And they had then a notable prisoner
The Vulgate Latin reads, "he had"; that is, Pilate, who had committed him to prison, and under whose power he was: for the Jews had lost all authority of this kind, at least in capital cases. This prisoner is called a "notable" one; that is, a famous, or rather an infamous one: he was a thief, and a robber, and had been guilty of sedition; had made, or joined with others in an insurrection, and had committed murder in it; and so, on more accounts than one, was deserving of death: nor could it be otherwise expected by himself, or others, but that he should die: his name was
that is, as the Syriac version reads it, (aba rb) , which signifies "the son of a father": a father's child that was spoiled and ruined, and a child of his father the devil. This was a name common among the Jews. Frequent mention is made of R. Abba F8, and Bar Abba is the son of Abba: hence we read of Abba Bar Abba F9, and of R. Samuel Bar Abba F11 and of R. Simeon Bar Abba F12, and of R. Chijah Bar Abba F13. In Munster's Hebrew Gospel it is read (hbr) (rb) , "Bar Rabbah, the son of a master"; and so Jerom says, that in the Gospel according to the Hebrews it is interpreted, "the son of their master"; but the former is the right name, and the true sense of the word. The Ethiopic version adds, "the prince", or "chief of robbers, and all knew him"; and the Arabic, instead of a "prisoner", reads, a "thief", as he was.