Luke 23:2
And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.
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(2) Perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute . . .—St. Luke’s report of the accusation is more definite than that in the other Gospels. The question asked in Luke 20:20-26, was obviously intended to lead up to this; and though then baffled by our Lord’s answer, the priests now brought, backed by false witnesses, the charge for which they had hoped to find evidence in His own words. It seems probable that these facts came to the writer’s knowledge in the same way as those that immediately follow. (See Note on Luke 23:6.) It may be noted that the charge in the Greek is slightly enlarged. The question had referred, as reported by St. Matthew and St. Mark, to one form of tribute—the census, or poll-tax. The charge speaks of “taxes” in the plural, and uses the most general words. In Luke 20:22 the same word is used as in this verse, but in the singular. St. Paul, in a passage which may well have been based upon St. Luke’s report of our Lord’s words, uses the same term as St. Luke (Romans 13:6-7), first generically in the plural, and then in the singular as contrasted with customs duties.

23:1-5 Pilate well understood the difference between armed forces and our Lord's followers. But instead of being softened by Pilate's declaration of his innocence, and considering whether they were not bringing the guilt of innocent blood upon themselves, the Jews were the more angry. The Lord brings his designs to a glorious end, even by means of those who follow the devices of their own hearts. Thus all parties joined, so as to prove the innocence of Jesus, who was the atoning sacrifice for our sins.This fellow - The word "fellow" is not in the original. It conveys a notion of "contempt," which no doubt they "felt," but which is not expressed in the "Greek," and which it is not proper should be expressed in the translation. It might be translated, "We found this man."

Perverting the nation - That is, exciting them to sedition and tumults. This was a mere wanton accusation, but it was plausible before a Roman magistrate; for,

1. The Galileans, as Josephus testifies, were prone to seditions and tumults.

2. Jesus drew multitudes after him, and they thought it was easy to show that this was itself promoting tumults and seditions.

Forbidding ... - About their charges they were very cautious and cunning. They did not say that he "taught" that people should not give tribute - that would have been too gross a charge, and would have been easily refuted; but it was an "inference" which they drew. They said it "followed" from his doctrine. He professed to be a king. They "inferred," therefore, if "he" was "a king," that he must hold that it was not right to acknowledge allegiance to any foreign prince; and if they could make "this" out, they supposed that Pilate "must" condemn him of course.

Tribute - Taxes.

Caesar - The Roman emperor, called also Tiberius. The name "Caesar" was common to the Roman emperors, as "Pharaoh" was to the Egyptian kings. "All" the kings of Egypt were called Pharaoh, or "the" Pharaoh; so all the Roman emperors were called "Caesar."


Lu 23:1-5. Jesus before Pilate.

(See on [1733]Mr 15:1-5; and [1734]Joh 18:28-19:22.)

See Poole on "Luke 23:1"

And they began to accuse him,.... After they found that Pilate would not receive him as a malefactor upon their word, and delivery of him to him as such; but insisted on knowing what they had to charge him with, and what accusation they had to bring against him:

saying, we have found this fellow perverting the nation; the nation of the Jews. Three of Beza's copies read, "our nation"; and so do the Vulgate Latin, and all the Oriental versions; and it is to be understood, either of his perverting the nation from the true doctrine of Moses and the prophets; by spreading among them new notions, and false principles of religion; whereby he was a troubler of God's Israel, as Ahab charged Elijah, 1 Kings 18:17 where the Septuagint use the same word as here; and so is a charge of heresy, or innovation in religion against Christ: and thus Jesus stands charged in their writings (o); on those words in Psalm 91:10. "Neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling", they have this note;

"that thou mayest not have a son, or a disciple, that corrupts his food publicly (i.e. his doctrine, who departs from the true doctrine and worship, to heresy and idolatry, and propagates the same), , "as Jesus the Nazarene".''

Which last clause, in some later editions of the Talmud, is left out: or it may be understood of his perverting the nation in their politics, and so is a charge of sedition against him, as follows;

forbidding to give tribute to Caesar; than which, nothing was more false; see Matthew 22:21 nor does what is after alleged, support this charge:

saying, that he himself is Christ, a King; or Christ the King, or the King Christ; that is, he whom the Jews so frequently in their writings call , "the King Messiah", for so he might be, and was, without any hurt to Caesar's dignity, or revenue; for though he was a king, yet not an earthly one; and though he had a kingdom, yet not of this world: indeed they would insinuate by this, that he set himself up as an earthly king, in opposition to Caesar, to draw off the people from him, and their allegiance and duty to him; and so the Jews say of Jesus of Nazareth, that he was put to death, and had no mercy shown him, because he was , "near to the kingdom" (p). The whole of this charge was untrue; he was so far from perverting the nation with false doctrine and worship, that he taught the true doctrine, and right way of worship, and refuted the false glosses of the Pharisees, and opposed the vain traditions of the elders, by which both were corrupted; and so far was he from any seditious principles and practices, or doing any injury to Tiberius Caesar, the then reigning emperor, that he taught the people to give Caesar the things that were Caesar's, and he himself paid the tribute money; and when the people would have took him by force, and have made him a king, he avoided it by getting out of the way, John 6:15.

(o) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 103. 1. & Beracot, fol, 17. 2.((p) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 43. 1.

And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow {a} perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.

(a) Corrupting the people, and leading them into errors.

Luke 23:2. διαστρέφοντα, perverting, causing disaffection and disloyalty to Rome.—κωλύοντα, doing His best to prevent (people from paying tribute to Caesar); false, and they probably knew it to be so, but it was a serviceable lie.—βασιλέα: in apposition with Χριστὸν = saying that He was Christ—a King!

2. We found] A word intended to excite prejudice.

perverting the nation] The technical Jewish name for an offender of this sort was Mesith, ‘seducer’ or ‘impostor,’ Acts 13:8-10. This was their first head of indictment, and had the advantage of being perfectly vague.

forbidding to give tribute to Cesar] This was a complete falsehood; but a political accusation was necessary for their purpose, since a heathen would not have listened to any religious accusation. The mixture of religion with politics is always perilous to truth and sincerity. This was their second charge.

that he himself is Christ a King] The word ‘King’ is an explanation to bring the case under the head of treason. Yet they must have been well aware that this charge was all the more false in spirit from being true in the letter;—for Christ had always refused and prevented every effort to make Him a temporal king (John 6:15). This was their third charge.

Luke 23:2. Εὕρομεν, we have found) An invidious expression [one calculated to excite odium against Him]. [But yet neither Pilate nor Herod found any ‘fault’ or “cause of death” in Him, Luke 23:4; Luke 23:14; Luke 23:22.—V. g.]—τὸ ἔθνος) The term λαὸς, the people, is applied to the Jews as contrasted with the Gentiles; but the term ἔθνος, nation, is applied to both Jews and Gentiles. Λαὸς, the people, is used in a political sense, and at the same time a sacred sense: ἔθνος, nation, is used in a genealogical or physical sense: John 11:50; John 11:52 [“It is expedient that one man should die for the people (λαοῦ), and that the whole nation (ἔθνος) perish not”]. Comp. Revelation 5:9, note [Thou hast redeemed us—out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation (λαοῦ, ἔθνους)].—κωλύοντα, forbidding) as a kind of Anticæsar.—Καίσαρι, to Cæsar) By nothing else were they so much bound in devotion to Cæsar as by their hatred of Christ. The transition from spiritual to political matters is fraught with dangers.—λέγοντα, saying) By this they give an illustration of the words διαστρέφοντα, perverting, and κωλύοιτα, forbidding. From the appellation, Christ a King, they infer a double calumny as the consequence. Dismissing the latter, Pilate inquires concerning the former: [viz. the appellation, Christ the King.]

Verse 2. - And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself Christ a King. To understand this scene perfectly we must read St. John's account in his eighteenth chapter (ver. 28 and following). From the place of meeting of the Sanhedrin, Jesus was led to the palace of Pilate, the Prsetorium. The Roman governor was evidently prepared for the case; for application must have been made to him the evening before for the guard which arrested Jesus in Gethsemane. St. John tells us that the delegates of the Sanhedrin entered not into the hall of judgment, "lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the Passover." Pilate, who knew well from his past experience how fiercely these fanatics resented any slight offered to their religious feelings, wishing for his own purposes to conciliate them, went outside. These Jews, prior to eating the Passover, would not enter any dwelling from which all leaven had not been carefully removed; of course, this had not been the case in the palace of Pilate. The governor asks them, in St. John's account, what was their accusation against the Man. They replied that they had three charges:

(1) he had perverted the nation;

(2) he had forbidden that tribute should be given to Caesar;

(3) he had asserted that he was Christ a King. Luke 23:2We found

In a judicial sense: as the result of their examination before the council.

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