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Mark 15:16-24

Jesus is Mocked

15:16 So 1  the soldiers led him into the palace (that is, the governor’s residence) 2  and called together the whole cohort. 3  15:17 They put a purple cloak 4  on him and after braiding 5  a crown of thorns, 6  they put it on him. 15:18 They began to salute him: “Hail, king of the Jews!” 7  15:19 Again and again 8  they struck him on the head with a staff 9  and spit on him. Then they knelt down and paid homage to him. 15:20 When they had finished mocking 10  him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes back on him. Then 11  they led him away to crucify him. 12 

The Crucifixion

15:21 The soldiers 13  forced 14  a passerby to carry his cross, 15  Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country 16  (he was the father of Alexander and Rufus). 15:22 They brought Jesus 17  to a place called Golgotha 18  (which is translated, “Place of the Skull”). 19  15:23 They offered him wine mixed with myrrh, 20  but he did not take it. 15:24 Then 21  they crucified 22  him and divided his clothes, throwing dice 23  for them, to decide what each would take.

1 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “So” to indicate that the soldiers’ action is in response to Pilate’s condemnation of the prisoner in v. 15.

2 tn Grk “(that is, the praetorium).”

sn The governor’s residence (Grk “praetorium”) was the Roman governor’s official residence. The one in Jerusalem may have been Herod’s palace in the western part of the city, or the fortress Antonia northwest of the temple area.

3 sn A Roman cohort was a tenth of a legion, about 500-600 soldiers.

4 sn The purple cloak probably refers to a military garment which had the color of royal purple, and thus resembled a king’s robe. The soldiers did this to Jesus as a form of mockery in view of the charges that he was a king (cf. 15:2).

5 tn Or “weaving.”

6 sn The crown may have been made from palm spines or some other thorny plant common in Israel. In placing the crown of thorns on his head, the soldiers were unwittingly symbolizing God’s curse on humanity (cf. Gen 3:18) being placed on Jesus. Their purpose would have been to mock Jesus’ claim to be a king; the crown of thorns would have represented the “radiant corona” portrayed on the heads of rulers on coins and other artifacts in the 1st century.

7 tn Or “Long live the King of the Jews!”

sn The statement Hail, King of the Jews! is a mockery patterned after the Romans’ cry of Ave, Caesar (“Hail, Caesar!”).

8 tn The verb here has been translated as an iterative imperfect.

9 tn Or “a reed.” The Greek term can mean either “staff” or “reed.” See BDAG 502 s.v. κάλαμος 2.

10 tn The aorist tense is taken consummatively here.

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

12 sn See the note on Crucify in 15:13.

13 tn Grk “They”; the referent (the soldiers) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

14 tn Or “conscripted”; or “pressed into service.”

15 sn Jesus was beaten severely with a whip before this (the prelude to crucifixion, known to the Romans as verberatio, mentioned in Matt 27:26; Mark 15:15; John 19:1), so he would have been weak from trauma and loss of blood. Apparently he was unable to bear the cross himself, so Simon was conscripted to help (in all probability this was only the crossbeam, called in Latin the patibulum, since the upright beam usually remained in the ground at the place of execution). Cyrene was located in North Africa where Tripoli is today. Nothing more is known about this Simon.

16 tn Or perhaps, “was coming in from his field” outside the city (BDAG 15-16 s.v. ἀγρός 1).

17 tn Grk “him.”

18 tn Grk “a place, Golgotha.” This is an Aramaic name; see John 19:17.

19 sn The place called Golgotha (which is translated “Place of the Skull”). This location is north and just outside of Jerusalem. The hill on which it is located protruded much like a skull, giving the place its name. The Latin word for the Greek term κρανίον (kranion) is calvaria, from which the English word “Calvary” is derived (cf. Luke 23:33 in the KJV).

20 sn It is difficult to say for certain who gave Jesus this drink of wine mixed with myrrh (e.g., the executioner, or perhaps women from Jerusalem). In any case, whoever gave it to him most likely did so in order to relieve his pain, but Jesus was unwilling to take it.

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

22 sn See the note on Crucify in 15:13.

23 tn Grk “by throwing the lot” (probably by using marked pebbles or broken pieces of pottery). A modern equivalent, “throwing dice,” was chosen here because of its association with gambling. According to L&N 6.219 a term for “dice” is particularly appropriate.

sn An allusion to Ps 22:18.

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