When Pilate therefore heard that saying
Of the Jews, that a freeing of Jesus would show an unfriendliness to Caesar; and gave very broad hints that they would accuse him to Caesar of treachery and unfaithfulness, in letting go a man, that made pretensions to be a king in his territories; and knowing well the jealousies and suspicions of Tiberius, and fearing lest it would turn to his own disrepute and disadvantage, immediately
he brought Jesus forth
out of the judgment hall, the place where he had been examined in; not to declare his innocence, nor to move their pity, nor to release him, but to pass sentence on him.
And he sat down in the judgment seat:
for that purpose. He had sat but little all this while, but was continually going in and out to examine Jesus, and converse with the Jews; but he now takes his place, and sits down as a judge, in order to give the finishing stroke to this affair; and where he sat down, was
in the place that is called the pavement, but in the Hebrew,
This place, in the Greek tongue, was called "Lithostrotos"; or "the pavement of stones", as the Syriac version renders it: it is thought to be the room "Gazith", in which the sanhedrim sat in the temple when they tried capital causes F20; and it was so called, because it was paved with smooth, square, hewn stones:
``it was in the north part; half of it was holy, and half of it common; and it had two doors, one for that part which was holy, and another for that which was common; and in that half which was common the sanhedrim sat F21.''So that into this part of it, and by this door, Pilate, though a Gentile, might enter. This place, in the language of the Jews, who at this time spoke Syriac, was "Gabbatha", front its height, as it should seem; though the Syriac and Persic versions read "Gaphiphtha", which signifies a fence, or an enclosure. Mention is made in the Talmud F23 of the upper "Gab" in the mountain of the house; but whether the same with this "Gabbaths", and whether this is the same with the chamber "Gazith", is not certain. The Septuagint use the same word as John here does, and call by the same name the pavement of the temple on which the Israelites felt and worshipped God, ( 2 Chronicles 7:3 ) .
F20 Gloss. in T. Bab. Avoda Zara, fol. 8. 2.
F21 T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 25. 1. Maimon. Hilch. Beth Habbechira, c. 5. sect. 17. Bartenora in Misn. Middot, c. 5. sect. 3.
F23 T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 115. 1.