Matthew 26:20

20 Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.

Matthew 26:20 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 26:20

Now when the even was come
The second evening, when the sun was set, and it was dark, and properly night; for

``on the evenings of the passovers near the Minchah, a man might not eat (Kvxtv de) , "until it was dark" F16.''

This was according to the rule, ( Exodus 12:8 ) ,

he sat down with the twelve,
his twelve disciples; so the Vulgate Latin, and all the Oriental versions, and Munster's Hebrew Gospel; and which also adds, "at table"; even all the twelve apostles, who were properly his family, and a sufficient number for a passover lamb F17: for

``they do not kill the passover for a single man, according to the words of R. Judah, though R. Jose permits it: yea, though the society consists of an hundred, if they cannot eat the quantity of an olive, they do not kill for them: nor do they make a society of women, servants, and little ones?''

Judas was now returned again, and took his place among the disciples, as if he was as innocent, and as friendly, as any of them: this he might choose to do, partly to avoid all suspicion of his designs; and partly that he might get intelligence where Christ would go after supper, that he might have the opportunity he was waiting for, to betray him into the hands of his enemies. "He sat, or lay down with them", as the word signifies; for the posture of the Jews, at the passover table especially, was not properly sitting, but reclining, or lying along on coaches, not on their backs, nor on their right side, but on their left; (See Gill on John 13:23). The first passover was eaten by them standing, with their loins girt, their shoes on, and staves in their hands, because they were just ready to depart out of Egypt: but in after passovers these circumstances were omitted; and particularly sitting, or lying along, was reckoned so necessary to be observed, that it is said F18, that

``the poorest man in Israel might not eat, (boyv de) , "until he lies along", or leans;''

that is, as some of their commentators F19 note, either upon the couch, or on the table, after the manner of free men, and in remembrance of their liberty: and another of them F20 says,

``we are bound to eat, (hbohb) , "lying along", as kings and great men eat, because it is a token of liberty.''

Hence they elsewhere say F21,

``it is the way of servants to eat standing; but here (in the passover) to eat, (Nybwom) , "sitting", or "lying along", because they (the Israelites) went out of bondage to liberty. Says R. Simon, in the name of R. Joshua ben Levi, that which a man is obliged to in the passover, though it be but the quantity of an olive, he must eat it, (bowm) , "lying along".''

The account Maimonides gives of this usage, is in these words F23:

``even the poorest man in Israel may not eat until he "lies along": a woman need not lie; but if she is a woman of worth and note, she ought to lie: a son by a father, and a servant before his master ought to lie: "but a disciple before his master does not lie, except his master gives him leave" (as Christ did his); and lying on the right hand is not lying; and so he that lies upon his neck, or upon his face, this is not lying; and when ought they to lie? at the time of eating, the quantity of an olive, of unleavened bread, and at drinking of the four cups; but at the rest of eating and drinking, if he lies, lo! it is praiseworthy: but if not, there is no necessity.''

This custom was so constantly and uniformly observed at the passover, that it is taken particular notice of in the declaration, or showing forth of the passover by the master of the family, when he says F24, "how different is this night from all other nights" and among the many things he mentions, this is one;

``in all other nights we eat either sitting, or lying along; that is, which way we please, but this night all of us (Nybwom) , "lie along".''


F16 Ib. c. 10. sect. 1.
F17 Ib. c. 8. sect. 7.
F18 Misn. Pesachim, c. 10. sect. 1.
F19 Jarchi & Bartenora in ib.
F20 Maimonides in ib.
F21 T. Hieros. Pesach. fol. 37. 2.
F23 Hilch. Chametz Umetzah, c. 7. sect. 8.
F24 Maimon ib. c. 8. 2. Haggadah Shel Pesach. p. 5.

Matthew 26:20 In-Context

18 And he said,Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.
19 And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.
20 Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.
21 And as they did eat, he said,Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
22 And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?
The King James Version is in the public domain.