1. Then he said to his disciples, “It is impossible to avoid having [some] stumblingblocks come; however, woe to him by whom they come!
Stumblingblocks: literally, scandals—not just things that shock people, but those that actually “trip them up” so they cannot get out of a situation with their innocence intact.
2. “It [would be] better for him if a millstone [were to be] hung around his neck and he were flung into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to stumble.
I.e., he would avoid a much worse end if this is all that he suffered, because the guilt he would incur by such an act would bring more wrath from YHWH than he could even imagine. Compare the burden of guilt that is attributed to the ancient city of Babylon, one of the greatest stumblingblocks in history, in Rev. 18:21.
3. “Be cautious about yourselves: if your brother should sin, bring the right weight to bear on him, and if he repents, discharge him.
Bring the right weight: probably a play on the mention of a millstone in the preceding verse. The term includes all of the following: rebuke or chide to the right extent due him, not overwhelming him and not letting it slide, but warn him to keep something worse from ensuing but in the process put in place whatever measure is needed to correct the situation and build upon it so he learns from his error rather than wallowing in guilt. If he turns around and changes his way, never place the excessive weight on him of reminding him of his former error.
4. “Even if he should sin against you seven times a day, and comes back to you seven times saying, ‘I changed my mind’, forgive him!”
5. Then the ones [he had] sent said to the Master, “Add to us [such] trustfulness!”
Trustfulness: the ability to think well of someone who makes so many mistakes and recognize when he is honestly trying his best to change, despite all the stumblingblocks (v. 2) that have gotten him to the point where he is now. Help him out of the quicksand rather than blaming him for falling into it.
6. But the Master said, “If you have [only as much] trustfulness as a mustard seed, you could have said to this sycamore-fig tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea!’, and it would in that case have obeyed you!
Mustard seed: one of the tiniest seeds. (Mark 4:31) I.e., it does not require as much as you think it does. In the sea: note the parallel with v. 2, probably used as a mnemonic device to drive the point home.
7. “Now which of you who has a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to the one who has come in out of the field, ‘Relax as soon as you have come in!’
Relax: or specifically, recline (at table, to eat):
8. “Won’t he rather say to him, ‘Get my dinner ready, then put on your apron and wait on me until I finish eating and drinking; then afterward you yourself can eat and drink’?
Wait on: i.e., be in attendance, ready to serve. He does not have a break until all of his work is done. This is why it is so critical to require nothing of one’s servant on the Sabbath, so that he can truly rest. (Deut. 5:14)
9. “He’s not going to show gratefulness to the servant because he did the things he was ordered [to do so], is he?
Gratefulness: or favor, kindness. Though on his part it would have been courteous to recognize his servant’s efforts, Yeshua is making the point from the other side of the story:
10. “In the same way you, whenever you have done all you were commanded, say, ‘We are not servants deserving [any special] honor; we’ve [only] done what was required if us!’”
Not deserving honor: or unprofitable, unworthy, even useless. Just doing the right things is being a mediocre servant, Yeshua says; that is the minimum expectation, not something we should be commended for (though nowadays it seems outstanding if someone does even that much)! We must go above and beyond what is merely reasonable.
11. Now what occurred as he was going up to Yerushalayim, while he was passing through the midst of Shomron and the Galil,
Shomron: the Hebrew name for Samaria, the region north of Judea and south of the Galil, inhabited by descendants of the foreigners the Assyrrian conquerors brought in when they had taken the Northern Kingdom of Israel into exile, some of whom had mixed with the destitute remnant of the Northern Kingdom, who retained faith in YHWH, accepting only the Torah, but worshipping at a different temple that the Assyrian king had built for his Levite son-in-law to officiate at. (Neh. 13:28) Going up: sometimes figurative, but literal from most parts of the country; in the Kingdom, the fact that one always ascends when going to Yerushalayim will also be a literal fact by every measure. (Mikha 4:1)
12. was that, as he entered a certain village, ten men with tzara’ath met up with him, standing at a distance.
Tzara’ath: a disease that renders one ritually impure and must be quarantined. (Lev. 13) It often struck people who had attempted to usurp someone else’s position wrongfully. They kept their distance so they would not pass their ritual impurity and possibly the disease itself on to him.
13. And they raised their voice, saying, “Yeshua, Commander-in-Chief, have compassion on us!”
Commander: i.e., the one in charge, the one with authority to do something about this situation.
14. And, looking directly at them, he told them, “Go ahead, start on your way, and show yourselves to the cohanim.” And, sure enough, as they were departing, they were cleansed [of the disease].
Cohanim: i.e., Levitical priests. Show: the term includes the sense of demonstrating (that they are indeed without the disease they once had). This is what YHWH commanded through Moshe. (Lev. 13:3ff)
15. But one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, giving honor to Elohim with a loud voice,
16. and he fell on his face beside [Yeshua’s] feet, expressing gratitude to him. Now he himself was a Samaritan.
Samaritan: a resident of Shomron, often looked down on by the Jews because of their different ways of interpreting the Scriptures. (See Yochanan 4.)
17. Then Yeshuia responded by saying, “Weren’t there ten cleansed? So where are the [other] nine?
18. “Was there none found to come back and give honor to Elohim except this [man of a] different race?”
I.e., shouldn’t pure Israelites be doing a better job of honoring YHWH? That others were doing a better job was a common theme of Yeshua’s.
19. And he told him, “Rise up and go your way; your faith has rescued you!”
Faith: or possibly, faithfulness.
20. Now, having been asked by some P’rushim when the Kingdom of Elohim was coming, he responded to them by saying, “The Kingdom of Elohim does not arrive with observable evidence.
Evidence: something you can see and inspect objectively.
21. “Nor will they say, ‘Look! It’s here!’ or ‘There [it is]!’ Because, look! The Kingdom of Elohim is within you.
Within: inside, i.e., in your heart, and to guide our actions anywhere in the world accordingly, for before there can be a physical kingdom there have to be subjects to populate it, who have developed a mind to be loyal to our king; or possibly, among (i.e., in your midst). If the latter is the case, the Kingdom is the king himself, who says that he will be in the midst of not just a minyan (quorum for prayer), but even just two or three who are in agreement. (Mat. 18:20)
22. And he told the disciples, “Days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Adam, but you will not [be able to] discern [it].
Discern: to be able to see something well from a distance and accurately identify it.
23. “And they will see to you, ‘Look there!’ or ‘Here [he is]!’ Don’t go out of your way or follow [them],
24. “for like the lightning flashing from one [end] of the sky and shines into the [other end] of the sky, that is how the Son of Adam will be in his day.
25. “But first he has to undergo many painful things and be rejected by this generation.
Painful things: ill treatment, sufferings. Rejected: disapproved of and repudiated.
26. “And as it came about in the days of Noakh, it will also be the same in the days of the Son of Adam:
27. “they were eating, drinking, marrying, and being given in marriage until the day Noakh entered into the ark, and then the deluge came and [completely] destroyed everything.
Hebrew teachings have several levels of meaning. The most obvious on the surface is the one Yeshua himself explained in Mat. 24:38-39--that people are not paying attention to the signs, going about their ordinary business, and the day catches them unawares. (v. 39) But the specific wording,“eating, drinking, marrying, and being given in marriage” (especially when contrasted with the unfallen angels which are still in heaven, as described in Mat. 22:30) also suggests a much more sinister situation analogous to Noakh’s day as described in Genesis 6 and elaborated on in much greater detail in 1 Hanokh (Enoch) chapter 7: when some of the Watchers (a class of angels, some of whom chose earth over heaven) took wives from among human women, they brought forth a mixed race of giants who “devoured all the labor of men, until it became impossible to feed them. When they turned themselves against men, to devour them, and began to injure birds, beasts, reptiles, and fish, to EAT one another’s flesh and to DRINK their blood. Then the earth reproved the unrighteous.”
28. “Similarly, as it came about in the days of Lot, they were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, and building,
29. “then the day Lot left S’dom, it rained fire and sulfur from the sky and [completely] destroyed everything.
30. “According to these things it will be the day the Son of Adam is disclosed.
31. “On that day, the one who is on the housetop, whose possessions are in the house, should not come down to get them, and likewise the one who is in the field should not come back to [take along] the things he left behind.
A speedy flight will be the only way to survive at that time; one must go with only what he has with him, so our “sandals should be one our feet and our staff in hand”!
32. “Remember Lot’s wife!
33. “ Whoever tries to preserve his own life will lose it, but whoever loses loses it will keep it alive.
34. “I tell you, on that day there will be two on one bed; the one will be taken away, and the other left [alone].
Taken: the term connotes aggressiveness or violence, so this does not appear to be the time when some will be taken to be with YHWH and others left to be judged, but rather a different time when those taken will be the ones judged.
35. “There will be two [women] grinding at the same [mill]; the one will be taken away, and the other left [alone].
36. “Two will be in the field; ]; the one will be taken away, and the other left [alone].”
37. And in response they said to him, “Where, Master?” And he told them, “Wherever the body [is], that is where the birds of prey will be gathered together.
1. Then he started telling them an analogy about [how] they should always pray and not lose heart,
2. saying, “There was a certain judge in a certain city who neither feared Elohim nor respected human beings,
3. “but there was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Defend me from the one who is prosecuting me!’
Defend: to legally vindicate, to provide justice over.
4. “And for a long while he did not want to, but later he thought, ‘Even though I neither fear Elohim nor respect human beings,
For a long while: literally, “upon a time”—clearly from where we derived the phrase “once upon a time”! Thought: literally, said within himself. Note Yeshua’s humor in the last phrase that would help his hearers remember the story and, more importantly, its point.
5. “yet because this widow is giving me occasion for such trouble, I’ll defend her so she doesn’t annoy me to the point of exhaustion!’”
Exhaustion: literally, to the extent of giving me a black eye. She was wearing him down by persistence that outdid his, and this is the kind of endurance that wins over the forces of evil, which are only willing to persist as long as it is convenient for them:
6. Then the Master said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says!
7. “But will Elohim not all the more bring vindication for His chosen ones who call out to Him day and night, and be patient in regard to them?
Chosen: implies “favorite”—the “special treasure of a people” that He says Israel is to Him. (Exodus 19:5 et al)
8. “I tell you, He will execute justice for them quickly! Except, when the Son of Adam arrives, will he find the faith upon the earth?”
Quickly: literally, in rapid succession—i.e., almost immediately. The faith: the same faith that Yeshua taught his disciples, which was the same faith Moshe and the prophets had always taught. But when “whispered down the alley” among those who rejected its Hebraic character, was it likely to be preserved intact? Additionally, “will he find faithfulness?” I.e., will anyone still be willing to go to such persistent lengths to defend the treasure YHWH entrusted to us, in the face of parallel philosophies that seem nice enough and therefore wash it out and water it down?
9. Then he also told this analogy to some who had convinced themselves that they were righteous and despised [everyone] else:
Convinced: or relied upon. Righteous: or simply, “right”; i.e., everyone else was wrong. This flies directly in the face of what Mikha said about YHWH having shown us what is good and what YHWH requires—including “walking humbly/modestly with our Elohim”. (Mikha 6:8) Walking even with Elohim, if done arrogantly, somewhat cancels out the other two aspects that verse enjoins: doing justice and loving mercy. (Rabbi David Fohrman)
10. “Two men went up into the Temple to pray. One [was] a P’rush, and the other a public revenue collector.
11. “The P’rush, who remained standing, was praying to himself this way: ‘O Elohim, I thank You thath I am not like the rest of the people--
Praying to himself: if he was basing his right to be heard on his own record, he was really actually thanking himself. Yeshua exaggerates the drama, but is getting at the root of how many people really do feel, though they would not state it quite so bluntly.
12. “‘I fast twice a week, I deduct a tithe of everything, however much I gain…’
13. “But the revenue collector, standing at a distance, was not even ready to lift his eyes to the heavens, but was striking his chest [with his fist], saying, ‘O Elohim, show mercy toward me, the [one who is] sinful!’
Not even ready: possibly fearing retribution if he dared. Striking his chest: still a common practice on Yom Kippur while repeating various details of how “we have sinned”.
14. “I tell you, this one rather than the other went down to his house justified, because everyone who elevates himself will be brought low, while the one who humbles himself will be lifted high.”
This amplifies on Proverbs 27:11, which says, “Let another person praise you rather than your own mouth”; how much more if we allow YHWH Himself to decide who is to be praised, assuming we all have faults and therefore not acting like more than we really are.
15. Then they began bringing even the infants to him so that he might place his hands on them, but when the disciples saw it, they were restraining them.
Restraining: or telling them this was wrong, forbidding them; the term literally means “placing a value on”. I.e., they were judging this activity to be too low a priority for Yeshua to be bothered by it when he was clearly involved in such an important work.
16. But Yeshua called them over to him and said, “Allow the little children to come toward me, and don’t hinder them, because the Kingdom of Elohim is [made up] of this kind [of people]!
Allow: literally, release (from the restraint of v. 15). Do not hinder them: This can have much wider implications than simply physical proximity. (Compare 17:1-2.)
17. “I tell you the truth: whoever will not welcome the Kingdom of Elohim as a child [does] will by no means enter into it!
As a child does: trustingly and with enthusiastic abandon.
18. Now a certain [Sanhedrin] official interrogated him, saying, “Good teacher, what must I have done to acquire eternal life?”
Acquire: or inherit, become an heir to.
19. But Yeshua said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except One—the [only] Elohim.
Yeshua was still innocent, but that is not yet good; had not yet passed all the tests he had to go through to have the right to be called righteous with certainty, and he was not going to be flattered by a title he had not yet earned. We, however, can be counted righteous because he shared with us the merit that he later did indeed earn, but that is a “crown that we would cast at his feet” rather than arrogating it to ourselves.
20. “You know the commandments: ‘Don’t commit adultery, don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t bear false witness, honor your father and mother…’”
21. But he said, “All of these I have obeyed since my youth!”
22. But after he had heard it, Yeshua said to him, “You’re still missing one thing: sell everything—however much you have—and distribute it to poor [people], and you will have treasure in the heavens. Then [come back] here and follow me.”
23. However, when he heard these things, he became intensely sad, because he was extremely wealthy.
24. When Yeshua saw how sad he became, he said, “How difficult it is for those who have riches to fit through when entering into the Kingdom of Elohim.
How sad he became: Aramaic; the Greek version suggests that when he saw this, Yeshua also became sad.
25. “It’s easier for a [thick] cable to go [through] the eye of a needle than [it is for] a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Elohim!”
Cable: this makes more sense than the related but slightly-different Greek word for “camel” that appears in most manuscripts, but not all.
26. But those who heard [this] said, “Then who can possibly be saved?”
27. But he said, “The things [that are] impossible for human beings are possible for Elohim.”
One could unravel the cable and feed it strand by strand through the hole (v. 25) to get it all through. (R. Webster) And indeed, that may be exactly what YHWH would do with our possessions to send them ahead into the Kingdom, for if we divide them up (v. 22) and show consideration for the poor, we lend to YHWH (Prov. 19:17), and He does repay richly, but He saves our reward for the time when it will be safe from all the ways the world now conspires to take it from us. (Mat. 6:19)
28. Then Kefa said, “Look, we have let go of our own [things] to accompany you!”
29. But he told them this: “I tell you the truth—that there is no one who has left home or wife or siblings or parents or children for the sake of the Kingdom of Elohim
30. “who will not by all means receive many times more in the present season, and in the coming age, eternal life!”
Many times more: if we have to leave one home or family in order to follow YHWH’s calling, we will gain a much larger family (often because we have “begotten” them into the Kingdom ourselves) and many places we could call home.
31. Having taken the twelve aside, he told them, “Pay attention: We are going up into Yerushalayim, and all the things written by the prophets about the Son of Adam will be accomplished:
32. “because he will be handed over to the Gentiles, and mocked, and insulted, and spat on.
Mocked: jeered at, ridiculed. Insulted: treated arrogantly by insolent people who would trample on his honorable name and rob him of his rightful reputation. Son of Adam: the specific title for one who will ultimately be enthroned in YHWH’s presence. (Daniel 7:13) The other prophecies to which he refers are from Daniel 9:26, Psalm 22, Yeshayahu 53:3-12, etc.
33. Then after they have scourged him, they will kill him [outright], then on the third day he will rise back up.”
Third day: Compare Hoshea 6:2.
34. And they did not comprehend any of these things, and this matter was hidden from them, nor did they know what [he was] talking about.
On one other occasion, Kefa tried to get Yeshua to stop thinking he was going to be killed (4:7); if the rest of them understood what he was saying, how much more might they have tried to forcibly prevent him from going where he knew he needed to go?
35. Now what occurred as he was approaching Y’rikho was that a certain blind man sat by the roadway, begging for alms.
Approaching: Matithyahu 20:29 says “as he left” in regard to this incident. But because of the curse on those who would rebuild Y’rikho (Y’hoshua 6:26; 1 Kings 16:34), yet it being a very fertile oasis not likely to be wasted by disuse, there were two areas then identified as Y’rikho—the ancient ruin (which Jews, to whom Matithyahu chiefly wrote, would readily identify as the “real” Y’rikho) and, less than two miles southwest of it, the newer city with the same name, built by Herodus as a kind of summer residence (and since Luke, who may have been a convert himself, wrote to a largely Gentile audience, who would more likely consider this the “real” Y’rikho, would be referring to that Y’rikho in his account). As he left one, he would approach the other, so this event apparently took place between the two, and there is no real contradiction. (Eric Lyons, Arthur Custance)
36. But hearing a crowd passing by, he was inquiring as to what this might be [about],
37. and they reported to him that Yeshua of Natzereth [was] approaching.
38. And he shouted out, saying, “Yeshua, son of David, have pity on me!”
Son of David: a term for the Messiah, the one in David’s line with the right to the throne. He apparently had already heard enough about Yeshua to have surmised that he was this Messiah.
39. And those going on ahead [of Yeshua] were trying to restrain him, telling him to be quiet. However, he kept shrieking out [even] more often, “Son of David, have pity on me!”
40. However, Yeshua stopped and ordered that he be brought to him. But when he had come close, he asked him,
41. “What do you want me to do for you?” And he said, “Master, [I want] to recover my sight!”
42. So Yeshua said to him, “[Then] recover your sight! Your confidence has delivered you.”
Positive expectation is often an integral component in receiving what YHWH wants to give us.
43. And instantly he did recover his sight, and he began to accompany him [on his way], giving honor to Elohim. And all the people who had seen it rendered praise to Elohim.
1. And, having entered Y’rikho, he was passing through [the town],
2. and there was a [certain] man [there], called by the name of Zakkai, and he was a head revenue collector, and he was wealthy.
A much-loved rabbi was named Yochanan ben Zakkai; could he have been this man’s son?
3. Now he wanted to see who Yeshua was, but he was unable to on account of the crowd, because he was small in stature.
4. So, having run to the front, he climbed up a sycamore-fig tree so that he might see him, because he was about to pass by there.
5. And as he arrived at the place, Yeshua looked up and said, “Zakkai! Hurry! Come down, because I need to spend the day in your house!”
Yeshua could tell he was the one most eager to see him there, and he also knew his needy condition despite all his wealth, so that is where he focused his visit to this city, rewarding his extra efforts to make sure he could follow the call he was hearing in his heart despite obstacles that might have made someone else decide it was not worth the trouble.
6. So he hurried down and welcomed him under [his roof] enthusiastically.
Welcomed: the word includes the idea of receiving a guest hospitably. Enthusiastically: or gladly. Yeshua actually did the inviting, possibly because he knew this man would be ashamed to invite a holy man home because of the faults of which he was well aware. Tax collectors commonly “gouged” people (v. 8) by charging more than Rome required and keeping the surcharge for themselves:
7. And all who saw it were complaining, saying that he had gone in to stay in the company of a sinful man.
Stay: literally, “loosen down”, i.e., to relax and possibly even find lodging there for the night. In the company of: with the sense of “close beside”; in modern parlance, to “hang out” with this person who they perceived was very different from him, when any of them could have been more worthy hosts! They mistook his purpose. (v. 10)
8. But, taking a stand, Zakkai said to the Master, “Look here, sir! I am donating half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have extorted [money from] anyone, I will restore four times as much!”
This would make his household not only just, but much more manageable, sustainable, and uncomplicated. Extorted: cheated someone for personal gain by accusing him of owing more taxes than he actually did. Four times as much: the Torah penalty for stealing a sheep and selling it or killing it, compared to only double restitution for a stolen one that is found alive in his possession. (Ex. 22:1, 4) Thus he was either paying them back for money he had already spent, or doing twice what was required if he still had what he had stolen.
9. Yeshua then said to him, “Today deliverance has come to this household, because this man, too, is a son of Avraham!
Deliverance: Aramaic, "life". Son: not just his descendant, because he had the same kind of faith Avraham had.
10. “because the Son of Adam [is here] to seek and to rescue what was lost."
This is a direct allusion to Y’hezq”el (Ezekiel) 34:4, 16. As he said, the healthy do not need a doctor. (Mat. 9:12) He wanted to spend his time where he was needed most, not “preach to the choir”.
11. But while they were listening [and trying to comprehend] these things, he proceeded to tell another analogy, because of his being near Yerushalayim and their thinking that the Kingdom of Elohim was about to appear instantly.
Instantly: or, immediately.
12. That is why he said, “A certain personage of noble birth traveled to a distant land to actively accept a kingdom that was offered to him and then return.
Yeshua was indeed offered a higher position after he successfully finished his work the first time he was here. (Philippians
13. “Having, then, summoned ten of his servants, he gave each of them ten mnas and told them, ‘Trade with this fruitfully, since I will return.’
A mna was a silver ingot weighing about 13 ounces and worth the equivalent of 100 denarii. (The term originated from the Hebrew maneh, to count.) A denarius was a typical day’s wage, so he essentially gave them each three years’ wages in advance to invest.
14. “But his subjects detested him and sent a delegation of elders after him, saying, ‘We don’t want this man reigning over us!’
His subjects: or, fellow-citizens. This clearly seems to be a sad prophecy of how his own brothers from the tribe of Yehudah would officially disown him, while he reigned over so many other nations.
15. “But what occurred when he came back, after having accepted the kingdom, was that he sent word calling to himself those servants to whom he had given the silver, so he might know what [each of them] had gained by trading [it].
Despite the rejection by his own (Yoch. 1:11), he still comes back and operates within the authority he nonetheless still has.
16. “So the first approached him, saying, ‘Master, your mna has gained an additional ten mnas!’
17. “And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Since you have proven trustworthy with the smallest [things], you are to have [delegated] authority over ten cities.’
18. “Then the second came, saying, ‘Master, your mna has made five mnas!’
19. “So he also said to this one, ‘You, too, are to be over five cities.’
20. “Then another [kind] came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mna, which I kept stored away in a handkerchief
Handkerchief: more literally, sweat-cloth.
21. “‘because I was afraid of you, because you are a strict person; you take up what you did not put down, and you reap what you did not sow.’
Strict: or harsh; literally, austere.
22. “He told him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you unbearable servant! You knew that I was “a strict person; taking up what I did not put down, and reaping what I did not sow”.
Unbearable: bad or worthless; literally, one causing agony or pain.
23. “‘So why didn’t you therefore put my money in a bank so that when I came I might have collected it with interest?’
Interest: not to be charged from fellow Israelites in private loans (Deut. 23:19), especially from the poor (Ex. 22:25; Lev. 25:35-37;), but apparently Yeshua did not have a problem with money-lenders who did this openly as their business.
24. “And to those standing by he said, ‘Take the mna away from him and give it to the one who has the ten mnas!’
25. “And they said to him, ‘Master, he [already] has ten mnas!’
26. “‘I tell you that everyone who has will be given [more], but from the one who does not have, even what he does possess will be taken away.
27. “‘Furthermore, those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and kill them off right in front of me!’”
Since the narration as such stops at verse 25, it is difficult to tell whether this last part is part of the parable or if it is Yeshua speaking directly about his own return, so to be safe we had better take it as the latter and not as merely allegorical.
28. And, having said these things, he proceeded forward, going up into Yerushalayim.
29. And what occurred as he approached Beyth-Fagey and Beyth-Aniyah, coming toward the so-called “Mount of Olives”, was that he sent two of his disciples,
30. saying, “Go [under my authority] into the village directly across from you. As you come into it, you will find a donkey-colt tied, on which no human being has ever yet sat. When you have untied it, bring [it here].
31. “And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’, tell them exactly like this: ‘Because the Master has need of it.’”
Asks: The term speaks of someone who officially has the right to interrogate them. Exactly:This must have been either a “password” he had arranged ahead of time or a phrase which he knew would remind the owner of the prophecy in Z’kharyah 9:9, which would identify him as the righteous kind who was coming to save—in the “daughter of Tzion”, which refers to a suburb of Yerushalayim, which this was.
32. So, when they had gone, those who were sent found it just as he had told them.
33. But as they untied the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?”
34. So they said, “Because the Master has need of it.”
35. And they led it toward Yeshua and, having thrown their outer garments over the colt, they had Yeshua mount it.
They: now apparently the owners themselves were bringing it.
36. Then, as it transported him, they were spreading their garments on the road
They were making a “red carpet” for the one they wanted to honor.
37. But as he was approaching the downward slope of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples together had already begun to praise Elohim gladly [and] in a loud voice in regard to all the powerful acts that they had seen,
38. saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of YHWH! Shalom in heaven and splendid honor in the highest [heavens]!”
Adding the detail about his being a king (from Z’kharyah 9), they were quoting Psalm 118:26. Matithyahu’s account (21:9) includes the phrase from the previous verse, “Please deliver!” This psalm is replete with hints about what would come next—the cornerstone’s rejection by the builders (v. 22), the fact that it is YHWH’s doing and marvelous in our eyes, etc. This psalm is included in the new moon liturgy, but this was the tenth of the month of Aviv, the date when each household was to select its Passover lamb (Ex. 12:3), and this crowd was doing just that.
39. Now some of the P’rushim from outside of the crowd told him, “Instructor, admonish your students!”
They wanted him to censure or put a stop to what they were saying, thinking they had gone too far. Of course, they would listen to their teacher if he told them to quiet down. But they were the ones who needed teaching:
40. And he responded by saying, “I tell you, if these [people] keep silent, the stones will cry aloud!”
Which stones? There are many natural stones and many grave-stones on this mountain, but the passage that refers to the king’s arrival here on a donkey also speaks of sling-stones in a great battle in which YHWH would rescue His people from the sons of Greece (Yawan/Ionia) and establish this man’s kingdom, and then the flock that YHWH delivers (see note on v. 38) will become like stones in his crown. (Zkh. 9:15-16) Was he seeing ahead prophetically to that day when YHWH’s own feet would stand on the Mount of Olives (as Yeshua was doing this day) and split it with a great earthquake? (Zkh. 14:4)
41. And as He drew near and saw the city, He wept over it,
42. saying, "If only you—and especially you—had known, particularly in this day of yours, the things pertaining to your peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.
"This day of yours": see note on v.44. "Things pertaining to your peace": the "glorious things" Elohim has in store particularly for Tzion (Ps. 87:3). But now they had to wait until a future age (see note on Mat. 11:14).
43. "For the days will come upon you, and your enemies will raise up a siege ramp into you, and will surround you and hem you in on every side,
44. "and will tear you down—you and your children within you—and will not leave one stone upon another, since you did not recognize the time of your visitation."
The time: Yeshua had often said, "My time has not yet come" (cf. Yoch. 2:4, etc.), but now it had come. What He was referring to was the time decreed by the prophet Daniel (9:24ff) for Messiah to be revealed. It had to be "69 weeks" of years (483 years) after the decree that Yerushalayim be rebuilt. This was the time it came to, when figured on the ancient count of 360 days per year, starting in 445 B.C.E. This is the first time Yeshua ever let himself publicly be acclaimed as the Messiah. Before that he had told his disciples (and the demons!) to keep quiet about it. Now that the leaders had effectively taken sides against him (for the same prophecy said he had to be "cut off"), he let it be known, right on time. One stone upon another: This refers chiefly to the Temple, as Yeshua clarified in another context (See note on Mat. 24:2) This is a grand-scale fulfillment of the Torah regulation of taking "leprous" stones out of a house, as commanded in Lev. 14:34ff. Leprosy is a picture of selfishness, and, according to rabbinic tradition, the Temple was destroyed because of "unfounded hatred of brother against brother". Since there was too much of this "leprosy" in the nation at this time, the whole house had to be dismantled (Lev. 14:45), but Y'hezq'el and Yeshua say it will be rebuilt one day.
45. And, entering into the Temple, he began to throw out the ones who were selling and buying inside it,
46. telling them, "It has been written, 'My house is a house of prayer, but you made it a robbers' den'."
Robbers’ den: He was referring to Yeshayahu 56:7—and fulfilling Yirmeyahu 7:11-15. In regard to its timing, see note on Mark. 11:12-17. As the rightful heir to David’s throne, though he was not allowed to go into places restricted only to priests (2 Chron. 26), and could make public offerings only on special dedicatory occasions (compare Y’hezq’el/Ezekiel 45-46), he did have the right to do this, for David and his dynasty after him had made decisions in regard to the financial dealings in the Temple. A high priest was removed from his office by Shlomo to fulfill a prophecy that none of Eli’s descendants would retain authority. (1 Shm. 3:12; 22:20ff) So a king had the authority to remove a priest who held his position because of a political arrangement. Yoshiyahu tells the high priest how to spend money brought into the Temple treasury. (2 Kings 22) So the king had authority over the finances of the Temple. Y’shua drove out the moneychangers out and overturning their tables, not allowing them to carry their wares through. (Mark 11:15ff; 12:41-43) Robbers: The Temple officials had plenty of money mainly because they were “gouging” the worshippers who needed to buy animals for sacrifice from their monopoly on the market.
47. And day after day He was teaching in the Temple. The chief priests and the scribes, however, were seeking an occasion to kill him,
48. But they hadn't found a way to do it, for all the people were hanging on his every word.
1. And it turned out that on one of those days, as He was teaching the people, and announcing the Good News in the Temple, that the chief priests and scribes, along with the elders, came up to Him,
2. and said to Him, "Tell us by what authority you do these things. And who gave you that authority?"
3. And He answered them, "I will also ask you one question: Tell Me,
4. "Yochanan's immersing: was it from Heaven, or from men?"
5. And they deliberated among themselves, saying, "If we say, 'From Heaven', then He will say, 'Why didn't you believe it, then?'
6. "But if we say, 'From men', all the people will stone us to death, since they are convinced that he was a prophet."
7. So they answered that they did not know from where it came,
8. And Yeshua said to them, "Very well, then neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things."
He stumped them by putting them in an untenable position either way, and since they were not willing to commit to the truth, he would not “throw his pearls before swine”, giving them any valuable information.
9. And He began to tell the people this parable: “A certain person planted a vineyard and leased it out to vinedressers, then went abroad for a considerable amount of time.
Person: literally, human being. But this is overtly a parable, and it becomes clear that he is really referring to YHWH, the “Beloved” who planted a vineyard whose yield disappointed Him greatly. (Yeshayahu/Isaiah 5; contrast Song of Songs 4:16)
10. “Then in the right season, he sent a servant to the vinedressers so that they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard, but after having beaten him, the vinedressers sent him away empty-handed.
11. “And again he sent a different servant, but likewise, after having beaten and mistreated him, they sent him away empty-handed.
Mistreated: specifically, disgraced him.
12. “Then again he sent a third, and, after having inflicted wounds on him, they threw him out.
13. “In response, the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What should I do? I will send my own son—the one I love; it could be that they will show him respect.’
Show him respect: literally, turn inward or revert, i.e., recoil from what they were doing and change their ways.
14. “But when they saw him, the vinedressers began deliberating back and forth among themselves [about what to do], saying, ‘This is the heir; let’s kill him, so the inheritance can become ours.
Deliberating: the word carries the connotation of a logic that ends up with a confused conclusion. (Thayer) Could these people really imagine that they could do this with impunity and that he would willingly let them inherit anything after they did such a thing? But wickedness rarely involves sound reasoning!
15. “And, having driven him to the outside of the vineyard, they killed him. What will the owner of the vineyard therefore do to them?
Driven: literally, thrown or cast out, expelled, ejected, or banished.
16. “He will come and completely, permanently destroy these vinedressers and give the vineyard to others.” But when they heard it, they said, “May it never come to be!”
They understood quite clearly what he was saying, and though the conclusion was obvious, they resisted it and hoped for a different outcome, rather than recognizing who he was speaking about (see v. 1) and holding them accountable before they got to the point of making the last part of the story come true. Others: compare Mat. 21:43 and Y’hezq’El (Ez.) 23:1-11; Yirmeyahu 3:11, where “backsliding Israel” ends up proving more righteous than Yehudah, whom he was addressing.
17. But, fixing his gaze intently on them, he said, “What then is this that has been written: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has turned into the head of the corner’?
He is quoting Psalm 118:22, which they knew well from the common new moon liturgy. Head of the corner: i.e., the most important piece in the structure. He was emphasizing the “rejected” part, and left out the part about being marvelous in our eyes, probably since he is speaking more of the builders, and they do not seem willing to marvel this time.
18. “Everyone who falls onto that stone will be broken, but whomever it may fall on, it will grind him into powder.
Grind into powder: or, scatter like chaff. Either way, the metaphor means he will be useless, because this is not grain being ground, though the imagery does suggest a millstone. The more likely allusion is to the stone cut without hands from Dani’el (2:45) that pulverizes the components of the statue that represents the rival kingdom headed by Bavel. He may be saying that even parts of Israel can be so crushed insofar as they partake of the goals, attitudes, and philosophies of that Kingdom and oppose or simply stand in the way of what YHWH is doing in the world.
19. And the scribes and the head priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, but they feared the people, because they knew that he was speaking this parable against them.
20. And, watching him closely, they sent spies, pretending to be righteous themselves, in order that they might catch him in [his] words and therefore hand him over to the preeminence and authority of the governor.
Pretending: Often the only way evil is left to operate when in the presence of someone truly righteous. (Psalm 66:3)
21. And they questioned him, saying, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach in a straight manner and are not partial to anyone, but teach the way of Elohim on the basis of truth.
Partial: literally, do not receive, i.e., give anyone access to yourself (based on his rank or ability to provide a gift in kind); alt., take to oneself (by craft), as in catching or entrapping the person within one’s influence or ‘
22. “Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar or not?”
To say “yes” would mean collusion with an unpopular occupying force, compounded by the fact that it was a pagan nation that put graven images on its coins; the question has much less relevance in an autonomous state in which one is merely paying taxes to one’s own people. But to say “no” would brand him a rebel against that regime (not necessarily an anarchist but wanting to overthrow an outside oppressor) and put him in danger of being targeted by it for silencing, since he was very influential.
23. But, having detected their unscrupulousness, he said to them,
Unscrupulousness: or trickery, but the term literally means “readiness to do anything”, i.e., to stop at nothing even if it is unethical.
24. “Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?” And they said, “Caesar’s.”
25. So he said to them, “Give back to Caesar what comes from Caesar, and [give back] to Elohim the things of Elohim.”
This is a much taller order than mere politics. In particular, whose image is on you? In whose image are you made? Whose name do you bear? Then to whom do you owe your entire self and every part of your life?
26. And they were not able to catch him in his words in front of the people, and being amazed at his answer, they remained silent.
27. But some of the Tzadduqim—the ones who argue that there is not a resurrection—interrogated him,
Some…those: Not all of the Tzadduqim (the major party that recognized only the written, not the Oral Torah) denied the existence of a resurrection, but only the Boethusians. This must be who these were.
28. saying, “Teacher, Moshe wrote to us that if anyone’s brother should die, having a wife yet being childless, his brother should take the wife and raise up seed for his brother.
This is the Levirate law from Deut. 25:5-9.
29. “With this in mind, there were seven brothers, and the first, who had taken a wife, died childless.
30. “Likewise the second [took] he wife; he also died childless.
31. “Then the third took her, and so on also the seven left no children when they died.
32. “Afterwards, the woman also died.
33. “So in the resurrection, the woman will be the wife of which of them? Because the seven had her as a wife!”
They thought they had him stumped.
34. And Yeshua said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage,
35. “but those who are counted worthy to attain to that age and to the rising back out from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage,
36. “for they are no longer able to die, because they are just like the angels, and they are sons of Elohim, being children of the resurrection.
Like the angels: equal to or on a par with; the term could mean they are angelic themselves, but this would only hold if we take “angels” in the sense of messengers in general, for angels were created separately from humans and they were not meant to mix. In fact, this is exactly what the passage he is drawing from (calling it specifically a Scripture in Mat. 22:29) says, addressing the angels referred to in Gen. 6:2: “You have defiled yourselves with the blood of women, and have begotten children with the blood of flesh, and, as the children of men, have lusted after flesh and blood as those also do who die and perish. Therefore have I given them wives also that they might impregnate them, and beget children by them, that thus nothing might be wanting to them on earth. But you were formerly spiritual, living the eternal life, and immortal for all generations of the world. And therefore I have not appointed wives for you…” (1 Enoch 15:4-7)
37. “But that the dead are raised, even Moshe pointed out in regard to the bush when he calls YHWH ‘the Elohim of Avraham, the Elohim of Yitz’haq, and the Elohim of Yaaqov’.
Moshe: the only human religious authority the Tzadduqim recognized. He calls: actually YHWH was the One who called Himself that. (Ex. 3:6)
38. “Now He is not Elohim of the dead but of the living, because to Him all are alive.
All are alive: Even those we consider dead are, to One who is outside time, still alive—and some of them more alive than they ever were when in our realm. Even those who are spiritually dead still exist to Him who was as much as He is.
39. Now in response, some of the scribes said, “Teacher, you have spoken well!”
40. For they no longer had the courage to ask him anything.
41. But he said to them, “How is it that they claim Messiah to be the descendant of David?
42. “For David himself says in the book of Psalms, ‘YHWH announced to my Master, ‘Sit at My right hand
He is quoting Psalm 110:1.
43. “‘until I appoint your enemies [to be under you as] your footstool.’
44. “So David calls him ‘Master’; how, then, is he his son?”
I.e., what right-minded father calls his own son his master? He leaves it a rhetorical question for us all to solve the puzzle, for puzzle it indeed is, though, of course, it is true. Part of the solution to the riddle may be found in the fact that he later calls himself “the root and offspring of David.” (Rev. 22:16) How does his favorite title for himself—ben Adam—play into his being David’s root? As the “reconstituted” Adam, is he therefore somehow also in the position of the first Adam—even retroactively? Does he completely replace Adam for those who cross over into the new birth? He may be saying, “Don’t put anything past YHWH!”
45. Then, [with] all the people listening, he said to [his] disciples,
46. “Be cautious about [those] scribes who desire to walk around in long robes and who love to be saluted in the marketplaces and the most honorable seats in the synagogues and the prominent places at formal dinners,
Long robes: in eastern custom, the prerogative of only the higher classes, of which they apparently aspired to be considered a part.
47. “who devour the houses of widows, and as a pretext pray at length! They will receive all the more condemnation.”
Devour: “properly, eat all the way down; (figuratively) utterly devour, leaving nothing; ferociously consume all the way down, i.e. with a rapacious, voracious appetite – leaving only ruination, without hope of recovery (or even remains)”. (Thayer) These particular scribes must have been persuading widows to make large donations and claiming they would receive a great reward from YHWH for their generosity.
1. Now when he looked up, he was watching those who were dropping their abundant gifts into the collection box.
He was still in the Temple court. (20:1)
2. But he noticed a certain widow dropping two lepta into it.
Lepta: small, thin copper coins each worth a denarius (one day’s wage) or possibly even less.
3. And he said, “I tell you the truth: this destitute widow has put in more than anyone [else],
4. “because all of these contributed out of their excess, while she, out of her poverty, put in all of the means of livelihood that she had.”
In his role as a prophet, he revealed that this counted more counted for more in YHWH’s eyes because it was more of a true sacrifice, showing just how much she valued the privilege of donating to the place where YHWH had set His name.
5. And as some were remarking about how the Temple was decorated with beautiful stones and dedicatory gifts brought by worshippers, he said,
6. “[As to] these things that you are contemplating, days will come in which there will not be left [one] stone upon [another] stone here which will not be broken down.”
Broken down: or destroyed by loosening, demolished. These now-isolated building stones have been excavated and placed in a memorial pile below where the Temple stood. The deeper meaning comes from the Torah, which specifies that if a house is full of tzara’at (an uncleanness that can spread) which cannot be quarantined and stopped, it must be pulled down (the equivalent word to “broken down” as used here) taken apart stone by stone. (Lev. 14:45)
7. Then they asked him, saying, “So teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the indication that these things are about to take place?”
8. And he said, “Watch out so that you will not be led astray, for many will come on the basis of my name and say, ‘I am [he]’ and ‘The time has drawn near.’ Do not go after them.
Watch out: or, be discerning. Time: a particular, anticipated season.
9. “Whenever you hear of wars and disturbances, don’t panic, because these things have to take place first, and the end-goal does not [follow] immediately.”
Disturbances: or, instability.
10. Then he told them, “Ethnic group will rise up against ethnic group, and kingdom against kingdom.
11. “There will be earthquakes both huge and in all [kinds of] places, famines, and pestilences; there will be both terrifying sights and major signs from the sky.
All kinds of places: This suggests that they will be experienced where they do not usually take place. Pestilences: plagues involving disease, usually spread by insects or small animals. Terrifying: implies that the effect will be that people will run away from them.
12. “But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute [you], turning you over to the synagogues and guard-houses, luring you into contact with kings and provincial governors for the sake of my name.
Lay: an understatement, because the term implies force, rushing, literally throwing their hands onto you and seizing you with the intent of imprisonment. Synagogues: This is either only speaking of the immediate future after his own day or an end-time resurgence of rabbinic authority to the point of having political power, not just religious, over those who acknowledge Yeshua. There is already talk of the nascent Sanhedrin wielding United Nations-level authority over non-Jewish nations in the very near future. (Ben-Nun)
13. “It will turn out to be an occasion for you to give testimony,
Testimony: witness or evidence, but the actual term is “martyrdom”, which evolved into the connotation of being executed for a cause since this was often the result (v. 16), but the chief meaning is giving proof that can be used either for or against the accusers.
14. “so settle [it] in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what defense you will give,
Settle: come to a firm decision on purpose.
15. “because I will give you an eloquence and wisdom that none of those who are adverse to you will be able to resist or dispute.
Resist: stand in opposition to, withstand, or contradict.
16. “You will be betrayed even by parents, close relatives, fellow-countrymen, and friends, and some of you they will put to death.
17. “And you will be hated by everyone on account of my name,
18. “yet not a hair of your head will by any means be utterly lost.
The certainty of resurrection is what will give us the courage and boldness to endure such treatment, knowing that this is not really the end for us:
19. “Through your [steadfast] endurance, you will gain your souls.”
Steadfast: or constant, patient in the face of such opposition. Gain your souls: or acquire for yourselves (the restoration of) your lives, your individual selves, the fulfillment of your distinct identity. That which we could not achieve in this life through all the prestige and influence available to us, we can achieve through laying down our lives for the truth. (Mat. 10:39) After this necessary preface, he now actually starts to directly answer their question:
20. “When you see Yerushalayim being encircled by army-camps, then recognize that her desolation has drawn near.
Her desolation: a repeat of the term used by Daniel (9:2) of the first destruction and exiling of the city, needed a second time because the lesson was not fully learned the first time. Idolatry was unheard of and not tolerated in Yehudah after the first exile, but prioritizing love for one’s fellows over personal gain (20:46-21:2) had not taken root.
21. “Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those in her midst withdraw from it, and let those in the outlying regions not enter into [the city],
The city: or possibly Judea as a whole; literally, simply, her. Yeshua’s first-generation followers did follow these instructions, and were preserved near the Decapolis city of Pella, across the Yarden River under a different ruler’s jurisdiction, in the same area where Eliyahu the prophet had found a refuge during troubled times. (1 Kings 17) But it appears there will need to be a second fulfillment of this prophecy as well:
22. “because these are days of retribution, to bring to completion all things that have been written.
Retribution: or vengeance, avenging. All things: not all were fulfilled the time before, and modern Israel has not been the model of a holy society either, so more still needs to be set straight before the Kingdom can come.
23. “But alas for those who are carrying in the womb, and to those who are nursing [babies] in those days, because there will be great constraint upon the Land and violent wrath toward this people,
24. “and they will fall by the mouth of the sword and be taken captive into the nations, and all of Yerushalayim will be trampled under [the feet of] the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are also filled to capacity.
Certain times of punishment are decreed for Yehudah, as with the other part of Israel (Y’hezq’El/Ez. 4:6; Yimeyahu/Jer. 16:18; Lev. 26:21-28), but YHWH wanted to give the other nations time to learn to know Him as well before the limits of grace can be stretched no further.
25. “And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity, the roaring sound and agitated surging of the sea,
Perplexity: or quandary, not knowing what to do about all these uncontrollable changes that are going on, therefore probably leading to some degree of anarchy.
26. “people fainting from alarm and apprehensive anticipation of the impending [catastrophes] that are coming upon the earth, because the forces of the skies will be disturbed.
Disturbed: or wavering, unpredictably agitated, seeming ready to be toppled. The phrase could also read “the powers of the heavens will be shaken”, hinting that this will affect “spiritual powers in the heavenly places” as well. (Compare Ephesians 3:10; 6:12; Colossians 2:15)
27. “Then at that point they will see the Son of Adam coming amid a cloud with power to effect change, and much splendor.
Amid a cloud: accompanied by a throng of innumerable people (Ezekiel 38:16; Heb. 12:1; Rev. 1:7), not “riding on a cloud” as only YHWH can do. (Yeshayahu 19:1)
28. “But when these things begin to come about, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is [quickly] approaching!”
Look up: or, raise yourself, straighten up, stop being bent over with burdens or anxiety; the term also implies being elated. Lift up your heads: with confidence and expectation. Redemption: release effected by the payment of a ransom. The ransom was paid long ago, but some aspects of the release must wait until conditions on the earth are thus made ready for the Kingdom.
29. Then he told them an analogy: “Pay attention to the fig tree—or any of the trees [for that matter]:
30. “When you see for yourselves that they have already sprouted, you know that summer is already near.
31. “In the same way also, when you see these things coming about, be certain that the Kingdom of Elohim is [getting] close.
32. “I tell you the truth, that this race will by no means perish until all of these things have been brought about.
Until: up to and including that time. Hearing about the destruction of their capital and scattering abroad throughout the whole world, they may have been concerned that Israel might cease to exist, but he knew that the prophets promised otherwise (most overtly in Yirmeyahu/Jer. 31:35-37; 33:24-26).
33. “The sky and the earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.
Yeshayahu 40:8 makes the same claim for the word of our Elohim, and Yeshua only spoke what he was given by his Father. (Yochanan 5:19, 30)
34. “But pay close attention to yourselves lest your hearts should ever become weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness,
Dissipation: being glutted to the point of nausea or to the point where one’s mind can no longer stay focused, because with all of these things about to occur, we will need all of our faculties, with no margin for distraction by lesser matters or lack of self-control.
35. “for it is impending upon all who reside on the surface of the whole earth.
36. “So stay alert in every season, begging [in prayer] that you may have the upper hand to prevail [and] escape all of the things that are about to take place and to stand before the Son of Adam.”
To stand: i.e., to survive to see him come but also to remain standing in his presence because you have no reason to be ashamed.
37. Now during the day he was teaching in the Temple, but at night he would go out and lodge in the open air on the mountain known as “Olives”,
This was likely at the place called Gath-Shemen (“oil press”), an olive orchard just across the Qidron Valley which he frequented (Yochanan 18:1-2; Mat. 26:36); there was a cave there available for shelter (where there is archaeological evidence that the olive press itself was), but in good weather would afford a pleasant place to sleep outdoors as well.
38. and all the people would get up early in the morning and come back to hear him in the Temple.
1. Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called Passover, was approaching,
Called: the Passover is technically only the one meal when the particular lamb recalling the final night in Egypt was slaughtered (Ex. 12:21; 34:25), but still today the whole seven-day feast is still colloquially known as “Passover” in common parlance.
2. and the head priests and the scribes were looking for a way to do away with him, because they were afraid of the populace.
3. Then the Adversary entered into Yehudah who was called the “cut-throat”, being one of the number of the twelve,
4. and he turned aside and discussed with the head priests and captain of the Temple guard about how he might hand him over to them.
5. And they were favorably disposed, and agreed to give him payment.
6. And he fully consented, and began seeking an appropriate occasion to deliver him over to them [while he was] away from [any] crowd.
7. Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the Passover lamb needed to be slaughtered.
8. So he sent Kefa and Yochanan, saying, “When you have gone, make the Passover ready for us so that we can eat it.”
9. But they said to him, “Where do you want us to prepare it?”
10. So he told them, “Look: when you have entered the city, you will encounter a man carrying an earthenware pitcher of water; accompany him into the house into which he enters,
Traditionally, women were the ones who carried water drawn from a well, so a male carrying such a vessel would stand out among the crowd. Why would he be carrying the water? The traditional location where this Passover seder took place (and which later became a regular meeting place for the congregation led by Yeshua’s brother Yaaqov) was in the Essene Quarter, and most Essenes did not marry, so if this man was an Essene, he would not have had a wife to do this job, and therefore had to do it himself.
11. “and say to the master of the house, ‘The teacher says to you, “Where is the guest-room where I can eat the Passover with my disciples?”’
12. “And he will show you a large furnished room on the second story; prepare it there.”
13. When they had gone, they found [everything] just as he had told them, so they got the Passover ready.
14. And when the hour had arrived, he reclined [at table], and the emissaries [did so] with him.
15. And he told them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”
Some have interpreted this to mean that, since he did not survive until the time everyone else would be eating their Passover, the meal they were preparing was not a true seder. But verses 8 and 11 cast doubt on this view. But if Yeshua had already eaten of the Passover, why had those who brought him to trial not yet done so? (Yochanan 18:28) Avi Ben Mordechai thinks it possible that Yeshua ate his at the beginning of the 14th (around sunset) and the Pharisees counted the transitional time between the 14th and 15th to be the proper time to eat the lamb. Another explanation is that there was also a huge number of lambs (enough to feed a few million pilgrims) to be slaughtered, and this could not all be done within the space of three hours, so it was permissible for some to be slaughtered “between the evenings” on the first day of the feast of unleavened bread as well as the day leading up to it, which was the ideal and the one Yeshua would have done, especially considering that he was to live out the antitype of the Paschal lamb just as the last of the lambs in the Temple was being slaughtered. Those officiating over the slaughter of the lambs would also eat their Passover after everyone else’s was slaughtered, but would still wish to do so before sundown at the end of the 15th. Andrew Gabriel Roth quotes Alfred Edersheim’s citation (The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, chapter 11) that a chagigah (type of peace-offering) was to be brought by each of those who came to the Temple for the pilgrimage festivals, and that it could be offered on any of the latter 6 days of the feast if they were not able to do so on the first day—the day Yeshua would have eaten this meal. The chagigah on the 14th of Aviv was ruled unnecessary (in the Mishnah, Pesachim iv.4) if the Passover fell on a Sabbath or if the Passover lamb in itself was sufficient to feed the entire party. It was the second chagigah offered the 15th, the first actual day of the feast, that those who brought Yeshua to Pilate’s judgment hall were afraid they might not be able to eat if defiled by entering his house.
16. “because I tell you, I will never eat of it again until it has fully come in the Kingdom of Elohim.”
The feasts of YHWH will be understood in their fullest sense in the Kingdom, when the entire history of redemption is behind us and we can see all of their aspects with 20/20 hindsight. (Compare Yeshayahu 66:22-24; Zkh. 14:17-18)
17. Then having picked up the cup and given the blessing of thanks, he said, “Take this, and distribute it among yourselves,
18. “because I tell you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the Kingdom of Elohim shall come.”
He was taking a sort of Nazirite vow. Except for the few who were lifelong Nazirites, such vows were often entered into only up till the time that a certain goal in regard to holiness was achieved. (Numbers 6:2-21)
19. When he had taken the bread and given the blessing of thanks, he broke it into pieces and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is offered on your behalf; do this in my memory.”
In my memory: he could not mean on this occasion, when he was still living, but any time thereafter that they would break the Passover matzah, but also on any Sabbath when bread and wine are also featured as the means of setting the day apart. He who was born in Beyth Lekhem (the “house of bread”) and called himself the “bread of life” (Yochanan 6:35, 48) reminds them of this so that as they watch the events of the next 24 hours, they will be on the alert to understand what he meant in Yochanan 6:51. He may have also been making a connection between himself and the lamb they were eating, as Paulus calls him “Messiah our Passover” (lamb) in 1 Cor. 5:7.
20. And in the same way [he took] the cup after they had eaten dinner and said, “This cup is the renewed covenant in my blood, which is being poured out for you.
After dinner: the fourth cup of the seder, called “the cup of redemption”. As “kinsman-redeemer” he was also the “avenger of blood” and since much innocent blood had been shed in violation of every covenant since the one made with Adam in the Garden, he now “evened up the score” by letting his totally innocent blood be shed to satisfy justice for all whose transgressions had left others hanging, lacking in anything from stolen goods to a now-dead breadwinner. “He is the mediator of the renewed covenant, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” (Heb. 9:15)
21. “Nevertheless, the hand of the one who is betraying me is with mine on the table.
22. “For the Son of Adam is going according to what has been determined, but alas for that person by whom he is betrayed.”
Determined: or decreed, that is, by YHWH through the prophets. There was no other way to solve the problem of sin completely. But this did not take away the guilt of the betrayer any more than Pharaoh was not responsible for hardening his heart although YHWH “strengthened his heart” in that direction. (Ex. 7:13)
23. And they began, therefore, to discuss among themselves which from among them might be about to do this.
24. Then there also began to be a dispute among them as to which of them he considered to be the greatest.
25. But he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who wield control over them are called ‘benefactors’.
Lord it over: the term means “to exercise rights over one's own property as if an owner with full dominion” (Thayer). Control: or authority. Benefactors: philanthropists; literally “do-gooders”.
26. “You, however, must not be this kind [of people]. Rather, the one who is greater among you become like the younger, and the one who leads as one who serves [as an attendant].
27. “For which is greater, the one who reclines [at dinner] or the server? Isn’t it the one reclining? Yet I am in your midst as the one who serves.
This was a true revolution in outlook! It is so contrary to our natural way of thinking, but it is the only way there can be true peace.
28. “But you are those who have stuck with me constantly through my trials,
Trials: tests by which one is proven.
29. “and I appoint to you, as my Father appointed to me, a kingdom
30. “so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and may sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
This is why the ones who remained after his ascension were so concerned to replace his betrayer so that their number could remain at twelve. (Acts 1:15-26)
31. “Shim’on, Shim’on, look! HaSatan has demanded to have [all of] you, to sift you like grain,
Sift: or winnow; figuratively, to test via trials. This was probably along the lines of what occurred with Iyov, because haSatan knew these people had a high calling, and wanted to disable them if he could. He singled out Shim’on, knowing he was particularly susceptible to certain kinds of temptation of which he may not have been aware.
32. “but I have pleaded for you [in prayer], so that your faithfulness will not fail, so when you have come back around, be a support to your brothers.
Come back: to your senses, come to yourself, rebounded. Support: strengthener, one who establishes them firmly, making them even less shakable than you have been.
33. But he said, “Master, I am prepared to go both to prison and to death with you!”
34. But he said, “I tell you, Little Stone, the crier will not sound [his] summons today until you deny knowing me—three times!
Crier: often rendered "rooster", but chickens were not permitted in Yerushalayim at this time, being the only clean animals that emit a foul odor (pardon the pun) other than via their offal and for other purity concerns (Mishnah, Bava Kamma 7:7), but the same word in Hebrew refers to the temple official who would wake the priests up to do their morning duties (Mishnah Sukkah 5:4), and this would be audible all over the Yerushalayim of that day. (Joseph Good)
35. Then he said to them, “When I sent you out without money-pouch or bag or [extra] sandals, you didn’t lack anything, did you?” And they said, “Nothing.”
Lack: come up short or come out behind or wanting in any way.
36. But he said to them, “However, this time, let whoever has a money-bag take it along, and the same for a sack, and whoever does not have a sword, let him sell his outer cloak and buy one,
By this he demonstrates both an acknowledgement and a lesson that righteousness will not always be expressed in the same way. However, he has just affirmed in their minds that he is not counseling a trust in natural defenses or provisions; just like their ancestors in the wilderness, He provided for them in ways indirectly related to normal means or normal wear and tear (Deut. 8:4). He has a different reason for telling them to bring such accoutrements along:
37. “because I tell you that this which has been written must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was considered to be among the lawless,’ because the things concerning me also have a purpose.”
He was quoting the last part of Yeshayahu 53:12, which speaks in context of his impending suffering and death. Purpose: or aim, goal. I.e., he would not do anything for a random reason; “there was method to his seeming madness”. Yeshayahu 53 states the purpose clearly.
38. But they told him, “Master, look! Here are two swords!” And he said, “That’s enough.”
Enough: ample or appropriate. He later showed that he did not intend them to use the swords (Yochanan 18:11), but they had to appear to those who were coming to arrest him to be a band of robbers, so that the soldiers would only think they were doing their job.
39. And having gone out, he traveled, according to [his] habit to the Mount of Olives, then his disciples also followed him [there].
The text literally says “into the Mount of Olives”, and indeed, archaeologists have found evidence that the oil press for which Gath Shemeney (where he was headed, per Mat. 26:36; Mark 14:32) was named was inside a cave very close to the olive orchard (garden) frequented by many pilgrims today, and there is a small shrine therein for prayer. It would have afforded some shelter from the chill of the evening at this early-springtime season. (Verse 55 and Mark 14:67 tell of Shim’on warming himself by a fire later this same night.)
40. But having come upon the place, he told them, “Pray not to enter into temptation.”
Come upon the place: the same phraseology used of Avraham (Gen. 22:4, 9, 14) and Yaaqov (Gen. 28:11-19) when arriving at a spot very near here, which both of them recognized to have very deep significance. Matithyahu’s and Markos’ accounts only say he asked them to wait there while he went to pray, though they do say he did expect them to at least stay awake.
41. And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and, having fixed his knees in place, he was praying,
If Yeshua was, as many say, YHWH Himself, why would he need to pray? Would he not just be holding a conversation within himself? But he was in a needier position than that. Though he had been tempted before, this was what all of his life had been leading up to (v. 37), and he needed both strength and resolve as well as courage to face the next few hours and pass the test that the first Adam had failed.
42. saying, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, may not what I desire, but Your will be brought about.”
Here his own will is contrasted with the Father’s, for what the Father was asking him to do was not something anyone would naturally desire.
43. Then a messenger from heaven appeared, invigorating him.
Invigorating: the term means infusing him with the degree of strength and resistance needed to face an impending and inevitable confrontation. YHWH does not leave those whom He sees want to obey Him without the assistance they need.
44. And having come to be in great agony, he started praying more earnestly, and his [intense] sweat became like big drops of blood falling onto the ground.
Agony: anxiety, an anguished struggle in which one experiences tremendous, intense pressure; the term is used of what athletes feel just before a crucial contest. Earnestly: or intently. Lukas was a physician, and would be especially interested in this detail and would know it was really possible. Called hematohidrosis, this rare phenomenon was described by Leonardo Da Vinci when speaking of a soldier who sweated blood before battle. It is “a condition in which capillary blood vessels that feed the sweat glands rupture, causing them to exude blood, occurring under conditions of extreme physical or emotional stress”, exertion, or distress. (Dr. Frederick Zugibe) Multiple blood vessels present in a net-like form around the sweat gland constrict as anxiety increases, and dilate to the point of hemorrhage. The blood goes into the sweat glands, which push it to the surface as droplets of blood mixed with the sweat. “Acute fear and intense mental contemplation are the most frequent causes, as reported in six cases in men condemned to execution, … during the London blitz, … involving fear of being raped… fear of a storm while sailing, etc.”(J. Manonukul, Dept. of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand) The prospect of being separated from YHWH (Psalm 22) may have been what weighed most heavily on him, but also the pressure to be sure he did not give in to any temptation to deviate in any way from the difficult task that lay before him. The “effect on the body is weakness and mild to moderate dehydration from the severe anxiety and both blood and sweat loss” (F.K. Zhang et al), as seen a few hours later when Yeshua spoke about how thirsty he was, but not until he had gotten the more important matters accomplished. (Yochanan 19:28).
45. Now when he got up from prayer and came to the disciples, he found them sleeping due to the grief.
Grief: or emotional distress which weighed heavily on them, precipitated by the awful predictions he had just made.
46. And he said to them, “Why are you lying down? Get up and pray, so that you may not enter into temptation!”
He emphasizes the gravity and importance of this factor, because otherwise they are defenseless against what will soon come upon them.
47. While he was still speaking, there they came—a crowd, with one of the twelve called Yehudah advancing in front of them, and he approached Yeshua to give him a kiss [as if in friendly greeting].
48. But Yeshua said to him, “Yehudah, are you betraying the Son of Adam with a kiss?”
“Judas, don’t you come too close; I fear that I might see that traitor’s look upon your face might look too much like me, for just like you I’ve sold the Lord and often for much less, and like a wretched traitor, I’ve betrayed him with a kiss.” –Michael Card
49. But those around him, having seen what was going to occur, said, “Master, [what] if we strike with the sword?”
50. And a certain one from among them struck the high priest’s slave and cut off his right ear.
51. But in response, Yeshua said, “Let this be as far as it goes!” And taking hold of the ear, he healed him.
I.e., “Enough of this!” He had compassion on this slave, who would, without an ear, be disqualified from ever entering into parts of the Temple complex which probably constituted the major portion of his job, and the altar was his main source of food. (Compare Lev. 21:17-23 and Lev. 22:10-11)
52. Then Yeshua said to those who had come there against him, “Chief priests, captains of the Temple guard, and elders, have you come out with swords and clubs as against a bandit?
53. “Day after day when I was with you in the Temple, you did not lay hands on me, but this is the hour for you and the authority of the darkness!”
I.e., the most appropriate time for the “dark lord” and those who had aligned themselves with him was now, when darkness ruled and gave them the occasion to seize him unnoticed by the masses who supported him.
54. But having seized him, they led him away and into the house of the high priest, and Kefa was following at a distance.
Like his ancestor David, he would have crossed the Qidron Valley at this time, which David called the “Valley of the Shadow of Death”, and it was well-named, because it was the only part of Yerushalayim not lit by the huge lamps put in the Temple courts during festivals, especially Sukkoth.
55. But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Kefa was sitting among them.
56. When a certain servant-girl saw him sitting in the illuminated area and looked hard at him, she said, “This one was with him too!”
57. But he denied it, saying, “I don’t know him, lady!”
58. And after a short while, someone else saw him [and] was saying, “You are [one] of them too!” But Kefa started saying, “Man, I am not!”
59. And [after] an interval of about one hour, a certain other [person] asserted emphatically, “In truth, this was one also with him, because he is also a Galilean!”
His accent gave him away. (Mat. 26:73)
60. But Kefa said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about!” And immediately, while he was [still] speaking, the crier sounded [his] summons.
61. Then the Master turned and looked at Kefa, and Kefa remembered the word of the Master, how he had said to him, “Before the crier sounds [his] summons today, three times you will deny knowing me.”
62. And he went outside and cried bitterly.
Bitterly: or violently.
63. Then the men who were holding him in confinement began to jeer at him and thrash him with a flogging-scourge.
64. And, blindfolding him, they began to strike his face and to demand that he prophesy, saying, “Who is the one that hit you?”
65. And they were [hurling] many other abusive words at him.
66. Then, when it became day, the elders of the people, the head priests and scribes convened and took him away into their council-chamber, saying,
Council-chamber: Greek, synedrion, from which the name Sanhedrin is derived.
67. “If you are the Messiah, tell us!” But he told them, “If I were to tell you, you would never believe [me].
I.e., “I could explain in ways that you would never understand, but you already have your minds made up.”
68. “But if I were to question you, you would not answer me [either],
69. “but from this time [forward], the Son of Adam will be sitting at the right hand of the power of Elohim.”
I.e., “You may not think I have the authority to interrogate you now as you are doing to me, but soon the tables will be turned, and one day you will have to answer me when I question you.”
70. Then they all said, “Then you are the Son of Elohim?” And he declared to them, “You say that I am.”
Colloquially today we might phrase this as, “You said it!” They had conflated two things he said, but still come to an accurate deduction. Apparently they accepted this as an affirmation on his part:
71. Then they said, “What need do we have of any further witness? For we have heard it from his own mouth.”
1. And having risen up, the whole assemblage of them led him to Pilatus.
Pilatus: Marcus Pontius Pilatus, the Roman prefect (governor) of Judea from 26–36 C.E.) under the emperor Tiberius. His headquarters was in Caesarea on the coast, but he was in Yerushalayim for the feast because popular uprisings often took place at such times of national, cultural, and religious fervor.
2. But they began to bring public accusations against him, saying, “This one was found misleading our nation and forbidding tribute to be given to Caesar and declaring himself to be Messiah, a king!”
Misleading: or perverting, corrupting, distorting, misinterpreting.
3. But Pilatus interrogated him, saying, “You are the king of the Jews?!” But in response to him, he was saying, “[So] you say.”
His response seems ambiguous to us. Was he saying, “You said it”? Or “according to your terminology”? How can eternal, heavenly truths be encompassed in the normal language of men?) Pilatus either thought it was a joke that the likes of this man would even consider making such a claim, or he recognized that there was a dignity about him that would not be altered even before one celebrated by men, and which went unrecognized by those blinded by their jealousy:
4. But Pilatus said to the head priests and the crowds, “I don’t find any cause [for accusation] in this man.”
Cause: The term has the sense of “one who is a culprit” or “instigator of widespread crimes”. I.e., he is not the threat you think he is.
5. But they persisted in saying, “He is stirring up the people, teaching throughout all of Judea. He started out of the Galil, and has extended this far!”
Stirring up: shaking up, exciting, rousing up. How was he doing so? By showing the real intentions of YHWH so that what had seemed normal to them up til then was no longer acceptable, and they were beginning to hold their “leaders” to a higher standard.
6. Now when Pilatus heard [this], he asked whether the man was a Galilean,
7. and having learned that he was from Herodus’ jurisdiction, he sent him up to Herodus, since he himself was also in Yerushalayim in those days.
Sent him up: to someone with a higher authority, but in this case he also got him off his own hands (or so he thought), because he was not really his problem!
8. Now when Herodus saw Yeshua, he was extremely delighted, because for quite a while he had been wishing to see him, since he had heard [so much] about him, and was hoping to witness some miracle brought about by him.
His reputation for doing miracles had made the king curious, but miracles are not for entertainment, but only for those who need them.
9. He kept questioning him with a considerable number of words; however, he answered him nothing,
10. though the head priests and scribes had been standing by, vehemently charging him with [numerous] offenses.
11. Having now come instead to regard him with contempt, Herodus with his troops, having mocked him [by] dressing [him] in splendid apparel, sent him back to Pilatus.
Yeshua’s seemingly rude silence changed Herodus from being impressed by what he heard to being extremely disappointed, but this was part of Yeshua’s intent, for he was not one to cast pearls before swine, but neither would he revile a properly-constituted authority. Splendid apparel: something Herodus had plenty of. (Mat. 11:8)
12. Nonetheless, the two of them—Herodus and Pilatus—became friends with one another that day, for previously they had been at odds toward one another.
Even when not saying anything, Yeshua was a peacemaker in the political world (hardly the outcome his hopeful Zealot followers expected!), so there is hope for it yet if he is given even the slightest attention therein.
13. Pilatus, then, having assembled the head priests and the pre-eminent [rulers] and the people,
14. told them, “You brough this man to me as one who misleads the people, and I interrogated him in your presence and have found in this man no cause for the charges you are bringing against him.
15. “But not even Herodus [did], because he sent him back to us, and indeed, nothing deserving of death has been perpetrated by him!
16. “So after I have taught him a lesson, I will release him.”
17. (Now he had an obligation to release one [person] to them at the festival.)
18. However, all of them made an outcry, saying, “Away with this [man]; release to us Bar-Abbas instead!”
Bar-Abbas means “son of the father”—so in this case he was figuratively the “anti-Messiah” (the one put in place of the Messiah).
19. [Now Bar-Abbas] was someone who had been thrown into prison on account of a certain popular uprising that had taken place in the city, as well as [for] murder.
20. So Pilatus again addressed them, wanting to release Yeshua,
21. but they were loudly clamoring, “Crucify! Crucify him!”
Crucify: to execute by nailing someone above the ground to an upright stake, often with a crossbar to stretch one’s arms out. Justin Martyr (c. 100-165 C.E.) saw a parallel between the crossed spits commonly used in roasting the Passover lambs. One’s feet and wrists would be nailed to the wood using large spikes, and thus the body’s entire weight would pull against both arms and feet, causing great difficulty breathing, though people could survive for several days, depending on how strong the individual was, any infection that might set in, and whether animals tried to scavenge the bodies. Josephus noted that a few persons could survive it if taken down early because their sentence was commuted by special permission. It was a very painful death, and one used as a deterrent to the populace from committing crimes that could bring this sentence.
22. But a third time he said to them, “Why? What evil did he commit? I find in him nothing deserving of death; after I have taught him a lesson, I will release him.”
23. But they insisted with loud voices, demanding that he be crucified, and their voices and those of the head priests got the upper hand,
Upper hand: i.e., they prevailed and overpowered his single voice, as authoritative as it was. This was “democracy” at its worst.
24. and Pilatus gave the sentence to have what they demanded carried out,
25. but he released the one imprisoned for insurrection and murder, as they had demanded, while yielding Yeshua over to what they wanted.
26. And as they led him away, they imposed on Shim’on, a certain man who had come from the country of Küréné, and placed the crucifixion stake on him, to carry it behind Yeshua.
He must have been an obviously-strong man, and Yeshua had already been flogged and the heavy wooden beam would have caused him to stagger and stumble in his weakened or dazed state.
27. But a large number of the populace were accompanying him, even women who were cut to the heart and were bewailing him.
Cut to the heart: or beating their breasts in mourning.
28. But Yeshua turned toward them and told them, “Daughters of Yerushalayim, don’t cry for me, but wail for yourselves and for your children,
29. “because, believe it or not, days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are those who are sterile, and the wombs that never gave birth and those breasts which never nursed!’
This would have been unthinkable in Jewish culture with its high value placed on progeny and posterity, except that such times had come earlier in its history under the Babylonians and Greeks.
30. “At that time they will start saying to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us up!’
This is something said only by those who have lost all hope of survival and who think that whatever is about to befall them would be even worse than to be crushed by heavy rocks. (Compare Hoshea 10:8 and Revelation 6:16.)
31. “Because if they do these things while the tree is full of sap, what might take place when it is dried up?”
Full of sap: or green, moist, flourishing. This is probably a reference to Y’hezq’El/Ezek. 20:45-21:7, where it is an idiom for the righteous being cut off along with the wicked because evil conditions have become so pervasive that a complete destruction is necessary—a situation that would be present a mere 40 years later, in many of these people’s lifetime. It literally says, “If they do this in the green tree”—a Hebrew idiom for “do this to…”, so he is saying, “If they do this to me (the righteous), what will they ever do to you?” In a very rabbinic way, he is hinting at his Messiahship by alluding to this passage commonly understood to refer to the coming Messiah. (David Bivin and Roy Blizzard)
32. Now two others—criminals—were also being led away to be put to death along with him,
33. and when they came upon the place that was called “the Skull”, there they crucified him and the criminals—one on the right and one on the left.
Place…skull: Heb., Gulgol’thah. Its very name hints of death. Right and left: symbolic also of the way both of them responded to what was being done to them. (vv. 39-40)
34. But Yeshua was saying, “Father, forgive them, because they don’t know what they’re doing.” But they cast lots to distribute his clothing [among themselves].
Forgive: release, let them go, tolerate it, leave them alone. This had to take place, and to some extent he had pushed for it, and these people could not understand all the implications of the choice they were making; moreover the outcome would be beneficial to so many, he did not want to take them up on their offer of “May his blood be on us and on our children!” (Mat. 27:25) Cast lots: in fulfillment of Psalm 22:18 (22:19 in Hebrew).
35. Now the people stood by as spectators, but even the pre-eminent rulers were scoffing [at him], saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if this is [really] Elohim’s anointed, the chosen one!”
36. Then the soldiers also mocked him, coming close and offering him sour, watered-down wine,
37. saying, “If you are [really] the king of the Jews, save yourself!”
38. Indeed, there was an inscription above him, “This is the King of the Jews”, written in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew letters.
Latin: literally, Roman.
39. But one of the criminals who was hanging [there] started speaking abusively to him, saying, “Aren’t you the Messiah? [Then] save yourself—and us!”
40. But the other one responded by him, saying, “Don’t you—who are under the same sentence–even have any fear of Elohim?
41. “And for us, in fact, [the condemnation] is just; we’re only getting what we deserve for what we did, but this [man] has done nothing improper!”
42. And he was saying, “Yeshua, remember me whenever you come into your position of ruling authority!”
This is reminiscent of Yosef, when the butler whose dream he had interpreted was getting out of prison and in a position to help him out of his plight. (Gen. 40:14-15) Yeshua, possibly remembering how long Yosef had to wait for the fulfillment of that request (40:23), reassures him:
43. And he said to him, “Trust me, I tell you: today you will be with me in Paradise!”
Though Yeshua had work to do in the underworld (Ephesians 4:9-10) and had to come back to this plane before ascending to take his blood to the heavenly altar (Yoch. 20:17) and then spent 40 more days with us before being seated at his Father’s right hand (Heb. 12:2; 1 Kefa 3:22), for the criminal who was now temporarily leaving the realm of time (which is created by the earth’s rotation and revolution throughout the solar system), such gaps would collapse and his arrival in the Kingdom would seem to be immediate.
44. By then it was already around the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour,
Sixth hour: Noon by the Roman estimate, which divided the hours of daylight into twelve equal units, no matter the time of year, as measured by a sundial. Darkness: certainly to communicate a foreboding and deep, gloomy atmosphere, as symbolically this was the darkest time in earth’s history at least since the Flood. Ninth hour: what we would call 3:00 p.m., the very time the last of the Passover lambs would be slaughtered in the Temple, which was within earshot of Gulgol’thah.
45. the sun being darkened, then the veil [screening the doorway] of the Temple was torn, divided down the middle.
“Well might the sun in darkness hide and shut his glories in”, as songwriter Isaac Watts put it. It was reminiscent of the penultimate plague in Egypt, the ultimate being the death of the firstborn, and this was YHWH’s firstborn (Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:15, 18; Heb. 12:23) who was now dying as Passover came hard on its heels. Veil: not the inner one that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies, which no one but the priests would be able to see, but another outer curtain that was placed at the entrance to the Holy Place. This veil, being woven of threads of royal colors and the same material as the high priest’s garment, was called “Elohim’s garment”. Compare a midrash on Lamentations 2:17 by third-century Rabbi Jacob of Kefar Hanan in Pesiktah de Rav Kahana 15, which states that Elohim tore his purple garment to lament the first fall of Yerushalayim. James Crossley notes that the curtains of both the Tabernacle and Temple were made of purple, and that the word p-r-g-w-d, used for the heavenly curtain, can also mean “tunic” or “garment”. A torn garment (Gen. 37:34; 2 Shmuel 1:11; Iyov 1:20, etc.) symbolizes mourning in Hebraic culture; since the veil was torn from top to bottom (Mat. 27:51), something no man could do, YHWH Himself was expressing His own sorrow at the death of His Son, as also reflected in a first-century Passover Haggadah cited by R.D. Aus.
46. Then, calling out in a loud voice, Yeshua said, "Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit." Then, having said this, he expired.
Commit: or deposit, i.e., for safe-keeping. This is a phrase from a liturgical prayer (taken from Psalm 31:5) prayed just before one goes to sleep at night, which is a picture of death. We trust YHWH to "give our soul back to us" when we awaken. For Yeshua it was no mere metaphor. Never before had a truly innocent person died. It was an act of faith for him to trust that his descent into She'ol (Eph. 4:9; 1 Kefa 3:19) would not be permanent, and that his "deal" with death would indeed be honored and not only would he spring many others from their prisons, but he himself would be brought back to life. Expired: literally, breathed out, that is, for the last time. Arthur Custance points out that crucifixion was the one kind of execution that could give someone some measure of choice in exactly when he died, reflecting Yeshua’s right to give up his life when he so chose (Yoch. 10:18), because he was not under YHWH’s sentence of death that devolves on all sinful human beings.
47. But, having seen what had transpired, the centurion began honoring Elohim, saying, “This truly was an innocent human being!”
Centurion: commander of 100 soldiers; here, the one overseeing the crucifixion. Innocent: or righteous. Human being: not emphasizing the male gender, the term is the equivalent of the Hebrew adam, so here is indirect testimony to the fact that a “righteous Adam” had now finally lived his whole life without wrongdoing—a reparation for the first Adam’s disobedience which had repercussions for all of his progeny.
48. Then all the crowds that had been in attendance for this spectacle, having witnessed the things that had taken place, were going back [home] beating their chests.
Beating their chests: exemplified most vividly in the Yom Kippur service, this is an ancient symbol of admitting one’s severe guilt.
49. But all those who knew him had been standing some distance away, even those women who had followed him from the Galil, carefully watching these things.
50. And there was [already] present at hand a man named Yosef (a member of the [Sanhedrin] council, and a good and righteous man
51. who had not assented to the council and their action) from Ramathayim, a Judean city, who was expectantly awaiting the Kingdom of Elohim.
Ramathayim: identified with Ramah, the hometown and burial-place of the prophet Shmu’el, a few miles northwest of Yerushalayim.
52. He approached Pilatus and petitioned [him for] the body of Yeshua.
Some argue that to do so, he would have had to be a family member, and some say he was either Yeshua’s uncle (who when younger had taken Yeshua to visit places as far off as Britain, where he traded in tin, and where he was later buried) or Yeshua’s mother Miryam’s father. The location of a tomb considered by many to be Yeshua’s is in the near vicinity to the tombs of the kings of Yehudah, his ancestors, and the fact that he owned a tomb in this location (Mat. 27:60) suggests that there probably was some family relation:
53. And when he had taken it down, he enwrapped it in a cloth of fine linen and placed it in a rock-hewn tomb in which no one had yet been lain.
Enwrapped: the term implies rolling it around or winding it up in a circular motion. Along with the sticky unguents that were used to “glue” it in place, this would have formed a plaster-like cast, very hard. Normally to get a body out of such an encasing, it would have to be broken, but a hole was left for his face, which was covered separately, and when the separate covering was removed, it could be seen that there was no body inside, though the casing was still intact. (24:12) No wonder the one who looked at it carefully was convinced that a miracle had occurred. (Yochanan 20:6-8)
54. Now it was the day of preparation, and the Shabbaton was about to begin.
Shabbaton: not the weekly Sabbath, but the first high day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which was followed by the weekly Sabbath that year.
55. But the women who had come out of the Galil with him accompanied him closely and saw [where] the tomb [was] and how his body was placed
56. So they went back and prepared aromatic spices and ointments, then on the Shabbaton they, of course, stopped working, according to the commandment.
The spices would have covered the odor they expected his body to take on.
1. But on the first day of the Weeks at daybreak, while it was still very early, they came to the tomb carrying the spices that they had prepared.
Weeks: while it was also the first day of that week (following the weekly Sabbath that came after the Shabbaton, here the word is plural, affirming that the day of Yeshua’s resurrection was on the day the firstfruits of the barley harvest were brought—the day following the weekly Sabbath during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when the seven weeks leading up to Shavuoth also began to be counted. (Lev. 23:11, 15) Yeshua is indeed called the “Firstfruits of those who went to sleep” (1 Cor. 15:20)
2. However, they found that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb!
3. And, having entered, they did not find the body of the Master, Yeshua.
4. Now, while they were at a loss concerning this, what occurred was that, lo and behold, two men in garments [as dazzling] as lightning came and stood by them.
5. When they became terrified of them and were bowing their faces to the ground, the [men] said to the [women], “Why are you looking for the living in the place of the dead?
They no longer needed those spices, for YHWH had indeed “not allowed His holy one to undergo decay” (Psalm 16:10).
6. “He is not here; rather, he is risen! Remember how he told you while you were still in the Galil,
7. “saying, ‘The Son of Adam has to be surrendered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, but on the third day, rise again’?”
8. Then they recalled his words.
9. And, having turned back from the tomb, they announced all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.
The eleven: the Twelve, minus Yehudah the Cut-throat, who had committed suicide after realizing that Yeshua was not going to use miraculous power to overcome the Roman soldiers he had brought to Yeshua, ostensibly to give him the occasion to forcibly claim his kingdom, but would instead be executed by those who hated him. (Mat. 27:5)
10. Now it was Miryam the Magdalene, Yohanna, and Miryam the mother of Yaaqov, and the other women who were with them, who were bringing word of these things to the Emissaries.
11. And in their eyes what they said seemed like nonsense, and they did not believe them.
12. But Kefa got up and ran to the tomb, and having stooped down to look in, he saw only the linen wrapping, and went away wondering to himself what had occurred.
More detail about this is given in Yochanan chapter 20.
13. Now on the same day, two of them were on a journey, going into a village called Emmaus, which was about 60 furlongs from Yerushalayim,
A furlong is about 600 feet, so this was nearly 7 miles or nearly 11 kilometers. Emmaus: one possible site of which is now called ‘Imwas in Arabic, but another, Kalunya, from the Roman Colonia of army veterans that were based there, is much closer to Yerushalayim. It figured prominently in the Maccabean revolt, is mentioned by Josephus, and is thought to be Motza, the "source" west of Yerushalayim from which willow trees were cut and waved in circuits around the Temple altar at Sukkoth—possibly a reparation for the fact that there had been a separate temple in that town during the time of the kings of Yehudah, according to recent archaeological findings. This Roman-era road has been located and only takes about 80 minutes to walk to Emmaus on it from the Western Wall of the Temple Mount. (David Bivin)
14. and they were conversing with one another about all of these things that had taken place.
15. Now what occurred while they were having [this] conversation and trying together to make sense [of it all], was that Yeshua himself, being already nearby, started walking with them,
16. but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
While Mark 16:12 describes him as having a different physical appearance—possibly because of having his beard torn out—manuscripts of this part of Mark’s gospel are in some dispute. In any case, here the emphasis seems to be on another hand preventing their eyes from telling who he was.
17. But he said to them, “What are these matters that you are going back and forth about [while you are] walking?” And they stood still, looking dejected.
Going back and forth: bandying about or even opposing one another about. Dejected: very sad-faced or gloomy.
18. But in response, one [of them, whose] name was Kleopás, said to him, “Are you the only visitor staying near Yerushalayim who does not know about the things that have occurred in it these [last few] days?”
19. And he said to them, “What kind [of things]?” And they told him, “The things concerning Yeshua, who was a man from Natzereth—a prophet mighty in deed and word before Elohim and all the people--
20. “how the head priests and our pre-eminent [rulers] delivered him over to be condemned to death, and crucified him.
21. “But we were hoping that he would be the one who was about to redeem Israel, and besides all that, today is the third day since these things took place.”
About to: they knew from Daniel 9:25 that the time of the Messiah had to be near. Based on Yeshayahu 49:6, they knew that the Messiah’s primary role is to “raise up (or resurrect) the tribes of Yaaqov and the faithfully-guarded ones of Israel”, that is, the Northern Kingdom which had long been dead, as he himself had. The same thought is echoed in what they would ask him a few weeks later: “Is it now that you are going to restore the Kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6) Like David, he was already recognized as the King of Yehudah, but there were other tribes to regather so that there could be one king over both the Jews and the rest of Israel. (Y’hezq’el 37:22) His resurrection established that our resurrection to being a people was again possible and legal. Third day: the day they knew he had said he would rise again. (18:33)
22. “But some women among us who came upon the tomb around dawn also astonished us,
Astonished: literally, made us stand outside ourselves, i.e., stupefied us, put us at a loss for explanation, brought us to our wits’ end, stunned us, overwhelmed us.
23. “when, having not found his body, they also claimed to have seen a vision of angels, who declared him to be alive!
24. “So some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just the way the women had said; him, however, they did not see.”
25. And he said to them, “O unthinking [persons] and slow of heart to be confident about all that the prophets have said!
Unthinking: people who have not considered what they say in a reasoned, logical way before opening their mouths or reacting only out of the emotion of the moment. Slow: or dull, not connecting the dots of all they had seen, letting their faulty logic get in the way of what the evidence was shouting had really occurred.
26. “Weren’t these things indeed necessary—that the Messiah [must] suffer ill-treatment and [thus] enter into his [place of] honor?”
Honor: or approval, i.e., by YHWH, who had to be the one who declared, by resurrecting him (Acts 17:31), that he had indeed passed every test and though he had poured out his life for others, he did not deserve death because he himself had never disobeyed as Adam had, and therefore was worthy to go on living and that on a higher plane than he had before, being honored above all others by the Creator Himself and being given the right to judge them.
27. And beginning from Moshe and all the prophets, he thoroughly explained to them the things concerning himself in all of the Scriptures.
Explained: or, properly and fully interpreted. He undoubtedly drew heavily from Yeshayahu (Isaiah). We might wish that we had a record of all the verses he used and his hermeneutical method, but the historian leaves that for us to seek out and possibly thereby earn the level of honor that kings deserve! (Prov. 25:2)
28. As they got close to the village to which they were travelling, he acted as though he was going to continue further [in the same direction].
29. But they urged him [not to], saying, “Stay with us, because it’s getting toward evening, and the day has already declined.” So he came in to remain with them.
I.e., “You can’t travel much further today anyway!”
30. Now what occurred as he took his place at the table with them [was that] after he picked up the bread and pronounced the blessing, broke off [pieces of the bread] and started handing it to them,
31. their eyes were then fully opened and they recognized him, but he vanished out of their [sight].
Was it through the way he pronounced the blessing or the method by which they had seen him break the bread on one of the occasions when he had fed thousands of people? Vanished: His resurrected body and/or fuller understanding of physics allowed him to either become invisible or “dematerialize” in a way science fiction has only been able to theorize about.
32. And they said to one another, “Wasn’t our heart burning within us while he was talking with us on the way and opening up the Scriptures to us [more fully]?”
33. So they got up that same hour and went back to Yerushalayim and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together,
34. saying, “The Master really has been raised up and has been seen by Shim’on!”
Been raised up: Not something he could do by himself, but it was accomplished by YHWH. (Acts 2:24; 3:15, etc.)
35. And they began relating the things [that had occurred] on the road, and how he came to be recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.
36. But as they were telling them these things, he himself stood in their midst and said to them, “Shalom aleykhem!”
37. But they became terrified and filled with fear, thinking they were seeing a ghost!
A ghost: or spirit, but although popular culture holds that any dead person’s ghost might wander around his old “haunts”, the only spirits in true Hebraic lore that wander the earth are the disembodied terrestrial spirits of the giants born of the Watcher angels who cohabited with women. (Gen. 6:1-4; 1 Hanokh/Enoch 7-16)
38. So he said to them, “Why are you disturbed, and how have doubts arisen in your hearts?
Doubts: or second-guessings, disputes, reasonings, speculations; most literally, (internal) “dialogues”—going back and forth, wavering between two ways of thinking about what was going on, when he had already told them what was going to occur.
39. “Look carefully at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see [for yourselves], because a ghost doesn’t have flesh and bones, as you see I have.
He did not say “flesh and blood”, for his blood had been emptied out, and his veins may again have been filled with light as with Adam before he fell, but “flesh and bone” also harks back to what Adam said when he saw Chawwah for the first time, because Yeshua was now being handled by the first “cells” of his bride-to-be.
40. So, having said this, he showed them [his] hands and feet.
I.e., the holes from the nails that had recently pierced them—“the marks of death that [YHWH] chose never to erase, the wounds of love’s eternal mark; when the Kingdom comes with its perfected sons, he will be known by the scars.” (Michael Card)
41. Still, while they were full of disbelief due to the delight and amazement, he said to them, “Do you have anything to eat in here?”
42. So they gave him a piece of broiled fish,
43. and having accepted it, he ate [it] in front of them.
Accepted: the word “kosher” means “acceptable”, so he thus showed that vegetarianism is not a requirement for righteousness even in a perfected human being who has already been promoted to a higher level than we now live on. (Phil. 2:9) Yeshua both cooked (Yoch. 21:9) and ate fish after his resurrection, so at least during this age, no one can claim that it is wrong to eat once-living animals. In the age to come or world to come, that may change, as things will go ack to how they were in Eden or beyond. But for the present, there is no guilt involved provided the animals were not tortured in the process. After all, during this age when all creation is subject to futility (Rom. 8:20), what other real purpose or meaning is there to the lives of teeming creatures?
44. But he said to them, “Those were my words, which I told you while I was still with you, how all things that were written about me in the Torah, the prophets, and the psalms had to be fulfilled.”
45. At that time he opened their mind to understand the Scriptures,
This did not take place by magic, but through his explanations, which gave them “keys” to comprehending what YHWH had promised and now had accomplished.
46. and he told them, “This is [the kind of thing that] has been written: that the Messiah [was] to suffer mistreatment and to rise from the dead the third day,
See Yeshayahu 26:19; 53; Psalm 22; Hoshea 6:2, etc.
47. “and that repentance [leading] to forgiveness of sins are to be proclaimed in his name to all the tribes, beginning from Yerushalayim.
Tribes: or nations, ethnic groups. See Psalm 14:7; 53:6; 67:2; Yeshayahu 49:6; 52:10; Yirmeyahu 3:17; 29:14; 33:8; 50:20; 1 Chron. 16:24; etc.
48. “You are eyewitnesses of these things.
49. “And indeed, I will send out upon you what the Father has promised, but you stay in the city until you are clothed with ability from higher up.”
Promised: the power to proclaim the forgiveness he mentioned in v. 47.
50. Then he led them out as far as the direction of Beyth Anyah, and, having raised his hands, he blessed them,
Beyth Anyah: on the far side of the Mount of Olives, but he would have only gone to the top of the mountain.
51. and what occurred as he was blessing them is that he was removed from them and carried up into the sky.
52. And having prostrated themselves in homage to him, they returned to Yerushalayim with great joy,
Homage: recognizing him as the king who would one day return to this same place and then physically set up his throne in Yerushalayim.
53. and they were constantly in the Temple, praising and blessing Elohim. Amen.
Praising, amen: these words are included in the Aramaic version but not in the Greek. Luqa’s narrative (backtracking to verse 51 and overlapping) continues in the book of the Acts of the Envoys.