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Nazareth, the city where he was probably born, was in that part of the country, and to distinguish him from other persons of the name of Jesus, which was a common appellation among the Jews.
70. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.
When the maid servant charged Peter with being with Jesus, she intended to accuse him of being his follower, or disciple. 2 Kings vi. 16. This Peter now denies, and moreover declares that he did not know what she referred to by using such languag
71. And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow, this man, was also with Jesus of Nazareth.
Peter, finding that he was known to the persons whom he met in the court of the high priest, retreated to the porch; thinking that he should remain there unobserved. But he is again discovered, and charged with being a follower of Jesus.
72. And again he denied, with an oath, I do not know the man.
This former denial not having cleared him from suspicion, he now endeavours to give solemnity to it, by appealing to God for the truth of what he said, and by imprecating his vengeance upon himself, if it were false.
73. And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech betrayeth thee.
Peter, by speaking in the dialect, or with the accent, of the inhabitants of Galilee, which was different from that of Jerusalem, discovered himself to be of that country; and as the people were generally followers or admirers of Jesus, in consequence of his spending so much of his time among them, there was a good presumption, that this Galilean was one likewise.
74. Then began he to curse, is e. to wish curses to himself, and to swear, saying, I know not the inan.
Peter's fears must have been very great, when they could induce him to utter so palpable a falshood. Not know Jesus, so celebrated for his miracles, who travelled into every part of the country, and was known by person to almost every inhabitant of Judæa!
And immediately the cock crew, i. e. the trumpet employed to announce the hour of the night sounded.
This is generally supposed to refer to the crowing of an animal : but there is an objection to that supposition, of considerable weight, which it is not easy to remove: for when Jesus said to Peter, Verily I say unto thee, that this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice, or, as the evangelist Mark has given us the account, before the cock crow twice thou shalt deny me thrice, he intended to deliver a prophecy, the fulfilment of which it would be possible to ascertain, and which, when fulfilled, would tend, together with other miracles, to convince this apostle, and other persons, of his divine mission. But although it might be true of a particular fowl, that he did not crow that morning until Peter had denied his master three times, yet it could not be known that no other animal in Jerusalem of this species had not crowed before, that morning; and therefore it would be impossible for Peter to determine whether his master's prophecy, respecting himself, had been accomplished or not. Some, indeed, have attempted to remove this difficulty, by saying, that our Lord did not mean to speak of the actual crowing of any cock, when he delivered this prophecy, but that only before such a time in the morning, which was called cock-crowing, Peter should deny him so many times. It is evident, however, that all the evangelists who have recorded this story, understood Jesus to speak of some sound called the crowing of a cock, which was to be heard after Peter's third denial of him.
But every difficulty in respect to this subject will be removed, by considering how the Romans, who were at this time masters of Judæa, divided the night, and the methods they took to announce the different periods: for it appears, from Latin authors, that the night was divided by them into four periods, which, they called watches, each consisting of three hours: the first began at six in the evening; the second, at nine; the third, at midnight; and the fourth, at three in the morning.These are called watches, because wherever Roman soldiers were stationed, a guard of them was appointed to watch for so many hours in the night, and afterwards was relieved by another body of men. We have traces of this division of the night in the New Testament*. Whenever the Roman guard was relieved, it was announced by the blowing of a trumpet; and as ! the third trumpet was sounded at three o'clock in the morning, the time about which the cock usually begins to crow in the morning, that sound of the trumpet was called the crowing of the cock. Now as Jerusalem was a Roman station, where a body of soldiers was always placed, the same practice of relieving the guard and sounding the trumpet would be observed there as in other places, and Peter, being now at the house of Caiaphas, the high priest, which was probably near the castle or fortress, might easily hear the sound of this trumpet: when Jesus, therefore, said to Peter, Verily I say unto thee, this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice, he meant to foretel that he should be guilty of the crime of denying him three times, before the third trumpet sounded, which was called the cock crowing, and when the evangelist Matthew observes, after Peter's third denial, that immediately the cock crew, he meant to say that the third trumpet,
Mark xiii. 35.
called hy that name, immediately sounded. The evan. gelist Mark, who was the companion of the apostle Peter, and whose account, therefore, is supposed to be the most accurate, relates this matter rather differently from the rest: for, according to him, Christ's prophecy was, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice; and he afterwards tells us, that the cock crowed twice before Christ had been three times denied. But his account is by no means inconsistent with what has now been said, respecting the crowing of the cock being the sound of a trumpet: for the trumpet, or horn, which was sounded at the close of the night, when the guard was removed, was called the second cock*
75. And Peter remembered the words of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out and wept bitterly.
Matt. xxvii. 1----10.
1. When the morning was come, or early in the morning, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus, to put bim to death.
This was a continuation of the same council which we read of in the last chapter: they had been sitting during the night, and had condemned Jesus as worthy of death. Early in the morning, they held a private conference among themselves, after Jesus had been removed, how they might procure his condemnation from the Roman governor, in whom alone the power of life and death was now vested. They wished to have him crucified; and they were considering how they should persuade the governor to inflict that punishment. Theol. Rep. Vol. vi. p. 105. Anglæ Scotus. i. c. the late Rev. Thomas
2. And when they had bound him, they led him away to Pontius Pilate the governor.
The sacred writer here interrupts his narrative respecting Jesus, to inform us of the conduct of the disciple that betrayed him.
3. Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
This passage plainly shows that Judas did not imagine, when he delivered up Jesus, that he would be put to death: he hoped that he would perform some extraordinary miracle, in order to deliver himself from his enemies, or, by some other means, escape out of their hands. This hope, joined to the love of money, reconciled his mind to the wicked deed: but when he saw the event turn out so differently from what he expected, and likely to terminate in his master's death, he was sorely grieved for what he had done, and, as the best reparation he could offer for the injury, he came to make a public declaration of his innocence; with some faint hope, probably, that he should hereby prevent them from proceeding further,
4. Saying, I have sinned, in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.
This testimony to the innocence of Jesus is the most illustrious and honourable that could be given, when we consider from whom it comes, and the time when it was delivered. Judas had lived in the same intimacy with Jesus as the other disciples: he was perfectly well acquainted with all his words, actions and designs; if there had been any thing criminal in these, he would have been glad to produce it, on the present occasion, to justify his own conduct in betraying him, and to quiet his own mind, in regard to what he had done: