The Greek word (praitorion) thus rendered in Mark 15:16 is rendered "common hall" ( Matthew 27:27 , marg., "governor's house"), "judgment hall," ( John 18:28 John 18:33 , marg., "Pilate's house", 19:9 ; Acts 23:35 ), "palace" (Phil 1:13 ). This is properly a military word. It denotes (1) the general's tent or headquarters; (2) the governor's residence, as in Acts 23:35 (RSV, "palace"); and (3) the praetorian guard (See PALACE), or the camp or quarters of the praetorian cohorts ( Acts 28:16 ), the imperial guards in immediate attendance on the emperor, who was "praetor" or commander-in-chief.
(in the Revised Version translated palace ,) ( Matthew 27:27 ; John 18:28 John 18:33 ; 19:3 ) the headquarters of the Roman military governor, wherever he happened to be. In time of peace some one of the best buildings of the city which, was the residence of the proconsul or praetor, was selected for this purpose. Thus at Caesarea that of Herod the Great was occupied by Felix, ( Acts 23:35 ) and at Jerusalem the new palace erected by the same prince was the residence of Pilate. After the Roman power was established in Judea, a Roman guard was always maintained in the Antonia. The praetorian camp at Rome, to which St. Paul refers, ( Philemon 1:13 ) was erected by the emperor Tiberius, acting under the advice of Sejanus. It stood outside the walls, at some distance short of the fourth milestone. St. Paul appears to have been permitted, for the space of two years, to lodge, so to speak, "within the rules" of the praetorium, ( Acts 28:30 ) Although still under the custody of a soldier. [E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary
pre-to'-ri-um praitorion, Matthew 27:27 (the King James Version "common hall"); Mark 15:16; John 18:28,33; 19:9 (in all margins "palace," and in the last three the King James Version "judgment hall"); Acts 23:35, (Herod's) "palace," margin "Praetorium," the King James Version "judgment hall"; Philippians 1:13, "praetorian guard" (margin "Greek `in the whole Pretorium,' " the King James Version "palace," margin "Caesar's court"):
1. Governor's Official Residence:
The Pretorium was originally the headquarters of a Roman camp, but in the provinces the name became attached to the governor's official residence. In order to provide residences for their provincial governors, the Romans were accustomed to seize and appropriate the palaces which were formerly the homes of the princes or kings in conquered countries. Such a residence might sometimes be in a royal palace, as was probably the case in Caesarea, where the procurator used Herod's palace (Acts 23:35).
2. In Gospels Herod's Palace:
The Pretorium where Jesus was brought to trial has been traditionally located in the neighborhood of the present Turkish barracks where once stood the Antonia and where was stationed a large garrison (compare Acts 21:32-35), but the statements of Josephus make it almost certain that the headquarters of the procurator were at Herod's palace. This was a building whose magnificence Josephus can hardly sufficiently appraise (Wars, I, xxi, 1; V, iv, 4). It was in this palace that "Florus, the procurator took up his quarters, and having placed his tribunal in front of it, held his sessions and the chief priests, influential persons and notables of the city appeared before the tribunal" (Wars II, xiv, 8). Later on, "Florus .... brought such as were with him out of the king's palace, and would have compelled them to get as far as the citadel (Antonia); but his attempt failed" (II, xv, 5). The word translated "palace" here is aule, the same word as is translated "court" in Mark 15:16, "the soldiers led him away within the court (aule), which is the Pretorium." There is no need to suppose that Herod Antipas was in the same palace (Luke 23:4); it is more probable he went to the palace of the Hasmoneans which lay lower down on the eastern slope of this southwest hill, where at a later time Josephus expressly states that Herod Agrippa II and his sister Bernice were living (Wars, II, xvi, 3).
The palace of Herod occupied the highest part of the southwest hill near the northwest angle of the ancient city, now traditionally called Zion, and the actual site of the Pretorium cannot have been far removed from the Turkish barracks near the so-called "Tower of David." It is interesting to note that the two stations of the Turkish garrison of Jerusalem today occupy the same spots as did the Roman garrison of Christ's time. It is needless to point out how greatly this view of the situation of the Pretorium must modify the traditional claims of the "Via Dolorosa," the whole course of which depends on theory that the "Way of Sorrow" began at the Antonia, the Pretorium of late ecclesiastical tradition.
See also GABBATHA.
3. Philippians 1:13:
With regard to the expression en holo to praitorio in Philippians 1:13, there is now a general consensus of opinion that "Praetorium" here means, not a place, but the imperial praetorian guard, ten thousand in number, which was instituted by Augustus. Paul was allowed to reside in his private house in the custody of a praetorian soldier. As these were doubtless constantly changed, it must have become "manifest" to the whole guard that his bonds were for the sake of Christ. See also preceding article.
E. W. G. Masterman
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