Mark 15:6
Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired.
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(6) He released . . . whomsoever they desired.—Both verbs are in the tense which implies custom.

Mark 15:6-10. Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner — The passover being celebrated by the Jews in memory of their deliverance from Egypt, it was agreeable to the nature of the feast to make this release at that time, and therefore customary. See Whitby, and note on Matthew 27:15-18. There was one named Barabbas, bound with them that had made insurrection — A crime which the Roman governors, and Pilate in particular, were more especially concerned and careful to punish; who had committed murder in the insurrection — He seems to have been the head of the rebels. The multitude, crying aloud, &c. — Greek, αναβοησας ο οχλος ηρξατο αιτεισθαι, With great clamour, the multitude demanded of Pilate what he used to grant them. So Campbell. But Pilate answered, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? — If Pilate made this proposal with a view to preserve the life of Jesus, it is hard to say which he discovers most, his want of justice, or of courage, or of common sense. While in a most mean and cowardly manner he sacrifices justice to popular clamour, he enrages those whom he seeks to appease, by unseasonably repeating that title, The King of the Jews, which he could not but know was highly offensive to them. For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him — To be put to death, not from a regard to justice, but merely for envy at his popularity and goodness; and that these things, and no crime of his, either real or suspected, had made them his enemies. Pilate ought, therefore, certainly rather to have lost his own life than to have delivered Jesus to their will. See note on Matthew 27:24-25.

15:1-14 They bound Christ. It is good for us often to remember the bonds of the Lord Jesus, as bound with him who was bound for us. By delivering up the King, they, in effect, delivered up the kingdom of God, which was, therefore, as by their own consent, taken from them, and given to another nation. Christ gave Pilate a direct answer, but would not answer the witnesses, because the things they alleged were known to be false, even Pilate himself was convinced they were so. Pilate thought that he might appeal from the priests to the people, and that they would deliver Jesus out of the priests' hands. But they were more and more urged by the priests, and cried, Crucify him! Crucify him! Let us judge of persons and things by their merits, and the standard of God's word, and not by common report. The thought that no one ever was so shamefully treated, as the only perfectly wise, holy, and excellent Person that ever appeared on earth, leads the serious mind to strong views of man's wickedness and enmity to God. Let us more and more abhor the evil dispositions which marked the conduct of these persecutors.See the principal events in this chapter explained in the notes at Matthew 27. CHAPTER 15

Mr 15:1-20. Jesus Is Brought before Pilate—At a Second Hearing, Pilate, after Seeking to Release Him, Delivers Him Up—After Being Cruelly Entreated, He Is Led Away to Be Crucified. ( = Mt 26:1, 2, 11-31; Lu 23:1-6, 13-25; Joh 18:28-19:16).

See on [1518]Joh 18:28-19:16.

See Poole on "Mark 15:2"

Now at that feast,.... The feast of the passover, which was at that instant; see John 18:39. The Syriac, Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic versions read, "at every feast"; as if the following custom was used at every feast in the year, at the feasts of pentecost and tabernacles, as well as at the passover; whereas it was only at the latter:

he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired; of this custom See Gill on Matthew 27:15.

Now at that feast he {b} released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired.

(b) Pilate used to deliver.

Mark 15:6-14. See on Matthew 27:15-23. Comp. Luke 23:13-23.

Mark 15:6. ἀπέλυεν] “Imperfectum ubi solere notat, non nisi de re ad certum tempus restricta dicitur,” Hermann, ad Viger. p. 746.

ὅνπερ] quem quidem (Klotz, ad Devar. p. 724), the very one whom they, etc.

Mark 15:7. μετὰ τῶν συστασιαστ] with his fellow-insurgents. συστασιαστής occurs again only in Josephus, Antt. xiv. 2. 1. In the classical writers it is συστασιώτης (Herod, v. 70. 124; Strabo, xiv. p. 708).

ἐν τῇ στάσει] in the insurrection in question, just indicated by συστασιαστ. It is hardly assumed by Mark as well known; to us it is entirely unknown.[174] But Bengel well remarks: “crimen Pilato suspectissimum.”

Mark 15:8. What Matthew represents as brought about by Pilate, Mark makes to appear as if it were suggested by the people themselves. An unessential variation.

ἀναβάς] having gone up before the palace of Pilate (see the critical remarks).

αἰτεῖσθαι, καθώς] so to demand, as, to institute a demand accordingly, as, i.e. according to the real meaning: to demand that, which. See Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 427; Schaef. O. C. 1124.

Mark 15:9. τὸν βασιλέα τ. Ἰουδ.] not inappropriate (Köstlin), but said in bitterness against the chief priests, etc., as John 18:39.

Mark 15:10. ἐγίνωσκε] he perceived; Matthew has ᾔδει, but Mark represents the matter as it originated.

Mark 15:11. ἵνα μᾶλλον] aim of the ἀνέσεισαν (comp. Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 204 [E. T. 236]), in order that he (Pilate) rather, etc., in order that this result might be brought about.

Mark 15:13. πάλιν] supposes a responsive cry already given after Mark 15:11 on the instigation of the chief priests. An inexact simplicity of narration.

[174] If it was not the rising on account of the aqueduct (comp on Luke 13:1), as Ewald supposes.

Mark 15:6-15. Jesus or Barabbas? (Matthew 27:15-26, Luke 23:16-25).

6. Now at that feast] Rather, at festival time. There is no article in the Greek (or in Luke 23:17; Matthew 27:15), and the apparent limitation of the custom to the Feast of the Passover is not required by the original words, or by the parallel in John 18:39. It seems to have been a custom, the origin of which is unknown, to release to the people on the occasion of the Passover and other great Feasts any prisoner whom they might select. The custom may have been of Jewish origin, and had been continued by the Roman governors from motives of policy. Even the Romans were accustomed at the Lectisternia and Bacchanalia to allow an amnesty for criminals.

Verse 6. - St. Mark omits here what took place next in the order of events, namely, the sending of our Lord by Pilate to Herod (Luke 23:5). This was Herod Antipas, ruler of Galilee; and Pilate, apparently convinced of our Lord's innocence, hoped to escape the responsibility of condemning an innocent man, by handing him over to Herod; for Pilate had heard that our Lord was a Galilean. Moreover, he hoped to accomplish another good result, namely, to recover the favor of Herod, which was desirable on political grounds. The first intention failed; for Herod sent our Lord back to Pilate in mockery, "arraying him in gorgeous apparel" (περιβαλὼν ἐσθῆτα λαμπρὰν). But the second succeeded: "Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day" (Luke 23:12). There was now, however, another resource. At the feast (κατα ἑορτὴν) - literally, at feast-time - he used to release unto them one prisoner, whom they asked of him ὅνπερ ἠτοῦντο). In St. John (John 18:39) we read that Pilate said, "Ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the Passover." Mark 15:6
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