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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 

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.



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