Matthew 27:27
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered to him the whole band of soldiers.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(27) The common hall.—Literally, the Prætorium, a word which, applied originally to the tent of the prætor, or general, and so to the head-quarters of the camp. had come to be used, with a somewhat wide range of meaning, (1) for the residence of a prince or governor; or (2) for the barracks attached to such a residence (as in Philippians 1:13); or (3) for any house as stately. Here (as in Acts 23:35) it appears to be used in the first sense. Pilate’s dialogue with the priests and people had probably been held from the portico of the Tower of Antony, which rose opposite the Temple Court, and served partly as a fortress, partly as an official residence. The soldiers now took the prisoner into their barrack-room within.

The whole band of soldiers.—The word used is the technical word for the cohort, or sub-division of a legion.

Matthew 27:27-30. Then the soldiers took Jesus — The soldiers, having received orders to crucify Jesus, carried him into the common hall, or prætorium, in Pilate’s palace, after they had scourged him. Here they added the shame of disgrace to the bitterness of his punishment; for, sore as he was, by reason of the stripes they had laid on him, they dressed him as a fool in an old purple robe, (Mark, John,) in derision of his being called King of the Jews. Then they put a reed into his hand, instead of a sceptre; and having made a wreath of thorns, they put it on his head for a crown, forcing it down in such a rude manner that his temples were torn, and his face besmeared with blood. It is certain that they intended by this crown to expose our Lord’s pretended royalty to ridicule and contempt; but, had that been all, a crown of straws might have served as well. They undoubtedly meant to add cruelty to their scorn; which especially appeared in their striking him on the head, (Matthew 27:30.) when this crown was put on. If the best descriptions of the eastern thorns can be credited, they are much larger than any commonly known in these parts. Hasselquist, speaking of the naba, or nabka, of the Arabians, (Trav., p. 288,) says, “In all probability this is the tree which afforded the crown of thorns put on the head of Christ: it grows very common in the East, and the plant is extremely fit for the purpose; for it has many small, and most sharp spines, which are well adapted to give great pain. The crown might be easily made of these soft, round, and pliant branches, and, what in my opinion seems to be the greatest proof of it, is, that the leaves much resemble those of ivy, as they are of a very deep green: perhaps the enemies of Christ would have a plant somewhat resembling that with which emperors and generals were used to be crowned, that there might be calumny even in the punishment.” Bishop Pearce, Michaelis, and a late learned writer, indeed, have remarked, that ακανθων may be the genitive plural either of ακανθα, thorn, or of ακανθος, the herb called bear’s-foot, a smooth plant, and without prickles. But in support of the common version let it be observed, 1st, That in both Mark and John it is called στεφανος ακανθινος, a thorny crown. This adjective, both in sacred and classical use, plainly denotes thorny; “that it ever means bear’s-foot,” says Dr. Campbell, “I have seen no evidence. Thus in the LXX., Isaiah 34:13, in the common editions, the phrase, ακανθινα ξυλα, is used for prickly shrubs. 2d, That the word ακανθα, thorn, both in the right case, and in the oblique cases, occurs in several places of the New Testament and of the LXX., is unquestionable. But that in either the word ακανθος is found, has not been pretended. Not one of the ancient, or of the Oriental versions, or indeed of any versions known to me, favours this hypothesis. The Italic and the Syriac, which are the oldest, both render the word thorns. Tertullian, the first of the Latin fathers, mentions the crown as being of thorns, and speaks in such a manner as clearly shows that he had never heard of any different opinion, or even a doubt raised upon the subject, which is very strong evidence for the common translation. Add to this, that an eminent Greek father, Clement of Alexandria, a contemporary of Tertullian, understood the word in the same manner. It is absurd, says he, (Pæd., 50:2, c. 8,) in us who hear that our Lord was crowned with thorns, ακανθαις, to insult the venerable sufferer by crowning ourselves with flowers. Several passages, equally apposite, might be given from the same chapter, but not one word that betrays a suspicion that the term might be, or a suggestion that it ever had been, otherwise interpreted. To this might be added all the ancient commentators, both Greek and Latin. There is therefore here the highest probability opposed to mere conjecture.” To the Son of God, in this condition, the rude soldiers bowed the knee, and said, Hail, king of the Jews — Pretending respect, but really mocking him, and at the same time giving him severe blows, some with the reed, others with their hands. Those who smote him with the reed laid their blows upon the thorns, with which his head was crowned: thereby driving the prickles thereof afresh into his temples. Those who smote him with their hands, aimed at his cheeks or some part of his body. To see an innocent and virtuous man treated with such barbarity, one would suppose must have excited feelings of pity and sympathy in the minds of some, even of his unfeeling and hard- hearted enemies! Of this, however, if it took place, the evangelist’s are silent.27:26-30 Crucifixion was a death used only among the Romans; it was very terrible and miserable. A cross was laid on the ground, to which the hands and feet were nailed, it was then lifted up and fixed upright, so that the weight of the body hung on the nails, till the sufferer died in agony. Christ thus answered the type of the brazen serpent raised on a pole. Christ underwent all the misery and shame here related, that he might purchase for us everlasting life, and joy, and glory.See also Mark 15:15-20; John 19:1-3.

Matthew 27:27

Into the common hall - The original word here means, rather, the governor's palace or dwelling.

The trial of Jesus had taken place outside of the palace. The Jews would not enter in John 18:28, and it is probable that courts were held often in a larger and more public place than would be a room in his dwelling. Jesus, being condemned, was led by the soldiers away from the Jews "within" the palace, and subjected there to their profane mockery and sport.

The whole band - The "band" or cohort was a tenth part of a Roman legion, and consisted of from 400 to 600 men, according to the size of the legion. Compare the notes at Matthew 8:29.

Mt 27:27-33. Jesus Scornfully and Cruelly Entreated of the Soldiers, Is Led Away to Be Crucified. ( = Mr 15:16-22; Lu 23:26-31; Joh 19:2, 17).

For the exposition, see on [1374]Mr 15:16-22.

See Poole on "Matthew 27:31". Then the soldiers of the governor,.... Those that were about him, his attendants and guards,

took Jesus into the common hall; the "praetorium", or judgment hall, as it is sometimes called; the governor's palace, into which the Jews would not enter, lest they should defile themselves: Pilate therefore came out to them, and went into the pavement called Gabbatha, and sat upon a judgment seat there; see John 18:28, where he passed sentence on Christ; which being done, the soldiers took him into the hall of judgment; which being both magnificent and large, was fit for the scene they intended to act there. Munster's Hebrew Gospel reads it, they took him "in the house of judgment"; and the Ethiopic version renders it, "out of the court of judicature"; both wrong.

And gathered unto him whole band of soldiers; the same that Judas had with him to take him, consisting of five hundred, and some say more: these their fellow soldiers, to whom Jesus was committed, got together to him, or "against him", as the Syriac and Persic versions render it, make themselves sport and diversion with him. Think in what hands and company our dear Lord now was: now was he encompassed with dogs, and enclosed with the assembly of the wicked indeed; see Psalm 22:16. The Persic version renders it, "multitudes of knaves being gathered together to him".

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 27:27 Εἰς τὸ πραιτώριον] It would appear, then, that the scourging had taken place outside, in front of the praetorium, beside the tribunal. This coincides with Mark 15:16, ἔσω τῆς αὐλῆς, which merely defines the locality more precisely. The πραιτώριον was the official residence, the palace of the governor, it being commonly supposed (so also Ewald, Gesch. Chr. p. 53, and Keim, III. p. 359 ff.) that Herod’s palace, situated in the higher part of the city, was used for this purpose. But, inasmuch as this latter building would have to be reserved for the accommodation of Herod himself whenever he had occasion to go to Jerusalem, and with what is said at Luke 23:7 before us, it is more likely that the palace in question was a different and special one connected with fort Antonia, in which the σπεῖρα (comp. Acts 21:31-33) was quartered. Comp. also Weiss on Mark 15:16.

οἱ στρατιῶται τοῦ ἡγεμ.] who were on duty as the procurator’s orderlies.

ἐπʼ αὐτόν] about Him; comp. Mark 5:21, not adversus eum (Fritzsche, de Wette); for they were merely to make sport of Him.

τὴν σπεῖραν] the cohort, which was quartered at Jerusalem in the garrison of the praetorium (in Caesarea there were five cohorts stationed). Comp. on John 18:3. The expression: the whole cohort, is to be understood in its popular, and not in a strictly literal sense; the στρατιῶται, to whose charge Jesus had been committed, and who only formed part of the cohort, invited all their comrades to join them who happened to be in barracks at the time.Matthew 27:27-31. Jesus the sport of the soldiery (Mark 15:16-20).27. the common hall] i. e. “the Prætorium” (Mark), which meant originally (1) the general’s tent; (2) it was then used for the residence of the governor or prince, cp. Acts 23:35; (3) then for an official Roman villa or country house; (4) barracks especially for the Prætorian guard; (5) the Prætorian guard itself (Php 1:13). The second meaning (2) is to be preferred here.

band] Greek speira, the thirtieth part of a Roman legion consisting of two centuries.

27–30. Jesus is mocked by the Roman Soldiers

St Luke, who records the mockery of Herod’s soldiers, perhaps as St Paul’s companion in the Prætorium at Rome makes no mention of this stain on the Roman soldiery.Matthew 27:27. Ὅλην τὴν σπεῖραν, the whole band) sc. even those soldiers who ought not then to have been present, and had not been so previously.[1191]—ΣΠΕῖΡΑΝ, band, Lat. spiram) Elsewhere the Greeks are wont to put a simple for the Latin i before a consonant, as in Πιλάτος, not ΠΕΙΛΆΤΟς, etc.; they wrote, however, ΣΠΕῖΡΑ, because it is thus nearest to ΠΕῖΡΑ, an attempt; σπεῖρω, to sow, etc.; to the sound of which they were accustomed.

[1191] Hereby the delivery of the Saviour into the hands of the sinful heathen was consummated.—B. H. E., p. 220.

Bengel here alludes to our Lord’s words in Matthew 20:19; Matthew 26:45.—(I. B.)Verses 27-30. - Jesus mocked by the soldiers. (Mark 15:16-19; John 19:2, 3.) Verse 27. - The soldiers of the governor. The brutal soldiers, far from feeling compassion for the meek Sufferer, take a fiendish pleasure in torturing and insulting him. They fling upon his bleeding body his upper garments, and take him into the common hall (πραιτώριον, the Praetorium). This name was applied to the dwelling house of the provincial governor, and here refers to the open court of the building, outside which the preceding events had taken place (see on ver. 2). The whole band (σπεῖραν), which usually signifies "a cohort" (Acts 10:1), but sometimes only a maniple, which was a third part of the same (Polybius, 11:23:1). This is probably what is meant here, as they would not denude the barracks of all its occupants, who consisted of one cohort of about six hundred men (Josephus, 'Bell. Jud.,' 2:15. 6). The soldiers summoned their comrades on guard at the palace or in the Tower of Antonia to come and join in the cruel sport. "The devil was then entering in fury into the hearts of all. For indeed they made a pleasure of their insults against him, being a savage and a worthless set" (Chrysostom, in loc.).
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