John 18:3

3 1Judas then, having received 2the Roman cohort and 3officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and 4torches and weapons.

John 18:3 Meaning and Commentary

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.

John 18:3 In-Context

1 When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which He entered with His disciples.
2 Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples.
3 Judas then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons.
4 So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and said to them, "Whom do you seek?"
5 They answered Him, "Jesus the Nazarene." He said to them, "I am He." And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them.

Cross References 4

  • 1. John 18:3-11: {Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-50; Luke 22:47-53}
  • 2. John 18:12; Acts 10:1
  • 3. John 7:32; John 18:12, 18
  • 4. Matthew 25:1

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Normally 600 men; "a battalion"