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Jerusalem. 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. 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
then that I shall do
13. And they cried out again, Crucify him.
found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise
him, and let him go.
he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of
MATT. xxvii. part of ver. 22, 23.
23 And the governor said, Why? wbat evil bath he done?
MARK XV. part of ver. 14.
LUKE xxiii. part of ver 21, 22.
The Jews imprecute the Punishment of Christ's Death upon
MATT. xxvii. 24, 25.
16 It is very probable that the Chief Priests and elders who
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 Barabbás, and secure the destruction of Jesus; for imniediately 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 bis innocence should protect him from their malice.
his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of Jerusalem.
the blood of this just person ; see ye to it. Mtxxvii.25. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be
on us, and on our children 7.
Pilate releases Barabbas, and delivers Christ to be
crucified MATT. xxvii. 26-30.
MARK XV. 15-19. LUKE xxiii.
24, 25. JOHN xix. 1-16. Mark xv. 15. And so Pilate, willing to content the people, La. 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.
17 The guilt of condemniug our Lord must almost entirely rest upon the unhappy nation whom he had designed to save, (Jobn xix. 11.) Pilate made five successive efforts to deliver Jesus from their inveterale batred, and was induced at last, unwillingly to yield him up, from the apprebension 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 propided with sufficient force to ensure perfect tranquillity on these great fes. tivals: 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 wbich 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 tbis 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 Bezæ, and the Codex Stephani (of the eighth century,) there are four other manuscripts, which read spirn, the tbird, in John xix. 14. as well as the Alexandrian Chronicle, which professes to cite accurate inanuscripts-even the autography of St. John himself. Sueb 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 Panópolis, in
Mıxxvii.27. . Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus,
Egypt, who flourisbed in the fifth century, and wrote a poetical
Others have supposed, that the Evangelists have adopted dir.
There is, however, in fact, no real difference between the Evangelists : and this is fully shewn by the adnjirable reasoning both of Dr. Townson and Pilkington. If we review the whole of the transaction which took place at the crncitixion, 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 inid-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 wbich 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: ólè m MEGOVUKTIÓV, À á ektpoowvias, ņ mpwi, 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 beginping of the ålert popuvia, (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 Appas. About eleven be was sent to Caiaphas. About midnight Peter denied bim 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 coudemned him.
Mt.xxvii.27. into the common-hall,
About five," when it was early," they led him away to Pilate ;
The eveuts that happened between his being first taken be-
If Caiaphas did not send to Herod and Pilate when our Lord was first brought prisoner to his house, he would probably dispatch messengers to them as soon as he was condemned in the council. To the former, to request he would watch over his Galilean subjects, lest they should make a disturbance in favour of Jesus; and to Pilate, (who gave the soldiers to assist in the apprebension of Christ,) to acquaint him with their intention of bringing the prisoner before him. As this was the time of the passover, when a great concourse of a mutinous nation was assembled at Jerusalem, and its adjoining villages, it was the duty of Pilate and Herod to exert the utmost vigilance, even without the occurrence of any unusual eveut. The rulers of Judea might, perhaps, at this time have been alarmed at the intelligence of the acclamations of the people, some days before. It cannot therefore excite surprise, that on such an occasion as this, Pilate, and quickly after him Herod, was early up, and ready to receive the Jewish rulers as soon as they appeared. The first time they continued but a little while with Pilate ; for when he was told that Jesus belonged to Herod's jurisdiction, he fortbwith sent our Saviour to him. Herod and Pilate came but seldom to Jerusalem, and on these occasions they were, in all probability, accommodated in the Herodian palace, which was very extensive, and consisted of two spacious and distinct buildings. Josephus in consequence calls it not a palace, but palaces. This superb edifice, as well as the tower Antonia, which was a palace and tower together, stood near the temple, and communicated with it. Little time therefore being lost in removing from place to place, (the High Priest being also lodged near the temple,) the first examination hefore Pilate, and the interview with Herod, might come within such compass, as that our Lord might be remanded to Pilate by five in the morning, at which time it was broad day-light.
There was great eagerness for a speedy determination on one side, and a necessity for it on the otber. The Jewish rulers, jealous of delay, and of a variable multitude, pressed on while circumstances favoured. Pilate well knew the seditious spirit of the nation, restless under a foreign yoke, and rendered confident by their great increase of numbers in consequence of the passover. He twice interrogated Jesus in tbe Pretorium, with the sound of their outcry, as it were in his ears; and found it requisite to determine speedily whether he would appease them by compliance, or repel them by force, wbich on the present occasion would not have been expedient. This brings us, then, either to the sixth hour in the morning, or to the sixth hour of
Mtxxvii.27. of soldiers.
mid-day. But the latter construction corresponds neither with
We come to the same conclusion by a calculation of the
1. Although Mount Calvary was near to the city, the processiop must have been slow. Christ was weakened by bis agony in the garden, and by the pain and loss of blood be sustained from the cruel scourging, and from the iosulting mockery of the soldiers. It was usual for the people to ill treat the criminals who went to crucifixion. He bimself carried his cross to the gate of the city, and although it was there laid on Simon the Cyrenjan, He had still farther to go, and an eminence to ascend To this procession, and the necessary preparations for the crucifixion, we cannot allot less than an hour, and this brings us to eight in the morning.
2 Before he was led forth the two robbers were to be con. demaed; for in cases where no appeal lay to the emperor, or Roman senate, the examination for atrocious offences was little more than nominal; and the speedy sentence of the judge was followed by the immediate punishment of the criminal.
Probably, while our Saviour's trial was pending, these malefactors were brought from the prison to the ball, where the sol. diers kept guard, that they might be in readiness. In this place, perhaps, the penitent thief might have witnessed the deportment of Jesus, while he was scourged and insulted by the Roman soldiers; and might bave conceived that sense of his meekness, boliness, and majesty, which prepared him for the grace of a perfect confession of faith upon the cross. To the time employed in the trying, condemning, and scourging of these men, (according to the Roman law,) may we not reckon another fúlì hour? In the meanwhile Christ was guarded by the soldiers; into whose hands therefore he was delivered at seven, or rather earlier.
3. When Pilate bad taken his seat on the tribunal, to pro. nounce sentence of death on Christ, he was interrupted by the message of his wife, still besitating—be again expostulated with the Jews, and declared the innocence of Jesus-and, when he could prevail nothing, he washed his bands before the multi.. tude, and then decreed his condemnation. These various particulars might altogether occupy about another hour, and they bring us again to the same point—within' balf an hour of six. Here then the computations meet, wbether we reckon on from the Proi, or back from the third hour: by either account, Pilate“ sat down in the judgment seat” between six and sevca in the morning.
The conjecture of Grotius, adopted by Dr. Randolph, and