KJV Matthew 26:38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

MGNT Matthew 26:38 τότε λέγει αὐτοῖς περίλυπός ἐστιν ἡ ψυχή μου ἕως θανάτου μείνατε ὧδε καὶ γρηγορεῖτε μετ’ ἐμοῦ

  • Do you believe that there is something more than being so sad that the (current and anticipatory) sorrow is crushing and Jesus needs human company? – user25930 Oct 18 '18 at 7:11
  • I can think of more than one way to take the phrase so I'm looking forward to hearing the case for and against how others take it: biblehub.com/matthew/26-38.htm He has already said he is "exceedingly sorrowful". What I want to know is what he means by "even unto death" which is ambiguous to me. – Ruminator Oct 18 '18 at 10:42

The phrase "ἕως θανάτου" only occurs in Matt 26:38 and Mark 14:38 in the NT. It might be an allusion (including the reference to "soul") to Isa 53:12, "poured out his soul unto death".

BDAG specifically lists Matt 26:38 and Mark 14:38 as their first meaning, "termination of physical life, death - (a) natural death". They then list their translation of these verses as, "sorrowful even to the point of death".

While this phrase, "ἕως θανάτου" only occurs twice, very similar phrases with very similar meanings also occur in the NT.

  • Phil 2:8 - [Christ was] obedient unto death ("mechri thanatou")
  • Phil 2:30 - [Epaphroditus came close] unto death ("mechri thanatou")

The opposite of this idea is also discussed in John 5:24 where Jesus talks about proceeding out of death to life as a result of His work and message, by faith. However, this is almost certainly talking about eternal death (Rom 1:32, 6:16 etc) as distinct from physical death.

This, our passage in Matt 26:38 and Mark 14:38 suggests that Jesus' was so crushed that he almost died in the Gethsemane before proceeding to Golgotha. This is discussed at some length in Isa 53 (which I take as a Messianic chapter) with statements like, "he … carried our sorrows" (v4); "he was crushed for our iniquities" (v5); "The LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all" (v6); "he was oppressed and afflicted" (v7); "it was the LORD's will to crush him" (v10); etc.

From this I take the Gospel record to mean that Jesus bore all our sins and almost died in the garden. He was thus "despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows" (Isa 53:3). This was dramatically fulfilled in Gethsemane. As bad as Jesus suffering on Golgotha was we should not forget the struggle in the garden as he decided to drink the cup (Matt 26:36-43).

|improve this answer|||||
  • Are you suggesting that Jesus' struggle to accept his death was almost fatal? IE: The anguish of his mind was causing his body to self destruct? – Ruminator Oct 19 '18 at 12:38
  • I think that is a good summary. It also appears that when Jesus became "sin for us" (2 Cor 5:21) that this created a separation from the Father and caused Him to scream, "My God why have you forsaken me?" and darkens was over the land. etc. Jesus found all this very difficult in anticipation. – user25930 Oct 19 '18 at 21:06
  • I could imagine someone with a weak heart succumbing but apart from that I don't think it is physically possible. – Ruminator Oct 19 '18 at 21:18
  • Suggest you look at back2healthsc.com/… psychguides.com/guides/grief-symptoms-causes-and-effects etc. Jesus grief/anguish was rather extreme!! – user25930 Oct 19 '18 at 21:43
  • Are we talking here about "sorrow" in the sense of sadness or "sorrow" in the sense of remorse? – Sean O'Kane Jan 25 at 13:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.