Then Simon Peter having a sword
Girt about him, which he either wore in common, or particularly at the feast, as the Galilaeans are said to do, to preserve them from thieves and wild beasts by the way; or was one of the two the disciples had with them in the garden; or what Peter purposely furnished himself with to defend his master, taking a hint from what was said by him, ( Luke 22:36 ) ;
before Christ could give an answer to the question put by his disciples, whether they should smite or not, ( Luke 22:49 ) ; being encouraged thereunto by what Christ said, ( Luke 22:38 ) ; or by what he had just done in, striking the man to the ground; and being provoked by that servant's going to lay hold on Christ, and who it is probable was more forward and busy than any of the rest; for it appears from the other evangelists, that Peter did this, though he is not mentioned by name by any of the rest, just as they were seizing and apprehending Christ:
and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear;
he doubtless struck at his head, and intended to have cleaved him down, but missed his aim, and took off his ear: the person is particularly described, that he was a servant, and the servant of the high priest, and he is mentioned also by name;
and the servant's name was Malchus;
that if the truth of this relation was called in question, it might easily be looked into and examined, when it would appear that it was perfectly right. All the evangelists give an account of this action of Peter's, but none of them mention his name but this evangelist; perhaps the reason might be, that Peter was alive when the other evangelists wrote, and therefore it was not safe to say who it was that did it, lest he who was the minister of the circumcision, and dwelt among the Jews, should be persecuted for it, or their minds should be prejudiced against him on that account; but John writing his Gospel many years after his death, the reason for the concealment of his name no longer subsisted: nor indeed is the name of the high priest's servant mentioned by any other of the evangelists: John had, or however he writes, a more exact and particular account of this matter. This was a name frequent with the Syrians, Phoenicians, and Hebrews. Jerom F3 wrote the life of one Malchus, a monk or Eremite, who was by nation a Syrian; and Porphyry, that great enemy of Christianity, who was by birth a Tyrian, his original name was Malchus, as was his father's; and "which", in the Syrian, and his country dialect, as he himself F4 and others F5 say, signifies a "king". Josephus F6 speaks of one Cleodemus, whose name was Malchus, that wrote a history of the Hebrews. And some Jewish Rabbins were of this name; hence we read of (Kwlm br) , "R. Maluc" F7, and of (wyklm br) , "R. Malcio" F8; the name is the same with Malluch, ( Nehemiah 10:4 ) .
F3 Tom. I. fol. 87.
F4 Porphyr. vita in Plotin. c. 17.
F5 Eunapius in vita Porphyr. p. 16.
F6 Antiqu. l. 1. c. 15.
F7 T. Hieros. Succa, fol. 53. 3. & Bab. Bathra, fol. 16. 1.
F8 T. Bab. Nidda, fol. 52. 1.