When the morning was come
Or, as soon as it was day, as Luke says, ( Luke 22:66 ) . The sanhedrim had been up all night, which, after eating the passover, they had spent in apprehending, trying, and examining Jesus, and the witnesses against him; and had come to an unanimous vote, that he was guilty of death; upon which they either put Jesus out of the room for a while, or went into another themselves, to consult what further steps should be taken: or if they went home to their own houses, they very quickly got together again, and met in the temple, where they seem to be, ( Matthew 27:5 ) , unless the story of Judas is, by anticipation, inserted here; and in their council chamber, where they led Jesus, and examined him again concerning his being the Son of God; see ( Luke 22:66 ) , all which shows how intent they were upon this business, and with what eagerness and diligence they pursued it; their feet ran to evil, and they made haste to shed blood. This was the time of their morning prayers, of their saying their phylacteries, and reciting the "shema", "hear, O Israel! the Lord our God is one Lord", according to their canon, which is this F5:
``from what time do they read the "shema" in the morning? from such time that a man can distinguish between blue and white: says R. Eliezer, between blue and green; and he finishes it before the sun shines out. R. Joshua says, before three hours had elapsed:''but religion, rites, ceremonies, and canons, must all give way to the accomplishment of what their hearts were so much set upon:
all the chief priests and elders of the people.
The Syriac and Persic versions leave out the word "all", but it is retained in the Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, and in Munster's Hebrew Gospel, and that very rightly. The Scribes and elders met at Caiaphas's house before, ( Matthew 26:57 ) , but it being in the night, they might not be all together; Annas particularly seems to have been absent, ( John 18:24 ) , but now they all assemble together, as in a case of necessity they were obliged to do: their rule was this F6;
``the sanhedrim, consisting of seventy and one (as this was), are obliged to sit all of them as one, (or all, and everyone of them,) in their place in the temple; but at what time there is a necessity of their being gathered together, (Nlwk Nyubqtm) , "they are all of them assembled"; but, at other times, he who has any business may go, and do his pleasure, and return: yet so it is, that there may not be less than twenty three sitting continually all the time of their sitting; (their usual time of sitting was from the morning daily sacrifice, to the evening daily sacrifice F7;) one that is under a necessity of going out; this looks upon his companions that remain, and if twenty three remain, he may go out; but if not, he may not, until the other returns.''This being now a case of necessity, and great importance, they are all summoned and gathered together, unless we except Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus; who yet might be there, though they did not consent to their counsel and deed, as is certain of the former, ( Luke 23:51 ) , these
took counsel against Jesus;
God's holy child Jesus, his anointed, the Messiah; and which was taking counsel against the Lord himself; and so the prophecy in ( Psalms 2:2 ) , had its accomplishment: what they consulted about was
to put him to death;
it was not what punishment to inflict upon him, whether scourging or death; that was before determined; they had already condemned him to death: but now they enter into close consultation what death to put him to, and in what manner; whether privately, he being now in their hands; or whether by the means of zealots, or by the Roman magistrate; or whether it should be by stoning, which must have been the case, if they put him to death according to their law; and by their authority; or whether by crucifixion, which they chose as the most ignominious and painful; and therefore determined to deliver him up to the Roman governor, and use their interest with him to put him to death, according to the Roman law.
F5 Misn. Beracot, c. 1. sect. 2.
F6 Maimon. Hilch. Sanhedrin, c. 3. sect. 2.
F7 lb. c. 3. sect. 1. Bernidbar Rabba, sect. 1. fol. 177. 3.