Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, Behold the man!
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Then came Jesus forth.—The verse describes the scene as the writer remembers it. The figure of the Lord whom he had himself followed and loved, and of whom he thinks as ascended to the throne of the King of kings, led in the cruel mockery of royal garments, was one which left its mark for ever in his mind.
Behold the man!—Pilate’s “Ecce homo!” is an appeal to the multitude. That picture of suffering—is it not enough? Will none in that throng lift up a cry for mercy, and save Him from the death for which the Sanhedrin are calling?
(5) That St. John’s narrative is that of an eyewitness, relating what he himself saw and remembered. (Comp. Chronological Harmony of the Gospels, p. 35)
wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe; with his temples scratched and torn with the thorny crown, and the blood running down from thence, and his face and eyes swollen with the blows he had received from their closed fists, and all besmeared with his own blood, and the soldiers' spittle; his body appearing to be almost of the same colour with the purple or scarlet robe, through the stripes and lashes he had received, when that was thrown back.
And Pilate saith unto them, behold the man; not their king, that would have provoked them; though he did say so afterwards, when he found he could not prevail upon them to agree to his release; but the man, to move their compassion; signifying, that he was a man as they were, and that they ought to use him as such, and treat him with humanity and pity; and that he was a poor despicable man, as the condition he was in showed; and that it was a weak thing in them to fear anything with respect to any change of, or influence in, civil government from one that made such a figure; and therefore should be satisfied with what had been done to him, and dismiss him.Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 19:5. Still wearing (φορῶν) the mocking symbols of royalty, an object of derision and pity, Jesus is led out, and the judge pointing to Him says, Ἴδε ὁ ἄνθρωπος, Ecce Homo, “Lo! the man,” as if inviting inspection of the pitiable figure, and convincing them how ridiculous it was to try to fix a charge of treason on so contemptible a person. ὁ ἄνθρωπος is used contemptuously, as in Plutarch, Them., xvi. 2, “the fellow,” “the creature”. Other instances in Holden’s note in Plut., Them. The result is unexpected.5. Then came Jesus] Better, Jesus therefore came. The Evangelist repeats the details of John 19:2; they are details of a picture deeply imprinted on his memory. Whether or no he went into the Praetorium, he no doubt witnessed the Ecce Homo.
wearing] Not simply ‘having’ or ‘bearing’ (phorôn not pherôn). The crown and robe are now His permanent dress.
Behold the man!] In pity rather than contempt. Pilate appeals to their humanity: surely the most bitter among them will now be satisfied, or at least the more compassionate will control the rest. No one can think that this Man is dangerous, or needs further punishment. When this appeal fails, Pilate’s pity turns to bitterness (John 19:14).John 19:5. Φορῶν, wearing) Pilate did not check the wanton insolence of the soldiers. There was here a rare mixture of jestings and of serious acts.—λέγει, saith) viz. Pilate. For it is to Pilate that they answer in the sixth verse.—ἴδε ὁ ἄνθρωπος, Behold the man) So in John 19:14, Behold your King: A gradation, or ascending climax. A similar nominative (exclamatory) occurs in John 19:26-27, “Woman, behold thy son (ὁ υἱός σου)—Behold thy mother” (ἡ μήτηρ σου).Verse 5. - Jesus then came forth, at Pilate's order, into some prominent position, wearing (φορέω, not φέρω), as a regular costume, the thorny crown, and the purple robe, and he (Pilate, from his judgment-seat) saith to them, as this hateful and tragic melodrama was being enacted, Behold the Man! ECCE HOMO! This was, doubtless, said to mitigate or allay their ferocity. "Let his simple humanity plead with you! After this surely you can desire no more." "The Man," rather than "the King." As Caiaphas did not know the enormous significance of his own dictum (John 11:50), so Pilate, from his purely secular position, did not appreciate the world-wide meaning of his own words. He did not know that he had at his side the Man of men, the perfect veritable Man, the unattainable Ideal of all humanity realized. He did not anticipate that that crown of thorns, that robe of simulated royalty, that sign of bloody agony, and these insults borne with sublime patience and ineffable love, were even then lifting Jesus to the throne of eternal memory and universal dominion; nor how his own words would be enshrined in art, and continue to the end of time a crystallization of the deepest emotion of the Church of God. The hymn of Gerhard expresses in thrilling tones the universal and perpetual feeling of all Christians-
"O Haupt veil Blur und Wunden
Voll schwerz und yeller Hohn!
O Haupt zum Sport gebunden
Mit ether Dornerkon!" But the appeal to humanity was vain, and Pilate's momentary sentiment failed of its end. Not a voice in his favor broke the silence; but -
From the Praetorium.
Not φέρων, bearing, but the frequentative form of that verb, denoting an habitual or continuous bearing; hence, wearing, as though it were His natural dress.
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