Now when they were going, behold, some of the guards came into the city, and announced unto the chief priests all the things that were done.
Read Chapter 28
George Leo Haydock
Some of the guards came into the city. It is probable they had retired a while to some place to consult what to say, and how to avoid being punished. The chief priests, after consulting upon the matter, ordered them to say, that when they were asleep, the disciples came and stole away Jesus's body. This report was spread about every where. St. Augustine laughs at them for their blindness and folly, in bringing men in for witnesses of a fact, which they themselves own was done whilst they were asleep. (Witham)
The poet, Sedulius, also is no less severe on these faithless guards: Mentita est vox vana sibi; tamen ista figuram Res habet egregiam, Judoeis constat ademptum, Quem nos devoto porta Mus pectore Christum.
The earthquake occurred for the sake of the soldiers, in order to terrify them and that they might bear testimony to “all that had taken place.” This in fact occurred. They reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. The testimony came from the guards themselves. As such it was free from suspicion. The Gospel of Matthew, Homily