John 18:3

3 So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

Read John 18:3 Using Other Translations

Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.
So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons.
The leading priests and Pharisees had given Judas a contingent of Roman soldiers and Temple guards to accompany him. Now with blazing torches, lanterns, and weapons, they arrived at the olive grove.

What does John 18:3 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
John 18:3

Judas then having received a band of men
From the captain of this band, who in ( John 18:12 ) ; is called a "Chiliarch", that is, a commander of a thousand men, one might conclude there were so many in this band; but it seems, that such an officer might have two bands under his command; and if this was, the case, there were at least five hundred men in this company; a large number indeed, to take an unarmed person; and yet, as if this was not sufficient, it is added,

and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees;
servants that belong to each of these, and who seem to be a considerable number also; for these are said to be "a great multitude"; ( Matthew 26:47 ) ; nay, not only so, but the chief priests, captains of the temple, and elders of the people, were themselves among them, ( Luke 22:52 ) ; to see that the men did their work, and did not return without him; as these officers, when sent by them once before, did:

cometh thither with lanterns, and torches, and weapons:
(onp) , which is no other than the Greek word here used for a lantern, the Jews tell us F21, was an earthen vessel, in which a candle was put and covered, that the wind might not put it out, and it had holes in the sides of it, through which light was let out; their (dypl) , or "lamp", here rendered "torch", they say F23, was also an earthen vessel in the form of a reed, at the top of which was a proper receptacle, in which they burnt old rags dipped in oil: now though it was full moon, being the time of the passover, they brought these along with them to discover him by the light of, and find him out with them, if he should hide himself among the trees, or in any of the more shady places in the garden; and they took warlike instruments, as swords, spears, and staves, as if they had a thief or a murderer to apprehend, or a little army of men to encounter with; whereas there were only Christ, and his eleven disciples; and these in no condition, nor had any design, to defend themselves in an hostile manner.


F21 Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Celim, c. 2. sect. 4.
F23 Ib. in sect. 8.
California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information  California - CCPA Notice