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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on Matthew

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26.1–16 : Approaching death and Judas's betrayal

(Mk 14.1–11; Lk 22.1–6 ). The plot to kill Jesus starts to unfold.

2 :

The death of Jesus is linked with the festival of Passover, a festival associated with sacrifice and liberation (Ex 12.1–20 ). Jesus' death is analogous to the Passover sacrifice (cf. Jn 19.36n.; 1 Cor 5.7n.; Rev 5.12 ).

3 :

Chief priests and elders represent the local and regional authorities. These were mid‐level bureaucrats who would need to appeal to a bona fide authority, like Caiaphas the high priest, to gain at least tacit approval to kill Jesus. Caiaphas held the office of high priest 18–36 CE.

5 :

The possibility of a riot was a constant concern of Jerusalem officials during the holy days.

6 :

Bethany, a village just east of Jerusalem.

13 :

In remembrance of her, perhaps an indication of the important place of women early in the formation of the Christian church.

15 :

Thirty pieces of silver, perhaps an allusion to the price of redeeming a person from a religious obligation (Lev 27.1–8 ) or to Zechariah's action indicting the Temple authorities for corruption by depositing tainted money in the treasury (Zech 11.12–13 ).

26.17–30 : Preparation for the Passover and the Last Supper

(Mk 14.12–26; Lk 22.7–39; cf. Jn 13 ).

17 :

The first day of Unleavened Bread, though technically the day after Passover (Lev 23.6 ), the two feasts are equated in the Gospels (Mk 14.12; Lk 22.7 ; also Josephus, Ant. 18.29 ).

24 :

As it is written, emphasizes that Jesus’ death is part of God's plan (1 Cor 15.3). Isa 53.12 may be the text intended.

25 :

Only Judas refers to Jesus directly as Rabbi in Matthew's Gospel. This Hebrew term, an honorific title meaning “teacher,” does not become a technical term for an office within Judaism until the second century.

26–29 :

Cf. 1 Cor 11.23–26 .

28 :

Blood of the covenant, Ex 24.8 . For Matthew it is not a new covenant the Supper initiates: Jesus’ death and resurrection is the clear fulfillment of God's historic and ancient covenant with the people of Israel. The addition of the word “new” in some manuscripts (note a) was probably an attempt to make this passage harmonize with 1 Cor 11.25 .

30 :

The hymn, all or part of the Hillel Psalms (Ps 113–118 ), traditionally sung at the Passover seder.

26.31–56 : Temptation, betrayal, and desertion

(Mk 14.27–52; Lk 22.39–53; cf. Jn 18.1–12 ).

31 :

Jesus predicts the disciples’ desertion and cites Zech 13.7 as proof.

32 :

This anticipates 28.10,16–17 .

34 :

Before the cock crows, before sunrise.

36 :

Gethsemane means “oil press.” This suggests it is on or near the Mount of Olives across the Kidron valley in Jerusalem. Lk 22.39 plainly states, “the Mount of Olives.”

36–46 :

Jesus’ period of doubt and struggle begins here, prior to his trial and death sentence.

37 :

Peter and the two sons of Zebedee (James and John) have constituted an inner circle of the disciples throughout the story.

38 :

I am, lit. “my soul is.” Stay awake, cf. 24.42; 25.13 .

39 :

Cup, see 20.22n.

47 :

The crowd brought swords and clubs, indicating they expected violence or armed resistance.

48–49 :

The authorities do not know Jesus well enough to recognize him in the garden. For examples of a deceitful kiss, see Jacob (Gen 27.27 ) and Joab (2 Sam 20.9–10 ).

51 :

One of Jesus’ followers does have a sword. To some, Jesus and his followers look like rebels or bandits interested in the overthrow of the current Jerusalem government.

52 :

All who take the sword will perish by the sword, similar to the prohibition against bloodshed in Gen 9.6 and reflects Jesus’ teaching on nonretaliation ( 5.38–48 ).

53 :

Twelve legions, compare the refusal to summon angels in 4.6–7 .

54 :

The events are in accordance with God's plan.

55 :

Jesus explicitly addresses and denies the authorities’ depiction of his movement as a seditious group.

26.57–75 : Leveling charges against Jesus

(Mk 14.53–72; Lk 22.54–71; cf. Jn 18.13–27 ).

59 :

Council, the Sanhedrin, the official Jewish court, seventy scribes, priests, and elders, presided over by the high priest.

61–64 :

Two charges serve as the pretext for sentencing Jesus: his words about tearing down the Temple (a misconstrual of Mt 24.2 ), and his evasive answer to Caiaphas's question.

64 :

Dan 7.13; Ps 110.1 .

66 :

Cf. Lev 24.16 .

67–68 :

Borrowing this vignette from Mark, Matthew forgot to include the blindfolding of Jesus found in Mk 14.65 , rendering the taunt to prophesy who it was that struck him less intelligible.

75 :

see v. 34 .

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