When Pilate saw he could prevail nothing
That it was to no purpose to talk to them, and in favour of Jesus; he saw they were determined upon his crucifixion, and that nothing else would satisfy them:
but that rather a tumult was made;
there was an uproar among the people, and he might fear the consequences of it, should he not grant their request; otherwise, as Philo the F16 Jew says of him, he was, (thn fusin akamphv kai meta tou anyadouv ameiliktov) , "naturally inflexible, rigid, and self-willed": but he knew the temper of these people, and had had experience of their resoluteness, when they were determined on any thing; as in the case of his introducing the golden shields into the holy city, of which the same author speaks: and was then obliged, though sore against his will, as now, to yield unto them:
He took water, and washed his hands before the multitude;
either in conformity to a custom among the Jews, whereby they testified their innocence as to the commission of murder; see ( Deuteronomy 21:6 Deuteronomy 21:7 ) ( Psalms 26:6 ) , or to a Gentile one, used when murder was committed, for the lustration or expiation of it F17:
saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person;
though this did not clear him from all guilt in this matter: he ought to have acted the part of an upright judge, and not have yielded to the unrighteous requests of the people; he ought not to have scourged an innocent man, and much less have condemned and delivered him to be crucified, as he did; though in this he bore a testimony to the innocence of Christ, and which is somewhat remarkable in him; who was, as Philo says F18, notoriously guilty of receiving bribes, of injuries, rapine, and frequent murders of persons uncondemned:
see ye [to it];
you must be answerable for this action, and all the consequences of it. The Syriac version renders it, "you have known"; and the Persic version, "you know": and the Arabic version, "you know better"; (See Gill on Matthew 27:4).
F16 De Legat. ad Caium, p. 1034.
F17 Vid. Ovid. Fast. l. 2. Anticlidis Redit. l. 74. Triclinius in Ajac. Sophocl. 3. 1.
F18 Ubi supra. (De Legat. ad Caium, p. 1034.)