Tractates on the Gospel of John - Vol. 5

By Augustine; John W. Rettig | Go to book overview
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TRACTATE 118

On John 19.23-24

THOSE THINGS that were done near the Lord's cross when he had already been crucified, let us, as far as he gives [us] help, expound in this discourse. "The soldiers, therefore, when they had crucified him, took his garments (and they made four parts, to every soldier a part) and his tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said then to one another, 'Let us not cut it, but let us cast lots for it, whose it is,' that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saying, 'They divided my garments among them and for my clothing they cast lots."' What the Jews wished was done; not they themselves, but the soldiers who carried out Pilate's orders, [and] upon his judgment, crucified Jesus. And yet if their wills, if their plottings, if their effort, if their betrayal, finally if their extorting shouts [are what] we reflect upon, undoubtedly the Jews crucified him more.

2. But as to the division and allocation by lot of his garments one must not speak cursorily. For although all four Evangelists recalled this fact, yet the others [did so] more briefly than John, and they obscurely, but this one most openly. For Matthew says, "Now after they crucified him, they divided his garments, casting the lot."1. Mark: "And crucifying him, they divided his garments, casting the lot upon them [to see] who should take what."2. Luke: "But dividing his garments they cast lots."3. But John also mentioned how many parts they made from his garments, that is, four, so that they might take one each. And from this it is apparent that there were four soldiers who carried out the governor's orders in crucifying him. For indeed he clearly says, "The soldiers, therefore, when they had crucified him, took his garments (and they made four

____________________
1.
Cf. Mt 27.35.
2.
Mk 15.24.
3.
Cf. Lk 23.34.

-39-

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