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CHAP. VII.

THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF OUR SAVIOUR'S LAST SUFFERINGS

1. Caiaphas high priest at that time. II. Pontius Pilate

governor of Judea. III. Pilate's wife in Judea. IV. Herod the tetrarch at Jerusalem. V. Of the high priest's rending his clothes. VI. High priests spoken of in the plural number. VII. Pilate now at Jerusalem. VIII. Pilate condemns Jesus to content the Jews. IX. Remarks concerning Pilate's power in Judea. X. Of the title written upon the cross. XI. In Hebrero, Greek, und Latin. XII. Of the scoffs and derisions which our Saviour met with. XIII. Jesus scourged before he was crucified. XIV. Bore his cross. XV. Of his being crucified without the city. XVI. Of his burial. XVII. Ånd embalming.

IN the history of our Saviour's last sufferings at Jerusalem, there is mention made of four persons of distinction : Caiaphas the high priest, Pontius Pilate the governor, his wife, and Herod the tetrarch of Galilec.

I. St. Matthew says, ch. xxvi. 3, “ Then assembled together the chief priests and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas." And afterwards, ver. 57, “ Then they that had laid hold on Jesus, led bim away to Caiaphas the high priest.” St. John likewise assures us, that at this time Caiaphas was the high priest, and has informed us of a particular omitted by St. Matthew, namely, that our Saviour was carried to Annas, ch. xviii. 13, “ And led him away to Annas first, (for he was father-in-law to Caiaphas which was the high priest that same year).” And again, “ Now Annas bad sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest,ver. 24-28.

That Caiaphas was now high priest appears hence: he was made high priest by Valerius Gratus, predecessor of Pontius Pilate, and was put out of that office by Vitellius president of Syria, after Pilate was sent away out of the province of Judea. Josephus informs us of Caiaphas's advancement to the priesthood in these words : “ And a year • after he [Gratus] removed him, [Eleazar the son of Ananus,] and gave the high priesthood to Simon the son of Camithus. He, having enjoyed this honour not above a

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year, was succeeded by Joseph, who is also called Caiaphas • After this Gratus went away for Rome, having been • eleven years in Judea, and Pontius Pilate came thither as • bis successor.'a The same historian gives us the account of Caiaphas's removal in this manner. Vitellius whilst in Syria sent orders to Pilate to repair to Rome ; after which Vitellius went up to Jerusalem, and gave directions concerning several matters. • Having done these things,' says Josephus,' he took away the priesthood from the high priest Joseph, who is called Caiaphas, and appointed Jo

nathan the son of Ananus high priest, and then returned 'to Antioch.'b

It is evident therefore that Caiaphas was high priest all the time that Pılate was in Judea.

II. We shall presently have occasion to take notice of several things concerning Pilate : I shall only here show that Pilate was at this time governor of Judea. St. Luke says, ch. iii, 1, 2, “ Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.” If St. Luke in this text intends not the fifteenth year of Tiberius's reign from the death of Augustus, but the fifteenth year of his proconsular power when he was made colleague of Augustus, it may possibly admit a debate, whether Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea when John the Baptist began to preach : therefore I have reserved the consideration of that particular for the next book. But there can be no question made but that Pilate was governor of Judea at the time of our Saviour's crucifixion; whether St. Luke be understood in that place to speak of the proconsular power of Tiberius, or his sole empire after the death of Augustus.

The fifteenth year of Tiberius's proconsular empire, and the twelfth of his sole empire, are pretty near coincident. For the 15th of his proconsular empire is supposed to begin about the 27th of August, A. D. 25. And the 12th of his sole empire, began the 19th of August in the same year.

* Ενιαυτο δε διαγενομενα, και τονδε παυσας, Σιμωνι τω Καμιθε την αρχιερωσυνην παραδιδωσιν" και πλεον και τώδε ενιαυτη την τιμην εχοντι διεγινετο χρονος, και Ιωσηπος, o και Kαιαφας, διαδοχος ην αυτω και Γρατος μεν ταυτα πραξας εις Ρωμην επαναχωρει, ενδεκα ετη διατριψας εν Ιεδαια Ποντιος δε Nelatos cuadoxos avta vikev. Antiq. lib. xviii. cap. 2. sect. 2.

Και ταυτα πραξας επι ευεργεσια το εθνος, και τον αρχιερεα Ιωσηπον, τον και Καιαφαν επικαλεμενον, απαλλαξας της ιερωσύνης, Ιωναθην καθισησιν, Ανανε το αρχιερεως υιον επ' Αντιοχείας δ' αυθις εποιειτο την οδον. Ιbid cap. 5. sect. 3.

Vid. Pagi. Crit. in Baron. A. D. 25.

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There is undoubtedly some difficulty in computing exactly the tinie which the evangelists have allotted to John the Baptist's and our Saviour's ministry. But whether we understand St. Luke to speak of the “ fifteenth year of Tiberius's" proconsular power, or of his sole empire, I think that the earliest date of our Saviour's crucifixion must be that of the Jewish passover, which happened in the 15th year of Tiberius's sole empire, A. D. 29, and the latest date the Jewish passover, which happened in the 19th year of Tiberius's sole empire, A. D. 33.

Take any year from 29 to 33 inclusively, and Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea. This may be made appear in this matter.

in this matter. Tiberius died the 16th of March, A. D. 37.d Vitellius received the tidings of it at Jerusalem. But Pilate bad been removed some time before this, as is allowed by all : how long before we will not now inquire. Pilate therefore was removed from his government before the passover, A. D. 37, when he had been there ten years. So Josephus says expressly : * And Pilate having been ten years in Judea bastened away 'to Rome, in obedience to the orders he had received from • Vitellius, not daring to refuse,'% Subtract 10 from 37, and it appears that Pilate was governor of Judea before the passover in A. D. 27, and consequently before our Saviour's last sufferings.

That our Saviour was crucified in Judea in the reign of Tiberius under Pontius Pilate, is the unanimous testiniony of christian writers, is particularly mentioned" by Tacitus, an heathen author, and is not denied by any. But this being a principal fact, I am not obliged to produce any passages relating to it now. All I am concerned to do at present is, to show that according to the notes of time mentioned by the evangelists, Pontius Pilate must have been governor of Judea when our Saviour was crucified. This I presume I have made appear from Josephus, who must be allowed to have known what government his own country was under at that time,

111. St. Matthew says, chap. xxvii. 19, that " when he Pilatewas set down on the judgment-seat, his wife sent unto bim, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just

d Ibid. A. 37. n. ii.

e Joseph. Ant. lib. xviii. cap. vi. p. 806. in. ' Ibid. cap. V. sect. 2.

8 Και Πιλατος, δεκα ετεσιν διατριψας επι Ιεδαιας, εις Ρωμην ηπειγετο, ταις Ουιτελλια πειθομενος εντολαις, 8κ ον αντειFELV. Joseph. ibid.

Auctor nominis ejus Christus, qui, Tiberio imperitante, per Procuratorem Pontium Pilatum, supplicio affectus erat. Ann. lib. xv. cap. 44.

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man : for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.'

So long as the commonwealth subsisted, it was very unusual for the governors of the provinces to take their wives with them; and afterwards Augustus seems not much to have approved of it. But, however, the contrary custom prevailed. It is evident from Tacitus, that at the time of Augustus's death, Germanicus had his wife Agrippina with him in Germany. And in the beginning of Tiberius's reign he carried her with him into the east.' And Piso the prefect of Syria took his wife also along with hiin at the same time.m But there is nothing can render this more apparent, than a motion made in the Roman senate by Severus Cæsina, in the fourth consulship of Tiberius and second of Drusus Cæsar, A. D. 21, . That no magistrate, to whom any province was assigned, should be accompanied by his wife;'" except the senate's rejecting it, and that with some indignation."

IV. St. Luke says, ch. xxiii, 7, that “when Pilate heard of (alilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilean. And as soon as he knew that he belonged to Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself was also at Jerusalem at that time.” As this Herod was the son of Herod the Great, and a Jew, there is all the reason in the world to suppose, that he often went to Jerusalem at the Jewish feasts. Josephus has particularly mentioned his being there at one of their feasts, A. D. 37, which I believe none will deny to be the feast of the passover. He is speaking of Vitellius president of Syria. Having given directions about these matters, he '[Vitellius] went up to Jerusalem with Herod the tetrarch • and bis friends to worship God, a feast of the Jews being nigh at hand.'P

Having despatched these general things, we may now take the remaining particulars in the order in 'wbich they lie.

V. Whilst our Saviour was under examination before the high priest and rulers of the Jews, after they had in vain attempted to get evidence against him from witnesses, it is related, Matt. xxvi. 63–65, that the laigla priest“ said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said : nevertheless I say unto you, hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right band of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blaspbemy.”

Disciplinam severissime rexit, ne legatorum quidem cuiquam nisi gravate, hibernisque demum mensibus, permisit uxorem intervisere. Sueton. in Aug. * Tacit. Ann. lib. i. cap. 40, 41.

! Id. lib. ii. cap. 54. m Ibid. cap. 55.

n Inter quæ Severus Cæcina censuit, ne quem magistratum, cui provincia obvenisset, uxor comitaretur. Id. An. lib. jii. cap. 33. • Paucorum hæc adsensu audita, plures obturbabant neque relatum de negotio, neque Cæcinam dignum tantæ rei censorem. Ibid.

P Aυτος τε μετα Ηρωδε τ8 τετραρχο και των φιλων εις Ιεροσολυμα ανγει, θυσων τω θεώ, εορτης πατρια Ιεδαιοις ενεσηκοιας. Joseph. Ant. lib. xviii. cap. 6. seci. 3.

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cap. 24.

cap. 34.

It has been thought by some that the high priest might not rend his clothes : but that he might, and did do so, upon extraordinary occasions, will appear from the following particulars. The author of the first book of Maccabees says, ch. xi. 71, " Then Jonathan rent bis clothes, and cast earth upon his head.” Jonathan was then high priest; the occasion of this action was his men's running away from their enemies. Lightfoot in his Hebrew and Talmudical Exercitations upon this text of St. Matthew, quotes these words from Maimonides : When witnesses speak out the • blasphemy which they heard, then all hearing the blas• phemy are bound to rend their clothes. As the high priest among the Jews was one of their judges, and was present at their trials, he must be comprehended in this rule. I subjoin to these a passage of Josephus. Perhaps it will not be thought to come up to our point, because he does not speak of the high priest in the singular number. But I do not see why the person who was actually in the high priesthood must be excluded; and in one respect it exceeds the fact now before us. For Caiaphas undoubtedly had on at this time his ordinary clothes; whereas Josephus speaks of the priests rending the garments which they wore in their ministrations at the temple.

The case was this: Florus governor of Judea had plundered the sacred treasury at Jerusalem and committed many other abuses. Hereupon the Jews being highly provoked, were ready to break out into war with the Romans. And a great number of them being got together into an open place in the city, gave out many reflections upon Florus. Josephus says, that upon this, • The chief men and the • high priests, being filled with concern, rent their garments, . and falling down upon their knees' beseeched the people ' to be peaceable, and to bear patiently what had passed * already, rather than provoke Florus to do still worse.'

When this tumult was appeased, Florus intending (as a De Bell. J. lib. ï. cap. 14. sect. 6.

ΓΟι δυνατοι συν τοις αρχιερευσι τας εσθητας περιερρηξαντο. Ιbid. cap. 15. sect. 2.

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