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an additional cause of awe in the beholders, and more powerfully call forth this involuntary mark of respect. Considering the cure that was effected upon Malchus, it seems most natural. to suppose that the ear was not literally separated from the head, but only so deeply divided as to justify the use of a familiar expression * I cannot help observing that several little particulars, which St. John has supplied, do from their very minuteness give a new interest and credibility to this important part of our Saviour's history. Such are the insertion of Annas's name, and his connection with Caiaphas, which, if they add little else, add an air of animation and reality to the principal story.
Ver. 15. In the fifteenth verse St. John, no doubt, alludes to himself under the modest designation of " another disciple." And from the circumstance of his being “known to the high priest t,” and “to her that kept the door #,” and to another “servant of the high priest S," and probably to Malchus , one might almost be tempted
* Plutarch has used the same word in a sentence where it can only have a general signification, τη βακτηρια παταξας τον opoalpov atekoyev. (In Lycurgo.)
† Ver. 15. Ver. 16. § Ver. 26. U Ver. 10. * 2 Sam. iv. 6. and Josephus, Ant. 7. 2. 1. In Burder's Oriental Customs, I find Pignorius (de Sacris, p. 454), quoted in support of the same practice.
to infer that St. John had himself been in the high priest's service.
Ver. 16. To us it may appear extraordinary that the high priest's porter should have been a female ; but there is some reason to think this was no uncommon practice at that time, since we are informed by Josephus, and by the writers of the Septuagint, that the same was the case in the house of Ishbosheth, Saul's son, though the circumstance is not specified in the English Bible *.
Ver. 17. There cannot be a more striking example of the fore-knowledge of God, than is recorded in the case of Peter's denial; yet nobody will pretend that St. Peter was forced into this behaviour, or that he was not at perfect liberty to act as he chose. Whatever difficulty there may be then in conceiving how God's fore-knowledge can be consistent with man's free-will; yet it must of necessity be admitted that both are true. The one is demonstrated externally, by the whole course of sacred history; the other is felt internally, by the conscious working of every unprejudiced mind.
Ver. 28. Jesus had been bound, and taken first to Annas, and thence to Caiaphas the high priest, in whose palace he was detained through the night, and exposed to the insults of the servants *. On the morrow as soon as it was day t, he was brought before the Sanhedrim, or Council, consisting of the chief priests and elders #, which appears at that time to have assembled in the temple; for in the temple it is said that Judas threw down the thirty pieces of silver, the price of his treachery $. Here then Jesus was questioned upon the subject of his being the Messiah : “I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God ll.” But when the chief priests and elders had determined to put him to death, and for that purpose had brought him to the judgment hall of Pilate, the Roman governor, they artfully shift their accusation 1, and charge him with making himself a king, which would be treason against the emperor of Rome. Jesus by his reply to Pilate, “ Thou **
* Luke xxii. 63.
+ Luke xxii. 66. I Matt. xxvi. 59.
§ Matt. xxvii. 5. || Matt. xxvi. 63.
Luke xxiii. 2. ** Many instances of a similar form of assent might be produced from ancient authors—as, leyels (Æschylus, Eumen, v. 717).
sayest that I am a king,” acknowledges the title, but not in a worldly sense. He came into the world not to exercise temporal dominion ; but “to bear witness to the truth," to erect a kingdom of righteousness, to establish true religion, and to confirm it by the testimony of signs and wonders. When Pilate says to him," what is truth?” it is as if he had said, “what do you mean by truth ?” And in the conclusion of the same verse, when he says, “I find in him no fault at all,” the meaning is rather, “I find in him no crime deserving of death ;" for so it is explained by St. Luke *, and by St. Paul in his address to the people of Antioch in Pisidia, “though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain t.” It was by this determination of the priests and elders to procure the execution of Jesus, that were fulfilled his own prophetic words recorded in the twelfth chapter, " And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to
And in Latin, Tu dixti. (Plaut. Merc. 1. 2. 52). So, avros, eon, TOUTO deyals—"you say the truth.” (Xenoph. Mem. 3. 10. 15.) For it is notorious that they very seldom used any word corresponding to the “yes” of modern languages; but rather expressed their assent by some periphrasis. * Chap. xxiii. 15.
+ Acts xiii. 28.
me.” For this, adds the Evangelist, he said, signifying what death he should die; the “lifting up” being intended of his crucifixion.
SCOURGING appears to have been generally inflicted by the Romans previous to the execution of criminals, and was probably originally intended as a means of extorting confession. Therefore it may be observed to be after the scourging of our Saviour, that Pilate tells the people he finds “no fault in him," that is, “nothing deserving of death." And in the Acts of the Apostles it is said, “ the chief captain commanded Paul to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging, that he might know wherefore they cried so against him *. This scourging, and the putting on a crown of thorns,” are usually looked upon as superfluous cruelties exercised upon the person of Jesus. I have endeavoured to suggest some reason for the former of these actions; and, in respect to the latter, would observe that our
* Acts xxii. 24.