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Matthew 27:35-56

Context
27:35 When 1  they had crucified 2  him, they divided his clothes by throwing dice. 3  27:36 Then they sat down and kept guard over him there. 27:37 Above 4  his head they put the charge against him, 5  which read: 6  “This is Jesus, the king of the Jews.” 27:38 Then two outlaws were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 27:39 Those 7  who passed by defamed him, shaking their heads 27:40 and saying, “You who can destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! 8  If you are God’s Son, come down 9  from the cross!” 27:41 In 10  the same way even the chief priests – together with the experts in the law 11  and elders 12  – were mocking him: 13  27:42 “He saved others, but he cannot save himself! He is the king of Israel! If he comes down 14  now from the cross, we will believe in him! 27:43 He trusts in God – let God, if he wants to, deliver him now 15  because he said, ‘I am God’s Son’!” 27:44 The 16  robbers who were crucified with him also spoke abusively to him. 17 

Jesus’ Death

27:45 Now from noon until three, 18  darkness came over all the land. 19  27:46 At 20  about three o’clock Jesus shouted with a loud voice, 21 Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 22  27:47 When 23  some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.” 27:48 Immediately 24  one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, 25  put it on a stick, 26  and gave it to him to drink. 27:49 But the rest said, “Leave him alone! Let’s see if Elijah will come to save him.” 27  27:50 Then Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and gave up his spirit. 27:51 Just then 28  the temple curtain 29  was torn in two, from top to bottom. The 30  earth shook and the rocks were split apart. 27:52 And tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had died 31  were raised. 27:53 (They 32  came out of the tombs after his resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.) 27:54 Now when the centurion 33  and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and what took place, they were extremely terrified and said, “Truly this one was God’s Son!” 27:55 Many 34  women who had followed Jesus from Galilee and given him support 35  were also there, watching from a distance. 27:56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

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

2 sn See the note on crucified in 20:19.

3 tn Grk “by throwing the lot” (probably by using marked pebbles or broken pieces of pottery). A modern equivalent, “throwing dice,” was chosen here because of its association with gambling. According to L&N 6.219 a term for “dice” is particularly appropriate.

sn An allusion to Ps 22:18.

4 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.

5 sn Mention of the inscription is an important detail, because the inscription would normally give the reason for the execution. It shows that Jesus was executed for claiming to be a king. It was also probably written with irony from the executioners’ point of view.

6 tn Grk “was written.”

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

8 sn There is rich irony in the statements of those who were passing by, “save yourself!” and “come down from the cross!” In summary, they wanted Jesus to come down from the cross and save his physical life, but it was indeed his staying on the cross and giving his physical life that led to the fact that they could experience a resurrection from death to life.

9 tc ‡ Many important witnesses (א* A D pc it sy[s],p) read καί (kai, here with the force of “then”) before κατάβηθι (katabhqi, “come down”). The shorter reading may well be due to homoioarcton, but judging by the diverse external evidence (א2 B L W Θ 0250 Ë1,13 33 Ï lat) it is equally possible that the shorter reading is original (and is so considered for this translation). NA27 puts the καί in brackets, indicating doubts as to its authenticity.

10 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.

11 tn Or “with the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 2:4.

12 tn Only “chief priests” is in the nominative case; this sentence structure attempts to capture this emphasis.

13 tn Grk “Mocking him, the chief priests…said.”

14 tn Here the aorist imperative καταβάτω (katabatw) has been translated as a conditional imperative. This fits the pattern of other conditional imperatives (imperative + καί + future indicative) outlined by ExSyn 489.

15 sn An allusion to Ps 22:8.

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

17 sn Matthew’s wording suggests that both of the criminals spoke abusively to him. If so, one of them quickly changed his attitude toward Jesus (see Luke 23:40-43).

18 tn Grk “from the sixth hour to the ninth hour.”

19 sn This imagery has parallels to the Day of the Lord: Joel 2:10; Amos 8:9; Zeph 1:15.

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

21 tn Grk “with a loud voice, saying.” The participle λέγων (legwn) is redundant here in contemporary English and has not been translated.

22 sn A quotation from Ps 22:1.

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

24 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.

25 sn Sour wine refers to cheap wine that was called in Latin posca, a cheap vinegar wine diluted heavily with water. It was the drink of slaves and soldiers, and was probably there for the soldiers who had performed the crucifixion.

26 tn Grk “a reed.”

27 tc Early and important mss (א B C L Γ pc) have another sentence at the end of this verse: “And another [soldier] took a spear and pierced him in the side, and water and blood flowed out.” This comment finds such a strong parallel in John 19:34 that it was undoubtedly lifted from the Fourth Gospel by early, well-meaning scribes and inserted into Matt 27:49. Consequently, even though the support for the shorter reading (A D W Θ Ë1,13 33 Ï lat sy sa bo) is not nearly as impressive, internal considerations on its behalf are compelling.

28 tn Grk “And behold.”

29 tn The referent of this term, καταπέτασμα (katapetasma), is not entirely clear. It could refer to the curtain separating the holy of holies from the holy place (Josephus, J. W. 5.5.5 [5.219]), or it could refer to one at the entrance of the temple court (Josephus, J. W. 5.5.4 [5.212]). Many argue that the inner curtain is meant because another term, κάλυμμα (kalumma), is also used for the outer curtain. Others see a reference to the outer curtain as more likely because of the public nature of this sign. Either way, the symbolism means that access to God has been opened up. It also pictures a judgment that includes the sacrifices.

30 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.

31 tn The verb κοιμάω (koimaw) literally means “sleep,” but it is often used in the Bible as a euphemism for the death of a believer.

32 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.

33 sn See the note on the word centurion in Matt 8:5.

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

35 tn Grk “and ministered to him.”

sn Cf. Luke 8:3.



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