Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 19:8

Therefore when Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid;
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Demagogism;   Jesus, the Christ;   King;   Opinion, Public;   Politics;   Thompson Chain Reference - Pilate, Pontius;   Pontius Pilate;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Fear, Unholy;  
Dictionaries:
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Christianity;   Humiliation of Christ;   Jesus Christ;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Bride;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Attributes of Christ;   Divination;   Influence;   Pilate;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Jesus Christ, the Arrest and Trial of;   Pilate, Pontius;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for October 22;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

He was the more afraid - While Jesus was accused only as a disturber of the peace of the nation, which accusation Pilate knew to be false, he knew he could deliver him, because the judgment in that case belonged to himself; but when the Jews brought a charge against him of the most capital nature, from their own laws, he then saw that he had every thing to fear, if he did not deliver Jesus to their will. The Sanhedrin must not be offended - the populace must not be irritated: from the former a complaint might be sent against him to Caesar; the latter might revolt, or proceed to some acts of violence, the end of which could not be foreseen. Pilate was certainly to be pitied: he saw what was right, and he wished to do it; but he had not sufficient firmness of mind. He did not attend to that important maxim, Fiat justitia: ruat caelum. Let justice be done, though the heavens should be dissolved. He had a vile people to govern, and it was not an easy matter to keep them quiet. Some suppose that Pilate's fear arose from hearing that Jesus had said he was the Son of God; because Pilate, who was a polytheist, believed that it was possible for the offspring of the gods to visit mortals; and he was afraid to condemn Jesus, for fear of offending some of the supreme deities. Perhaps the question in the succeeding verse refers to this.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 19:8". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-19.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

When Pilate therefore heard that saying - That they had accused him of blasphemy. As this was not the charge on which they had arraigned him before his bar, he had not before heard it, and it now convinced him more of their malignity and wickedness.

He was the more afraid - What was the ground of his fear is not declared by the evangelist. It was probably, however, the alarm of his conscience, and the fear of vengeance if he suffered such an act of injustice to be done as to put an innocent man to death. He was convinced of his innocence. He saw more and more clearly the design of the Jews; and it is not improbable that a pagan, who believed that the gods often manifested themselves to people, dreaded their vengeance if he suffered one who claimed to be divine, and who might be, to be put to death. It is clear that Pilate was convinced that Jesus was innocent; and in this state of agitation between the convictions of his own conscience, and the clamors of the Jews, and the fear of vengeance, and the certainty that he would do wrong if he gave him up, he was thrown into this state of alarm, and resolved again to question Jesus, that he might obtain satisfaction on the subjects that agitated his mind.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 19:8". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-19.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

When Pilate therefore heard this saying, he was the more afraid.

Pilate had many fears, fearing for his relations with Herod, his reputation with the emperor, the outbreak of violence in his city, the implications of his wife's dream; and now, typical pagan that he was, this injection of Jesus' claim to be the Son of God thoroughly moved him, but not toward any good conclusion. Skepticism and fear go hand in hand. Herod, it will be recalled, who would have scoffed at the doctrine of the resurrection, nevertheless feared that Jesus was John the Baptist (whom he had beheaded) risen from the dead! Therefore, Pilate may have believed that "the wondrous Being before him was enshrouded in a mystery of supernatural portent that he could not fathom, and before whom he trembled."[7]

ENDNOTE:

[7] H. R. Reynolds, op. cit., II, p. 419.

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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 19:8". "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,.... That Jesus had asserted himself to be the Son of God, and that the Jews had a law to put such a person to death that was guilty of such blasphemy:

he was the more afraid; he was afraid to put him to death, or to consent to it before; partly on account of his wife's message to him, and partly upon a conviction of the innocence of Christ, in his own conscience: and now he was more afraid, since here was a charge brought against him he did not well understand the meaning of; and a law of theirs pretended to be violated hereby, which should he pay no regard to, might occasion a tumult, since they were already become very clamorous and noisy; and he might be the more uneasy, test the thing they charged him with asserting, should be really fact; that he was one of the gods come down in the likeness of man; or that he was some demi-god at least, or so nearly related to deity, that it might be dangerous for him to have anything to do with him this way: and in this suspicion he might be strengthened, partly from the writings of the Heathens, which speak of such sort of beings; and partly from the miracles he might have heard were performed by Jesus; and also by calling to mind what he had lately said to him, that his kingdom was not of this world, and that he was come into it to bear witness to the truth.

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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
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Gill, John. "Commentary on John 19:8". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-19.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

3 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid;

(3) Pilate's conscience fights for Christ, but it immediately yields, because it is not upheld with the singular power of God.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on John 19:8". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/john-19.html. 1599-1645.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

He was the more afraid (μαλλον εποβητηmallon ephobēthē). First aorist passive indicative of ποβεομαιphobeomai He was already afraid because of his wife‘s message (Matthew 27:19). The claim of Jesus to deity excited Pilate‘s superstitious fears.

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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 19:8". "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

The more afraid

“These words of the Jews produced an effect on Pilate for which they were not prepared. The saying gives strength to a dreadful presentiment which was gradually forming within him. All that he had heard related of the miracles of Jesus, the mysterious character of His person, of His words and of His conduct, the strange message which he had just received from his wife - all is suddenly explained by the term “Son of God.” Was this extraordinary man truly a divine being who had appeared on the earth? The truth naturally presents itself to his mind in the form of pagan superstitions and mythological legends” (Godet).

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 19:8". "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 was the more afraid;

He was the more afraid — He seems to have been afraid before of shedding innocent blood.

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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.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on John 19:8". "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 this saying, he was the more afraid;

  1. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid. The words of Jesus at John 18:37, and the message from his wife had already filled Pilate with fear, and this saying added to it because the Roman and Grecian mythologies told of many incarnations; and influenced by the calm presence of Jesus, Pilate readily considered the possibility of such a thing.

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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 19:8". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-19.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Больше убоялся. Смысл здесь может быть двояким. Первый таков: Пилат убоялся навлечь на себя вину в случае, если в толпе возникнет бунт из-за того, что он не осудил Христа. Другой смысл: услышав имя Сына Божия, его разум затронуло благочестивое чувство. Этот второй смысл подтверждает следующее затем повествование. Снова войдя в преторию, Пилат спросил Христа, откуда Он. Отсюда явствует, что Пилат был смущен и взволнован, убоявшись кары за святотатство, если поднимет руку на Сына Божия. Следует отметить: спрашивая, откуда Христос, Пилат не выведывает о Его родине, но хочет сказать: человек ли ты, рожденный на земле, или какой-нибудь Бог? Я именно так и толкую данное место. Пилат, убоявшись божеского величия, заколебался, как говорят, между святыней и камнем. Он понимал, что, с одной стороны, способствует мятежу, с другой же – его удерживало благочестие. Он боялся, избегая опасности, оскорбить при этом Бога. Весьма замечательный пример. Хотя вид Христов и был безобразен, Пилат, как только услышал имя Божие, исполнился страха оскорбить божество в этом презренном и отверженном человеке. Если же в мирском человеке пребывало такое почтение к Богу, не трижды ли отвержены те, кто сегодня судит о божественных вещах с насмешкою, ничего при этом не боясь? Пилат свидетельствует: религиозное чувство врождено человеку от природы, и оно не позволяет ему поступать совершенно необдуманно, когда речь заходит о божественных делах. Посему, как я уже говорил, превратному уму преданы те, кого в толковании библейского учения не затрагивает величие Божие, словно речь в нем идет лишь о тени осла. Некогда, ввергаясь в погибель, они почувствуют, какого почета достойно божественное имя, которое сегодня они столь презрительно высмеивают. Страшно сказать, сколь надменно и яростно осуждают паписты истину Божию и проливают невинную кровь. Откуда, заклинаю, у них такое оцепенение, если не потому, что им на ум не приходит мысль: они имеют дело с Самим Богом?

 

 

 

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 19:8". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-19.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

8 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid;

Ver. 8. He was the more afraid] Christ’s innocence did before triumph in Pilate’s conscience. But now, that he hears that he made himself the Son of God, he was in a mighty maze, "he was afraid," saith the text, of lifting up his hand against God. The greatest men, if not utterly debauched and satanized, cannot but quake at the apprehension of God: and as the worms, when it thunders, wriggle into the corners of the earth; Caligula (that dared his Jove to a duel with that hemistich in Homer, η μ αναειρ η εγω σε, Either kill me, or I will kill thee), when it thundered, covered his eyes with his cap, running under the bed or any bench hole. (Sueton. in Calig.)

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 19:8". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-19.html. 1865-1868.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

8.] This charge served to increase the fear which Pilate had before: see note on ch. John 18:37. The name υἱὸς θεοῦ served also to confirm the omen already furnished by the dream of his wife. That this fear was not a fear of the Jews, nor of acting unjustly, but of the Person of Jesus, is evident from what follows.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 19:8". 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 19:8. ΄ᾶλλον, the more, rather) He did not assent to the Jews as to putting Jesus to death, but rather feared lest he should sin against the Son of God.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 19:8". 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

It should seem that the Romans permitted judgments to the Jews according to their own laws, which the Roman governor was to see executed; or else, seeing the rabble in such a heat and disorder, he feared some breaking out.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 19:8". 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

больше убоялся Многие римские чиновники были очень суеверными. Тогда как иудеи толковали утверждения Иисуса как мессианские, для человека греко-римской культуры титул «Сын Божий» ставил Иисуса в ранг «богочеловека», одаренного сверхъестественной силой. Пилат испугался, потому что он только что избивал и мучил Того, Кто, в его представлении, мог на него навести проклятие или возмездие.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on John 19:8". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/john-19.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

He was the more afraid; this was to Pilate a new charge. He saw that the Jews were resolved to kill him, though innocent; and as he claimed to be the Son of God, he was therefore more anxious to release him. His wife also had sent to him to have nothing to do with that just man, for she had suffered many things in a dream because of him. Matthew 27:19. Men who do, or consent to others’ doing what they know to be wrong, are always liable to great and distressing fears. Conscience condemns them; and though it sometimes sleeps, it may at any moment awake and fill them with terror.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 19:8". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-19.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

8.The more afraid—That is, this expression so increased the awe of his former impression as to induce the following action, that he takes Jesus into the judgment hall for examination on this specific point.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 19:8". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-19.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

John did not say specifically that Pilate was fearful before this verse. It seems obvious, however, that the predicament in which he found himself would have given him reason to fear. He had compromised his position as Rome"s representative by considering freeing a convicted insurrectionist named Barabbas. He had displeased the Jewish rulers by failing to hand down a guilty verdict, and he had alienated many of the Jewish people by abusing and ridiculing one of their popular heroes.

The Romans viewed certain people as demigods. They believed that their gods were super-humans. Pilate evidently understood Jesus" claim to being God"s Son as a claim to being one of these creatures who wielded supernatural powers. If He had heard much about Jesus, He would have heard that Jesus had powers that the Greeks and Romans attributed to these divine beings. Consequently he may have begun now to fear that Jesus would take some type of revenge on him for the unjust treatment that Pilate had given Him (cf. Matthew 27:19). Jesus" uncommon poise probably unnerved Pilate further.

"In pagan mythology the Olympian deities frequently consorted with men and women, and their semi-divine offspring, such as Hercules, had appeared on the earth and performed miraculous deeds. Hardened as he was, Pilate feared lest he should offend one of these visitors.... If Jesus really was a supernatural being, Pilate did not wish to be responsible for mistreating him. Divine judgment would certainly be the inevitable consequence." [Note: Tenney, " John," p177.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 19:8". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-19.html. 2012.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

saying. Greek. logos. See Mark 9:32.

the more afraid. A dreadful presentiment was growing in Pilate"s mind, due to what he may have heard of the Lord"s miracles, to His bearing throughout the trial, and to his wife"s message.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 19:8". "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 was the more afraid;

When Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid - the name "SON OF GOD," the lofty sense evidently attached to it by His Jewish accusers, the dialogue he had already held with Him, and the dream of his wife (Matthew 27:19), all working together in the breast of the unhappy man.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 19:8". "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

(8) When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid.—That is, as the verses which follow show, he was the more afraid because of his wonder who Jesus really was. He must have heard of some of the current impressions as to His life and words; he had himself heard Him claim a kingdom which is not of this world; his wife’s dream (Matthew 27:19) had furnished an evil omen which the superstition of the most educated classes of the Roman empire would interpret as a message from the gods; and now the Jews speak of Him as one who claimed to be the Son of God. (Comp. Notes on the words of the Roman centurion in Matthew 27:54.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 19:8". "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 was the more afraid;
heard
13; Acts 14:11-19
Reciprocal: Daniel 3:25 - the Son of God;  Jonah 1:10 - were;  Matthew 27:27 - common hall;  Acts 24:6 - and

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 19:8". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-19.html.

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

Ver. 8. "When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid."

His present fear was distinguished from the former only by the more. Even before then he must have feared that he should draw down on himself the vengeance of God. Pilate had been already alarmed, when he thought he had to do only with a man under the special protection of Heaven. The words of his wife, "Have thou nothing to do with this just man," sank deep in his heart. But now that, according to the declaration of the Jews, Jesus made Himself the Son of God, a new aspect of the case was opened, and he might dread being in the fullest sense a θεομάχος, a fighter against God. What Jesus, according to their statements, had uttered concerning Himself, he could not lightly dismiss from his mind. "He remembered," says Heumann, "His wonderful works, and with deeper reflection than before; he bethought himself that Jesus was a holy man, to whom lying and deception were impossible." The impressions of Christ's person, the majesty which shone through all His deep humiliation, led Pilate involuntarily to think of something beyond the sphere of mere humanity. He did not think of a son of the gods, of one dei cujusdam filius. The unity of God, a truth ineradicably implanted in the human mind, never entirely disappeared in polytheism; and this unity became more and more prominent in the period of the decline of Gentile culture. Pilate, in regard to this, like his centurion, Matthew 27:54, Mark 15:39, stood very much under the influence of the people among whom he had dwelt so many years. His conscience had been before this much wounded. He now feared, that by new guilt he should involve himself in the immediate judgments of Heaven.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 19:8". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-19.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

8.He was the more afraid. These words may be explained in two ways. The first is, that Pilate dreaded lest some blame should be imputed to him, if a tumult arose, because he had not condemned Christ. The second is, that, after having heard the name of the Son of God, his mind was moved by religion. This second view is confirmed by what immediately follows:

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 19:8". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-19.html. 1840-57.