Matthew 26:47 MEANING

Matthew 26:47
(47) A great multitude with swords and staves.--St. John's account (John 18:3) is fuller. The multitude included (1) the band (not "a band," as in the Authorised version), i.e., the cohort (the same word as in Acts 10:1) of Roman soldiers sent by Pilate to prevent a tumult. These probably were armed with swords; (2) the officers of the chief-priests, probably the Levites or Nethinim, who were the guards of the Temple, armed with "staves" or "clubs." He adds, also, what lay in the nature of the case, that they were provided with "lanterns and torches" as well as weapons. It was now near the hour of dawn, but they must have left the city while there was at best only moonlight to guide them. They bent their steps to Gethsemane, as that was known to Judas as one at least of our Lord's chosen resorts (John 18:2), in which, we may well believe, He had spent some hours of each of the four preceding nights.

Verses 47-56. - Betrayal and apprehension of Jesus. (Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:2-11.) Verse 47 - Judas, one of the twelve. So called by all the synoptists, as if to enhance his guilt - one of Christ's own familiar friends, who had eaten bread with him. Came. St. Luke tells us that he led the way to Gethsemane. He well knew the place as a favourite resort of Christ (John 18:2); he knew, too, that Jesus was alone there with his apostles, and he had gone with confidence to inform the authorities where they could find him, and to demand a force sufficient to make the arrest. A great multitude. Consisting of some of the Levitical guard, Roman soldiers, Sanhedrists, and elders. The soldiers carried swords, the fanatical herd bore staves, to overcome any opposition which, after the demonstration at the triumphal entry, might be naturally expected. St. John adds that they brought with them lanterns and torches in order to search the recesses of the grove, should Christ have hidden himself there.

26:47-56 No enemies are so much to be abhorred as those professed disciples that betray Christ with a kiss. God has no need of our services, much less of our sins, to bring about his purposes. Though Christ was crucified through weakness, it was voluntary weakness; he submitted to death. If he had not been willing to suffer, they could not conquer him. It was a great sin for those who had left all to follow Jesus; now to leave him for they knew not what. What folly, for fear of death to flee from Him, whom they knew and acknowledged to be the Fountain of life!And while he yet spake,.... While he was thus speaking to his disciples, before the last words, he is at hand that doth betray me, were well out of his mouth; such an exact knowledge had Christ of every motion of Judas, of what he was about, and where he was:

lo! Judas, one of the twelve, came. The Persic version adds, "in sight"; of Christ, and the disciples; they saw him, and knew him, though some little distance: he came to Gethsemane, and into the garden, where they were, with a design to betray his master. He is described by his name Judas; as in Matthew 26:14, for there was another Judas among the apostles; the Syriac and Persic read, Judas the betrayer, to distinguish him from the other: and also by his office, "one of the twelve"; i.e. apostles, whom Christ called from the rest of his disciples and followers, and bestowed extraordinary gifts upon, and sent forth to preach the Gospel, cast out devils, and heal all manner of diseases; and "lo!", one of these betrays him! an apostle, and yet a devil! one of the twelve, one of his select company, and bosom friends, and yet a traitor!

and with him a great multitude, with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders the people. Judas was at the head of them, went before them to show them where Christ was, and to deliver him into their hands: he had not been asleep, he had been with the chief priests, and acquainted them with the opportunity he had of making good his agreement with him: he had got the band of soldiers, and other persons together, in order to make sure work of it. Thus we see how diligent wicked men are in the accomplishment of their evil designs, whilst good men are asleep and indifferent to godly and spiritual exercises. Judas is here described by his company; he who but a few hours ago was at table with his Lord, and the rest of the apostles, is now at the head of band of Roman soldiers, and other miscreants, and blood thirsty wretches, intent upon the death of his master. They may well be called a "multitude", because made up of various sorts of persons, and these, many of them; of Roman soldiers, of the officers and servants of the chief priests; yea of the chief priests themselves, captains of the temple, and elders of the people, who were so eager upon this enterprise, that they could not forbear going in company with them, to see what would be the issue of it. And "a great one"; for the "band" of soldiers, if it was complete, consisted of a thousand men itself; and besides this, there were many others, and all to take a single person, and who had no more about him than eleven disciples; though the (i) Jews pretend he had two thousand men with him: and who came also "with swords and staves, or clubs"; the Roman soldiers with their swords, and the servants of the chief priests with their clubs: the reason of this posse, and of their being thus armed, might be either for fear of the people, who, should they be alarmed, and have any notice of their design, might rise and make an uproar, and attempt to rescue him; or that by having a Roman band with them, and the chief priests and their officers, it might appear, that what they did they did by authority; and that they seized him as a malefactor, as one guilty either of sedition, or heresy, or both. And this account is confirmed by the Jews themselves, who say (k), that the citizens, of Jerusalem were "armed", and equiped, and so took Jesus: and this multitude also came "from the chief priests and elders of the people". Mark joins the Scribes with them, Mark 14:43, these composed the sanhedrim, or great council of the nation, who had been consulting the death of Christ; had agreed to give Judas thirty pieces of silver to betray him into their hands; had obtained a band of soldiers of the Roman governor to apprehend him, and sent their officers and servants to assist herein; these all acted under their direction, influence, and authority. The Vulgate Latin, and Munster's Hebrew Gospel read, "sent", from them,

(i) Toldos Jesu, p. 16. (k) Ib.

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