“the ninth hour.” The ninth hour is 3 p.m. our time. According to the Hebrew text of Exodus 12:6, the Passover Lamb was to be slain “between the evenings.” The early evening started when the sun could clearly be seen to be falling and the day started to cool off, and the later evening was as the sun was going down or had just gone down. By the time of Christ, the Passover Lamb was slain at the ninth hour, about our 3 p.m. Thus Jesus died at the same time the lamb was being slain in the Temple, just a few hundred yards to the west of the Mount of Olives where Christ was crucified.
[For the hours of the day and the watches of the night, see commentary on Mark 6:48.]
“Eloi, Eloi.” This is Aramaic, and a quotation of an Aramaic text of Psalm 22. C. S. Mann writes, “The Greek Eloi, Eloi lama sabachthanei is the transliteration of an Aramaic original which can only be described as ‘Hebraized.’ …Presumably, Mark’s community would be more accustomed to the Aramaic, and this would be reflected if Mark was using a Palestinian tradition. …Matthew has Eli, which is closer to the Hebrew form…it would appear likely that it was said in Hebrew, for the comment, ‘he is calling Elijah’ makes sense only if the cry was elei, elei, or eli, eli, rather than Mark’s eloi.”a
So it seems most likely that Matthew, who originally wrote in Hebrew, correctly copied what Jesus spoke in Hebrew, while Mark translated what Jesus said into Aramaic and Greek.
[For more information see commentary on Matt. 27:46.]
“My God, my God.” Jesus’ words on the cross are evidence that he was not God, but was fully human and was who he claimed to be, the Son of God. God does not have a God, and the fact that Jesus referred to God being his God before his death and resurrection when he was on the cross, (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34), after his resurrection but before his ascension (John 20:17), and after he ascended to heaven (Rev. 3:12) is good evidence that Jesus is not God. Revelation 1:5-6 also says that Jesus is a faithful witness and ruler and has made us priests to “his God.” In the Old Testament, the prophet spoke of the coming Messiah and said he would shepherd the people “in the strength of Yahweh, in the majesty of the name of Yahweh his God” (Micah 5:4).
[For more on Jesus not being God, see Appendix 10, “Jesus is the Son of God, Not God the Son.”]