Matthew 27:38

38 Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left.

Matthew 27:38 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 27:38

Then were there two thieves crucified with him
Which seems contrary to one of their canons, which runs thus; (dxa Mwyb) (Mynv Nynd Nya) , "they do not judge two in one day" F25, unless they were both in the same crime, and died the same death: but here were three persons, Jesus, and these two malefactors, condemned and executed in one, and the same day: these two thieves were led out with Jesus, to be put to death with him, according to ( Luke 23:32 ) , and were crucified with him upon the same spot of ground; their death was the same, but not their crime:

one the right hand, and another on the left;
and Jesus in the midst, as John relates, ( John 19:18 ) , and hereby was fulfilled, as Mark observes, ( Mark 15:28 ) , a prophecy in ( Isaiah 53:12 ) . If this was so ordered by Pilate, it might be done in order to cover the sin, and take off the reproach of putting an innocent person to death, suggesting hereby he was one of them; though this seems rather to be done by the Jews, the soldiers agreeing to it, for the greater reproach of Jesus; intimating, that he was the worst of these malefactors, and a ringleader of such sort of persons: and whereas they had observed, he took it ill at their hands that they should come to apprehend him with swords and staves, as if he was a thief and a robber; to vex and distress him the more, they crucify him between two such persons: but the grand reason why it was so ordered, was, that though Christ was no transgressor, he was accounted one, and stood in the room and stead of sinners, and was numbered with them, and as such was treated by divine justice, and accordingly died for them.


F25 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 35. 1. & 46. 1. Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 8. fol. 190. 1.

Matthew 27:38 In-Context

36 then they sat down and kept watch over him there.
37 And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, "This is Jesus the King of the Jews."
38 Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left.
39 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads
40 and saying, "You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross."
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.