Matthew 27:15
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Now it was the governor's custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd.

New Living Translation
Now it was the governor's custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner to the crowd--anyone they wanted.

English Standard Version
Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted.

Berean Study Bible
Now it was the governor's custom at the feast to release to the crowd a prisoner of their choosing.

Berean Literal Bible
And at the feast, the governor was accustomed to release one prisoner to the multitude, whom they were wishing.

New American Standard Bible
Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the people any one prisoner whom they wanted.

King James Bible
Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
At the festival the governor's custom was to release to the crowd a prisoner they wanted.

International Standard Version
At every festival the governor had a custom of releasing to the crowd any prisoner whom they wanted.

NET Bible
During the feast the governor was accustomed to release one prisoner to the crowd, whomever they wanted.

New Heart English Bible
Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release to the crowd one prisoner, whom they desired.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Now, at every feast, the Governor was accustomed to release one prisoner to the people, whomever they had chosen.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
At every Passover festival the governor would free one prisoner whom the crowd wanted.

New American Standard 1977
Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the multitude any one prisoner whom they wanted.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Now at that feast the governor was accustomed to release unto the people a prisoner, whoever they desired.

King James 2000 Bible
Now at that feast the governor was accustomed to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they desired.

American King James Version
Now at that feast the governor was wont to release to the people a prisoner, whom they would.

American Standard Version
Now at the feast the governor was wont to release unto the multitude one prisoner, whom they would.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Now upon the solemn day the governor was accustomed to release to the people one prisoner, whom they would.

Darby Bible Translation
Now at [the] feast the governor was accustomed to release one prisoner to the crowd, whom they would.

English Revised Version
Now at the feast the governor was wont to release unto the multitude one prisoner, whom they would.

Webster's Bible Translation
Now at that feast, the governor was wont to release to the people a prisoner, whom they would.

Weymouth New Testament
"Now it was the Governor's custom at the Festival to release some one prisoner, whomsoever the populace desired;

World English Bible
Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release to the multitude one prisoner, whom they desired.

Young's Literal Translation
And at the feast the governor had been accustomed to release one to the multitude, a prisoner, whom they willed,
Study Bible
The Crowd Chooses Barabbas
14But Jesus gave no answer, not even to a single charge, much to the governor’s amazement. 15Now it was the governor’s custom at the feast to release to the crowd a prisoner of their choosing. 16At that time they were holding a notorious prisoner named Barabbas.…
Cross References
Matthew 27:16
At that time they were holding a notorious prisoner named Barabbas.

Mark 15:6
Now it was Pilate's custom at the feast to release to the people a prisoner of their choosing.

Luke 23:17
(For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.)

Luke 23:18
But they all cried out in unison: "Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!"

John 18:16
But Peter stood outside at the door. Then the disciple who was known to the high priest went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter in.

John 18:39
But it is your custom that I release to you one prisoner at the Passover. So then, do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?"
Treasury of Scripture

Now at that feast the governor was wont to release to the people a prisoner, whom they would.

Matthew 26:5 But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.

Mark 15:6,8 Now at that feast he released to them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired…

Luke 23:16,17 I will therefore chastise him, and release him…

John 18:38,39 Pilate said to him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he …

Acts 24:27 But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, …

Acts 25:9 But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and …

(15) The governor was wont to release.--It is not known when the practice began, nor whether it was primarily a Jewish or a Roman one. The fact that the release of criminals was a common incident of a Latin lectisternium, or feast in honour of the gods, makes the latter the more probable. If introduced by Pilate (and this is the only recorded instance of the practice) it was, we may believe, a concession intended to conciliate those whom his previous severities had alienated. Before this stage of the proceedings we have to place (1) the second conference between Pilate and the priests after his dialogue with our Lord (Luke 23:4-5), and their definite charge of sedition, now urged for the first time; and (2) his attempt, catching at the word "Galilee" as the scene of our Lord's work, to transfer the responsibility of judging to Herod (Luke 23:6-12).

Verses 15-26. - Barabbas preferred to Jesus. (Mark 15:6-15; Luke 23:17-25; John 18:39, 40.) Verse 15. - Pilate now tries another expedient for delivering himself from the responsibility of condemning Jesus. At that feast (κατὰ ἑορτήν, at a feast, at feast time). Doubtless the Passover is meant, which was the feast especially of the Jews, and it is very improbable that the practice mentioned in the clause was allowed at any other of the feasts. The governor was wont to release unto the people (τῷ ὄχλῳ, the multitude), etc. St. Luke says, "Of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast." The custom is not elsewhere mentioned. It was, however, most probably an institution established of old time in memory of the Exodus (John 18:39), and continued by the Romans when they became masters of the country. A similar custom obtained at Rome and in Greece on certain great festivals. Whom they would. The governor usually left the priests and people unfettered in their choice; on the present occasion he desired Jesus to be selected. Now at that feast,.... The Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions read, "at every feast": which looks as if the authors of these versions thought the sense was, that the following custom was used at each feast in the year, at the feasts of pentecost, and tabernacles, and passover; whereas it was only at the feast of the passover; and which is meant by the feast here, as is clear from John 18:39. It was but once a year that this was done; at every returning passover; and so the Persic version renders it, "every year on the day of the feast"; that is, of the passover, and which was frequently called by way of emphasis, "the feast":

the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. It was not a law, but a custom; it was not enjoined by the law of Moses; for they that sinned against that; died without mercy: nor is it agreeable to strict justice, that there should be such a release of criminals; nor was it a Jewish custom, as an emblem of their deliverance out of Egyptian bondage. I have not met with the least trace of any such custom of theirs at the time of the pass over in any of their writings; but it seems to be a Roman one: and from all the accounts of the evangelist, it appears to be peculiar to the Roman governor, who, either by the order of Caesar, or of himself, introduced such a custom to get the favour of the people; for it was to them the release was made, and the person, whom they pleased; and this being repeated annually for some time, was expected by them, and at last became necessary. 27:11-25 Having no malice against Jesus, Pilate urged him to clear himself, and laboured to get him discharged. The message from his wife was a warning. God has many ways of giving checks to sinners, in their sinful pursuits, and it is a great mercy to have such checks from Providence, from faithful friends, and from our own consciences. O do not this abominable thing which the Lord hates! is what we may hear said to us, when we are entering into temptation, if we will but regard it. Being overruled by the priests, the people made choice of Barabbas. Multitudes who choose the world, rather than God, for their ruler and portion, thus choose their own delusions. The Jews were so bent upon the death of Christ, that Pilate thought it would be dangerous to refuse. And this struggle shows the power of conscience even on the worst men. Yet all was so ordered to make it evident that Christ suffered for no fault of his own, but for the sins of his people. How vain for Pilate to expect to free himself from the guilt of the innocent blood of a righteous person, whom he was by his office bound to protect! The Jews' curse upon themselves has been awfully answered in the sufferings of their nation. None could bear the sin of others, except Him that had no sin of his own to answer for. And are we not all concerned? Is not Barabbas preferred to Jesus, when sinners reject salvation that they may retain their darling sins, which rob God of his glory, and murder their souls? The blood of Christ is now upon us for good, through mercy, by the Jews' rejection of it. O let us flee to it for refuge!
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