Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 18:28

Then they *led Jesus from Caiaphas into the Praetorium, and it was early; and they themselves did not enter into the Praetorium so that they would not be defiled, but might eat the Passover.
New American Standard Version
    Jump to:
  1. Adam Clarke Commentary
  2. Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible
  3. Coffman Commentaries on the Bible
  4. John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible
  5. Geneva Study Bible
  6. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
  7. John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels
  8. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
  9. Vincent's Word Studies
  10. Wesley's Explanatory Notes
  11. Abbott's Illustrated New Testament
  12. Calvin's Commentary on the Bible
  13. Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books
  14. John Trapp Complete Commentary
  15. Sermon Bible Commentary
  16. Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
  17. Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament
  18. Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary
  19. Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
  20. Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
  21. Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible
  22. Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture
  23. Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament
  24. Whedon's Commentary on the Bible
  25. Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible
  26. Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable
  27. Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament
  28. The Expositor's Greek Testament
  29. Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
  30. George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary
  31. E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes
  32. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
  33. Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
  34. Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
  35. Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms
  36. Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Caiaphas;   Court;   Defilement;   Hypocrisy;   Jerusalem;   Jesus, the Christ;   Passover;   Pilate, Pontius;   Pretorium;   Priest;   Prisoners;   Thompson Chain Reference - Defilement;   Defilement-Cleansing;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Courts of Justice;  
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Gabbatha;   Passover;   Pretorium;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Passover;   Uncleanness;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Clean, Unclean;   Feasts and Festivals of Israel;   Persecution;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Abomination;   Caiaphas;   Gabbatha;   Judgment Hall;   Praetorium;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - John the Apostle;   Joseph;   Judgment Hall;   Passover;   Septuagint;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Hall;   Judgment, Hall of;   Roman Law;   The Last Supper;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - John, Gospel of;   Pilate;   Praetorium;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Hall;   Inn;   Judgment-Hall;   Last Supper;   Law (2);   Lord's Supper. (I.);   Palace;   Palace ;   Pavement;   Praetorium;   Preparation ;   Progress;   Purification (2);   Trial of Jesus;   Worldliness (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Caiaphas, Joseph ;   Judgement-Hall;   Passover, the;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Judgment hall;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Ca'iaphas,;   Day;   Hall,;   John the Apostle;   Judgment Hall;   Praeto'rium;   Rome,;  
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Chronology of the New Testament;   Defile;   Fortification;   Gentiles;   Judgment Hall;   Lord's Supper (Eucharist);   Palace;   Passover;   Pentecost;   Pilate, Pontius;   Praetorium;   Priest, High;   Uncleanness;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - New Testament;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The hall of judgment - Εις το πραιτωριον, To the praetorium. This was the house where Pilate lodged; hence called in our margin, Pilate's house. The praetorium is so called from being the dwelling-place of the praetor, or chief of the province. It was also the place where he held his court, and tried causes.

St. John has omitted all that passed in the house of Caiaphas - the accusations brought against Christ - the false witnesses - the insults which he received in the house of the high priest - and the assembling of the grand council, or Sanhedrin. These he found amply detailed by the other three evangelists; and for this reason it appears that he omitted them. John's is properly a supplementary Gospel.

Lest they should be defiled - The Jews considered even the touch of a Gentile as a legal defilement; and therefore would not venture into the praetorium, for fear of contracting some impurity, which would have obliged them to separate themselves from all religious ordinances till the evening, Leviticus 15:10, Leviticus 15:11, Leviticus 15:19, Leviticus 15:20.

That they might eat the passover - Some maintain that το πασχα here does not mean the paschal lamb, but the other sacrifices which were offered during the paschal solemnity - for this had been eaten the evening before; and that our Lord was crucified the day after the passover. Others have maintained that the paschal lamb is here meant; that this was the proper day for sacrificing it; that it was on the very hour in which it was offered that Christ expired on the cross; and that therefore our Lord did not eat the Paschal lamb this year, or that he ate it some hours before the common time. Bishop Pearce supposes that it was lawful for the Jews to eat the paschal lamb any time between the evening of Thursday and that of Friday. He conjectures too that this permission was necessary on account of the immense number of lambs which were to be killed for that purpose. When Cestius desired to know the number of the Jews, he asked the priests how he might accomplish his wish? They informed him that this might be known by the number of the lambs slain at the passover, as never less than ten partook of one lamb, though twenty might feast on it. On this mode of computation he found the lambs to be 256,500; εικοσι πεντε μυριαδας ηριθμησαν, προς δε ἑξακισχιλια και πεντακοσια . See Josephus, War, b. vi. c. 9. s. 3.

That Jesus ate a passover this last year of his life is sufficiently evident from Matthew 26:17-19; Mark 14:12-18; Luke 22:8-15; and that he ate this passover some hours before the ordinary time, and was himself slain at that hour in which the paschal lamb was ordered by the law to be sacrificed, is highly probable, if not absolutely certain. See the note on Matthew 26:20, and at the conclusion of the chapter, where the subject, and the different opinions on it, are largely considered.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 18:28". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

See Matthew 27:1-2.

Hall of judgment - The praetorium - the same word that in Matthew 27:27, is translated “common hall.” See the notes on that place. It was the place where the Roman proctor, or governor, heard and decided cases brought before him. Jesus had been condemned by the Sanhedrin, and pronounced guilty of death Matthew 26:66; but they had not power to carry their sentence into execution John 18:31, and they therefore sought that he might be condemned and executed by Pilate.

Lest they should be defiled - They considered the touch of a Gentile to be a defilement, and on this occasion, at least, seemed to regard it as a pollution to enter the house of a Gentile. They took care, therefore, to guard themselves against what they considered ceremonial pollution, while they were wholly unconcerned at the enormous crime of putting the innocent Saviour to death, and imbruing their hands in their Messiah‘s blood. Probably there is not anywhere to be found among men another such instance of petty regard to the mere ceremonies of the law and attempting to keep from pollution, at the same time that their hearts were filled with malice, and they were meditating the most enormous of all crimes. But it shows us how much more concerned men will be at the violation of the mere forms and ceremonies of religion than at real crime, and how they endeavor to keep their consciences at ease amid their deeds of wickedness by the observance of some of the outward ceremonies of religion by mere sanctimoniousness.

That they might eat the passover - See the notes at Matthew 26:2, Matthew 26:17. This defilement, produced by contact with a Gentile, they considered as equivalent to that of the contact of a dead body Leviticus 22:4-6; Numbers 5:2, and as disqualifying them to partake of the passover in a proper manner. The word translated “passover” means properly the paschal lamb which was slain and eaten on the observance of this feast. This rite Jesus had observed with his disciples the day before this. It has been supposed by many that he anticipated the usual time of observing it one day, and was crucified on the day on which the Jews observed it; but this opinion is improbable. The very day of keeping the ordinance was specified in the law of Moses, and it is not probable that the Saviour departed from the commandment. All the circumstances, also, lead us to suppose that he observed it at the usual time and manner, Matthew 26:17, Matthew 26:19. The only passage which has led to a contrary opinion is this in John; but here the word passover does not, of necessity, mean the paschal lamb. It probably refers to the Feast which followed the sacrifice of the lamb, and which continued seven days. Compare Numbers 28:16-17. The whole feast was called the Passover, and they were unwilling to defile themselves, even though the paschal lamb had been killed, because it would disqualify them for participating in the remainder of the ceremonies (Lightfoot).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 18:28". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

They led Jesus therefore from Caiaphas into the Praetorium: and it was early; and they themselves entered not into the Praetorium, that they might not be defiled, but might eat the passover.

This and John 18:24 are John's only reference to the formal trial in the Sanhedrin. He also omitted the all-night examination before Caiaphas, and the trial before Herod. Of the six trials before: (1) Annas, (2) Caiaphas, (3) the Sanhedrin, (4) Pilate, (5) Herod, and (6) Pilate; John mentioned (1), (4) and (6).

That they might not be defiled ... What a perverse inconsistency marks the behavior of men! They were willing to suborn testimony to effect the judicial murder of the Son of God, but were unwilling to put foot in a Gentile's house on the day of the Preparation. This is the classical demonstration of the manner in which the strictest observance of religious ceremonies can exist in the behavior of wicked men at the very time when they are engaged in the blackest criminal activity. Pilate, who was certainly inconvenienced by having to go down at such an early hour and outside his palace to keep from defiling THEM (!), must surely have resented the necessity of participating in such an affair.

That they might eat the passover ... In the light of this, there is no way to make the last supper of the previous evening to have been the Passover.

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 18:28". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas,.... When Peter had denied him, one of the officers had smote him, the high priest had examined him, and they thought they had enough, out of his own mouth, to condemn him; they, the chief priests, elders, Scribes, and the whole multitude, led him bound as he was, from Caiaphas's house,

unto the hall of judgment; or the "praetorium"; the place where the Roman governor, who was now Pontius Pilate, used to hear and try causes in; the Romans now having matters and causes relating to life and death, in their hands:

and it was early; the morning indeed was come; but it was as soon as it was day; they had been all night in taking and examining Jesus, and consulting what to do with him; and as soon as they could expect the governor to be up, they hurry him away to him, eagerly thirsting after his blood, and fearing lest he should be rescued out of their hands:

and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; that is, the Jews, only the band of Roman soldiers went in; the reason of this was, because it was the house of a Gentile, and with them, מדורות העכום טמאים, "the dwelling houses of Gentiles", or idolaters, "are unclean"F20Misn. Oholot, c. 18. sect. 7. ; yea, if they were the houses of Israelites, and Gentiles were admitted to dwell in them, they were defiled, and all that were in them; for so they sayF21Maimon. Mishcab & Mosheb, c. 12. sect. 12. ,

"if the collectors for the government enter into a house to dwell in, all in the house are defiled.'

They did not think it lawful to rent out a house in Judea to an HeathenF23Misn. Avoda Zara, c. 1. sect. 8. , or to assist in building a Basilica for them; which they explain to be a palace, in which judges sit to judge menF24Jarchi & Bartenora in ib. sect. 7. : hence the reason of their caution, and which they were the more observant of,

that they might eat the passover; pure and undefiled; not the passover lamb, for that they had eaten the night before; but the "Chagigah", or feast on the fifteenth day of the month. Many Christian writers, both ancient and modern, have concluded from hence, that Christ did not keep his last passover, at the same time the Jews did; and many things are said to illustrate this matter, and justify our Lord in it: some observe the distinction of a sacrificial, and commemorative passover; the sacrificial passover is that, in which the lamb was slain, and was fixed to a certain time and place, and there was no altering it; the commemorative passover is that, in which no lamb is slain and eaten, only a commemoration made of the deliverance of the people of Israel out of Egypt; such as is now kept by the Jews, being out of their own land, where sacrifice with them is not lawful; and this it is supposed our Lord kept, and not the former: but it does not appear that there was such a commemorative passover kept by the Jews, in our Lord's time, and whilst the temple stood: and supposing there was such an one allowed, and appointed for those that were at a distance from Jerusalem, and could not come up thither, (which was not the case of Christ and his disciples,) it is reasonable to conclude, that it was to be kept, and was kept at the time the sacrificial passover was, in the room of which it was substituted, as it is by the Jews to this day; so that this will by no means clear the matter, nor solve the difficulty; besides it is very manifest, that the passover our Lord kept was sacrificial; and such an one the disciples proposed to get ready for him, and did, of which he and they are said to eat: "and the first day of unleavened bread, when they KILLED the passover, his disciples said to him, where wilt thou that we go and prepare, that thou mayest EAT the passover?" Mark 14:12 and again, "then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover MUST be KILLED", Luke 22:7. "They made ready the passover", Luke 22:13 "and he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him", Luke 22:14 "and he said unto them, with desire I have desired to eat this passover", Luke 22:15. Others suggest, that this difference of observing the passover by Christ and the Jews arose from fixing the beginning of the month, and so accordingly the feasts in it, by the φασις, or appearance of the moon; and that our Lord went according to the true appearance of it, and the Jews according to a false account: but of this, as a fact, there is no proof; besides, though the feasts were regulated and fixed according to the appearance of the moon, yet this was not left to the arbitrary will, pleasure, and judgment of particular persons, to determine as they should think proper; but the sanhedrim, or chief council of the nation sat, at a proper time, to hear and examine witnesses about the appearance of the moon; and accordingly determined, and none might fix but themF25Maimon. Kiddush Hachodesh, c. 2. sect. 7, 8. ; and as this was doubtless the case at this time, it is not very reasonable to think, that Christ would differ from them: besides, it was either a clear case, or a doubtful one; if the former, then there would be no room nor reason to keep another day; and if it was the latter, then two days were observed, that they might be sure they were rightF26Ib. c. 5. sect. 6, 7, 8. ; but then both were kept by all the Jews: and that the time of this passover was well known, is clear from various circumstances; such and such facts were done, so many days before it; six days before it, Jesus came to Bethany, John 12:1 and two days before it, he was in the same place, Matthew 26:2 and says to his disciples, "ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover", &c. Others taking it for granted, that Christ kept the passover a day before the usual and precise time, defend it, by observing the despotic and legislative power of Christ, who had a right to dispense with the time of this feast, and could at his pleasure anticipate it, because the betraying of him and his death were so near at hand: that he had such a power will not be disputed; but that he should use it in this way, does not seem necessary, on account of his death, seeing none but the living were obliged to it; nor so consistent with his wisdom, since hereby the mouths of his enemies would be opened against him, for acting not agreeably to the law of God: moreover, when it is considered that the passover, according to the Jews, was always kept במועדו, "in its set time"F1Maimon. in Misn. Pesachim, c. 7. sect. 4. & Bartenora in ib. c. 5. sect. 4. , and was not put off on the account of the sabbath, or anything else, to another day; and that though when it was put off for particular persons, on account of uncleanness, to another month, yet still it was to be kept on the fourteenth day at even, in that month, Numbers 9:10 it will not easily be received that Christ observed it a day before the time: besides, the passover lamb was not killed in a private house, but in the temple, in the court of it, and that always on the fourteenth of Nisan, after noon: so says MaimonidesF2Hilchot Korban Pesacb. c. 1. sect. 1, 3. ,

"it is an affirmative command to slay the passover on the fourteenth of the month Nisan, after the middle of the day. The passover is not slain but in the court, as the rest of the holy things; even in the time that altars were lawful, they did not offer the passover on a private altar; and whoever offers the passover on a private altar, is to be beaten; as it is said, "thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which the Lord thy God giveth thee", Deuteronomy 16:5.'

And seeing therefore a passover lamb was not to be killed at home, but in the court of the priests, in the temple, it does not seem probable, that a single lamb should be suffered to be killed there, for Christ and his disciples, on a day not observed by the Jews, contrary to the sense of the sanhedrim, and of the whole nation: add to this, that the sacred text is express for it, that it was at the exact time of this feast, when it was come according to general computation, that the disciples moved to Christ to prepare the passover for him, and did, and they with him kept it: the account Matthew gives is very full; "now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread"; that is, when that was come in its proper time and course, "the disciples came to Jesus"; saying unto him, where wilt "thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?" He bids them go to the city to such a man, and say, "I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples, and the disciples did as Jesus had appointed, and they made ready the passover; now when the even was come", the time of eating the passover, according to the law of God, "he sat down with the twelve, and as they did eat", &c. Matthew 26:17 and Mark is still more particular, who says, "and the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover"; that is, when the Jews killed the passover, on the very day the lamb was slain, and eaten by them; and then follows much the same account as before, Mark 14:12 and Luke yet more clearly expresses it, "then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed"; according to the law of God, and the common usage of the people of the Jews; yea, he not only observes, that Christ kept the usual day, but the very hour, the precise time of eating it; for he says, "and when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him", Luke 22:7. Nor is there anything in this text, that is an objection to Christ and the Jews keeping the passover at the same time; since by the passover here is meant, the "Chagigah", or feast kept on the fifteenth day of the month, as it is sometimes called: in Deuteronomy 16:2 it is said, "thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the Lord thy God, of the flock and the herd": now the passover of the herd, can never mean the passover lamb, but the passover "Chagigah"; and so the Jewish commentators explain it; "of the herd", says Jarchi, thou shalt sacrifice for the "Chagigah"; and says Aben Ezra, for the peace offerings; so Josiah the king is said to give for the passovers three thousand bullocks, and the priests three hundred oxen, and the Levites five hundred oxen, 2 Chronicles 35:7 which Jarchi interprets of the peace offerings of the "Chagigah", there called passovers; and so in 1 Esdres 1:7-9 mention is made of three thousand calves, besides lambs, that Josias gave for the passover; and three hundred by some other persons, and seven hundred by others: the passage in Deuteronomy, is explained of the "Chagigah", in both TalmudsF3T. Hieros. Pesacb. fol. 33. 1. T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 70. 2. , and in other writingsF4Maimon. Korban Pesach. c. 10. sect. 12. Moses Kotsensis Mitzvot Tora, pr. neg. 349. ; so besides the passover lamb, we read of sacrifices slain, לשום פסח, "in the name of" the passover, or on account of itF5Misn. Pesachim, c. 6. sect. 5. ; and particularly of the calf and the young bullock, slain for the sake of the passoverF6T. Bab. Menachot, fol. 3. 1. : and now this is the passover which these men were to eat that day, and therefore were careful not to defile themselves, that so they might not be unfit for it; otherwise had it been the passover lamb in the evening, they might have washed themselves in the evening, according to the rules of טבול יום, or "the daily washing", and been clean enough to have eat it: besides, it may be observed, that all the seven days were called the passover; and he that ate the unleavened bread, is said by eating that, to eat the passover; and thus they invite their guests daily to eat the bread, sayingF7Haggadah Shel Pesach. p. 4. Ed. Rittangel. ,

"everyone that is hungry, let him come and eat all that he needs, ויפסח, "and keep the passover".'

It is easy to observe the consciences of these men, who were always wont to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel; they scruple going into the judgment hall, which belonged to an Heathen governor, and where was a large number of Heathen soldiers; but they could go along with these into the garden to apprehend Christ, and spend a whole night in consulting to shed innocent blood: no wonder that God should be weary of their sacrifices and ceremonious performances, when, trusting to these, they had no regard to moral precepts: however, this may be teaching to us, in what manner we should keep the feast, and eat of the true passover, Christ; not with malice and wickedness, as these Jews ate theirs, but with sincerity and truth: besides, a sanhedrim, when they had condemned anyone to death, were forbidden to eat anything all that dayF8T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 63. 1. Maimon. Hilch. Sanhedrin, c. 13. sect. 4. ; and so whilst scrupling one thing, they broke through another.

Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on John 18:28". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

10 Then led they Jesus from a Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover.

(10) The Son of God is brought before the judgment seat of an earthly and profane man, in whom there is found much less wickedness than in the rulers of the people of God. A graphic image of the wrath of God against sin, and in addition of his great mercy, and last of all of his most severe judgment against the stubborn condemners of his grace when it is offered unto them.

(a) From Caiaphas' house.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on John 18:28". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

John 18:28-40. Jesus before Pilate.

Note. - Our Evangelist, having given the interview with Annas, omitted by the other Evangelists, here omits the trial and condemnation before Caiaphas, which the others had recorded. (See on Mark 14:53-65). [The notes broken off there at Mark 14:54 are here concluded].
Mark 14:53-65:

Mark 14:61:
The high priest asked Him, Art Thou the Christ, the Son of the blessed? - Matthew says the high priest put Him upon solemn oath, saying, “I adjure Thee by the living God that Thou tell us whether Thou be the Christ, the Son of God” (Matthew 26:63). This rendered an answer by our Lord legally necessary (Leviticus 5:1).
Accordingly, Mark 14:62:

Jesus said, I am - “Thou hast said” (Matthew 26:64). In Luke 22:67, Luke 22:68, some other words are given, “If I tell you, ye will not believe; and if I also ask you, ye will not answer Me, nor let Me go.” This seems to have been uttered before giving His direct answer, as a calm remonstrance and dignified protest against the prejudgment of His case and the unfairness of their mode of procedure.
and ye shall see the Son of man, etc. — This concluding part of our Lord‘s answer is given somewhat more fully by Matthew and Luke. “Nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter [rather, ‹From henceforth‘] shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:64; Luke 22:69). - that is, I know the scorn with which ye are ready to meet such an avowal: To your eyes, which are but eyes of flesh, there stands at this bar only a mortal like yourselves, and He at the mercy of the ecclesiastical and civil authorities: “Nevertheless,” a day is coming when ye shall see another sight: Those eyes, which now gaze on Me with proud disdain, shall see this very prisoner at the right hand of the Majesty on high, and coming in the clouds of heaven: Then shall the judged One be revealed as the Judge, and His judges in this chamber appear at His august tribunal; then shall the unrighteous judges be impartially judged; and while they are wishing that they had never been born, He for whom they now watch as their Victim shall be greeted with the hallelujahs of heaven, and the welcome of Him that sitteth upon the throne!
Mark 14:63, Mark 14:64:

Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy - “of his own mouth” (Luke 22:71); an affectation of religious horror.
What think ye? - “Say, what verdict would ye pronounce.”
They all condemned Him to be guilty of death - of a capital crime. (See Leviticus 24:16).
Mark 14:65:

And some began to spit on Him - “Then did they spit in His face” (Matthew 26:67). See Isaiah 50:6.
And to cover His face, and to buffet Him, and to say unto Him, Prophesy - or, “divine,” “unto us, Thou Christ, who is he that smote Thee?” The sarcasm in styling Him the Christ, and as such demanding of Him the perpetrator of the blows inflicted upon Him, was in them as infamous as to Him it was stinging.
and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands - “And many other things blasphemously spake they against him” (Luke 22:65). This general statement is important, as showing that virulent and varied as were the recorded affronts put upon Him, they are but a small specimen of what He endured on that black occasion.

Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas to the hall of judgment — but not till “in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council against Him to put Him to death, and bound Him” (Matthew 27:1; and see Mark 15:1). The word here rendered “hall of judgment” is from the Latin, and denotes “the palace of the governor of a Roman province.”

they themselves went not into the judgment hall lest they should be defiled — by contact with ceremonially unclean Gentiles.

but that they might eat the passover — If this refer to the principal part of the festival, the eating of the lamb, the question is, how our Lord and His disciples came to eat it the night before; and, as it was an evening meal, how ceremonial defilement contracted in the morning would unfit them for partaking of it, as after six o‘clock it was reckoned a new day. These are questions which have occasioned immense research and learned treatises. But as the usages of the Jews appear to have somewhat varied at different times, and our present knowledge of them is not sufficient to clear up all difficulties, they are among the not very important questions which probably will never be entirely solved.

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 18:28". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

28. Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover.

[But that they might eat the Passover.] I. We have already shewn, in our notes upon Mark 14:12, that the eating of the Paschal lamb was never, upon any occasion whatever, transferred from the evening of the fourteenth day, drawing to the close of it; no, not by reason of the sabbath, or any uncleanness that had happened to the congregation; so that there needs little argument to assure us that the Jews ate the lamb at the same time wherein Christ did...

II. The Passover, therefore here doth not signify the Paschal lamb, but the Paschal Chagigah: of which we will remark these two or three things:

1. Deuteronomy 16:2, "Thou shalt sacrifice the Passover unto the Lord thy God, of the flock and the herd." Where R. Solomon; "The flocks are meant of the lambs and the kids; the herd of the Chagigah." And R. Bechai in locum: "The flocks are for the due of the Passover; the herd, for the sacrifices of the Chagigah." So also R. Nachmanid: "The herd, for the celebration of the 'Chagigah.'" Pesachin: The flock for the Passover, the oxen for the Chagigah.

Where the Gloss, p. 1: "Doth not the Passover consist wholly of lambs and kids? Exodus 12:5. If so, why is it said oxen? To equal every thing that is used in the Passover. As the Passover [i.e. the Paschal lamb ] is of due, and is not taken but out of the common flocks," neither from the first-born nor from the tenths]; "so this also [i.e. of the oxen] is of due, and not taken but out of the common herd." See 2 Chronicles 30:24, &c., and 35:8,9.

2. The Chagigah was for joy and mirth, according to that in Deuteronomy 16:14, "And thou shalt rejoice in the feast," &c. Hence the sacrifices that were prepared for that use are called sacrifices of peace or eucharistic offerings, sacrifices of joy and mirth.

3. The proper time of bringing the Chagigah was the fifteenth day of the month. Aruch: "They ate, and drank, and rejoiced, and were bound to bring their sacrifice of Chagigah on the fifteenth day"; i.e. the first day of the feast, &c.

There might be a time, indeed, when they brought their Chagigah on the fourteenth day; but this was not so usual; and then it was under certain conditions. "When is it that they bring the Chagigah at the same time with the lamb? When it comes on another day in the week, and not on the sabbath; when it is clean, and when it is small." Let the Gloss explain the last clause; and for the two former, we shall do that ourselves.

"If the lamb be less than what will satisfy the whole company, then they make ready their Chagigah, eating that first, and then the lamb," &c. And the reason is given by another Glosser; viz. that the appetites of those that eat might be pretty well satisfied before they begin the lamb: for if they should fall upon the lamb first, it being so very small, and the company numerous and hungry, they would be in danger of breaking the bones, whiles they gnaw it so greedily.

For this and other reasons the Rabbins account the Chagigah of the fourteenth day to be many degrees less perfect than that of the fifteenth; but it would be very tedious to quote their ventilations about it. Take only these few instances:

"R. Issai saith, 'The Chagigah on the fourteenth day is not our duty.'" And a little after: "R. Eliezer saith, 'By the peace offerings which they slay on the evening of the feast, a man doth not his duty, either as to rejoicing, or as to Chagigah.'"

And now let us return to the words of our evangelist.

III. It was the fifteenth day of the month when the fathers of the council refused to enter into the praetorium, lest they should be defiled; for they would eat the Passover, that is, the Chagigah.

1. The evangelist expresseth it after the common way of speaking, when he calls it the Passover. "It is written, Observe the month of Abib: and keep the Passover: that all that you do may go under the denomination of the Passover." The calf and the young bullock which they kill in the name of the Passover, or for the Passover. Whence we may observe, the calf is the Passover as well as the lamb.

2. The elders of the Sanhedrim prepare and oblige themselves to eat the Chagigah [the Passover] on that day, because the next day was the sabbath; and the Chagigah must not make void the sabbath.

The Chagigah doth not set aside the sabbath. Hence that we quoted before, that the Chagigah was not to be brought upon the sabbath day, as also not in case of uncleanness: because however the Chagigah and defilement might set aside the Passover, yet it might not the sabbath.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on John 18:28". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". 1675.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

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.

(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.

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)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 18:28". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Led ( ἄγουσιν )

Present tense, lead.

Hall of judgment ( πραιτώριον )

A Latin word, proetorium, transcribed. Originally, the general's tent. In the Roman provinces it was the name for the official residence of the Roman governor, as here. Compare Acts 23:35. It came to be applied to any spacious villa or palace. So Juvenal: “To their crimes they are indebted for their gardens, palaces (proetoria ), etc.” (“Sat.,” i., 75). In Rome the term was applied to the proetorian guard, or imperial bodyguard. See on Philemon 1:13. Rev., palace.

Early ( πρωΐ́ )

Used technically of the fourth watch, 3-6 a.m. See Mark 13:35. The Sanhedrim could not hold a legal meeting, especially in capital cases, before sunrise; and in such cases judicial proceedings must be conducted and terminated by day. A condemnation to death, at night, was technically illegal. In capital cases, sentence of condemnation could not be legally pronounced on the day of trial. If the night proceedings were merely preliminary to a formal trial, they would have no validity; if formal, they were, ipso facto, illegal. In either case was the law observed in reference to the second council. According to the Hebrew computation of time, it was held on the same day.

Be defiled ( μιανθῶσιν )

Originally, to stain, as with color. So Homer: “Tinges ( μιήνῃ ) the white ivory with purple.” Not necessarily, therefore, in a bad sense, like μολύσω , to besmear or besmirch with filth (1 Corinthians 8:7; Revelation 3:4). In classical Greek, μιαίνω , the verb here used, is the standing word for profaning or unhallowing. So Sophocles:

“Not even fearing this pollution ( μίασμα ) dire,

Will I consent to burial. Well I know

That man is powerless to pollute ( μιαίνειν ) the gods.”

Antigone,” 1042-1044.

And Plato: “And if a homicide … without purification pollutes the agora, or the games, or the temples,” etc. (“Laws,” 868). See on 1 Peter 1:4. The defilement in the present case was apprehended from entering a house from which all leaven had not been removed.

Eat the Passover

The purpose of this work forbids our entering upon the much-vexed question of the apparent inconsistency between John and the Synoptists as to the time of celebrating the Passover.

Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 18:28". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover.

They went not into the palace themselves, lest they should be defiled — By going into a house which was not purged from leaven, Deuteronomy 16:4. Matthew 27:2; Mark 15:1; Luke 23:1.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on John 18:28". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Defiled; ceremonially; this judgment-hall being the seat of a Roman, and of course Gentile tribunal. Their unwillingness to enter affords a strange illustration of the compatibility of excessive punctiliousness in the outward forms of religion, with the most complete moral corruption. These whited sepulchres, with hearts full of envy, hatred, and murder, could not go into a Roman building, lest they should be defiled!--The passover; that is, probably the remaining sacrifices and feasts of the paschal week; for, according to Luke 22:7,13,14,15, the evening on which the paschal lamb was to be eaten, was the evening preceding.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on John 18:28". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Повели Иисуса. Это произошло до того допроса, о котором говорил Евангелист. Нет сомнения, что священники имели в городе подстрекателей, через которых возбуждали народ. Посему гнев народа возгорелся внезапно, словно все единодушно требовали смерти Христа. Священники же устроили допрос не потому, что у них была власть вынести приговор, но чтобы у судьи возникло против Христа предубеждение. Словно его дело было уже выяснено. Римляне же называют преторией как дом прокуратора, так и трибунал, где обычно происходит суд.

Чтобы не оскверниться. Что они воздержались от всякого осквернения, дабы по заповеди закона вкушать пасху Господню, – в этом их вера достойны похвалы. Но в них сидело два весьма тяжких порока, о которых они даже не думали. Внутри себя они несли большую скверну, чем могли бы поиметь, войдя в нечистое место. Кроме того, во второстепенных вещах они были скрупулезны больше положенного, а первостепенными вещами пренебрегали. Оскверненным и неверующим ничто не чисто, – говорит Павел (Тит.1:15), – ибо осквернен их разум. Эти же лицемеры, источая злобу, самомнение, обман, жестокость, алчность осквернили почти все небо и землю, но сами боятся лишь внешней нечистоты. Итак, невыносимая насмешка – то, что они хотели угодить Богу, не навлекая грязь прикосновением к нечистому и забыв при этом об истинной чистоте. Лицемерие страдает и другим пороком, досконально исполняя обряды: оно спокойно упускает наиважнейшие вещи. Ибо Господь заповедал иудеям обряды закона именно с той целью, чтобы они привыкли любить святость и усердно и ней стремиться. Добавь, что нигде в законе не запрещено входить в дом язычника. Данная предосторожность была введена отцами, дабы кто-то по неразумию не понес из его дома какую-либо скверну. Эти же добрые толкователи закона, отцеживая комара, спокойно поглощали верблюда. Но лицемерам свойственно считать большим преступлением убийство блохи, нежели человека. К этому пороку близок и другой: предпочитать человеческие предания священным заповедям Божиим. Итак, чтобы законно есть пасху, они хотели сохранить себя чистыми. Но нечистоту они видели только в стенах претории и, не сомневаясь, перед лицом неба и земли предавали смерти невинного человека. Наконец, пасху теней они чтили ложным придуманным почитанием, а пасху истинную не только насиловали богохульными руками, но и делали все, чтобы обречь ее на вечную гибель.




Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 18:28". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.

Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books

Ver. 28. "They lead Jesus therefore from Caiaphas to the Praetorium. Now it was early. And they did not themselves enter into the Praetorium, that they might not be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover."

ThePraetorium was at Rome the place where the praetor sat when he administered justice. This name had been applied to the palaces of the Roman governors in the provinces. Most interpreters hold that this term designates here the palace of Herod, which was in the western part of the upper city. In proof of this the passage of Josephus, Bell. Jud.2.14, 8, is cited, where it is said that "Florus lived at that time ( τότε) in the royal palace;" but this passage proves precisely that the Roman governor did not ordinarily live there. It is more probable that Pilate occupied a palace contiguous to the citadel Antonia, where the Roman garrison was stationed, at the north-west corner of the temple. It is there, at all events, that tradition places the starting- point of the Via Dolorosa.πρωΐ (T. R. πρωΐα), in the early morning, includes the time from three to six o"clock (Mark 13:35). The Roman courts opened their sessions at any hour after sunrise (Westcott). Pilate, as we have seen, was forewarned, since the previous evening, of what was taking place, and he had no doubt consented to receive the Jews at this early hour.

The scruple which prevents the Jews from entering into the governor"s house places us again face to face with the contradiction which seems to exist between the narrative of John and that of the Synoptics. If, as these latter seem to say, the Jews had already on the previous evening celebrated the Paschal meal, how can we explain the fact that, through defiling themselves by contact with the leaven which would necessarily be found in a Gentile house, they fear that they may be unable to celebrate this meal on this same evening? The only way of escaping this contradiction, it seems, would be to give a wider sense to the expression to eat the Passover, by referring it, not to the Paschal meal properly so called, but to the food of the feast in general, such as the unleavened bread and the flesh of the peace-offerings which were celebrated during the seven days of the feast.

Some passages are thought to have been found in the Old Testament where the word Passover is taken in this more general sense; thus Deuteronomy 16:2-3 : "Thou shalt sacrifice the Passover to the Lord, of the flock and of the herd, and with it (these meats) thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days." Comp. the analogous expression 2 Chronicles 30:22 (literally): "And they ate the feast (the feast- sacrifices) seven days, offering sacrifices of peace offerings and praising the Lord;" 2 Chronicles 35:7-9 : "And Josiah gave to those of the people who were there lambs and kids, to the number of thirty thousand, all of them for Passover offerings, and three thousand bullocks, of the king"s substance." To confirm this conclusion it is alleged that, according to the Talmud, the defilement which the Jews would have contracted by entering the Praetorium would have continued in any case only until the end of the day, and consequently would not have prevented them from eating the Paschal meal in the evening.

But the passages cited do not prove what they would need to prove. As to the first (Deuteronomy 16:2-3), the term Passover is applied exclusively, in John 18:5-6, which immediately follow, to the Paschal lamb; hence it follows that in John 18:2 the expression of the herd and of the flock is not an explanatory apposition of the word pesach (Passover), but a supplementary addition by which all the secondary sacrifices which complete the Paschal supper during the course of the week are designated. At all events, if the term Passover really included here, together with the Paschal lamb, all the other sacrifices of the feast, it would not follow therefrom that it could designate, as would be the case in our passage, these last apart from the first. As to the with it, it refers to all the sacrificial meats which were to be accompanied by unleavened bread during the entire week.

In 2 Chronicles 30 the name Passover is applied in 2 Chronicles 30:15; 2 Chronicles 30:17-18 exclusively to the Paschal lamb. Why, then, should the chronicler in John 18:22 substitute for the proper term: to eat the Passover, the more general expression to eat the feast, if it was not because he wished now to speak of the sacrifices of the feast, exclusive of the eating of the Paschal lamb? Besides, the reading: and they ate (vajokelou) the feast, is very doubtful. The LXX certainly read: vajekallou, and they finished the feast; for they translate: καὶ συνετέλεσαν.

In the third passage (2 Chronicles 35:7-9) the distinction between the lambs or kids which were intended to serve for the Paschal meal (pesachim) and the bullocks which were consecrated to the other sacrifices and feasts is obvious.

But even supposing that in some passages of the Old Testament the term Passover had received from the context a wider meaning than ordinary, would it follow from this that a phrase so common in the New Testament, in Josephus and in the Talmud, as that of eating the Passover, could be applied, without any explanatory indication, to entirely different meals from the Paschal supper, and this even to the exclusion of the latter?

As to the objection derived from the duration of the defilement which the Jews would have contracted:

1. It is impossible to form any certain conclusion, with reference to the time of Jesus, from a passage of the Rabbi Maimonides written about the year 1200.

2. This passage refers to a defilement arising from contact with dead animals, etc., and not to the defilement arising from leaven, and with special relation to the Paschal feast.

The same is the case with the examples borrowed from other kinds of defilement (Leviticus 15:5 ff., Leviticus 15:19 ff.). After the analogy of Numbers 9:6 ff., the Jews would simply have been obliged to put off the celebration of the Passover until the 14th of the following month.

3. If the question were only of the feast-meals in general, the members of the Sanhedrim might have abstained altogether from taking part in them; for these meals were voluntary; the Paschal supper alone did not allow of abstention.

4. The defilement thus contracted would, in any case, have forced the priests, who were members of the Sanhedrim, to abstain from participating in the sacrifice of the lamb in the afternoon, an abstention which was incompatible with their official duty.

For all these reasons it is impossible for me to adopt the opinion of many and learned interpreters who refer the expression to eat the Passover in our verse to the peace-offering (the Chagigah), which the Jews offered on the 16th of Nisan at mid-day; we will mention among the modern writers only Tholuck, Olshausen, Hengstenberg, Wieseler, Hofmann, Lange, Riggenbach, Baumlein, Langen, Luthardt, Kirchner and Keil.

The pronoun αὐτοί, themselves, contrasts the Jews, with their Levitical purity, to Jesus, whom nothing could any longer defile, so defiled was He already in their eyes. He was immediately delivered over to the governor, and introduced into the Praetorium. From this time, therefore, Pilate will go from the Praetorium to the Jews (John 18:29; John 18:38, John 19:4-12) and from the Jews to the Praetorium (John 18:33, John 19:1; John 19:9). Keim judges this situation to be historically impossible, and jests about this ambulant judge, this peripatetic negotiator, whom the narrative of John presents to us. But the apostle clearly perceived that this situation had an exceptional character, and he has precisely explained it by this John 18:28. Pilate does not feel himself free in his position with regard to the Jews; the sequel shows this only too clearly. This is the reason why he bears with their scruples.

The first position taken by the Jews:

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on John 18:28". "Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books".

John Trapp Complete Commentary

28 Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover.

Ver. 28. Lest they should be defiled] Putrid hypocrisy! they stand upon legal defilements, and care not to defile their consciences with innocent blood. What is this, but to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel? τον ανδριανταγαργαλιζειν. So Saul seemed to make a heinous matter of eating the flesh with the blood, 1 Samuel 14:33, when it was nothing with him to spill the blood of innocent Jonathan. Nay, he was so scrupulous, that he would not so much as name a guilty man or sinner, but, in casting of lots, instead of saying, Show the innocent or guilty, he said, Show the innocent or upright person, as Tremellius reads it; yet at the same time (as is well observed) he made no conscience of bloody oaths. So Doeg was detained before the Lord, either because it was the sabbath, or his vow was not finished, &c. But when he went thence, he became death’s man to the Lord’s priests.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 18:28". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

John 18:28

(with John 19:16)

The Spirit of God striving with Man—Pontius Pilate judging the Lord Christ

I. At first Pilate will scarcely attend to the accusers of Christ. He takes Jesus into the inner judgment hall of his palace, thinking probably that a very short inquiry will suffice. From the very beginning of this strange trial and all throughout, more and more, the pertinacity of the Jews tends to deepen the impression made on Pilate's mind, increases his concern, and makes him the more impatient for an adjustment.

II. Pilate thought he might evade the necessity of coming to a decision about Jesus and His claims. Let Herod be the judge; send the case, by all means, to Herod; he is on all accounts the proper person to dispose of it. But this expedient will not stand Pilate in stead; Jesus comes back to him, scourged indeed and buffeted, but not judged; neither absolved nor condemned. Herod mocks Him and sets Him at nought. Pilate attempts to make a compromise with the Jews. But though he selects one of the worst and most atrocious criminals then in custody, to be offered to them along with Jesus, and though, as Luke tells us, he three times most earnestly and pathetically beseeches the people to choose Jesus; he has the deep mortification of hearing their reiterated and impatient cry: "Not this man, but Barabbas," although Barabbas was a robber.

III. The struggle becomes more desperate as it draws near its close. The claim of Jesus, His claim of sovereignty, of truth, and now even of Divinity, is pressing closer and closer on Pilate's conscience. But alas! the loud cry prevails. "If thou let this man go, thou art not Cæsar's friend." It is a solemn reflection to think how near the vacillating judge, the despairing suicide, may once have been to a believer. It is a most emphatic warning to all, to trifle with no convictions of their own, to yield to no solicitations of others, to let the Word of God have free course in their hearts, and to give no resistance to the strivings of His Good Spirit.

R. S. Candlish, Scripture Characters and Miscellanies, p. 75.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on John 18:28". "Sermon Bible Commentary".

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

John 18:28. Then led they Jesus—unto the hall of judgment: When the evangelist says it was early, he points out to us the great hurry and eagerness of the Jews to have this mystery of iniquity accomplished; for it was not customary with them to judge any man before the ninth hour. See on Luke 22:66. By the law, Numbers 19:22. Whosoever touched any unclean person, was unclean; for this reason the chief priests and elders, when they came to the praetorium, would not go in, lest the pollutions that they might have contracted in the house of a heathen, should render them unfit for eating the passover, for which they had now purified themselves. See Acts 10:28. Thesame reason likewise hindered them from going into the praetorium, at the other festivals, which the governor attended for the sake of administering justice. But to make the matter easy, a kind of structure was erected, adjoining to the palace, which served instead of a tribunal, or judgment-seat. This structure, from its Hebrew name Gabbatha, seems to have been pretty high, and was called in the Greek λιθοστρωτον, being paved with little pieces of marble of divers colours, because it was generally exposed to the weather. Perhaps it was something like a stage, but larger, open on all sides, but covered above, at least when the governor was to hear causes, having a throne placed on it for him to sit on; and as it was joined to the palace wall, there was a door in the wall, by which he came out upon it from within. The people therefore standing around, in the open air, could hear and see the governor when he spake to them from the pavement, without danger of being defiled, either by him, or any of his retinue.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on John 18:28". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

There were two courts of judicature which our blessed Saviour was brought before, and condemned by.

1. The ecclesiastical court or sanhedrin, in which the high-priest sat as judge; here he was condemned to death for blasphemy.

2. The civil court or judgment-hall, where Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, sat judge, who, because he was a Gentile, they would not go into his house, lest they should be defiled; for they accounted it a legal pollution to come into the house of a Gentile.

Where observe, the notorious hypocrisy of these Jews: they scruple the defiling of themselves by coming near the judgment-hall, where Pilate sat, but make no scruple at all to defile themselves with the guilt of that innocent blood which Pilate shed.

When persons are over zealous for ceremonial observations, they are oftentimes too remiss with refernce to moral duties: They brought him to the judgment-hall; but they themselves went not in, lest they should be defiled.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on John 18:28". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

28. κ. αὐτοὶ οὐκ εἰσῆλθ.] I have already discussed the difficulties attending the subject of our Lord’s last Passover, in the note on Matthew 26:17-19. I will add here some remarks of Friedlieb’s, Arch. der Leid. § 30. “The Jews would not enter the Prætorium that they might not be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover. For the entrance of a Jew into the house of a Gentile made him unclean till the evening. It is surprising, that according to this declaration of the Holy Evangelist, the Jews had yet to eat the Passover, whereas Jesus and His disciples had already eaten it in the previous night. And it is no less surprising, that the Jews in the early morning should have been afraid of rendering themselves unclean for the Passover,—since the Passover could not be kept till evening, i.e. on the next day, and the uncleanness which they dreaded did not, by the law, last till the next day. For this reason, the passage in John labours under no small exegetic difficulties, which we cannot altogether solve, from want of accurate knowledge of the customs of the time. Possibly the law concerning Levitical defilements and purifications had in that age been made more stringent or otherwise modified; possibly, they called some other meal, besides the actual Passover, by its name. This last we certainly, with our present knowledge of Hebrew antiquities, must assume; for the law respecting uncleanness will not allow us to interpret this passage of the proper Passover on the evening of the 14th of Nisan, nor indeed of any evening meal at all.”

The whole depends on this: can φαγεῖν τὸ πάσχα mean any thing else besides eating the paschal lamb in the strict sense? This is a question which in our day we have no power of answering; and, as De Wette has shewn (in loc.), none of the instances cited on the affirmative side are applicable. See note on ch. John 19:14.

Mr. Wratislaw, in his little volume of Sermons and Dissertations (Lond. J. W. Parker, 1859), has proposed a solution of the difficulties which is at least very ingenious. Its chief point is, that the Jews, reckoning their days from evening to evening, and also holding two evenings, the former beginning at 3 P.M., the other at sunset, the space between the evenings, during which the passover was to be sacrificed (Exodus 12:6), might be reckoned indifferently, sometimes as part of the preceding, sometimes as part of the following day. Then he thinks that in order to avoid any mistake, they considered the 14th Nisan to begin at 3 P.M. on Thursday, and to end at sunset on Good Friday, thus extending the day to its utmost possible limit. He instances similar confusion between the 14th and 15th Nisan, or rather Abib, in Exodus 12:18 and Leviticus 23:6, arising from the space between the evenings being reckoned in the one case as belonging to the former, and in the other as belonging to the latter day; and suggests that the same ambiguity will account for Josephus’s statement that the Jews kept the feast of unleavened bread for eight days.

Thus, he says, any time after 3 P.M. on Thursday might be called by St. Mark “the first day of unleavened bread, when they sacrificed the passover,” and by St. Luke, “the day of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be killed,” it being killed after the first and before the second evening on Friday, and thus, loosely speaking, within the day, which commenced at 3 o’clock, and, strictly speaking, within that which commenced at sunset on Thursday. Similarly any time after 3 or sunset on the Thursday might be called the παρασκευή or preparation of the passover, which was to be eaten at some time after sunset on the Friday.

Then he understands, that the disciples made all preparations on Thursday afternoon for the passover, which was to be killed the next afternoon, and eaten the following night: and that the passover of which our Lord so earnestly desired to partake, was that which was thus prepared, but of which He knew He was not Himself destined to partake. This he supports by the true reading (omitting the οὐκέτι) in Luke 22:16.

“If this view,” he adds, “be accepted, there is no longer any question, as far as the passover is concerned, about reconciling St. John with the synoptical Gospels. The eucharist will thus have been instituted at an ordinary meal, eaten the evening before the paschal feast in the same room in which it was intended afterwards to celebrate the passover.” See this more fully illustrated in the vol. above alluded to, pp. 168–175.

The main objections to it seem to me to be, 1) the total absence of any trace of such an usage, of eating a preliminary solemn meal in the passover-chamber; 2) the plain and undeniable impression on the mind of every unbiassed reader of the synoptic Gospels, that the meal of our Lord and the Twelve was a passover, and that His ἐπιθυμίᾳ ἐπεθύμησα describes, not that which He desired to do, owing however to His predetermined course would not do,—but that which He was then doing in the fulfilment of that His earnest desire.

So that I am afraid Mr. Wratislaw’s ingenious solution leaves us, for all essentials of the question, where we were before: merely, by suggesting the introduction of possible new elements of confusion, giving us an additional warning not to be rash in assuming a discrepancy between the Evangelists, where computations of time may have been so vague and various.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 18:28". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

John 18:28. εἰς τὸ πραιτώριον] into the praetorium, where the procurator dwelt, whether it was the palace of Herod (so usually), or, more probably, a building in the tower of Antonia (so Ewald). Comp. on Matthew 27:27 : Mark 15:16.

πρωΐ] i.e. in the fourth watch of the night (see on Matthew 14:25), therefore toward daybreak. Pilate might expect them so early, since he had in fact ordered the σπεῖρα, John 18:3, on duty.

αὐτοί] They themselves did not go in, but caused Jesus only to be brought in by the soldiers, John 18:3.

ἵνα μὴ μιανθῶσιν, ἀλλʼ ἵνα φάγ. τὸ πάσχα] On the emphatic repetition of the ἵνα, comp. Revelation 9:5; Xen. Mem. i. 2. 48. The entrance into the pagan house, not purified from the corrupt leaven, would have made them levitically impure ( μιαίνω, the solemn word of profanation, Plat. Legg. ix. p. 868 A Tim. p. 69 D Soph. Ant. 1031, LXX. in Schleusner, III. p. 559), and have thereby prevented them from eating the Passover on the legal day (they would have been bound, according to the analogy of Numbers 9:6 ff., to defer it till the 14th of the following month). Since φαγεῖν τὸ πάσχα throughout the N. T. (Matthew 26:17; Mark 14:12; Mark 14:14; Luke 22:11; Luke 22:15; comp. ἑτοιμάζειν τὸ πάσχα, Matthew 26:19; Mark 14:16; Luke 22:8; θύειν τὸ πάσχα, 1 Corinthians 5:7; Luke 22:7; Mark 14:12; see also Exodus 12:21; 2 Chronicles 35:13) denotes nothing else than to eat the paschal meal, as אָכַל הַפֶּסח, 2 Chronicles 30:18, comp. 3 Esr. John 1:6; John 1:12, John 7:12, it is thus clear that on the day, in the early part of which Jesus was brought to the procurator, the paschal lamb had not yet been eaten, but was to be eaten, and that consequently Jesus was crucified on the day before the feast. This result of the Johannean account is undoubtedly confirmed by John 13:1, according to which πρὸ τῆς ἑορτῆς gives the authoritative standard for the whole history of the passion, and that in such wise that the Jewish Passover feast was necessarily still future, when Jesus held His last meal with the disciples, with which latter, then, the seizure, condemnation, and execution stood in unbroken connection; further, by John 13:29, according to which the Johannean last supper cannot have been the paschal meal; finally, by John 19:14; John 19:31 (see on those passages), as, moreover, the view that the murdered Jesus was the antitype of the slaughtered paschal lamb (John 19:36), is appropriate only to that day as the day of His death, on which the paschal lamb was slaughtered, i.e. on the 14th Nisan.(218) Since, however, as according to the Synoptics, so also according to John (John 19:31), Jesus died on the Friday, after He had, on the evening preceding, held His last meal, John 13, there results the variation that, according to the Synoptics, the feast begins on Thursday evening, and Jesus holds the actual Jewish paschal meal, but is crucified on the first feast-day (Friday); in opposition to which, according to John, the feast begins on Friday evening, the last supper of Jesus (Thursday evening) is an ordinary meal (see Winer, Progr.: δεῖπνον, de quo Joh. xiii., etc., Leips. 1847), and His death follows on the day before the feast (Friday). According to the Synoptics, the Friday of the death of Jesus was thus the 15th Nisan; but according to John, the 14th Nisan. We can scarcely conceive a more indubitable result of exegesis, recognised also by Lücke, ed. 2 and 3, Neander, Krabbe, Theile, Sieffert, Usteri, Ideler, Bleek, De Wette, Brückner, Ebrard, Krit. d. Evang. Gesch., ed. 2 (not in Olshausen, Leidensgesch., p. 43 f.), Ewald, Baur, Hilgenfeld, Hase, Weisse, Rückert, Abendm. p. 28 ff., Steitz, J. Müller, Koessing (Catholic), de suprema Chr. coena, 1858, p. 57 ff., Kahnis, Dogm. I. p. 417, Pressensé, Keim, and several others. Nevertheless, harmonistic attempts have been made as far as possible to prove the agreement, either of the Synoptics with John (so mostly the older harmonists, see Weitzel, Passahfeier, p. 305 f.; recently, especially Movers in the Zeitschrift f. Phil. u. Kathol. Theol., 1833, vii. p. 58 ff., viii. p. 62 ff., Maier, Aechth. d. Ev. Joh., 1854, p. 429 ff., Weitzel, Isenberg, d. Todestag des Herrn, 1868, p. 31 ff., and several others), or of John with the Synoptics (so most later harmonists).(219) Attempts of the first kind break down at once before this consideration, that in the Synoptics the last meal is the regular(220) and legal one of the 14th Nisan, with the Passover lamb, slaughtered of necessity on the selfsame day between the two evenings in the forecourt (comp. Lightfoot, p. 470 f., 651), but not a paschal meal anticipated by Jesus contrary to the law (abrogating, in fact, the legal appointment, see Weitzel), as Grotius, Hammond, Clericus, and several others thought, also Kahnis, Abendm. p. 14, Krafft, p. 130, Godet, p. 629 ff., who appeals specially again to Matthew 26:17-18, Märcker, Uebereinst. d. Matth. und Joh. p. 20 ff., who thinks the non-legal character of the meal is passed over in silence by the Synoptics. Those attempts, however, according to which John’s account is made to be the same as that of the Synoptics (Bynaeus, de morte J. Ch. III. p. 13 ff., Lightfoot, p. 1121 ff., Reland, Bengel, and several others; latterly, especially Tholuck, Guericke, Olshausen, B. Crusius, Hengstenberg in loc., and in the Evang. K.-Zeit. 1838, Nr. 98 ff., Wieseler, Synopse, p. 333 ff., and in Herzog’s Encyklop. XXI. p. 550 ff., Luthardt, Wichelhaus, Hofmann in the Zeitschr. f. Prot. u. Kirche, 1853, p. 260 ff., Lichtenstein and Friedlieb, Gesch. d. Lebens J. Chr. p. 140 ff., Lange, Riggenbach, von Gumpach, Röpe, d. Mahl. d. Fusswaschens, Hamb. 1856, Ebrard on Olshausen, Baeumlein, Langen, Letzte Lebenstage Jesu, 1864, p. 136), are rendered void by the correct explanation of John 13:1; John 13:29, John 19:14; John 19:31, and, in respect of the present passage, by the following observations: (a) τὸ πάσχα cannot be understood of the sacrificial food of the feast to the exclusion of the lamb, particularly not of the Chagiga ( חֲגִיגָה the freewill passover offerings, consisting of small cattle and oxen, according to Deuteronomy 16:2, on which sacrificial meals were held; see Lightfoot), as is here assumed by the current harmonists,(221) since rather by φαγεῖν is the Passover lamb constantly designated (comp. generally Gesenius, Thes. II. p. 1115), also in Josephus and in the Talmud ( אכל הפסח), and consequently no reader could attach any other meaning to it;(222) in Deuteronomy 16:2-3, however, פסח does not mean “as a passover” (Hengstenberg, comp. Schultz on Deut. p. 471), but likewise nothing else than agnus paschalis, from which, then, צאֹן וּבָקר are distinguished as other sacrifices and sacrificial animals (comp. John 18:6-7), whereby with עליו, John 18:3, we are referred back to the whole of the eating at the feast. 2 Chronicles 35:7-9 also (comp. rather John 18:11; John 18:13) contributes as little to prove the assumed reference of πάσχα to the Passover sacrifices generally, as Exodus 12:48 for the view that to eat the Passover signifies the celebration of the feast in general; since, certainly, in the passage in question, the general ποιῆσαι τὸ π. (prepare) is by no means equivalent to the special ἔδεται ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ.(223) (b) The objection, that entering the Gentile house would only have produced pollution for the same day ( טִבּוּל יוֹם),(224) which might have been removed by washing before evening, and therefore before the beginning of the new day, and that consequently the Jews would have still been able to eat the Passover lamb, which was to be first partaken of in the evening (see especially Hengstenberg, Wieseler, and Wichelhaus, following Bynaeus and Lightfoot), cannot be proved from Maimonides (Pesach. iii. 1, vi. 1), must rather, in view of the great sacredness of the Passover feast (comp. John 11:55), be regarded as quite unsupported by the present passage (at all events in reference to the time of Jesus), irrespective also of this, that such a pollution would have been a hindrance to the personal slaughtering of the lamb, and certainly was, most of all, avoided precisely by the hierarchs, 2 Chronicles 30:17-18. (c) On the whole of the inadmissible plea, which has been raised from the history of the Easter controversies against this, that John places the death of Jesus on the 14th Nisan, see Introd. § 2. (d) It has even been asserted, in order to make the account of John apply to the synoptic determination of time, that the time of the Passover meal was not the evening of the 14th Nisan at all, but the evening of the 13th Nisan (consequently the beginning of the 14th); so, after Frisch, recently Rauch in the Stud. u. Krit. 1832, p. 537 ff., according to which our φαγεῖν τ. πάσχα was understood of the eating of the ἄζυ΄α. But the evening of the 14th (consequently the beginning of the 15th) stands so unassailably firm on the foundation of the law, according to Jewish tradition, and according to Josephus (see De Wette in the Stud. u. Krit. 1834, 4; Lücke, II. p. 727 ff.), that the above attempt is simply to be noted as a piece of history, as also that of Schneckenburger (Beitr. p. 4 ff.), which is based on the error that John 19:14 is the παρασκευή for the Feast of Sheaves. (e) Had John conceived the last Supper to be the Passover meal, there would certainly not have been wanting in the farewell discourses significant references to the Passover;(225) they are, however, entirely wanting, and, moreover, the general designation of the Supper itself, δείπνου γινομένου, John 12:2 (comp. John 12:2), agrees therewith, to remove from the mind of the unprejudiced reader the thought of the festival meal.

Is, however, the difference between John and the Synoptics incapable of being adjusted, the question then arises, On which side historical accuracy lies? Those who dispute the authenticity of the Gospel could not be in doubt on this point But it is otherwise from the standpoint of this authenticity, and that not of mediate authenticity at second hand (assuming which, Weizsäcker gives the preference to the synoptic account), but of that which is immediate and apostolical. If, that is to say, in the case of irreconcilable departures from the synoptic tradition, the first rank is in general, à priori, to be conceded to John, as the sole direct witness, whose writing has been preserved unaltered; if, further, the representation also by the Apostle Paul of Christ as the Passover Lamb applies only to the Johannean determination of the day of His death (see on 1 Corinthians 5:7); and if, along with this, Paul’s account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper does not run counter (in answer to Keim) to this Johannean determination; if, further, even the statement of the Judaism, which was outside the church, that Jesus was executed vespera paschatis ( ערב הפסח), i.e. on the 14th Nisan, supports the account of John (see Sanhedr. 6. 2 f., 43. 1, in Lightfoot, ad Act. i. 3), where the fabulous element in the Talmudic quotation of the circumstances attending the execution does not affect the simple date of time; if the conducting of a criminal trial(226) and execution on the first feast-day, even after the most recent attempts to show their admissibility (see especially Wieseler, p. 361 ff.), is at least highly improbable (see Bleek, p. 139 ff.; Ewald, Alterth. p. 415), and is opposed by Acts 12:25 ff., and in the case before us would be regarded as an exception from the rule,(227) in fact, imprudent and irreconcilable with the great danger which was well known to the Sanhedrin (Matthew 26:5); if, generally, the 15th Nisan, with its Sabbatic character, and as the legal day of the festive gathering in the temple, is altogether unsuitable to all the undertakings, processions, and parades which were set on foot by the hierarchs and by the people on the day of Jesus’ death, as well as to the taking down from the cross and the burial; if, on the other hand, the custom of setting at liberty a prisoner (John 18:39) most naturally corresponds to the idea, and therewith to the day of the paschal lamb, to the idea and to the day of forgiveness; if, finally, even in the Synoptics themselves, traces still exist of the true historical relation, according to which the day of Jesus’ death must have been no first day of the feast, but a day of traffic and labour (Matthew 26:59-60; Mark 15:21; Mark 15:42; Mark 15:46; Luke 23:26; Luke 23:54; Luke 23:56), as, moreover, the opinion of the Sanhedrin, Matthew 26:5, Mark 14:1 : μὴ ἐν τῇ ἑορτῇ! corresponds to the Johannean account, and to the haste with which, according to the latter, the affair was despatched, actually still before the feast,—then all these moments are just so many reasons, the collective weight of which is decisive in favour of John,(228) without the further necessity of making an uncertain appeal to the present calendar of the feast, according to which the 15th Nisan may not fall on a Friday (see against his application to that period, Wieseler, p. 437 f.), and to the prohibition, Exodus 12:22, against quitting house and town after the Passover meal (see on Matthew 26:30, and Wetstein on Mark 14:26).

The question how the correct relation of time in the synoptic tradition could be altered by a day, withdraws itself from any solution that is demonstrable from history. Most naturally, however, the institution of the Lord’s Supper suggests the point of connection, both by the references, which Jesus Himself in His discourses connected therewith gave to the Supper in its bearing on the Passover meal, by the idea of which He was moved (Luke 22:15), as also by the view of the Supper as the antitypical Passover meal, which view must necessarily have been developed from the apostolic apprehension of Christ as the Paschal Lamb (John 19:36; 1 Corinthians 5:7), so far as He in the Supper had given Himself to be partaken of, Himself the perfected Passover Lamb, which He, simply by His death, was on the point of becoming. Thus the day of institution of the Supper became, in the anti-typical mode of regarding it, an ideal 14th Nisan, and in the tradition, in virtue of the reflective operation of the idea upon it, gradually became an actual one, and consequently the παρασκευή, which was firmly established as the day of death, became, instead of the preparation of the Passover (14th Nisan), as John has again fixed it, the preparation of the Sabbath,(229) this Sabbath, however, regarded, not as the first day of the feast, as in John, consequently not as the 15th Nisan, but as the second day of the feast (16th Nisan).

Further, the deviation of John from the Synoptics is the less to be employed as a reason for doubting the genuineness of the former, the more improbable it is in itself that a later inventor, who nevertheless sought apostolic authority, would have run the risk of entering into conflict with the prevailing tradition in so extremely important a determination, and, in subservience to the idea of Christ as the perfected Passover Lamb (see especially Baur, p. 272 ff., and in the Theol. Jahrb. 1854, p. 267 f.; Hilgenfeld, Pascha streit d. alten K. p. 221 ff.; Schenkel, p. 362 f.; Keim, Gesch. J. I. p. 132; Scholten, p. 282 ff.), to date back by a day the execution of Christ. Were the Johannean history, in so far substantially unhistorical, a production resulting from the idea of the Passover lamb, then certainly this idea would itself stand forth with far more of purpose and expression than it does (especially, for instance, in the farewell discourses), and would have been indicated, not merely on the occasion of the wound in the side, John 19:36, in the light of a single token; in that case one might believe oneself justified, with Weisse, Evangelienfrage, p. 130, in laying to the charge of the writer of the Gospel that he had, in conformity with certain presuppositions, put together the sequence of events for himself partly in an accidental and partly in an arbitrary manner.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on John 18:28". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 18:28. αὐτοὶ) they themselves.— ἳνα μὴ μιανθῶσιν, lest they should be defiled) as Pilate’s house was not cleared out of leaven: Deuteronomy 16:4, “There shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coasts seven days.”— φάγωσι τὸ πάσχα, that they might eat the Passover) So 2 Chronicles 30:22, ויאכלו המועד, “They ate the feast seven days.”(385) [This observation of John is not opposed to that view whereby we have shown that the Jews ate the Passover on the evening which formed the commencement of the Friday; i.e. at the close or evening of Thursday. (See note of the Gnom. on Matthew 26:17.) In fact, the word πάσχα, in the strict sense, means only the Passover lamb, not a bull, etc.(386) But when the Passover in general is mentioned, by the Passover lamb, as being the principal part (Deuteronomy 16:1, “Keep the Passover,” with which comp. John 18:2, “sacrifice the Passover of the flock and the herd”), the whole feast is meant by Synecdoche (a part for the whole); namely, on the same principle as σάββατον, the Sabbath, means both the seventh day of the week in the strict sense, and by consequence the whole week. To these considerations Lightfoot (Hor. on this passage) adds, that the defilement by entering the Pretorium or judgment-hall would last only up to evening, and that therefore would not prevent them, after being cleansed, from eating the Paschal lamb. Since, then, in this passage, the Evangelist is speaking of such an eating of the Passover as the Jews would have been excluded from before the evening by any defilement, no doubt a different part of the feast from the actual feast of the Passover lamb is indicated.—Harm., p. 544, et seqq.] τὸ πάσχα cannot be the Accusative of time, during the Feast. For though defiled, they might eat common food. [Therefore it could not be ordinary eating, but eating the Passover, which this passage implies that defilement would have excluded them from.]

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 18:28". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The chief priests having in their sanhedrim done with our Saviour’s case, and judged him worthy of death, as we read, Matthew 26:66 Mark 14:64; which two evangelists, with Luke, relate this history of Christ’s trial before the sanhedrim, with many more circumstances than John doth; they now lead him from the ecclesiastical court to the court of the civil magistrate; either kept in Pilate’s house, who was them present civil governor under the Romans, or some where at least where he sat as judge, which was therefore called

the hall of judgment. And it was early; how early it was we cannot tell, but probably about five or six of the clock. The Jews would not go into the judgment hall, that they might not be defiled, for they accounted it a legal pollution and uncleanness to come into a heathen’s house, or to touch any thing which a heathen had touched: now the reason is assigned why they were afraid of contracting any legal pollution, viz. that they might the passover.

Object. But had they not eaten the passover the night before? That was the time prescribed by the law, to the letter of which there is no doubt but that our Saviour strictly kept himself.

Answer. Some say that they had not, because the day wherein they should have eaten it this year falling the day before their sabbath, the passover was put off to be kept on the sabbath, that two great festivals might not be kept two days successively; so as, though our Saviour kept it at the time appointed by the law, yet the Jews did not. But this is denied by other very learned then, who tell us the Jews never altered their day for keeping their passover, neither for the succeeding sabbath, nor any other reason. They say therefore, that by the passover which is mentioned in this verse is to be understood the feast, mentioned Numbers 28:17, which was to be kept the fifteenth day, which day was a day of great solemnity with them from the morning to the evening; all the seven days they also offered various sacrifices, which all went under the name of the passover, because they followed in the days of the paschal feast. Thus the term passover is taken, Deuteronomy 16:2, Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the Lord thy God, of the flock and the herd. According to this notion, the meaning of those words, that they might eat the passover, is, that they might proceed in their paschal solemnity, keeping the feast according to the law. Be it as it will, these hypocrites in it notoriously discovered their hypocrisy, scrupling what caused a legal uncleanness, and not at all scrupling either immediately before their eating the passover, or presently after it, in their great festival to defile themselves with the guilt of innocent blood; nay, had Christ been such a malefactor as they pretended, yet the bringing him into judgment, their prosecuting, and accusing, and condemning him, and assisting in his crucifying, were not works fit for the day before such a solemnity, or the day after it, which was so great a festival: but there is nothing more ordinary, than for persons over zealous as to rituals, to be as remiss with reference to moral duties.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 18:28". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

в преторию Это – место нахождения командующего офицера римского военного лагеря или штаб римского военного правителя (т.е. Пилата). Обычный штаб Пилата находился в Кесарии, во дворце, который Ирод построил для себя. Однако Пилат и его предшественники считали для себя обязательным во время праздников быть в Иерусалиме, чтобы подавить любой мятеж. Иерусалим стал его преторией или штабом.

утро Слово это неопределенно. Вероятно, было около 6 часов утра, поскольку многие римские офицеры (чиновники) начинали свой день очень рано и заканчивали его к 10 или 11 часам утра.

чтобы не оскверниться Устный иудейский закон свидетельствует, что иудей, вошедший в места проживания язычников, становится церемониально нечистым. Они оставались в колоннаде вне двора и избежали этого осквернения. В устах Иоанна это их утверждение наполнено большой иронией: отмечая щепетильность первосвященников в вопросе церемониального очищения, Иоанн видит, что в то же время они подвергали себя несравненно большему нравственному осквернению своими судебными процессами против Иисуса.

(18:28 – 19:16) В этом разделе рассматривается суд Иисуса перед Пилатом. Несмотря на то, что в каждом эпизоде появляется Пилат, центральное место здесь занимает Сам Иисус и сущность Его Царства.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on John 18:28". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Hall of judgment; the place where Pilate the Roman governor held his court.

Lest they should be defiled; they would not enter this apartment of a Gentile, lest they should be unfitted to partake of the passover; so careful were they about contracting ceremonial pollution, while they were seeking to commit the most horrible crime.

But that they might eat the passover; see not to chap John 13:1. Men may be very scrupulous as to the observance of outward ceremonies, yet very reckless as to the commission of enormous crimes. No outward profession or inward experience is evidence of piety, unless it lead men to hate known sin, and have respect to all God’s commandments. Psalms 66:18; Psalms 119:6.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 18:28". "Family Bible New Testament". American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

28.From Caiaphas—For the examination before Caiaphas, compare our notes upon Matthew 26:57-68.

The hall of judgment—The praetorium of Pilate, the procurator. For our account of Pilate, and the arraignment of Jesus before him, see our notes on Matthew 27:1-30.

That they might eat the Passover—But, according to all the first three Evangelists, Jesus had eaten the paschal lamb the night before, namely, the evening closing Thursday. Were, then, these Jews yet to eat the paschal lamb upon the evening of the present day, namely, Friday? This has been a memorable difficulty among commentators for centuries. Sceptics have maintained that there is a contradiction between the first three Evangelists and John, inasmuch as the former represent the lamb as eaten on Thursday evening and he on Friday evening. To solve this difficulty, various theories have been proposed. Some have maintained that Jesus ate the lamb the evening before the Jews did generally; others have maintained that there were two Passover evenings allowed by the Jews themselves. The simplest and most satisfactory solution, however, is found in the different meanings of the word Passover. It no doubt did often signify simply the paschal lamb. But it also had a more extensive meaning, so as to include the entire festival of the Passover week. Such is the obvious meaning in John 2:13; John 2:23; John 6:4; John 11:55; John 12:1; John 13:1. So also in 2 Chronicles 30:22: “They did eat the feast seven days, offering peace-offerings.” Now during the Passover week there was to be upon each day a burnt-offering, two young bullocks, one ram, and seven lambs; also a meat-offering, and one goat for a sin-offering. Unleavened bread was to be eaten through the week. There was also the chigagah, which was a festive thank-offering made by private individuals and families. To partake of these during any day of the festival was to keep or eat the Passover. That John did not disagree with the other Evangelists in holding the supper on the night of his betrayal to be the Passover, we have good historical proof. For his disciple Polycarp, in a discussion of the question occurring in his day, expressly declared that John himself celebrated the Easter Supper on the fourteenth of Nisan, the time of the Jewish Passover.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 18:28". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And it was early. And they themselves did not enter into the Praetorium in order that they might not be defiled, but might eat the Passover.’

They knew that to enter a Gentile residence might bring them in contact with something that defiled them. It was therefore necessary for them not to do so for they had clearly not eaten the Passover, and if they were defiled they would not be able to do so. This comment by John is intended to bring out how ludicrous the situation was. These men were planning legal murder and yet were fussy about religious niceties. As Jesus says in another place, they ‘pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin and ignore the weightier matters of the Law, judgment, mercy and faith’ (Matthew 23:23; compare Luke 11:42).

Among other things a Gentile residence would not have been cleared of leavened bread and there was always the possibility of the remains of dead matter being in the drains. Gentiles were not particular.

There are a number of possible explanations as to why these men may not have eaten the Passover when Jesus clearly had. We will mention but three. 1). That they had been disturbed during the Passover meal before actual participation in the Passover lamb with news of the possibility of Jesus’ arrest and the need for dealing with the matter urgently. They had thus left prematurely and needed to remain ceremonially clean so as to complete the eating of the Passover. 2). That some of them celebrated the Passover on a different day. Passover was determined by the new moon and attempts were sometimes made to ‘fix’ the first observance of the new moon so that the Passover fell on the day that the Sadducees wanted. But this sometimes led to disputes between the Pharisees and the Sadducees and a dual observance of the Passover. 3). That ‘eating the Passover’ referred here to the participation in the joyous feast of the Chagigah (sacrificial meal) on the day (which was treated as a Sabbath) following the actual sacrifice of the Passover. The whole eight day feast was often called ‘The Passover’. Each of these positions has been strongly defended.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on John 18:28". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

"They" (NASB) refers to all the Jewish authorities (cf. Matthew 27:1-2; Mark 15:1; Luke 23:1). They led Jesus from Caiaphas in the sense that he was the head of the Sanhedrin that had passed sentence on Jesus (cf. Matthew 27:1-2; Mark 15:1; Luke 22:66-71). The Sanhedrin had condemned Jesus for blasphemy ( Matthew 26:63-66; Mark 14:61-64), which was a capital offense in Israel ( Leviticus 24:16). However the Sanhedrin could not execute the death sentence for this offense without Roman agreement, and there was little hope of Pilate giving it. Therefore the Jewish leaders decided to charge Jesus with sedition against Rome.

The word "Praetorium" transliterates the Latin praetorium that identified the headquarters of the commanding officer of a Roman military camp or a Roman military governor"s headquarters. [Note: Carson, The Gospel . . ., p587.] Pilate was such a governor. The Gospels use the generic term "governor," though technically Pilate was the prefect of Judea, not its procurator, as the historian Tacitus identified him. [Note: Tacitus, Annals15:44:4.] Pilate"s normal headquarters were at Caesarea, the capital of the Roman province of Judea. However during the Jewish feasts Pilate came to Jerusalem with Roman troops to discourage uprisings. His headquarters in Jerusalem was either in Herod"s former palace on the western wall of the city or in the Fortress of Antonia immediately north of the temple enclosure. The traditional site is the Fortress of Antonia, the beginning of the Via Dolorosa or "way of sorrow" that Jesus traveled from the Praetorium to Golgotha. However most modern commentators believed Pilate probably interviewed Jesus in Herod"s former palace. [Note: See, e.g, Unger"s Bible Dictionary, 1957 ed, s.v. "Pretorium," p881; and Edersheim, 2:566.]

It is not clear just when Jesus first appeared before Pilate on Friday morning. John said that it was "early" (Gr. proi). This may be a reference to the technical term that the Romans used to describe the night watch that began at3:00 a.m. and ended at6:00 a.m. Probably it is just the normal use of the word that would not necessarily require a time before6:00 a.m. It would have been early nonetheless, perhaps between6:00,7:00 a.m. Roman officials customarily began their work around sunrise and often finished their day"s business by10:00 or11:00 a.m. [Note: A. N. Sherwin-White, Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament, p45.] John wrote that Jesus was still in Pilate"s presence later in the morning (19:14).

The Jews who brought Jesus to Pilate stayed outside the Praetorium because they wanted to avoid ceremonial defilement. The Jews thought that merely entering a Gentile"s dwelling made them ceremonially unclean (cf. Acts 10:28). [Note: Mishnah Oholoth18:7, 9. See also Dan Duncan, "Avodah Zarah, Makkoth, and Kerithoth," Exegesis and Exposition3:1 (Fall1988):52-54.] This was because the Gentiles did not take precautions to guarantee kosher (i.e, proper) food as the Jews did. Specifically, Gentiles might have yeast in their homes that would have made participation in the Passover feast unlawful for a Jew (cf. Exodus 12:19; Exodus 13:7). [Note: Bruce, p349.]

Ironically these Jews were taking extreme precautions to avoid ritual defilement while at the same time preparing to murder the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (cf. 2 Samuel 11:4).

". . . they are anxious to avoid external defilement in order to observe a festival whose real significance was that, as well as reminding God"s people of the ancient deliverance from Egypt, it pointed forward to the true Passover Lamb, whose sacrifice would bring to an end all distinctions between what was ceremonially clean and unclean, and effect an inward cleansing; and it was the death of that true Passover Lamb that the Jews at this moment are anxious to bring about." [Note: Tasker, pp200-1. Cf. Beasley-Murray, p328; and Edersheim, 2:565.]

These Jews" superficial commitment to the Mosaic Law resulted in it becoming more difficult for them truly to obey that Law. Their punctiliousness separated themselves from Jesus. Pilate had to shuttle between the Jews outside his headquarters and Jesus inside as his examination proceeded.

We have already drawn attention to the evidence that Jesus ate the Passover with His disciples in the upper room on Thursday evening (cf13:1, 27). [Note: Morris, pp684-95, discussed this issue quite fully.] Why then were these Jews concerned that entering Pilate"s Praetorium might preclude them from eating the Passover? Had they too not already eaten it the night before? The "Passover" was the name that the Jews used to describe both the Passover proper and the entire festival that followed it including the feast of Unleavened Bread (cf. Luke 22:1). Evidently it was their continuing participation in this eight-day festival that these Jewish leaders did not want to sacrifice by entering a Gentile residence.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 18:28". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 18:28. They lead therefore Jesus from the house of Caiaphas into the palace, and it was early morning. The ‘palace’ here spoken of was in all probability a part of the castle of Antonia at the north-west corner of the temple-mount. Pilate had come for the time from Cæsarea to reside here, in order more effectually to repress the disturbances apt to arise at the season of the Passover. The hour, immediately after ‘cock-crowing,’ was certainly not later than 3 or 3:30 A.M. It need excite no surprise that the Jews should lead Jesus to Pilate at such an hour. During the whole night of the Passover the city would be in commotion; on this night in particular they were prepared for disturbance (comp. on chap. John 18:3); and the governor would certainly be ready to receive any delinquent. It is worthy of notice, however, that Pilate does not take his formal seat on the tribunal until 6 A.M. (John 19:14), the hour before which, according to Roman law, no judge was entitled to pronounce judgment.

And they themselves went not into the palace, that they might not be defiled, but might eat the passover. In a commentary such as the present, where space is necessarily limited, the difficulty occasioned by these words must be very briefly stated. Looked at in their present context, the words ‘that they might eat the Passover’ can refer to nothing but the Paschal meal properly so called, and not to any of the other meals of the Paschal season. Thus, however, the expression seems to indicate that the Paschal Supper had not been celebrated on the evening previous to the events now passing, but that it was to be celebrated on the evening of the day now begun. On the other hand, the earlier Evangelists distinctly state that it was from the Paschal Supper that Jesus and His disciples rose when they went into the garden, and when the betrayal took place. These Evangelists and John thus appear to be in direct contradiction to one another. We have to do with the question now only in so far as it concerns the verse before us. That verse cannot mean that the Jews referred to in it were looking forward to the celebration of the Passover on the evening of the day about to begin, or just begun. The hour was probably 3 or 3:30 A.M. The Passover was a night-festival. It certainly would not begin till the evening was well advanced; that is, not less than eighteen hours had to pass from the point at which we are now standing till we reach it. These hours include a sunset, the time at which uncleanness of a much more serious kind than that produced by entering into the house of a Gentile was removed by the simple process of washing with water. The Jews could have no fear that by entering into Pilate’s hall they would unfit themselves for eating a Paschal meal to be celebrated the following evening. But if it be so, what is the meaning of the words? The answer is,—they were afraid that they might lose their Passover. The meal was not yet ended in the city. Jerusalem was crowded at the time: a very large number of lambs had to be killed and roasted after 3 P.M.; and it must have been impossible to close the feast in every Jewish family by midnight. The celebration must have gone on the whole night through. Now the persons here referred to had been interrupted in their feast. They may have sat down to the supper; but, before they had finished, Judas had been with them, his offer made, his plans accepted. They had hastily seized the opportunity, and had rushed out to the garden, resolving to return and finish their meal before daybreak. They had failed in this: yet they will take one step more. They will try to obtain from the Roman governor the pronouncing of a final sentence upon their victim. If, however, this is to be done, it must be done quickly. We shall see immediately the marks of haste upon the narrative. From their haste came most naturally their scrupulousness at the thought of entering Pilate’s house. To think that they would have been thus scrupulous had there been from eighteen to twenty-four hours to pass before they should be called to eat the Passover, is at variance with every feeling of human nature, as well as with the prescriptions of the ceremonial law. They were scrupulous because they desired to eat without an hour’s delay. They had lost time already; the night was flying fast; the morning light would soon appear; it would be too late then: no interruption that can be escaped must be allowed: they would not go into the palace ‘that they might not be defiled, but might eat the Passover.’ It is here that we see the marks of rapid action spoken of above: the effect of the true reading and the true rendering being to bring the two verbs ‘be defiled’ ‘and’ eat into close connection with each other. The Jews were afraid of defilement at that moment, because at that moment they were desirous to complete their feast. It may perhaps be said in reply that, if this was their intention, it failed. Morning broke before they left Pilate, and they lost the opportunity of eating. Precisely so. It is probably one of the very thoughts that John wishes us to carry away from his story as he tells it. Instead of welcoming the true Paschal Lamb, these Jews rejected Him. What thought more in the manner of our Evangelist than to let us see that, seeking to retain the shadow, and sacrificing the substance for its sake, they lost not only the substance but the shadow too (comp. chap. John 11:48)?

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 18:28". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

John 18:28. , “They lead,” i.e., the Sanhedrists who had assembled lead: in Luke 23:1, . . Field prefers translating “from the house of Caiaphas,” cf.Mark 5:35; Acts 16:40. , praetorium, lit. “the general’s tent”; here probably the governor’s quarters in Antonia, but possibly the magnificent palace of Herod used by the Roman governor while in Jerusalem; see especially Keim, Jesus of Nazareth, vi. 79 E. Tr. ’ “It was early morning (the fourth watch, from 3 to 6 A.M., see Mark 13:35; see on John 13:38) and they themselves entered not into the palace that they might not be defiled but might eat the passover.” The dawning of the day seems to have reminded them of its sacred character. To enter a house from which all leaven had not been removed was pollution. Probably too the mere entrance into the house of a Gentile was the gnat these men strained at. The plain inference from the word is that the Paschal Supper was yet to be eaten. But see Edersheim’s Life of Jesus, ii. 566.



Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 18:28". The Expositor's Greek Testament. 1897-1910.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

John 18:28. Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment το πραιτωριον, the pretorium, the governor’s palace. Properly speaking, the pretorium was that part of the palace where the soldiers kept guard, Mark 15:16; but in common language it was applied to the palace in general. The Jewish high-priests and elders sent Jesus hither that he might be tried by the Roman governor, Pilate, because they could not otherwise accomplish their purpose, the power of life and death being now taken out of their hands. And it was early — Although by this time it was broad daylight, yet it was early in the morning, and much sooner than the governor used to appear. It is therefore probable that he was called up on this extraordinary occasion; and they themselves went not into the judgment-hall — Or, into the palace, of which the judgment-hall was a part; lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the passover — Having purified themselves in order to eat the passover, they would not enter into the palace, which was the house of a heathen, for fear of contracting such defilement as might have rendered them incapable of eating the paschal-supper. They stood, therefore, before the palace, waiting for the governor, who on such occasions came out to them.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on John 18:28". Joseph Benson's Commentary. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Tha they might eat the Pasch. They, who by the Pasch will always understand the paschal-lamb, look upon it certain from these words, that the Scribes and Pharisees at least, had deferred eating the paschal-lamb, till Friday the 15th day, in the evening: but there are passages in the Scripture, which shew, that the word Pasch, or Phase, comprehended not only the paschal sacrifice of the lamb, but also the sacrifices, that were to be eaten with unleavened bread, during the seven days of the paschal solemnity, as Deuteronomy xvi. 2. thou shalt offer up the Phase, or Pasch, to the Lord, of sheep and oxen. And 1 Paralipomenon xxxv. 8. They gave to the priests to make the Phase, or Pasch, in altogether two thousand six hundred small cattle, and three hundred oxen. The oxen, therefore, were also given, to make up the Pasch, and were comprehended by the word Pasch, or Phase. It might, therefore, be these paschal sacrifices, and not the paschal-lamb, which the priests designed to partake of, and therefore would not enter into the palace of Pilate. See Tillemont against Lamy, on the 2nd passage out of St. John, tom. ii. p. 696. See also the Lexicon of Mr. Heure on the word Paque. (Witham)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on John 18:28". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Then = Therefore. This follows the decision of the Sanhedrin recorded in Matthew 26:58; Matthew 27:2 and parallel passages. See above, John 18:24.

from = away from. Greek. ape. App-104.

unto. Greek. eis. App-104.

hall of judgment. Greek praitorion. Latin. praetorium, the house of the Praetor. See Mark 15:16. Probably connected with the castle of Antonia, built by Herod the Great and named after Mark Antony. It was not Herod"s palace, as is clear from Luke 23:7. Compare same word in Acts 23:35. Philippians 1:1, Philippians 1:13.

it was early: i.e. in the early hours of the Preparation between 11pm and midnight.

lest, &c. = in order that they might not. Greek. hina me.

defiled. Greek. miaino. Only here, Titus 1:15, Titus 1:15. Hebrews 12:15. Jude 1:8. eat the passover. At the close of this Preparation Day, the 14th Nisan, "at even". See App-156.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 18:28". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover.

Then led they, [ agousin (G71), 'Then lead they] Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment, [ to (Greek #3588) praitoorion (Greek #4232)] - rather, 'the Proetorium;' that is, the official residence of the Roman Governor. His usual place of residence was at Caesarea; but during the Passover season it was his duty to be at Jerusalem, on account of the vast influx of strangers, to see that all things were conducted legally and peaceably.

And it was early. We learn from Mark (Mark 15:1) that this step was the result of a special consultation: "And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council" [ holon (Greek #3650) to (Greek #3588) sunedrion (Greek #4892)] - no doubt to arrange their plans and frame their charge, "and bound Jesus, and carried Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate."

And they themselves went not into the judgment hall ('the Praetorium,') lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover. These words have occasioned immense research, and given rise to much controversy and not a few learned treatises. From these words chiefly it has been argued that the Jews had not eaten the Passover up to the time here referred to, and consequently, as our Lord and His apostles ate it the previous evening, they must have eaten it a day earlier than the proper statutory day. In that case there is a manifest discrepancy between the first three Gospels and the fourth, and this on a point not only of considerable importance, but one on which it is difficult to conceive that there should on either side be any mistake. As to this particular passage, it is not easy to see how it helps the theory which it is supposed to establish. For supposing that the proper season for eating the Passover was not to be until that evening after six o'clock and this party that brought Jesus to Pilate in the morning had ceremonially defiled themselves by going into the Praetorium, that defilement-as it would only have lasted, according to law, during the one day of twelve hours on which it was contracted-would have passed away of itself before the proper time for eating their Passover.

Does not this show that the statement of our Evangelist here has no reference to the regular time for eating the Passover? Having already expressed our belief that all the four Gospels are at one on this subject, and that our Lord ate the Passover on the usual day-the 14th of the month Nisan (see opening remarks on the 'Preparation for the Passover,' at Luke 22:7-30; and at John 13:1) - it only remains that we here state what we take to be our Evangelist's meaning in the words before us. We cannot accept the explanation of some good critics-Robinson, for example-that by "eating the Passover" the Evangelist means, not the eating of the Paschal lamb, which was the first and principal part of the feast, but keeping the feast of unleavened bread. The passages which are thought to justify this way of speaking are insufficient; it is not, at least, according to the usual language of the Evangelists; and it has a forced appearance.

But there is a simpler explanation of the words. If we suppose that the party who were bringing Jesus before the Governor had been so engrossed with the exciting circumstances of His capture and trial and condemnation the previous evening as not to have leisure to eat their Passover at the proper time; but that having only deferred it on the ground of unavoidable hindrances, and fully intending to eat it as early that same day as this urgent business would allow, they abstained from entering the Praetorium, because by doing so they would have been defiled, and so legally disqualified from eating it until the day was over-we have, in our judgment, a satisfactory explanation of our Evangelist's statement. Nor were similar postponements, and even omissions, of the most solemn observances of their ritual altogether unknown in the Jewish history, as may be seen in Josephus. (See an able Essay on this subject in Fairbairn's "Hermeneutical Manual.")

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 18:28". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(28) On the accusation before Pilate (John 18:28-38), comp. Notes on the parallels in Matthew 27:11-14; Mark 15:2-5; Luke 23:2-5.

The hall of judgment.—Literally, the Prœtorium. Comp. Note on Matthew 27:27. It is interesting to observe the various renderings which our translators have given for this one word. Here, “hall of judgment,” or “Pilate’s house,” and “judgment-hall;” John 18:33, “hall of judgment” without the marginal alternative; John 19:9, “judgment-hall;” in Matthew 27:27, “common-hall,” or “governor’s house;” in Mark 15:16, “prætorium” (the original word Anglicised); in Acts 23:35, “judgment-hall;” in Philippians 1:13, “palace,” this being perhaps the only passage where “palace” does not give the right meaning. (Comp. Note there.)

And it was early.—The Greek word occurs in the division of the night in Mark 13:35 (“even,” “midnight,” “cock-crowing,” “morning”) for the time between cock-crowing and sunrise, as we should say roughly, from three to six o’clock; but comp. Matthew 27:1, and Luke 22:66. We must remember that Pilate must have sent the band (John 18:3), and was therefore expecting its return.

And they themselves went not into the judgment hall.—They sent Jesus in under guard of the Roman band, while they remained outside.

But that they might eat the passover.—Comp. Excursus F: The Day of the Crucifixion of our Lord.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 18:28". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover.
Matthew 27:1,2-10; Mark 15:1-5; Luke 23:1-5; Acts 3:13
33; 19:9; Matthew 27:27; Mark 15:16; *Gr:
hall of judgment
or, Pilate's house. early.
Proverbs 1:16; 4:16; Micah 2:1; Luke 22:66
and they
Psalms 35:16; Isaiah 1:10-15; Jeremiah 7:8-11; Amos 5:21-23; Micah 3:10-12; Matthew 23:23-28; 27:6; Acts 10:28; 11:3
39; 19:14; Deuteronomy 16:2; 2 Chronicles 30:21-24; 35:8-14,17,18; Ezekiel 45:21
Reciprocal: Numbers 9:6 - defiled;  Deuteronomy 16:1 - the passover;  1 Samuel 20:24 - the king;  1 Kings 21:9 - Proclaim a fast;  Job 24:5 - rising;  Psalm 55:10 - Day;  Psalm 94:20 - fellowship;  Proverbs 7:14 - this;  Isaiah 58:4 - ye fast;  Jeremiah 7:10 - come;  Ezekiel 23:39 - they came;  Matthew 20:19 - shall deliver;  Matthew 23:24 - GeneralMatthew 26:5 - Not;  Mark 10:33 - deliver;  Luke 18:32 - delivered;  Luke 20:20 - they might deliver;  John 18:35 - Thine;  Acts 4:27 - the people;  Acts 23:35 - judgment;  1 Corinthians 5:8 - neither

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 18:28". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Ver. 28. "Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment-hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the Passover."

The persons who "led,"—the rulers of the people who had condemned Jesus,—we must supplement out of the earlier Evangelists. Praetorium was originally the name of the locality in Rome where the praetors sat in judgment; then it came to signify generally the private and official residences of the high Roman officials. The Roman procurators of Palestine had their proper residence in Cesarea; but at the great feasts, and especially at the Passover, they betook themselves to Jerusalem to prevent uproars. They then occupied what was once the palace of Herod (Joseph, de Bell. Jud. ii. 19, 4; compare, on the locality of the royal castle, Lightfoot, in the Centuria chrographica Matthoeo proemissa, c. 23). It is not "into the praitorium," but "to the praetorium." αὐτοί, they, not in antithesis to Jesus, as if He had gone away, but to Pilate, who went out to them. That Jesus Himself did not enter the praetorium, but remained standing before it with the rulers, is implied in "they lead,"—not "they send," but "they lead." Lücke incorrectly: "The Jews sent Jesus with the soldiers into the praetorium, to show that they were come;" but the soldiers had long withdrawn, having only aided in the capture of our Lord. Not till ver. 33 does Pilate take Jesus into his palace.

πρωΐ, the period of the morning from three till six, appears in Mark 13:35 as a part of the common sleeping-time. The Roman judicial sessions did not usually take place until nine o'clock. That Pilate was already prepared to receive the Jews, is to be explained by the supposition that he had been already notified. The Jews urged the matter with the greatest despatch, in order to leave no time for the development of the people's excitement, and that they might be able to enjoy uninterrupted the mid-day meal, and, finally, for the reason assigned in ch. John 19:31. Pilate received the summons probably the evening before, at the same time that he received intelligence of Christ's capture. The dream of his wife points to the same conclusion (Matthew 27:19), occasioned as it was by what she had just heard before retiring to rest.

The care with which the Jews avoided external contamination forms a fearful contrast to the levity with which they burdened themselves with the heaviest of all sins. It may be asked what the phrase "eating the Passover" means. If it was eating the paschal lamb, John is irreconcilably at variance with the other Evangelists, his predecessors: according to them, the great feast of the Passover, which they represent as eaten by Christ at the same time with the Jews, was long over.

The phrase "eat the Passover" signifies eating the Passover in its widest extent of meaning. This, at the first feast, was the eating of a lamb, with bitter herbs and unleavened bread; for the remainder of the time it consisted of the unleavened bread and the peace-offerings, the so-called chagigah, the name of which shows that it was an essential part of the Passover-eating. The peace-offerings were presented according to legal ordinance. We read in Deuteronomy 16:16 concerning the three high feasts, "Ye shall not appear before Me empty:" and in Exodus 23:15 this is specifically said of the feast of unleavened bread. That the practice was in accordance we see in 1 Samuel 1, according to which Elkanah yearly brought at the Passover his peace-offering, and the whole family partook of the sacrificial meal thus provided. In 2 Chronicles 35:7-9 we find that oxen, as well as lambs and kids, were necessary to the feast of the Passover. According to the Mishna, those festal offerings were presented every day. But the first day of the feast, 15th of Nisan, was specially chosen for the presentation of these offerings. The chief feast of this day was, on the one hand, the chief feast of the whole festival. The character of the first meal was solemn and stately. With the feast of the 15th, on the other hand, joy was predominant, according to the characteristic Israelite view of all festivals: comp. Deuteronomy 16:14. To have been prevented from sharing this feast must have been particularly disagreeable.

Which particular portion of the paschal eating was here meant, cannot be gathered from the phrase, but must be determined by the context. If the first day is spoken of, that defines the phrase, in itself indeterminate, and including all the eating of the feast, as meaning the paschal lamb with its accompaniments; if any following day is meant, then reference is made to the eating of the unleavened loaves and the flesh of the peace-offerings, without its meaning being anywise changed. That φαγεῖν τὸ πάσχα, eating the Passover, occurs throughout the first Evangelists only in reference to the first meal, is purely accidental; the explanation being that they never had occasion to mention the other meals of the feast. In our passage the first meal cannot be referred to. We find ourselves, after John 13:1, in the domain of the ἑορτὴ τοῦ πάσχα, the Feast of the Passover generally, which began with the eating of the paschal lamb. The night was past which followed the evening on which the whole nation were under obligation to eat the feast. We are thus introduced by the Evangelist into the general feast of unleavened bread in the narrower sense. The most obvious meal which presents itself to our consideration here is, as we have clearly seen, that pre-eminent mid-day meal so joyfully partaken of on the 15th. That the remark of Bleek—that the writer had, in what precedes, given no hint that the time of the legitimate slaying and eating of the paschal lambs was over—is altogether incorrect, is plain from the investigations entered into on ch. John 13:1.

That the phrase, "that they might eat the Passover," may refer to the eating of the Passover generally, in all its comprehensiveness, demands no proof, being self-understood. It must be admitted that the word Passover signifies not merely the opening feast of the 14th, but the whole seven days' feast; there is no ground for the assertion that the eating of the Passover can refer only to the meal of the 14th: it cannot be denied that the following days also, and especially the 15th, had their eating essentially connected with the nature and purpose of the feast. Nevertheless, while the admissibility of this phraseology is self-evident, we ought to expect that it would be found elsewhere. And this expectation is abundantly confirmed.

In the law itself we are furnished with a fundamental passage, all the more important because it must have contributed to mould the current phraseology. We read in Deuteronomy 16:2-3, "Thou shalt therefore sacrifice unto the Lord thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the Lord shall choose to place His name there. Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it (therein, עליו): seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction." Here we have, in reference to the sacrifice which ran throush the seven days, not merely the phrase sacrifice the Passover, but also that of eating the Passover: for when it is said, "Thou shalt eat no leavened bread therewith," this means, "When thou eatest the Passover, thou shalt not eat with it leavened bread." Keil: "As עליו can only be referred back to פסח, it is hereby plainly declared that the sacrificing and eating of the Passover should last seven days." We must not explain ver. 2, with Lücke and Meyer, "Thou shalt sacrifice the lamb of the Passover to the Lord, and (besides that) of the flocks and the herds." For, apart from the fact that פסח must necessarily have had the article; that, as the Passover, in the narrower sense, certainly consisted of the flock, Passover and flock could not have been thus coupled together; and, finally, that if this view were permissible, at least there would have been a copula;—apart from all this, the explanation we refer to is refuted by the suffix in ver. 3, which points back to פסח. This shows that sheep and goats could mean only the material of the Passover. If Passover, sheep, and goats were co-ordinate simply, there would have been a plural suffix. Therefore it remains certain, that in ver. 2 the Passover is spoken of in its most comprehensive sense, and in ver. 3 the eating of it, which was to last seven days.

Another important passage in the Old Testament is 2 Chronicles 30:22 : "And they did eat throughout the feast ( את המועד) seven days, offering peace-offerings, and making confession to the Lord God of their fathers." Here we have the identical language of our passage, only that instead of the Passover it is the feast they eat, according to ver. 21 the feast of unleavened bread: a difference which is of no moment, since it is admitted by all that the whole feast was also called the Passover. How much this passage troubled Bleek, we may gather from his attempt to alter the reading.

These proofs are so abundantly sufficient, that we are not disposed to cite the parallels out of the Talmud which the older expositors quote. The very name Chagigah shows that the peace-offerings were counted among the Jews as part of the paschal eating.

Movers, in his treatise on the last Passover and the day of Christ's death, alleges, in opposition to this reference to the mid-day meal of the 15th Nisan, that, according to the Talmud (Tr. Sanhedrim, fol. 63), none of the parties to a sentence of death passed by the Sanhedrim might eat anything on the day; so that the members of the council who had condemned Jesus to death could not, if this had been the 15th Nisan, have eaten even the sacrificial offerings of the Chagigah. But Friedlieb (Archaeol. der Leidensgeschichte) asserts that there is no proof that this late tradition of the synagogue had continued to influence the practice of the Sanhedrim in Jerusalem. We are in the habit of doing too much honour to these outgrowths of Jewish fantasy, which were so abundant while the Temple still stood. It is with this imaginary custom, as with the supposed custom which forbade the keeping of cocks in Jerusalem. Granted that such a custom existed, Jewish sophistry would find it easy to remove, in this case, the burden from itself. There was no capital sentence on this occasion; that proceeded only from Pilate. "It is not lawful for us to put any man to death," was the confession of the Jews themselves in ver. 31.

On the other hand, there is a reason which forbids us, apart from the relations of time, which do not agree with the reference to the paschal lamb, to think of the feast which commenced the Passover, Lightfoot (on John 18:28) and Bynaeus (de morte Christi) point to the fact, that the entering a Gentile house belonged to that order of defilement which lasted only until the end of the day, until sundown. Now the first paschal meal fell after sunset; it did not begin, as Lcke supposes, "between the two evenings of 14th Nisan;" that was the period for the slaying of the paschal lambs: it began rather not until evening, after darkness had fully set in (comp. on ch. John 13:1); and therefore the entering of a Gentile house had no influence on this. It follows that we can only think of a feast which was held in the course of the same day; of the feast, namely, which was the joyful mid-day meal of 15th Nisan.

This argument is an absolute demonstration. All defilements that arose from contact with unclean persons lasted, according to the law, only through the day on which they arose, and ended with the sundown, when the defiled persons washed themselves: comp. Numbers 19:22 : "And whatsoever the unclean person toucheth shall be unclean, and the soul that toucheth it shall be unclean till evening." That the defilement which resulted from entering a Gentile house belonged to this class, is obvious enough. Further, the law says nothing about defilement contracted through entering a Gentile house, or intercourse with Gentiles. This was a later Jewish ordinance, which, however, as always, endeavoured to prop itself on a definite law. What this law was, We learn from Maimonides (in Bynaeus and Reland). The ground of general defilement was, that the specific cause could not be determined. "Our customs," says Maimonides, "have settled that all Gentiles, whether men or women, are like those who are always affected with the flux, whether the fact be known or not, when viewed in the light of purity or impurity." Thus the Gentiles were regarded as in the same class with those who were affected with flux, and laid under the same law. But the defilement that resulted from touching such a person lasted only till evening: comp. Leviticus 15:5 seq., 19 seq. So was it with all similar defilements. Finally, we have in the book of Judith a weighty testimony to the fact, that defilement through intercourse with Gentiles had no influence upon the time of the institution of the Supper. According to ch. John 12:7-9, Judith went in the evening from the Gentile camp, and purified herself from the defilement to which she had been exposed: then she took the evening meal. After adducing all these convincing reasons, we scarcely need suggest how improbable it is in itself that defilement through commerce with Gentiles should have lasted more than one day: the defilement of one day, as things were, was felt to be a very heavy burden; but seven days' defilement would have had the effect, that a great portion of the people would never have been undefiled.

Lcke and others have objected, that this defilement would have been a hindrance, if not to the eating, yet to the killing of the paschal lamb. But St John does not say, "that they might slay the Passover," but "that they might eat the Passover." The not slaying and the not eating were not necessarily connected, since the slaying might be done by a representative; and even if such a connection had existed, it was much more obvious to mention the slaying, which was a condition of the eating. We might, not content with parrying the thrust of our opponents, turn their weapons against themselves. On the morning of 14th Nisan, it would have been more natural that the Jews should avoid defilement because it would hinder the slaying the lamb, than because it hindered their eating it. Bleek (Beit. S. 113) says: "In any case, the entering a Gentile house effected a defilement, which for its removal would require particular ceremonies, with which, as may easily be supposed, the Jews would have been very loth to burden themselves on 14th Nisan." But the burden of "particular ceremonies" consisted in one simple washing, to which the Jews were long accustomed, and the apparatus for which was everywhere at hand: comp. ch. John 2:6.

Steffert (ber den Ursprung des Ev. Matthaeus, S. 137) adopts another expedient. He observes, that the paschal meal, although after sundown, and therefore at the end of the day, yet belonged, properly speaking, to the 14th Nisan. Thus he thinks, that in this exceptional case the defilement also must have gone on with it into the evening. But the conclusion is an unsound one. The Jews laid down the general rule, that in reference to holy feasts and evening prayer the evening was reckoned with the preceding day. This exception was based upon the nature of the case. The points concerned are precisely those which make the Jewish reckoning of time seem unnatural. All the preparations and concomitants of the Last Supper belong to the passing day: thus the meal itself, although really belonging to the domain of a new day, must be reckoned in the current day. No law could transform the evening supper into a morning meal. So also with evening prayer, the guilt for which pardon was sought, the benefits for which thanksgivings were offered, belonged to the day that was gone. These were the things that, according to Jewish statements, occasioned the exception to the rule, that a new day began with sundown. That defilement under any circumstances stretched into the evening, cannot be established by the slightest historical proof; nor can it be shown how this could ever have been made an exception to the rule.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 18:28". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

28.Then they lead Jesus. That trial, which the Evangelist mentions, took place before daybreak; and yet there can be no doubt, that they had their bellows at work throughout the whole of the city to inflame the people. Thus the rage of the people was suddenly kindled, as if all, with one consent, demanded that Christ should be put to death, Now, the trial was conducted by the priests, not that they had it in their power to pronounce a sentence, but that, after having excited a prejudice against him by their previous decislon, they might deliver him to the governor, as if he had already been fully tried. (146) The Romans gave the name Praetorium both to the governor’s house or palace, (147) and to the judgment-seat, where he was wont to decide causes.

That they might not be defiled. In abstaining from all defilement, that, being purified according to the injunction of the Law, they may eat the Lord’s Passover, their religion, in this respect, deserves commendation. But there are two faults, and both of them are very heinous. The first is, (148) they do not consider that they carry more pollution within their hearts, than they can contract by entering any place however profane; and the second is, they carry to excess their care about smaller matters, and neglect what is of the highest importance.

To the defiled and to unbelievers, says Paul, nothing is pure;
because their minds are polluted,
Titus 1:15.)

But these hypocrites, though they are so full of malice, ambition, fraud, cruelty, and avarice, that they ahnost infect heaven and earth with their abominable smell, are only afraid of external pollutions. So then it is an intolerable mockery, that they expect to please God, provided that they do not contract defilement by touching some unclean thing, though they have disregarded true purity.

Another fault connected with hypocrisy is, that, while it is careful in performing ceremonies, it makes no scruple of neglecting matters of the highest importance; for God enjoined on the Jews those ceremonies which are contained in the Law, for no other reason, than that they might be habituated to the love and practice of true holiness. Besides, no part of the Law forbade them to enter into the house of a Gentile, but it was a precaution derived from the traditions of the fathers, that no person might, through oversight, contract any pollution from an unclean house. But those venerable expounders of the Law, while they carefully strain at a gnat, swallow the camel (149) without any hesitation, (Matthew 23:24;) and it is usual with hypocrites to reckon it a greater crime to kill a flea than to kill a man. This fault is closely allied to the other, of greatly preferring the traditions of men to the holy commandments of God. In order that they may eat the passover in a proper manner, they wish to keep themselves pure; but they suppose uncleanness to be confined within the wails of the governor’s house, and yet they do not hesitate, while heaven and earth are witnesses, to pursue an innocent person to death. In short, they observe the shadow of the passover with a false and pretended reverence, and yet not only do they violate the true passover by sacrilegious hands, but endeavor, as far as lies in their power, to bury it in eternal oblivion, (150)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 18:28". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.