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without incurring odium. By pronouncing Him legally innocent he would gain this majority; by proposing to release Him on account of the Feast rather than of His innocence he would avoid insulting the Sanhedrin, who had already pronounced Him guilty. From S. Mark (xv. 8, 11) it would appear that some of the multitude hoped to deliver Jesus on the plea of the Feast and took the initiative in reminding Pilate of the custom, but were controlled by the priests and made to clamour for Barabbas.
éyá...airlav. Whatever you fanatics may do, I find no ground of accusation in Him :' comp. xix. 6. Altia means 'legal ground for prosecution, crime' (Matt. xxvii. 37; Mark xv. 26; Acts xiii. 28, xxviii. 18).
39. ouvñdela. Nothing is known of this custom beyond what the Gospels tell us. It may have been a memorial of the deliverance from Egypt. But prisoners were sometimes released at Rome at certain festivals, and it would be quite in harmony with the conciliatory policy of Rome to honour native festivals in this way in the case of subject nations. In Luke xxiii. 17 the custom is said to be an obligation, áváyknu elxev : but the verse is of very doubtful genuine
For iva comp. xi. 57, xv. 12. 'Ev T. Tráoxa is no evidence that the Passover had been already celebrated: the prisoner would naturally be released in time to share in the Paschal meal. The Synoptists use the less definite expression, xarà optúy (Matt. xxvii. 15; Mark XV. 6). For the construction βούλεσθε απολύσω comp. θέλεις outlet wher, toŮ Oédels étoquáo wjev (Matt. xiii. 28, xxvi. 17; Luke xxii. 9), where in each case the fut. ind. is found as a various reading, perhaps from the LXX. (Heb. viii. 5). Matt. xx. 32, xxvii. 17, 21; Mark x. 51, xv. 9, 12; Luke xviii. 41, like this, are ambiguous; but the aor. subj. is much more intelligible (though not as a kind of deliberative subjunctive; comp. 1 Cor. iii. 21) than the fut. ind. Luke ix. 54 must be aor. subj. Comp. Boúlel ppáow, Arist. Eq. 36. The subj. intensi. fies the demand: would ye have me release.
40. ékpavyaoav. They cried out therefore again : trávtes is of very doubtful authority. S. John has mentioned no previous shout, but, as usual, assumes that his readers know the main facts. Pilate declared Jesus innocent both before and after sending Him to Herod, and in both cases this provoked an outcry (Luke xxiii. 47, 14—21): S. John in narrating the later clamour implies the earlier. Kpavyáśw expresses a loud cry, and (excepting Matt. xii. 19; Acts xxii. 23) occurs only in S. John (xi. 43, xii. 13, xix. 6, 12, 15).
7. Bapaßsäv. Bar-Abbas, son of Abba (father): the derivation Bar. rabban, son of a Rabbi, seems fanciful. The innocent Son of the Father is rejected for the blood-stained son of a father. The name has the article, although S. John has not mentioned him before. The Jews who speak had mentioned him before. In Matt. xxvii. 16 and 17 some inferior authorities' give “Jesus Barabbas' as his name, and Pilate asks Which do ye wish that I release to you, Jesus Barábbas, or Jesus Who is called Christ? The reading is remarkable, but it is supported by no good MS.
ήν δε ο Β. ληστής. For the tragic brevity of this remark comp. εδάκρυσεν ο Ιησούς (xi. 35) and ήν δε νύξ (xiii. 30). The ληστής as distinct from the kiértTMS (x. 1) is the man of violence, the bandit or brigand, more dangerous to persons than to property. In the case of Barabbas we know from S. Mark and S. Luke that he had been guilty of insurrection and consequent bloodshed rather than of stealing; and this was very likely the case also with the two robbers crucified with Jesus. Thus by a strange irony of fate the hierarchy obtain the release of a man guilty of the very political crime with which they charged Christ,-sedition. The people no doubt had some sympathy with the insurrectionary movement of Barabbas, and on this the priests worked. Barabbas had done, just what Jesus had refused to do, take the lead against the Romans. “ They laid information against Jesus before the Roman government as a dangerous character; their real complaint against him was precisely this, that He was not dangerous. Pilate executed Him on the ground that His kingdom was of this world; the Jews procured His execution precisely because it was not." Ecce Homo, p. 27.
CHAPTER XIX. 3. Insert και ήρχοντο προς αυτόν before και έλεγον with NBLUXΛ against A (homoeoteleuton; omission from aútóv to aůtóv).
4. και εξήλθεν (NABKLX) for εξήλθεν ούν (Δ).
7. After Tòv vóuov omit ruw (obvious amplification) with XBLA against A.
12. Authorities vary much between εκραύγαζον, εκραύγασαν, and έκραζον. .
13. των λόγων τούτων (NAB) for τούτον τον λόγον (from υ. 8).
17. After 'Incoûv omit kai átnyayov (perhaps from Matt. xxvii. 31). Aúto tov otavpóy (BLX) for T. ot. aútoll (E) : there are other variations.
20. Ρωμαϊστί before “Ελληνιστί with NBLX against AIa. 26, 27.
l'8€ (S. John's usual form) for idoú, with XB and others against A.
29. σπόγγον ούν μεστόν του όξους (NBLX) for οι δε πλήσαντες otóyyov őčovs kai (A), à combination with Matt. xxvii. 48 and Mark xv. 36, which caused oûv to be transferred to the previous clause,σκεύος ούν έκειτο. .
38. Before and after 'Iwond omit ó (usual in mentioning a well-known person).
39. αυτόν for τον Ιησούν (correction for clearness).
1—3. Inside the Praetorium; the scourging and mockery by the soldiers.
1. TÓTe oủv. Because the attempt to release Him in honour of the Feast had failed, Pilate tries whether the severe and degrading punishment of scourging will not satisfy the Jews. In Pilate's hands the boasted justice of Roman Law ends in the policy" What evil did He do? I found no cause of death in Him: I will therefore chastise Him and let Him go” (Luke xxiii. 22). Scourging was part of Roman capital punishment, and had we only the first two Gospels we might suppose that the scourging was inflicted immediately before the crucifixion: but this is not stated, and S. John, combined with S. Luke, makes it clear that scourging was inflicted as a separate punishment in the hope that it would suffice. The supposition of a second scourging as part of the execution is unnecessary and improbable. Pilate, sick of the bloody work and angry at being forced to commit a judicial murder, would not have allowed it; and it may be doubted whether any human frame could survive a Roman scourging twice in one day. One infliction was sometimes fatal; ille flagellis ad mortem caesus, Hor. S. 1. ii. 41. Comp. 'horribile flagellum,' S. 1. iii. 119.
2. o otpatlâtai. Herod and his troops (Luke xxiii. 11) had set an example which the Roman soldiers were ready enough to follow. Pilate countenances the brutality as aiding his own plan of satisiying Jewish hatred with something less than death. The soldiers had inflicted the scourging; for Pilate, being only Procurator, would have no lictors. They crown Him in mockery of royalty rather than of victory, as what follows shews. The plant used was probably the thorny nâbk, lycium spinosum, with flexible branches and leaves like ivy, abundant round about Jerusalem.
εμ. πορφυρούν. S. Mark has πορφύραν, S. Matthew χλαμύδα κοκkívnu. Purple with the ancients was a vague term for rich bright colour, crimson as well as violet. The robe was a military chlamys or paludamentum, representing a royal robe. That in which Herod mocked Jesus was probably white: 1 Macc. viii, 14, x. 20, 62. The soldiers act in derision of the detested Jews generally, who could probably see all this from the outside, rather than of Jesus in particular. The whole is a caricature of Jewish expectations of a national king.
Öpxovto itp. aủ. This graphic touch is omitted by the Synoptists and by some authorities here. We see each soldier coming up (imperfect) to offer his mock homage. As in xviii. 22, pámloua is probably a blow with the hand rather than with a rod.
Comp. Is. 1. 6, I gave my back, els páo Tiyas, and my cheek, els paniouata. The Old Latin adds in faciem. The blow is the mock gift brought by the person doing homage.
4-7. Outside the Praetorium ; Pilate's appeal, · Behold the Man;' the Jews' rejoinder, 'He made Himself Son of God.'
4. áyw. On the previous occasion (xviii. 38) Pilate left Jesus within,
while he pronounced Him innocent. Note the absence of dyw and the change of order.
5. Sopãy. Not pépwv; wearing, not merely bearing.' The crown and the robe are now His permanent dress. The Evangelist repeats the details (v. 2) as of a picture deeply imprinted in his memory : whether or no he entered the Praetorium, he no doubt witnessed the Ecce Homo.
idoù ó áv&pwtros. In pity rather than contempt. Pilate appeals to their humanity: surely the most bitter among them will now be satisfied, or at least the more compassionate will control the rest. No one can think that this Man is dangerous, or needs further punishment. When this appeal fails, Pilate's pity turns to bitterness (v. 14).
oi dpx. K. oi úm. Repeat the article as in xi. 47. The leaders take the initiative, to prevent any expression of compassion on the part of the crowd. The sight of the Man’ maddens rather than softens them. For Kpavyálw see on xviii. 40.
ataup. otaúp. Crucify, crucify. The imperative without an accusative better expresses the cry which was to give the cue to the multitude. According to all four Gospels the demand for crucifixion was not made until after the offer to release Jesus for the Feast.
daß. aú. øjels. Take Him yourselves, as in xviii. 31. We may admit that it ought to have been beneath the dignity of a Roman judge to taunt the people with a suggestion which they dared not follow; but there is nothing so improbable in it as to compel us to believe that the Jews had the power of inflicting capital punishment (see on xviii. 31). Pilate is goaded into an exhibition of feeling unworthy of his office. The tyø again (xviii. 38) contrasts his verdict with that of the Jews.
7. vóuov. They refer to Lev. xxiv. 16. The Jews answer Pilate's taunt by a plea hitherto kept in the background. He may think lightly of the seditious conduct of Jesus, but as a Procurator he is bound by Roman precedent to pay respect to the law of subject nationalities. He has challenged them to take the law into their own hands; let him hear what their law is. Pilate had said “Behold the Man!' The Jews retort, 'He made Himself Son of God. They answer his appeal to their compassion by an appeal to his fears. See on viii. 53.
8—11. Inside the Praetorium ; Christ's origin is asked and not told; the origin of authority is told unasked.
7.7. dóyou. This word: it is no mere .saying' (Paua); like the word of Caiaphas, it has more meaning than the speakers know. It intensifies Pilate's disquietude. The message from his wife and the awe which Christ's presence was probably inspiring had already in some degree affected him. This mysterious claim still further excites his fears. Was it the offspring of a divinity that he had so infamously handled? Comp. Matt. xxvii. 54.
9. apaltuplov. See on xviii. 28. II60ev ei oú; is a vague question which might apply to Christ's dwelling-place, already known to Pilate
(Luke xxiii. 6); he hoped for an answer as to His origin. Would the Prisoner repeat this mysterious claim, or explain it? But Pilate could not have understood the answer; and what had it to do with the merits of the case? No answer is given. Comp. Matt. xxvii. 12–14 and Christ's own precept, Matt. vii. 6.
10.' Baffled and still in doubt as to the relations between himself and his Prisoner he takes refuge in a domineering tone of assumed confidence. To me speakest Thou not? Whatever He might do before His countrymen, it was folly to refuse to answer the Roman governor. For čovolav, authority, see on i. 12 and comp. v. 27, x. 18, xvii. 2: note the emphatic repetition.
11. oủk elxes. Comp. xv. 20. This is Christ's last word to Pilate; a declaration of the supremacy of God, and a protest against the claim of any human potentate to be irresponsible. The Accused has become the judge's Judge. Even Pilate could understand ávwder : had Jesus said Tapà toû tatpós Mov, he would have remained uninstructed. The point is not, that Pilate is an instrument ordained for the carrying out of God's purposes (Acts ii. 23); he was such, but that is not the meaning here. Rather, that the possession and exercise of all authority is the gift of God ; iii. 27; Rom. xiii. 1–7 (see notes there). To interpret ‘from above of the higher tribunal of the Sanhedrin is quite inadequate. Comp. iii. 3, 7, 31; James i. 17, iii. 15, 17, where the same adverb is used: see notes in each place. It is for this cause (see on i. 31), because Pilate's authority over Jesus is the result of a Divine commission, whereas that of His enemies was usurped, that their sin is greater than His. Moreover, they might have known Who He was.
ó mapadoús. The addition of gou (contrast xiii. 11, xviii. 2, 5) shews that Caiaphas, the representative of the Sanhedrin and of the nation, and not Judas, is meant: comp. xviii. 35. Judas had delivered Jesus to the Sanhedrin, not to Pilate. For éxelv á papriav see on xv. 22.
12-16. Outside the Praetorium. The power from above controlled from below pronounces public sentence of death on the Innocent.
ÉK TOÚTov. Upon this; see on vi. 66. The imperfect expresses continued efforts. Indirect means, as the release in honour of the Feast, the appeal to compassion, and taunts, have failed ; Pilate now makes more direct efforts. We are not told what they were ; but the Evangelist shews by the unwillingness of Pilate how great was the guilt of the Jews.'
εαν τ. απολύσης. If thou release this man: απολύσαι and απολύσης must be translated alike. The Jews once more shift their tactics and from the ecclesiastical charge (v. 7) go back to the political, which they now back up by an appeal to Pilate's own political interests. They know their man: it is not a love of justice, but personal feeling which moves him to seek to release Jesus; and they will overcome one personal feeling by another still stronger. Pilate's unexplained interest in Jesus and supercilious contempt for His accusers must give way before a fear for his own position and possibly even his life. Whether