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blood," Deut. xxi. 6, 7. In allusion to which law the Psalmist says, “ I will wash mine hands in innocence,” that is, in tesiimony of mine innocence. Wherefore, according to the Jewish rites, Pilate by this action made the most solemn public declaration that was in his power of Christ's innocence, and of his resoJution to have no hand in his death. It would appear that he thought to have terrified the mob; for one of his understanding and education could not but be sensible, that all the water in the universe was not able to wash away the guilt of an unrighteous sentence. Nevertheless, solemn as his declaration was, it had no effect; for the people continued inflexible, crying out with one consent, that they were willing to take the guilt of his death upon themselves, Matt. xxvii. 25. His blood be on us and on our children: An imprecation the weight of which lies heavy on the nation to this day! The governor finding by the sound of the cry that it was general, and that the people were fixed in their choice, passed the sentence they desired. Luke xxiii. 24. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed. And Pilate gove sentence that it should be as they required. Mark xv. 15. And so Pilate willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them. Luke sxiii. 25. And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, who they had desired.
The Romans usually scourged the criminals whom they condemned to be crucified. See Jos. Bell. ii. 25. Lucian Revivisc. p. 385. and Elsner in loc. This was the reason that Pilate ordered our Lord to be scourged, before he delivered him to the soldiers to be crucified. John xix. ). Then Pilate therefore took Jesus and scourged him. Matt. xxvii. 26, And when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified, (Luke, delivered Jesus to their will). Matthew and Mark insinuate, that the scourging was performed on the pavement; for they tell us, that after it was over ile soldiers took Jesus into the prætorium, and mocked him. We may therefore suppose that the priests and the multitude required the governor to scourge him openly in their sight; and that he, to pacify them, consented, contrary to his inclination, which, as he believed Jesus to be innocent, must have led him to shew him all the favour in his power. $ CXLII. Pilate's fourth attempt to save Jesus. Having suf
fered him to be scourged and mocked, he shews him to the perple, in crder to excite their pity, Matt. xxvii. 27,-30. Mark xv. 16,- 9. John xix. 2, 7.
The soldiers having received orders to crucify Jesus, carried him into the prætorium after they had scourged him. Here they added Ja shame of disgrace to the bitterness of his punishment; for, sore as he was by reason of the stripes they had laid
on him, they dressed him as a fool, in an old purple robe, (Mark, John) in derision of his being king of the Jews. Then they put a reed into his hand instead of a sceptre ; and having made a wreath of thorns, they put it on his head for a crown, forcing it down in such a rude manner that his temples were torn, and his face besmeared with blood. To the Son of God, in this condition, the rule soldiers bowed the knee, pretending respect, but at the same time gave him severe blows, which drove the prickies of the wreath afresh into his temples, then spit upon him, to express the highest contempt of him. Matt. xxvii. 27: Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, (Mark, the hall called prætorium. See on John xviii. 28. $ 138.) and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. 28. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. (Mark, * they cloth. ed him with purple.) 29. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, (Mark, worshipped hini) und mocked him, (Mark, and began to salute him) saying, Hail, King of the Jeu's. 30. And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. John xix. 3. And they smote him with their hands: They smote him, some with the reed, and others with their hands. Those who smote him with the reed laid the blows upon the thorns with which his head was crowned; those who smote him with their hands aimed at his cheeks, or some part of his body. The governor, who according to custom was present all the while, found his heart ready to burst with grief. The sight of an innocent and virtuous man treated with such barbarity, raised in him the most painful feelings of pity. And though he had given sentence that it should be as the Jews desired, and had delivered Jesus to the soldiers to be crucified, he thought if he was shewed to the people in that condition, they might yet relent and let hin go. With this view, therefore, he resolved to carry him out, a spectacle which might have softened the most envenomed, obdurate, enraged enemies. And that the impression might be the stronger, he went out himself and spike to them. John xix. 4. Pilate therefore went furth again, and saith unto them, Behold I bring him forth to you, that ye muy know that I fini no furult in him. Though I have sentenced him to die, and have scourged him as one that is to be crucihed, I bring him forth to you this once, that I may testify to you again, how fully I am persuaded of his innecenie; and that ye may yer have an opportunity to save his life. Upon this Jesus appeared on the pavement, having his face, hair, and
* Mark, They clothed him with ourpie. Matthew calls it a siarki robe. But the ancienis gave the name of purple to all concurs that had any misture of red in them; consequently scarlet itschi obtained that name. See Braun. de Vestitu Sacerdotuin, lib. i. cap. 14.
shoulders all clotted with blood, and the purple robe bedawbed with spittle. 5. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. But that the sight of Jesus in this distress might make the greater impression on the multitude, Pi. late, while he was coming forward, cried, Behold the man! As if he had said, Will nothing make you relent? have you no bowels, no feelings of pity ? can you bear to see the innocent thus injureti ? Perliaps also the soldiers were allowed to mock and buffet him anew on the pavement, before the multitude. For though the Jews would not take pity on Jesus as a person unjustly condemned, yet when they saw one of their countrymen insulted by heathenis, it was natural for the governor to think that their national pride being provoked, they would have demanded his release out of spite. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man. But all was to no purpose. The priests, whose tage and malice had extinguished not only the sentiments of justice and feelings of pity natural to the human heart, but that love which countrymen bear to one another, no sooner saw Jesus than they began to fear the fickle populace might relent. And therefore, laying decency aside, they led the way to the mob, crying nut with all their might, Crucify him! crucify him! John xix. 6. When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. The governor, vexed to find the grandees thus obstinately bent on the destruction of a person, from whom they had nothing to fear that was dangerous either to the church or the state, fell into a passion, and told them plainly, that if they would have him crucified, they must do it themselves, because he would not suffer his people to murder a man who was guilty of no crime. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye hiin, and crucify him; for I find no fault in lim. But they refused this also, thinking it dishonourable to receive permission to punish one who had been more than once publicly declared innocent by his judge. Besides, they considered with themselves, that the governor afterwards might have called it sedition, as the permission had been extorted from him. Wherefore they told him, that though none of the things alleged against the prisoner were true, he had committed such a crime in presence of the council itself, as by their law (Lev. xxiv. 10.) deserved the most ignominious death. He had spoken blasphemy, calling himself the Son of God, a title which no mortal could assume without the highest degree of guilt. 7. The Jews answered him, We have a lau, onii by our law he ought to die; because he made himself the Son of Gut. Though Cesar is our master, he governs us by our laws. And therefor, since by our law blasphemy merits death, you ought, by all means, to crucify this blasphe
CXLIII. Pilate's fifth attempt to save Jesus. He absolutely re
fuses to condemn him; but yields at last. John xix. 8,_15. When Pilate heard that Jesus called himself the Son of God, he was more perplexed than ever. John xix. 8. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid. Knowing the obstinacy of the Jews in all matters of religion, he was afraid they would make a tumult in earnest. Or the meaning may be, that when he heard this account of him, he became more afraid than ever to take his life, because he suspected it might be true. Perhaps he remembered the miracles said to have been performed by Jesus, and began to think that he was really the Son of God. For it is very well known, that the religion which the governor professed, directed him to acknowledge the existence of demi-gods and heroes, or men descended from the gods. Nay, the heathers believed that their gods themselves sometimes appeared on earth in the form of men, Acts xiv. 11, 12. Pilate, therefore, resolving to act cautiously, 9. (Anil) went again into the judgmenthall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? Tobey 64 ou, that is, of what father art thou sprung, or from what country hast thou come? Art thou from Olympus, the mansion of the gods ? But Jestos gave him no answer; lost Pilate had reversed his sentence, and absolutely refused to crucify him. The governor, marvelling at his silence, signified that he was displeased with it. 10. Then Pilate saith unto him, Speakest thou nit unto me? kuowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? 11. Jesus answered, Thou couldst have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore lie that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. Being sensible that you are Cesar's servant, and accountable to him for your management, I forgive you any injury which, contrary to your inclination, the popular fury constrains you to do unto me. Thou hast thy power from above; from the emperor : for which callse the Jewish high-priest, who hath put me into thy hands, and by pretending that I am Cesar's enemy, obliges thee to condemn me; or if thou refusest, will accuse thee as negligent of the emperor's interest, he is more to blame than thou. This sweet and modest answer made such an impression on Pilate, that he went out to the people, and declar: d his resolution of releasing Jesus, whether they would or no. Jolin six. 12. And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him. An inattentive reader may perhaps understand the words last mentioned, as if this was Pilate's first attempt to release Jesus. Nevertheless, they cannot justly be thus interpreted, in regard John himself tells us expressly, that Pilate offered once before to release hiin, xviii. 99. Besides, the answer of the priests corresponds to the sense l have put upon the passage : But the Jews cried out, saying, If their let this man Vol. II.
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in the country that they wourgument was was frig
go, thou art not Cesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Cesar. Finding by what the governor said to them, that he was determined to release Jesus, they told him with an haughty menacing air, that if he released his prisoner who had set himself up for a king, and endeavoured to raise a rebellion in the country, he was not faithful to the emperor; by which they insinuated, that they would accuse him to his master if he did not do his duty. This argument was weighty, and shook Pilate's resolution to the foundation. He was frightened at the very thought of being accused to Tiberius, who in matters of government, as Tacitus and Suetonius testify, was apt to suspect the worst, and always punished the least crimes relative thereto with death. 13. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment-seat, in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14. And * it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King. The governor being thus constrained to yield, contrary to. his inclination, was angry with the priests for stirring up the people to such a pitch of madness, and resolved to affront them. He therefore brought Jesus out a second time into the Pavement, wearing the purple robe and crown of thorns, with his hands manacled, and pointing to him, said, Behold your King: either in ridicule of the national expectation, or, which is more probable, to shew the Jews how vain the fears were which they pretended to entertain about the emperor's authority in Judea. The person who was the occasion of them, shewing in the whole of his deportment a temper of mind no ways consonant to the ambition which they branded him with. 15. But they cried out, Away avith him, nway with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? According to most commentators, Pilate said this mocking him. But it is more agreeable to his general behaviour in this affair, to suppose that he spake it with a view to move the populace, who he knew had once held Jesus in great esteem as Messiah. For John tells us, verse 12. that he
• Ver. 14. It was the preparation of the passover.) Augustus's rescript to He governors of provinces, preserved by Josephus, Ant. xvi. 19. shels in what manner the Jews computed their preparation for the Sabbath. For among other things it is there ordered, that the Jews should not be compelled to appear in courts of judicature, either on the Sabbaths, or on the day before the Sabbaths, after the ninth hour in the preparation.” The preparation, therefore, began at the ninth hour, or at three o'clock ju the afternoon, whirh is the reason that the Jews were freed from attendance in law.cuits then. Nevertheless, the manner in which the rescript is worded, shews that the whole of the day was called the preparation, consequently the evangelist wrote accurately when he tells us, it was the preparation, and about the sixth hour. He means the Roman sixth hour, or rur six o'clock in the morning, answering to the first Jewish hour, when Pilate brought Jesus out on the Pavement.