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Matthew 26:17-20

Context
The Passover

26:17 Now on the first day of the feast of 1  Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and said, 2  “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 3  26:18 He 4  said, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is near. I will observe the Passover with my disciples at your house.”’” 26:19 So 5  the disciples did as Jesus had instructed them, and they prepared the Passover. 26:20 When 6  it was evening, he took his place at the table 7  with the twelve. 8 

1 tn The words “the feast of” are not in the Greek text, but have been supplied for clarity.

2 tn Grk “the disciples came to Jesus, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) has been translated as a finite verb to make the sequence of events clear in English.

3 sn This required getting a suitable lamb and finding lodging in Jerusalem where the meal could be eaten. The population of the city swelled during the feast, so lodging could be difficult to find. The Passover was celebrated each year in commemoration of the Israelites’ deliverance from Egypt; thus it was a feast celebrating redemption (see Exod 12). The Passover lamb was roasted and eaten after sunset in a family group of at least ten people (m. Pesahim 7.13). People ate the meal while reclining (see the note on table in 26:20). It included, besides the lamb, unleavened bread and bitter herbs as a reminder of Israel’s bitter affliction at the hands of the Egyptians. Four cups of wine mixed with water were also used for the meal. For a further description of the meal and the significance of the wine cups, see E. Ferguson, Backgrounds of Early Christianity, 523-24.

4 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

5 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.

6 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

7 tn Grk “he was reclining at table,” as 1st century middle eastern meals were not eaten while sitting at a table, but while reclining on one’s side on the floor with the head closest to the low table and the feet farthest away.

8 tc Many witnesses, some of them important, have μαθητῶν (maqhtwn, “disciples”; א A L W Δ Θ 33 892 1241 1424 pm lat) or μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ (maqhtwn autou, “his disciples”; 0281 pc it) after δώδεκα (dwdeka, “twelve”). However, such clarifications are typical scribal expansions to the text. Further, the shorter reading (the one that ends with δώδεκα) has strong support in Ì37vid,45vid B D K Γ Ë1,13 565 579 700 pm. Thus both internally and externally the reading that ends the verse with “the twelve” is to be preferred.



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