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429Chapter 9.

Then he summoned Nicodemus and the twelve God-fearing Jews, and said to them:  What do you say that I should do? because the people are in commotion.  They say:  We do not know:  do as thou wilt; but what the people do, they do unjustly, in order to kill him.  Pilate again went outside, and said to the people:  You know that in the feasts of unleavened bread it is customary that I free on your account one of the criminals kept in custody.  I have, then, one malefactor in the prison, a robber named Barabbas.  I have also Jesus, who has never done any evil.  Which of the two, then, do you wish that I release to you?  The people answered:  Release to us Barabbas.  Pilate says:  What then shall I do with Jesus?  They say:  Let him be crucified.18931893    Matt. xxvii. 15–18, 21–23.  Again, others of them cried out:  If thou release Jesus, thou art no friend of Cæsar,18941894    John xix. 12. because he calls himself Son of God, and king.  And if thou free him, he becomes a king, and will take Cæsar’s kingdom.

Pilate therefore was enraged, and said:  Always has your nation been devilish18951895    Or, slanderous. and unbelieving; and ever have you been adversaries to your benefactors.  The Hebrews say:  And who were our benefactors?  Pilate says:  God, who freed you out of the hand of Pharaoh, and brought you through the Red Sea as upon dry land, and fed you with quails, and gave you water to drink out of the dry rock, and who gave you a law which, denying God you broke; and if Moses had not stood and entreated God, you would have perished by a bitter death.  All these, then, you have forgotten.  Thus also, even now, you say that I do not at all love Cæsar, but hate him, and wish to plot against his kingdom.

And having thus spoken, Pilate rose up from the throne with anger, wishing to flee from them.  The Jews therefore cried out, saying:  We wish Cæsar to be king over us, not Jesus, because Jesus received gifts18961896    The word here, χάρισμα, is used in the New Testament only of gifts and graces bestowed by God, and specially of the miraculous gifts imparted to the early Christians by the Holy Ghost.  The word in Matt. ii. 11 is δῶρα. from the Magi.  And Herod also heard this—that there was going to be a king—and wished to put him to death, and for this purpose sent and put to death all the infants that were in Bethlehem.  And on this account also his father Joseph and his mother fled from fear of him into Egypt.18971897    Matt. ii. 14–16.  [The writer seems to identify Herod the Great and Herod Antipas.—R.]

So then Pilate, hearing this, silenced all the people, and said:  This, then, is the Jesus whom Herod then sought that he might put him to death?  They say to him:  Yes.  Pilate therefore, having ascertained that he was of the jurisdiction of Herod, as being derived of the race of the Jews, sent Jesus to him.  And Herod, seeing Him, rejoiced greatly, because he had been long desiring to see Him, hearing of the miracles which He did.  He put on Him, therefore, white garments.  Then he began to question Him.  But Jesus did not give him an answer.  And Herod, wishing to see also some miracle or other done by Jesus, and not seeing it, and also because He did not answer him a single word, sent Him back again to Pilate.18981898    Luke xxiii. 6–11.  [The only passage directly interpolated into Luke’s narrative is “as being derived of the race of the Jews.”  A curious blunder of the compiler!—R.]  Pilate, seeing this, ordered his officers to bring water.  Washing, then, his hands with the water, he said to the people:  I am innocent of the blood of this good man.  See you to it, that he is unjustly put to death, since neither I have found a fault in him, nor Herod; for because of this he has sent him back again to me.  The Jews said:  His blood be upon us, and upon our children.18991899    Matt. xxvii. 25.

Then Pilate sat down upon his throne to pass sentence.  He gave order, therefore, and Jesus came before him.  And they brought a crown of thorns, and put it on His head, and a reed into His right hand.19001900    John xix. 2, 3; Matt. xxvii. 29.  Then he passed sentence, and said to Him:  Thy nation says, and testifies against thee, that thou wishest to be a king.  Therefore I decree that they shall beat thee first with a rod forty strokes, as the laws of the kings decree, and that they shall mock thee; and finally, that they shall crucify thee.

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