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Matthew 27:15-26

Context

27:15 During the feast the governor was accustomed to release one prisoner to the crowd, 1  whomever they wanted. 27:16 At that time they had in custody a notorious prisoner named Jesus 2  Barabbas. 27:17 So after they had assembled, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus 3  Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Christ?” 4  27:18 (For he knew that they had handed him over because of envy.) 5  27:19 As 6  he was sitting on the judgment seat, 7  his wife sent a message 8  to him: 9  “Have nothing to do with that innocent man; 10  I have suffered greatly as a result of a dream 11  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 12  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?” 13  They all said, “Crucify him!” 14  27:23 He asked, “Why? What wrong has he done?” But they shouted more insistently, “Crucify him!”

Jesus is Condemned and Mocked

27:24 When 15  Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but that instead a riot was starting, he took some water, washed his hands before the crowd and said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. You take care of it yourselves!” 16  27:25 In 17  reply all the people said, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!” 27:26 Then he released Barabbas for them. But after he had Jesus flogged, 18  he handed him over 19  to be crucified. 20 

Mark 15:6-15

Context
Jesus and Barabbas

15:6 During the feast it was customary to release one prisoner to the people, 21  whomever they requested. 15:7 A man named Barabbas was imprisoned with rebels who had committed murder during an insurrection. 15:8 Then the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to release a prisoner for them, as was his custom. 22  15:9 So Pilate asked them, 23  “Do you want me to release the king of the Jews for you?” 15:10 (For he knew that the chief priests had handed him over because of envy.) 24  15:11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release 25  Barabbas instead. 15:12 So Pilate spoke to them again, 26  “Then what do you want me to do 27  with the one you call king of the Jews?” 15:13 They shouted back, “Crucify 28  him!” 15:14 Pilate asked them, “Why? What has he done wrong?” But they shouted more insistently, “Crucify him!” 15:15 Because he wanted to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas for them. Then, 29  after he had Jesus flogged, 30  he handed him over 31  to be crucified.

Luke 23:13-25

Context
Jesus Brought Before the Crowd

23:13 Then 32  Pilate called together the chief priests, the 33  rulers, and the people, 23:14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading 34  the people. When I examined him before you, I 35  did not find this man guilty 36  of anything you accused him of doing. 23:15 Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, he has done nothing 37  deserving death. 38  23:16 I will therefore have him flogged 39  and release him.”

23:17 [[EMPTY]] 40 

23:18 But they all shouted out together, 41  “Take this man 42  away! Release Barabbas for us!” 23:19 (This 43  was a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection 44  started in the city, and for murder.) 45  23:20 Pilate addressed them once again because he wanted 46  to release Jesus. 23:21 But they kept on shouting, 47  “Crucify, crucify 48  him!” 23:22 A third time he said to them, “Why? What wrong has he done? I have found him guilty 49  of no crime deserving death. 50  I will therefore flog 51  him and release him.” 23:23 But they were insistent, 52  demanding with loud shouts that he be crucified. And their shouts prevailed. 23:24 So 53  Pilate 54  decided 55  that their demand should be granted. 23:25 He released the man they asked for, who had been thrown in prison for insurrection and murder. But he handed Jesus over 56  to their will. 57 

John 18:38-40

Context
18:38 Pilate asked, 58  “What is truth?” 59 

When he had said this he went back outside to the Jewish leaders 60  and announced, 61  “I find no basis for an accusation 62  against him. 18:39 But it is your custom that I release one prisoner 63  for you at the Passover. 64  So do you want me to release for you the king of the Jews?” 18:40 Then they shouted back, 65  “Not this man, 66  but Barabbas!” 67  (Now Barabbas was a revolutionary. 68 ) 69 

John 19:4-8

Context

19:4 Again Pilate went out and said to the Jewish leaders, 70  “Look, I am bringing him out to you, so that you may know that I find no reason for an accusation 71  against him.” 19:5 So Jesus came outside, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. 72  Pilate 73  said to them, “Look, here is the man!” 74  19:6 When the chief priests and their officers saw him, they shouted out, “Crucify 75  him! Crucify him!” 76  Pilate said, 77  “You take him and crucify him! 78  Certainly 79  I find no reason for an accusation 80  against him!” 19:7 The Jewish leaders 81  replied, 82  “We have a law, 83  and according to our law he ought to die, because he claimed to be the Son of God!” 84 

19:8 When Pilate heard what they said, 85  he was more afraid than ever, 86 

John 19:12-16

Context

19:12 From this point on, Pilate tried 87  to release him. But the Jewish leaders 88  shouted out, 89  “If you release this man, 90  you are no friend of Caesar! 91  Everyone who claims to be a king 92  opposes Caesar!” 19:13 When Pilate heard these words he brought Jesus outside and sat down on the judgment seat 93  in the place called “The Stone Pavement” 94  (Gabbatha in 95  Aramaic). 96  19:14 (Now it was the day of preparation 97  for the Passover, about noon. 98 ) 99  Pilate 100  said to the Jewish leaders, 101  “Look, here is your king!”

19:15 Then they 102  shouted out, “Away with him! Away with him! 103  Crucify 104  him!” Pilate asked, 105  “Shall I crucify your king?” The high priests replied, “We have no king except Caesar!” 19:16 Then Pilate 106  handed him over 107  to them to be crucified.

The Crucifixion

So they took Jesus,

1 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).

2 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).

3 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.

4 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.

5 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

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

7 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.

8 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.

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

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

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

12 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.

13 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.

14 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.

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

16 sn You take care of it yourselves! Compare the response of the chief priests and elders to Judas in 27:4. The expression is identical except that in 27:4 it is singular and here it is plural.

17 tn Grk “answering, all the people said.” This construction is somewhat redundant in English and has been simplified in the translation.

18 tn The Greek term φραγελλόω (fragellow) refers to flogging. BDAG 1064 s.v. states, “flog, scourge, a punishment inflicted on slaves and provincials after a sentence of death had been pronounced on them. So in the case of Jesus before the crucifixion…Mt 27:26; Mk 15:15.”

sn A Roman flogging (traditionally, “scourging”) was an excruciating punishment. The victim was stripped of his clothes and bound to a post with his hands fastened above him (or sometimes he was thrown to the ground). Guards standing on either side of the victim would incessantly beat him with a whip (flagellum) made out of leather with pieces of lead and bone inserted into its ends. While the Jews only allowed 39 lashes, the Romans had no such limit; many people who received such a beating died as a result. See C. Schneider, TDNT, 515-19.

19 tn Or “delivered him up.”

20 sn See the note on crucified in 20:19.

21 tn Grk “them”; the referent (the people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

sn The custom of Pilate to release one prisoner to them 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); see W. W. Wessel, “Mark,” EBC 8:773-74.

22 tn Grk “Coming up the crowd began to ask [him to do] as he was doing for them.”

23 tn Grk “Pilate answered them, saying.” The participle λέγων (legwn) is redundant and has not been translated.

24 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

25 tn Grk “to have him release for them.”

26 tn Grk “answering, Pilate spoke to them again.” The participle ἀποκριθείς (apokriqeis) is redundant and has not been translated.

27 tc Instead of “what do you want me to do” several witnesses, including the most important ones (א B C W Δ Ψ Ë1,13 33 892 2427 pc), lack θέλετε (qelete, “you want”), turning the question into the more abrupt “what should I do?” Although the witnesses for the longer reading are not as significant (A D Θ 0250 Ï latt sy), the reading without θέλετε conforms to Matt 27:22 and thus is suspected of being a scribal emendation. The known scribal tendency to assimilate one synoptic passage to another parallel, coupled with the lack of such assimilation in mss that are otherwise known to do this most frequently (the Western and Byzantine texts), suggests that θέλετε is authentic. Further, Mark’s known style of being generally more verbose and redundant than Matthew’s argues that θέλετε is authentic here. That this is the longer reading, however, and that a good variety of witnesses omit the word, gives one pause. Perhaps the wording without θέλετε would have been perceived as having greater homiletical value, motivating scribes to move in this direction. A decision is difficult, but on the whole internal evidence leads toward regarding θέλετε as authentic.

28 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 historian Cicero 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.

29 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

30 tn The Greek term φραγελλόω (fragellow) refers to flogging. BDAG 1064 s.v. states, “flog, scourge, a punishment inflicted on slaves and provincials after a sentence of death had been pronounced on them. So in the case of Jesus before the crucifixion…Mt 27:26; Mk 15:15.”

sn A Roman flogging (traditionally, “scourging”) was an excruciating punishment. The victim was stripped of his clothes and bound to a post with his hands fastened above him (or sometimes he was thrown to the ground). Guards standing on either side of the victim would incessantly beat him with a whip (flagellum) made out of leather with pieces of lead and bone inserted into its ends. While the Jews only allowed 39 lashes, the Romans had no such limit; many people who received such a beating died as a result. See C. Schneider, TDNT, 4:515-19.

31 tn Or “delivered him up.”

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

33 tn Grk “and the,” but καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.

34 tn This term also appears in v. 2.

35 tn Grk “behold, I” A transitional use of ἰδού (idou) has not been translated here.

36 tn Grk “nothing did I find in this man by way of cause.” The reference to “nothing” is emphatic.

37 sn With the statement “he has done nothing,” Pilate makes another claim that Jesus is innocent of any crime worthy of death.

38 tn Grk “nothing deserving death has been done by him.” The passive construction has been translated as an active one in keeping with contemporary English style.

39 tn Or “scourged” (BDAG 749 s.v. παιδεύω 2.b.γ). This refers to a whipping Pilate ordered in an attempt to convince Jesus not to disturb the peace. It has been translated “flogged” to distinguish it from the more severe verberatio.

40 tc Many of the best mss, as well as some others (Ì75 A B K L T 070 1241 pc sa), lack 23:17 “(Now he was obligated to release one individual for them at the feast.)” This verse appears to be a parenthetical note explaining the custom of releasing someone on amnesty at the feast. It appears in two different locations with variations in wording, which makes it look like a scribal addition. It is included in א (D following v. 19) W Θ Ψ Ë1,13 Ï lat. The verse appears to be an explanatory gloss based on Matt 27:15 and Mark 15:6, not original in Luke. The present translation follows NA27 in omitting the verse number, a procedure also followed by a number of other modern translations.

41 tn Grk “together, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant and has not been translated here.

42 tn Grk “this one.” The reference to Jesus as “this man” is pejorative in this context.

43 tn Grk “who” (a continuation of the previous sentence).

44 sn Ironically, what Jesus was alleged to have done, started an insurrection, this man really did.

45 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

46 sn The account pictures a battle of wills – the people versus Pilate. Pilate is consistently portrayed in Luke’s account as wanting to release Jesus because he believed him to be innocent.

47 tn Grk “shouting, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant and has not been translated here.

48 tn This double present imperative is emphatic.

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 historian Cicero 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.

49 tn Grk “no cause of death I found in him.”

50 sn The refrain of innocence comes once again. Pilate tried to bring some sense of justice, believing Jesus had committed no crime deserving death.

51 tn Or “scourge” (BDAG 749 s.v. παιδεύω 2.b.γ). See the note on “flogged” in v. 16.

52 tn Though a different Greek term is used here (BDAG 373 s.v. ἐπίκειμαι), this remark is like 23:5.

53 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the crowd’s cries prevailing.

54 sn Finally Pilate gave in. He decided crucifying one Galilean teacher was better than facing a riot. Justice lost out in the process, because he did not follow his own verdict.

55 tn Although some translations render ἐπέκρινεν (epekrinen) here as “passed sentence” or “gave his verdict,” the point in context is not that Pilate sentenced Jesus to death here, but that finally, although convinced of Jesus’ innocence, he gave in to the crowd’s incessant demand to crucify an innocent man.

56 tn Or “delivered up.”

57 sn He handed Jesus over to their will. Here is where Luke places the major blame for Jesus’ death. It lies with the Jewish nation, especially the leadership, though in Acts 4:24-27 he will bring in the opposition of Herod, Pilate, and all people.

58 tn Grk “Pilate said.”

59 sn With his reply “What is truth?” Pilate dismissed the matter. It is not clear what Pilate’s attitude was at this point, as in 18:33. He may have been sarcastic, or perhaps somewhat reflective. The author has not given enough information in the narrative to be sure. Within the narrative, Pilate’s question serves to make the reader reflect on what truth is, and that answer (in the narrative) has already been given (14:6).

60 tn Or “the Jewish authorities”; Grk “the Jews.” Here the phrase refers to the Jewish leaders, especially members of the Sanhedrin. See the note on the phrase “Jewish leaders” in v. 12. The term also occurs in v. 31, where it is clear the Jewish leaders are in view, because they state that they cannot legally carry out an execution. Although it is likely (in view of the synoptic parallels) that the crowd here in 18:38 was made up not just of the Jewish leaders, but of ordinary residents of Jerusalem and pilgrims who were in Jerusalem for the Passover, nevertheless in John’s Gospel Pilate is primarily in dialogue with the leadership of the nation, who are expressly mentioned in 18:35 and 19:6.

61 tn Grk “said to them.”

62 tn Grk “find no cause.”

63 tn The word “prisoner” is not in the Greek text but is implied.

64 sn Pilate then offered to release Jesus, reminding the Jewish authorities that they had a custom that he release one prisoner for them at the Passover. There is no extra-biblical evidence alluding to the practice. It is, however, mentioned in Matthew and Mark, described either as a practice of Pilate (Mark 15:6) or of the Roman governor (Matt 27:15). These references may explain the lack of extra-biblical attestation: The custom to which Pilate refers here (18:39) is not a permanent one acknowledged by all the Roman governors, but one peculiar to Pilate as a means of appeasement, meant to better relations with his subjects. Such a limited meaning is certainly possible and consistent with the statement here.

65 tn Or “they shouted again,” or “they shouted in turn.” On the difficulty of translating πάλιν (palin) see BDAG 753 s.v. 5. It is simplest in the context of John’s Gospel to understand the phrase to mean “they shouted back” as a reply to Pilate’s question.

66 tn Grk “this one.”

67 sn The name Barabbas in Aramaic means “son of abba,” that is, “son of the father,” and presumably the man in question had another name (it may also have been Jesus, according to the textual variant in Matt 27:16, although this is uncertain). For the author this name held ironic significance: The crowd was asking for the release of a man called Barabbas, “son of the father,” while Jesus, who was truly the Son of the Father, was condemned to die instead.

68 tn Or “robber.” It is possible that Barabbas was merely a robber or highwayman, but more likely, given the use of the term ληστής (lhsth") in Josephus and other early sources, that he was a guerrilla warrior or revolutionary leader. See both R. E. Brown (John [AB], 2:857) and K. H. Rengstorf (TDNT 4:258) for more information. The word λῃστής was used a number of times by Josephus (J. W. 2.13.2-3 [2.253-254]) to describe the revolutionaries or guerrilla fighters who, from mixed motives of nationalism and greed, kept the rural districts of Judea in constant turmoil.

69 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

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

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

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

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

74 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.

75 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.

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

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

78 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.

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

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

81 tn Or “the Jewish authorities”; Grk “the Jews.” In NT usage the term ᾿Ιουδαῖοι (Ioudaioi) may refer to the entire Jewish people, the residents of Jerusalem and surrounding territory, the authorities in Jerusalem, or merely those who were hostile to Jesus. (For further information see R. G. Bratcher, “‘The Jews’ in the Gospel of John,” BT 26 [1975]: 401-9.) Here the phrase refers to the Jewish leaders, especially members of the Sanhedrin, and their servants (mentioned specifically as “the chief priests and their servants” in John 19:6).

82 tn Grk “answered him.”

83 sn This law is not the entire Pentateuch, but Lev 24:16.

84 tn Grk “because he made himself out to be the Son of God.”

85 tn Grk “heard this word.”

86 tn Grk “became more afraid.”

87 tn Grk “sought.”

88 tn Or “the Jewish authorities”; Grk “the Jews.” Here the phrase refers to the Jewish leaders, especially members of the Sanhedrin, and their servants (mentioned specifically as “the chief priests and their servants” in John 19:6). See the note on the phrase “Jewish leaders” in v. 7.

89 tn Grk “shouted out, saying.”

90 tn Grk “this one.”

91 sn Is the author using the phrase Friend of Caesar in a technical sense, as a title bestowed on people for loyal service to the Emperor, or in a more general sense merely describing a person as loyal to the Emperor? L. Morris (John [NICNT], 798) thinks it is “unlikely” that the title is used in the technical sense, and J. H. Bernard (St. John [ICC], 2:621) argues that the technical sense of the phrase as an official title was not used before the time of Vespasian (a.d. 69-79). But there appears to be significant evidence for much earlier usage. Some of this is given in BDAG 498-99 s.v. Καῖσαρ. E. Bammel (“φίλος τοῦ καίσαρος (John 19:12),” TLZ 77 [1952]: 205-10) listed significant and convincing arguments that the official title was indeed in use at the time. Granting that the title was in use during this period, what is the likelihood that it had been bestowed on Pilate? Pilate was of the equestrian order, that is, of lower nobility as opposed to senatorial rank. As such he would have been eligible to receive such an honor. It also appears that the powerful Sejanus was his patron in Rome, and Sejanus held considerable influence with Tiberius. Tacitus (Annals 6.8) quotes Marcus Terentius in his defense before the Senate as saying that close friendship with Sejanus “was in every case a powerful recommendation to the Emperor’s friendship.” Thus it is possible that Pilate held this honor. Therefore it appears that the Jewish authorities were putting a good deal of psychological pressure on Pilate to convict Jesus. They had, in effect, finally specified the charge against Jesus as treason: “Everyone who makes himself to be king opposes Caesar.” If Pilate now failed to convict Jesus the Jewish authorities could complain to Rome that Pilate had released a traitor. This possibility carried more weight with Pilate than might at first be evident: (1) Pilate’s record as governor was not entirely above reproach; (2) Tiberius, who lived away from Rome as a virtual recluse on the island of Capri, was known for his suspicious nature, especially toward rivals or those who posed a political threat; and (3) worst of all, Pilate’s patron in Rome, Sejanus, had recently come under suspicion of plotting to seize the imperial succession for himself. Sejanus was deposed in October of a.d. 31. It may have been to Sejanus that Pilate owed his appointment in Judea. Pilate was now in a very delicate position. The Jewish authorities may have known something of this and deliberately used it as leverage against him. Whether or not they knew just how potent their veiled threat was, it had the desired effect. Pilate went directly to the judgment seat to pronounce his judgment.

92 tn Grk “who makes himself out to be a king.”

93 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.

94 sn The precise location of the place called ‘The Stone Pavement’ is still uncertain, although a paved court on the lower level of the Fortress Antonia has been suggested. It is not certain whether it was laid prior to a.d. 135, however.

95 tn Grk “in Hebrew.”

sn The author does not say that Gabbatha is the Aramaic (or Hebrew) translation for the Greek term Λιθόστρωτον (Liqostrwton). He simply points out that in Aramaic (or Hebrew) the place had another name. A number of meanings have been suggested, but the most likely appears to mean “elevated place.” It is possible that this was a term used by the common people for the judgment seat itself, which always stood on a raised platform.

96 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

97 sn The term day of preparation (παρασκευή, paraskeuh) appears in all the gospels as a description of the day on which Jesus died. It could refer to any Friday as the day of preparation for the Sabbath (Saturday), and this is the way the synoptic gospels use the term (Matt 27:62, Mark 15:42, and Luke 23:54). John, however, specifies in addition that this was not only the day of preparation of the Sabbath, but also the day of preparation of the Passover, so that the Sabbath on the following day was the Passover (cf. 19:31).

98 tn Grk “about the sixth hour.”

sn For John, the time was especially important. When the note concerning the hour, about noon, is connected with the day, the day of preparation for the Passover, it becomes apparent that Jesus was going to die on the cross at the very time that the Passover lambs were being slain in the temple courts. Exod 12:6 required that the Passover lamb be kept alive until the 14th Nisan, the eve of the Passover, and then slaughtered by the head of the household at twilight (Grk “between the two evenings”). By this time the slaughtering was no longer done by the heads of households, but by the priests in the temple courts. But so many lambs were needed for the tens of thousands of pilgrims who came to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast (some estimates run in excess of 100,000 pilgrims) that the slaughter could not be completed during the evening, and so the rabbis redefined “between the two evenings” as beginning at noon, when the sun began to decline toward the horizon. Thus the priests had the entire afternoon of 14th Nisan in which to complete the slaughter of the Passover lambs. According to the Fourth Gospel, this is the time Jesus was dying on the cross.

99 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

100 tn Grk “And he”; the referent (Pilate) has been specified in the translation for clarity, and the conjunction καί (kai, “and”) has not been translated here in keeping with the tendency of contemporary English style to use shorter sentences.

101 tn Or “the Jewish authorities”; Grk “the Jews.” Here the phrase refers to the Jewish leaders, especially members of the Sanhedrin, and their servants (mentioned specifically as “the chief priests and their servants” in John 19:6). See the note on the phrase “Jewish leaders” in v. 7.

102 tn Grk “Then these.”

103 tn The words “with him” (twice) are not in the Greek text. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

104 sn See the note on Crucify in 19:6.

105 tn Grk “Pilate said to them.” The words “to them” are not translated because it is clear in English who Pilate is addressing.

106 tn Grk “Then he”; the referent (Pilate) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

107 tn Or “delivered him over.”



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