Sought (ezhtei). Imperfect active, "kept on seeking," "made renewed efforts to release him." He was afraid to act boldly against the will of the Jews. If thou release this man (ean touton apolush). Condition of third class, a direct threat to Pilate. He knew all the time that the Sanhedrin might tell Caesar on him. Thou art not Caesar's friend (ouk ei pilo tou kaisaro). Later to Vespasian this was an official title, here simply a daring threat to Pilate. Speaketh against Caesar (antilegei twi kaisari). Caesar brooks no rival. Jesus had allowed himself to be acclaimed king of Israel in the Triumphal Entry ( John 12:13 ; Mark 11:10 ; Luke 19:38 ). The Sanhedrin have caught Pilate in their toils.