I am currently studying the resurrection of Jesus in an apologetic manner
and have started looking into the Greek texts. Matthew 27:65 mentions the
guard requested by the Jews, I noticed that the word translated as “you
have” appears to be “I have” (echo as opposed to the ete ending denoting
you plural). Unfortunately I have no biblical Greek teacher I can check
this with and am learnign only from books and CD’s. Surely this word would
indicate definitively a Roman guard (assuming the strory is not an
apologetic insertion into the texts) as opposed to a Jewish temple guard?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.


I am looking at a Greek interlinear word for word translation of the
literal Greek. It does not confirm your contention. The literal Greek
says, “Said to them Pilate you have a guard go make fast as you know and
they going made fast the grave sealing the stone with the guard.” I am
not an expert in Greek. I am not even an amateur in Greek, so you should
probably consider confirming this with an expert. The Greek word in
question is exete, which is you have. The NIV translates it as “Take.”
The verb can mean to have, to need, to take, to hold, etc. I believe (and
please do not trust my Greek grammar!) that the sentence is in the
imperative, which is why the NIV uses the word take. It is hard to use
the imperative in English using the word have.

If I am correct, Matthew 27:65 in inconclusive on whether the guard was
Roman or Jewish. The traditional interpretation of this passage is that
the guard was a Roman one. It may be possible that the Jews would have
had the equivalent of local police, but the guard is specifically
described as soldiers (Matthew 28:12). The only soldiers in the city of
Jerusalem were Romans. The Jews were not allowed to have an army or a
traditional armed force at all. Therefore, the most reasonable
interpretation, which is the traditional one, is that the guard referred
to is a Roman one.

John Oakes

Comments are closed.