The bribing of the guard at the tomb.

Matthew 27.62-66; 28.11-15.

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Notes and quotes.

§ Peter 8.28-11.49:

Συναχθεντες δε οι γραμματεις και Φαρισαιοι και πρεσβυτεροι προς αλληλους, ακουσαντες οτι ο λαος απας γογγυζει και κοπτεται τα στηθη λεγοντες οτι, Ει τω θανατω αυτου ταυτα τα μεγιστα σημεια γεγονεν, ιδετε οτι ποσον δικαιος εστιν, εφοβηθησαν οι πρεσβυτεροι και ηλθον προς Πειλατον δεομενοι αυτου και λεγοντες· Παραδος ημιν στρατιωτας ινα φυλαξωμεν το μνημα αυτου επι τρεις ημερας, μηποτε ελθοντες οι μαθηται αυτου κλεψωσιν αυτον και υπολαβη ο λαος οτι εκ νεκρων ανεστη, και ποιησωσιν ημιν κακα. ο δε Πειλατος παραδεδωκεν αυτοις Πετρωνιον τον κεντυριωνα μετα στρατιωτων φυλασσειν τον ταφον. και συν αυτοις ηλθον πρεσβυτεροι και γραμματεις επι το μνημα, και κυλισαντες λιθον μεγαν μετα του κεντυριωνος και των στρατιωτων ομου παντες οι οντες εκει εθηκαν επι τη θυρα του μνηματος, και επεχρισαν επτα σφραγιδας, και σκηνην εκει πηξαντες εφυλαξαν.

And the scribes and Pharisees and elders, having gathered together with one another, having heard that all the people grumbled and beating their chests, saying: If by the death of this man these great signs have happened, behold how just he is, the elders were afraid and came to Pilate, entreating him and saying: Deliver to us a guard in order that we might guard his tomb for three days, lest his disciples, having come, steal him and the people suppose that he rose from the dead, and do us evil. And Pilate delivered to them Petronius the centurion with soldiers to guard the sepulcher. And with them went the elders and scribes to the tomb, and having rolled the great stone together with the centurion and the soldiers all those who were there placed it over the doorway of the tomb, and spread seven seals upon it, and having pitched a tent there they kept guard.

Πωιας δε επιφωσκοντος του σαββατου ηλθεν οχλος απο Ιερουσαλημ και της περιχωρου ινα ιδωσι το μνημειον εσφραγισμενον. Τη δε νυκτι η επεφωσκεν η κυριακη, φυλασσοντων των στρατιωτων ανα δυο δυο κατα φρουραν, μεγαλη φωνη εγενετο εν τω ουρανω, και ειδον ανοιχθεντας τους ουρανους και δυο ανδρας κατελθοντας εκειθεν πολυ φεγγος εχοντας και εγγισαντας τω ταφω. ο δε λιθος εκεινος ο βεβλημενος επι τη θυρα αφ εαυτου κυλισθεις επεχωρησε παρα μερος, και ο ταφος ηνοιγη και αμφοτεροι οι νεανισκοι εισηλθον.

And early, as the sabbath was dawning, a crowd came from Jerusalem and the adjoining region to see that the tomb had been sealed. But during the night in which the day of the Lord dawned, while the soldiers were guarding two by two every watch, there was a great voice in heaven, and they saw the heavens open up and two men coming down from there having much light and drawing near to the sepulcher. And that stone which had been put against the doorway, having been rolled away on its own, gave way in part, and the sepulcher opened and both the young men went in.

Ιοντες ουν οι στρατιωται εκεινοι εξυπνισαν τον κεντυριωνα και τους πρεσβυτερους, παρησαν γαρ και αυτοι φυλασσοντες, και εξηγουμενων αυτων α ειδον παλιν ορωσιν εξελθοντας απο του ταφου τρεις ανδρας, και τους δυο τον ενα υπορθουντας και σταυρον ακολουθουντα αυτοις, και των μεν δυο την κεφαλην χωρουσαν μεχρι του ουρανου, του δε χειραγωγουμενου υπ αυτων υπερβαινουσαν τους ουρανους. και φωνης ηκουον εκ των ουρανων λεγουσης· Εκηρυξας τοις κοιμωμενοις; και υπακοη ηκουετο απο του σταυρου το Ναι.

When the soldiers saw this, therefore, they awoke the centurion and the elders, for they were there also, keeping guard themselves, and, while they were reporting what they had seen, they again see three men, having come out away from the sepulcher, and the two supporting the one, and a cross following them, and the head of the two reaching until heaven, but that of the one being led out by the hand by them surpassing the heavens. And they heard a voice from the heavens saying: Have you preached to those who are sleeping? And obedience was heard from the cross: Yes.

Συνεσκεπτοντο ουν αλληλοις εκεινοι απελθειν και ενφανισαι ταυτα τω Πειλατω. και ετι διανοουμενων αυτων φαινονται παλιν ανοιχθεντες οι ουρανοι και ανθρωπος τις κατελθων και εισελθων εις το μνημα. ταυτα ιδοντες οι περι τον κεντυριωνα νυκτος εσπευσαν προς Πειλατον, αφεντες τον ταφον ον εφυλασσον, και εξηγησαντο παντα απερ ειδον, αγωνιωντες μεγαλως και λεγοντες· Αληθως υιος ην θεου. αποκριθεις ο Πειλατος εφη· Εγω καθαρευω του αιματος του υιου του θεου, υμιν δε τουτο εδοξεν. ειτα προσελθοντες παντες εδεοντο αυτου και παρεκαλουν κελευσαι τω κεντυριωνι και τοις στρατιωταις μηδεν ειπειν α ειδον. συμφερει γαρ, φασιν, ημιν οφλησαι μεγιστην αμαρτιαν εμπροσθεν του θεου και μη εμπεσειν εις χειρας του λαου των Ιουδαιων και λιθασθηναι. εκελευσεν ουν ο Πειλατος τω κεντυριωνι και τοις στρατιωταις μηδεν ειπειν.

Those men therefore sought together with one another to go away and make these things apparent to Pilate. And while they were still reasoning there appeared again the heavens, having opened, and a certain man coming down and going into the tomb. Having seen these things, those around the centurion by night hastened to Pilate, having left the sepulcher which they were guarding, and reported all the things that they had seen, agonizing greatly and saying: Truly he was the son of God! Pilate answered and said: I am clean of the blood of the son of God, but it was to you that this seemed fit. Then all, having come forward, requested and encouraged him to command the centurion and the soldiers to say nothing of the things that they had seen. For it is preferable, they said, for us to owe the greatest sin before God, and not to fall into the hands of the people of the Jews and be stoned. Pilate therefore commanded the centurion and the soldiers to say nothing.

§ Marginal gloss at Matthew 27.65, miniscule 1424, on the Judaic gospel:

Το Ιουδαικον· Και παρεδωκεν αυτοις ανδρας ενοπλους, ινα καθεζωνται κατ εναντιον του σπηλαιου και τηρωσιν αυτον ημερας και νυκτας.

The Judaic [gospel has]: And he delivered to them armed men, in order to be seated right before the cave and keep it day and night.

§ Justin Martyr, Dialogue 108.2:

Και ου μονον ου μετενοησατε, μαθοντες αυτον ανασταντα εκ νεκρων, αλλ, ως προειπον, ανδρας χειροτονησαντες εκλεκτους εις πασαν την οικουμενην επεμψατε, κηρυσσοντας οτι αιρεσις τις αθεος και ανομος εγηγερται απο Ιησου, τινος Γαλιλαιου πλανου, ον σταυρωσαντων ημων, οι μαθηται αυτου κλεψαντες αυτον απο του μνηματος νυκτος, οποθεν κατετεθη αφηλωθεις απο του σταυρου, πλανωσι τους ανθρωπους λεγοντες εγηγερθαι αυτον εκ νεκρων και εις ουρανον ανεληλυθεναι κατειποντες δεδιδαχεναι και ταυτα απερ κατα των ομολογουντων Χριστον και διδασκαλον και υιον θεου ειναι παντι γενει ανθρωπων αθεα και ανομα και ανοσια λεγετε.

Yet you not only have not repented, after you learned that he rose from the dead, but also, as I said before, have sent chosen and ordained men throughout all the world to proclaim that a godless and lawless heresy had sprung from one Jesus, a Galilean deceiver, whom we crucified, but his disciples stole him by night from the tomb, where he was laid when unfastened from the cross, and now deceive men by asserting that he has risen from the dead and ascended to heaven. Moreover, you accuse him of having taught those godless, lawless, and unholy doctrines which you mention to the condemnation of those who confess him to be Christ, and a teacher from and son of God.

§ Tertullian, On the Spectacles 30.6, writing of the taunt he will raise against certain pagans at the advent of Jesus:

Hic est ille, dicam, fabri aut quaestuariae filius, sabbati destructor, Samarites, et daemonium habens. hic est quem a Iuda redemistis. hic est ille harundine et colaphis diverberatus, sputamentis dedecoratus, felle et aceto potatus. hic est quem clam discentes subripuerunt ut surrexisse dicatur, vel hortulanus detraxit, ne lactucae suae frequentia commeantium adlaederentur.

This, I shall say, is that son of a carpenter or hireling, breaker of the sabbath, Samaritan, and one held by a demon. This is he whom you purchased from Judas. This is he who was struck with reed and fist, who was spat upon in contempt, who drank gall and vinegar. This is he whom his disciples secretly stole away so that it might be said he had risen, or the gardener took out lest his lettuces be damaged by the abundance of visitors.