And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Pontius Pilate.—It may be well to bring together the chief known facts as to the previous history of the Governor, or more accurately, the Procurator, of Judæa, whose name is conspicuous as occupying a solitary prominence in the creeds of Christendom. He must have belonged, by birth or adoption, to the gens of the Pontii, one of whom, C. Pontius Telesinus, had been the leader of the Samnites in their second and third wars against Rome B.C. 321-292. The cognomen Pilatus means “armed with the pilum or javelin,” and may have had its origin in some early military achievement. As applied, however, to Mount Pilatus in Switzerland, it has been conjectured that it is a contracted form of Pileatus, from pilea a cap, and is applied to the mountain as having for the most part, a cloud-capped summit. When Judæa became formally subject to the empire, on the deposition of Archelaus, a procurator, or collector of revenue, invested with judicial power, was appointed to govern it, subject to the Governor of Syria (Luke 2:2), and resided commonly at Cæsarea. Pontius Pilate, of whose previous career we know nothing, was appointed, A.D. 25-26, as the sixth holder of that office. His administration had already, prior to our Lord’s trial, been marked by a series of outrages on Jewish feelings. (1) He had removed the head-quarters of his army from Cæsarea to Jerusalem, and the troops brought their standards with the image of the emperor into the Holy City. The people were excited into frenzy, and rushed in crowds to Cæsarea to implore him to spare them this outrage on their religion. After five days of obstinacy and a partial attempt to suppress the tumult, Pilate at last yielded (Jos. Ant. xvii. 3, §§ 1, 2; Wars, ii. 9, §§ 2-4). (2) He had hung up in his palace at Jerusalem gilt shields inscribed with the names of heathen deities, and would not remove them till an express order came from Tiberius (Philo, Leg. ad Caium, c. 38). (3) He had taken money from the Corban, or treasury of the Temple, for the construction of an aqueduct. This led to another tumult, which was suppressed by the slaughter not of the rioters only, but also of casual spectators (Jos. Wars, ii. 9, § 4). (4) Lastly, on some unknown occasion, he had slain some Galileans while they were in the very act of sacrificing (Luke 13:1), and this had probably caused the ill-feeling between him and the tetrarch Antipas mentioned in Luke 23:12. It is well to bear in mind these antecedents of the man, as notes of character, as we follow him through the series of vacillations which we now have to trace.John 18:12. Probably when he was tried before the Sanhedrin in the palace of Caiaphas, he had been loosed from his bonds, being there surrounded by multitudes, and supposed to be safe. As they were about to lead him to another part of the city now, they again bound him. The binding consisted, probably, in nothing more than tying his hands.
Pontius Pilate, the governor - The governor appointed by the Romans over Judea. The governor commonly resided at Caesarea; but he came up to Jerusalem usually at the great feasts, when great numbers of the Jews were assembled, to administer justice, and to suppress tumults if any should arise. The "title" which Pilate received was that of "governor or procurator." The duties of the office were, chiefly, to collect the revenues due to the Roman emperor, and in certain cases to administer justice. Pilate was appointed governor of Judea by Tiberius, then Emperor of Rome. John says John 18:28 that they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the hall of judgment - that is, to the part of the "praetorium," or governor's palace, where justice was administered. The Jews did not, however, enter in themselves, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover. In Numbers 19:22 it is said that whosoever touched an unclean thing should be unclean. For this reason they would not enter into the house of a pagan, lest they should contract some defilement that would render them unfit to keep the Passover.
Mt 27:1-10. Jesus Led Away to Pilate—Remorse and Suicide of Judas. ( = Mr 15:1; Lu 23:1; Joh 18:28).
Jesus Led Away to Pilate (Mt 27:1, 2).
For the exposition of this portion, see on Joh 18:28, &c.
Remorse and Suicide of Judas (Mt 27:3-10).
This portion is peculiar to Matthew. On the progress of guilt in the traitor, see on Mr 14:1-11; Joh 13:21-30.Mark 15:1, And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate. Luke saith, Luke 23:1, And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him to Pilate. John saith, John 18:28, Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover. If any ask why having condemned Christ, they did not put him to death. John tells us, John 18:31, it was not lawful for them to put any one to death. They had already out of their malice to Christ broken several of their own canons, or rules observed in ordinary capital causes, sitting in the night time, and upon a festival day. They must have notoriously broken another, if they had themselves on that day put him to death. It should seem by their stoning Stephen, Acts 7:59, they had a power in some cases to put persons to death; but Christ was to be crucified, and as to that kind of death they had no power:
See Poole on "John 18:31". Besides that, we must consider it was the passover day, and stoning any man to death required a concourse of people to throw stones, and they were afraid of tumults. The Roman governor had the militia in his power, and could better prevent and suppress tumults than they could do. Finally, Christ was by his death to give testimony to his kingly office; and the Jews, as we shall hear, had this to charge him with, That he made himself a King: this was a civil cause, and to be condemned by Pilate the Roman governor amongst them. In the morning, therefore, consulting how to put Christ to death, they delivered him to Pontius Pilate, having first bound him; for though he was bound upon his first apprehension, yet it is probable that they had loosed him when he came into the hall of the high priest, and now bind him a second time, when they carried him before Pilate. John tells us, that they would not themselves go into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover; which words have in them a difficulty, and also give us an account of a most unaccountable superstition. For the passover, they had eaten it the night before. But we must know, that not the paschal lamb only, but all the sacrifices offered any of the seven days, were also called the passover, Deu 16:1,2, &c. It was now the first day of unleavened bread, but there were to be offerings this day of which they were to eat, which in a large sense are called the passover. But how unaccountable was the superstition of these hypocrites! They made no conscience, when they had eaten the paschal lamb in the evening, to spend the whole night in consulting how to shed innocent blood, and condemning of Christ; but they pretend now conscience, that they will not go into a pagan’s house in the morning, for that was the defilement they feared, having nothing to do to sit in judgment with him. John 18:12. Perhaps he might be unloosed whilst he was examining before the high priest, under a show of freedom to speak for himself; or they might bind him faster now, partly greater security, as he passed through the streets, and partly for his greater reproach; as also, that he might be at once taken to be a malefactor by the Roman judge;
they led him away: the chief priests and elders of the people led him, at least by their servants, and they themselves attending in person, that they might awe the people from attempting a rescue of him, as they passed along; and that they might influence the Roman governor speedily to put him to death; and lest he should be prevailed upon to release him, through his own commiseration, the innocence of Jesus, and the entreaty of his friends.
And delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor; and so fulfilled what Christ had predicted, Matthew 20:19. This they did, either because the power of judging in cases of life and death was taken away from them; or if it was not, they chose that the infamy of his death should be removed from them, and be laid upon a Gentile magistrate; and chiefly because they were desirous he should die the death of the cross. The Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions leave out the first name Pontius, and only call him Pilate: the Ethiopic version calls him Pilate Pontinaeus; and Theophylact suggests, that he was so called because he was of Pontus. Philo the Jew (h) makes mention of him:
"Pilate, says he, was , "procurator of Judea"; who not so much in honour of Tiberius, as to grieve the people, put the golden shields within the holy city in the palace of Herod.''
And so Tacitus (i) calls him the procurator of Tiberius, and Josephus also (k). It is said (l) of him, that falling into many calamities, he slew himself with his own hand, in the times of Caligula, and whilst Publicola and Nerva were consuls; which was a righteous judgment of God upon him for condemning Christ, contrary to his own conscience.
(h) De Legat. ad Caium, p. 1033, 1034. (i) Hist. l. 15. (k) De Bello Jud. l. 2. e. 9. sect. 2.((l) M. Aurel-Cassiodor. Chronicon in Caligula, Joseph. Antiq. l. 18. c. 11. Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 2. c. 7.And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Matthew 27:2 Δήσαντες] The shackles which had been put upon. Jesus at the time of His arrest (Matthew 26:50, comp. with John 18:12), and which He still wore when He was led away from Annas to Caiaphas (John 18:24), would seem, from what is here stated, to have been either wholly or partially removed during the trial. With the view of His being securely conducted to the residence of the procurator, they take the precaution to put their prisoner in chains again. It is not expressly affirmed, either by Matthew or Mark, that the ἀπήγαγον was the work of the members of the Sanhedrim in pleno (as generally supposed, Weiss and Keim also sharing in the opinion); and, indeed, it is scarcely probable that they would have so far incurred the risk of a popular tumult (comp. Matthew 26:5). The statement in Luke 23:1 is unquestionably the product of a later tradition. As for Matthew and Mark, they seem to assume that merely a deputation accompanied the prisoner, though doubtless it would be large enough to be in keeping with the importance of the occasion. Comp. also on Matthew 27:3.
παρέδωκαν αὐτὸν Ποντίῳ, κ.τ.λ.] For after Judaea became a Roman province (from the time that King Archelaus was dethroned, 759 U.C.), the Sanhedrim had lost the jus gladii. Comp. on John 18:31. On Pontius Pilate, the fifth procurator of Judaea, who was successor to Valerius Gratus, and who, after holding office for ten years (from A.D. 26 onwards), was summoned to Rome at the instance of Vitellius, then governor of Syria, to answer to certain charges made against him, and then (according to Euseb. ii. 7) banished to Vienne, where he is said to have committed suicide, see Ewald, Gesch. Chr. p. 87 ff.; Leyrer in Herzog’s Encykl. XI. p. 663 ff.; Gerlach, d. Röm. Statthalter in Syr. u. Jud. p. 53 ff.; Hausrath, Zeitgesch. I. p. 312 ff. For certain Christian legends regarding His death, consult Tischendorf’s Evang. Apocr. p. 426 ff. Caesarea was the place where the procurators usually resided (Acts 23:23 f., Matthew 24:27, Matthew 25:1); but, as it was the Passover season, Pilate was in Jerusalem (to be ready, in fact, to quell any disturbance that might arise, comp. on Matthew 26:5), where he lived in the praetorium (see on Matthew 27:27).
τῷ ἡγεμόνι] principi. The more precise designation would have been τῷ ἐπιτρόπῳ, procuratori. Comp. Joseph. Antt. xviii. 3. 1 : Πιλάτος δὲ ὁ τῆς Ἰουδαίας ἡγεμών. On the comprehensive sense in which ἡγεμών is frequently used, see Krebs, Obss. p. 61 ff.Matthew 27:2. δήσαντες: no mention of binding before in Mt.’s narrative. If Jesus was bound at His apprehension the fetters must have been taken off during the trial.—ἀπήγαγον, etc., they led Him away and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate. No mention at this point what they had resolved to say to Pilate. That comes out in Pilate’s questioning. Pilate was a very undesirable judge to come to with such a cause a poor representative of Roman authority; as described by Philo. and Josephus, as destitute of fear of God or respect for justice, as the unjust judge of the parable; but, like him, accessible on the side of self-interest, as, no doubt, the Sanhedrists knew very well.—τῷ ἡγεμόνι, the governor; a general title for one exercising supreme authority as representing the emperor. The more specific title was ἐπίτροπος, procurator. The ordinary residence of procurators was Caesarea, on the sea coast, but it was their custom to be in Jerusalem at passover time, with a detachment of soldiers, to watch over the public peace.2. The Delivery to Pontius Pilate
St Mark 15:1; St Luke 23:1; St John 18:28; “then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of Judgment (or Prætorium), and it was early.”
2. Pontius Pilate the governor] Pontius Pilate was the governor, or more accurately, the Procurator of Judæa, which after the banishment of Archelaus (see ch. Matthew 2:22) had been placed under the direct government of Rome, and attached as a dependency to Syria. Pilate filled this office during the last ten years of the reign of Tiberius, to whom as Procurator in an imperial province he was directly responsible. In the year a. d. 35 or 36, he was sent to Rome on a charge of cruelty to the Samaritans. The death of Tiberius probably deferred his trial, and according to Eusebius, “wearied with his misfortunes,” he put himself to death. In character Pilate appears to have been impolitic, cruel and weak. On three signal occasions he had trampled on the religious feelings of the Jews, and repressed their resistance with merciless severity. A further instance of cruelty, combined with profanation, is alluded to, St Luke 13:1 : “the Galilæans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.” The name Pontius connects Pilate with the gens of the Pontii, to which the great Samnite General, C. Pontius Telesinus, belonged. (Read history of second and third Samnite wars, b. c. 327–290.) The cognomen Pilatus probably signifies “armed with a pilum” (javelin). Tacitus mentions Pontius Pilate in a well-known passage (Ann. xv. 44), Auctor nominis ejus Christus Tiberio imperitante per procuratorem Pontium Pilatum supplicio affectus erat. “Christus, from whom the Christians are called, suffered death in the reign of Tiberius, under the procurator, P. Pilate.” Many traditions have gathered round the name of Pontius Pilate. According to one, he was banished to Vienne in the south of France; according to another, he ended a restless life by plunging into a deep and gloomy lake on Mount Pilatus, near Lucerne. The shallow pool, often dry in the summer months, sufficiently disproves this story. The usual residence of the Roman Procurator in Judæa was Cæsarea Stratonis (see map).
The wish of the Sanhedrin in delivering Jesus to Pilate was to have their sentence confirmed without enquiry, see ch. Matthew 26:66.Matthew 27:2. Ἀπήγαγον καὶ παρέδωκαν Αὐτὸν, they led Him away and delivered Him) cf. Matthew 27:9, and Gnomon on the latter part.—τῷ ἡγεμόνι, to the Procurator).Verse 2. - When they had bound him. With his hands tied by a rope behind his back. This was the treatment inflicted on condemned malefactors. During the actual official proceedings it was customary to release the accused person from bonds; hence this new binding was necessary. What passed in the council before this indignity was inflicted is, perhaps, told by St. Luke: the Sanhedrists satisfied themselves that they had a case against Jesus sufficient for their purpose, and they proceeded in a body to lay it before the governor. Pontius Pilate the governor (τῷ ἡγεμόνι). Some good manuscripts omit "Pontius," as in Mark and Luke; but there seems to be no doubt that he bore this nomen gentilicium (see e.g. Tacitus, 'Ann.,' 15:44), which connected him with the Samnite gens of the Pontii. He was the sixth Roman Procurator of Judaea, and his title in Greek was ἐπίτροπος rather than ἡγεμών, which was a more general term for a commander or chief possessing more extensive powers. He held the office under the Prefect of Syria for ten years, at the end of which time he was removed for cruelty and extortion, and banished to Vienne, in Gaul, where he put an end to his own life. The turbulence and national animosity of the Jews had rendered it necessary to invest the procurator with the power of life and death, which he used in the most unscrupulous manner, so that he was universally hated and feared. The quarters of the Roman governor were called the Praetorium, and to this Christ was led. Pilate usually resided at Caesarea, but came to Jerusalem at the great festival, to be ready to quell any fanatical outbreak that might occur. So nowadays the Turks keep a body of troops in the same city to preserve the peace between Christian worshippers at Easter(!). Whether Pilate occupied the barracks at the fortress Antonia, or the magnificent palace of Herod, situated at the northwest angle of the upper city, is uncertain; but as we know that the Roman procurators did reside in Herod's palace, and as on this occasion Pilate was accompanied by his wife (ver. 19), it is most probable that he took up his abode in the latter, and that Jesus was brought before him there. Herod had a house of his own on the east of Zion, opposite the castle, which he seems to have occupied more often than his father's palace, thus leaving the latter at the pleasure of the Roman governors. Assuming this to be the case, Dr. Edersheim writes, "From the slope of the eastern angle, opposite the temple mount, where the palace of Caiaphas stood, up the narrow streets of the upper city, the melancholy procession wound to the portals of the grand palace of Herod. It is recorded that they who brought him would not themselves enter the portals of the palace, 'that they might not be defiled, but might eat the Passover'" ('Life and Times of Jesus,' 2:505).
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