Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary - Alford
And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate.'Chap. 23:1-5.] He is accused before Pilate. Matthew 27:2, Matthew 27:11-14.Mark 15:1-5Mar_15:1-5.John 18:28-38Joh_18:28-38. Our account, not entering at length into the words said, gives a particular and original narrative of the things transacted at this interview.
2.] This charge was intended to represent the result of their previous judgment, εὕραμεν;—whereas, in fact, no such matter had been before them: but they falsely allege it before Pilate, knowing that it was the point on which his judgment was likely to be most severe. The words themselves which they use are not so false, as the spirit, and impression which they convey. The κωλύοντα φ. Κ. διδ. was, however, false entirely (see ch. 20:22 ff.); and is just one of those instances where those who are determined to effect their purpose by falsehood, do so, in spite of the fact having been precisely the contrary to that which they assert.
3.] This question is related in all four Gospels. But in John the answer is widely different from the distinct affirmation in the other three, amounting perhaps to it in substance—at all events affirming that He was ‘a King’—which was the form of their charge. I believe therefore that the Three give merely the general import of the Lord’s answer, which John relates in full. It is hardly possible, if Jesus had affirmed the fact so strongly and barely as the Three relate it, that Pilate should have made the avowal in ver. 4—which John completely explains.
4.] The preceding question had been asked within the prætorium—a fact which our narrator does not adduce,—representing the whole as a continuous conversation in presence of the Jews: see John, ver. 38. We may remark (and on this see Matt., ver. 18: Mark, ver. 10) that Pilate must have known well that a man who had really done that, whereof Jesus was accused, would be no such object of hatred to the Sanhedrim. This knowledge was doubtless accompanied (as the above-cited verses imply) with a previous acquaintance with some of the sayings and doings of Jesus, from which Pilate had probably formed his own opinion that He was no such King as His foes would represent Him. This is now confirmed by His own words (as related by John); and Pilate wishes to dismiss Him, finding no fault in Him.
5.] Possibly they thought of the matter mentioned ch. 13:1, in introducing Galilee into their charge.
ἐπίσχ.] they strengthened, redoubled, the charge—or perhaps intransitive they became urgent. 6-12.
6-12.] He is sent to Herod, and by him returned to Pilate. Peculiar to Luke: see remarks on ver. 12. Pilate, conscious that he must either do the duty of an upright judge and offend the Jews, or sacrifice his duty to his popularity, first attempts to get rid of the matter altogether by sending his prisoner to Herod, on occasion of this word Galilee. This was Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee and Peræa (see ch. 3:1 and note on Matthew 14:1), who had come up to keep the feast.
7. ἀνέπεμψεν] “Propriam Romani juris vocem usurpavit. Nam remittitur reus qui alicubi comprehensus mittitur ad judicem aut originis aut habitationis. Itaque Pilatus Herodi, ut Tetrarchæ ejus loci unde esse Jesus dicebatur, potestatem permisit Jesum abducendi in Galilæam, ibique, si vellet, cognoscendi de ejus causa: ut fieri inter Romanos provinciarum rectores solebat.” Grotius. So Vespasian, in judging the inhabitants of Tarichææ (Jos. B. J. iii. 10. 10), allowed Agrippa to dispose of those ἐκ τῆς ἑαυτοῦ βασιλείας.
8, 9.] The reason of our Lord’s silence is sufficiently shewn, in the account of Herod’s feelings at seeing Him. “Noluit Christus miraculis et sermonibus, ut non ad auditorum curiositatem aut propriam jactantiam, ita nec ad suam ipsius a morte liberationem uti.” Drusius.
10.] The accusations, of worldly kingship and of blasphemy, would probably be here united, as Herod was a Jew, and able to appreciate the latter.
11.] στρατ. are the bodyguard in attendance upon Herod.
ἐσθῆτα λαμπρ.] Variously interpreted:—either purple, as befitting a king,—and why should this not be the very χλαμὺς κοκκίνη afterwards used by Pilate’s soldiers (Matthew 27:28; ἱμάτιον πορφυροῦν, John 19:2)?—or white, as λαμπρ. is rendered by some (but see note), Acts 10:30.
12.] The cause of the quarrel is uncertain: apparently something concerning Herod’s power of jurisdiction, which was conceded by Pilate in this sending Jesus to him, and again waived by Herod in sending Him back again. From chap. 13:1, Pilate appears to have encroached on that jurisdiction.
The remarks of some Commentators about their uniting in enmity against Christ (so even, recently, Wordsworth), are quite beside the purpose. The present feeling of Pilate was any thing but hostile to the person of Christ; and Herod, by his treatment of Him, shews that he thought Him beneath his judicial notice.
This remission of Jesus to Herod seems not to have been known to either of the other three Evangelists. It is worthy of notice that they all relate the mocking by the soldiers of Pilate, which Luke omits,—whereas he gives it as taking place before Herod. This is one of the very few cases where the nature of the history shews that both happened.
Let the student ask himself, How could John, if he composed his Gospel with that of Luke before him, have here given us a narrative in which so important a fact as this is not only not related, but absolutely cannot find any place of insertion? Its real place is after John ver. 38;—but obviously nothing was further from the mind of that Evangelist, for he represents Pilate as speaking continuously.
13-25.] Further hearing before Pilate, who strives to release Him, but ultimately yields to the Jews. Matthew 27:15-26. Mark 15:6-15.Joh 18:39Joh 18:39, John 18:40. Our account, while entirely distinct in form from the others, is in substance nearly allied to them. In a few points it approaches John very nearly, compare ver. 18 with John ver. 40, also ἕνα ver. 17, with John ver. 39.
The second declaration of our Lord’s innocence by Pilate is in John’s account united with the first, ver. 38. In the three first Gospels, as asserted in our ver. 14, the questioning takes place in the presence of the Jews: not so, however, in John (see 18:28).
15.] ἐστὶν πεπ. αὐτῷ—is done by him—not ‘to him,’ see ch. 24:35, ἐγνώσθη αὐτοῖς.
16.] ‘Hic cœpit nimium concedere Pilatus,’ Bengel. If there be no fault in Him, why should He be corrected at all?—the Jews perceive their advantage, and from this moment follow it up.
23.] κατίσχυον—got the upper hand, prevailed: see reff.
25. τὸν δ. σ. κ.τ.λ.] The description is inserted for the sake of contrast;—see Acts 3:14. Luke omits the scourging and mocking of Jesus. It is just possible that he might have omitted the mocking, because he had related a similar incident before Herod; but how shall we say this of the scourging, if he had seen any narratives which contained it? The break between vv. 25 and 26 is harsh in the extreme, and if Luke had any materials wherewith to fill it up, I have no doubt he would have done so.
26. ἐρχόμενον ἀπʼ ἀγρ.] See on Mark.
ὄπισθεν τ. Ἰη. is peculiar to Luke, and a note of accuracy.
27.] These were not the women who had followed Him from Galilee, but the ordinary crowd collected in the streets on such occasions, and consisting, as is usually the case (and especially at an execution), principally of women. Their weeping appears to have been of that kind of well-meant sympathy which is excited by any affecting sight, such as that of an innocent person delivered to so cruel a death. This description need not of course exclude many who may have wept from deeper and more personal motives, as having heard Him teach, or received some benefit of healing from Him, or the like.
28.] στραφείς—after He was relieved from the burden of the cross. This word comes from an eye-witness.
ἐπʼ ἐμέ—His future course was not one to be bewailed—see especially on this saying, Hebrews 12:2,—ὃς ἀντὶ τῆς προκειμένης αὐτῷ χαρᾶς ὑπέμεινεν σταυρόν, αἰσχύνης καταφρονήσας. Nor again were His sacred sufferings a mere popular tragedy for street-bewailing; the sinners should weep for themselves, not for Him.
ἐφʼ ἑαυτὰς … καὶ ἐπὶ τὰ τέκνα ὑμῶν] See Matt. ver. 25, where the people called down the vengeance of His blood on themselves καὶ ἐπὶ τὰ τέκνα ἡμῶν. Many of those who now bewailed Him perished in the siege of Jerusalem. Those who now were young wives, would not be more than sixty when (a.d. 70) the city was taken. But to their children more especially belonged the miseries of which the Lord here speaks.
29. ἔρχονται ἡμ.] Between this and then would be time for that effectual weeping, which might save both themselves and their children: see Acts 2:37, Acts 2:38,—but of which few availed themselves. These few are remarkably hinted at in the change to the third person, which excludes them—ἐροῦσιν, i.e. not ‘men in general,’ nor ‘My enemies,’—but ‘the impenitent among you,—those who weep merely tears of idle sympathy for Me, and none of repentance for themselves;—those who are in Jerusalem and its misery, which My disciples will not be.’
On the saying itself, compare the whole of Hos_9, especially vv. 12-16.
30.] This is cited from the next chapter of Hosea (ref.).
It was partially and primarily accomplished, when multitudes of the Jews towards the end of the siege sought to escape death by hiding themselves in the subterranean passages and sewers under the city.… οὓς δʼ ἐν τοῖς ὑπονόμοις ἀνηρεύνων, καὶ τὸ ἔδαφος ἀναῤῥηγνύντες ὅσοις μὲν ἐνετύγχανον ἀνεῖλον. εὑρέθησαν δὲ καὶ ἐκεῖ νεκροὶ πλείους δισχιλίων, Jos. B. J. vi. 9. 4. But the words are too solemn, and too often used in a more awful connexion, for a further meaning to escape our notice: see Isaiah 2:10, Isaiah 2:19, Isaiah 2:21, and Revelation 6:16, where is the striking expression ἀπὸ τῆς ὀργῆς τοῦ ἀρνίου—of Him who now was the victim about to be offered. And the whole warning—as every other respecting the destruction of Jerusalem—looks through the type to the antitype, the great day of His wrath. Now, ἔρχονται ἡμέραι—then ἦλθεν ἡ ἡμέρα ἡ μεγάλη τῆς ὀργῆς αὐτοῦ, Revelation 6:17.
It is interesting to see how often David, who had passed so long in hiding among the rocks of the wilderness from Saul, calls the Lord his Rock (see Psalm 18:2, Psalm 18:46; Psalm 42:9, &c.). They who have this defence, will not need to call on the rocks to hide them.
31.] This verse—the solemn close of our Lord’s teaching on earth—compares His own sufferings with that awful judgment which shall in the end overtake sinners, the unrepentant human kind—the dry tree. These things—ταῦτα—were a judgment on sin;—He bore our sins;—He,—the vine, the green tree, the fruit-bearing tree,—of Whom His people are the branches,—if He, if they in Him and in themselves, are so treated, so tried with sufferings,—what shall become of them who are cast forth as a branch and are withered? Read 1Peter 4:12-18;—ver. 18 is a paraphrase of our text. Theophylact’s comment is excellent: εἰ ταῦτα ποιοῦσιν ἐν ἐμοὶ ἐγκάρπῳ καὶ ἀειθαλεί καὶ ἀειζώῳ διὰ τὴν θεότητα, τί γένηται ἐν ὑμῖν ἀκάρποις καὶ πάσης δικαιοσύνης ζωοποιοῦ ἐστερημένοις