Defense of Heinsius’ Position, Part 3

5. In addition, it is to be observed that Mark in this brief verse makes use of two verbs, the one in the imperfect, the other in first aorist, ἦν δὲ ὥρα τρίτη, καὶ ἐσταύρωσαν αὐτόν: but if the latter verb was not to be translated they had crucified, but they were crucifying, why, I ask, when ἦν, it was, precedes in the Imperfect, does not ἐσταύρουν follow correspondingly in the Imperfect? Certainly Mark would not change the tense of the verb in this brief pericope without reason.  The same construction of speech plainly occurs in John 7:39, already cited,[1] where the same distinction in signification also comes to be observed between the verb of the Imperfect tense, ἦν, He was, and the verb of the first Aorist, ἐδοξάσθη, He had been glorified.  6.  But if, in addition to all these things, we should be able to bring in a probable reason why the soldiers waited for three hours after the crucifixion to divide His garments; hardly anything else could be desired in order to value this opinion above all the others.  Which we would not soon abandon, even if the reason for this matter did not occur to us, as it frequently happens in the circumstances of the sacred history.  But here, not without a great appearance of truth, it is conjectured that the soldiers were delayed for so long a time, before they might divide the Lord’s garments; because, before they had completely finished what things were pertaining to the Crucifixion of the Lord and of the two thieves, that darkness spread, which endured through the three hours:  which unusual phenomenon was able to strike these soldiers with fear and bewilderment, uncertain as to what might follow upon this matter; who, being accordingly astonished, sat, keeping watch over the crucified, until by degress the darkness was dispelled again and the ordinary light returned, when they divided the garments of our crucified Lord among themselves:  consult Matthew 27:54; 28:4; Luke 23:47, 48.

[1] John 7:39b:  “…for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified (οὔπω γὰρ ἦν Πνεῦμα Ἅγιον, ὅτι ὁ Ἰησοῦς οὐδέπω ἐδοξάσθη).”

Leave a Comment