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immediate relation to Judas's treachery, Matthew very fitly takes notice of it here, though the purchase may not have been made for some days, perhaps weeks or months after Judas hanged himself. Matt. xxvii. 6. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. 7. * And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strongers in. 8. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. 9. + (Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy ihe prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel
• Ver. 7. And tbey took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field.] Thirty pieces of silver may seem but a small price for a field so near to Jerusalem as this was. Probably the potters, by digging earth out of it for their ware, had made it useless either for tillage or pasture.
+ Ver. 9. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy, &c.] How this transaction comes to be connected with a prophecy spoken (ender by Jeremiah, is not easily accounted for, as the prophecy cited is found in the writings of Zechariah only. The Syriac version indeed has only, weich was spoken by the prophet. If this is the genuine lection, it proves that the name Jeremiah was inserted by some officious transcriber.
Or we may suppose with Bishop Hall, that in copying, the word Jeremiab was put down for Zechariab, a blunder which transcribers might easily commit, especially if the names were written by abbreviation, leis for Zeit, as the bishop says he has seen them in some ancient MSS. But if the present reading is retained, we may allow, that as the Jewish scriptures were divided into three parts, the law, the prophets, and the psalms, what was found in the prophets might properly enough be said to be in Jeremiah, if his prophecies stood first in the collection, just as our Lord afirmed that whatever was in the hagiographa concerning him, was contained in the psalms, because the psalms stood first in that division of the scripture. Or we may adopt the solution offered by Grotius, who observes, that the Jers had many piophecies handed down to them by tradition, such as the prophecy of Enoch, Jude 14, 13. and the traditionary prophecies concerning the destruction of the city, mentioned by Josephus. They bad likewise traditionary facts, such as the contest between Michael and Satan about the body of Moses, Jude 9. He observes farther, that the later propiets often allude to and repeat the words of the former. Thus Ezekiel often repeats passages from Jeremiah, Compare Jer, xxxi. 29, 20. Ezek.xvij. 23. So likewire John in the Revelations, has several sections from Ezekie
remiah. Compare Zech. i. 4. Jer, xviii. U. xxxv. 15. also Zech. i. 6. Lam, ii. 17. also Zech. ii. &. Jer. xxiii. s. On these accounts, as Grotius informs us, the Jews used to say the spirit of Jeremiah was in Zecha. riah. Ile therefore declares it to be his opinion, that the prophecy concerning the thirty pieces of silver, recorded Zech. xi. 12, 13. and which represented symbolically, according to the manner of the proplets, the things that were to befal Messiah, was originally acted and spoken by Je. remiah, as Matthew affirms; but that Zechariah, who in many particulars followed Jeremiah, was directed by the Spirit to repeat it afterwards, and preserve it in writing among his other prophecies : and that the Jews had preserved the knowledge of this fact by tradition; wherefore, though it
thew has committed no error here in referring it to him.
did value: 20. And gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me.) The historian's mentioning the purchase of the Potter's field with the money for which Judas betrayed his Master, being a public appeal to a very public transaction, puts the truth of this part of the history beyond all manner of exception. $ CXXXIX. Pilate's first attempt to save Jesus. He refuses to
judge him; and declares him innocent. Matt. xxvii, 11. Mark
xv. 2. Luke xxiii. 2,-4. John xviii. 29,--38. . By the law, Numbers xix. 22. whosoever touched any unclean person, was unclean. For this reason the chief priests and elders, when they came to the prætorium, as we have already seen, John xviii. 28. would not go in; lest the pollutions they might have contracted in the house of a heathen, should render them unfit for eating the passover. See Acts x. 28. The same reason likewise hindered them from going into the prætorium at the other festivals, which the governor attended for the sake of administering justice. But to make matters easy, a kind of structure was erected, adjoining to the palace, which served instead of a tribunal or judgment-seat. This structure, from its Hebrew name Gabbatha, seems to have been pretty high; and being called in Greek Aidosewtoy, John xix. 13. uzis finely paved with little pieces of marble of divers colours, because it was generally exposed to the weather. Perhaps it was something like a stage, but larger, open on all sides, and covered above, at least when the governor was to hear causes, having a throne placed on it for him to sit on. And as it was joined to the palace wall, there was a door in the wall by which he came out upon it from within. The people, therefore, standing around in the open air, could hear and see the governor when he spake to them from the pavement, without danger of being defiled either by him or by any of his retinue.
Jesus being carried into the palace, and the priests with the multitude having taken their places round the tribunal, the go. vernor came out. John xviii. 29. Pilote then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye agninst this man? This was the most natural question imaginable for a judge to ask on such an occasion ; nevertheless, the priests thought themselves affronted by it. It seems they knew the governor's sentiments concerning the prisoner, and understood his question as carrying an insinuation along with it, of their 'aving brought one to be condemned, against whom they could find no accusation. Besides, Pilate may have spoken to them with a stern air, so as to signify his displeasure. Hence, 30. They answered, haughtily, and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have deliv. ered him up unto thee. John xviii. 31. Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him and judge him according to your law. By
making this offer to them, the governor told them plainly, that, in his opinion, the crime which they laid to their prisoner's charge was not of a capital nature; and that such punishments as they were permitted by Cesar to inflict, might be adequate to any misdemeanor Jesus was chargeable with. But the priests peremptorily refused this proposal, because it condemned the whole of their procedure, and told him that it was not lawful for them to put any man to death; by which they insinuated that the prisoner was guilty of a capital crime, that he deserved the highest punishment, and that none but the governor himself could give judgment in the cause. The Jews, therefore, said unto him, It is not loquful for us to put any man to death. The evangelist observes, that the Jews were directed thus to speak and act, that there miglit be an accomplishment of the Divine counsels concerning the manner of our Lord's death ; of which counsels Jesus himself had given frequent intimations in the course of his ministry. 32. That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which he spake, signifying what death he should die. Thus was the governor's first attempt to save Jesus frustrated. He made four other efforts to the same purpose, but was equally unsuccessful in them all. This good effect, however, has flowed from them : they serve to testify how strongly Pilate was impressed with the conviction of our Lord's innoc 'nce, and at the same time they shew to what a height the malice and wickedness of the Jewish great men were risen. · Pilate being obliged to proceed to the trial, the Jews began and accused Jesus of scditious practices, affirming that he had used every method to dissuade the people from paying taxes to Cesar, whose revenue in the province, Pilate, as procurator, was particularly bound to take care of; also that he had affected regal power, under pretence of being their Messiah, in open contempt of the emperor's majesty, and of his governor's authority, who was Procurator cum potestate, or chief magistrate in the province. Upon what they founded the calumny of his forbidding the people to pay tribute, is hard to say, unless they put a sinister construction upon the answer which he returned to the Pharisees and Sadducees, who asked his opinion concerning the lawfulness of the taxes, ý 117. For though our Lord's meaning was sufficiently plain, as is evident from the effect which his answer had upon the persons who asked him the question, (Matt. xxi. 22.) his words were such as were capable of being perverted. Accordingly luis enemies on this occasion, to excite the indignation of the governor against him, joined his pretending to be Messiah with luis forbidding the people, as they said, to give tribute, making it the foundation of his prohibition, and from the two joined together, affirmed that he stirred up the nation to rebellion. Luke stili. 2. and they began to accuse liim, saying, I found this
fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Cesar, saying, that he himself is Christ, a king: In our court we have convicted this fellow of seditious practices; for he stirreth up the people to rebel against the Romans, forbidding themto give tribute to the emperor, whose authority he assumes to him. self, on pretence that he is king Messiah. But though they spake as if they had tried him upon those articles and convicted him, it was altogether false ; neither offered they any proof in support of what they alledged. The expression used by the Jews in this accusation, viz. “ saying that he himself is Christ a king," may no doubt refer to the acknowledgement which Jesus made before the council, of his being Messiah. Nevertheless, to account for Pilate's asking our Lord, whether he assumed the title of the King of the Jews, we must suppose, that the priests explained their accusation by telling him, that Jesus had travelled incessantly through the country, and every where gave himself out for Messiah; and that even during his trial before them, he had been so presumptuous as to assume that dignity in open court. Without some information of this kind, the governor would hardly have put the question to Jesus, no prisoner being obliged to accuse himself. John xviii. 33. Then Pilate entered into the judgment. hall again, and called Jesus. Matt. xxvii. 11. And Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the king of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest; that is, according to the Hebrew idiom, « It is as thou sayest.” John tells us that our Lord added, Dost thou ask this question of thine own accord, because thou thinkest that I have affected regal power; or dost thou ask it according to the information of the priests, who affirm that I have acknowledged myself to be a king? John xviii. 34. Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? No doubt Jesus knew what had happened; but he spake to the governor after this manner, because being in the palace when the priests accused him, he had not heard what they said. 35. Pilate answered, Am la Jew? Dost thou think that I am acquainted with the religious opinions, expectations, and disputes of the Jews ? Thine own nation, and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me, as a seditious person, one that assumes the title of king : what hast thou done to merit the charge of sedition ? 35. Jesus answered, Though I have acknowledged to you that I am a king, I am no raiser of sedition, for My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: I would have endeavoured to establish myself on the throne by force of arms, and would have fought against the Jews when they came to apprehend me. But as I have done neither; on the contrary, as I have hindered one of my disciples from fighting, who sought to rescue me, it is evident that the kingdom which I claim is not of this world: but now is my kingdon not from hence. 37. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Art thou a king, notwithstanding thy kingdom is not of this world? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. (See on Matt. xxvii. 11.) To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice: I came into the world for this end, that by explaining and proving the truth, I might impress it upon mens consciences, and make them obedient to its laws. In this consisteth my kingdom, and all the lovers of truth obey me, and are my subjects. This is what Paul calls the good confession, which he tells Timothy, 1 Epist. vi. 13. Jesus witnessed before Pontius Pilate. And justly does the apostle term it so. For our Lord did not deny the truth to save his own life, but gave all his followers an example highly worthy of their imitation. It is remarkable that Christ's assuming the title of King did not offend the governor in the least, though it was the principal crime laid to his charge. Probably the account he gave of his kingdom and subjects, led Pilate to take him for some stoic philosopher, who pleased himself with the chimerical royalty attributed by his sect to the sapiens or wise men. See Hor. lib. i. sat. 3. fine. Supposing, therefore, that Jesus 'was a disciple of Zeno, when Pilate heard him speak of truth, and affirm that his kingship consisted in bearing witness to truth, and that every one that loved truth was his subject, he might think that he was claiming the prerogative of the sapiens, though in terms somewhat new. Accordingly he desired him to explain what he meant by truth? then going out to the multitude, he told them that he found no fault in Jesus, no opinion inconsistent with the good of society, neither any action nor pretension that was criminal in the least degree. John xviii. 38. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, (Luke, to the chief priests and to the people and saith unto theus, 1 find in him 110 fault at all. $ CXL. The governor's second attempt to save Jesus. He sends
him to Herod. Matt. xxvii. 12,-14. Mark xv. 3,-5. Luke xxiii. 5,--12.
The priests, it seems, were not disconcerted or abashed by the public declaration which the governor, in obedience to conscience and truth, made of the prisoner's innocence; for they persisted in their accusations with more vehemence than before, aflirming that he had attempted to raise a sedition in Galilee. Luke xxiii. 5. And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the pece ple, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place. They artsully mentioned Galilee to inflame Pilate, who