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Matthew 27:11-23

Context
Jesus and Pilate

27:11 Then 1  Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, 2  “Are you the king 3  of the Jews?” Jesus 4  said, “You say so.” 5  27:12 But when he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he did not respond. 27:13 Then Pilate said to him, “Don’t you hear how many charges they are bringing against you?” 27:14 But he did not answer even one accusation, so that the governor was quite amazed.

27:15 During the feast the governor was accustomed to release one prisoner to the crowd, 6  whomever they wanted. 27:16 At that time they had in custody a notorious prisoner named Jesus 7  Barabbas. 27:17 So after they had assembled, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus 8  Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Christ?” 9  27:18 (For he knew that they had handed him over because of envy.) 10  27:19 As 11  he was sitting on the judgment seat, 12  his wife sent a message 13  to him: 14  “Have nothing to do with that innocent man; 15  I have suffered greatly as a result of a dream 16  about him today.” 27:20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed. 27:21 The 17  governor asked them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas!” 27:22 Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Christ?” 18  They all said, “Crucify him!” 19  27:23 He asked, “Why? What wrong has he done?” But they shouted more insistently, “Crucify him!”

1 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

2 tn Grk “asked him, saying.” The participle λέγων (legwn) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.

3 snAre you the king of the Jews?” Pilate was interested in this charge because of its political implications of sedition against Rome.

4 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

5 sn The reply “You say so” is somewhat enigmatic, like Jesus’ earlier reply to the Jewish leadership in 26:64.

6 sn The custom of Pilate to release one prisoner is unknown outside the gospels in Jewish writings, but it was a Roman custom at the time and thus probably used in Palestine as well (cf. Matt 27:15; John 18:39).

7 tc Although the external evidence for the inclusion of “Jesus” before “Barabbas” (in vv. 16 and 17) is rather sparse, being restricted virtually to the Caesarean text (Θ Ë1 700* pc sys), the omission of the Lord’s name in apposition to “Barabbas” is such a strongly motivated reading that it can hardly be original. There is no good explanation for a scribe unintentionally adding ᾿Ιησοῦν (Ihsoun) before Βαραββᾶν (Barabban), especially since Barabbas is mentioned first in each verse (thus dittography is ruled out). Further, the addition of τὸν λεγόμενον Χριστόν (ton legomenon Criston, “who is called Christ”) to ᾿Ιησοῦν in v. 17 makes better sense if Barabbas is also called “Jesus” (otherwise, a mere “Jesus” would have been a sufficient appellation to distinguish the two).

8 tc Again, as in v. 16, the name “Jesus” is supplied before “Barabbas” in Θ Ë1 700* pc sys Ormss (Θ 700* lack the article τόν [ton] before Βαραββᾶν [Barabban]). The same argument for accepting the inclusion of “Jesus” as original in the previous verse applies here as well.

9 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”

sn See the note on Christ in 1:16.

10 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

11 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

12 tn Or “the judge’s seat.”

sn The judgment seat (βῆμα, bhma) was a raised platform mounted by steps and usually furnished with a seat. It was used by officials in addressing an assembly or making official pronouncements, often of a judicial nature.

13 tn The word “message” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

14 tn Grk “saying.” The participle λέγουσα (legousa) is redundant here in contemporary English and has not been translated.

15 tn The Greek particle γάρ (gar, “for”) has not been translated here.

16 tn Or “suffered greatly in a dream.” See the discussion on the construction κατ᾿ ὄναρ (katonar) in BDAG 710 s.v. ὄναρ.

17 tn Grk “answering, the governor said to them.” This construction is somewhat redundant in English and has been simplified in the translation. Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

18 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”

sn See the note on Christ in 1:16.

19 tn Grk “Him – be crucified!” The third person imperative is difficult to translate because English has no corresponding third person form for the imperative. The traditional translation “Let him be crucified” sounds as if the crowd is giving consent or permission. “He must be crucified” is closer, but it is more natural in English to convert the passive to active and simply say “Crucify him.”

sn See the note on crucified in 20:19.



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