Matthew 26:49 MEANING

Matthew 26:49
(49) Hail, master.--Better, Rabbi, both St. Matthew and St. Mark (Mark 14:45) giving the Hebrew word. The Greek word for "hail" is somewhat more familiar than the English has come to be for us. It was, we may believe, the disciples' usual greeting.

Verse 49. - Forthwith. The blood money was to become due on the accomplishment of the betrayal; so Judas, now that the opportunity had arrived, lost no time in completing his part of the bargain. Kissed him (κατεφίλησεν, a strong word, kissed him eagerly, or, kissed him much). Judas was more than usually demonstrative in his salutation. "The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords" (Psalm 55:21). So Joab treated Amasa before he murdered him (2 Samuel 20:9, 10). What infinite patience for the Lord to submit to this hypocritical caress! It is a type of the wonderful goodness and long suffering of God towards sinners, how he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good.

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 forthwith he came to Jesus,.... As soon as ever he appeared, before the rest could come up; for, he went before them, as Luke says, and that not only as, their guide to direct them to the person they wanted, but he separated himself from them, that it might not be thought that he came with them, or belonged to them:

and said, hail, master; and kissed him. Just as Joab asked Amasa of his health, and took him by the beard to kiss him, and smote him under the fifth rib, 2 Samuel 20:9. The salutation he gave him was wishing him all health, prosperity, and happiness. The Syriac version renders it, "peace, Rabbi"; and the Persic, "peace be upon thee, Rabbi"; which was the very form of salutation the disciples of the wise men gave to their Rabbins,

"Says (n) Aba bar Hona, in the name of R. Jochanan, in what form is the salutation of a disciple to his master?

, "peace be upon thee, Rabbi".

In Mark 14:45, the word "Rabbi" is repeated, this being usual in the salutation of the Jewish doctors; and the rather used by Judas under a pretence of doing him the greater honour, and of showing the highest respect, and strongest affection for him. So this deceitful wretch still addresses him as his master, though he was now serving his most implacable enemies; and wishes him all peace and joy, when he was going to deliver him into the hands of those that sought his life; and to cover all, kissed him, as a token of his friendship and the sincerity of it. It is rightly observed by Dr. Lightfoot, that it was usual for masters to kiss their disciples, particularly their heads; but then not for disciples to kiss their masters: of the former there are many instances in the Jewish writings, but not of the latter: yet, I can hardly think that this was done out of open contempt and derision; but under a pretence of respect and love; and even as being concerned for his present case, and as condoling him under the circumstances he was now likely to be in, through an armed hand, which was just upon him; and which he, by this artifice, would have suggested he had no concern with,

(n) T. Hieros. Shebuot. fol. 34. 1.

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