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he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him.
Then he questioned with him in many words: but he answered him nothing. And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him.
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.
And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together; for before they were at enmity between themselves.
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.
I will therefore chastise him, and release him. Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner whom they would.
And they had then a notable prisoner called Barabbas, (who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder was cast into prison.)
And the multitude crying aloud, began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them.
Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or JESUS, which is called CHRIST?
(For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy.)
Whilst Pilate was sitting 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.
But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy JESUS. Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with JESUS, which is called CHRIST? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.
The governor said, Ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover; will ye therefore that I release unto you the king of the Jews? Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.
And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas,
And Pilate answered, and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him, whom ye call the King of the Jews?
And he said unto them 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.
And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified: and the voices of them, and of the chief priests prevailed.
Then Pilate therefore took JESUS, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, and said, Hail, king of the Jews: and they smote him with their hands.
Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him.
Then came JESUS forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man.
When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him,
they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him; for I find no fault in him.
The Jews then answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of GOD.
When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; and went again into the judgment-hall, and saith unto JESUS, Whence art thou? But JESUS gave him no answer.
Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not, that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?
JESUS answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.
And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Cæsar's friend; whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Cæsar.
When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought JESUS forth, and sat down in the judgment-seat, in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.
And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your king.
But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your king? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Cæsar.
When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed
his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of 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.
And Pilate, willing to content the people, 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: but he delivered JESUS to be crucified.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
We formerly read, that Herod, after the death of John the Baptist, desired to see and converse with JESUS; in hopes that his curiosity would be gratified now, he proposed a variety of questions to him: but our LORD, knowing this was not a proper season to dis cuss such questions, remained silent, notwithstanding the virulent accusations of his persecutors, and the cruel mockery of Herod and his soldiers. No injuries could vanquish his patience, no indignities overcome his greatness of mind. He was arrayed in a gorgeous robe, in order to expose him to contempt for pretend. ing to be a king, and to shew that Herod thought him beneath his resentment.
What was the cause of the variance which had subsisted between Herod and Pilate is not related; but it possibly might arise from the slaughter of the Galileans, which we formerly read of.
Pilate was, as it appears, extremely desirous of releasing JESUS; he therefore proposed to set him at liberty, when the Jews claimed his compliance with the annual custom of releasing a Jewish prisoner at the feast. How shocking it is to read that the Jews, even the Chief
Priests and rulers, preferred an impious robber and mur derer to one who, considered merely as a member of society, had, so far from injuring the community, been constantly employed during the whole of his ministry, in doing good to mankind! But view our LORD as the true MESSIAH, the only Son of GOD, and the presumption of the Jews in persecuting him is beyond example. To what a pitch of malice and barbarity must those have arrived, who could join in the dreadful cry of "CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM!"
When Pilate found that even the Chief Priests joined their voices with those of the clamorous multitude, he was induced, contrary to the convictions of his own conscience, to comply with their desire: he therefore commanded JESUS to be severely scourged. The soldiers, knowing that it was the Roman custom to scourge prisoners just before they were put to death, concluded that JESUS would be led immediately to execution; they therefore took him back into the judgment-hall, and, regarding him as abandoned to their will, resolved to offer him every insult in their power. They stripped him of the splendid dress in which Herod had arrayed him, and clothed him in a purple vest, over which they put a scarlet robe, that he might have some mock resemblance of a prince *. Then did their cruel hands plat a crown of thorns, and fix it on his head; placing in his hand a reed or stick to represent a sceptre, paying mock homage to the blessed JESUS, and congratulating him on his coronation; whilst he patiently endured their scorn, not even uttering a single complaint though the blood streamed from his back, which they
* St. Matthew says it was a scarlet; St. Mark, that it was a purple robe.-Commentators reconcile this seeming contradiction as above.