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John 19:4-6

Context

19:4 Again Pilate went out and said to the Jewish leaders, 1  “Look, I am bringing him out to you, so that you may know that I find no reason for an accusation 2  against him.” 19:5 So Jesus came outside, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. 3  Pilate 4  said to them, “Look, here is the man!” 5  19:6 When the chief priests and their officers saw him, they shouted out, “Crucify 6  him! Crucify him!” 7  Pilate said, 8  “You take him and crucify him! 9  Certainly 10  I find no reason for an accusation 11  against him!”

1 tn Grk “to them.” The words “the Jewish leaders” are supplied from John 18:38 for clarity.

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

3 sn See the note on the purple robe in 19:2.

4 tn Grk “He”; the referent (Pilate) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

5 sn Look, here is the man! Pilate may have meant no more than something like “Here is the accused!” or in a contemptuous way, “Here is your king!” Others have taken Pilate’s statement as intended to evoke pity from Jesus’ accusers: “Look at this poor fellow!” (Jesus would certainly not have looked very impressive after the scourging). For the author, however, Pilate’s words constituted an unconscious allusion to Zech 6:12, “Look, here is the man whose name is the Branch.” In this case Pilate (unknowingly and ironically) presented Jesus to the nation under a messianic title.

6 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.

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

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

9 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.

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

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



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