The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)We have a law, and by our law he ought to die.—The better reading is,. . . . and by the law He ought to die. (Comp. Leviticus 24:16.) They feel the bitter sarcasm of Pilate’s taunt, and appeal to their own law, which, in accordance with the general Roman policy, was in force in all questions which did not directly affect the Government. They change the accusation then from one of treason against Cæsar (John 19:12), of which Pilate claimed to be judge, to one of blasphemy against God, of which they only could be judges; and assert that Jesus is by that law guilty of a capital offence, for which He ought to die. (Comp. Matthew 26:63-66, and Luke 22:70.)Leviticus 24:16; Deuteronomy 13:1-5. They had arraigned Jesus on that charge before the Sanhedrin, and condemned him for it, Matthew 26:63-65. But this was not the charge on which they had arraigned him before Pilate. They had accused him of sedition, Luke 23:2. On this charge they were now convinced that they could not get Pilate to condemn him. He declared him innocent. Still bent on his ruin, and resolved to gain their purpose, they now, contrary to their first intention, adduced the original accusation on which they had already pronounced him guilty. If they could not obtain his condemnation as a rebel, they now sought it as a blasphemer, and they appealed to Pilate to sanction what they believed was required in their law. Thus, to Pilate himself it became more manifest that he was innocent, that they had attempted to deceive him, and that the charge on which they had arraigned him was a mere pretence to obtain his sanction to their wicked design.
Made himself - Declared himself, or claimed to be.
The Son of God - The law did not forbid this, but it forbade blasphemy, and they considered the assumption of this title as the same as blasphemy John 10:30, John 10:33, John 10:36, and therefore condemned him.law they mean, is the law for putting false prophets to death, Deu 18:20. By
the Son of God here, they mean the eternal Son of God, in all things equal with his Father; otherwise it was a term applicable to themselves, whom God calls his son, his firstborn, &c. Now for any in this sense to arrogate to himself this title who indeed was not so, was blasphemy, and that in the highest degree, and brought him under the notion of a false prophet of the deepest dye: but this was injuriously applied to Christ, who thought it no robbery to be equal with the Father, and who was so declared by God himself at his baptism and transfiguration; and who had made his Divine power appear by such works as no mere man ever did.
we have a law; meaning the law of Moses, which they had received by his hands from God:
and by our law he ought to die; referring either to the law concerning blasphemy in general, or concerning the false prophet, or to the having and asserting of other gods, and enticing to the worship of them; in either of which cases death by stoning was enjoined:
because he made himself the Son of God; the natural and essential Son of God; not by adoption, or on account of his incarnation and mediatorial office; but as being one with the Father, of the same nature with him, and equal to him in all his perfections and glory. This he had often asserted in his ministry, or what was equivalent to it, and which they so understood; and indeed had said that very morning, before the high priest in his palace, what amounted thereunto, and which he so interpreted; upon which he rent his garments, and charged him with blasphemy: for that God has a son, is denied by the Jews, since Jesus asserted himself to be so, though formerly believed by them; nor was it now denied that there was a Son of God, or that he was expected; but the blasphemy with them was, that Jesus set up himself to be he: but now it is vehemently opposed by them, that God has a son; so from Ecclesiastes 4:8 they endeavour to prove (q), that God has neither a brother, , "nor a son"; but, "hear, O Israel, they observe, the Lord our God is one Lord". And elsewhere (r),
""there is one"; this is the holy blessed God; "and not a second"; for he has no partner or equal in his world; "yea, he hath neither child nor brother"; he hath no brother, nor hath he a son; but the holy blessed God loves Israel, and calls them his children, and his brethren.''
All which is opposed to the Christian doctrine, relating to the sonship of Christ. The conduct of these men, at this time, deserves notice, as their craft in imposing on Pilate's ignorance of their laws; and the little regard that they themselves had to them, in calling for crucifixion instead of stoning; and their inconsistency with themselves, pretending before it was not lawful for them to put any man to death; and now they have a law, and by that law, in their judgment, he ought to die.The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 19:7-12 a. Second private examination by Pilate.7. We have a law] The Jews answer Pilate’s taunt by a plea hitherto kept in the background. He may think lightly of the seditious conduct of Jesus, but as a Procurator he is bound by Roman precedent to pay respect to the law of subject nationalities. He has challenged them to take the law into their own hands; let him hear what their law is.
by our law] Rather, according to the law; ‘of us’ is not genuine. They refer to Leviticus 24:16.
the Son of God] Omit ‘the.’ Pilate had said, ‘Behold the Man!’ The Jews retort, ‘He made Himself Song of Solomon of God.’ Comp. John 5:18, John 10:33. They answer his appeal to their compassion by an appeal to his fears.John 19:7. Νόμον, a law) A part of which was the commandment concerning the putting to death of blasphemers.—ὀφείλει, He ought) They hereby denote His guilt. Nay, but another ought (of which they were unconscious) was lurking beneath their words. Hebrews 2:17, “In all things it behoved Him (ὤφειλεν) to be made like unto His brethren,” etc.: [and therefore He ought to “destroy, through death, him that had the power of death,” for the sake of His ‘brethren,’ John 19:14.]—Θεοῦ Υἱὸν, God’s Son) Pilate had called Him “the man,” John 19:5. The Jews seem to have fastened on this now.
 The margin of both Editions favours this order of the words; but the Germ. Version has “Zu einem Sohn Gottes.” However this very change in the order is subservient to the expressing of emphasis, which, according to the original order of the words in the text, falls on the word Θεοῦ, rather than on Υἱόν.—E. B. Only inferior authorities have the order Θεοῦ Υἱόν. ABabc Vulg. Origen and Cypr. have Υἱὸν Θεοῦ.—E. and T.Verse 7. - The Jews answered him, ready with an expedient which hitherto they had not ventured to try upon the Roman official. It might have met with the kind of reception which Gallio gave to the accusers of Sosthenes in the Corinthian court. He might have driven them at point of spear or whip from the judgment-seat. "The Jews' here mentioned, rather than "the chief priests and officers" of the previous verse, for the multitude - by some other spokesmen than they - exclaim, We have a law, and according to that (the) law he ought to die; whatever you may have made of the charge of political treason. In full session of our Sanhedrin, he made himself, represented himself, as something more than Caesar, nay, more than man, as Son of God. "King of Jews" was a usurpation of the Messianic dignity; but he had claimed, in their very hearing, to be more than a national leader. He raised himself to the position of being "Jehovah's King upon his holy hill," to whom Jehovah had sworn, "Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee;" "Son of God" as well as "King of Israel." Pilate would not and could not understand this strange "testimony to the truth;" and the people were now in a more angry and excited state than ever, and appealed to the law of their own code (Leviticus 24:16), which denounced death upon the blasphemer. This charge was just unless the claim was true. If Christ had not been to his own inmost consciousness what he said he was, the Sanhedrin was in the right; and, according to law, he was guilty of death. It is here vastly interesting to see another indication of relation between the synoptic narrative and the Fourth Gospel. Though John passed ever the scenes before the Sanhedrin, and the circumstance that Christ had been actually there doomed because he had made there no secret of his Divine claims, and declared himself to be a king in a higher sense than Pilate dreamed; yet John has given clear proof that he was well aware of the confession, and records the still more striking tact that this special claim of supreme prerogative actually came to the ears and before the judgment-seat of Rome.
We, emphatic. Whatever your decision may be, we have a law, etc.
By our law
The best texts omit our: Read by that law, as Rev.
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