The concordances indicate that the word "preparation" occurs only twice in the Old Testament, once in 1 Chronicles 22:5, where it is used in the ordinary sense "to make preparation," and once in Nahum 2:3, "in the day of his preparation," both of them translating the same Hebrew root and requiring no special elucidation. In Ephesians 6:15 the apostle speaks of the equipment of the Christian as including the "feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace," which means, according to Thayer, "with the promptitude and alacrity which the gospel produces."
The word occurs with technical significance ("the Preparation") in the gospel narratives of the crucifixion, translating the Greek paraskeue (Matthew 27:62; Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54; John 19:14,31,42). It is used as a technical term indicating the day of the preparation for the Sabbath, that is, the evening of Friday. This is its use in Josephus, Ant, XVI, vi, 2, and presumably in the Synoptics. Later its use seems to have been extended to denote regularly the 6th day (Friday) of each week. So in the Didache, viii and the Martyrdom of Polycarp, vii.
The addition of the phrase tou pascha, "of the passover," in John 19:14, and of the phrase "for the day of that sabbath was a high day," in 19:31, seems to indicate that the author of the Fourth Gospel regarded the Passover as occurring on the Sabbath in the year of the crucifixion. This is clearly the natural interpretation of the words of John's Gospel, and if it were not for the seeming contradiction to the narrative of the Synoptics it is very doubtful whether any other interpretation would ever have been put upon them. This question is discussed in the articles on the date of the crucifixion and the Lord's Supper, and it will be necessary only to allude to it here.
It is possible that the phrase the "Preparation of the passover" in John 19:14 may mean it was the preparation day (Friday) of the Passover week (see Andrews, Life of our Lord, 451; and most recently Zahn, Das Evangelium des Johannes, 1908, 637). This method of harmonizing seems to the present writer to be forced, and it therefore seems wiser to give to the words of John 19:14 their natural interpretation, and to maintain that, according to the author of the Fourth Gospel, the Passover had not been celebrated at the time of the crucifixion. There seems to be reason to believe that the ordinary view that the Lord's Supper was instituted in connection with the Passover, based upon the narrative in Mark (14:12), does not have the unanimous support of the Synoptic Gospels.
In addition to references in the body of the article, the commentaries, especially Plummer, Cambridge Bible, "St. John," Appendix A; Allen, ICC, "St. Matthew," 270-74; Godet, Commentary on the New Testament; Gospel of John, English translation, New York, 1886, II, 378, 379; and the significant articles on the interpretation of Luke 22:15,16 by Burkitt and Brooke, Journal of Theological Studies, IX, 569, and by Box, ib, X, 106.
Walter R. Betteridge
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