Matthew 27:26

26 Then he released for them Barab'bas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.

Matthew 27:26 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 27:26

Then released he Barabbas unto them
The seditious person, robber, and murderer, for which crimes he was in prison. This man was an emblem of the persons for whom Christ suffered, both in his character and in his release: in his character; for they are such as have rebelled against God, robbed him of his glory, and destroyed themselves; many of them are notorious sinners, the chief of sinners, and all of them by nature, children of wrath, as others; and as the descendants of Adam, under the sentence of condemnation and death; and yet in Christ, they are children of Abba, Father; being of God predestinated by him, to the adoption of children: and in his release; for when Christ was apprehended, they were let go; when he was bound they were loosed; when he was condemned, they were released, and acquitted; and when the sword of justice was awaked against him, the hand of grace and mercy was turned upon them.

And when he had scourged Jesus;
which was done some time before his examination, trial, and condemnation were over, though mentioned here, as appears from ( John 19:1 ) , and was done by Pilate, in order to move the pity and compassion of the Jews; hoping they would have been satisfied with it, and not have resisted upon his death: and he indeed moved it to them, that he might chastise him and let him go, ( Luke 23:22 ) , but nothing would do but crucifixion. Whether the previous scourging sufficed, or whether he was not scourged again upon his condemnation, is not certain: if he was scourged twice, John may be thought to relate the one, and Matthew the other; for certain it is, that it was usual with the Romans to scourge either with rods or whips, just before crucifixion F23: our Lord was scourged with whips, as the word here used shows. Persons of birth and blood, and freemen of Rome, were beaten with rods; but such as were servants, which form Christ had taken, were scourged with whips; to which, sometimes were fastened, the hip bones of beasts {x}; so that this kind of whipping, was very severe and cruel. The Jews themselves own this scourging of Jesus, only they ascribe it to the elders of Jerusalem, and relate it thus F25:

``the elders of Jerusalem took Jesus, and brought him to the city, and bound him to a marble pillar in the city, (Myjwvb) (whwkyw) , "and smote him with whips", or "whipped him"; and said unto him, where are all thy miracles which thou hast done?''

Hereby the prophecy in ( Isaiah 1:6 ) , and our Lord's prediction in ( Matthew 20:19 ) , had their accomplishment. This scourging of Christ, was an emblem of the scourges and strokes of divine justice, which he endured in his soul, as the surety of his people; being smitten of God by the sword of justice, as he stood in their place and stead, and stricken for their transgressions; and may furnish out several instructions: as that it is no wonder, if any of the followers of Christ have, do, or shall, meet with such like treatment from men; and that it becomes them to bear patiently the scourges of their heavenly Father, since these are in love; and that they need not fear being trodden down, or carried away by the overflowing scourge of God's wrath, since Christ has endured this in their room. This being done,

he delivered him to be crucified;
either into the hands of the Jews, to their will and at their request; or into the hands of his soldiers, to execute the sentence he passed upon him; which was done in a judicial way, and according to the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.


F23 Lipsius de Cruce l. 2. c. 2.
F24 Ib. c. 3.
F25 Toldos Jesu, p. 17.

Matthew 27:26 In-Context

24 So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves."
25 And all the people answered, "His blood be on us and on our children!"
26 Then he released for them Barab'bas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.
27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the praetorium, and they gathered the whole battalion before him.
28 And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe upon him,
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.