The first day of the week comes Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, to the sepulcher…
There were more common and more noble sepulchres. The common were in public burying places without the city. And through that place no current of water was to be made, cattle were not to feed there, nor wood to be gathered from thence. The more noble sepulchres were hewn out in some rock, in their own ground, with no little charge and art. You have the form of them described in these words: "He that selleth his neighbour a place of burial, and he that takes of his neighbour a place of burial, let him make the inner parts of the cave four cubits, and six cubits: and let him open within it eight sepulchres." They were not wont, say the Glosses, to bury men of the same family here and there, scatteringly, and by themselves, but altogether in one cave: where if any one sells his neighbour a place of burial, he sells him room for two caves, or hollows on both sides, and a floor in the middle. The tradition goes on. "Three sepulchres are on this side, and three on that, and two near them. And those sepulchres are four cubits long, seven high, and six broad." To those that entered into the sepulchral cave, and carried the bier, there was first a floor where they stood and set down the bier, in order to their letting it down into the sepulchre: on this and the other side there was a cave or a hollowed place, deeper than the floor by four cubits, into which they let down the corpse, divers coffins being there prepared for divers corpses. From these things may more plainly understand many matters, which are related of the sepulchre of our Saviour. The women entering into the sepulchre saw a young man sitting on the right "side": in the very floor immediately after the entrance into the sepulchre (Mark 16:5). "Going in they found not His body," &c. (Luke 24:3). "While they bowed down their faces to the earth" (ver. 12), "Peter ran to the sepulchre, and when he had stooped down, he saw the linen clothes." That is, the women and Peter after them, standing in the floor bow down their faces, and look downward into the place, where the sepulchres themselves were, which, as we said before, was four cubits deeper than the floor. "The disciple whom Jesus loved, came first to the sepulchre; and when he had stooped down [standing on the floor, that he might look into the burying place] saw the linen clothes lie: yet went he not in. But Peter went in," &c. (John 20:5); that is, from the floor he went down into the cave itself, where the rows of the graves were (in which nevertheless no corpses had been as yet laid, besides the body of Jesus:) thither also after Peter, John goes down. "But Mary weeping stood at the sepulchre without: and while she wept she stooped down to the sepulchre, and saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and another at the feet, where the body of Christ had lain" (ver. 2). She stood at the sepulchre without: that is, within the cave on the floor, but without that deeper cave, where the very graves were, or the very places for the bodies: bowing herself to look down thither, she saw two angels at the head and foot of that coffin, wherein the body of Christ had been laid.
(J. Lightfoot, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.