Messiah is come to reveal a greater priesthood, an eternal priesthood that has existed in Him before the foundations of the world (Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 7:17).
23 Then the Roman soldiers, when they had crucified [driven stakes into] (stauroo[G]) Yeshua[H], took His outer garments and divided them into four shares, a share to each soldier and the undergarment (chiton[G], ketonet[H]) remained; now the undergarment (chiton[G], ketonet[H]) was seamless, woven as one piece.
First it is important to recognize something we will rarely if ever see in an artistic representation of Messiah on the cross. All His clothing was removed including His underwear. Part of the suffering experienced by the crucified was the inherent and all-encompassing humiliation. Yeshua was crucified naked.
The outer garments were of lesser value and were divided among the Roman soldiers four ways, thus four items of outer clothing. The seamless undergarment was unique, the work of a skilled seamstress and a rare priestly item. The Roman soldiers recognized this, so rather than tear it they chose to gamble for it.
The seamless priestly undergarment (ketonet[H]) connects Yeshua to numerous prefigures for Messiah which are found in the Tanakh (OT).
We recall that Yeshua had washed the feet of His disciples as a sign of their preparation as priests in the order of His resurrected and transcendent eternal priesthood (Hebrews 7:11-28). Yeshua was wearing only the seamless garment mentioned here as He washed the feet of His disciples (John 13:4). Thus, Yeshua the Kohen HaGadol (High Priest) prepared His priests (disciples) to minister the good news of His present and coming Kingdom to the Jewish people first perpetually and also to the nations (all humanity) [Romans 1:16].
The Katenot (fem. plural of ketonet) as Atoning Garments of Skin (A Pre-figure for Messiah’s Sacrifice):
“For Adam and his wife YHVH Elohim made katenot (undergarments) of skins (animal hide) to cloth them.” - Bereishit (Genesis) 3:21
The Ketonet of Joseph (As a Pre-figure for the Priestly Garment of Messiah):
“Now Israel (Jacob) loved Yoseph more than any of his other children because he was the son of his old age, so he made for him an ketonet (undergarment) of pasiym [palms] (plural form of the palm of the hand or base of the foot).” - Bereishit (Genesis) 37:23
*Note that the Hebrew text of Genesis 37:23 does not say that Joseph’s coat (ketonet) was “of many colours” as numerous English translations convey, rather the Hebrew pasiym is a plural form of the word pas meaning palm of the hand or base of the foot. Thus the proper reading in English would be:
“he made him (Joseph) a long sleeved tunic that reached to his feet”.
“And they took Yoseph’s ketonet (undergarment) and slaughtered a kid goat and dipped the ketonet (undergarment) in the blood.” -Bereishit (Genesis) 37:31
The Ketonet of Aaron & Sons - Priests (As Pre-figures For Messiah):
“And these are the garments they shall make; a breastplate and an ephod and a robe, and a woven ketonet (undergarment)…” -Shemot (Exodus) 28:4 (Ex. 28:39, 40; 29:5, 8; 39:27; Lev. 8:7, 13; 10:5; 16:4)
Some may ask “Why is the connection between the priesthood of Israel and Yeshua so important?”
It is important because Messiah is come to reveal a greater priesthood, an eternal priesthood that has existed in Him before the foundations of the world (Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 7:17). This greater priesthood must transition within time and space from the Aaronic priesthood of Israel, not so as to make the Levitical priesthood redundant but so as to cause the Levitical priesthood to fully fill its purpose and reveal the Kohen HaGadol (High Priest) and Messiah Yeshua as the ultimate intermediary.
Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist) the Son of Zechariah was a true Levite and a legitimate priest, unlike the illegitimate (bought off by the Roman authorities) priests Annas and Caiaphas. For all intents and purposes Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist) was a rightful heir to the priesthood of Israel. Therefore, Yochanan the Immerser was given authority by God to transfer the priesthood of Aaron onto the King Messiah. Only in this way could the roles of King of Judah (in the line of David) and High Priest be combined in One Man. The act of transference was symbolically performed by Yochanan the Immerser at the tevilah (immersion/baptism) of Yeshua.
All High Priests of Israel throughout the generations must prepare themselves by washing in order to approach the Lord God to make atonement for the sins of Israel. Yeshua Who is sinless need not be immersed (baptised) for repentance, washing clean, or for any other sin related reason, thus when Yeshua said of His immersion (baptism) “Let it happen now, for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.” (Matt 3:15), what He meant by “All righteousness” was to ritually wash Him as Priest of priests and make way for His sacrificial death and life giving resurrection and the means by which all who receive Him can be made righteous through His blood”. This symbolic act of washing (baptism) revealed Yeshua as rightful and eternal Kohen HaGadol (High Priest) and Melekh HaY’hudiym (King of the Jews), Melekh Hamelekhiym (King of kings). Thus, Yeshua united the priesthood and kingship of Israel and showed Himself to be the King Messiah.
Therefore, it was right that Yeshua had been given a priestly undergarment [ketonet] (probably made for Him by Yochanan’s mother Elisheva [Elisabeth: My God blesses sevenfold/makes an oath], a wife of a Levitical priest [Zechariah John the Baptist’s father]).
The King’s Ketonet in Song of Songs (Prophetic of Messiah’s Crucifixion):
“I have put off my ketonet (undergarment); how shall I put it on, I have washed my feet how shall I defile them?” -Shir HaShiriym (Song of Songs) 5:3
Eliyakiym [My God Raises Up] Clothed with the Priestly Garment Ketonet (As Pre-figure for Messiah)
“20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliyakiym (My God Raises Up) the son of Hilkiyah (My Portion is YHVH): 21 And I will clothe him with your ketonet (undergarment) [kutanetecha], and strengthen him with thy belt, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. 22 And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open (ref. Rev.3:8).
23 And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father's house. 24 And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father's house, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons. 25 In that day, says YHVH Tzevaot (Who goes warring), shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the Lord hath spoken it.” -Yishayahu (Isaiah) 22:20-25
24 So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots (throw dice) for it, to decide whose it will be”; this was to fulfil the Writing (Graphe[G], Ketuv[H]: specifically a book from the Ketuvim/Writings of the TaNaKH [Hebrew bible]) “They divided My outer garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots [Psalm 22:18(19)].”
Yochanan (John) explains that by dividing Yeshua’s priestly undergarment the Roman soldiers fulfilled Psalm 22. In Mark’s gospel 15:34 Yeshua quotes the beginning of this same Psalm, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?”
Psalm 22 is quoted directly and implicitly alluded to throughout the New Testament making it one of the most important Messianic Psalms.
1“For the music director, on “The Doe of the Dawn,” a psalm of David.
2 My God, my God,
why have You forsaken me?
Distant from my salvation
are the words of my groaning.[a]
3 O my God, I cried out by day, but You did not answer,
by night, but there was no rest for me.
4 Yet You are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
5 In You our fathers put their trust.
They trusted, and You delivered them.
6 They cried to you and were delivered.
In You they trusted, and were not disappointed.
7 Am I a worm, and not a man?
Am I a scorn of men, despised by people?
8 All who see me mock me.
They curl their lips, shaking their heads:
9 “Rely on Adonai! Let Him deliver him!
Let Him rescue him—since he delights in Him!”[b]
10 Yet You brought me out of the womb,
made me secure at my mother’s breasts.
11 From the womb I was cast on You--
from my mother’s womb You have been my God.
12 Be not far from me!
For trouble is near--
there is no one to help.
13 Many bulls have surrounded me.
Strong bulls of Bashan encircled me.
14 They open wide their mouths against me,
like a tearing, roaring lion.
15 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are disjointed.
My heart is like wax--
melting within my innards.
16 My strength is dried up like a clay pot,
my tongue clings to my jaws.
You lay me in the dust of death.
17 For dogs have surrounded me.
A band of evildoers has closed in on me.
They pierced[c] my hands and my feet.
18 I can count all my bones.
They stare, they gape at me.
19 They divide my clothes among them,
and cast lots for my garment.[d]
20 But You, Adonai, be not far off!
O my strength! Come quickly to my aid!
21 Deliver my soul from the sword--
my only one from the power of the dog.
22 Save me from the lion’s mouth.
From the horns of the wild oxen rescue me.
23 I will declare Your Name to my brothers.
I will praise You amid the congregation.[e]
24 You who fear Adonai, praise Him!
All Jacob’s descendants, glorify Him!
Revere Him, all you seed of Israel.
25 For He has not despised or disdained the suffering of the lowly one.
Nor has He hidden His face from him,
but when he cried to Him, He heard.
26 From You is my praise in the great assembly.
I will fulfill my vows before those who fear Him.
27 Let the poor eat and be satisfied.
Let them who seek after Him praise Adonai.
May your hearts live forever!
28 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to Adonai.
All the families of the nations will bow down before You.
29 For the kingdom belongs to Adonai,
and He rules over the nations.
30 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship.
Everyone who goes down to the dust will kneel before Him--
even the one who could not keep his own soul alive.
31 His posterity will serve him, telling
the next generation about my Lord.
32 They will come and declare His righteousness
to a people yet to be born--
because He has done it!”
a. Psalm 22:2 cf. Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34.
b. Psalm 22:9 cf. Matt. 27:43.
c. Psalm 22:17 Or, is like a lion.
d. Psalm 22:19 cf. Matt. 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:34; John 19:24.
e. Psalm 22:23 cf. Heb. 2:12.
-Tehillim (Psalms) 22 TLV
25 Therefore the Roman soldiers did these things. But standing by the cross of Yeshua[H] were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Miriyam[H] (rebellion, Mary) the wife of Chelphiy[H] (Klopas[G], exchange), and Miriyam[H] (rebellion, Mary) of Magdala[A] (a tower). 26 When Yeshua[H] then saw His mother, and the disciple (talmid[H]) [John the author] whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Dear Woman, behold, now, look (hineih[H]), your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple (talmid[H])[John the author], “Behold, now, look (hineih[H]), your mother!” From that hour the disciple (talmid[H])[John the author] took her into his own household.
This interaction between the dying Yeshua and His mother and beloved disciple is recorded only in the gospel of John. It is a heart wrenching and beautiful account of unfathomable sacrificial love. The example set here by Yeshua transcends all others with regard to the practical outworking of self-sacrificing love for others. Yeshua’s mother unnamed and His disciple unnamed are named in Him mother and son. Their suffering and joy would birth the body of faith which has now spread globally to the nations and is about to return to bring redemption to the entire remnant of ethnic, religious Israel, the Jewish people (Romans 11:25).
The gospel can be seen in the names of those mentioned: In exchange (Klopas) for rebellion (Miriyam) a shepherd of Migdal (Magdala, tower).
Yeshua’s mother is not named in Yochanan’s gospel (cf. 2:1). This corresponds to the author’s descriptions of himself as a disciple whom Yeshua loved. The author’s focus is on the Divine Word (Yeshua) rather than His earthly familial and friendship connections which are well observed in the synoptic gospels.
“Standing by the cross” is also rightly translated “standing near the cross”. This in no way contradicts the description of the women standing at a distance (mark 15:40) in the synoptic gospels as the terms “near” and “distance” are subjective contextual variables cited by different eye witnesses.
28 After this, Yeshua[H], knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to make perfect the Writing (Graphe[G], Ketuv[H]: specifically a book from the Ketuvim/Writings of the TaNaKH [Hebrew bible]) [Psalm 69:22(21)], said, “I am thirsty.”
“Knowing that all things had already been accomplished” means that Yeshua was aware of all these things having been completed by Him before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8).
Pause for a minute to consider the enormity of the love of God in Messiah. Yeshua (the Living Word essence of creation in Whom all things hold together and have their being) entered time and space to give His life knowing exactly how horrific His suffering would be and being aware that no other could pay the price, He choose it willingly.
In one sense, given the eternal nature of God and Messiah’s Divinity, we could say that the all existing Messiah having seen the end from the beginning was crucified before He was crucified and resurrected before He was born (into time and space) and thus being transcendent remains for us both our suffering Servant and victorious King Who is able to comfort us in every circumstance given His own experience and to deliver us from evil given His authority over all things according to the Father’s will.
“1For the music director, on “Lilies,” of David.
2 Save me, O God,
for the waters
have reached my soul.
3 I have sunk in deep mud,
and there is no footing,
I have come into deep waters,
and a flood sweeps over me.
4 I am worn out by my crying,
my throat is parched,
my eyes fail, waiting for my God.
5 Those who hate me without a cause[a] outnumber the hairs of my head.
Powerful are my enemies who would destroy me with lies.
What I did not steal, must I restore?
6 O God, You know my folly,
nor are my trespasses hidden from You.
7 May those who hope in You
not be ashamed because of me,
my Lord, Adonai-Tzva’ot.
May those who seek You
not be disgraced because of me,
O God of Israel.
8 For I have endured scorn for Your sake.
Disgrace has covered my face.
9 I have become a stranger to my brothers,
a foreigner to my mother’s children.
10 For zeal for Your House consumed me--
the insults of those who insulted You have fallen on me.[b]
11 When I wept and fasted--
that became a reproach to me.
12 When I put on sackcloth,
I became a joke to them.
13 Those who sit at the gate chatter about me,
and I am the song of the drunkards.
14 But as for me, my prayer to You, Adonai, is for a time of favor.
O God, in Your great love, answer me with the truth of Your salvation.
15 Deliver me from the mire--
do not let me sink.
Deliver me from those who hate me,
out of the deep waters.
16 Do not let floodwaters sweep over me,
nor the deep swallow me up,
nor the Pit shut its mouth over me.
17 Answer me, Adonai, for good is Your mercy.
With Your great compassion, turn to me.
18 Hide not Your face from Your servant.
For I am in distress—answer me quickly.
19 Draw near to my soul and redeem it.
Ransom me because of my foes.
20 You know my reproach, my shame, my disgrace.
All my adversaries are before You.
21 Scorn has broken my heart, so I am sick.
I looked for sympathy, but there was none,
for comforters, but found none.
22 They put gall in my food,
and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.[c]
23 Let their table before them be a snare,
and what should have been for their well-being,
let it be a trap.
24 Let their eyes be darkened so they cannot see
and their backs be bent forever.[d]
25 Pour out Your indignation on them.
Let Your fierce anger overtake them.
26 Let their encampment be deserted.
Let none dwell in their tents.
27 For they persecute the one You have smitten,
so they tell of the pain
of those You have wounded.
28 Add guilt to their guilt--
may they not come into Your righteousness.
29 May they be wiped out of the book of life
and not be recorded with the righteous.[e]
30 But I—I am afflicted and in pain.
Let Your salvation, O God, set me up on high.
31 I will praise God’s Name with a song,
and magnify Him with praise.
32 It will please Adonai better than an ox
or a bull with horns and hoofs.
33 The humble will see it and be glad.
You who seek God, let your hearts revive.
34 For Adonai hears the needy
and does not despise His captive people.
35 Let heaven and earth praise Him,
the seas and everything moving in them.
36 For God will save Zion,
and rebuild the cities of Judah.
Then they will dwell there and possess it.
37 The children of His servants will inherit it
and those who love His Name will dwell there.
a. Psalm 69:5 cf. John 15:25.
b. Psalm 69:10 Cf. John 2:17; Rom. 15:3.
c. Psalm 69:22 cf. Matt. 27:34, 48; Mark 15:23, 36.
d. Psalm 69:24 cf. Rom. 11:9-10.
e. Psalm 69:29 cf. Rev. 3:5.
-Tehillim (Psalms) 69 TLV
29 A vessel full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth.
“Sour wine” (John 19:29) and “vinegar” (Matthew 27:48) are synonymous terms.
Yeshua had earlier been offered “bitter gall” a narcotic (Matt 27:34) but had refused it.
Yochanan is more precise than Matthew in his description of the “stick” on which the sponge was offered. He names the variety of plant the stick came from as “hyssop”, the same branch used by Israel to paint the blood of the Pesach Lamb onto their doorposts (Exodus 12:22). Yochanan (John) has already quoted Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist) saying “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of this world” (John 1:29, 1:36). Yeshua’s identity as the Pesach (Passover) Lamb is another key element in Yochanan’s gospel record and is later illuminated by Rav Shaul Hashaliach (Rabbi Paul The Sent One) [1 Corinthians 5:11].
30 Therefore when Yeshua[H] had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished! (teleo[G])” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit, breath (pneuma[G], ruach[H]).
Note that Yeshua pronounced His atoning work on the cross “finished”. His eternal blood offers atonement for all sin, past, present, and future. There is no further sacrifice needed, His sacrifice both precedes and proceeds, it covers (atones for) all who will receive Him and His saving work.
Yeshua “Gave up His Ruach (Breath, Wind, Life, Spirit)”. He chose to give it up, it was not taken from Him (John 10:17-18). The giving up has a certain ambiguity: He gave up His life for us and He gave up His Spirit for us. Our lives are redeemed in the giving up of His life and strengthened in the giving up of His Spirit. Following His resurrection and ascension Yeshua in unity with the Father poured out His Spirit upon and within all who would receive Him.
31 Then the religious Jews (Ioudaios[G], Yehudiym[H]), because they were in preparation, in order that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Shabbat[H] [for that Sabbath was a high (megas[G]) day], asked Pilate (Pilatos[G]) that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
“because they were in preparation, in order that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Shabbat”
“22 “Suppose a man is guilty of a sin with a death sentence and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree. 23 His body is not to remain all night on the tree—instead you must certainly bury him the same day, for anyone hanged is a curse of God.[a] You must not defile your land that Adonai your God is giving you as an inheritance.” -Devarim (Deut.) 21:22-23 TLV
re: High Sabbath Leviticus 23:6-7
This High Sabbath was the first day of unleavened bread as convergent with the 14th of Nisan which becomes the 15th of Nisan at sundown by Biblical Hebrew reckoning.
For more information on the death and resurrection time frame please read my article “Did Yeshua Die on a Friday?” link below:
32 So the Roman soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Him (Yeshua); 33 but coming to Yeshua[H], when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the Roman soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.
Blood separated from water has been testified to by doctors to be clear evidence of death resulting from major heart trauma. Therefore, the plan meaning intends to give the clear evidence that Yeshua was dead and had not simply fainted as some fools suggest.
The blood and water can also be seen as a prophetic precursor to the immersion commanded by Yeshua. All who believer are figuratively and spiritually washed in His blood and in obedience as disciples immersed in water as an identification with the death and resurrection of Yeshua.
35 And he who has seen [John the author] has testified, and his testimony is immutably true (alethinos[G], emet[H]); and he sees (eido[G]) that he is telling the absolute truth (ha emet[H]), so that you also may believe (pisteuo[G], ta’amiynu[H]).
As is the case with the gospels of Matthew and Mark the author is claiming to be a reliable first hand eye witness to these events, and his purpose in writing is to ensure that others will be made aware of the truth of these events and pass on that truth to future generations. The
Jewish Doctor Luke open’s his gospel with a similar testimony, though he does not claim to be an eyewitness but the recipient of information from eyewitnesses.
36 For these things came to pass to fulfil the Writing (Graphe[G], Ketuv[H]: specifically a book from the Ketuvim/Writings of the TaNaKH [Hebrew bible]), “Not a bone of Him shall be broken.” [Psalm 34:20(21); cf. Ex. 12:46; Num. 9:12] 37 And again another Writing (Graphe[G], Ketuv[H]: specifically a book from the Ketuvim/Writings of the TaNaKH [Hebrew bible]) says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.[Zechariah 12:10 cf. Rev. 1:7]”
1 Of David, when he feigned insanity before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he left.
2 I will bless Adonai at all times.
His praise is continually in my mouth.
3 My soul boasts in Adonai.
The humble ones hear of it and rejoice.
4 Magnify Adonai with me
and let us exalt His Name together.
5 I sought Adonai, and He answered me,
and delivered me from all my fears.
6 They who looked to Him were radiant,
and their faces will never be ashamed.
7 This poor man cried, and Adonai heard,
and saved him out of all his troubles.
8 The angel of Adonai encamps around those who fear Him,
and delivers them.
9 Taste and see how good Adonai is.
Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.
10 Fear Adonai, His kedoshim,
For those who fear Him lack nothing.
11 Young lions may lack, and go hungry,
but those who seek Adonai want for no good thing.
12 Come, children, listen to me:
I will teach you the fear of Adonai.
13 Who is the one who delights in life,
and loves to see good days?
14 Keep your tongue from evil,
and your lips from speaking treachery.
15 Depart from evil and do good.
Seek shalom and pursue it.[a]
16 The eyes of Adonai are on the righteous,
and His ears are attentive to their cry.
17 The face of Adonai is against evildoers,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
18 The righteous cry out and Adonai hears,
and delivers them from all their troubles.
19 Adonai is close to the brokenhearted,
and saves those crushed in spirit.
20 Many are the distresses of the righteous,
but Adonai delivers him out of them all.
21 He keeps all his bones--
not one of them is broken.[b]
22 Evil kills the wicked--
those who hate the righteous will be held guilty.
23 Adonai redeems the soul of His servants
—no one who takes refuge in Him will be held guilty.
a. Psalm 34:15 cf. 1 Pet. 3:10-12.
b. Psalm 34:21 cf. John 19:33-36.
-Tehillim (Psalms) 34 TLV
“1The burden of the word of Adonai concerning Israel. A declaration of Adonai, who stretched out the heavens, laid the foundation of the earth and formed the spirit of man within him: 2 “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of reeling to all the surrounding peoples when they besiege Jerusalem as well as Judah. 3 Moreover, in that day I will make Jerusalem a massive stone for all the people. All who try to lift it will be cut to pieces. Nevertheless, all the nations of the earth will be gathered together against her. 4 In that day”—it is a declaration of Adonai—“I will strike every horse with confusion and its rider with madness. I will keep My eyes on the house of Judah but will blind every horse of the peoples. 5 Then the leaders of Judah will say in their heart, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem are my strength through Adonai-Tzva’ot their God.” 6 “In that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a burning torch among sheaves. They will devour on the right and on the left all the surrounding peoples, yet Jerusalem will remain in her place, in Jerusalem. 7 Adonai also will save the tents of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and the honor of the inhabitants of Jerusalem will not exceed that of Judah. 8 In that day Adonai will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem so that the weakest among them that day will be like David and the house of David will be like God—like the angel of Adonai before them. 9 It will happen in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 10 “Then I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication, when they will look toward Me whom they pierced.[a] They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son and grieve bitterly for him, as one grieves for a firstborn. 11 In that day there will be a great mourning in Jerusalem, mourning like Hadad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddo. 12 The land will mourn clan by clan. The clan of the house of David by itself and their wives by themselves, the clan of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves, 13 the clan of the house of Levi by itself and their wives by themselves, the clan of the Shimeites by itself and their wives by themselves. 14 Each of the remaining clans will mourn by itself and their wives by themselves.”
a. Zechariah 12:10 cf. John 19:34, 37; Rev. 1:7.
-Zachariyah (Zechariah) 12 TLV
38 After these things Yoseph[H] (YHVH adds) of Ramatayim[H], (Arimatea[A], heights, birthplace of Samuel Mt Ephraim), being a disciple (talmid[H]) of Yeshua[H], but a secret one for fear of the Jewish religious leaders (Ioudaios[G], Yehudiym[H]), asked Pilate (Pilatos[G]) that he might take away the body of Yeshua[H]; and Pilate (Pilatos[G]) granted permission. So he came and took away His body.
Yoseph of Ramatayim (Joseph of Arimathea) shows great courage in this public act of care for Yeshua’s body (Matt. 27:57; Mark. 15:43; Luke. 23:50). Matthew’s gospel tells us that Yoseph placed Yeshua “in his own new tomb.”
“57 Now when it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had also become a disciple of Yeshua. 58 This man went to Pilate and asked for Yeshua’s body. Then Pilate ordered it to be given up. 59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth. 60 And he laid it in his own new tomb,[a] which he had cut in the rock. Then he rolled a large stone up to the door of the tomb and went away.” -Matthew 27:57-60 TLV
The cost of the tomb Yoseph freely gave for Yeshua’s burial cannot be firmly established, but given the social and religious standing of Yoseph it is likely that it was worth a large sum of money by today’s standards costing millions of dollars (USD).
The Greek word “mnemeion” translated “tomb” in Matthew 27:60 can also be translated “Sepulchre”. Both “tomb” and “sepulchre” often refer to a large tomb with multiple rock-cut cubicles for interring a number of bodies.
A single Sepulchre complex of 63 rock cut tombs in Jerusalem dating to the first century C.E. received the name “Tombs of the Sanhedrin” from Rabbi Joseph Halevi in 1450 because of the large number of burial cubicles inside. While it’s unlikely that this particular Sepulchre is a Sanhedrin burial place, it is very likely that a Sepulchre like it with 70-72 cubicles may well have existed in the first century C.E. and it is therefore likely, given that Yoseph was a member of the Sanhedrin, that the tomb of Yoseph of Arimathea was one of the cubicles within the Sepulchre complex carved out specifically for members of the Sanhedrin and their families. If this is the case the classic notion of a single birth tomb is untenable. In fact, given that family tombs with multiple births dating to the first century have been found in Israel it seems that in most cases the first century Jewish dead were buried in multiple birth tombs, usually with family, and often among those of comparable social status.
Added to this is the fact that “no one had yet been laid” in the tomb (John 19:41): meaning that the generation of the Sanhedrin at that time had yet to utilize the tomb complex, making Yeshua the first to be interred there.
Tombs of the Sanhedrin (1st Century C.E.) Sanhedria, Jerusalem.
Yoseph’s faithful act fulfilled Isaiah 53:9:
“His grave was given with the wicked,
and by a rich man in His death,”
Both Yoseph and Nakdimon were members of the Sanhedrin (Luke 23:50-51; John 7:50-52). They may also have been brothers:
Some commentators believe that Joseph of Arimathea (his home town) is Yoseph ben Gorion, the brother of Nakdiymon (Nicodemous) ben Gorion, the same Nicodemus mentioned in the following verse. One traditional commentary [Ganz. Tzemach David, par. 1. fol 25. 1. & 27. 1.] suggests that Yoseph ben Gorion was a priest, and of the richest and most noble of the priests in Jerusalem; that he was a very wise, just, and upright man; and that three or four years before the destruction of Jerusalem, he was about sixty seven years of age (John Gill Commentary on the New Testament). Making Joseph of Arimathea approximately twenty seven years old when he helped to inter Yeshua.
39 Nakdiymon[H] (Nikodemos[G], nikos: vanquish, victory; demos: the people, assembled mass of people)[cf. John 3], who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about 45 kilograms. 40 So they took the body of Yeshua[H] and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jewish people (Ioudaios[G], Yehudiym[H]).
Likewise Nakdiymon acts courageously, though a member of the Sanhedrin he risks his status for Messiah.
Jewish tradition records Nakdiymon as a tzaddik (righteous one) who called down miracles and was extravagant in his gifts to the poor. However, it is later recorded in the Babylonian Talmud that Rav Yochanan ben Zaccai saw the daughter of Nakdiymon, having been reduced to extreme poverty, gleaning barley kernels from under the hooves of horses in the northern coastal city of Akko (T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 66. 2). This infers that Nakdiymon ended up impoverished because of his decision to follow Messiah Yeshua wholeheartedly and openly. What a courageous example of true devotion to the King Messiah Yeshua and obedience to the Father God.
The cost of the burial spices (myrrh and aloes) that Nakdiymon brought to prepare Yeshua’s body are estimated by today’s currency as being between $150,000 to $200,000 USD.
Both the wrapping in cloth and the use of spices for burial are alluded to by ancient Jewish commentary:
"let the dead be wrapped in his own linen" - T. Hieros. Ternmot, fol. 46. 2.
“They do not say a blessing over a lamp, nor… the spices of the dead…” - Mishnah. Berachot. c. 8. sect. 6.
The practice of using embalming spices has fallen by the wayside, however the wrapping of the body in a shroud continues to be the practise of observant Jews today. Today, as in ancient times [Talmud Bavli Menachos 41:A] Jewish men are often buried wrapped in a tallit (prayer shawl) as a sign of preparation for the bodily resurrection at the last day.
For more information concerning Nakdiymon please read my article on John 3.
41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 Therefore according to the preparation of the Jewish people (Ioudaios[G], Yehudiym[H]), since the tomb was nearby, they laid Yeshua[H] there.
“In which no one had been laid” is said to make certain that the reader understands that only Yeshua was in the tomb when it was sealed by the large stone. This makes it clear that Yeshua alone was interred there and that Yeshua alone was resurrected from there.
Because of the High Sabbath (First day of unleavened bread), the need to bury the body within a day of death and the ritual uncleanness associated with handling the body, they laid Yeshua’s body to rest promptly.
"they may not dig pits… nor graves… on a solemn feast day.'' - Mishnah. Moed Katon, c. 1. sect. 6.
Copyright 2020 Yaakov Brown
Spiritual leader of Beth Melekh Community, Auckland, Aotearoa, N.Z.