdalene had before. And wherever the rest of the Apostles were to be found, unless the path towards their lodgings lay through the gate of the valley, which we have no reason to suppose, the company that first retired from the sepulchre could not meet the other advancing towards it. Herod's palace may be admitted to have been where the map places it. It may seem more questionable, how the site of Zebedee's house, originally, we may imagine, an obscure building, could be recovered, when the whole city had been razed to its foundations. But Jerusalem stood on the risings and sink. ings of very uneven grounds, intersected as well as encompassed with walls, the bases of which would remain ; and thus the parts into which it had been distributed, and the contents of each division, were more easily recollected and ascer
The Women from Galilee hasten to return Home before the Sabbath
began, to prepare Spices.
LUKE xxiii. 56.
tained, than if the like calamity had befallen a city built on a plain. And the Christians who had retired to Pella, and the mountains beyond Jordan, before the siege, being returned to it after its destruction, would be guided by certain standing marks to the structures which they had before held in veneration. And to rebuild them as near as might be in the old places, and call them again by their old names, might be no unpleasing consolation to those who were resettled in the fallen city. Nor from the desolation of Jerusalem to the present day, has the succession of its Christian inhabitants been ever long interrupted; often as it has changed its masters, and suffered by its conquerors, Romans, Persians, Saracens, Mamalucs, and Ottomans. If fable had added its conceits to traditionary truths in these matters, yet I do not find that it has interested itself about Zebedee, or told any thing of him that required his presence, or an abode for him at Jerusalem. The true reason why a house is assigned him in it, seems to have been, that he really had one, the same probably which his son, St. John, called his own house, (John xix. 27); it might come to them from their ancestors : and Zebedee, though he resided in Galilee, might feel the usual reluctance to part with his inheritance, and that in the holy city. It might even be more valuable to him and his friends, at the great festivals, and on other occasions, than the price of a dwelling in such a part of the city.
In order therefore to illustrate this plan, Dr. Townson has given in his elaborate work a very satisfactory map of Jerusalem, on which we may rely, as it is not one of arbitrary construction, but compiled from ancient documents, by Villalpandus. In this map are distinctly pointed out the site of the house of Zebedee, of St. Mark, of St. James, and St. Thomas.
Villalpandus was a learned Spaniard of Cordova, well known for the commentary on Ezekiel, and designs of Solomon's temple; and celebrated by many authors of name for his skill and accuracy in these researches. Among other eminent men who had adopted his topography of Jerusalem as the most satisfactory, is Bishop Walton, in his Polyglott.
These four houses that are numbered in Dr. Townson's map, and did not come properly under the consideration of Villalpandus, are from the view of Jerusalem, given by Cotovicus, an eminent civilian of Utrecht, who visited Palestine in the year of our Lord 1598. • Though in this view he sets down the Dung-gate not as it stands in Villalpandus, but as in the present city, much changed in situation and shape from its ancient shape; yet he places the houses in question precisely as they are disposed in Villalpandus's map, near to a line by which he distinguishes the course of the wall that divided the old city from Mount Calvary. Herman Witsius says of him, that he examined Jerusalem with curious eyes. And so certainly thought a traveller of great note, who was there about twelve years after him, our countryman Mr. George Sandys. For the drawings of Cotovicus of the temple of
Luke xxiii.56. ointments; and rested the sabbath-day according Jerusalem.
to the commandment.
the holy sepulchre, and other parts of Jerusalem, are closely followed in Sandys' travels; and the praise which Mr. Maundrell bestows on the latter for exactness in these matters belongs equally to the other.
The map of Villalpandus, with the addition of the houses from Cotovicus, illustrates the incidents of the morning of the resurrection, as if it were fabricated for that very purpose. And yet we may venture to affirm, that these learned men had not the most distant idea of the use to which their designs are applicable. Their notion, it may be presumed, was the same as was generally entertained, that the women all went to the sepulchre in one company, which is not particularly favoured by either place separately; and, when they are thus
ited, is rather discountenanced by them; for hence it appears, while all the women were hastening to the same place, how much time some of them must lose by going to join the others, for the sake of setting out with them. The history not being framed to tally with the map, nor the map with the history, their undesigned agreement adds to the credibility of both.
Leaving, however, all arguments of this nature, let us consider the more authentic evidence derived from the sacred narrative itself, that the women were divided into two parties. These, for the sake of method and clearness, shall be reduced under certain heads.
1. St. Mark's account of the women that went to the tomb on the morning of the resurrection, does, in just construction, exclude all but those whom he
He speaks of these women, or some of them, in the five following places. First, “ There were also women looking afar off, among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less, and of Joses and Salome ;" xv. 40. Secondly, “ And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid ;" ibid. ver. 47. Thirdly, “ And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Salome, bought sweet spices, that they might go and anoint him;" xvi. 1. Fourthly, “ And very early in the morning of the first day of the week they go unto the tomb;" ibid. ver. 2. Fifthly, “Now Jesus, having risen early the first day of the week, appeared first to Mary Magdalene;" ibid. ver. 9.
2. St. Luke's account does not include the women named by St. Mark ; it bears tokens of being the description of an entirely distinct company.
In speaking of the women that attended the body of Christ from the cross to the tomb, St. Luke does not say, the women also that came with him from Ga. lilee ; but, as we shall find, if we consult the original, women also that came with him from Galilee,” (Luke xxiii. 55.) there being no article accompanying yuvaikes; which therefore allows us, with good reason, to conjecture that he intended to comprehend only the majority, not the whole company of these women, in his subsequent account of them : nor at present does he mention any of them by name. He speaks of them as follows: “And women also that came with him from Galilee followed after, and beheld the tomb, and how his body was laid ; and, being returned, prepared spices and ointments.”
3. The accounts given of the conduct of the women, when they arrived at the tomb, imply a first and second company. And besides the vision to Mary Mag