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that they might eat the passover. 29 b Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man? 30 They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee. 31 i Then said Pilate unto them, k Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews
therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any h render, So Pilate. . i render, Pilate therefore said.
k render, Take him yourselves.
prising, that the Jews in the early morning wanting to their proofs, they want to should have been afraid of rendering them- supply by an appeal to their own authority” selves unclean for the Passover,--since the
81.] This answer is best regarded Passover could not be kept till evening, i.e. as an ironical reproach founded on their on the next day, and the uncleanness which apparently proud assertion in ver. 30– they dreaded did not, by the law, last till and amounting to this : If you suppose I the next day. For this reason, the passage am to have such implicit confidence in your in John labours under no small exegetic judgment concerning this prisoner as to difficulties, which we cannot altogether take his guilt on your word, take him and solve, from want of accurate knowledge of put him to death (for so “judge ye Him” the customs of the time. Possibly the law must be understood,-see below) according concerning Levitical defilements and purifi. to your law;' reminding them that the cations had in that age been made more same Roman power which had reserved stringent or otherwise modified; possibly, capital cases for his jurisdiction, also exthey called some other meal, besides the pected proper cognizance to be taken of actual Passover, by its name. This last we them, and not that he should be the mere certainly, with our present knowledge of executioner of the Sanhedrim. It is Hebrew antiquities, must assume: for the not lawful for us to put any man to death] law respecting uncleanness will not allow From the time when Archelaus was deus to interpret this passage of the proper posed (A.D. 6 or 7), and Judæa became a Passover on the evening of the 14th of Roman province, it would follow by the Nisan, nor indeed of any evening meal at Roman law that the Jews lost the power all.” The whole depends on this: can of life and death. Josephus tells us, the words, eat the Passover, mean any that it was not lawful to hold a court thing else besides eating the paschal lamb of judgment in capital cases, without the in the strict sense? This is a question consent of the Procurator. Some have which in our day we have no power of thought that this power was reserved to answering. See the matter further dis. them in religious matters, as of blasphemy cussed in the notes to my Greek Test. and sacrilege ; but no proof has been See note on ch. xix. 14. The tendency of adduced of this; the passages commonly what is there said is, to warn us, not to be alleged in Josephus, and Acts vii. 58, not rash in assuming a discrepancy between applying (see note on Acts). The Talmud the Evangelists, where computations of relates that this had taken place forty time may have been so vague and various. years (or more) before the destruction
29.] Though Pilate, having granted of Jerusalem. Biscoe, on the Acts, the service of the band of soldiers to the argues at great length that the Jews Sanhedrim, must have been aware of the had this power; and that the words circumstances under which Jesus was here merely mean that they could not brought before him, he demanded a formal put to death on the Sabbath, which, ac. accusation on which legally to proceed: cording to the usual custom of executing “dissimulating his own information on the the next day after judgment, would now subject.” 30.] They do not mention have been the case. But this treatment the charge of blasphemy brought against of the words is unjustifiable. Can we Him by the Sanhedrim, for fear of the suppose for a moment that this can have entire rejection of their cause, as by Gallio, been meant, when there is not a word in Acts xviii. 16. The Procurators in such the text to imply it? We may hope that cases had a discretionary power. On what the day for such forced interpretations they did say, Grot. observes, “What was is fast passing away. Friedlieb gives
ch. xii. 52,
man to death : 32 n that the saying of Jesus might be n Matt. 14.10.
I render, what manner of death.
p Dan. ii. 44:
Luke xii. 14.
the most consistent account of the matter. be private. In this case Pilate appears In the Roman provinces generally, the Pro- to have wished to obtain an account prætor or Proconsul conducted judicial from Jesus apart from the clamours of proceedings. But Judæa, which belonged the chief priests and the mob. to the province of Syria, was an exception. 34.] On this whole interview, see note on There was there a Procurator with full Luke vv. 3, 4. I regard this question, powers, who exercised the right of judicial Sayest thou this thing of thyself ... as cognizance. Jerusalem however possessed intended to distinguish the senses of the the privilege of judging all lighter causes word King as applied to Jesus : and of before the three-and-twenty, and heavier course not for the information of Him causes, with the sole exception of capital who asked it, but to bring out this distrials, before the great Sanhedrim : so that tinction in Pilate's mind. If he asked of none but these reserved cases remained for himself, the word could certainly have but the Procurator. Pilate seems to have one meaning, and that one would be judged these cases at his visits during the wrongly applied ;-if from information defestivals; which would fall conveniently rived from the Jews, this very fact would for the purpose, it being the custom in open the way to the true meaning in which Jerusalem, to execute great criminals at the He was King of the Jews. Stier and Feasts. In other provinces the governors Ebrard think there may be some reference made circuits and held assizes through in the words of thyself, to a momentary out their jurisdictions. 32.] See Matt. earnestness in Pilate's own mind,-a suspi. xx. 19, and other places ;-ch. xii. 32, 33. cion that his prisoner was what he was Had the Jews taken Him and judged Him, charged with being (see ch. xix. 8, 12), He would have been stoned, not crucified. from the mention of which he immediately And this whole section, vv. 28–32, serves (ver. 35) recoils, and implies the other side to shew how the divine purpose was accom of the dilemma. 35.] Pilate at once plished. 33.] This question probably repudiates the idea of his having any share arose out of what Pilate had previously in Jewish expectations, or taking any perheard, not from any charge to this effect sonal interest in Jewish matters : all his being made between our vv. 31 and 34. information he has derived from the public Had such a charge been made, our Lord's accusation of the people and chief priests. question ver, 34 would be unnatural.
Then in the question, What hast Thon Pilate summoned Jesus in, who had been done ?, is implied, “There is no definiteas yet outside with the Jews. This was the ness in their charge: let me have thine formal reception of the case before him; own account, thy ex-parte statement, that the Roman soldiers must now have formally I may at least know something definite of taken charge of Jesus, as servants of the the case. 36.] This answer goes to Roman authorities : having previously, explain the injustice of the charge of “pera when granted by Pilate to the Chief verting the nation” (Luke xxiii. 2), and to Priests, acted as their police. The shew Pilate something of the nature of the judgments of the Romans were always kingdom which Jesus really came to estapublic and in the open air, see ch. xix. 13; blish. My kingdom is not of this - but the enquiries and examinations might world] i. e. not belonging to (ch. viii. 23;
a then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews : but now is my kingdom not from hence. 37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then ? Jesus answered, " Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end 8 was I born, and for this cause t came I into the world,
that I u should bear witness unto the truth. Every one q render, my servants would have fought. ror, Thou sayest it: for (or, because) I am a king. s render, have I been.
t render, am I come. a render, may.
X. 16) this world; not springing from, been born ...] Our Lord here preached arising out of, this world ;-and therefore the Truth of his mission, upholding that not to be supported by this world's wea- side of it best calculated to meet the pons. There is no denial that His King- doubting philosophic mind of the day, of doin is over this world ; but that it is to which Pilate was a partaker. He declares be established by this world's power. the unity and outward reality of Truth:The words not only deny, they affirin: if and that Truth must come from above, and not of this world, then of another world. must come through a Person sent by God, They assert this other world before the and that that Person was Himself. representative of those who boasted of their “L,” is both times emphatic, and majes. empire, which they called “orbis terrarum,' tically set (see above) against the preceding i.e. the globe of the earth. Notice the scornful thou of Pilate. Our Lord imsolemn repetition of the words of this plies that He was born a King, and that world. my servants) certainly not He was born with a definite purpose. The angels (as Stier) nor angels and disciples words are a pregnant proof of an Incarna(as Lampe). This sentence is elliptical, tion of the Son of God. This great truth and the fact of “having servants" is in- is further expressed by what follows,-'I cluded under the supposition introduced, have been born, but not therein comthat He was a King. If &c., I should mencing my being-I am (or, have) come have had servants, and those servants into the world.' Thus certainly are the would have fought.' that I should words to be understood, and not of His not be delivered to the Jews] which was public appearance, nor as synonymous with done by Pilate in ch. xix. 16. now is His having been born. It is this saying my kingdom not from hence] The word which began the fear in Pilate, which the now has been absurdly pressed by the charge of the Jews, ch. xix. 7, increased. Romanist interpreters to mean that at
He is come into the world, not some time His Kingdom would be from merely to speak truth, but to bear witness hence, i. e. of this world : as if its essential to the Truth, in its outward reality :-see character could ever be changed. Butch. xvii. 17, 19, of which deep saying this now implies, as the case now stands;' it is the popular exposition for his present conveys an ocular demonstration, from the hearer. The Lord, besides, sets forth fact that no servants of His bad contended here in the depth of these words, the very or were contending in his behalf; see simi- idea of all kinghood. The King is the lar usages of now, ch. viii. 40; ix. 41 ; xv. representative of the truth: the truth of 22, 24: Rom. vii. 16, 17. 37.7 The dealing between man and man;—the truth word thou, in Pilate's question, is emphatic of that power, which in its inmost truth and sarcastic. “Art Thou, thus captured, belongs to the great and only Potentate, bound, standing here as a criminal in peril the King of Kings. Again, the Lord, of thy life, A King ?” Thou sayest] the King of manhood and the world, the A formula frequent in the Rabbinical second Adam, came to testify to the truth writings : and conveying assent to the of manhood and the world, which sin and previous enquiry. It seems best, as in Satan had concealed. This testimony to margin, to punctuate at it, and regard for, the Truth is to be the weapon whereby or because, as the reason for the affirma. His Kingdom will be spread ;-'every one tion conveyed in Thou sayest it. This who is of the truth,' i. e. here in the most agrees best with the continued affirmation general sense, everyone who is a true which follows. To this end have I dealer with his own heart, who has an
1 John iii. 19: iv.6.
that 9 is of the truth heareth my voice. 38 Pilate saith a ch, viii. 47. unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I r ch. xix. 4, 6. find in him no fault at all. 39 But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover : will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews ? 40 s Then 8 cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but - Acts iii. 14. Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.
XIX. 1 Then Pilate therefore took Jesus and scourged him. 2 And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, 3 y and said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. 4 z Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you,
8 better, they all cried out.
ear to hear,- of such are my subjects four accounts of this incident. 40.) composed :-they hear my voice. But for They have not before “cried out” in this the putting this true dealing on its proper narrative : so that some circumstances and only ground, see ch. viii. 47 ; vi. 44. must be presupposed which are not here re
38.) To this number Pilate did not lated : unless verses 30 and 31 be referred belong. He had no ear for Truth. His to. Now Barabbas was a robber] In celebrated question is perhaps more the Mark xv. 7, Luke xxiii. 19, a rioter;- but result of indifferentism than of scepticism; doubtless also a robber, as such men are it expresses, not without scoff and irony, a frequently found foremost in civil uproar. conviction that truth can never be found : There is a solemn irony in these words of and is an apt representative of the state of the Apostle—a Robber! See the contrast the polite Gentile mind at the time of the strongly brought out Acts ii. 14. Luthardt Lord's coming. It was rather an inability remarks on the parallelism with Levit. than an unwillingness to find the truth. xvi. 5–10. Thus was Jesus the goat
He waits for no answer, nor did the upon which the Lord's lot fell, to be of. question require any. Nay, it was no real fered for a sin-offering.' CHAP. XIX. question, any more than any other, behind 1.] The reason or purpose of this scourging which a negation lies hid. I find no does not here appear; but in Luke xxiii. fault in him] I, opposed to you, who 21–23 we read that after the choice of had found fault in Him. Pilate mocks Barabbas, Pilate asked them what should both-the Witness to the Truth, and the be done with Jesus? And when they de. haters of the Truth. His conduct presents manded that He should be crucified, Pilate, a pitiable specimen of the moral weakness after another assertion of his innocence, of that spirit of worldly power, which said “ I will chastise him, and let him go.” reached its culminating point in the Ro. Thus it is accounted for. 2, 3. and man empire. 39.) At this place they approached him] This has been procomes in Matt. xxvii. 12-14;-the re- bably erased by the copyists, as not being peated accusation of Jesus by the chief understood. It was their mock-reverential priests and elders, to which He answered approach, as to a crowned king: coming nothing ;-and Luke xxiii. 5-16, the probably with obeisances and pretended sending to Herod, and second proclama- homage. In the address, Hail, King of tion of His innocence by Pilate,--after the Jews, they were insulting the Jews, which he adopts this method of procuring as much as mocking Christ. See notes on His release (Luke, ver. 17). ye have . Matt. vv. 27—30 ;--and on the purple a custom See note Matt. xxvii. 15, and robe, Mark, ver. 17. 4.] The unjust compare, for an instructive specimen of the and cruel conduct of Pilate appears to variations in the Gospel narratives, the have had for its object to satisfy the
Pins the crown
a ch. xviii. 38. * that ye may know that I find no fault in him. 5 a Then
came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the
purple robe. And b Pilate saith unto them, Behold the b Acts iii. 13. man! 6b When the chief priests therefore and officers
saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him.
Pilate saith unto them, o Take ye him, and crucify him : for C Lev. Ixiv. 16. I find no fault in him. 7 The Jews answered him, . We a Matt. xxvi. have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because a he
made himself the Son of God. 8 When Pilate therefore heard d that saying, he was the more afraid ; ' and went
again into the e judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, e Isa. lili. 7. Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer.
10 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me?
65. ch. v. 18: X. 33.
& render, Jesus therefore came forth. e render, Take him yourselves.
e render, palace.
b render, he.
multitude by the mockery and degrada. tion of the so-called King of the Jews : and with that view he now brings forth Jesus. His speech is equivalent to—“See what I have done purely to please you~ for I believe Him innocent." 5.] is the accurate and graphic delineation of an eye-witness, and intimately connected with the speech of Pilate which follows. For the cry, Behold the man! is uttered to move their contempt and pity ;-'See this man who submits to and has suffered these indignities—how can He ever stir up the people, or set Himself up for King ? Now cease to persecute Him; your malice surely ought to be satisfied.' 6.7 This had been cried before, see Matthew, ver. 22 and parallels. Possibly St. John may not have heard the cry. According as men have been in different parts of a mob, they will naturally report differently, as those nearest to them cried out. Take him yourselves] The words of Pilate shew vacillation between his own sense of the innocence of Jesus and his fear of dis. pleasing the Jews and their rulers. He now, but in ironical mockery, as before, ch. xviii. 31, delivers the matter entirely into their hands : perhaps after having received the message from his wife, -- Matthew ver. 19. 7.] In consequence of this taunt, they now declare the cause of their condemnation of Him-see Levit. xxiv. 16-and their demand that, though found innocent by the governor, He should die. 8.] This charge served to in crease the fear which Pilate had before: see note on ch. xviii. 37. The name son
of God served also to confirm the omen already furnished by the dream of his wife. That this fear was not a fear of the Jews, nor of acting unjustly, but of the Person of Jesus, is evident from what follows.
9.] He entered, taking Jesus with him. Whence] i. e. not from what province ?'--for he knew this, Luke xxiii. 6, 7: nor, of what parents ?' - but whence ? in reference to the name, the Son of God: Whence is thine origin? Observe that the fear of Pilate is not mere superstition, nor does it enter into the Jewish meaning of “the Son of God : but arises from an indefinite impression made on him by the Person and bearing of our Lord. We must not therefore imagine any fear of Him as being a 'son of the gods, in Pilate's mind : this gives a wrong direction to his conduct, and misses the fine psychological truth of the narra. tive. Our Lord, in His silence, was acting according to His own precept, Matt. vii. 6. Notwithstanding Pilate's fear of Him, he was not in earnest ;- not determined to be led by his conscience, but had already given way to the unjust demands of the people; and He who saw his heart, knew how unworthy he was of an answer to so momentous a question. Besides, this silence was the most emphatic answer to all who had ears to hear it; -was a reference to what He had said before, ch. xviii. 37, and so a witness to His divine origin. Would any mere man, of true and upright character, have refused an answer to such a question, so put? Let the modern rationalist consider this. 10.] As in