Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 19:13

Therefore when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Complicity;   Cowardice;   Demagogism;   Gabbatha;   Government;   Jesus, the Christ;   King;   Opinion, Public;   Politics;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Gabbatha;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Herod;   Jerusalem;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Christianity;   Humiliation of Christ;   Jesus Christ;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Gabbatha;   Pavement;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Gabbatha;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Antonia, Tower of;   Gabbatha;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Judgment-Seat;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Caesar, Caesar's Household;   Gabbatha ;   House;   Israel, Israelite;   Judgment-Seat;   Language of Christ;   Pavement;   Pilate;   Trial of Jesus;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Gabbatha ;   Judgement-Seat,;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Gabbatha;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Pilate;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Gabbatha;   Hebrew;   Judgment Seat;   Languages of the Old Testament;   Pavement;   Pilate, Pontius;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Gabbatha;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for October 22;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The Pavement - Λιθοστρωτον, literally, a stone pavement: probably it was that place in the open court where the chair of justice was set, for the prefects of provinces always held their courts of justice in the open air, and which was paved with stones of various colors, like that of Ahasuerus, Esther 1:6, of red, blue, white, and black marble; what we still term Mosaic work, or something in imitation of it; such as the Roman pavements frequently dug up in this and other countries, where the Romans have had military stations.

Gabbatha - That is, an elevated place; from גבה gabah, high, raised up; and it is very likely that the judgment seat was considerably elevated in the court, and that the governor went up to it by steps; and perhaps these very steps were what was called the Pavement. John does not say that Lithostroton, or the Pavement, is the meaning of the word Gabbatha; but that the place was called so in the Hebrew. The place was probably called Lithostroton, or the Pavement: the seat of judgment, Gabbatha, the raised or elevated place.

In several MSS. and versions, the scribes not understanding the Hebrew word, wrote it variously, Gabbatha, Gabatha, Kapphatha, Kappata, Gennetha, Gennaesa, and Gennesar. Lightfoot conjectures that the pavement here means the room Gazith in the temple, in which the grand council, called the Sanhedrin, held their meetings.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 19:13". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-19.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Judgment-seat - The tribunal or place of pronouncing sentence. He came here to deliver him, in due form of law, into the hands of the Jews.

Pavement - This was an area or room of the judgment hall whose floor was made of small square stones of various colors. This was common in palaces and houses of wealth and splendor. See the notes at Matthew 9:2.

Gabbatha - This word is not elsewhere used. It comes from a word signifying to be elevated. The name given to the place by the Hebrews was conferred from its being the place of the tribunal, as an elevated place.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 19:13". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-19.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

John 19:13

When Pilate therefore heard that

The down grade

Pilate’s time for playing with the situation is gone; now the situation plays with him.
First he said, not asked, “What is truth?” Now his frightened heart, to which the emperor’s favour is the supreme law of life, says, “What is justice?” (
J. P. Lange, D. D.)

A place that is called the pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gahbatha.--Both these words occur here only, and are instances of the writer’s minute knowledge of the localities in Jerusalem. It may have been better to have preserved the Greek name (Lithost-roton), as well as that by which the place was known in the Hebrew (Syro-Chaldaic), of the time. The word literally means stonepaved, and was the Greek name for the tesselated “pavement” of marble and coloured stones with which, from the time of Sylla, the Romans delighted to adorn the Praetorium. The Chaldic word means “an elevated place,” so that the one name was given to it from its form, and the other from the material of which it was made. Suetonius tells us that Julius Caesar carried about with him such pieces of marble and stone, but the mention of the “place” bears the impression that it was a fixture in front of the Praetorium at Jerusalem, in which the Bema was placed; or it may have been a portion of the northern court of the sanctuary to which Pilate came out, if we identify the Praetorium with the tower Antonia (cf. Matthew 27:27)
. Josephus mentions that the whole of the Temple mountain was paved with this kind of mosaic work
. (Archdeacon Watkins.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "John 19:13". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/john-19.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

When Pilate therefore heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.

The seat mentioned here was a stone platform in the courtyard of the Praetorium, or near the adjacent tower of Antonio. From its name, it appears to have been made of stones ingeniously joined in the manner of Roman stone masons, to form a throne-like platform with steps and ornaments for the purpose of adding dignity to the decisions announced by the procurator therefrom. Upon that judgment-seat, Pilate, the all-powerful deputy of Caesar, seated himself and ordered the innocent Christ before him for sentencing.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 19:13". "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

When Pilate therefore heard that saying,.... Of the Jews, that a freeing of Jesus would show an unfriendliness to Caesar; and gave very broad hints that they would accuse him to Caesar of treachery and unfaithfulness, in letting go a man, that made pretensions to be a king in his territories; and knowing well the jealousies and suspicions of Tiberius, and fearing lest it would turn to his own disrepute and disadvantage, immediately

he brought Jesus forth out of the judgment hall, the place where he had been examined in; not to declare his innocence, nor to move their pity, nor to release him, but to pass sentence on him.

And he sat down in the judgment seat: for that purpose. He had sat but little all this while, but was continually going in and out to examine Jesus, and converse with the Jews; but he now takes his place, and sits down as a judge, in order to give the finishing stroke to this affair; and where he sat down, was

in the place that is called the pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. This place, in the Greek tongue, was called "Lithostrotos"; or "the pavement of stones", as the Syriac version renders it: it is thought to be the room "Gazith", in which the sanhedrim sat in the temple when they tried capital causesF20Gloss. in T. Bab. Avoda Zara, fol. 8. 2. ; and it was so called, because it was paved with smooth, square, hewn stones:

"it was in the north part; half of it was holy, and half of it common; and it had two doors, one for that part which was holy, and another for that which was common; and in that half which was common the sanhedrim satF21T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 25. 1. Maimon. Hilch. Beth Habbechira, c. 5. sect. 17. Bartenora in Misn. Middot, c. 5. sect. 3. .'

So that into this part of it, and by this door, Pilate, though a Gentile, might enter. This place, in the language of the Jews, who at this time spoke Syriac, was "Gabbatha", front its height, as it should seem; though the Syriac and Persic versions read "Gaphiphtha", which signifies a fence, or an enclosure. Mention is made in the TalmudF23T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 115. 1. of the upper "Gab" in the mountain of the house; but whether the same with this "Gabbaths", and whether this is the same with the chamber "Gazith", is not certain. The Septuagint use the same word as John here does, and call by the same name the pavement of the temple on which the Israelites felt and worshipped God, 2 Chronicles 7:3.

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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.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on John 19:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-19.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

4 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, b Gabbatha.

(4) Pilate condemns himself first, with the same mouth with which he afterwards condemns Christ.

(b) "Gabbatha" signifies a high place, as judgment seats are.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on John 19:13". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/john-19.html. 1599-1645.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

13. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabatha.

[In a place that is called the Pavement.] What is it could be objected against it, should we say, that the evangelist, by this title of the Pavement, should mean the room Gazith, where the Sanhedrim sat? and that, when the Jews would not go into Pilate's judgment hall, he would himself go into theirs?

Aristeas tells us concerning the Temple, "that it looked towards the east, the back parts of it towards the west; but the floor was all paved with stone." To this the Talmudists all witness; and to the Pavement especially Josephus by a memorable story: "One Julian, a centurion in Titus' army, pursuing and killing the Jews with infinite hardness and strength, in the very court of the Temple, having many and very sharp nails fastened to the bottom of his shoes, as every other soldier had, and running along upon the pavement, his heels tripped up, and he fell backward," &c.

But had not the room Gazith a pavement laid in a more than ordinary manner? Whence else had it its name? "It is called the room Gazith (saith Aruch), because it was paved with smooth square stone." Were not all the other places so too?

They distinguish between bricks, half bricks, squared hewn stones, and rough or unhewn. Now, therefore, when there were so many apartments about the courts, were those all paved with rough stone or bricks, and this only of square and hewn stone? Without doubt the whole building was much more uniform. And then we shall hardly find out any more probable reason why this place was particularly and above all other rooms called Gazith, but that it was laid with a more noble and rich pavement than all the rest. And, therefore, what should forbid that the Pavement, should not in this place be meant of the room Gazith?

Obj. But Gazith was in the holy place; and it was not lawful for Pilate, being a Gentile, to enter there.

Sol. I. If he would do it 'per fas et nefas' who could hinder him?

II. It is a question whether he could not sit in that room, and yet be within the bounds of the Court of the Gentiles, into which it was lawful for a Gentile to enter. Half of that room, indeed, was within the court of Israel; but there the fathers of the council themselves did not sit, because it was lawful for none to sit in that court but the king only. The other half part in which they sat was in Chel, and extended itself, as it should seem, into the Court of the Gentiles. For if Chel was but ten cubits' breadth within the walls, it would be much too narrow a room for seventy men to sit in, if the Gazith did not extend itself a little within the Court of the Gentiles.

[But in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.] The Syriac renders it by a mound or fence: which may fall in with what we have said: for Chel, which was part of this room, was the fence to all the courts, excepting the Court of the Gentiles.

That Gab, amongst other things, signifies a surface, doth not stand in need of much proof: and so the pavement and surface of the floor are convertible...What if that in Jerusalem Sanhedrim [fol. 18. 3.] should be rendered, the elders that sit in the upper 'Gab' in the Mount of the Temple. But we will not contend.

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Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on John 19:13". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/john-19.html. 1675.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Sat down on the judgment seat (εκατισεν επι βηματοςekathisen epi bēmatos). “Took his seat upon the βημαbēma ” (the raised platform for the judge outside the palace as in Acts 7:5). The examination is over and Pilate is now ready for the final stage.

The Pavement (ΛιτοστρωτονLithostrōton). Late compound from λιτοςlithos stone, and the verbal adjective στρωτοςstrōtos form στρωννυμιstrōnnumi to speak, a mosaic or tesselated pavement, spread with stones, in 2 Chronicles 7:3, Josephus, Epictetus, papyri. The Chaldean name ΓαββαταGabbathā an elevation, was apparently given because of the shape.

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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 19:13". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-19.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

That saying ( τοῦτον τὸν λόγον )

The best texts read τῶν λόγων τούτων , these words. He was afraid of an accusation at Rome before Tiberius, an accusation which could be justified by his misrule.

Judgment-seat ( βήματος )

See on Acts 7:5. The best texts omit the article, which may indicate that the tribunal was an improvised one.

The Pavement ( Λιθόστρωτον )

From λίθος , stone, and στρωτός , strewn or spread.

Gabbatha

From the Hebrew gab “back,” and meaning, therefore, a raised place. Thus the Aramaic term is not a translation of the Greek term, which indicates that the place, wherever it was, was distinguished by a mosaic or tessellated pavement. Suetonius relates that Julius Caesar used to carry about with him on his expeditions a portable tessellated pavement for his tribunal. It is not likely, however, that there is any allusion to such a practice here. Westcott explains Gabbatha as the ridge of the house.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 19:13". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/john-19.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.

Pilate sat down on the judgment seat — Which was then without the palace, in a place called, in Greek, the pavement, on account of a beautiful piece of Mosaic work, with which the floor was adorned: but in Hebrew, Gabbatha - Or the high place, because it stood on an eminence, so that the judge sitting on his throne might be seen and heard by a considerable number of people.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on John 19:13". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/john-19.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

When Pilate therefore heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment-seat1 at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha2.

  1. He brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment-seat. Pilate had already again and again declared Jesus innocent. He now mounts the judgment-seat that he may formally reverse himself and condemn him.

  2. At a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. The apostle as an eyewitness fixes by its two names the exact spot where this awful decision was rendered.

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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.
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J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 19:13". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-19.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

When Pilate,--heard that saying; and finding that the popular excitement was beginning to be uncontrollable. (Matthew 27:24.)

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on John 19:13". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/john-19.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Сел на судилище. Отсюда видно, сколь сильно разрывался Пилат, словно актер, играющий сразу две роли. Он восходит на судилище, чтобы торжественно осудить Христа на казнь. И между тем заявляет, что делает это против воли и собственной совести. Он иронически зовет Христа царем, подразумевая этим, что клевета, возведенная иудеями, беспочвенна. Или делает это для того, чтобы обуздать их ярость. Великим поношением для народа будет слух, будто кто-то был осужден из-за притязаний на царство. Евангелист же, приводя еврейское слово «Гаввафа», имеет в виду сирийский или халдейский язык, бывший тогда в общем употреблении. Ибо «Гавва» означает у евреев возвышенное место. Итак, Христа надлежало осудить с возвышенности, дабы Сам Он, верховный Судья, придя с небес, оправдал нас в последний день.

 

 

 

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 19:13". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-19.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.

Ver. 13. When Pilate therefore heard that saying] That saying, and the base fear of being shent by Caesar, makes him warp and go against his conscience. But should not judges be men of courage? Should not the standard be of steel? the chief posts in the house be heart of oak? Solomon’s tribunal was under propped with lions, to show what metal a magistrate should be made of. It is a mercy to have judges, modo audeant quae sentiunt, saith the orator, so they dare do their consciences. (Cic. pro Milone.)

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 19:13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-19.html. 1865-1868.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

13.] τ. λόγων τούτων—viz. these two last remarks. “In such a perplexity, a man like Pilate could not long hesitate. As Caiaphas had before said, it were better that one even innocent man should die, than that all should perish: so now in like case Pilate decided rather to sacrifice Jesus though innocent, than to expose himself to so great danger.” Friedlieb, Arch. der Leid. § 34.

ἔξω] See on ch. John 18:33.

The βῆμα was in front of the prætorium, on an elevated platform;—Gabbatha, probably from גָּבַהּ, altus fuit,—which was paved with a tessellated pavement. Such a pavement Julius Cæsar carried about on his expeditions, Suet. Cæs(249) c. 46.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 19:13". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-19.html. 1863-1878.

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

John 19:13. These speeches penetrate the mind of Pilate, dismayed at the thought of Rome and the emperor. He will now, formally and solemnly, deliver the final sentence, which must be done, not in the praetorium, but outside in the open air (see Josephus, Bell. ii. 9. 3, ii. 14. 8); he therefore causes Jesus to be brought out, and seats himself, taking his place on the judicial seat, at the place which is called Lithostroton, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.

ἐπὶ τοῦ βήματος] Modal definition of ἐκάθ. εἰς τόπον.

Since τόπος here denotes a definite and distinguished place, the article is as little required as with πόλις, ἀγρός, and the like in such cases. Comp. Matthew 27:33; Kühner, II. p. 129.

The place where the tribunal stood, before the praetorium in Jerusalem, bore the Greek name, derived from its Mosaic floor (see Wetstein and Krebs, p. 158 f.) of λιθόστρωτον, i.e. stone-joining, but in the Aramaic dialect that of גּבְּתָא, arising from its elevated position; two different names, therefore, derived from different properties(238) of the same place. Further, this place is mentioned neither in Josephus nor in the Rabbins. The name γαββ. is not to be derived from גִּבְעָה, hill (Hengstenberg), against which would be the double β (comp. γαβαθᾶ, Josephus, Antt. v. 1. 29, vi. 4. 2), but from גַּב, ridge, hump. See generally Fritzsche, Verdienste Tholuck’s, p. 102; Tholuck, Beitr. p. 119 ff.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on John 19:13". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/john-19.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 19:13. ἐπὶ τοῦ βήματος, on the judgment-seat) The judgment-seat was outside the judgment-hall or pretorium, in the place called Gabbatha.— λεγόμενον, called) There is not added, “in Greek,” for John wrote in Greek; comp. John 19:17.— λιθόστρωτον) A tesselated stone pavement, formed of various kinds of stones, and so, as it were, made into a painting. [Mosaic-work, inlaid with stones.] See concerning such pavements, Amœn. lit. T. vii., p. 19, et seqq.— γαββαθὰ, Gabbatha) A place elevated and conspicuous.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 19:13". 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

That saying, that if he let Jesus go he was not Caesar’s friend. Pilate was a man that loved the honour that was from men more than the honour and praise which is from God; he was more afraid of losing his place than his soul, and could no longer resist the temptation he was under.

He brought Jesus forth, and sat down in a place called the Pavement, because it was paved with stone, but in the Hebrew, (mixed with the Syriac), Gabbatha, that is, a high place; for it was their manner to have their judgment seats higher than other parts of the room where they were.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 19:13". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-19.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

судилище Под давлением иудеев (ст. 12) Пилат сдался и приготовился вынести приговор по первоначальному обвинению в подстрекательстве к мятежу против Рима. «Судилищем» стало место, на котором сидел Пилат для вынесения официального вердикта. Пространство, на котором размещалось судилище, было вымощено камнями и называлось «Каменный помост». Ирония заключается в том, что Пилат вынес приговор Тому, Кому Отец вверил весь суд (5:22) и Который вынесет Пилату справедливое обвинение.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on John 19:13". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/john-19.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Sat down in the judgment-seat; the place for passing sentence on criminals. He did this for the purpose of condemning Jesus. He loved his office more than his duty; and feared the loss of it more than the commission of judicial murder.

Pavement-Gabbatha; an elevated place, paved with costly stones.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 19:13". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-19.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

13.Heard that saying—Jesus, again, must die that another may not die. A just man though he is, Pilate will shed his blood for his own safety. The Jew conquers the Roman; the subject rules the ruler. The Gentile is compelled by the Jew to be the executioner of the Saviour of mankind.

He brought Jesus forth—Though the examination might be in part in private, yet the sentence must be pronounced in public. Jesus, therefore, is led into the fore court, and Pilate takes his place upon the judgment seat.

Called the Pavement—This was a platform of Mosaic, ornamented and tessellated, on which the judgment throne was made to stand.

Gabbatha—Signifies an elevation. John gives the Hebrew as well as the Greek name of the platform, to indicate that Pilate pronounced judgment solemnly, not from a level, but from the high judicial seat. So truly official a matter was this pavement that we are told by Seutonius, in his life of Cesar, that that general, wherever he marched, had the fitted marble conveyed with him, in order to lay the platform, whenever he encamped, at his pretorium or headquarters.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 19:13". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-19.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘When Pilate therefore heard these words he brought Jesus out and sat down on the Judgment Seat at the place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew Gabbatha.’

At this point Pilate gave up on justice. Now they all knew that they had won. The solemn moment had come. ‘Justice’ would now be declared from the Judgment Seat. Let all the world admire Roman justice. The innocent man would be declared guilty. The verdict would save Pilate’s flagging career for a time and would maintain the Chief Priesthood for another forty years. But both had sealed their own fates. The one would finally be recalled, the others would be destroyed in the flames of a Jerusalem rejected by God.

The Pavement was probably a flat area in front of what was previously Herod’s palace. Typically John also gives us the Hebrew for it, Gabbatha (‘height, eminence’), which suggests that the Pavement was an area raised above the ground (although Gabbatha and The Pavement need not be strictly synonymous). Archaeology has discovered the remains of such a pavement with evidence of games played on it by soldiers carved in it.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on John 19:13". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/john-19.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

It was evidently the "friend of Caesar" threat that inclined Pilate to decide to execute Jesus. Again self-interest rather than commitment to justice influenced his decision (cf. John 19:1). He brought Jesus out where the Jews could see Him again and took his seat for Jesus" formal sentencing.

The judgment seat (Gr. bema, cf. 2 Corinthians 5:10) was the place where a powerful ruler pronounced his official verdicts in Roman culture.

Pilate had his chair of judgment placed on a piece of courtyard called "the pavement" (Gr. lithostrotos). Archaeologists have unearthed what many of them believe was this site in the area of the Antonia Fortress. Some of the pavement stones in this approximately3,000 square foot area have markings on them that indicate that soldiers played games there. [Note: International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, s.v. "Gabbatha," by D. J. Wieand, 2:373.] John gave the Aramaic (popular Hebrew) name of "the pavement" as gabbatha meaning "height" or probably "open space." He may have done so because it may have been a site in Jerusalem that was well known to his Gentile readers by its Aramaic name when he wrote.

The irony of the scene again stands out. Here was a corrupt Roman official sitting in judgment on the Person into whose hands God the Father had committed all judgment (cf5:22).

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 19:13". "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 19:13. When Pilate therefore heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called the Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. The decisive moment is now come; and, according to the frequent method of our Evangelist, the way is prepared for it by the mention of several particulars. First, we have the place. It was not in the palace, but at a spot called in the Aramaic tongue Gabbatha, and in the Greek the Pavement. The Greek name was probably given because the floor was laid down in the mosaic work common in those days in places of importance, such as theatres and halls of justice, and before altars of the gods. It literally means inlaid with stones. The Aramaic word Gabbatha signifies a hill or elevated spot of ground, so that we are to think of a spot in the open air where a tribunal was erected on a rising ground, the top of which was laid with tesselated pavement. The time is next noted.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 19:13". "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 19:13. Pilate therefore, when he heard this, brought Jesus out, . In the Gospel according to Peter, is understood transitively: , . Similarly in Justin, I. Apol., i. 35. This rendering presents a strikingly dramatic scene, and admirably suits the “behold your king” of John 19:14. (See Expositor for 1893, p. 296 ff., and Robinson and James’ Gospel according to Peter, p. 18.) But it is extremely unlikely that Pilate should thus have degraded his seat of justice, and much more natural to suppose that is used intransitively, as in John 12:14, etc. (Joseph., Bell. Jud., ii. 9, 3, ), and that Pilate’s taking his seat is mentioned to indicate that his mind was now made up and that he was now to pronounce his final judgment. The was the suggestum or tribunal, the raised platform (Livy, xxxi. 29; Tac., Hist., iv. 25) or seat (Suet., Aug., 44) on which the magistrate sat to administer justice. See 2 Maccabees 13:26.— , “at a place called Lithostroton,” i.e., lit. Stone pavement, or Tesselated pavement (of which see reproductions in Rich’s Antiq.). Cf.2 Chronicles 7:3, Joseph., Bell. Jud., vi. 1, 1. Pliny (xxxvi. 15) defines Lithostrota as mosaics, “parvulis certe crustis,” and says they were a luxury introduced in the time of Sulla and found in the provinces rather than in Rome (see Krebs in loc). The space in front of the praetorium where the stood was thus paved and therefore currently known as “Lithostroton”: , “but in Hebrew,” i.e., in the popular Aramaic, “Gabbatha,” which is not a translation of Lithostroton, but a name given to the same place from its being raised, from , a ridge or elevation. The tribunal was raised as a symbol of authority and in order that the judge might see and be seen (see Lücke).

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 19:13". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-19.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

When Pilate, &c. = Pilate therefore having heard.

that saying. All the texts read "these words".

in = upon. Greek. epi. App-104.

judgment seat. Greek. bema: literally a pace, a step, then a platform or raised place. In this case it was a stone platform with a seat in the open court in front of the Praetorium. Occurs only here in John.

in. Greek. eis. App-104.

the Pavement. Greek. lithostrotos = strewn with stone: i.e. of mosaic or tesselated work.

Gabbatha. Aramaic. App-94. The meaning of this word is uncertain.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 19:13". "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

When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.

When Pilate heard that saying - or, according to the preferable reading, 'these sayings,'

He brought Jesus forth, and sat down in ('upon,') the judgment seat - that he might pronounce sentence against the Prisoner, on this charge, the more solemnly,

In a place that is called the Pavement [ Lithostrooton (G3038)], but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha, [Gabaataa'] - either from a word signifying to be 'high,' referring to the raised platform on which the judgment seat was placed; or from one signifying the 'back,' from its arched form. As the Greek word denotes, it was a tesselated pavement; much used by the Romans. There is a minute topographical accuracy in the use of this word which a learned defender of the authenticity of the Gospel History has not failed to notice. 'Jesus,' says Hug, 'is led out to receive His sentence, and Pilate sat in a place called the Lithostrooton (Greek #3038) to pass judgment (John 19:13). The transaction is represented as if this place was in front of the Praetor's house, or at least at no great distance from it. And there is, in fact, such a place, which has been formerly overlooked, in the outworks of the Temple. Mention is made of it in an assault which the Romans made upon the Temple, on the side of the tower Antonia (Josephus, Jewish Wars, 6: 6 and 7). Here is the Lithostrooton (Greek #3038), and the house of the Praetor must have been opposite to this place. Now he lived, as appears from some incidental passages in Philo (compare Leg. ad Caium with Josephus, Ant. 18: 4), in Herod's palace, which was certainly in this quarter and neighbourhood, northwest of the tower Antonia and the Temple: so that the proximity of the Lithostroton to the palace, which is implied in John's narrative, is strictly accurate.'

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 19:13". "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

(13) When Pilate therefore heard that saying.—Better . . . these sayings—i.e., the two sayings of the previous verse.

He brought Jesus forth ., .—Comp. John 19:9. He hesitates no longer about the course to be taken. His own position and life may be in danger, and he prepares, therefore, to pronounce the final sentence, which must necessarily be done from the public judgment seat outside the palace. (Comp. Matthew 27:19.)

The Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.—Both these words occur here only, and are instances of the writer’s minute knowledge of the localities in Jerusalem. It may have been better to have preserved the Greek name (Lithostrôton), as well as that by which the place was known in the Hebrew (Syro-Chaldaic) of the time. The word literally means “stone-paved,” and was the Greek name for the tesselated “pavement” of marble and coloured stones with which from the time of Sylla the Romans delighted to adorn the Prætorium. The Chaldee word means “an elevated place,” so that the one name was given to it from its form, and the other from the material of which it was made. Suetonius (Life, chap. 46) tells us that Julius Cæsar carried about with him such pieces of marble and stone, but the mention of the “place” bears the impression that it was a fixture in front of the Prætorium at Jerusalem, in which the Bema was placed; or it may have been a portion of the northern court of the sanctuary to which Pilate came out, if we identify the Prætorium with the tower Antonia. (Comp. Note on Matthew 27:27.) Josephus mentions that the whole of the Temple mountain was paved with this kind of Mosaic work (Ant v. 5. 2. Caspari, Chron. Geogr., Introd., Eng. Trans., p. 225).

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 19:13". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-19.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.
heard
8; Proverbs 29:25; Isaiah 51:12,13; 57:11; Luke 12:5; Acts 4:19
and sat
Psalms 58:1,2; 82:5-7; 94:20,21; Ecclesiastes 5:8; Amos 4:7
Reciprocal: Nehemiah 6:6 - that thou mayest;  Psalm 55:13 - mine acquaintance;  Jeremiah 38:19 - I;  John 19:20 - in;  Acts 18:12 - the judgment;  Acts 21:40 - Hebrew;  Acts 25:6 - sitting;  Revelation 16:16 - the Hebrew

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 19:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-19.html.

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

Ver. 13. "When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment-seat, in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha."— τῶν λόγων τούτων is the most approved reading: every word was to Pilate an arrow. τούτων τῶν λόγων seems to have come from ver. 8.

Pilate, according to ver. 9, had gone with Jesus into the praetorium, in order that he might there speak to Him quietly. Ver. 12 requires us to assume that he then came forth to the people, and made known to them his full design to set Jesus at liberty. After his conscience had received that deadly blow from the Jews, he went back into the praetorium, and hastened Jesus out. The condemnation must be spoken under the open heaven, in the presence of the accused.

That the judgment-seat of the Roman governors stood in the open air, according to the tenor of our narrative, is proved by Josephus, De Bell. Jud. ii. 9, 3: "Pilate having sat down on the judgment-seat in the great stadium, summoned before him the people," etc. There he is speaking of Cesarea. In section 4 he speaks of the same thing at Jerusalem, around which "the people gathered themselves together with uproar." But still more explicit Isaiah 2:14; Isaiah 2:8. This passage shows, that when the procurator came to Jerusalem, the judgment-seat was placed before his dwelling, the old royal castle of Herod, identical with the praetorium here. We are presented with the same scene as here. τοῦ before βήματος is omitted by Lachmann. Everywhere else in the New Testament this word has the article; but in two of the passages quoted from Josephus it is without the article. A judgment-seat might be mentioned, because, when the procurator left Jerusalem, the βῆμα also was taken away: the βῆμα, therefore, had not so permanent a character as the court of justice. We see in Matthew 27:19, that Pilate, during the previous transactions with the people, had intermittently occupied the judgment-seat.

When St John approaches that crisis of universal interest, the proper pronunciation of Christ's doom by Pilate, everything becomes momentous to him: he designates places by their two names, the Greek and the Hebrew, or Aramaic, and specifies the day and the hour.

The Greek and the Aramaic names indicate the same place under different relations, yet so that these two relations are fundamentally connected. The Greek name points to the Mosaic work, which in its beauty indicated the dignity of the judgment: comp. Revelation 4:6. The Aramaic name indicated the elevation of the place, suggesting the fact that absolute submission was due to the word of the judge. λιθόστρωτον (we find the word in Josephus, Bell. Jud. vi. 1, 8) strictly means inlaid with stone generally, but was specifically used for Mosaic tessellation. Gabbatha signifies hill. The town, which is called in Hebrew Gibeah, Josephus mentions frequently under the name Gabbatha. So Antiq. v. 1, 29: "There is a tomb and monument of him in the city of Gabbatha." In vi. 4, 2, he says of Samuel, "Coming thence afterwards to Gabbatha:" comp. viii. 12, 4, 5, xiii. 1, 4. Josephus, Bell. Jud. v. 2, 1, calls Gibeah in Benjamin γαβαθσαούλην, adding the explanation, "this means hill of Saul." The only difference, that Josephus spells it always with one β, is of small moment; for, apart from the fact that the reading γαβαθᾶ is not altogether unsupported, the reduplication of the letter might have been introduced for a euphonic purpose, the original word being otherwise harsh. So there is in the Hebrew a purely euphonic dagesh forte. Hence for the same reason we have μαμμωνᾶς instead of μαμωνᾶς, in a number of manuscripts of Matthew 6:24.

The opposite we find in the case of the name עַווָּה which the Septuagint translate γάζα. There were other localities around Jerusalem which bore the name of hill, as the hill of the lepers, Jeremiah 31:39. Iken's objection, that the name was too general, equally applies to λιθόστρωτον; and, moreover, the specific characterization of the place was given in the preceding ἐπὶ τοῦ βήματος. These names were appropriate only in the immediate neighbourhood of the judgment-seat. When they spoke elsewhere of these localities, the reference to the βῆμα, or the connection with it, required to be expressly mentioned. According to the analogy of λιθόστρωτον, we might expect that the word Gabbatha would be a general designation. The hill probably was an artificial one.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 19:13". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-19.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

13.And sat down on the judgment-seat. Hence we see what conflicting opinions passed through the mind of Pilate, as if he had been a stage-player who was acting two characters. He ascends the judgment-seat, in order to pronounce sentence of death on Christ solemnly, and in the customary form; (164) and yet he declares openly, that he does so reluctantly and against his conscience. When he calls Christ king, he speaks ironically, meaning that it was a trivial charge which the Jews brought against him; or rather, for the purpose of allaying their fury, he warns them, that it would bring disgrace on the whole nation, if a report were spread abroad, that a person of that nation had been condemned to die for aspiring to kingly power.

In the place which is called the Stone-pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. When the Evangelist says, that גבתא (Gabbatha) was the name of the place in Hebrew he means the Chaldaic or Syriac language, which was then in common use; for in Hebrew, גבה (Gabach) means to be lofty. It was proper, therefore, that Christ should be condemned from a lofty place, that he, coming from heaven as the supreme Judge, may acquit us at the last day.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 19:13". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-19.html. 1840-57.