19:39 Nicodemus. Nicodemus was also a member of the Council, and he too had defended Jesus (John 7:50-52). He must also have been waiting in the tomb, with all the spices and graveclothes. These could not have been procured on a sudden impulse, but must have been prepared earlier. Furthermore, Nicodemus was “a master of Israel” (John 3:10), and so must have been an elderly man; he could hardly have carried a hundred pounds very far. This all leads to the further inference that the two Counselors were friends; both had become “disciples” of Jesus, and so must have spent much time studying about Jesus and the Messianic promises in their Scriptures. It is possible that they had studied with John (see note on John 18:15) or even, from time to time, with Jesus Himself. The intriguing conversation with Jesus on the first occasion (John 3:1-21) surely stimulated Nicodemus to much further study, especially of such passages as Isaiah 53. There he and Joseph would learn (even if Jesus did not actually tell them) that He would be executed “with the wicked” but then be buried “with the rich” (Isaiah 53:9). Somehow, then, they decided that they were called to be the rich men who would provide proper burial for Him after He was put to death with the criminals. They also knew His death would be by crucifixion, since Nicodemus had been told that He must be “lifted up” like “the serpent in the wilderness” (John 3:14). They could only conclude that He would be crucified by the Romans on Golgotha, the regular hill where criminals were crucified. Joseph, therefore, had arranged to buy a tract nearby, where they could bury Him quickly when the time came. They also knew He would not be in the tomb very long, so there was no need to find a more serene location.
19:39 pound. This “pound” contained about twelve ounces.
19:40 bury. The manner of the Jews to bury was not like that of Egyptian mummies; the cloths were entwined lengthwise, and there was a separate cloth for the head.