When they which were about him
That is, the eleven disciples that were about Christ, and with him in the garden: saw what would follow;
that their Lord and master was about to be betrayed by Judas, and would be seized, and carried away by the multitude, that were with him: they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?
or "swords", as the Syriac and Persic versions read; with the two swords which they had along with them. This they said, not being thoroughly acquainted with the mind of Christ in this matter, whether they should use the temporal sword or not; and might choose to show this forwardness to stand by him, and defend him, remembering how lately they had said, that though they died with him, they would not deny him: and might, no doubt, be thoroughly exasperated and provoked to see Judas at the head of such a mob, with swords and staves, and burned with true zeal for their Lord and master; and might be the more spirited up to this, by observing, that the men fell backwards to the ground, upon Christ's saying that he was the person they sought; at least their dependence was upon the exertion of his almighty power; for they could never otherwise imagine that eleven men, with two swords only, would be able to defend him, and rescue him out of the hands of such a multitude.