1-3. Pilate took Jesus and scourged him--in hope of appeasing them.
"And the soldiers led Him away into the palace, and they call the whole
--the body of the military cohort stationed there--to take part in the
mock coronation now to be enacted.
2. the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head--in
mockery of a regal crown. -
and they put on him a purple robe--in mockery of the
imperial purple; first "stripping him"
of His own outer garment. The robe may have been the "gorgeous" one in
which Herod arrayed and sent Him back to Pilate
"And they put a reed into His right hand"
--in mockery of the regal scepter. "And they bowed the knee
3. And said, Hail, King of the Jews!--doing Him derisive homage, in
the form used on approaching the emperors. "And they spit upon Him, and
took the reed and smote Him on the head"
The best comment on these affecting details is to cover the
4, 5. Pilate . . . went forth again, and saith . . . Behold, I bring
him forth to you--am bringing, that is, going to bring him forth to
that ye may know I find no fault in him--and, by scourging Him and
allowing the soldiers to make sport of Him, have gone as far to meet
your exasperation as can be expected from a judge.
5. Then Jesus came forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple
robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!--There is no reason
to think that contempt dictated this speech. There was clearly a
struggle in the breast of this wretched man. Not only was he reluctant
to surrender to mere clamor an innocent man, but a feeling of anxiety
about His mysterious claims, as is plain from what follows, was
beginning to rack his breast, and the object of his exclamation seems to
have been to move their pity. But, be his meaning what it may,
those threewords have been eagerly appropriated by all Christendom, and
enshrined for ever in its heart as a sublime expression of its calm,
rapt admiration of its suffering Lord.
6, 7. When the chief priests . . . saw him, they cried out--their
fiendish rage kindling afresh at the sight of Him.
Crucify him, crucify him--(See
Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him; for I find no
fault in him--as if this would relieve him of the responsibility
of the deed, who, by surrendering Him, incurred it all!
7. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by oar law he ought to
die, because he made himself the Son of God--Their criminal charges
having come to nothing, they give up that point, and as Pilate was
throwing the whole responsibility upon them, they retreat into their own
Jewishlaw, by which, as claiming equality with God (see
and Joh 8:59),
He ought to die; insinuating that it was Pilate's duty, even as civil
governor, to protect their law from such insult.
8-11. When Pilate . . . heard this saying, he was the more
afraid--the name "SON OF GOD," the lofty sense evidently attached to it by His
Jewish accusers, the dialogue he had already held with Him, and the
dream of his wife
all working together in the breast of the wretched man.
9. and went again into the judgment hall, and saith to Jesus, Whence
art thou?--beyond all doubt a question relating not to His mission but to His personalorigin. -
Jesus gave him no answer--He had said enough; the time for answering
such a question was past; the weak and wavering governor is already on
the point of giving way.
10. Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not to me?--The "me" is
the emphatic word in the question. He falls back upon the
pride of office, which doubtless tended to blunt the workings of his
knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to
release thee?--said to work upon Him at once by fear and by
11. Thou couldest--rather, "shouldst."
have no power at all against me--neither to crucify nor to release,
nor to do anything whatever against Me [BENGEL].
except it were--"unless it had been."
given thee from above--that is, "Thou thinkest too much of thy power,
Pilate: against Me that power is none, save what is meted out to thee by
special divine appointment, for a special end."
therefore he that delivered me unto thee--Caiaphas, too wit--but he
only as representing the Jewish authorities as a body.
hath the greater sin--as having better opportunities and more knowledge
of such matters.
12-16. And from thenceforth--particularly this speech, which seems to
have filled him with awe, and redoubled his anxiety.
Pilate sought to release him--that is, to gain their consent to
it, for he could have done it at once on his authority.
but the Jews cried--seeing their advantage, and not slow to profit by
it. If thou let this man go, thou art not Cæsar's friend, &c.--"This
was equivalent to a threat of impeachment, which we know was much
dreaded by such officers as the procurators, especially of the character
of Pilate or Felix. It also consummates the treachery and disgrace of
the Jewish rulers, who were willing, for the purpose of destroying
Jesus, to affect a zeal for the supremacy of a foreign prince"
When Pilate . . . heard that, . . . he brought Jesus forth, and sat
the judgment seat--that he might pronounce sentence against the
Prisoner, on this charge, the more solemnly.
in a place called the Pavement--a tesselated pavement, much used by the
in the Hebrew, Gabbatha--from its being raised.
14. It was the preparation--that is, the day before the Jewish
and about the sixth hour--The true reading here is probably, "the
thirdhour"--or nine A.M.--which agrees best with the whole series
of events, as well as with the other Evangelists.
he saith to the Jews, Behold your King!--Having now made up his mind
to yield to them, he takes a sort of quiet revenge on them by this
irony, which he knew would sting them. This only reawakens their cry to
15. crucify your King? . . . We have no king but Cæsar--"Some of those
who thus cried died miserably in rebellion against Cæsar forty years
afterwards. But it suited their present purpose" [ALFORD].
16. Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified,
17. And he bearing his cross--(See on
"without the camp"; "without the gate." On arriving at the place, "they
gave Him vinegar to drink mingled with gall [wine mingled with myrrh,
and when He had tasted thereof, He would not drink"
This potion was stupefying, and given to criminals just before
execution, to deaden the sense of pain.
Fillhigh the bowl, and spice it well, and pour
The dews oblivious: for the Cross is sharp,
The Cross is sharp, and He
Is tenderer than a lamb.
But our Lord would die with every faculty clear, and in full
sensibility to all His sufferings.
Thou wilt feel all, that Thou may'st pity all;
And rather would'st Thou wrestle with strong pain
Than overcloud Thy soul,
So clear in agony,
Or lose one glimpse of Heaven before the time,
O most entire and perfect Sacrifice,
Renewed in every pulse.
18. they crucified him, and two others with him--"malefactors"
"thieves" (rather "robbers,"
on either side one and Jesus in the midst--a hellish expedient, to
hold Him up as the worst of the three. But in this, as in many other of
their doings, "the scripture was fulfilled, which saith
And he was numbered with the transgressors"--
--though the prediction reaches deeper. "Then said Jesus"--["probably
while being nailed to the CROSS,"]
"FATHER, FORGIVE THEM, FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO"
--and again the Scripture was fulfilled which said, "And He made
intercession for the transgressors"
though this also reaches deeper. (See
Ac 3:17; 13:27;
Often have we occasion to observe how our Lord is the first to fulfil
His own precepts--thus furnishing the right interpretation and the
perfect Model of them. (See on
How quickly was it seen in "His martyr Stephen," that though He had
left the earth in Person, His Spirit remained behind, and Himself
could, in some of His brightest lineaments, be reproduced in His
And what does the world in every age owe to these few words, spoken
where and as they were spoken!
19-22. Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross . . . Jesus of
Nazareth, the King of the Jews . . . and it was written in Hebrew--or
Syro-Chaldaic, the language of the country.
and Greek--the current language.
and Latin--the official language. These were the chief languages of
the earth, and this secured that all spectators should be able to read
it. Stung by this, the Jewish ecclesiastics entreat that it may be so
altered as to express, not His real dignity, but His false claim to it.
But Pilate thought he had yielded quite enough to them; and having
intended expressly to spite and insult them by this title, for having
got him to act against his own sense of justice, he peremptorily refused
them. And thus, amidst the conflicting passions of men, was proclaimed,
in the chief tongues of mankind, from the Cross itself and in
circumstances which threw upon it a lurid yet grand light, the truth
which drew the Magi to His manger, and will yet be owned by all the
23, 24. Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his
garments, and made four parts; to every soldier--the four who nailed
Him to the cross, and whose perquisite they were.
a part, and also his coat--the Romantunic, or close-fitting vest.
without seam, woven from the top throughout--"perhaps denoting
considerable skill and labor as necessary to produce such a garment, the
work probably of one or more of the women who ministered in such things
[WEBSTER and WILKINSON].
24. Let us not rend it, but cast lots . . . whose it shall
be, that the scripture might be fulfilled which saith, They parted my
raiment among them; and for my vesture they did cast lots--
That a prediction so exceedingly specific--distinguishing one piece of
dress from others, and announcing that while those should be
parted amongst several, that should be given by lot to one
person--that such a prediction should not only be fulfilled to the
letter, but by a party of heathen military, without interference from
either the friends of the enemies of the Crucified One, is surely
worthy to be ranked among the wonders of this all-wonderful scene. Now
come the mockeries, and from four different quarters:--(1) "And
they that passed by reviled Him, wagging their heads" in
(Ps 22:7; 109:25;
"Ah!"--"Ha," an exclamation here of derision. "Thou that destroyest the
temple, and buildest it in three days, save Thyself and come down from
(Mt 27:39, 40;
Mr 15:29, 30).
"It is evident that our Lord's saying, or rather this perversion
of it (for He claimed not to destroy, but to rebuild the
temple destroyed by them) had greatly exasperated the feeling which the
priests and Pharisees had contrived to excite against Him. It is
referred to as the principal fact brought out in evidence against Him
on the trial (compare
Ac 6:13, 14),
as an offense for which He deserved to suffer. And it is very
remarkable that now while it was receiving its real fulfilment,
it should be made more public and more impressive by the insulting
proclamation of His enemies. Hence the importance attached to it after
[WEBSTER and WILKINSON]. (2)
"Likewise also the chief priests,%%