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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
John 18

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

With (συνsun). See John 12:2 for another example of συνsun in John (common in Paul). The usual μεταmeta reappears in John 18:2.

Over (περανperan). “Beyond,” preposition with the ablative as in John 6:22, John 6:25.

Brook
(χειμαρρουcheimarrou). Old word, flowing (ροοσ ρεωroos class="normal greek">χειμα — reō) in winter (τον Κεδρωνcheima), only here in N.T.

Kidron
(του Κεδρωνton Kedrōn). Literally, “of the Cedars,” “Brook of the Cedars.” Only here in N.T. So 2 Samuel 15:23. Textus Receptus like Josephus (Ant. VIII, 1, 5) has the singular κηποςtou Kedrōn (indeclinable). As a matter of fact it was always dry save after a heavy rain.

A garden
(kēpos). Old word, in N.T. only here, John 18:26; John 19:41 (Joseph‘s); Luke 13:19. John, like Luke, does not give the name Gethsemane (only in Mark 14:32; Matthew 26:36). The brook of the cedars had many unhallowed associations (1 Kings 2:37; 1 Kings 15:13; 2 Kings 23:4.; 2 Chronicles 29:16; Jeremiah 31:40).


Verse 2

Resorted thither (συνηχτη εκειsunēchthē ekei). First aorist passive indicative of συναγωsunagō old verb to gather together. A bit awkward here till you add “with his disciples.” Judas knew the place, and the habit of Jesus to come here at night for prayer (Luke 22:39). Hence his offer to catch Jesus while the feast was going on, catch him at night and alone in his usual place of prayer (the very spirit of the devil).


Verse 3

The band of soldiers (την σπειρανtēn speiran). No word for “of soldiers” in the Greek, but the Latin spira (roll or ball) was used for a military cohort (Polybius 11, 23, 1) as in Matthew 27:27; Acts 10:1, etc., here for a small band secured from the Tower of Antonia. The Synoptics do not mention the soldiers, but only the “officers” as here (υπηρεταςhupēretas for which see Matthew 26:58; Mark 14:54, Mark 14:65) or temple police from the Sanhedrin.

Cometh (ερχεταιerchetai). Dramatic historical present middle indicative.

With lanterns and torches
(μετα πανων και λαμπαδωνmeta phanōn kai lampadōn). Both old words, πανοςphanos only here in N.T., λαμπαςlampas an oil lamp (Matthew 25:1). It was full moon, but Judas took no chances for it may have been cloudy and there were dark places by the walls and under the olive trees. ΜεταMeta is accompanied with and weapons (και οπλωνkai hoplōn). Mark (Mark 14:43) mentions “swords and staves.” Probably the temple guard had weapons as well as the soldiers.


Verse 4

Knowing all the things that were coming upon him (ειδως παντα τα ερχομενα επ αυτονeidōs panta ta erchomena ep' auton). Mentioned already in John 13:1. He was not taken by surprise. The surrender and death of Jesus were voluntary acts, though the guilt of Judas and the rest remains.


Verse 5

Was standing (ιστηκειhistēkei). Second past perfect active of ιστημιhistēmi used as imperfect, a vivid picture of Judas in the very act of betraying Jesus. John does not mention the kiss by Judas as a sign to the soldiers and police. Tatian suggests that it came before John 18:4. Then Jesus stepped forth and affirmed that he was the one whom they were seeking.


Verse 6

Fell to the ground (επεσαν χαμαιepesan chamai). Second aorist active indicative of πιπτωpiptō with first aorist ending (-ανan). This recoil made them stumble. But why did they step back? Was it the former claim of Jesus (I am, εγω ειμιegō eimi) to be on an equality with God (John 8:58; John 13:19) or mere embarrassment and confusion or supernatural power exerted by Jesus? B adds ΙησουςIēsous which must mean simply: “I am Jesus.”


Verse 7

Again (παλινpalin). The repeated question receives the same answer. The soldiers and officers know who it is, but are still overawed.


Verse 8

Let these go their way (απετε τουτους υπαγεινaphete toutous hupagein). Second aorist active imperative of απιημιaphiēmi The verb υπαγεινhupagein means to withdraw (John 11:44). Jesus shows solicitude for the eleven as he had warned them and prayed for them (Luke 22:31.). He is trying to help them.


Verse 9

That might be fulfilled (ινα πληρωτηιhina plērōthēi). The regular formula (John 17:12) for Scripture, here applied to the prophecy of Jesus (John 17:12) as in John 18:32. John treats the saying of Jesus as on a par with the O.T.


Verse 10

Having a sword (εχων μαχαιρανechōn machairan). It was unlawful to carry a weapon on a feast-day, but Peter had become alarmed at Christ‘s words about his peril. They had two swords or knives in the possession of the eleven according to Luke (Luke 22:38). After the treacherous kiss of Judas (on the hand or the cheek?) the disciples asked: “Lord, shall we smite with the sword?” (Luke 22:49). Apparently before Jesus could answer Peter with his usual impulsiveness jerked out (ειλκυσενheilkusen first aorist active indicative of ελκυωhelkuō for which see John 6:44) his sword and cut off the right ear of Malchus (John 18:10), a servant of the high priest. Peter missed the man‘s head as he swerved to his left. Luke also (Luke 22:50) mentions the detail of the right ear, but John alone mentions the man‘s name and Peter‘s. There was peril to Peter in his rash act as comes out later (John 18:26), but he was dead long before John wrote his Gospel as was Lazarus of whom John could also safely write (John 12:9-11). For ωταριονōtarion diminutive of ουςous see Mark 14:47 (only other N.T. example), another diminutive ωτιονōtion in Matthew 26:51 (Mark 14:47; Luke 22:51).


Verse 11

Into the sheath (εις την τηκηνeis tēn thēkēn). Old word from τιτημιtithēmi to put for box or sheath, only here in N.T. In Matthew 26:52 Christ‘s warning is given.

The cup (το ποτηριονto potērion). Metaphor for Christ‘s death, used already in reply to request of James and John (Mark 10:39; Matthew 20:22) and in the agony in Gethsemane before Judas came (Mark 14:36; Matthew 26:39; Luke 22:42), which is not given by John. The case of το ποτηριονto potērion is the suspended nominative for note αυτοauto (it) referring to it.

Shall I not drink?
(ου μη πιωou mē piō). Second aorist active subjunctive of πινωpinō with the double negative ου μηou mē in a question expecting the affirmative answer. Abbott takes it as an exclamation and compares John 6:37; Mark 14:25.


Verse 12

The chief captain (ο χιλιαρχοςho chiliarchos). They actually had the Roman commander of the cohort along (cf. Acts 21:31), not mentioned before.

Seized (συνελαβονsunelabon). Second aorist active of συλλαμβανωsullambanō old verb to grasp together, to arrest (technical word) in the Synoptics in this context (Mark 14:48; Matthew 26:55), here alone in John.

Bound
(εδησανedēsan). First aorist active indicative of δεωdeō to bind. As a matter of course, with the hands behind his back, but with no warrant in law and with no charge against him.

To Annas first
(προς Ανναν πρωτονpros Annan prōton). Ex-high priest and father-in-law (πεντεροςpentheros old word, only here in N.T.) of Caiaphas the actual high priest. Then Jesus was subjected to a preliminary and superfluous inquiry by Annas (given only by John) while the Sanhedrin were gathering before Caiaphas. Bernard curiously thinks that the night trial actually took place here before Annas and only the early morning ratification was before Caiaphas. So he calmly says that “Matthew inserts the name Caiaphas at this point (the night trial) in which he seems to have been mistaken.” But why “mistaken”?

That year
(του ενιαυτου εκεινουtou eniautou ekeinou). Genitive of time.


Verse 14

He which gave command (ο συμβουλευσαςho sumbouleusas). First aorist active articular participle of συμβουλευωsumbouleuō old verb (Matthew 26:4). The reference is to John 11:50.

It was expedient (συμπερειsumpherei). Present active indicative retained in indirect assertion after secondary tense (ηνēn was). Here we have the second aorist active infinitive αποτανεινapothanein as the subject of συμπερειsumpherei both good idioms in the Koiné.


Verse 15

Followed (ηκολουτειēkolouthei). Imperfect active of ακολουτεωakoloutheō “was following,” picturesque and vivid tense, with associative instrumental case τωι Ιησουtōi Iēsou

Another disciple (αλλος ματητηςallos mathētēs). Correct text without article οho (genuine in John 18:16). Peter‘s companion was the Beloved Disciple, the author of the book (John 21:24).

Was known unto the high priest
(ην γνωστος τωι αρχιερειēn gnōstos tōi archierei). Verbal adjective from γινωσκωginōskō to know (Acts 1:19) with dative case. How well known the word does not say, not necessarily a personal friend, well enough known for the portress to admit John. “The account of what happened to Peter might well seem to be told from the point of view of the servants‘ hall” (Sanday, Criticism of the Fourth Gospel, p. 101).

Entered in with Jesus
(συνεισηλτεν τωι Ιησουsuneisēlthen tōi Iēsou). Second aorist active indicative of the double compound συνεισερχομαιsuneiserchomai old verb, in N.T. here and John 6:22. With associative instrumental case.

Into the court
(εις την αυληνeis tēn aulēn). It is not clear that this word ever means the palace itself instead of the courtyard (uncovered enclosure) as always in the papyri (very common). Clearly courtyard in Mark 14:66 (Matthew 26:69; Luke 22:55). Apparently Annas had rooms in the official residence of Caiaphas.


Verse 16

Was standing (ιστηκειhistēkei). Same form in John 18:5 which see. So also ιστηκεισανhistēkeisan in John 18:18. Picture of Peter standing outside by the door.

Unto the high priest (του αρχιερεωςtou archiereōs). Objective genitive here, but dative in John 18:15.

Unto her that kept the door
(τηι τυρωρωιtēi thurōrōi). Old word (τυραthura door, ωραōra care), masculine in John 10:3, feminine here, door-keeper (male or female).


Verse 17

The maid (η παιδισκηhē paidiskē). Feminine form of παιδισκοςpaidiskos diminutive of παιςpais See Matthew 26:69. When “the maid the portress” (apposition).

Art thou also? (μη και συ ειmē kai su ei). Expecting the negative answer, though she really believed he was.

This man‘s
(του αντρωπου τουτουtou anthrōpou toutou). Contemptuous use of ουτοςhoutos with a gesture toward Jesus. She made it easy for Peter to say no.


Verse 18

A fire of coals (αντρακιανanthrakian). Old word, in lxx, only here and John 21:9 in N.T. A heap of burning coals (αντραχanthrax coal). Cf. our “anthracite.” It was cold (πσυχος ηνpsuchos ēn). “There was coldness.” The soldiers had apparently returned to their barracks.

Were warming themselves (ετερμαινοντοethermainonto). Direct middle imperfect indicative of τερμαινωthermainō (from τερμοςthermos). So as to τερμαινομενοςthermainomenos about Peter. “Peter, unabashed by his lie, joined himself to the group and stood in the light of the fire” (Dods).


Verse 19

Asked (ηρωτησενērōtēsen). First aorist active indicative of ερωταωerōtaō to question, usual meaning. This was Annas making a preliminary examination of Jesus probably to see on what terms Jesus made disciples whether as a mere rabbi or as Messiah.


Verse 20

Openly (παρρησιαιparrēsiāi). As already shown (John 7:4; John 8:26; John 10:24, John 10:39; John 16:25, John 16:29. See John 7:4 for same contrast between εν παρρησιαιen parrēsiāi and εν κρυπτωιen kruptōi

I ever taught (εγω παντοτε εδιδαχαegō pantote edidaxa). Constative aorist active indicative. For the temple teaching see John 2:19; John 7:14, John 7:28; John 8:20, John 19:23; Mark 14:49 and John 6:59 for the synagogue teaching (often in the Synoptics). Examples of private teaching are Nicodemus (John 3) and the woman of Samaria (John 4). Jesus ignores the sneer at his disciples, but challenges the inquiry about his teaching as needless.


Verse 21

Ask them that have heard me (ερωτησον τους ακηκοοταςerōtēson tous akēkootas). First aorist (tense of urgent and instant action) active imperative of ερωταωerōtaō and the articular perfect active participle accusative masculine plural of ακουωakouō to hear. There were abundant witnesses to be had. Multitudes had heard Jesus in the great debate in the temple on Tuesday of this very week when the Sanhedrin were routed to the joy of the common people who heard Jesus gladly (Mark 12:37). They still know.


Verse 22

When he had said this (ταυτα αυτου ειποντοςtauta autou eipontos). Genitive absolute of second aorist active participle of ειπονeipon to say.

Standing by (παρεστηκωςparestēkōs). Perfect active (intransitive) participle of παριστημιparistēmi (transitive), to place beside. One of the temple police who felt his importance as protector of Annas.

Struck Jesus with his hand
(εδωκεν ραπισμα τωι Ιησουedōken rapisma tōi Iēsou). Late word ραπισμαrapisma is from ραπιζωrapizō to smite with a rod or with the palm of the hand (Matthew 26:67). It occurs only three times in the N.T. (Mark 14:65; John 18:22; John 19:3), in each of which it is uncertain whether the blow is with a rod or with the palm of the hand (probably this, a most insulting act). The papyri throw no real light on it. “He gave Jesus a slap in the face.” Cf. 2 Corinthians 11:20.

So
(ουτωςhoutōs). As Jesus had done in John 18:21, a dignified protest in fact by Jesus.


Verse 23

If I have spoken evil (ει κακως ελαλησαei kakōs elalēsa). Condition of first class (assumed to be true), with ειei and aorist active indicative. Jesus had not spoken evilly towards Annas, though he did not here turn the other cheek, one may note. For the sake of argument, Jesus puts it as if he did speak evilly. Then prove it, that is all.

Bear witness of the evil (μαρτυρησον περι του κακουmarturēson peri tou kakou). First aorist active imperative of μαρτυρεωmartureō to testify. This is the conclusion (apodosis). Jesus is clearly entitled to proof of such a charge if there is any.

But if well
(ει δε καλωςei de kalōs). Supply the same verb ελαλησαelalēsa The same condition, but with a challenging question as the apodosis.

Smitest
(δερειςdereis). Old verb δερωderō to flay, to skin, to beat, as in Matthew 21:35; Luke 22:63; 2 Corinthians 11:20 (of an insulting blow in the face as here).


Verse 24

Therefore sent him (απεστειλεν ουν αυτονapesteilen oun auton). First aorist active of αποστελλωapostellō not past perfect (had sent). The preliminary examination by Annas was over.

Bound (δεδεμενονdedemenon). Perfect passive participle of δεωdeō to bind. Jesus was bound on his arrest (John 18:12) and apparently unbound during the preliminary examination by Annas.


Verse 25

Was standing and warming himself (ην εστως και τερμαινομενοςēn hestōs kai thermainomenos). Two periphrastic imperfects precisely as in John 18:18, vivid renewal of the picture drawn there. John alone gives the examination of Jesus by Annas (John 18:19-24) which he places between the first and the second denials by Peter. Each of the Four Gospels gives three denials, but it is not possible to make a clear parallel as probably several people joined in each time. This time there was an hour‘s interval (Luke 22:59). The question and answer are almost identical with John 18:17 and “put in a form which almost suggested that Peter should say ‹No‘” (Bernard), a favourite device of the devil in making temptation attractive.


Verse 26

Did not I see thee in the garden with him? (ουκ εγω σε ειδον εν τωι κηπωι μετ αυτουouk egō se eidon en tōi kēpōi met' autou). This staggering and sudden thrust expects an affirmative answer by the use of ουκouk not μηmē as in John 18:17, John 18:25, but Peter‘s previous denials with the knowledge that he was observed by a kinsman of Malchus whom he had tried to kill (John 18:10) drove him to the third flat denial that he knew Jesus, this time with cursing and swearing (Mark 14:71; Matthew 26:73). Peter was in dire peril now of arrest himself for attempt to kill.

Straightway (ευτεωςeutheōs). As in Matthew 26:74 while Luke has παραχρημαparachrēma (Luke 22:60). Mark (Mark 14:68, Mark 14:72) speaks of two crowings as often happens when one cock crows. See Matthew 26:34 for αλεκτωρalektōr (cock). That was usually the close of the third watch of the night (Mark 13:35), about 3 a.m. Luke 22:61 notes that Jesus turned and looked on Peter probably as he passed from the rooms of Annas to the trial before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin (the ecclesiastical court). See Mrs. Browning‘s beautiful sonnets on “The Look”.


Verse 28

They lead (αγουσινagousin). Dramatic historical present of αγωagō plural “they” for the Sanhedrists (Luke 23:1). John gives no details of the trial before the Sanhedrin (only the fact, John 18:24, John 18:28) when Caiaphas presided, either the informal meeting at night (Mark 14:53, Mark 14:55-65; Matthew 26:57, Matthew 26:59-68; Luke 22:54, Luke 22:63-65) or the formal ratification meeting after dawn (Mark 15:1; Matthew 27:1; Luke 22:66-71), but he gives much new material of the trial before Pilate (John 18:28-38).

Into the palace (εις το πραιτωριονeis to praitōrion). For the history and meaning of this interesting Latin word, praetorium, see note on Matthew 27:27; note on Acts 23:35; and note on Philemon 1:13. Here it is probably the magnificent palace in Jerusalem built by Herod the Great for himself and occupied by the Roman Procurator (governor) when in the city. There was also one in Caesarea (Acts 23:35). Herod‘s palace in Jerusalem was on the Hill of Zion in the western part of the upper city. There is something to be said for the Castle of Antonia, north of the temple area, as the location of Pilate‘s residence in Jerusalem.

Early
(πρωιprōi). Technically the fourth watch (3 a.m. to 6 a.m.). There were two violations of Jewish legal procedure (holding the trial for a capital case at night, passing condemnation on the same day of the trial). Besides, the Sanhedrin no longer had the power of death. A Roman court could meet any time after sunrise. John (John 19:14) says it was “about the sixth hour” when Pilate condemned Jesus.

That they might not be defiled
(ινα μη μιαντωσινhina mē mianthōsin). Purpose clause with ινα μηhina mē and first aorist passive subjunctive of μιαινωmiainō to stain, to defile. For Jewish scruples about entering the house of a Gentile see Acts 10:28; Acts 11:3.

But might eat the passover
(αλλα παγωσιν το πασχαalla phagōsin to pascha). Second aorist active subjunctive of the defective verb εστιωesthiō to eat. This phrase may mean to eat the passover meal as in Matthew 27:17 (Mark 14:12, Mark 14:14; Luke 22:11, Luke 22:15), but it does not have to mean that. In 2 Chronicles 30:22 we read: “And they did eat the festival seven days” when the paschal festival is meant, not the paschal lamb or the paschal supper. There are eight other examples of πασχαpascha in John‘s Gospel and in all of them the feast is meant, not the supper. If we follow John‘s use of the word, it is the feast here, not the meal of John 13:2 which was the regular passover meal. This interpretation keeps John in harmony with the Synoptics.


Verse 29

Went out (εχηλτεν εχωexēlthen exō). Note both εχex and εχωexō (went out outside), since the Sanhedrin would not come into Pilate‘s palace. Apparently on a gallery over the pavement in front of the palace (John 19:13).

Accusation (κατηγοριανkatēgorian). Old word for formal charge, in N.T. only here, 1 Timothy 5:19; Titus 1:6.

Against this man
(του αντρωπου τουτουtou anthrōpou toutou). Objective genitive after κατηγοριανkatēgorian A proper legal inquiry.


Verse 30

If this man were not an evil-doer (ει μη ην ουτος κακον ποιωνei mē ēn houtos kakon poiōn). Condition (negative) of second class (periphrastic imperfect indicative), assumed to be untrue, with the usual apodosis (ανan and aorist indicative, first aorist plural with κk). This is a pious pose of infallibility not in the Synoptics. They then proceeded to make the charges (Luke 23:2) as indeed John implies (John 18:31, John 18:33). Some MSS. here read κακοποιοςkakopoios (malefactor) as in 1 Peter 2:12, 1 Peter 2:14, with which compare Luke‘s κακουργοςkakourgos (Luke 23:32.; so also 2 Timothy 2:9), both meaning evil-doer. Here the periphrastic present participle ποιωνpoiōn with κακονkakon emphasizes the idea that Jesus was a habitual evil-doer (Abbott). It was an insolent reply to Pilate (Bernard).


Verse 31

Yourselves (υμειςhumeis). Emphatic. Pilate shrewdly turns the case over to the Sanhedrin in reply to their insolence, who have said nothing whatever about their previous trial and condemnation of Jesus. He drew out at once the admission that they wanted the death of Jesus, not a fair trial for him, but Pilate‘s approval of their purpose to kill him (John 7:1, John 7:25).


Verse 32

By what manner of death (ποιωι τανατωιpoiōi thanatōi). Instrumental case of the qualitative interrogative ποιοςpoios in an indirect question, the very idiom used in John 12:32 concerning the Cross and here treated as prophecy (Scripture) with ινα πληρωτηιhina plērōthēi like the saying of Jesus in John 18:9 which see.


Verse 33

Again (παλινpalin). Back into the palace where Pilate was before.

Called (επωνησενephōnēsen). First aorist active indicative of πωνεωphōneō Jesus was already inside the court (John 18:28). Pilate now summoned him to his presence since he saw that he had to handle the case. The charge that Jesus claimed to be a king compelled him to do so (Luke 23:2).

Art thou the King of the Jews?
(συ ει ο βασιλευς των Ιουδαιωνsu ei ho basileus tōn Ioudaiōn). This was the vital problem and each of the Gospels has the question (Mark 15:2; Matthew 27:1; Luke 23:3; John 18:33), though Luke alone (Luke 23:2) gives the specific accusation.

Thou
(συsu). Emphatic. Jesus did claim to be the spiritual king of Israel as Nathanael said (John 1:49) and as the ecstatic crowd hailed him on the Triumphal Entry (John 12:13), but the Sanhedrin wish Pilate to understand this in a civil sense as a rival of Caesar as some of the Jews wanted Jesus to be (John 6:15) and as the Pharisees expected the Messiah to be.


Verse 34

Of thyself (απο σεαυτουapo seautou). Whether a sincere inquiry on Pilate‘s part or a trap from the Sanhedrin.


Verse 35

Am I a Jew? (μητι εγω Ιουδαιος ειμιmēti egō Ioudaios eimi). Proud and fine scorn on Pilate‘s part at the idea that he had a personal interest in the question. Vehement negation implied. Cf. John 4:29 for μητιmēti in a question. The gulf between Jew and Gentile yawns wide here.

Nation (ετνοςethnos as in John 11:48-52, rather than λαοςlaos while both in John 11:50). For παρεδωκανparedōkan see John 18:30.

What hast thou done?
(τι εποιησασti epoiēsas). First aorist active indicative of ποιεωpoieō Blunt and curt question. “What didst thou do?” “What is thy real crime?” John‘s picture of this private interview between Pilate and Jesus is told with graphic power.


Verse 36

My kingdom (η βασιλεια η εμηhē basileia hē emē). Christ claims to be king to Pilate, but of a peculiar kingdom. For “world” (κοσμουkosmou) see John 17:13-18.

My servants (οι υπηρεται οι εμοιhoi hupēretai hoi emoi). For the word see John 18:3 where it means the temple police or guards (literally, under-rowers). In the lxx always (Prov 14:35; Isaiah 32:5; Dan 3:46) officers of a king as here. Christ then had only a small band of despised followers who could not fight against Caesar. Was he alluding also to legions of angels on his side? (Matthew 26:56).

Would fight
(ηγωνιζοντο ανēgōnizonto an). Imperfect middle of αγωνιζομαιagōnizomai common verb (only here in John, but see 1 Corinthians 9:25) from αγωνagōn (contest) with ανan a conclusion of the second-class condition (assumed as untrue). Christians should never forget the profound truth stated here by Jesus.

That I should not be delivered
(ινα μη παραδοτωhina mē paradothō). Negative final clause with ινα μηhina mē and first aorist passive subjunctive of παραδιδωμιparadidōmi (see John 18:28, John 18:36). Jesus expects Pilate to surrender to the Jews.

But now
(νυν δεnun de). In contrast to the condition already stated as in John 8:40; John 9:41; John 15:22, John 15:24.


Verse 37

Art thou a king then? (ουκουν βασιλευς ει συoukoun basileus ei su). Compound of ουκouk and ουνoun and is clearly ironical expecting an affirmative answer, only here in the N.T., and in lxx only in A text in 2Kings 5:23.

Thou sayest that (συ λεγεις οτιsu legeis hoti). In Matthew 27:11; Mark 15:2; Luke 23:3, συ λεγειςsu legeis clearly means “yes,” as συ ειπαςsu eipas (thou saidst) does in Matthew 26:64 (= “I am,” εγω ειμιegō eimi in Mark 14:62). Hence here οτιhoti had best be taken to mean “because”: “Yes, because I am a king.”

Have I been born
(εγω γεγεννημαιegō gegennēmai). Perfect passive indicative of γενναωgennaō The Incarnation was for this purpose. Note repetition of εις τουτοeis touto (for this purpose), explained by ινα μαρτυρησω τηι αλητειαιhina marturēsō tēi alētheiāi (that I may bear witness to the truth), ιναhina with first aorist active subjunctive of μαρτυρεωmartureō Paul (1 Timothy 6:13) alludes to this good confession when Christ bore witness (μαρτυρησαντοςmarturēsantos) before Pilate. Jesus bore such witness always (John 3:11, John 3:32; John 7:7; John 8:14; Revelation 1:5).


Verse 38

What is truth? (τι εστιν αλητειαti estin alētheia). This famous sneer of Pilate reveals his own ignorance of truth, as he stood before Incarnate Truth (John 14:6). Quid est veritas? The answer in Latin is Vir est qui adest as has been succinctly said by the use of the same letters. Pilate turned with indifference from his own great question and rendered his verdict: “I find no crime in him” (εγω ουδεμιαν ευρισκω εν αυτωι αιτιανegō oudemian heuriskō en autōi aitian). For this use of αιτιαaitia see Matthew 27:37; Mark 15:26. Pilate therefore should have set Jesus free at once.


Verse 39

A custom (συνητειαsunētheia). Old word for intimacy, intercourse, from συνητηςsunēthēs (συν ητοςsun class="normal greek">αναγκη — ēthos), in N.T. only here, 1 Corinthians 8:7; 1 Corinthians 11:16. This custom, alluded to in Mark 15:6; Matthew 27:15, is termed necessity (απολυωanagkē) in Luke 23:17 (late MSS., not in older MSS.). All the Gospels use the verb ινα απολυσωapoluō (release, set free). Then ιναhina apolusō is a subject clause (συνητειαhina and first aorist active subjunctive) in apposition with βουλεστε ουν απολυσωsunētheia

Will ye therefore that I release? (ιναboulesthe oun apolusō). Without the usual απολυσωhina before ιναapolusō asyndeton, as in Mark 10:36, to be explained either as parataxis or two questions (Robertson, Grammar, p. 430) or as mere omission of hina (ibid., p. 994). There is contempt and irony in Pilate‘s use of the phrase “the king of the Jews.”


Verse 40

Cried out (εκραυγασανekraugasan). First aorist active of κραυγαζωkraugazō old and rare verb from κραυγηkraugē outcry (Matthew 25:6), as in Matthew 12:19.

Not this man (μη τουτονmē touton). Contemptuous use of ουτοςhoutos The priests put the crowd up to this choice (Mark 15:11) and Pilate offered the alternative (Matthew 27:17, one MS. actually gives Jesus as the name of Barabbas also). The name αραββαςBarabbas in Aramaic simply means son of a father.

A robber
(ληιστηςlēistēs). Old word from ληιζομαιlēizomai to plunder, and so a brigand and possibly the leader of the band to which the two robbers belonged who were crucified with Jesus. Luke terms him an insurgent and murderer (Luke 23:19, Luke 23:25). They chose Barabbas in preference to Jesus and apparently Jesus died on the very cross planned for Barabbas.

 


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 18:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-18.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, September 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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