« PreviousContinue »
dalene alone, there were two angelic appearances and speeches, each to a different set of women, in the tomb.
St. John says, that when Mary Magdalene saw the stone taken away from the tomb, “she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him," xx. 2. As these words evidently imply that the other women who came to the tomb with Mary Magdalene, felt the same disappointment and concern with her in the same situation ; so also they clearly shew that, before the women entered the tomb, they were very well assured that the body of Jesus was not in it. They imply another thing: that so early was the arrival of the women at the tomb, that they had not the smallest idea that any of his friends would be there before them to get
But this will receive still greater confirmation from the two subsequent positions.
4. The accounts given of the behaviour of the women in the tomb, are accounts of two different parties.
The women, whom St. Matthew and St. Mark speak of, were affrighted, not only at the first sight of the angel, but after he had done speaking to them. Both Evangelists represent them as hastening away from his presence, by going out quickly, and fleeing from the tomb.
But the women described by St. Luke were calm and composed ; and, if they had recovered such presence of mind while the angels were yet speaking, there is no reason to imagine that, having heard such happy intelligence, they were then seized with a sudden terror, and fled from the tomb trembling and amazed. St. Luke's words certainly convey no such idea of their departure from it.
5. The speech of the two angels, considered as spoken to a subsequent company, has an obvious propriety.
It would be presumption to affirm, antecedently, what the two angels ought or ought not to have spoken; but when we have their speech before us, we may examine and judge, whether the circumstances of it suit better with the whole company of the women, or with one part of them, not exactly in the same situation with the other. If the women did not visit the tomb all together, the going thither of Joanna and her party has been rightly placed, after Mary Magdalene had left it a second time, and when our Lord had shewed himself to her. And but a short space intervened between this going thither, and his meeting the two Maries and Salome, saying unto them, “ All hail !" At this juncture it was that the two angels were addressing themselves to Joanna, and those who had just searched the tomb with her. When therefore Christ was not only risen,
but had appeared in that body which the Father had raised from the grave, it · might well be asked of those, who were much perplexed because they found not his body where it had been deposited, “Why seek ye the living among the dead ?"
In every point of view, then, the division of the women into two distinct companies, going successively to the tomb on the morning of the resurrection, corresponds exactly with the evangelical accounts of the incidents of that morning. It embraces all the circumstances related of the women, and of the angels seen by them, and unites the whole into one intelligible, consistent history.
See, both for this and the subsequent notes on the following sections, Cranfield's Harmony of the Resurrection, and Dr. Townson's Discourses, with their references.
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary continue to sit opposite the
MATT. xxvii. 61.
Matt. xxvii. 61.
Soldiers to watch the Sepulchre
MATT. xxvii. 62, to the end.
Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver
5 We read, in Matt. xxvii. 59, “ And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new sepulchre, which he had hewn out in the rock, and be rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. And (or But) Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting over against the tomb." The words seem to imply an opposition between the departing of Joseph, and the abiding of the two women; and that this sitting over against the tomb was subsequent to the closing of it with a great stone. This solemn act could not force them away from the object of their grief. They still lingered as near to it as they could, sitting on the ground. And in this posture of mourning they continued, till reverence for the sabbath obliged them to retire; when it was too late to prepare their contingent of spices.-Dr. Townson, vol. ii. p. 86.
6 This conduct of the Pharisees and Chief Priests compelled them also to become unwilling witnesses of the resurrection of our Lord. The attempt of the women to enter the sepulchre on the morning when he arose, sufficiently proves that they had not anticipated any other obstacle to the embalming the body, but that which might be occasioned by the size of the stone. They were utterly unprepared to meet with a guard, or to find the seal of the Sanhedrim on the tomb. This conduct, however, of the rulers of the people, was attended with many important advantages. They satisfied themselves that the dead body was safely lying in the tomb, before they proceeded to place the seal. Their testimony, therefore, that our Lord was really dead, must have corroborated in the strongest manner the great truth of the resurrection, and that our Lord had risen, as the Apostles declared; for no common power could have eluded the jealous caution of the rulers, or have escaped the proverbial vigilance of a Roman guard. Their sealing the sepulchre also, prevented the violation of the tomb, by any of the guard themselves; who might have been tempted to steal the spices in which the body was inclosed.
said, while he was yet alive, After three days I
Command therefore that the sepulchre be made Matt. xxvii.
Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch : go your way, make it as sure as you can.
So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, ma sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
The Sabbath being over, Mary Magdalene, the other Mary, and
MARK xvi. 1.
7 The word “yópaoav properly signifies not " they had bought,” but “they bought." The Vulgate renders it “ emerunt." Mary Magdalene and the other Mary had staid at the sepulchre till it was too late to buy their spices; but both they and Salome took the earliest opportunity of procuring them after the Sabbath was over; that is, after six o'clock in the evening of Saturday, the day preceding the resurrection. The word was rendered “ had bought," by our translators, on sufficient authority, for the perfect tense is sometimes used in this manner. (See Chandler on Matt. xxviii. 17.) It is, however, most probable, that they supposed this translation to be absolutely necessary to render the Evangelists consistent with themselves. In Luke xxiii. 56, they read that the spices were prepared before the evening of the Sabbath. They supposed, according to the general notion, that there was one party only of women; and imagined there would be an absurdity in so translating Mark xvi. 1. as if that one party had procured additional spices after the Sabbath. Whereas it is by a scrupulous adherence to the plain meaning of the Scripture, that all difficulties are removed. The comparison of these two passages might alone have been sufficient to shew that there were two parties of women. This seems to have escaped the attention of Mr. Valpy; who, in his valuable edition of the Greek Testament, observes, that the word ought to be rendered as if it was preterpluperfect. His argument is derived from Luke xxiii. 56, which refers only to the other party of women.
The Morning of Easter-Day - Mary Magdalene, the other
Mary, and Salome, leave their Homes very early to go to the
part of ver. 1. Mat. xxvii. l. And after the sabbath®,
ON THE TIME WHEN THE WOMEN SET OUT FOR, AND ARRIVED AT,
THE SEPULCHRE. We now come to the question concerning the time when the women set out for, and reached the sepulchre. This difficulty, like all others, vanishes on a careful examination of the language of the Evangelists.
Lightfoot (a) has attempted to illustrate the various expressions of the Evangelists, which describe the time when the women came to the sepulchre, from the distinction of twilight among the Rabbins. His reasoning is founded on the old supposition, that there was but one party of women ; and is, besides, arbitrary, and unsupported by authority. To inquire more accurately into the time, we must endeavour to ascertain the full meaning of the terms which are used by the Evangelists. The words of St. Matthew are, ófè dè oabbátwv, TÙ επιφωσκούση εις μίαν σαββάτων, ήλθε. “ Late after (b) the Sabbath, at the dawning of the first day of the week.” . Τη επιφωσκούση, “ at the dawning,” is used for συν τη έω επιφωσκούση, “ along with the dawning morn.” 'HX0€; the proper meaning of this word seems to be, that they set out from their homes at this time. The word épxopar signifies both, " to go to;" or, " set off to," as well as, “ to arrive at,” any place.
Mark xvi. 1, 2. του διαγενομένου σαββάτου, λίαν πρωί της μιάς σαββάτων. . “ After the Sabbath was thoroughly past, very early on the first day of the week."
Here διαγενομένου σαββάτου, is explanatory of Matthew's οψέ σαββάτων:
משיביר בין .2
(a) The distinction of twilight among the Rabbins is thus given by Lightfoot ;-1. XIVT Xnbox “ The hind of the morning, the very first perceptible light of the dawn, the women went towards the sepulchre. 1255 nban " when the difference between purple and white may be distinguished.” 3. minn 778°Vn“ when the east begins to lighten.” 4. nang ra “sun-rise.” According to these four phrases we may interpret the evangelical narratives. St. Matthew says, rý é umwokoúry," as it began to dawn." St. John says, apwi orotias étu ojons, "early in the morning, while it was yet dark.” St. Luke's expression corresponds to the third, õpOpov Badlos,
very early in the morning:” and St. Mark uses a phrase corresponding to the fourth, Aiav mpwi, “ very early in the morning;” and yet ávatelavros ToŨ ūdiov, " at the rising of the sun."-Lightfoot's Works, Dr. Bright's edit. vol. ii. p. 359. (6) The word byè, ought to be translated “after,” “ late after,” or “ long after;" for the Sabbath among the Jews ended on the Saturday night, when it could not be dawning towards the first day of the week. Schmidius has quoted Plut. in Numa, dyè tou Baoiléws xpóvov, “after the time of the king;" and Philostratus, byè rūv Tpwirwv, "after the Trojan war." -See also Bos. Exercit. ap. Bowyer, p. 134. VOL. I.
very early in the morning, the first day of the Mark xvi. 2. week,
did, in composition strengthening the signification. IIpwi includes the whole time of the early watch ; and, to mark the dawn, Mark adds Niav," very," which is especially put elliptically for ēvvvxov diav, by Mark himself, i. 35. “ very far in the night."
The apwi was the epithet given to the last watch, from three in the morning to six; the time therefore implied by St. Mark was probably about four o'clock, or a little after.
Luke expresses the time, τη δέ μιά των σαββάτων όρθρου βαθέος. « On the first day of the week, while the rising (sun) was deep,” sunk beneath the horizon.
The morning twilight begins as soon the sun arrives within eighteen degrees below the horizon, for then the smallest stars disappear. This phrase also is used by the best classical writers: Aristophanes, Thucydides, Aristides, &c. use it, and Plato explains it, 'H oủ mpwi ēti ļotiv; tavù pèy oỦvόρθρος βαθύς. . “ Is it not yet early-surely it is the rising (sun) is deep.”. Crito, p. 32. It is not, however, of so much importance to consider, in this place, the passage of St. Luke, as he relates the time at which the second party proceeded to the sepulchre (c).
John expresses the precise time of the apwi, or "early watch,” differently from Mark. Τη δε μιά των σαββάτων, πρωί, σκοτίας έτι ούσης. «On the first day of the week, early, while it was still dark." This is more definite than St. Mark. Ecoria should not be rendered " dark," as in our translation. It is a diminutive of σκοτός. Πρωί, υπ’ ηοί, οι συν τεύχεσι θωρήχθεντες. “ Early about morn, they armed with their weapons," where it' noi, seems to be a contraction of ůropwokoúons éw, "sublucente Aurora."
The first part only of the second verse of Mark xvi. is inserted in this section, on the supposition of Townson, and more particularly of Cranfield, who considers the latter clause only, to relate to the arrival of the women at the sepulchre, while the former refers to the time of their leaving home (d).
The principal difficulty in reconciling these various accounts arises from the expression here used by St. Mark, the word épxopar being supposed, by commentators, to signify both to arrive at the sepulchre, or to leave their own homes
“ Those who support the latter opinion,” says Mr. Cranfield, “ have no doubt the best of the argument, and have offered very probable reasons for the justness of their plans (e).” However, as some have objected to this opinion, it may be proper to see how far the setting out of the women admits of incontrovertible proof, by a comparison with one text and the other; in order to which, it is necessary that we should first bring in view the following words of St. Mark, Και λίαν πρωί-έρχονται επί το μνημείον, xvi. 2. The word Apwi signifies the last quarter of the night, called the morning watch, consisting of the three hours next before the rising of the sun, and ended at it (f). The
to go there.
(c) Vide section x. and note. (d) West on the Resurrection, third edition, p. 38, 39.
(e) See Godwin's Moses and Aaron, lib. iii. p. 81, 82. and Bishop Newcome's Harmony of the Gospels, notes, p. 58. () See Cranfield's observations in loc.