They lead (agousin). Dramatic historical present of agw, plural "they" for the Sanhedrists ( Luke 23:1 ). John gives no details of the trial before the Sanhedrin (only the fact, John 18:24John 18:28 ) when Caiaphas presided, either the informal meeting at night ( Mark 14:53Mark 14:55-65 ; Matthew 26:57Matthew 26:59-68 ; Luke 22:54Luke 22:63-65 ) or the formal ratification meeting after dawn ( Mark 15:1 ; Matthew 27:1 ; Luke 22:66-71 ), but he gives much new material of the trial before Pilate ( 18:28-38 ). Into the palace (ei to praitwrion). For the history and meaning of this interesting Latin word, praetorium, see on "Mt 27:27"; see also "Ac 23:35"; see also "Php 1:13". Here it is probably the magnificent palace in Jerusalem built by Herod the Great for himself and occupied by the Roman Procurator (governor) when in the city. There was also one in Caesarea ( Acts 23:35 ). Herod's palace in Jerusalem was on the Hill of Zion in the western part of the upper city. There is something to be said for the Castle of Antonia, north of the temple area, as the location of Pilate's residence in Jerusalem. Early (prwi). Technically the fourth watch (3 A.M. to 6 A.M.). There were two violations of Jewish legal procedure (holding the trial for a capital case at night, passing condemnation on the same day of the trial). Besides, the Sanhedrin no longer had the power of death. A Roman court could meet any time after sunrise. John ( Acts 19:14 ) says it was "about the sixth hour" when Pilate condemned Jesus. That they might not be defiled (ina mh mianqwsin). Purpose clause with ina mh and first aorist passive subjunctive of miainw, to stain, to defile. For Jewish scruples about entering the house of a Gentile see Acts 10:28 ; Acts 11:3 . But might eat the passover (alla pagwsin to pasca). Second aorist active subjunctive of the defective verb esqiw, to eat. This phrase may mean to eat the passover meal as in Matthew 27:17 ( Mark 14:12Mark 14:14 ; Luke 22:11Luke 22:15 ), but it does not have to mean that. In 2 Chronicles 30:22 we read: "And they did eat the festival seven days" when the paschal festival is meant, not the paschal lamb or the paschal supper. There are eight other examples of pasca in John's Gospel and in all of them the feast is meant, not the supper. If we follow John's use of the word, it is the feast here, not the meal of John 13:2 which was the regular passover meal. This interpretation keeps John in harmony with the Synoptics.