And after this
That is, after Jesus had given up the ghost, when it was a clear case that he was dead; as it was before the soldiers came to break the legs of the crucified, and before one of them pierced the side of Jesus with his spear, though that confirmed it: but it seems to be before these last things were done, and yet after the death of Christ, that Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate, and desired leave to take down the body of Jesus. This Joseph was a counsellor, one of the Jewish sanhedrim; though he did not give his consent to the counsel of the court concerning Jesus: he is here described by the place of his birth, Arimathea. This place has been generally thought to be the same with Ramah or Ramathaim Zophim, the birth place of Samuel the prophet; and so I have taken it to be in the note (See Gill on Matthew 27:57) but there seems to be some reason to doubt about it, since Ramathaim Zophim was in Mount Ephraim, or in the mountainous parts of that tribe, ( 1 Samuel 1:1 ) whereas Arimathea is called a city of the Jews, ( Luke 23:51 ) . But if it was in the tribe of Ephraim, it would rather, as Reland
Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus:
from off the cross, that it might not be any more insulted by his enemies, and might not be thrown with the other bodies into the place where the bodies of malefactors were cast, but that it might be decently interred. This Pilate, the Roman governor, had the disposal of, and to him Joseph applies for it; which was a great instance of his affection for Christ, and was a declaring openly for him, and must unavoidably expose him to the malice and resentment of the Jews:
gave him leave;
having first inquired of the centurion, whether he was dead; of which being satisfied, he readily granted it; not only in complaisance to Joseph, who was a man of note and figure, but on account of the innocence of Jesus, of which he was convinced, and therefore was very willing he should have an honourable burial:
to the cross, with proper servants with him,
and took the
body of Jesus;
down from the cross, and carried it away. The Alexandrian copy, different from all others, and in language uncommon, reads, "the body of God".
F15 Palestina Ilustrata, l. 3. p. 581.
F16 Epitaph Paulae, fol. 59. A.
F17 De locis Hebraicis, fol. 88. K.
F18 Antiqu. l. 13. c. 4. soot. 9.
F19 Ib. l. 5. c. 10. sect. 2.
F20 Ganz. Tzemach David, par. 1. fol 25. 1. & 27. 1.