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John 18:35

Context
18:35 Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? 1  Your own people 2  and your chief priests handed you over 3  to me. What have you done?”

John 19:6

Context
19:6 When the chief priests and their officers saw him, they shouted out, “Crucify 4  him! Crucify him!” 5  Pilate said, 6  “You take him and crucify him! 7  Certainly 8  I find no reason for an accusation 9  against him!”

1 sn Many have seen in Pilate’s reply “I am not a Jew, am I?” the Roman contempt for the Jewish people. Some of that may indeed be present, but strictly speaking, all Pilate affirms is that he, as a Roman, has no firsthand knowledge of Jewish custom or belief. What he knows of Jesus must have come from the Jewish authorities. They are the ones (your own people and your chief priests) who have handed Jesus over to Pilate.

2 tn Or “your own nation.”

3 tn Or “delivered you over.”

4 sn Crucifixion was the cruelest form of punishment practiced by the Romans. Roman citizens could not normally undergo it. It was reserved for the worst crimes, like treason and evasion of due process in a capital case. The Roman statesman and orator Cicero (106-43 b.c.) called it “a cruel and disgusting penalty” (Against Verres 2.5.63-66 §§163-70); Josephus (J. W. 7.6.4 [7.203]) called it the worst of deaths.

5 tn The word “him” is not in the Greek text. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from context.

6 tn Grk “said to them.” The words “to them” are not translated because they are unnecessary in contemporary English style.

7 sn How are Pilate’s words “You take him and crucify him” to be understood? Was he offering a serious alternative to the priests who wanted Jesus crucified? Was he offering them an exception to the statement in 18:31 that the Jewish authorities did not have the power to carry out a death penalty? Although a few scholars have suggested that the situation was at this point so far out of Pilate’s control that he really was telling the high priests they could go ahead and crucify a man he had found to be innocent, this seems unlikely. It is far more likely that Pilate’s statement should be understood as one of frustration and perhaps sarcasm. This seems to be supported by the context, for the Jewish authorities make no attempt at this point to seize Jesus and crucify him. Rather they continue to pester Pilate to order the crucifixion.

8 tn On this use of γάρ (gar) used in exclamations and strong affirmations, see BDAG 190 s.v. γάρ 3.

9 tn Or “find no basis for an accusation”; Grk “find no cause.”



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