And as they came out
Of the city; for no execution was made, neither in the court of judicature, nor in the city, but at some distance; as it was at stoning, so at crucifixion F8:
``when judgment was finished, they brought him out to be stoned; the place of stoning was without the sanhedrim, as it is said, ( Leviticus 24:14 ) , "bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp".''Upon which the gloss and Gemara say F9, without the three camps; which were these, the court which was the camp of the Shekinah; or the divine presence; and the mountain of the house, the camp of the Levites; and the city, the camp of Israel; so that he that was executed, was had without the city. Maimonides F11 says,
``the place in which the sanhedrim executed, was without it, and at a distance from it, as it is said, ( Leviticus 24:14 ) , and it appears to me, that it was about six miles distant; for so far it was between the sanhedrim of Moses our master, which was before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the camp of Israel.''So Jesus went without the camp, and suffered without the gate, as the antitype of the red heifer; see ( Numbers 19:3 ) , compared with ( Hebrews 13:11-13 ) , and the notes there.
They found a man of Cyrene:
a place in Libya, and one of the five cities called Pentapolis: which were these, Berenice, Arsinoe, Ptolemais, Apollonia, and Cyrene F12; Kir in ( Amos 1:5 ) ( 9:7 ) is rendered by the Targum, (ynryq) , "Cyrene", as it is also by the Vulgate Latin. There were many Jews dwelt here, as appears from ( Acts 2:10 ) , as this man was a Jew, as his name shows; and besides, there was a synagogue of the Cyrenian Jews at Jerusalem, ( Acts 6:9 ) , so that though he was a native of Cyrene, he might now dwell there, and some of these were converted to the faith of Christ; for of those that were scattered abroad at the death of Stephen, some were men of Cyrene, ( Acts 11:19 Acts 11:20 ) . And it is very likely, that this man was a favourer of Christ, which might be one reason why they laid hold on him, and obliged him to bear the cross of Christ; since he was the father of Alexander and Rufus, who were men of note among the first Christians:
Simon by name;
of which name was one of the apostles, and a common name among the Jews, and signifies hearkening and obedient: and none are fit to bear, or will bear the cross of Christ, but such who hearken to his voice, and are obedient to him, being made willing in the day of his power:
him they compelled to bear his cross;
which they did, not out of good will to Christ, but fearing lest through his faintness and weakness, he should, die before he got to the place of execution, and they be disappointed of their end, the crucifixion of him; or because they were in haste to have him executed, and he was not able to go so fast as they desired; for when they, first came out, the cross was laid upon Christ, and he bore it, as John relates; but he being weak and ready to faint under it, and not able to go the pace they would have him, and meeting with this man, they press him to bear it after him: which he might be unwilling to do, partly because it was scandalous and ignominious; and partly, because if a favourer of Jesus, he did not choose to be any ways accessary to his death: but he was obliged to it; and it may be observed from hence, that taking up the cross and following Christ, is disagreeable to flesh and blood: though the spirit may be willing, the flesh recoils; none care for it, or choose to bear it, unless constrained to it.
F8 Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 6. sect. 1.
F9 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 42. 2.
F11 Hilch. Sanhedrin, c. 12. sect. 3.
F12 Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 5.