‘Not this man!
Was a robber.”
ἐκραύγασαν οὖν πάλιν λέγοντες Μὴ τοῦτον, ἀλλὰ τὸν Βαραββᾶν. ἦν δὲ ὁ Βαραββᾶς λῃστής.
John indicated that this crowd shouted (ἐκραύγασαν οὖν) again in reply (πάλιν λέγοντες), not this man (Μὴ τοῦτον), but rather Barabbas (ἀλλὰ τὸν Βαραββᾶν). This Barabbas was a robber, a bandit, or a revolutionary (ἦν δὲ ὁ Βαραββᾶς λῃστής). John said that the crowd did not like Pilate’s suggestion to release the King of the Jews. Instead they wanted an outlaw named Barabbas to be released. Who was this Barabbas? Outside the four canonical gospels, we do not have much information about this bandit, revolutionary, and murderer. Luke, chapter 23:18-19, had a longer description of this Barabbas. Luke indicated that the crowd all shouted out together (ἀνέκραγον δὲ πανπληθεὶ). They said that they wanted Jesus put away (λέγοντες Αἶρε τοῦτον). However, they wanted to have Barabbas released to them (ἀπόλυσον δὲ ἡμῖν τὸν Βαραββᾶν). Luke then explained that Barabbas was a man who had been put into prison (βληθεὶς ἐν τῇ φυλακῇ) for a certain insurrection (ὅστις ἦν διὰ στάσιν τινὰ) that had taken place in the city (γενομένην ἐν τῇ πόλει) of Jerusalem. He also had committed murder (καὶ φόνον). However, there are no other indications of this insurrection. Mark, chapter 15:7, much like Luke, said that there was a man called Barabbas (ἦν δὲ ὁ λεγόμενον Βαραββᾶν), who had been captured with some rebels (μετὰ τῶν στασιαστῶν δεδεμένος). Barabbas had committed murder in an insurrection (οἵτινες ἐν τῇ στάσει φόνον πεποιήκεισαν). Thus, he was not a likely candidate for parole. John and Matthew did not explicitly mention this insurrection. Here in John, Barabbas was simply called a robber or bandit. Matthew, chapter 27:16, called Barabbas a notorious prisoner without any indication of what he had done. A few manuscripts called him Jesus Barabbas (Ἰησοῦν Βαραββᾶν). Barabbas in Aramaic meant son of the father. Thus, there may have been some attempt to relate Jesus to Barabbas. Matthew, chapter 27:17-18, said that after they had gathered (συνηγμένων οὖν αὐτῶν), Pilate asked the crowd (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Πειλᾶτος) who did they want him to release for them (Τίνα θέλετε ἀπολύσω ὑμῖν), Barabbas (Βαραββᾶν) or Jesus (ἢ Ἰησοῦν), who was called Christ, the Messiah (τὸν λεγόμενον Χριστόν)? He knew or realized (ᾔδει γὰρ) that it was out of jealousy (ὅτι διὰ φθόνον) that these Jewish leaders had handed Jesus over to him (παρέδωκαν αὐτόν). Mark, chapter 15:10 also said that Pilate knew or realized (ἐγίνωσκεν γὰρ) that it was out of jealousy (ὅτι διὰ φθόνον) that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him (παραδεδώκεισαν αὐτόν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς). Pilate was a cagey guy, but not that successful. What do you know about Barabbas?