“Evening had come.
It was the day
Before the Sabbath,”
Καὶ ἤδη ὀψίας γενομένης, ἐπεὶ ἦν Παρασκευή, ὅ ἐστιν προσάββατον
Matthew, chapter 27:57 simply mentioned that it was evening, without any mention of the Sabbath. Luke, chapter 23:54, and John, chapter 19:42 mentioned the same thing as Mark here that it was the day of preparation for the Sabbath. Mark said that evening had arrived (Καὶ ἤδη ὀψίας γενομένης), since it was the day of Preparation (ἐπεὶ ἦν Παρασκευή), which is the day before the Sabbath (ὅ ἐστιν προσάββατον). Everything would have to be done before sundown, which was the beginning of the Sabbath. Notice that it was evening, since no burials were permitted on the Sabbath or feast days.
“When it was evening,
There came a rich man
He was also
A disciple of Jesus.”
Ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης ἦλθεν ἄνθρωπος πλούσιος ἀπὸ Ἀριμαθαίας, τοὔνομα Ἰωσήφ, ὃς καὶ αὐτὸς ἐμαθητεύθη τῷ Ἰησοῦ·
There is less confusion about this Joseph since he is mentioned in all 4 gospel stories. This text is similar to Mark, chapter 15:43. Luke, chapter 23:50-51, mentioned that Joseph was a member of the elder’s council in Jerusalem who had not voted for the plan to destroy Jesus. John, chapter 19:38, said that Joseph was a secret disciple of Jesus. Matthew said that when it was evening (Ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης), a rich man from Arimathea (ἦλθεν ἄνθρωπος πλούσιος ἀπὸ Ἀριμαθαίας), named Joseph (τοὔνομα Ἰωσήφ), who was also a disciple of Jesus (ὃς καὶ αὐτὸς ἐμαθητεύθη τῷ Ἰησοῦ) came forward. Notice that it was evening since no burials were permitted on the Sabbath or feast days. Many legends have developed around this wealthy Joseph from Arimathea, a town in Judea near Jerusalem.
“In the one hundred seventy-fourth year, Antiochus set out and invaded the land of his ancestors. All the troops rallied to him, so that there were only a few with Trypho. Antiochus pursued him. He came in his flight to Dor, which is by the sea. He knew that troubles had converged upon him, since his troops had deserted him. So Antiochus encamped against Dor, and with him were one hundred twenty thousand warriors and eight thousand cavalry. He surrounded the town since the ships had joined battle from the sea. He pressed the town hard from land and sea. He permitted no one to leave or enter it.”
In 138 BCE, or the 167th year of the Greek Empire, King Antiochus VII invaded the land of his ancestors. That sounds strange to invade your own country. He was trying to take back the throne from King Trypho. King Trypho fled to Dor, a sea port south of Carmel, miles north of Caesarea. Most of the troops of King Trypho had abandoned him. King Antiochus VII followed him to Dor with 120,000 warriors and 8,000 cavalry. Once again, these numbers seem high. He then surrounded the city since he had ships in the port so that no one could leave or enter the city.
“Then a group of scribes appeared in a body before Alcimus and Bacchides to ask for just terms. The Hasideans were first among the sons of Israel to seek peace from them. They said.
‘A priest of the line of Aaron has come with an army.
He will not harm us.’
Alcimus spoke peaceable words to them. He swore this oath to them.
‘We will not seek to injure you or your friends.’
So they trusted him. However, Bacchides seized sixty of them. He killed them in one day, in accordance with the word which was written.
‘The flesh of your faithful ones and their blood,
They poured out all around Jerusalem.
There was none to bury them.’
Then the fear and dread of them fell upon all the people. They said.
‘There is no truth or justice in them,
They have violated the agreement and the oath that they swore.’”
The Hasideans may be the same group of warriors mentioned in chapter 2 of this book that joined with Judas’ father Mattathias. However, here they are portrayed as a group of ascetic scribes who were willing to live under Syrian rule as long as they were permitted to keep the Mosaic Law. These Hasideans may have developed into the group of Essenes in the 1st century CE. They saw Alcimus and recognized him as a descendent of Aaron, so that they did not fear him. Alcimus even swore under oath that he would not injure them. However, Bacchides took 60 of them and killed them. Somehow this was the fulfillment of a written word. The word is not the Mosaic Law, but from Psalm 79, which maybe from this same time period. This is part of a lament that the blood of the bodies was on the streets as unburied victims. Now, everybody became fearful, because this group with Bacchides and Alcimus could not be trusted. They had broken their word or oath, by killing 60 of these peaceable men.