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Matthew 27:39-44

Context
27:39 Those 1  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! 2  If you are God’s Son, come down 3  from the cross!” 27:41 In 4  the same way even the chief priests – together with the experts in the law 5  and elders 6  – were mocking him: 7  27:42 “He saved others, but he cannot save himself! He is the king of Israel! If he comes down 8  now from the cross, we will believe in him! 27:43 He trusts in God – let God, if he wants to, deliver him now 9  because he said, ‘I am God’s Son’!” 27:44 The 10  robbers who were crucified with him also spoke abusively to him. 11 

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

2 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.

3 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.

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

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

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

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

8 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.

9 sn An allusion to Ps 22:8.

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

11 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).



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