And they began to accuse him
After they found that Pilate would not receive him as a malefactor upon their word, and delivery of him to him as such; but insisted on knowing what they had to charge him with, and what accusation they had to bring against him:
saying, we have found this fellow perverting the nation;
the nation of the Jews. Three of Beza's copies read, "our nation"; and so do the Vulgate Latin, and all the Oriental versions; and it is to be understood, either of his perverting the nation from the true doctrine of Moses and the prophets; by spreading among them new notions, and false principles of religion; whereby he was a troubler of God's Israel, as Ahab charged Elijah, ( 1 Kings 18:17 ) where the Septuagint use the same word as here; and so is a charge of heresy, or innovation in religion against Christ: and thus Jesus stands charged in their writings F15; on those words in ( Psalms 91:10 ) . "Neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling", they have this note;
``that thou mayest not have a son, or a disciple, that corrupts his food publicly (i.e. his doctrine, who departs from the true doctrine and worship, to heresy and idolatry, and propagates the same), (yruwnh wvy Nwgk) , "as Jesus the Nazarene".''Which last clause, in some later editions of the Talmud, is left out: or it may be understood of his perverting the nation in their politics, and so is a charge of sedition against him, as follows;
saying, that he himself is Christ, a King;
or Christ the King, or the King Christ; that is, he whom the Jews so frequently in their writings call (xyvmh Klm) , "the King Messiah", for so he might be, and was, without any hurt to Caesar's dignity, or revenue; for though he was a king, yet not an earthly one; and though he had a kingdom, yet not of this world: indeed they would insinuate by this, that he set himself up as an earthly king, in opposition to Caesar, to draw off the people from him, and their allegiance and duty to him; and so the Jews say of Jesus of Nazareth, that he was put to death, and had no mercy shown him, because he was (twklml bwrq) , "near to the kingdom" F16. The whole of this charge was untrue; he was so far from perverting the nation with false doctrine and worship, that he taught the true doctrine, and right way of worship, and refuted the false glosses of the Pharisees, and opposed the vain traditions of the elders, by which both were corrupted; and so far was he from any seditious principles and practices, or doing any injury to Tiberius Caesar, the then reigning emperor, that he taught the people to give Caesar the things that were Caesar's, and he himself paid the tribute money; and when the people would have took him by force, and have made him a king, he avoided it by getting out of the way, ( John 6:15 ) .
F15 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 103. 1. & Beracot, fol, 17. 2.
F16 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 43. 1.