John 19:17

And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:

And he bearing his cross,.... Which was usual for malefactors to do, as Lipsius {i} shows out of Artemidorus, and Plutarch; the former says,

"the cross is like to death, and he that is to be fixed to it, first bears it;''

and the latter says,

"and everyone of the malefactors that are punished in body, "carries out his own cross".''

So Christ, when he first went out to be crucified, carried his cross himself, until the Jews, meeting with Simon the Cyrenian, obliged him to bear it after him; that is, one part of it; for still Christ continued to bear a part himself: of this Isaac was a type, in carrying the wood on his shoulders for the burnt offering; and this showed that Christ was made sin, and a curse for us, and that our sins, and the punishment which belonged to us, were laid on him, and bore by him; and in this he has left us an example to go forth without the camp, bearing his reproach:

went forth in a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew, Golgotha: and signifies a man's skull: it seems, that as they executed malefactors here, so they buried them here; and in process of time, their bones being dug up to make room for others, their skulls, with other bones, lay up and down in this place; from whence it had its name in the Syriac dialect, which the Jews then usually spake: here some say Adam's skull was found, and that it had its name from thence. This was an ancient tradition, as has been observed in the notes on See Gill on "Matthew 27:33", and

See Gill on "Luke 23:33" the Syriac writers have it {k}, who say,

"when Noah went out of the ark there was made a distribution of the bones of Adam; to Shem, his head was given, and the place in which he was buried is called "Karkaphta": where likewise Christ was crucified;''

which word signifies a skull, as Golgotha does: and so likewise the Arabic writers {l}; who affirm that Shem said these words to Melchizedek,

"Noah commanded that thou shouldst take the body of Adam, and bury it in the middle of the earth; therefore let us go, I and thou, and bury it; wherefore Shem and Melchizedek went to take the body of Adam, and the angel of the Lord appeared to them and went before them, till they came to the place Calvary, where they buried him, as the angel of the Lord commanded them:''

the same also had the ancient fathers of the Christian church; Cyprian {m} says, that it is a tradition of the ancients, that Adam was buried in Calvary under the place where the cross of Christ was fixed; and Jerom makes mention of it more than once; so Paula and Eustochium, in an epistle supposed to be dictated by him, or in which he was assisting, say {n}, in this city, meaning Jerusalem, yea in this place, Adam is said to dwell, and to die; from whence the place where our Lord was crucified is called Calvary, because there the skull of the ancient man was buried: and in another place he himself says {o}, that he heard one disputing in the church and explaining, Ephesians 5:14 of Adam buried in Calvary, where the Lord was crucified, and therefore was so called. Ambrose {p} also takes notice of it; the place of the cross, says he, is either in the midst of the land, that it might be conspicuous to all, or over the grave of Adam, as the Hebrews dispute: others say that the hill itself was in the form of a man's skull, and therefore was so called; it was situated, as Jerom says {q}, on the north of Mount Zion, and is thought by some to be the same with the hill Gareb, in Jeremiah 31:39. It was usual to crucify on high hills, so Polycrates was crucified upon the highest top of Mount Mycale {r}.

{i} De Cruce, l. 2. c. 5. p. 76.
{k} Bar Bahluli apud Castel. Lexic. Polyglot. col. 3466.
{l} Elmacinus, p. 13. Patricides, p. 12. apud Hottinger. Smegma Oriental. l. 1. c. 8. p. 257.
{m} De Resurrectione Christi, p. 479.
{n} Epist. Marcellae, fol. 42. L. Tom. I.
{o} Comment. in Eph. v. 14.
{p} Comment. in Luc. xx. 33.
{q} De locis Hebraicis, fol. 92. F.
{r} Valer. Maxim. l. 6. c. ult.