Dividing His clothes Mat. 27:35
In Psalm 22:18 we read: “They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” (NIV) This verse is fulfilled when the soldiers cast the lots to determine who should have Jesus’ tunic, for it was seamless, woven in one piece, and they didn’t want to tear it. The King James Version refers to the fulfilling of Ps. 22:18 in Matthew 27:35.
“And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.” (KJV)
Modern translations like the New International Version is without this reference: “When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. “ (NIV)
Why would modern translations discard of such an important reference? Does that mean that they disown the fulfilment of Ps. 22:18?
When we study the Greek manuscripts we find the reference to Ps. 22 for the first time in two Greek uncial (capital script) manuscripts, dated ±850 A.D. They are the codices Sangallensis, a Greek/Latin interlinear and Koridethi.
Within the minuscules (smaller cursive script) manuscripts, all dating later than 950 A.D., the addition is more commonly found.
It is found in family 1, a group of about eight minuscule manuscripts dated ±1150-1350 A.D., closely related to Koridethi, mentioned above.
It is also found in family 13, a group of about twelve minuscule manuscripts dated ±1050-1450 A.D.
The majority of the other minuscules also have this reference, yet it is not found in the Byzantine or Majority text, accepted as the official New Testament of the Greek Orthodox Church.
It is quite common in Old Latin translations, but not in the Vulgate, the official Roman Bible since ±380 A.D. (The only edition of the Vulgate that does contain this reference is the Clementina of 1592.)
All the other uncial and minuscule manuscripts, as well as the other Antique Translations are without this reference.
We ask then, is this important reference removed from the Bible?
No! The fact is that not Matthew or Mark, nor Luke referred to Ps. 22:18. It was only John who mentioned this fulfilment of Ps. 22:18. Keep in mind that the Synoptic gospels were written about fifteen to twenty years before the gospel of John.
From the gospel of John this reference had later been interpolated into a few manuscripts, and from there into the Textus Receptus. Due to the availability and convenience of this printed edition, it was commonly used by translators from the 1611 King James Version until early in the twentieth century.
When modern translations do not include this reference in Matthew, they merely return to the words the Lord let be written down in the first place.
Here is the reference as it is written in John 19:24: “Let’s not tear it, they said to one another. ‘Let’s decide by lot who will get it.’ This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, ‘They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.’ So this is what the soldiers did.” (NIV)
The author of each gospel had written as he was led by the Lord. Nobody needs to correct Matthew by adding what John was led to write in his gospel!
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