[Table of Contents]
[Previous] [Next]
Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Luke: Chapter 23)

23:1 {The whole company} (\hapan to plēthos\). All but Nicodemus
and Joseph of Arimathea who were probably not invited to this

23:2 {Began to accuse} (\ērxanto katēgorein\). They went at it
and kept it up. Luke mentions three, but neither of them includes
their real reason nor do they mention their own condemnation of
Jesus. They had indulged their hatred in doing it, but they no
longer have the power of life and death. Hence they say nothing
to Pilate of that. {We found} (\heuramen\). Second aorist active
indicative with first aorist vowel \a\. Probably they mean that
they had caught Jesus in the act of doing these things (_in
flagrante delicto_)
rather than discovery by formal trial.
{Perverting our nation} (\diastrephonta to ethnos hēmōn\).
Present active participle of \diastrephō\, old verb to turn this
way and that, distort, disturb. In the N.T. only here and Ac
13:10. The Sanhedrin imply that the great popularity of Jesus
was seditious. {Forbidding to give tribute to Caesar}, (\kōluonta
phorous kaisari didonai\)
. Note object infinitive \didonai\ after
the participle \kōluonta\. Literally, hindering giving tribute to
Caesar. This was a flat untruth. Their bright young students had
tried desperately to get Jesus to say this very thing, but they
had failed utterly ( Lu 20:25). {Saying that he himself is
Christ a king}
(\legonta hauton Christon basilea einai\). Note
the indirect discourse here after the participle \legonta\ with
the accusative (\hauton\ where \auton\ could have been used), and
the infinitive. This charge is true, but not in the sense meant
by them. Jesus did claim to be the Christ and the king of the
kingdom of God. But the Sanhedrin wanted Pilate to think that he
set himself up as a rival to Caesar. Pilate would understand
little from the word "Christ," but "King" was a different matter.
He was compelled to take notice of this charge else he himself
would be accused to Caesar of winking at such a claim by Jesus.

23:3 {Thou sayest} (\su legeis\). A real affirmative as in
22:70. The Gospels all give Pilate's question about Jesus
asking of the Jews in precisely the same words ( Mr 15:2; Mt
27:11; Lu 23:3; Joh 18:33)

23:4 {The multitude} (\tous ochlous\). The first mention of them.
It is now after daybreak. The procession of the Sanhedrin would
draw a crowd (Plummer) and some may have come to ask for the
release of a prisoner ( Mr 15:8). There was need of haste if the
condemnation went through before friends of Jesus came. {I find
no fault}
(\ouden heuriskō aition\). In the N.T. Luke alone uses
this old adjective \aitios\ ( Lu 23:4,14,22; Ac 19:40) except
Heb. 5:9. It means one who is the author, the cause of or
responsible for anything. Luke does not give the explanation of
this sudden decision of Pilate that Jesus is innocent. Evidently
he held a careful examination before he delivered his judgment on
the case. That conversation is given in Joh 18:33-38. Pilate
took Jesus inside the palace from the upper gallery ( Joh 18:33)
and then came out and rendered his decision to the Sanhedrin
( Joh 18:38) who would not go into the palace of Pilate ( Joh

23:5 {But they were the more urgent} (\hoi de epischuon\).
Imperfect active of \epischuō\, to give added (\epi\) strength
(\ischuō\). And they kept insisting. Evidently Pilate had taken
the thing too lightly. {He stirred up the people} (\anaseiei ton
. This compound is rare, though old (Thucydides), to shake
up (back and forth). This is a more vigorous repetition of the
first charge (verse 2, "perverting our nation"). {Beginning
from Galilee}
(\arxamenos apo tēs Galilaias\). These very words
occur in the address of Peter to the group in the house of
Cornelius ( Ac 10:37). The idiomatic use of \arxamenos\ appears
also in Ac 1:22. Galilee (Grote) was the mother of seditious
men (see Josephus).

23:6 {A Galilean} (\Galilaios\). If so, here was a way out for
Herod without going back on his own decision.

23:7 {When he knew} (\epignous\). Second aorist active participle
from \epiginōskō\, having gained full (\epi\, added knowledge).
{Of Herod's jurisdiction} (\ek tēs exousias Hērōidou\). Herod was
naturally jealous of any encroachment by Pilate, the Roman
Procurator of Judea. So here was a chance to respect the
prerogative (\exousia\) of Herod and get rid of this troublesome
case also. {Sent him up} (\anepempsen\). First aorist active
indicative of \anapempō\. This common verb is used of sending
back as in verse 11 or of sending up to a higher court as of
Paul to Caesar ( Ac 25:21). {Who himself also was} (\onta kai
. Being also himself in Jerusalem. Present active
participle of \eimi\.

23:8 {Was exceeding glad} (\echarē lian\). Second aorist passive
indicative of \chairō\, ingressive aorist, became glad. {Of a
long time}
(\ex hikanōn chronōn\). For this idiom see 8:27;
20:9; Ac 8:11). {He hoped} (\ēlpizen\). Imperfect active. He was
still hoping. He had long ago gotten over his fright that Jesus
was John the Baptist come to life again ( 9:7-9). {Done}
(\ginomenon\). Present middle participle. He wanted to see a
miracle happening like a stunt of a sleight-of-hand performer.

23:9 {He questioned} (\epērōtā\). Imperfect active, kept on
questioning. {In many words} (\en logois hikanois\). Same use of
\hikanos\ as in verse 8.

23:10 {Stood} (\histēkeisan\). Second perfect active intransitive
of \histēmi\ with sense of imperfect. They stood by while Herod
quizzed Jesus and when he refused to answer, they broke loose
with their accusations like a pack of hounds with full voice
(\eutonōs\, adverb from adjective \eutonos\, from \eu\, well, and
\teinō\, to stretch, well tuned)
. Old word, but in the N.T. only
here and Ac 18:28.

23:11 {Set him at nought} (\exouthenēsas\). First aorist active
participle from \exoutheneō\, to count as nothing, to treat with
utter contempt, as zero. {Arraying him in gorgeous apparel}
(\peribalōn esthēta lampran\). Second aorist active participle of
\periballō\, to fling around one. \Lampran\ is brilliant, shining
as in Jas 2:2, so different from the modest dress of the
Master. This was part of the shame.

23:12 {For before they were at enmity between themselves}
(\proupērchon gar en echthrāi ontes pros heautous\). A
periphrastic imperfect of the double compound \prouperchō\, an
old verb, to exist (\huparchō\) previously (\pro-\), here alone
in the N.T., with \ontes\ (participle of \eimi\) added.

23:13 {Called together} (\sunkalesamenos\). First aorist middle
participle (to himself). Pilate included "the people" in the hope
that Jesus might have some friends among them.

23:14 {As one that perverteth the people} (\hōs apostrephonta ton
. Pilate here condenses the three charges in verse 2 into
one (Plummer). He uses a more common compound of \strephō\ here,
\apostrephō\, to turn away from, to seduce, to mislead, whereas
\diastrephō\ in verse 2 has more the notion of disturbing
(turning this way and that). Note the use of \hōs\ with the
particle, the alleged reason. Pilate understands the charge
against Jesus to be that he is a revolutionary agitator and a
dangerous rival to Caesar, treason in plain words. {Having
examined him before you}
(\enōpion humōn anakrinas\). Right
before your eyes I have given him a careful examination (\ana\)
up and down, \krinō\, to judge, sift. Old and common verb in the
general sense and in the forensic sense as here and which Luke
alone has in the N.T. ( Lu 23:14; 4:9; 12:19; 28:18; Ac 24:8)
except 1Co 9:3. {Whereof} (\hōn\). Attraction of the relative
\ha\ to the case (genitive) of the unexpressed antecedent

23:15 {No nor yet} (\all' oude\). But not even. {Hath been done
by him}
(\estin pepragmenon autōi\). Periphrastic perfect passive
indicative of \prassō\, common verb, to do. The case of \autōi\
can be regarded as either the dative or the instrumental
(Robertson, _Grammar_, pp. 534,542).

23:16 {Chastise} (\paideusas\). First aorist active participle of
\paideuō\, to train a child (\pais\), and then, as a part of the
training, punishment. Our English word chasten is from the Latin
_castus_, pure, chaste, and means to purify (cf. Heb 12:6f.).
Perhaps Pilate may have split a hair over the word as Wycliff
puts it: "I shall deliver him amended." But, if Jesus was
innocent, Pilate had no doubt to "chastise" him to satisfy a mob.
Verse 17 is omitted by Westcott and Hort as from Mr 15:6; Mt

23:18 {All together} (\panplēthei\). An adverb from the adjective
\panplēthēs\, all together. Used by Dio Cassius. Only here in the
N.T. {Away} (\aire\). Present active imperative, Take him on away
and keep him away as in Ac 21:36; 22:22, of Paul. But {release}
(\apoluson\) is first aorist active imperative, do it now and at

23:19 {Insurrection} (\stasin\). An old word for sedition,
standing off, the very charge made against Jesus (and untrue). If
Jesus had raised insurrection against Caesar, these accusers
would have rallied to his standard. {And for murder} (\kai
. They cared nought for this. In fact, the murderer was
counted a hero like bandits and gangsters today with some
sentimentalists. {Was cast} (\ēn blētheis\). Periphrastic aorist
passive indicative of \ballō\, a quite unusual form.

23:21 {But they shouted} (\hoi de epephōnoun\). Imperfect active
of \epiphōneō\, to call to. Old verb and a verb pertinent here.
They kept on yelling. {Crucify, crucify} (\staurou, staurou\).
Present active imperative. Go on with the crucifixion. Mr 15:13
has \staurōson\ (first aorist active imperative), do it now and
be done with it. No doubt some shouted one form, some another.

23:22 {Why, what evil?} (\Ti gar kakon;\). Note this use of \gar\
(explanatory and argumentative combined).

23:23 {But they were instant} (\hoi de epekeinto\). Imperfect
middle of \epikeimai\, an old verb for the rush and swirl of a
tempest. {With loud voices} (\phōnais megalais\). Instrumental
case. Poor Pilate was overwhelmed by this tornado. {Prevailed}
(\katischuon\). Imperfect active of \katischuō\ (see Mt 16:18;
Lu 21:36)
. The tempest Pilate had invited ( 23:13).

23:24 {Gave sentence} (\epekrinen\). Pronounced the final
sentence. The usual verb for the final decision. Only here in the

23:25 {Whom they asked for} (\hon ēitounto\). Imperfect middle,
for whom they had been asking for themselves. Luke repeats that
Barabbas was in prison "for insurrection and murder." {To their
(\tōi thelēmati autōn\). This is mob law by the judge who
surrenders his own power and justice to the clamour of the crowd.

23:26 {They laid hold} (\epilabomenoi\). Second aorist middle
participle of the common verb \epilambanō\. The soldiers had no
scruples about taking hold of any one of themselves (middle
. Mr 15:21; Lu 27:32 use the technical word for this
process \aggareuō\, which see for discussion and also about
Cyrene. {Laid on him} (\epethēkan\). \K\ first aorist of
\epitithēmi\. {To bear it} (\pherein\). Present infinitive, to go
on bearing.

23:27 {Followed} (\ēkolouthei\). Imperfect active, was following.
Verses 27-32 are peculiar to Luke. {Bewailed} (\ekoptonto\).
Imperfect middle of \koptō\, to cut, smite, old and common verb.
Direct middle, they were smiting themselves on the breast. "In
the Gospels there is no instance of a woman being hostile to
Christ" (Plummer). Luke's Gospel is appropriately called the
Gospel of Womanhood ( 1:39-56; 2:36-38; 7:11-15, 37-50; 8:1-3;
10:38-42; 11:27; 13:11-16)
. {Lamented} (\ethrēnoun\). Imperfect
active of \thrēneō\, old verb from \threomai\, to cry aloud,

23:28 {Turning} (\strapheis\). Luke is fond of this second aorist
passive participle of \strephō\ ( 7:9,44,55; 10:23). If he had
been still carrying the Cross, he could not have made this
dramatic gesture. {Weep not} (\mē klaiete\). Present active
imperative with \mē\, Stop weeping.

23:29 {Blessed} (\makariai\). A beatitude to the barren, the
opposite of the hopes of Jewish mothers. Childless women are
commiserated ( 1:25,36). {To the hills} (\tois bounois\). A
Cyrenaic word. In the N.T. only here and 3:5. Quotation from
Ho 10:8.

23:31 {In the green tree} (\en hugrōi xulōi\). Green wood is hard
to burn and so is used for the innocent. {In the dry} (\en tōi
. Dry wood kindles easily and is a symbol for the guilty.
This common proverb has various applications. Here the point is
that if they can put Jesus to death, being who he is, what will
happen to Jerusalem when its day of judgment comes? {What shall
be done}
(\ti genētai\). Deliberative subjunctive.

23:32 {Were led} (ēgonto). Imperfect passive of \agō\, were being
led. {Malefactors} (\kakourgoi\). Evil (\kakon\), doers (work,
. Old word, but in the N.T. only in this passage
( 32,33,39) and 2Ti 2:9. Luke does not call them "robbers"
like Mr 15:27; Mt 27:38,44. {To be put to death}
(\anairethēnai\). First aorist passive infinitive of \anaireō\,
old verb, to take up, to take away, to kill.

23:33 {The skull} (\to kranion\). Probably because it looked like
a skull. See on ¯Mt 27:33; Mr 15:22. {There they crucified him}
(\ekei estaurōsan\). There between the two robbers and on the
very cross on which Barabbas, the leader of the robber band, was
to have been crucified. {One} (\hon men\), {the other} (\hon
. Common idiom of contrast with this old demonstrative \hos\
and \men\ and \de\.

23:34 {Father forgive them} (\Pater, aphes autois\). Second
aorist active imperative of \aphiēmi\, with dative case. Some of
the oldest and best documents do not contain this verse, and yet,
while it is not certain that it is a part of Luke's Gospel, it is
certain that Jesus spoke these words, for they are utterly unlike
any one else. Jesus evidently is praying for the Roman soldiers,
who were only obeying, but not for the Sanhedrin. {Cast lots}
(\ebalon klēron\). Second aorist active indicative of \ballō\.
See Mr 15:24; Mt 27:35. Joh 19:23f. shows how the lot was
cast for the seamless garment, the four soldiers dividing the
other garments.

23:35 {The people stood beholding} (\histēkei\). Past perfect
active of \histēmi\, intransitive and like imperfect. A graphic
picture of the dazed multitude, some of whom may have been in the
Triumphal Entry on Sunday morning. {Scoffed} (\exemuktērizon\).
Imperfect active, perhaps inchoative, began to turn up (out,
at the dying Christ. The language comes from Ps 22:7.
{The Christ of God} (\ho Christos tou theou\). He had claimed to
be just this ( 22:67,70). The sarcastic sneer (he saved others;
let him save others, for himself he cannot save)
is in Mr 15:31;
Mt 27:42. Luke alone gives the contemptuous use of \houtos\
(this fellow) and the fling in "the elect" (\ho eklektos\). These
rulers were having their day at last.

23:36 {Mocked} (\enepaixan\). Even the soldiers yielded to the
spell and acted like boys in their jeers. Aorist tense here and
different verb also from that used of the rulers. They were not
so bitter and persistent.

23:37 {If} (\ei\). Condition of the first class as is text in
verse 35 used by the rulers. The soldiers pick out "the king of
the Jews" as the point of their sneer, the point on which Jesus
was condemned. But both soldiers and rulers fail to understand
that Jesus could not save himself if he was to save others.

23:38 {A superscription} (\epigraphē\). Mr 15:26 has "the
superscription of his accusation" Mt 27:37, "his accusation,"
Joh 19:19 "a title." But they all refer to the charge written
at the top on the cross giving, as was the custom, the accusation
on which the criminal was condemned, with his name and residence.
Put all the reports together and we have: This is Jesus of
Nazareth the King of the Jews. This full title appeared in Latin
for law, in Aramaic for the Jews, in Greek for everybody ( Joh

23:39 {Railed} (\eblasphēmei\). Imperfect active, implying that
he kept it up. His question formally calls for an affirmative
answer (\ouchi\), but the ridicule is in his own answer: "Save
thyself and us." It was on a level with an effort to break
prison. Luke alone gives this incident ( 39-43), though Mr
15:32; Mt 27:44 allude to it.

23:40 {Rebuking} (\epitimōn\). From what Mark and Matthew say
both robbers sneered at Jesus at first, but this one came to
himself and turned on his fellow robber in a rage. {Dost thou not
even fear God?}
(\Oude phobēi ton theon;\). \Oude\ here goes with
the verb. \Phobēi\ (second person singular present indicative
middle of \phobeomai\)
. Both of you will soon appear before God.
Jesus has nothing to answer for and you have added this to your
other sins.)

23:41 {Nothing amiss} (\ouden atopon\). Nothing out of place (\a\
privative, \topos\, place)
. Old word, three times in the N.T.
( Lu 23:44; Ac 28:6; 2Th 3:2). This can only mean that this
robber accepts the claims of Jesus to be true. He is dying for
claiming to be Messiah, as he is.

23:42 {In thy kingdom} (\eis tēn basileian sou\, text of Westcott
and Hort or \en tei basileiāi sou\, margin)
. Probably no
difference in sense is to be found, for \eis\ and \en\ are
essentially the same preposition. He refers to the Messianic rule
of Jesus and begs that Jesus will remember him. It is not clear
whether he hopes for immediate blessing or only at the judgment.

23:43 {Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise} (\Sēmeron met'
emou esēi en tōi paradeisōi\)
. However crude may have been the
robber's Messianic ideas Jesus clears the path for him. He
promises him immediate and conscious fellowship after death with
Christ in Paradise which is a Persian word and is used here not
for any supposed intermediate state; but the very bliss of heaven
itself. This Persian word was used for an enclosed park or
pleasure ground (so Xenophon). The word occurs in two other
passages in the N.T. ( 2Co 12:4; Re 2:7), in both of which the
reference is plainly to heaven. Some Jews did use the word for
the abode of the pious dead till the resurrection, interpreting
"Abraham's bosom" ( Lu 16:22f.) in this sense also. But the
evidence for such an intermediate state is too weak to warrant
belief in it.

23:45 {The sun's light failing} (\tou hēliou ekleipontos\).
Genitive absolute of the present active participle of \ekleipō\,
an old verb, to leave out, omit, pass by, to fail, to die. The
word was used also of the eclipse of the sun or moon. But this
was impossible at this time because the moon was full at the
passover. Hence many documents change this correct text to "the
sun was darkened" (\eskotisthē ho hēlios\) to obviate the
difficulty about the technical eclipse. But the sun can be
darkened in other ways. In a London fog at noon the street lights
are often turned on. The Revised Version translates it correctly,
"the sun's light failing." Leave the darkness unexplained. {In
the midst}
(\meson\). In the middle. Mr 15:38; Mt 27:51 have
"in two" (\eis duo\).

23:46 {Father} (\Pater\). Jesus dies with the words of Ps 31:5
on his lips. {Gave up the ghost} (\exepneusen\). First aorist
active indicative of \ekpneō\, to breathe out, to expire, old
word, but in the N.T. only here and Mr 15:37,39. There is no
special reason for retaining "ghost" in the English as both Mt
27:50 (yielded up his spirit, \aphēken to pneuma\) and Joh
19:30 (gave up his spirit, \paredōken to pneuma\) use \pneuma\
which is the root of \ekpneō\, the verb in Mark and Luke.

23:47 {Glorified} (\edoxazen\). Imperfect active. Began to
glorify (inchoative) or kept on glorifying.

23:48 {Certainly} (\ontōs\). Really, old adverb from the
participle \on\ from \eimi\, to be. Used also in 24:34 of the
resurrection of Jesus. {A righteous man} (\dikaios\). Mr 15:39
( Mt 27:54) which see, represents the centurion as saying \theou
huios\ (God's Son) which may mean to him little more than
"righteous man." {That came together} (\sunparagenomenoi\).
Double compound (\sun\, together, \para\, along), that came along
together. {To this sight} (\epi tēn theōrian tautēn\). This
spectacle (\theōrian\ from \theōreō\, verse 35). {Returned}
(\hupestrephon\). Imperfect active of \hupostrephō\. See them
slowly wending their way back to the city from this Tragedy of
the Ages which they had witnessed in awe.

23:49 {Stood afar off} (\histēkeisan apo makrothen\). Same verb
as in verse 35. Melancholy picture of the inner circle of the
acquaintances of Jesus and the faithful band of women from
Galilee. {Seeing these things} (\horōsai tauta\). And helpless
either to prevent them or to understand them. They could only
stand and look with blinded eyes.

23:51 {He had not consented to their counsel and deed} (\houtos
ouk ēn sunkatatetheimenos tēi boulēi kai tēi praxei autōn\)
. This
parenthesis is given by Luke alone and explains that, though a
councillor (\bouleutēs\, Mr 5:43) he had not agreed to the vote
of the Sanhedrin. It is fairly certain that both Joseph and
Nicodemus were suspected of sympathy with Jesus and so were not
invited to the trial of Jesus. {Was looking for}
(\prosedecheto\). Imperfect middle. Mr 15:43 has the
periphrastic imperfect (\ēn prosdechomenos\).

23:52 {Asked for} (\ēitēsato\). First aorist middle (indirect)
indicative as in Mr 15:43; Mt 27:58. The middle voice shows
that Joseph of Arimathea asked the body of Jesus as a personal

23:53 {Took it down} (\kathelōn\). Second aorist active
participle of \kathaireō\ as in Mr 15:46. {Wrapped}
(\enetulixen\), as in Mt 27:59 where Mr 15:46 has \eneilēsen\
(wound), which see. Joh 19:40 has "bound" (\edēsan\). See Matt.
and Mark also for the linen cloth (\sindoni\). {Hewn in stone}
(\laxeutōi\). From \laxeuō\ (\las\, a stone, \xeō\, to polish).
In the LXX and here only in the N.T. Nowhere else so far as
known. See the usual Greek verb \latomeō\ in Mr 15:46; Mt
27:60. {Where never man had yet lain} (\hou ouk en oudeis oupō
. Triple negative and periphrastic past perfect passive
in sense (\keimai\), though periphrastic imperfect passive in
form. Same item in Joh 19:40 who uses \ēn tetheimenos\
(periphrastic past perfect passive in form).

23:54 {The day of the Preparation} (\hēmera paraskeuēs\). The
technical Jewish phrase for the day before the sabbath for which
see discussion on ¯Mt 27:62. {Drew on} (\epephōsken\). Imperfect
active, began to dawn or give light. However, it was sundown, not
sunrise when the Jewish sabbath (twenty-four-hour day) began. The
confusion is to us, not to the Jews or the readers of the Greek
New Testament. Luke is not speaking of the twelve-hour day which
began with sunrise, but the twenty-four-hour day which began with

23:55 {Had come with him} (\ēsan sunelēluthuiai\). Periphrastic
past perfect active of \sunerchomai\. {Followed after}
(\katakolouthēsasai\). Aorist active participle of
\katakoloutheō\, an old verb, but in the N.T. only here and Ac
16:17. It is possible that they followed after Joseph and
Nicodemus so that they "beheld the tomb," (\etheasanto to
, and also "how his body was laid" (\hōs etethē to sōma
. First aorist passive indicative of \tithēmi\. They may
in fact, have witnessed the silent burial from a distance. The
Syriac Sinaitic and the Syriac Curetonian give it thus: "and the
women, who came with Him from Galilee went to the sepulchre in
their footsteps, and saw the body when they had brought it in
there." At any rate the women saw "that" and "how" the body of
Jesus was laid in this new tomb of Joseph in the rocks.

23:56 {On the sabbath they rested} (\to sabbaton hēsuchasan\).
They returned and prepared spices before the sabbath began. Then
they rested all during the sabbath (accusative of extent of time,
\to sabbaton\)

[Table of Contents]
[Previous] [Next]
Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Luke: Chapter 23)