John 19:36

36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.

John 19:36 Meaning and Commentary

John 19:36

For these things were done
The not breaking his bones and piercing his side, and that not by chance, and without design; but,

that the Scripture should be fulfilled, a bone of him shall not be
referring either to ( Psalms 34:20 ) he keepeth all his bones, not one of them is broken; which if to be understood of the righteous in general, had a very particular and remarkable accomplishment in Christ; though a certain single person seems to be designed; nor is it true in fact of every righteous man, some of whom have had their bones broken; and such a sense would lead to despair in case of broken bones; for whereas such a calamity befalls them, as well as wicked men, under such an affliction, they might be greatly distressed, and from hence be ready to conclude, that they are not righteous persons, and are not under the care and protection of God, or otherwise this promise would be made good: nor have the words any respect to the resurrection of the dead, as if the sense of it was, that none of the bones of the righteous shall be finally broken; and though they may be broken by men, and in their sight, yet the Lord will raise them again, and restore them whole and perfect at the general resurrection; for this will be true of the wicked, as well as of the righteous: and much less is the meaning of the words, one of his bones shall not be broken, namely, the bone "luz", the Jews speak of; which, they say F9, remains uncorrupted in the grave, and is so hard that it cannot be softened by water, nor burnt in the fire, nor ground in the mill, nor broke with an hammer; by and from which God will raise the whole body at the last day: but the words are to be understood of Christ, he is the poor man that is particularly pointed at in ( Psalms 34:6 ) who, was poor in his state of humiliation, and who cried unto the Lord, and he heard him, and saved him; and he is the righteous one, whose afflictions were many, and out of which the Lord delivered him, ( Psalms 34:19 ) whose providential care of him was very particular and remarkable; he kept his bones from being broken, when others were; and by this incident this passage had its literal fulfilment in him: or else it may refer to the passover lamb, a type of Christ, ( 1 Corinthians 5:7 ) a bone of which was not to be broken, ( Exodus 12:46 ) ( Numbers 9:12 ) . The former of these passages is a command, in the second person, to the Israelites, concerning the paschal lamb, "neither shall ye break a bone thereof"; and the latter is delivered in the third person, "nor shall they break any bone of it"; which may be rendered impersonally, "a bone of it, or of him, shall not be broken; or a bone shall not be broken in him"; and so the Syriac and Persic versions read the words here; and in some copies it is, "a bone shall not be broken from him"; and so read the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions; and he that violated this precept, according to the traditions of the Jews, was to be beaten. Maimonides F11 says,

``he that breaks a bone in a pure passover, lo, he is to be beaten, as it is said, "and a bone ye shall not break in it": and so it is said of the second passover, "and a bone ye shall not break in it"; but a passover which comes with uncleanness, if a man breaks a bone in it, he is not to be beaten: from the literal sense it may be learned, that a bone is not to be broken, whether in a pure or defiled passover: one that breaks a bone on the night of the fifteenth, or that breaks a bone in it within the day, or that breaks one after many days, lo, he is to be beaten; wherefore they burn the bones of the passover in general, with what is left of its flesh, that they may not come to damage: none are guilty but for the breaking of a bone on which there is flesh of the quantity of an olive, or in which there is marrow; but a bone in which there is no marrow, and on which there is no flesh of the quantity of an olive, a man is not guilty for breaking it; and if there is flesh upon it of such a quantity, and he breaks the bone in the place where there is no flesh, he is guilty, although the place which he breaks is quite bare of its flesh: he that breaks after (another) has broken, is to be beaten.''

And with these rules agree the following canons F12,

``the bones and sinews, and what is left, they burn on the sixteenth day, but if that falls on the sabbath, they burn them on the seventeenth, because these do not drive away the sabbath or a feast day.''

And so it fell out this year in which Christ suffered, for the sixteenth was the sabbath day: again,

``he that breaks a bone in a pure passover, lo, he is to be beaten with forty stripes; but he that leaves anything in a pure one, and breaks in an impure one, is not to be beaten with forty stripes;''

yea, they say F13, though

``it was a little kid and tender, and whose bones are tender, they may not eat them; for this is breaking of the bone, and if he eats he is to be beaten, for it is the same thing whether a hard or a tender bone be broken.''

Now in this as in many other respects the paschal lamb was a type of Christ, whose bones were none of them to be broken, to show that his life was not taken away by men, but was laid down freely by himself; and also the unbroken strength of Christ under the weight of sin, the curse of the law, and wrath of God, and conflict with Satan, when he obtained eternal redemption for us: and also this was on account of his resurrection from the dead, which was to be in a few days; though had his bones been broken he could easily have restored them, but it was the will of God it should be otherwise. Moreover, as none of the bones of his natural body were to be broken, so none that are members of him in a spiritual sense, who are bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, shall ever be lost.


F9 Bereshit Rabba, sect. 28. fol. 23. 3. Vajikra Rabba, sect. 18. fol. 159. 3. Zohar in Gen. fol. 51. 1. & 82. 1.
F11 Hilchot Korban Pesach. c. 10. sect. 1, 2, 3, 4.
F12 Misn. Pesachim, c. 7. sect. 10, 11.
F13 Maimon. Korban Pesach. c. 10. sect. 9.

John 19:36 In-Context

34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.
36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.
37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.
38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
The King James Version is in the public domain.