The Meaning of Matthew 26:59 Explained

Matthew 26:59

KJV: Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;

YLT: And the chief priests, and the elders, and all the council, were seeking false witness against Jesus, that they might put him to death,

Darby: And the chief priests and the elders and the whole sanhedrim sought false witness against Jesus, so that they might put him to death.

ASV: Now the chief priests and the whole council sought false witness against Jesus, that they might put him to death;

What does Matthew 26:59 Mean?

Context Summary

Matthew 26:57-66 - The True Answer To False Witness
This meeting of the Jewish leaders had been hastily summoned; but their difficulty was to substantiate a charge that would warrant the death sentence. They had to go back to the beginning of Christ's ministry for the one charge that seemed sufficient for their purpose. But see John 2:19; Mark 14:58. In the meanwhile our Lord opened not His mouth. He left His reputation in the care of the Father, to whom He also committed His soul. It is a good example to follow. Do what is right and let God vindicate you!
It was only when Jesus was directly challenged as to His unique relationship to God, that He opened His lips. There is an evident reference in His words to Daniel 7:13-14. The court instantly recognized that in His reply He claimed to be equal with God. To be the Son of God was to be God. See also John 5:18. Note that word henceforth, which suggests that though it is hidden from us, the Kingdom is already set up, as was David's even when Saul was still on the throne. [source]

Chapter Summary: Matthew 26

1  Jesus foretells his own death
3  The rulers conspire against him
6  The woman anoints his feet
14  Judas bargains to betray him
17  Jesus eats the Passover;
26  institutes his holy supper;
30  foretells the desertion of his disciples, and Peter's denial;
36  prays in the garden;
47  and being betrayed by a kiss,
57  is carried to Caiaphas,
69  and denied by Peter

Greek Commentary for Matthew 26:59

Sought false witness against Jesus [εζητουν πσευδομαρτυριαν]
Imperfect tense, kept on seeking. Judges have no right to be prosecutors and least of all to seek after false witness and even to offer bribes to get it. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Matthew 26:59

Mark 14:60 Stood up in the midst [αναστας εις μεσον]
Second aorist active participle. For greater solemnity he arose to make up by bluster the lack of evidence. The high priest stepped out into the midst as if to attack Jesus by vehement questions. See notes on Matthew 26:59-68 for details here. [source]
John 18:28 They lead [αγουσιν]
Dramatic historical present of αγω — agō plural “they” for the Sanhedrists (Luke 23:1). John gives no details of the trial before the Sanhedrin (only the fact, John 18:24, John 18:28) when Caiaphas presided, either the informal meeting at night (Mark 14:53, Mark 14:55-65; Matthew 26:57, Matthew 26:59-68; Luke 22:54, Luke 22:63-65) or the formal ratification meeting after dawn (Mark 15:1; Matthew 27:1; Luke 22:66-71), but he gives much new material of the trial before Pilate (John 18:28-38). Into the palace For the history and meaning of this interesting Latin word, praetorium, see note on Matthew 27:27; note on Acts 23:35; and note on Philemon 1:13. Here it is probably the magnificent palace in Jerusalem built by Herod the Great for himself and occupied by the Roman Procurator (governor) when in the city. There was also one in Caesarea (Acts 23:35). Herod‘s palace in Jerusalem was on the Hill of Zion in the western part of the upper city. There is something to be said for the Castle of Antonia, north of the temple area, as the location of Pilate‘s residence in Jerusalem. Early Technically the fourth watch (3 a.m. to 6 a.m.). There were two violations of Jewish legal procedure (holding the trial for a capital case at night, passing condemnation on the same day of the trial). Besides, the Sanhedrin no longer had the power of death. A Roman court could meet any time after sunrise. John (John 19:14) says it was “about the sixth hour” when Pilate condemned Jesus. That they might not be defiled Purpose clause with ινα μη — hina mē and first aorist passive subjunctive of μιαινω — miainō to stain, to defile. For Jewish scruples about entering the house of a Gentile see Acts 10:28; Acts 11:3. But might eat the passover Second aorist active subjunctive of the defective verb εστιω — esthiō to eat. This phrase may mean to eat the passover meal as in Matthew 27:17 (Mark 14:12, Mark 14:14; Luke 22:11, Luke 22:15), but it does not have to mean that. In 2 Chronicles 30:22 we read: “And they did eat the festival seven days” when the paschal festival is meant, not the paschal lamb or the paschal supper. There are eight other examples of πασχα — pascha in John‘s Gospel and in all of them the feast is meant, not the supper. If we follow John‘s use of the word, it is the feast here, not the meal of John 13:2 which was the regular passover meal. This interpretation keeps John in harmony with the Synoptics. [source]

What do the individual words in Matthew 26:59 mean?

- And the chief priests and the Council whole were seeking false testimony against - Jesus so that him they might put to death
Οἱ δὲ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ τὸ συνέδριον ὅλον ἐζήτουν ψευδομαρτυρίαν κατὰ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ὅπως αὐτὸν θανατώσωσιν

Οἱ  - 
Parse: Article, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἀρχιερεῖς  the  chief  priests 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: ἀρχιερεύς  
Sense: chief priest, high priest.
συνέδριον  Council 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Neuter Singular
Root: συνέδριον  
Sense: any assembly (esp.
ὅλον  whole 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Neuter Singular
Root: ὅλος  
Sense: all, whole, completely.
ἐζήτουν  were  seeking 
Parse: Verb, Imperfect Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: ζητέω  
Sense: to seek in order to find.
ψευδομαρτυρίαν  false  testimony 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: ψευδομαρτυρία  
Sense: false witness, false testimony.
κατὰ  against 
Parse: Preposition
Root: κατά 
Sense: down from, through out.
τοῦ  - 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Ἰησοῦ  Jesus 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: Ἰησοῦς  
Sense: Joshua was the famous captain of the Israelites, Moses’ successor.
ὅπως  so  that 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: ὅπως  
Sense: how, that.
θανατώσωσιν  they  might  put  to  death 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Subjunctive Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: θανατόω  
Sense: to put to death.