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JOHN xx. 2.
Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, John XX. 2 cJohn xiii. 23. and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and & xix. 26. & saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord
out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they
Salome, and the other Mary, during the absence of Mary Magda
lene, enter the Porch of the Sepulchre, and see one Angel, who
MARK xvi. 548.
d Luke xxiv.
ON THE FORM AND DIMENSIONS OF JEWISH SEPULCHRES.
The distance of the holy sepulchre from Jerusalem was not one mile. It is necessary to remember this fact, to account for the rapid going and coming of the agitated and anxious followers of Christ.
Mary Magdalene, as soon as she discovers the stone is rolled away, leaves her companions, without approaching to examine the sepulchre, to inform Peter and St. John of this unexpected occurrence; no doubt hoping to receive some explanation from them, or to have the benefit of their exertions in this unlooked-for event.
Other difficulties in the account of the resurrection arise from our not sufficiently understanding the form of the sepulchres which were used by the Jews.
The form of the sepulchres among the Jews is thus prescribed by the Rabbis (a)—" He that selleth his neighbour a place of burial, and he that takes of his neighbour a place of burial, let him make the inner parts of the cave four cubits, and six cubits ; and let him open within it 79912 'n eight sepulchres.” They were accustomed, says the gloss, to bury the same family in the same cave; whence if any one sold his neighbour a place for burial, he sells him room for two caves, and a floor in the middle. 7a is the very place where the body is laid.
It cannot however be supposed, that every person who might wish to purchase a burial place, if he desired it for himself alone, was compelled to conform to this law. It will be observed, that nothing is said of Joseph of Arimathea, requiring this sepulchre for his family, it seems indeed to have been peculiarly his own for his own use.
The Rabbins (says Dr. Townson) prescribe that a Hebrew, sepulchre should have a court before it, through which you are to pass to the door that leads into
(a) Bava Bathra, cap. vi. hal. ult. ap. Lightfoot, Chorog. Century, Works, vol. ii. p. 89, 90. Dr. Bright's edition.
Mark xvi. 5. young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a Jerusalem.
long white garment; and they were affrighted.
the cave or proper place of sepulture. They direct the court to be made of six cubits, or nine feet square (b).
There is an area or portico of the prescribed dimensions before that which is now called the holy sepulchre, and which seems not ill entitled to the name which it has long borne. For though in the reign of the Emperor Adrian the sepulchre of Christ was buried under a vast mount of earth, and on this mount was set up an object of Pagan worship in despite to the Christians, yet the place was pointed out to them by these very signs of idolatry standing over it; and when this mountain of earth, with all that had been erected over it, was about two centuries after cleared away, by order of Constantine the Great, then, as Eusebius expresses it, “ the cave, the Holy of Holies, obtained a similitude of our Saviour's resurrection;" which words allude not only to the burial and resurrection of the blessed body that had lain in this sepulchre, but also to the form of the Jewish sanctuary. For the title of Holy of Holies given to the cave, imports, that it had a holy place before it, and was divided into two, like the sanctuary. It is therefore an indirect testimony of Eusebius, a native of Palestine, where be lived many years, concerning the platform of our Lord's sepulchre.
Let us now examine the form of it by the Evangelists. St. Matthew tells us that the angel “ rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it,” (Matt. xxviii. 2.); St. Mark, that the women saw this angel, or “young man clothed in a long white garment (xvi. 5.) sitting on the right side." But they did not perceive him till they were entered into the sepulchre. He had therefore not rolled the stone out of it, but to one side of it; yet he had rolled it from the door. The door therefore was in a partition that divided the sepulchre in two; and the whole of the inward division was not visible to those who stood in the outer. The angel said to the women, “ Come, see the place where the Lord lay,” (Matt. xxviii. 6.) They were therefore standing where they did not command a sight of that place : yet they were within the sepulchre ; for as soon as he had finished his speech to them, they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre. Mark xvi. 8. So St. Mark says; and so also St. Matthew rightly understood ; for his words are, “ they departed quickly from the sepulchre." Matt. xxviii. 8. means evidently they departed quickly out of the sepulchre; as the same mode of expression is translated in other passages. Thus the real, as the reputed sepulchre, consisted of a place of sepulture, and an inclosed court or area, as did often the sepulchres of the Greeks. Mνήμα, or μνημείον is the general name given by the Evangelists to the tomb; but rápos is the word used by St. Matthew. The ponpetov, or whole of the sepulchre, consisted of the tápos, or place where the body was deposited, and the océan, or outer court(c).
The sepulchre is called in the original Mnema, or Mnemeion, by all the evangelists ; but St. Matthew has besides another word on this occasion in Greek, Taphos ; and his use of this word carries such marks of discrimination, and he
(5) Nicolai de Sepulchris Hebræorum, lib. iii. cap. ii. p. 178. ter's Antiquities, vol. ii. book iv. chap. vii. p. 221. third edition.
Mark xvi. 6
Mark xvi. 7.
Jerusalem. But the angel answered and said unto the Mat. xívüli 5.
women, Fear not ye:
Mark xvi. 6 for I know that ye seek Jesus,
Mat, xxviii.5. of Nazareth, who was crucified :
He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Mat xxviii. &. Come near, see the place where the Lord lay, behold the place where they laid him.
Mark xvi. 6. But go your way,
Mark xvi. 7. quickly,
Mat. xxviii.7. tell his disciples and Peter that he is risen from the dead; and, behold,
that he goeth before you into Galilee : there shall Mark xvi 7. e Matt. xxvi. ye see him, e as he said unto you, lo, I have told you.
Mattxxvü1.7. MATT. xxviii. part of ver. 5. and 7. 5 — who was crucified.
7 And go—and tell his disciples—he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him. is so little apt to deal in a variety of terms, when one will precisely answer his intent, that it may be justly concluded, that St. Matthew employs two words, because one of them sometimes expresses his meaning more exactly than the other, and that they are distinct in his acceptation of them, as much as with us a “church" and its “chancel." What was in the Taphos was within the Mnemeion ; but what was in the Mnemeion was not therefore within the Taphos. The Jewish rulers, who would take what they judged the most certain measures to retain the body of Christ in their possession, requested a guard for the Taphos, (Matt. xxvii. 64.) The Taphos they secured by sealing the stone. (ver. 66.) The two Maries sat over against the Taphos on Friday evening. (ver. 61.) The women went to visit the Taphos, as the great object of their care, early on Saturday morning. (Matt. xxviii. 1.) In this therefore the body had been laid ; but because they had not been in it, when they saw the angel, and as soon as he had done speaking to them fled away, they are said to have“ departed quickly out of the Mnemeion." (ver. 8.) Now if the two words are of different application in St. Matthew, it is plain there was a difference in the places to which they are applied (d).
Mr. Cranfield objects to this opinion of Dr. Townson, that the angel appeared to the first party of women, in the outer court, sitting on the stone, on the right side. He endeavours to prove at some length, that the angel was within, in the inner part of the tomb. As this question, however, does not appear of much importance to the history, I shall merely refer to the discussion of the point-it will be found in p. 548. observations on section i.
(d) The inner part of the μνημείον was also called μνημείον, thus και το μνημείον το τ8 Αυγούσε αυτόματον ανοιχθεν *, a phrase which evidently restrains punuecov to the signification of nothing more than the mere tomb, in which the body of Augustus was laid.
* Xiphilini Epitome Dionis, p. 323. ap. Cranfield.
MARK xvi. part of ver. 6. 6 And he saith unto them---ye seek Jesus—he is risen ; he is not here.
Salome, and the other Mary, leave the Sepulchre.
MARK xvi. 8.
were amazed : neither said they any thing to any
man; for they were afraid" : Matt.xxviii.8. and with great joy, they did run to tell his disciples.
MARK xvi. part of ver. 8. 8 And they went out quickly
Peter and John, as soon as they hear the report of Mary Mag
dalene, hasten to the Sepulchre, which they inspect, and imme-
JOHN xx. 3-11.
John xx. 3.
14 Their emotion and agitation were so great, that they were confused and overpowered with the mingled sentiments of astonishment, incredulity, fear, and delight. What will be our own overpowering emotions when we shall behold the same Saviour in glory, on our own resurrection from the dead !
15 I have preferred the decision of Townson and West, to that of Dr. Lardner and Mr. Cranfield, with respect to the insertion of Luke xxiv. 12. as parallel with this passage of St. John. West's arguments on this point induced both Pilkington and Doddridge to alter their harmonies according to his arrangement. There is reason to believe that the Evangelists have observed, in the events they severally record on the subject of the resurrection, an exact order of time. But this is an exception, if St. Luke and St. John both describe the same going of St. Peter to the sepulchre : for that in which St. Peter and St. John went together was before any report of the women concerning a vision of angels. When St. Peter went with St. John, it was in consequence of his interview with Mary Magdalene ; it is expressly asserted that he descended into the sepulchre, and saw the linen clothes lie; he went at this time to be satisfied that the body was actually removed. In the visit mentioned by St. Luke, it appears that his object was to ascertain if he also could see the angels who had been visible to the women, mentioned Matt. xxviii. 8. The two visits of St. Peter are represented as
So they ran both together : and the other dis- John Xx. 4. ciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
And he, stooping down, and looking in, saw John XX. 5. the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and John xx, 6. went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
And the napkin that was about his head, not John xx. 7. lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
Then went in also that other disciple, which Johnxx. 8. came first to the sepulchre, and he saw and believed 6.
proceeding from different motives, and the circumstances attending them are related as having taken place at separate parts of the tomb. See Townson, Cranfield, West, and their references.
18 The disciple whom Jesus loved came first to the sepulchre, and when he had stooped (standing on the floor of the outer apartment, that he might look into the burying-place), saw the linen clothes lie; yet went he not in. But Peter went in, &c. &c. that is, from the floor he went down into the cave itself, where the rows of graves were, yara, in which, however, the body of Jesus only had been deposited.
St. Peter entered and examined the tomb, St. John went in also; and he says of himself, “ And he saw and believed (a).” What he saw was the same that St. Peter did: but what did he believe? An answer to this, I trust, we shall be able to collect from some circumstances in the history. When Peter went into the tomb he saw the linen clothes, keijeva, lying at full length, as when the body was in them; and the napkin, évTETUR.Yuévov, folded up in wreaths in the form of a cap (b), as it been when it was upon our Lord's head. The Apostle, Dewpei, accurately viewed, with some degree of contemplation, the burial clothes lying thus in such remarkable order : and it is no wonder he was astonished at this state of the tomb, which he could not account for; and though it might have seemed to him to border somewhat on the miraculous, yet it does not appear, from this part of the history, that he had any idea of the reality of our Lord's resurrection (c). The astonishment of Peter excited the attention of John, who then went down into the sepulchre, and on seeing that the body must have miraculously slipped out of its grave clothes, which lay in their right order, he saw and believed.
St. John's belief, then, of the resurrection arose from what he saw; “He saw and believed:” but, at the same time, he honestly and candidly acknowledges his “slowness of heart to believe the sure word of prophecy;" and seems in a manner to reprehend himself for grounding his belief merely on what he saw, when he should have founded it rather on the unerring prophecies of Scripture, which were written for his learning; but he adds, as an apparent apology,
(a) John xx. 8.
(6) Luke xxiv. 12.
(c) Luke xxix, 25, 26,