Verse 18. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. The garments of the executed were the perquisites of the executioners in most cases, but it was not often that they cast lots at the division of the spoil; this incident shows how clearly David in vision saw the day of Christ, and how surely the Man of Nazareth is he of whom the prophets spake: "these things, therefore, the soldiers did." He who gave his blood to cleanse us gave his garments to clothe us. As Ness says, "this precious Lamb of God gave up his golden fleece for us." How every incident of Jesus' griefs is here stored up in the treasury of inspiration, and embalmed in the amber of sacred song; we must learn hence to be very mindful of all that concerns our Beloved, and to think much more of everything which has a connection with him. It may be noted that the habit of gambling is of all others the most hardening, for men could practise it even at the cross foot while besprinkled with the blood of the Crucified. No Christian will endure the rattle of the dice when he thinks of this.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 18. They part my garments, etc. Perfectly naked did the cruciarii hang upon the cross, and the executioners received their clothes. There is nothing to show that there was a cloth even round the loins. The clothes became the property of the soldiers, after Roman usage. The outer garment was divided probably into four, by ripping up the seams. Four soldiers were counted off as a guard, by the Roman code. The under garment could not be divided being woven; and this led the soldiers to the dice throwing. J. P. Lange, D.D., on Matthew 27:35 .
Verse 18. They part my garments, etc. Instruments will not be wanting to crucify Christ, if it were but for his old clothes, and those but little worth; for these soldiers crucify him, though they got but his garments for their reward. Christ did submit to suffer naked, hereby to teach us: --
- That all flesh are really naked before God by reason of sin (Ex 32:25 2 Chronicles 28:19 ), and therefore our Surety behoved to suffer naked.
- That he offered himself a real captive in his sufferings, that so he might fully satisfy justice by being under the power of his enemies, till he redeemed himself by the strong hand, having fully paid the price; for therefore did he submit to be stripped naked, as conquerors use to do with prisoners.
- That by thus suffering naked he would expiate our abuse of apparel, and purchase to us a liberty to make use of suitable raiment, and such as becometh us in our station.
- That by this suffering naked he would purchase unto them who flee to him, to be covered with righteousness and glory, and to walk with him in white for ever, and would point out the nakedness of those, who, not being found clothed with his righteousness, shall not be clothed upon with immortality and glory. 2 Corinthians 5:2-3 .
- He would also by this, teach all his followers to resolve on nakedness in their following of him, as a part of their conformity with their Head ( 1 John 4:17 Romans 8:35 Hebrews 11:37 ), and that therefore they should not dote much on their apparel when they have it. George Hutcheson,
Verse 18. And cast lots upon my vesture. Trifling as this act of casting the lot for our Lord's vesture may appear, it is most significant. It contains a double lesson. It teaches us how greatly that seamless shirt was valued; how little he to whom it had belonged. It seemed to say, this garment is more valuable than its owner. As it was said of the thirty pieces of silver, "A goodly price at which I was prized at of them;" so may we say regarding the casting of the lot, "How cheaply Christ was held!" John Stevenson.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 6-18. Full of striking sentences upon our Lord's suffering.