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And the Chief Priests and Scribes stood and vehe, Jerusalem. mently accused him.

11. And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and
mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and
sent him again to Pilate.

12. And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends
together for before they were at enmity between them-
selves 11.





Christ is brought back again to Pilate, who again declares
Him innocent, and endeavours to persuade the People to
ask Barabbas.

MATT. XXVii. 15-20.

LUKE Xxiii.

MARK XV. 6-11.
13-19. JOHN Xviii. 39.
And Pilate, when he had called together the Chief
Priests and the rulers and the people,

Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me,
as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having
examined him before you, have found no fault in this
man touching those things whereof ye accuse him:

No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him.

16. I will therefore chastise him, and release him. Mtxxvii.15.

Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people "



14 Some time before this reconciliation, Pilate had dedicated some shields of gold to Tiberius, and placed them in the palace of Herodium. The Jews, under the sanction of Herod, peti. tioned Pilate for their removal, but in vain. They determined therefore to appeal to Tiberius, and for this purpose sent putation to the emperor, at the head of which were the four sons of Herod. This act seems to have been the cause of their difference, as it was regarded by the Jews and by Herod as a violation of their religion: and Herod was not reconciled to Pilate till the Roman Governor, desirous not to assist the Jews in the condemnation of our Lord, acknowledged the power of Herod, by sending to his tribunal at Jerusalem the holy Jesus.

Dr. Townson justly observes, that it is probable both Pilate and Herod occupied different parts of the palace called Herodium, which some time before had been built by Herod the Great. It consisted of two distinct spacious buildings, one of which was named Cæsareum, and the other Agrippeum: it stood near the temple (a).

(a) Philo leg. ad Caium, vol. ii. p. 589. ed. Mangey ap Townson. See also Hale's Analysis, vol. ii. part ii.

15 Hottinger has written a treatise on this passage, de ritu dimittendi Reum in festo Paschatis; which is bound up in the thirteenth volume of the Critici Sacri. He opposes the opinion of Whitby, that a prisoner was released only at the feast of the passover. He considers the custom (quoting Grotius and Ger. Vossius,) as contrary to the stern inflexibility of the Mosaic institutions; erat siquidem divina per Mosen, lata lex xwpis oirrip

Mark xv. 6. one prisoner, whomsoever they desired.


And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas, Mark xv. 7. which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection. 8. And the multitude crying aloud, began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them.


(For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.)

Mtxxvii.17. Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them,

Jo.xviii.39. ye have a custom that I should release unto you one at the passover:

Mtxxvii.17. Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Je-
sus which is called Christ?

Jo.xviii. 39. will ye therefore that I release unto you the king of the

Mar. xv. 10.


For he knew that the Chief Priests had delivered him for envy.

When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife
sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that
just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a
dream because of him.

20. But the Chief Priests and elders persuaded the multi-
tude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.
And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this
man, and release unto us Barabbas.



(Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.)

MATT. XXVii. ver. 18.

18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.

MARK XV. part of ver. 6. and ver. 9. 11.

6 Now at that feast he released unto them

9 But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?

11 But the Chief Priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them.


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Mtxxvii.21. the governor,

Lu.xxiii.20. therefore willing to release Jesus,

μv sine omni misericordia, Heb. x. 28. nec cuiquam homini
data ignoscendi potestas, non Regi, non Synedrio, non populo,
sect. x. and xx.

This deviation from their established law is a proof how much
the Levitical institutions had been relaxed from their appointed
rigour and severity. The origin of this emancipation is unknown.

Mt.xxvii.21. answered,

Lu. xxiii.20. [and] spake again to them,

Mt.xxvii.21. and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.

Jo. xviii. 40.

Mark xv.12.

Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but
Barabbas 16. Now Barabbas was a robber,

And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What
will ye then that I shall do

Mt.xxvii.22. with Jesus which is called Christ?

Mark xv.12. unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews? 13. And they cried out again, Crucify him.

Mt.xxvii.22. and they all say unto him,

Lu. xxiii.21. Crucify him! crucify him!

Mt.xxvii.21. Let him be crucified.

Mark xv.14. Then Pilate said unto them,

Lu. xxiii.22. the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go.

La. xxiii.23.

Mark xv.14. And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him. And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the Chief Priests prevailed.


MATT. XXVii. part of ver. 22, 23.

22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then

23 And the governor said, Why? what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

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When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed

16 It is very probable that the Chief Priests and elders who 66 persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus" (Matt. xxvii. 20.) had placed their own creatures and dependants as near as they might legally approach (John xviii. 28.) the door of the judgment-hall, that they might obtain the release of Barabbas, and secure the destruction of Jesus; for immediately after, they clamorously demand the crucifixion of Christ, so anxious were the Chief Priests for the immediate condemnation of our Lord, and so fearful lest his innocence should protect him from their malice.

K k



his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of Jerusalem. the blood of this just person; see ye to it.

Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children ".

Mark xv. 15.


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And so Pilate, willing to content the people,

Lu. xxiii.24. Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required. And he released unto them, him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired.

John xix. 1.

Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.
Mark xv.15. and when he had scourged him,
Lu.xxiii.25. he delivered Jesus to their will,
Mtxxvii.26. to be crucified 18

17 The guilt of condemning our Lord must almost entirely rest upon the unhappy nation whom he had designed to save, (John xix. 11.) Pilate made five successive efforts to deliver Jesus from their inveterate hatred, and was induced at last, unwillingly to yield him up, from the apprehension of his own personal safety. Perhaps, likewise, if he had not complied with the violent and clamorous importunities of the Jewish rulers, he might have feared a commotion among the people, who were seditiously inclined, and were assembled at this time in great numbers, from all parts of Judea, for the celebration of the Passover. In all probability Pilate was not provided with sufficient force to ensure perfect tranquillity on these great festivals: their very solemnity would be considered as the best guarantee for the observance of propriety and good conduct.

18 This is one of those passages in which the Evangelists are supposed to be inconsistent. St. Mark says, chap. xv. 25. it was the third hour, and they crucified him: St. John tells us, it was about the sixth hour; and Pilate delivered him to be crucified, John xix. 14–16. Various modes have been adopted to reconcile these apparent differences. One, and that the most usual, and at all times the most objectionable, is the supposition of a false reading. It is urged, that in ancient times all numbers were written in manuscripts, not at length, but with numeral letters, it was easy for r, three, to be taken for , six. Of this opinion are Griesbach, in his elaborate edition of the New Testament, Semler, Rosenmüller, Doddridge, Whitby, Bengel, Cocceius, Beza, Erasmus, and by far the greater part of the most eminent critics. Besides the Codex Beza, and the Codex Stephani (of the eighth century,) there are four other manuscripts, which read rpurŋ, the third, in John xix. 14. as well as the Alexandrian Chronicle, which professes to cite accurate manuscripts-even the autography of St. John himself. Such also is the opinion of Severus Antiochenus, Ammonius, and some others, cited by Theophylact on the passage; to whom must be added Nonnus, a Greek poet of Panopolis, in

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Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus,

Mark xv.16. and led him away

Egypt, who flourished in the fifth century, and wrote a poetical
paraphrase of the Gospel of St. John, and who also found rpirn
in the manuscript used by him (a).

Others have supposed, that the Evangelists have adopted dif.
ferent methods of calculation. Notwithstanding the authorities
above adduced, they observe that none of the ancient tran-
slators read the third hour in John: they therefore solve the
difficulty (imperfectly it must be confessed) by considering the
day as divided into four parts, answering to the four watches
of the night. These coincided with the hours of three, six,
nine, or twelve; or, in our way of reckoning, nine, twelve,
three, and six, which also suited the solemn times of sacrifice
and prayer in the temple. In cases, they argue, in which the
Jews did not think it of consequence to ascertain the time with
great accuracy, they did not regard the intermediate hours,
but only those more noted divisions which happened to come
nearest the time of the event spoken of. Adopting this method
of reconciliation, Dr. Campbell remarks, that Mark says "it
was the third hour," from which we have reason to conclude
that the third hour was past. John says, “it was about the
sixth hour," from which he thinks it probable that the sixth
hour was not yet come. On this supposition, though the Evan-
gelists may, by a fastidious reader, be accused of want of preci-
sion in regard to dates, they will not, by any judicious and can-
did critic, be charged with falsehood or misrepresentation. Who
would accuse two modern historians with contradicting each
other, because, in relating an event which had happened be-
tween ten and eleven in the forenoon, one had said it was past
nine o'clock; the other that it was drawing towards noon (b).

There is, however, in fact, no real difference between the Evangelists: and this is fully shewn by the admirable reasoning both of Dr. Townson and Pilkington. If we review the whole of the transaction which took place at the crucifixion, and endeavour to assign their respective periods to each, it will be found that St. John calculated his time by the Roman or Asiatic method, from midnight to mid-day, and from mid-day to midnight. If we allow the sixth hour, mentioned by St. John, to mean the sixth hour in the morning, it will suit the place in which it stands admirably well, which the third hour would not.

The night was divided into twelve hours, or four equal watches. Of the latter division we have several traces in the Gospel. St. Mark thus enumerates them: oèǹ μeσovuktióu, ǹ áλekтpopwvias, ǹ πρwi, Mark xiii. 25; the cock crowing was from twelve to three, and the last from three to six.

The six o'clock of St. John was the end of the Proi. Let us examine the division of time from the beginning of the ȧλEKTρopwvia, (cock-crowing,) to the end of the (pwt,) last watch. The apprehension in the garden appears to have been made about ten o'clock on Thursday night, and Jesus was then led away to Annas. About eleven he was sent to Caiaphas. About midnight Peter denied him the first time, at the first cockcrowing. Soon after midnight he was condemned by the High Priest, &c. after that he was abused by the officers and servants, and Peter denied him a second time. About three in the morning, i. e. at the second cock-crowing, Peter denied him the third time. About four, "as soon as it was day," the Sanhedrim met; and in a little time they again condemned him.


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