Matthew 26:67-75 “Denying Christ”

Translation & Sermon by Nate Wilson for Christ The Redeemer Church Manhattan KS, 10 Nov 2013


26:67 They spit into His face and beat Him up, then they slapped Him

26:68 saying, “Prophesy to us, Anointed One, who is the one that struck you?”

26:69 Now, Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard,

and one maid approached him saying, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.”

26:70 But as for him, he denied it before [them] all saying, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

26:71 Then, after he went back out to the entrance,

another saw him, and she said to the guys there, “This man was also with Jesus the Nazarene.”

26:73 Well, after a bit, the guys standing [around] approached Peter and said,

“Truth is, you are one of them too, because your speech makes you obvious.”

26:74 Then he began to curse and swear that, “I don’t know the man.”

And right then a rooster sounded,

26:75 and Peter was reminded of Jesus’ comment to him when He had said that,

“Before a rooster sounds, you will renounce allegiance to me three times,”

and he went away outside and wept bitterly.


·         The early church historian Eusebius recorded in his annals a report from the church in Gaul (France) which was being persecuted by the Romans in the early second century[1]. A certain man by the name of Sanctus was a deacon in the church in Vienne, and the officials arrested him. They asked his name, and he replied, “I am a Christian.” They asked who his family was, and he said, “I am a Christian.” They asked where he was from, “I am a Christian,” was all he would say. Now, of course, what they wanted was to get him to renounce his Christian faith, so they tried everything they could think of to get Sanctus to renounce Christ, but every time he just said, “I am a Christian.” They tried torture. They said, “If you don’t renounce allegiance to Christ, we will brand you with hot irons. He said, “I am a Christian.” Then they said, “If you’ll quit saying you’re a Christian, we won’t whip you.” Sanctus said, “I am a Christian.” They said, “If you’ll deny Christ, we won’t put you on the rack.” He went on the rack. For six days they tortured him until he died, and he continued to say, “I am a Christian.” What an example of faithfulness!

·         Then there’s the rest of us. I must confess I identify more with Peter than with Sanctus. I often waver in my commitment to Christ. Is there any hope for people like us? Let us examine what the scriptures say and find grace to fuel an enthusiasm to confess Christ rather than deny Him.

·         In our study of the Gospel of Matthew, we have seen Jesus arrested after an eventful week of teaching in and around Jerusalem. Now He is being held at the high priest’s palace, being tried by the Jewish religious leaders in their ecclesiastical court during the wee hours of Friday morning just after midnight Thursday night.


26:67 They spit into His face and beat Him up, then they slapped Him

τότε ἐνέπτυσαν εἰς τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐκολάφισαν[2] αὐτόν, οἱ δὲ ἐράπισαν[3]

·         Spitting on someone else was considered so offensive in Biblical culture that there is only one other person in the Bible mentioned as actually being spat upon, and that was Job.[4] Yet Jesus had prophecied that this shame would be done to Himself, in fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah:

o       Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. For He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon (εμπτυσουσιν), and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again.” (Luke 18:31-33, NASB, cf. Mark 10:34)

o       Isaiah 50:6 “My back I gave to strikers, and my cheeks to razors (LXX: ῥαπίσματα - slaps). My face I did not hide from the humiliation and the spitting (ἐμπτυσμάτων)” (NAW).

·         As Peter watched; prophecy was being fulfilled. The priests and elders of the Jews were spitting in Jesus’ face, fist-cuffing and slapping Him around[5]. Later the Gentile soldiers would do much the same thing (Matt. 27:30). Jesus hands were tied, so He couldn’t block the blows or wipe the spit off. They further tried to humiliate Him:


26:68 saying, “Prophesy to us, Anointed One, who is the one that struck you?”

λέγοντες· Προφήτευσον ἡμῖν, Χριστέ, τίς ἐστιν ὁ παίσας[6] σε;

·         The parallel accounts in Mark 14:65 and Luke 22:64 add that they had blindfolded Jesus so He couldn’t see who was hitting Him. If He were a great spiritual leader, the Christ – the Messiah – the anointed Prophet, Priest, and King, then surely He could do a little parlour trick like that blindfolded! But no, Jesus had no need to prove to these illegitimate servants of God that He was the Son of God, any more than He needed to prove to Satan in the dessert that He was the Son of God by turning stones into bread. Doing magic tricks like that would not have served Jesus’ purpose to redeem sinners, so He accepted the mocking and shame that the people of God heaped on Him.

·         Jeremiah also wrote prophetically about the Messiah, “Let him give his cheek to the smiter (παιοντι), Let him be filled with reproach. For the Lord will not reject forever, For if He causes grief, Then He will have compassion According to His abundant lovingkindness” (Lam. 3:30-32, NASB).

·         Isaiah 50 also speaks of the confidence that Jesus would have so that their mean treatment would not bother Him: “My back I gave to strikers, and my cheeks to razors. My face I did not hide from the humiliation and the spitting.  But the Lord Jehovah will help for me, therefore I will not be humiliated, therefore I have set my face like the flint and I will know that I will not be shamed. My justifier is near. Who will contend with me? Let us take to the stand together! Look, the Lord Jehovah will help for me. Who is he that will make me out to be evil? Look, all of them will wear out like a garment; a moth will eat them!  Who among you fears Jehovah, listening to the voice of His Servant? Whoever walked dark places and there was no brightness for him, let him trust in the name of Jehovah and lean into his God” (Isa. 50:6-10, NAW).

·         By contrast, the priests and elders of Israel are acting with all the maturity of two-year-olds. Frankly, if I were in Jesus’ shoes, I would be strongly tempted to say, “Forget the redemption thing; let justice roll down!” We can’t allow men to treat God like this, it’s time to send fire from heaven and wipe out Annas and Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin right now! But no, Jesus was so intent on redemption that He was determined to suffer this and then suffer hell in order to pay for the sins of some of those very men and make them right with God. That is amazing love!


26:69 Now, Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard[7], and one maid approached him saying, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.”

῾Ο δὲ Πέτρος ἔξω ἐκάθητο ἐν τῇ·αὐλῇ· καὶ προσῆλθεν αὐτῷ μία παιδίσκη λέγουσα· καὶ σὺ ἦσθα μετὰ ᾿Ιησοῦ τοῦ Γαλιλαίου.


26:70 But as for him, he denied it before [them9] all saying, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

ὁ δὲ ἠρνήσατο[8] ἔμπροσθεν [αυτων[9]] πάντων λέγων· οὐκ οἶδα τί λέγεις.

·         Mark 14:68 mentions a rooster crowing around this time, but we hear it again later on.

·         Although the Greek wording Peter uses in his first denial could support the interpretation, “I don’t understand what you’re saying,” Peter clearly understood her.

·         I’m struck at the irony of how un-threatening the situation is to Peter:

o       Peter is a grown, free, married man with a career and a house in Capernaum, but the person approaching him is a diminutive form of the Greek word for “girl” – not the kind of person from which to cringe in terror.

o       Actually, the word could be used of a grown woman too[10]. She’s a domestic servant for the priest, a person who does household chores in exchange for food and a place to sleep. Her specific task was that of a porter who stayed near the outer door all night and controlled who came in – so says John (18:17) in his parallel account.

o       Furthermore, it was only one girl. The Greek text has the number “one” here. It wasn’t like the whole group of pages was converging on Peter. It was just one maid.

o       And notice that her statement is not threatening. Her word “also” (or NAS “you too”) indicates that she knows somebody else who was with Jesus – specifically she knew the other disciple who had talked her into letting Peter into the courtyard in the first place (John 18:16).

o       She is not warning anybody else or pointing a finger, just sidling up to Peter and quietly making a comment. I think it is entirely possible that she has admiration for Jesus and His followers and wants to learn more.

o       When we are overly-concerned about our safety and security in a culture that is bringing increasingly hostile pressure against followers of Jesus, we will miss great opportunities to share with people whose hearts are open to the truth.

o       What might have happened if Peter had realized the opportunity to strengthen a little girl’s faith and instruct her? He could have responded like the blind man that Jesus healed earlier in the temple, “Do you want to become His follower too?” (John 9:27) Why not give it a try? (I’m preaching to myself, mind you.)

·         Well, Peter is freaked out, and he appears to be toying with leaving.

o       He wants to get away from the pages that he had initially sat with around the fire, so he retreats back to the porchKJV/ gatewayNAS,NIV,ESV. This was the entranceESV to the palace by which he had earlier come in.

o       But he can’t bring himself to actually walk away from Jesus. Besides, where else could he go? His home was several day’s journey away in Capernaum, and the thought of going back to bivouac on the Mount of Olives where the guards could find him again probably didn’t hold much appeal. It was the middle of the night, so everybody would be asleep in the house where they had the Last Supper.

o       So he loiters at the doorstep. From there he could still catch the news, but he could bolt into the night if necessary. Yet even there he is recognized.


26:71 Then, after he went back out to the entrance, another saw him, and she said to the guys there, “This man was also with Jesus the Nazarene.”

ἐξελθόντα δὲ αὐτὸν[11] εἰς τὸν πυλῶνα εἶδεν αὐτὸν ἄλλη καὶ λέγει [αὐ[12]]τοῖς ἐκεῖ, καὶ[13] οὗτος ἦν μετὰ ᾿Ιησοῦ τοῦ Ναζωραίου.


26:72 And again he denied it, using an oath [to say] that “I do not know the Man!”

καὶ πάλιν ἠρνήσατο μεθ[14] ὅρκου ὅτι οὐκ οἶδα τὸν ἄνθρωπον.

·         Whereas the first maid had just spoken to Peter and identified Jesus as being from up north in the Galilee region, this other maid – perhaps a new morning shift porter – starts talking to the pages about Peter[15], and she identifies Jesus as being specifically from the town of Nazareth[16]. (The parallel passages in the Gospel of John tell us that this was just how the ecclesiastical and civil authorities in Jerusalem were identifying Him: “Jesus of Nazareth.”)

·         Once again, I’m not sure the talk of the servant girl actually presented any threat to Peter.

o       She’s not suggesting that anybody do anything to hurt Peter, and,

o       like the first maid, she uses the word “also,” which, unfortunately, is left out of some Bibles13 (they all have the word “also” in the parallel passage in Luke 22:58). The “also” indicates that Peter was not the only disciple of Jesus there that night known to the household staff. Apparently they weren’t trying to do anything mean to the other disciple, so why should Peter worry about them doing something mean to him?

o       The fact that the guys never end up tarring and feathering Peter or doing anything other than confronting him for lying seems to confirm that there was never any threat intended.

·         But Peter’s fear is so great that he does not want to risk admitting anything to them. He’s not willing to take up his cross to follow Jesus. He wants to find a way to “play it safe” while still being friendly toward Jesus.

·         This is a problem. When we try to keep the peace by keeping the good news to ourselves, or when we try to protect ourselves from getting hurt by denying Christ, we are not acting like followers of Christ, who said: “Therefore, whoever will confess being with me in front of men, I will also confess being with him in front of my Father in the heavens. But whoever shall not speak up for me in front of men, I will also not speak up for him in front of my Father in the heavens. Don’t y’all start assuming that I came in order to drop off peace onto the earth; I didn’t come in order to drop off peace, but rather a sword! For I came to divide a man against his father and a daughter against her mother and a bride against her mother-in-law, and the man’s enemies will be those of his household. The one who loves father or mother above me is not worthy of me, and the one who loves son or daughter above me is not worthy of me, and he who is not accepting his cross and following after me is not worthy of me” (Mat. 10:32-38, NAW, cf. 16:24).

·         So Peter utters his second denial, this time with an oath: “May God do so to me and more also if I know the man.”

o       This language was typical of oaths in the Old Testament, and, as far as I can tell, meant that the Lord could strike him dead and send him to hell if he was telling a lie.[17]

o       Peter is afraid to even name the name of Jesus – he just calls Him “the man,” yet how foolishly unafraid Peter is to call down God’s wrath upon himself for vowing something to be true, when he knows it is a lie.

·         This is a problem: Fearing what people might do to you, to the point that your fear of man eclipses your fear of God.

o       John Calvin wrote, “If a lively fear of God had dwelt in Peter’s heart, it would have been an insuperable rampart. But now, stripped and defenceless, he panics when danger is still far off.”

o       Here’s another quote that is often attributed to Martin Luther: “If I profess, with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity. Where the battle rages the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle-field besides is mere flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point.” ~ Elizabeth Rundle Charles, The Chronicles of the Schoenberg Cotta Family (Thomas Nelson, 1864).

o       I can sympathize with how Peter felt, though. How many times have I failed to share Jesus with others because I was afraid of the social repercussions?

·         It sounds like the pages to whom the servant girl talked may have been debating among themselves idly whether or not Peter really knew Jesus. There might not have been much else to do at three in the morning while they waited to be told to do something. Peter was obviously touchy about know­ing Jesus and protested too strongly, and he was hanging around trying to catch a glimpse of Jesus in the courtyard. It all seemed fishy, so they confront him, and the first word they say is the word for “truth” in the Greek language, translated “Certainly” or “Surely” in most English versions.


26:73 Well, after a bit [Luke 22:59 says it was about an hour later], the guys standing [around] ap­proached Peter and said, “Truth is, you are one of them too, because your speech makes you obvious.”

μετὰ μικρὸν δὲ προσελθόντες οἱ ἑστῶτες εἶπον τῷ Πέτρῳ· Ἀληθῶς καὶ σὺ ἐξ αὐτῶν εἶ· καὶ γὰρ ἡ λαλιά σου δῆλόν[18] σε ποιεῖ.


26:74 Then he began to curse and swear that, “I don’t know the man.”
And right then a rooster sounded,

τότε ἤρξατο καταθεματίζειν[19] καὶ ὀμνύειν ὅτι οὐκ οἶδα τὸν ἄνθρωπον. καὶ εὐθέως ἀλέκτωρ ἐφώνησε.

·         The reason the guys give for confronting Peter is that he said something that, to render the words literally, “made” it “obvious.”

o       Now, it might have been Peter’s accent, as the NIV and ESV translate it, although the Greek word lalia does not mean “accent” anywhere else in the Bible. Galileans did not have different pronunciations for the Hebrew letters Aleph, Ayin, He, and Chet, but pronounced them all the same, so people in Jerusalem looked down on Galileans for not pronouncing all their guttural letters properly in their words[20]. Peter’s probably thinking, “Why did I have to go and say that oath? I bet they say oaths differently here in the big city and that gave me away! Why can’t I keep my big mouth shut?”

o       Alternately, the guys could have heard Peter say something else that expressed his concern about Jesus, and that’s what “gave him awayNAS,NIV” and “betrayedKJV,ESV” the fact that he was hiding the truth.

o       John, in his account (18:26), adds that it was a relative of Malchus who said this, and that this guy had remembered seeing Peter in the garden of Gethsemane when they captured Jesus and Peter had chopped his relative’s ear off.

·         Now, this does seem a bit threatening, although still not life-threatening. It’s multiple guys this time, and when they say, “You’re one of them,” it can clearly be inferred, “You’re not one of us.” So that would feel a bit unwelcoming. Their confrontation over Peter’s lie was enough to make Peter come unglued.

·         He adds curses to himself (a unique and intense word in Greek) and swears by God in addition to his former oath, desperately attempting to cover up his lie – which was probably stupid because the more he talked, the more the bystanders could hear him bungle his guttural letters and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was indeed a Galilean!

·         When you’re caught in a lie, the best thing is to confess the truth. Covering up lies with more lies never works for long.

·         The rooster stops Peter dead in his tracks. Luke (22:61) tells us that Jesus turned and looked at Peter.


26:75 and Peter was reminded of Jesus’ comment to him when He had said that, “Before a rooster sounds, you will renounce allegiance to me three times,” and he went away outside and wept bitterly.

καὶ ἐμνήσθη ὁ Πέτρος τοῦ ῥήματος[21] τοῦ[22] ᾿Ιησοῦ εἰρηκότος αὐτῷ[23] ὅτι Πρὶν ἀλέκτορα φωνῆσαι τρὶς ἀπαρνήσῃ με[24]· καὶ ἐξελθὼν ἔξω ἔκλαυσε πικρῶς.

·         Weeping like Hagar did when she was cast out of Abraham’s household and was watching her son starve to death in the dessert.

·         Weeping like Esau did when he realized he had lost his blessing as firstborn son.

·         Weeping like old Jacob did when he caught sight of the torn, bloody clothes retrieved from his beloved son’s body,

·         Weeping like the women of Bethlehem did with their bloody, dismembered baby boys in their laps after Herod’s army swept through.

·         And it’s what Jesus did when He looked out over Jerusalem and remembered how they had killed so many of His prophets.

·         And now Peter wept aloud. He didn’t care if people heard. All he was thinking was how ashamed he was that he had done the thing he’d said he’d never do: he had renounced allegiance to Jesus. Not once but three confounded times. He had left all to follow Jesus and now he had left Jesus!


·         Peter’s threefold denial of Christ presents a serious problem: Jesus and the Apostles taught that anyone who denies Christ will not be saved.

o       Matthew 10:33 “But whoever shall deny (ἀρνήσηταί) me in front of men, I will deny him also in front of my Father in the heavens.”

o       Luke 9:26 “Whoever shall be ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the son of Man shall be ashamed of him when he comes in glory…

o       1 John 2:23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father … (NASB)

o       2 Timothy 2:12 …If we deny Him, He also will deny us... (NASB)

·         There’s no way around it; Peter just dug his grave in hell.

·         And if we’re honest, many of us have done the same thing, if not with our words, then with our actions:

o       Jude 1:4 describes “…ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ…” and says that they are “marked out for… condemnation” (NASB).

o       Titus 1:16 “They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed” (NASB). God’s word which cannot lie says that when I am disobedient, I am detestable and worthless.

·         The holy law is clear; if you have denied Christ in word or deed, then when you stand before eternal judgment, there will be a terrible silence as God says, “Well, justice demands that you be condemned to hell.” And in that silence, Jesus will utter those horrifying words from Matthew 7:23, “Never did I know you; depart from me, workers of lawlessness!”

·         If we’re honest, we must admit that everyone here deserves that fate. Is there any hope for us?

·         Matthew never mentions Peter again, and if we didn’t have the rest of the New Testament, I think we would have had good reason to despair.

·         That’s what makes the epilogue about Peter in the Gospel of John unutterably comforting. Brothers and sisters, there is good news. Really good news! The rest of the story is that Jesus forgave Peter for denying Him. Not only forgave Peter but put Peter into a trusted place of leadership!

·         This is so absolutely crucial, that we can’t stop at the end of Matthew 26 today, we must turn in our Bibles to John 21:14. The sermon is not over until we have read John 21, starting at verse 14:

·         This was already a third time Jesus was revealed to His disciples after being raised out of the dead.
So then, after they dined, Jesus says to Simon Peter, “Simon Johnson, do you love me more than these?”  
He says to Him, “Yes, Master, you know that I like you!”
He says to him, “Keep feeding my lambs.”
He says to him again a second time, “Simon Johnson, do you love me?”
He says to Him, “Yes, Master, you know that I like you!”
He says to him, “Keep shepherding my sheep.”
He says to him the third time, “Simon Johnson, do you like me?”
Peter was grieved that He said to him the third time, “Do you like me,”
and he said to Him, “Master, you understand all things yourself; you yourself know that I like you.”
Jesus says to him, “Keep feeding my sheep.” (John 21:14-17,

·         Earlier Jesus said, “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh” (Luke 6:21b, NASB). How can this be?

o       When we grieve over our sins because we know we did wrong and we know we have offended God and we know that it is so terrible that only death can atone for it and we desperately don’t want to be separated from God over it, then we are doing the right thing.

o       When we are just as heartbroken over our bad deeds as God is heartbroken over our bad deeds, there is hope for us. It means that the Holy Spirit of God has entered into us and caused us to mirror the way God feels about sin[25]. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matt. 5:4)

o       And this is what the Holy Spirit testifies to us (It’s recorded in Jeremiah 31:33 and Hebrews 10:17) “I will make a covenant with them… and I will never again remember their sins and their lawlessness.”

o       The covenant was made through the bloody death of Jesus of Nazareth on the cross, in which He took on Himself the wrath of God against unfaithful men and women, so that all who believe in Him to save them would receive eternal life with Him.

o       “[T]he Face of Christ marred with spittle and blows has restored to us that image which sin had corrupted…” ~John Calvin

o       Simon Peter was saved by Jesus just like we are. In Luke 22:31, Jesus told Peter, “Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” Jesus prayed for Peter, and Peter was restored.

o       Jesus also prays for each one of us that He bought with His blood. (Heb 7:25) And Jesus gets what He prays for.

·         It is this kind of undeserved mercy and loving forgiveness which can give us the heart to glorify Jesus through confessing Him before others.

o       Are there situations at home or work or shopping or with neighbors or other social settings where your heart quails to think of mentioning your faith in Jesus? Let us meditate upon the fact that, just as Jesus forgave Peter for his heartless denial, Jesus went to the cross to forgive us too. If we meditate on the depth of love and compassion our Lord Jesus has for us, this will strike new courage into our hearts to engage the spiritual war around us.

o       May the grace of Jesus our saviour put the kind of steel courage in your heart that Sanctus of old had so that we can say boldly with him, “I am a Christian!”

[1] Summary from

[2] This Greek word is only found in four other places in the Greek Bible: Mark 14:65; 1 Corinthians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 12:7; 1 Peter 2:20. In its specific sense, it appears to indicate blows from a fist, but also has more general meaning of punishment overdone in anger. Here, the KJV renders “buffeted” the NASB and NKJV “beat [with their fists]” and NIV, ESV “struck [with their fists].”

[3] This word is only found in six other places in the Greek Bible: Isaiah 50:6; Hosea 11:4; Matthew 5:39; Mark 14:65; John 18:22; and 19:3. Critical editions of the Greek New Testament (GNT) spell this word with only one rho, but it makes no difference in the meaning of the word. The majority of Greek manuscripts spell it with two rho’s, and the critical apparatus of the Critical editions do not give manuscript evidence for their alternate spelling. It may be worth mentioning that a few ancient Greek manuscripts (D, G, Φ, f1) add the word “him” (auton) to the end of this sentence, but this is generally considered spurious. Regardless, it doesn’t change the meaning of the sentence. All the English versions include the word “him,” although only the King James versions italicize it.

[4] Job 30:10 “they stood aloof and abhorred me, and spared not to spit (πτύελον) in my face.” (Brenton), cf. Num. 12:14

[5] Jesus was practicing what He preached in Matt. 5:39!

[6] This word includes disciplinary action from God and from man, but is not always disciplinary in context. It includes physical blows with hand or weapon as well as figurative blows from disease. Here are all the other appearances of the verb in the Greek Bible: Exodus 12:13; Numbers 22:28; Joshua 20:9; Job 2:7; 4:19; 5:18; 10:8; 16:10; Isaiah 14:6,29; Lamentations 3:30; Mark 14:47; Luke 22:64; John 18:10; Revelation 9:5.

[7] The NKJV corrects the KJV “palace” with the word “courtyard.” See notes on 26:3 & 58.

[8] This is a simpler form of the same Greek word ἀπαρνέομαι (“deny” or “renounce allegiance to”) found in Jesus’ prophecy of Peter’s denial in 26:34.

[9] The majority of Greek manuscripts - including some of the oldest (A, C, W, etc.) include this word “them,” but the Textus Receptus and the Critical editions of the GNT do not include the word (it is not in א, B, D, L, Z). All the English versions include the word, but only the King James versions italicize it. It doesn’t change the meaning of the sentence, though.

[10] In the Septuagint, this Greek word is used most often to describe Hagar, Abraham’s mistress as well as Zilpah and Bilhah, Jacob’s mistresses after they were of childbearing age.

[11] The majority of Greek manuscripts (including the majority of the oldest ones, such as A, C, D, W, Θ) include a masculine pronoun as the subject of the opening participle “going out,” to make clear that it was Peter, not the maid, who was going out. The Textus Receptus and Patristic editions follow suit, as does the Vulgate, but the Critical editions leave the pronoun out, based on 4 ancient manuscripts (א, B, L, Z) – not enough basis, in my opinion to challenge the traditional reading. However, the participle is already masculine, so it would not match the “other” in gender, so the omission does not change the meaning of the sentence, and all the English versions (whether they follow the Critical text or not) include the pronoun “he,” because we don’t have gender in English verbs to convey the difference.

[12] The majority of Greek manuscripts (incl. A, C, L) employ an pronoun “them” here, but the T.R. and the Critical editions of the GNT employ a definite article instead (following א, B, D, K, W, Θ, and f13). Since definite articles can carry the force of a pronoun in Greek, it makes no difference in meaning. For what it’s worth, the NIV “people” and the ESV “bystanders” are interpretive words not in the Greek text.

[13] This word “also” is missing in three of the oldest-known Greek manuscripts (א, Β, D), so it is not found in Critical editions of the GNT or in the NAS, NIV, and ESV, but I do not think this is adequate basis for abandoning the thousands of other manuscripts and the historical tradition which includes this word. However, it does not really change the meaning of the text.

[14] Critical editions spell this word meta (without the abbreviation), but this makes no difference in the meaning of the word. The majority of Greek manuscripts spell it in this abbreviated form meth, and the critical apparatus of the Critical editions do not give manuscript evidence for their alternate spelling.

[15] Luke 22:58 has her addressing Peter directly and Peter answering, “Man, I am not.” There was probably more dialogue than Matthew records.

[16] The first maid is the only one in the Bible who ever calls Jesus “the Galilean,” but the Romans and Jews of Jerusalem used the phrase “of Nazareth” many times to establish Jesus’ identity. See: John 18:5-7; 19:19; Acts 2:22; 3:6; 4:10; 6:14; 22:8; 26:9. William Hendriksen suggested that the graveyard shift of the first maid as “portress” ended, and that was why an “other” portress takes up the question of Peter’s identity, and that the first portress prevented Peter from leaving. As plausible as it may be, it still must be recognized as speculation.

[17] For examples, see: 1 Samuel 3:17; 20:13; 2 Samuel 3:9; 19:13; 1 Kings 2:23; 19:2. This leads me to wonder if in some small way Peter’s own death on a cross later might have been part of God’s just and righteous fulfillment of Peter’s own curse upon himself. You can’t just say, “It was a mistake” after a vow (Ecclesiastes 5:5). Although I believe Peter was truly forgiven, I know that forgiveness does not erase all consequences of a sin.

[18] This word only occurs seven other times in the Greek Bible. In the Old Testament, it appears to refer to the straightforward guidance of the Lord through the use of the Urim and Thummim (Numbers 27:21; Deuteronomy 33:8; 1 Samuel 14:41; 28:6; Hosea 3:4), but in the New Testament, it is used to refer to a fact which can be easily deduced (1 Corinthians 15:27; Galatians 3:11).

[19] The T.R. adds an extra syllable to this word (καταναθεματίζειν – extra syllable underlined), but it is not well-supported by manuscript evidence, so the extra syllable is not in the Patristic or Critical editions of the GNT. It makes no difference in the meaning of the word, however – all English versions translate it “curse.” This is the only occurrence of this word as a verb. The noun form only occurs once in the Greek Bible as well, and that is the “curse” which is no longer in heaven (Rev. 22:3) – although the Septuagint word for “curse” in Genesis is different (ἐπικατάρατος).

[20] Gill cites “T. Bab. Erubin, fol. 53. 1, 2. Vid. Buxtorf. Lex. Talmud. in rad,” on this, stating, “it appears, that a Galilean pronounced "Chamor", an ass, and "Chamar", wine, and "Hamar", wool, and "Immar", a lamb, all one, and the same way, without any distinction…”

[21] Not the last we’ll see of this phrase, “remembered the word of Jesus,” cf. Luke 24:8. “[Y]ou should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.” (2 Peter 3:2, NASB, cf. Jude 1:17). This verb always appears in the passive voice in the GNT; it can be interpreted active or passive.

[22] Critical editions omit this word, but it is in the majority of Greek manuscripts, and neither Nestle-Aland nor the UBS cite manuscript evidence in their critical apparatus for its omission.

[23] Because this word “to him” is not found in four ancient Greek manuscripts (א, B, D, L), the Critical editions do not include it, but it is in the vast majority of the total of Greek manuscripts, and even the majority of the oldest manuscripts (incl. A, C, W, Θ), so I see no reason to drop it, and am keeping it, as the KJV did. Syriac and Coptic ancient versions kept the word, but the Vulgate didn’t. However the loss of this word in the versions which follow the Critical text does not change the meaning, for the context is clear that these were the words of Jesus to Peter.

[24] Exact same wording as the Greek in v.34.

[25] “[O]nce we deprive ourselves of the assistance of the Holy Spirit… He allows Satan to work his power on us with violence…” ~John Calvin