Mark 15:11-15. But the chief priests Being very solicitous to carry the plan they had formed for his destruction into execution; moved the people To desire the release of Barabbas, though he was a scandalous and outrageous criminal. Pilate said again Being willing, Luke says, to release Jesus; What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call King of the Jews It seems strange that Pilate should so often repeat this title, King of the Jews; but perhaps he might do it partly to ridicule it, and bring contempt on the scheme of a Messiah; and partly to procure from the Jews, in their zeal against Jesus, the strongest and most public professions of their subjection to Cesar. And they cried out again, Crucify him By this cry, they declared the greatest degree of rage that can be imagined; for it was as if they had said, Let him whom you call our king be treated like one of the vilest of your slaves, who has committed the most enormous crime. To have inflicted such a punishment as this on any free Jew, would probably have been sufficient to have thrown the whole city and nation into an uproar; but now they were deaf to every thing but the clamour of passion, and in their madness did not consider with how dangerous a precedent they might furnish the Roman governor. And indeed it turned dreadfully on themselves, when such vast numbers of them were crucified for their opposition to the Romans during the time of their last war. See Doddridge, and note on Matthew 27:25. Pilate said, Why, what evil hath he done? What crime do you accuse him of? But instead of showing that he had done any evil, or specifying any one crime of which he had been guilty; they only cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him See note on Matthew 27:23. Pilate, therefore, willing to content the people To whom, as appears from Josephus, he had given much cause of disgust before; being perhaps afraid of an insurrection if he should continue to withstand them, though at the head of an armed force sufficient to have quelled any mob, weakly suffered himself to be borne down by their violence; and released unto them him that for sedition and murder had been cast into prison, whom they desired; but delivered Jesus to their will, Luke 23:25, namely, delivered him to be crucified, when he had scourged him! “Whipping, or scourging, was a punishment frequently used by the Jews and Romans. The Jews commonly inflicted it by a whip of three cords, and limited the number of stripes to thirty-nine, that they might not exceed the number limited. Deuteronomy 25:3. But the usual way of scourging among the Romans was with such rods or wands as the lictors carried in a bundle before the magistrates; and they were exceeding cruel in this kind of punishment, tearing with their scourges even the veins and arteries, and laying the very bowels of the malefactors bare; and as our Saviour was scourged at Pilate’s order, it was done most probably by his officers, after the Roman manner, and was therefore no less severe than disgraceful.” See Calmet, and note on Matthew 27:26.
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