Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 19:10

So Pilate *said to Him, "You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?"
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Demagogism;   Government;   Jesus, the Christ;   King;   Opinion, Public;   Politics;   Thompson Chain Reference - Courage;   Courage-Fear;   The Topic Concordance - Power;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Roman Empire, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Pilate or Pontius Pilate;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Government;   Ruler;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Murder;   Power;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Christianity;   Humiliation of Christ;   Jesus Christ;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Death of Christ;   Endurance;   Pilate;   Procurator;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Authority in Religion;   Jesus Christ, the Arrest and Trial of;   Pilate, Pontius;   Release;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Christianity in Its Relation to Judaism;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for October 22;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Speakest thou not … - This is the expression of a man of pride. He was not accustomed to be met with silence like this. He endeavored, therefore, to address the fears of Jesus, and to appall him with the declaration that his life was at his disposal, and that his safety depended on his favor. This arrogance called forth the reply of the Savior, and he told him that he had no power except what was given him from above. Jesus was not, therefore, to be intimidated by any claim of power in Pilate. His life was not in his hands, and he could not stoop to ask the favor of a man.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 19:10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-19.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Pilate therefore saith unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to release thee, and have power to crucify thee?

Pilate was astounded at Jesus' silence. His words indicate near belief that any man could so behave in his presence. His words show how unspiritual, selfish, proud, and arrogant was the heart within him. Such a misjudgment of his "power" by Pilate deserved a reply from the Master; and Jesus promptly delivered it.

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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 19:10". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-19.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Then saith Pilate unto him,.... Being angry with him, resenting his silence, and looking upon it as a contempt of him;

speakest thou not unto me? he wondered that he stood in no fear of him, who was the Roman governor, his judge; who had the power of life and death; and that he should make no answer to him, who was in so much dignity, and in so high and exalted a station.

Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? proudly boasting of his authority to do one or the other. The sudden change of the man from fear, to vain and proud boasting, is to be observed; just now he was afraid of the divine power of Christ, lest he should have any divinity in him; and now he boasts and brags of his own power, and menaces and threatens with his authority to punish with death, even the death of tho cross; in which he discovers his wickedness, as a magistrate, to endeavour to terrify one that he himself believed to be innocent: and besides, his assertion is false; for he had no power, neither from God nor man, to crucify innocent men, and release criminals: and moreover, he himself must be self-condemned, who had a power, as he says, of releasing him, and yet did not do it, though he had once and again declared he found no fault in him.

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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 19:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-19.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not to me? — The “me” is the emphatic word in the question. He falls back upon the pride of office, which doubtless tended to blunt the workings of his conscience.

knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? — said to work upon Him at once by fear and by hope.

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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 19:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/john-19.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Unto me (εμοιemoi). Emphatic position for this dative. It amounted to contempt of court with all of Pilate‘s real “authority” (εχουσιαexousia), better here than “power.”

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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)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 19:10". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-19.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

The Fourfold Gospel

Pilate therefore saith unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? Knowest thou not that I have power to release thee, and have power to crucify thee1?

  1. Knowest thou not that I have power to release thee, and have power to crucify thee? Pilate intimates that Jesus should treat his questions with more courtesy since his good will and favor are not to be despised. But the words lay bare the corrupt heart of Pilate, and form a prophecy of the sin which he committed. Judges must hear and give sentence according to truth, uninfluenced by good will or favor. But Pilate, to please the Jews, crucified Jesus, reversing the sentence which he here suggests that he might render to please Jesus.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 19:10". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-19.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Не знаешь ли. Отсюда явствует: неожиданно объявший Пилата страх, не имея прочных корней, быстро улетучился. Теперь, забыв об этом страхе, Он выказывает надменное и безумное презрение к Богу. Он угрожает Христу так, словно на небе нет никакого судьи. Но это всегда происходит с мирскими людьми: отбросив страх Божий, они скоро возвращаются к собственным помышлениям. Отсюда мы выводим: сердце человека не без причины зовется лукавым (Иер.17:9). В нем хотя и пребывает некий страх Божий, одновременно кипит вопиющее нечестие. Итак, всякий, не возрожденный Духом Божиим, хотя и может на миг убояться Его величия, быстро выдает притворность этого страха. В Пилате же мы видим образ горделивого человека, самомнение которого привело к безумию. Ведь, желая превознести свою власть, он лишил себя похвалы за справедливость. Он признает, что Христос невиновен, но одновременно делает Его равным разбойнику, когда хвалится, что может Его казнить. Так неизбежно мятется нечестивая совесть, в которой не царит вера и истинное познание Бога, и где борются друг с другом плотские помышления. И Бог решительным образом карает людей за гордыню, когда они переходят предел и присваивают себе неограниченную власть. Добровольно осуждая себя в неправедности, они подвергаются высшему бесславию. Посему нет слепоты большей слепоты гордыни. И это не удивительно, ведь она чувствует мщение десницы Божией, против которой восстает. Итак, чтобы не оказаться смешными, будем помнить: не следует превозноситься в пустом самоуповании. И особенно тем, кто занимает высокое положение, надлежит сдерживать себя и не стыдиться покоряться Богу и Его законам.

 

 

 

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 19:10". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-19.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

10 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?

Ver. 10. Speakest thou not unto me] No, and yet St Paul saith, he "witnessed a good confession before Pontius Pilate," 1 Timothy 6:13; because he had said sufficient before, and was now ready to seal up the truth with his blood. But to be delivered he would not once open his mouth to Pilate. So Mr Saunders had so wholly devoted himself to the defence of Christ’s cause that he forbade his wife to sue for his delivery; and when other of his friends had by suit almost obtained it, he discouraged them, so that they did not follow their suit. I pray you let me make labour for you, said one Cresswell to Master Bradford. You may do what you will, said Bradford. But tell me what suit I shall make for you, quoth Cresswell. Forsooth, said the other, what you will do, do it not at my request; for I desire nothing at your hands. If the Queen will give me life, I will thank her; if she will banish me, I will thank her; if she will burn me, I will thank her; if she will condemn me to perpetual imprisonment, I will thank her. Life in God’s displeasure is worse than death; and death in his true fear is true life.

I have power to crucify thee] To crucify an innocent man? Who gave him that power? But profane persons bear themselves overly bold upon their power, as if they were little gods within themselves. So Caesar told Metellus he could as easily destroy him as bid it to be done. So Caligula, speaking to the consuls, I laugh, said he, to think that I can kill you with a nod of my head, and that this fair throat of my wife’s shall be presently cut if I but speak the word. Rideo quod uno nutu meo iugulare vos possim, et uxori tam bona cervix, simul ac iussero, demetur.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 19:10". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-19.html. 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Observe here, 1. How offended Pilate was at Christ's silence, and how unreasonably he boasts of his power and authority: Have not I power to crucify thee, and power to release thee? It is the great sin and snare of men in power, to forget from whom they derive their power, and to think that they may employ their power as they please.

Observe, 2. The piety and meekness of our Saviour's answer: Thou couldest have no power against me, except it were given thee from above.

That is, thou hast no power over me, nor couldest thou inflict any punishment upon me, were it not that my Father hath in his wisdom, divine counsel, and for glorious ends, permitted it so to be.

Learn, that Christ's being under the power of any man, how great and eminent soever, did flow from the peculiar dispensation of God, who in his wise and wonderful counsel so ordered it, and ordained it for the redemption, and salvation of his people; he was above all human power as God, and no ways obnoxious to Pilate's power, being a perfect innocent man.

Observe, 3. How Christ charges his death more upon Judas and the Jews, than upon Pilate and the Gentiles: He that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. Not that Pilate was excused from sin, in delivering Christ to be crucified: he sinned heinously in abusing his power; but Judas sinned more in delivering him up to the chief priests, and the chief priests in delivering him up to Pilate, than Pilate himself, whom they made a tool to serve their malice and revenge: they had better means of knowing than he; and so sinned against more light than he; and consequently their guilt was greater, and their condemnation heavier, than his.

Learn thence, that the greater means of light and knowledge persons sin against, the more aggravated is their guilt, and the more heightened will be their condemnation: He that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on John 19:10". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/john-19.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

10.] As in ch. John 18:35, Pilate at once recoils from his better conscience into the state-pride of office. “Objurgans increpatio timori præcedenti plane contraria.” Lampe. This very boast was a self-conviction of injustice. No just judge has any such power as this, to punish or to loose (see 2 Corinthians 13:8); but only patiently to enquire and give sentence according to the truth.

ἐμοί, emphatic: it perhaps being implied, ‘Thou hast, I know, refused to reply to others before.’

ἀπολῦσαι, first seems most natural, as appealing most to the prisoner: σταυρῶσαι follows, as the alternative in case the other is rejected.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 19:10". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-19.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 19:10. ἐμοὶ, unto me) This was said with severity.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 19:10". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-19.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Pilate seemeth something displeased that Christ would be no more free: men in worldly power are too prone to forget from whom they derive it.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 19:10". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-19.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

10.Power to crucify’ power to release—Roman power may dare if not defy even the supernatural and divine. There is something supreme in her Jupiter Stator, a proud might in her imperial genius, that may venture to threaten even the supernaturals in other parts of the earth.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 19:10". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-19.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘Pilate therefore says to him, “Do you not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you and have power to crucify you?” ’

The unearthly silence unnerved Pilate. He could not understand it. Why did this man not plead obsequiously for mercy? Why did He not viciously rail at him? Did He not realise that His life was in the balance. Why did He not say something? Pilate was not used to prisoners who did not try to gain their release by some means or other. Did the man not realise what total power he had over Him? The authority to release or the authority to crucify. What greater authority than that? He could understand defiance, he could understand weeping, but not this. So as he struggled with his conscience and tried to bolster himself up he was confused.

But John knew, and the readers knew, that in this case Pilate had no power at all. Nor had the Judaisers. There was only One Who was making the decisions, and that was Jesus. And as a sheep before his shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth (Isaiah 53:7).

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on John 19:10". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/john-19.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Pilate did not appreciate Jesus" silence and the superior attitude that it implied. Consequently Pilate threatened Him by reminding Him of his power (Gr. exousia) to take or spare Jesus" life.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 19:10". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-19.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 19:10. Pilate therefore saith unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? Knowest thou not that I have power to release thee, and that I have power to crucify thee? There is no trace of spiritual feeling in these words; nothing but the sense of offended dignity, that to one in his position, and possessed of his power, a poor prisoner should decline to reply. Hence the position of ‘to me,’ at the head of the sentence, and hence the twice repeated ‘power,’ to emphasize the authority which he possessed. The mention of ‘release’ comes first, as the consideration most likely to tell upon one in the danger in which Jesus stood. To this remark of Pilate an answer is given.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 19:10". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/john-19.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

John 19:10. At this silence Pilate is indignant; ; “To me do you not speak?” It is intelligible that you should not count it worth your while to answer the charges of that yelling mob; but do you not know that I have power to crucify you and have power to release you?

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 19:10". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-19.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

not. Greek. ou. App-105.

knowest. Greek. oida. App-132.

power = authority. Greek. exousia. App-172.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 19:10". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-19.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?

Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? The "me" is the emphatic word in the question. He falls back upon the pride of office, which doubtless tended to check the workings of his conscience.

Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? - said to work upon the silent Prisoner at once by fear and by hope.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 19:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-19.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(10) Speakest thou not unto me?—The position of the pronoun in the original is strongly emphatic—“To me dost Thou not speak?” Pilate is true to the vacillating character which now as man trembles before One who may be a Being from the other world, and now as Roman governor expects that Being to tremble before him.

Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?—The text of the better MSS. inverts the order, reading,. . . . have power to release Thee, and have power to crucify Thee. This is the more natural order of thought—“Thy life is in my power; yea, and Thy death also.”

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 19:10". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-19.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?
knowest
18:39; Daniel 3:14,15; 5:19
Reciprocal: Genesis 31:29 - the power;  2 Kings 9:3 - I have anointed;  2 Kings 18:25 - Amos I now;  2 Kings 18:29 - Let not;  2 Chronicles 32:15 - much less;  Ecclesiastes 3:14 - nothing;  Mark 14:60 - GeneralMark 15:4 - Answerest

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 19:10". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-19.html.

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

Ver. 10. "Then saith Pilate unto Him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?"

Pilate certainly did not speak in the sensitive and excited tone of offended dignity. (Lampe: "Threatening anger is plainly opposed to the preceding fear.") That would have been contrary to the whole position which he assumed towards Jesus; and, moreover, his impression of Christ's majesty was too deep to allow it. He simply desired, half imploringly, to have from Jesus an explanation of the marvellous fact, that He thought him worthy of no reply who held, nevertheless, His life in his hands. "Power to crucify" precedes the "power to deliver," because the beam in the balance decidedly vibrated that way. The scourging had already taken place, which was the prelude to crucifixion, and Pilate's attempt to soften the rulers had already failed. The order has been inverted in many MSS., simply from a notion that the right of the magistracy was strictly "jus vitae et necis." That the emphasis fell upon the "crucify," is shown by what follows: "Thou couldest have no power over Me."

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 19:10". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-19.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

10.Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee? This shows that the dread with which Pilate had been suddenly seized was transitory, and had no solid root; for now, forgetting all fear, he breaks out into haughty and monstrous contempt of God. He threatens Christ, as if there had not been a Judge in heaven; but this must always happen with irreligious men, that, shaking off the fear of God, they quickly return to their natural disposition. Hence also we infer, that it is not without good reason that the heart of man is called deceitful, (Jeremiah 17:9;) for, though some fear of God dwells in it, there likewise comes from it mere impiety. Whoever, then, is not regenerated by the Spirit of God, though he pretend for a time to reverence the majesty of God, will quickly show, by opposite facts, that this fear was hypocritical.

Again, we see in Pilate an image of a proud man, who is driven to madness by his ambition; for, when he wishes to exalt his power, he deprives himself of all praise and reputation for justice. He acknowledges that Christ is innocent, and therefore he makes himself no better than a robber, when he boasts that he has power to cut his throat! Thus, wicked consciences, in which faith and the true knowledge of God do not reign, must necessarily be agitated, and there must be within them various feelings of the flesh, which contend with each other; and in this manner God takes signal vengeance on the pride of men, when they go beyond their limits, so as to claim for themselves infinite power. By condemning themselves for injustice, they stamp on themselves the greatest reproach and disgrace. No blindness, therefore, is greater than that of pride; and we need not wonder, since pride feels the hand of God, against which it strikes, to be armed with vengeance. Let us therefore remember, that we ought not rashly to indulge in foolish boastings, lest we expose ourselves to ridicule; and especially that those who occupy a high rank ought to conduct themselves modestly, and not to be ashamed of being subject to God and to his laws.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 19:10". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-19.html. 1840-57.