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Matthew 27:29-54

27:29 and after braiding 1  a crown of thorns, 2  they put it on his head. They 3  put a staff 4  in his right hand, and kneeling down before him, they mocked him: 5  “Hail, king of the Jews!” 6  27:30 They 7  spat on him and took the staff 8  and struck him repeatedly 9  on the head. 27:31 When 10  they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes back on him. Then 11  they led him away to crucify him.

The Crucifixion

27:32 As 12  they were going out, they found a man from Cyrene named Simon, whom they forced 13  to carry his cross. 14  27:33 They 15  came to a place called Golgotha 16  (which means “Place of the Skull”) 17  27:34 and offered Jesus 18  wine mixed with gall to drink. 19  But after tasting it, he would not drink it. 27:35 When 20  they had crucified 21  him, they divided his clothes by throwing dice. 22  27:36 Then they sat down and kept guard over him there. 27:37 Above 23  his head they put the charge against him, 24  which read: 25  “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 26  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! 27  If you are God’s Son, come down 28  from the cross!” 27:41 In 29  the same way even the chief priests – together with the experts in the law 30  and elders 31  – were mocking him: 32  27:42 “He saved others, but he cannot save himself! He is the king of Israel! If he comes down 33  now from the cross, we will believe in him! 27:43 He trusts in God – let God, if he wants to, deliver him now 34  because he said, ‘I am God’s Son’!” 27:44 The 35  robbers who were crucified with him also spoke abusively to him. 36 

Jesus’ Death

27:45 Now from noon until three, 37  darkness came over all the land. 38  27:46 At 39  about three o’clock Jesus shouted with a loud voice, 40 Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 41  27:47 When 42  some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.” 27:48 Immediately 43  one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, 44  put it on a stick, 45  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.” 46  27:50 Then Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and gave up his spirit. 27:51 Just then 47  the temple curtain 48  was torn in two, from top to bottom. The 49  earth shook and the rocks were split apart. 27:52 And tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had died 50  were raised. 27:53 (They 51  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 52  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!”

1 tn Or “weaving.”

2 sn The crown may have been made from palm spines or some other thorny plant common in Israel. In placing the crown of thorns on his head, the soldiers were unwittingly symbolizing God’s curse on humanity (cf. Gen 3:18) being placed on Jesus. Their purpose would have been to mock Jesus’ claim to be a king; the crown of thorns would have represented the “radiant corona” portrayed on the heads of rulers on coins and other artifacts in the 1st century.

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

4 tn Or “a reed.” The Greek term can mean either “staff” or “reed.” See BDAG 502 s.v. κάλαμος 2.

5 tn Grk “they mocked him, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant and has not been translated.

6 tn Or “Long live the King of the Jews!”

sn The statement Hail, King of the Jews! is a mockery patterned after the Romans’ cry of Ave, Caesar (“Hail, Caesar!”).

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

8 tn Or “the reed.”

9 tn The verb here has been translated as an iterative imperfect.

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

11 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

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

13 tn Or “conscripted”; or “pressed into service.”

14 sn Jesus was beaten severely with a whip before this (the prelude to crucifixion, known to the Romans as verberatio, mentioned in Matt 27:26; Mark 15:15; John 19:1), so he would have been weak from trauma and loss of blood. Apparently he was unable to bear the cross himself, so Simon was conscripted to help (in all probability this was only the crossbeam, called in Latin the patibulum, since the upright beam usually remained in the ground at the place of execution). Cyrene was located in North Africa where Tripoli is today. Nothing more is known about this Simon. Mark 15:21 names him as father of two people apparently known to Mark’s audience.

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

16 tn This is an Aramaic name; see John 19:17.

17 sn A place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). This location is north and just outside of Jerusalem. The hill on which it is located protruded much like a skull, giving the place its name. The Latin word for the Greek term κρανίον (kranion) is calvaria, from which the English word “Calvary” is derived (cf. Luke 23:33 in the KJV).

18 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

19 sn It is difficult to say for certain who gave Jesus this drink of wine mixed with gall (e.g., the executioner, or perhaps women from Jerusalem). In any case, whoever gave it to him most likely did so in order to relieve his pain, but Jesus was unwilling to take it.

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

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

22 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.

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

24 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.

25 tn Grk “was written.”

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

27 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.

28 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.

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

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

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

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

33 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.

34 sn An allusion to Ps 22:8.

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

36 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).

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

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

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

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

41 sn A quotation from Ps 22:1.

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

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

44 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.

45 tn Grk “a reed.”

46 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.

47 tn Grk “And behold.”

48 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.

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

50 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.

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

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

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