Barabbas is released (Mt 27:26-27:26)

“Then Pilate released


For them.

After flogging Jesus,

He handed him over

To be crucified.”


τότε ἀπέλυσεν αὐτοῖς τὸν Βαραββᾶν, τὸν δὲ Ἰησοῦν φραγελλώσας παρέδωκεν ἵνα σταυρωθῇ.


This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 15:15.  In Luke, chapter 23:24-25, Pilate rendered a verdict, while in John, chapter 19:16, Pilate also handed him over to be crucified.  Matthew said Pilate released Barabbas to the crowd (τότε ἀπέλυσεν αὐτοῖς τὸν Βαραββᾶν).  After flogging or whipping Jesus (ὸν δὲ Ἰησοῦν φραγελλώσας), he handed him over to be crucified (παρέδωκεν ἵνα σταυρωθῇ).  Crucifixion was the common Roman form of the death penalty.  This whipping, flogging, or scourging was also a common way of preparing the person for death.  Those condemned to death were then nailed to planks in order to die of asphyxiation on a cross planted in the ground, so that they were not able to breath.

They mock Jesus (Mt 26:66-26:68)

“‘What is your verdict?’

They answered.

‘He deserves death.’

Then they spat

In his face.

They struck him.

Some slapped him.

They said.

‘Prophesy to us!

You Christ!

You Messiah!

Who is it

That struck you?’”


τί ὑμῖν δοκεῖ; οἱ δὲ ἀποκριθέντες εἶπαν Ἔνοχος θανάτου ἐστίν.

Τότε ἐνέπτυσαν εἰς τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐκολάφισαν αὐτόν, οἱ δὲ ἐράπισαν

λέγοντες Προφήτευσον ἡμῖν, Χριστέ, τίς ἐστιν ὁ παίσας σε;


This is something similar in Mark, chapter 14:64-65.  There is nothing like this in Luke, chapter 22, and John, chapter 18.  Matthew said that the high priest turned to the rest of the council there.  What is your verdict?  What do you think (τί ὑμῖν δοκεῖ)?  The members of the council that included priests, presbyters, elders, and scribes answered (οἱ δὲ ἀποκριθέντες εἶπαν) that Jesus was deserving of death (Ἔνοχος θανάτου ἐστίν.).  Technically, they could not condemn Jesus to death since only the Roman authorities could impose a death penalty.  However, they were not reluctant to abuse him with spitting, punching, slapping, and taunting.  Thus, they spat at him in his face (Τότε ἐνέπτυσαν εἰς τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ).  They struck him with a fist (καὶ ἐκολάφισαν αὐτόν), while others slapped him with an open hand (οἱ δὲ ἐράπισαν).  They said that he, the Christ Messiah (Χριστέ), should prophesize to them (λέγοντες Προφήτευσον ἡμῖν) who was it that struck him (τίς ἐστιν ὁ παίσας σε).  Thus, this secret Jewish leaders’ night trial came to an inglorious end.


Raphael makes a plan for Tobias and Sarah (Tob 6:10-6:13)

“When they entered Media, they were already approaching Ecbatana. Raphael said to the young man. ‘Brother Tobias!’ He answered. ‘Here I am!’ Raphael said to him.

‘We must stay this night in the home of Raguel.

He is your relative.

He has a daughter named Sarah.

He has no male heir.

He has no daughter except Sarah only.

You are as next of kin to her.

You have before all other men a hereditary claim on her.

Also it is right for you to inherit her father’s possessions.

Moreover, the girl is sensible, brave, and very beautiful.

Her father is a good man.

You have every right to take her in marriage.

So listen to me, brother.

Tonight, I will speak to her father about the girl,

Thus you may take her to be your bride.

When we return from Rages,

We will celebrate her marriage.

For I know that Raguel can by no means keep her from you

Or promise her to another man

Without incurring the penalty of death,

According to the decree of the Book of Moses.

Indeed, he knows that you, rather than any other man,

Are entitled to marry his daughter.

So now listen to me, brother!

Tonight we shall speak concerning the girl.

We will arrange her engagement to you.

When we return from Rages,

We will take her and bring her back with us to your house.’”

They do not mention the time frame, but it would have taken a few days to get to Media. Raphael told Tobias that they were going to spend the night at the house of Raguel, since he was a relative of Tobias. Raphael explained that Raguel had a beautiful only daughter. Since Tobias was the next of kin, he was entitled to marry her. No one else had such a good claim on her as he did. This is based on the Book of Moses, without indicating which book, perhaps Numbers, chapter 36, about the family with no sons. However, there was nothing about a death penalty in the biblical books. Somehow there was the levirate law that the next of kin had first rights on a woman as was laid out in Deuteronomy, chapter 25, with the brother’s right to marry the widow of his brother. This was prevalent in the book of Ruth. They would be engaged now. Then they would get married after they came back from Rages. Raphael was going to make all the arrangements with her father.


The ark at Beth-shemesh (1 Sam 6:13-6:19)

“Now the people of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley. When they looked up their eyes and saw the ark, they rejoiced to meet it. The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh. It stopped there. A large stone was there. So they split up the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to Yahweh. The Levites took down the ark of Yahweh and the box that was beside it, in which were the golden objects. They set them on the great stone. Then the people of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and presented sacrifices on that day to Yahweh. When the five lords of the Philistines saw it, they returned that day to Ekron.”

Now it was the harvest season in Beth-shemesh, a town about 15 miles west of Jerusalem, close to the Philistine town of Ekron. A man named Joshua saw the cart with the Ark of the Covenant. He immediately sacrificed two cows on a stone altar there. Since this was a Levite town, they took the Ark of the Covenant and the box beside it. The 5 lords of the Philistines were satisfied that they were rid of the ark, so they returned to Ekron.

“These are the golden tumors, which the Philistines returned as a guilt offering to Yahweh: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, and one for Ekron. The golden mice represented the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both fortified cities and un-walled villages. The great stone, beside which they set down the ark of Yahweh, is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh. The descendents of Jeconiah did not rejoice with the people of Beth-shemesh when they greeted the ark of Yahweh. Yahweh killed seventy men of them. The people mourned because Yahweh had made a great slaughter among the people.”

The 5 gold tumors and golden mice represented the 5 major cities of the Philistines. That altar was still around when the author of this work wrote this book. However, one group was not happy about the ark, so Yahweh wiped them out. There is a minor dispute about this passage since the Septuagint used the name Jeconiah, but the Hebrew Bible seemed to indicate that some people looked into the ark, showing disrespect so that they were killed, without mentioning any name. Here is the real problem, some have translated this as 50,000 people, which would be outrageous. However, even 70 people sounds like a large number of people to die for some sort of disrespect for the Ark of the Covenant.

Death penalty (Deut 24:16-24:16)

“Parents shall not be put to death for their children. Nor shall children be put to death for their parents. Only for their own crimes may persons be put to death.”

Individual guilt is more important than family or group guilt. One member of the family cannot take the place of another member if there is death penalty imposed. You cannot transfer the death penalty to someone else, since individual responsibility means suffering the penalty yourself.

Hanging (Deut 21:22-21:23)

“When someone is convicted of a crime punishable by death and is executed, you hang him on a tree. His body must not remain all night upon the tree. You shall bury him the same day. Anyone hung on a tree is under God’s curse. You must not defile the land that Yahweh your God is giving you for an inheritance and a possession.”

Hanging was worse than being stoned to death. Therefore it had to come to an end quickly. You had to bury him the same day because they were under God’s curse. You should not defile the land of Yahweh.

The disobedient son (Deut 21:18-21:21)

“If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father and mother, who does not heed them when they discipline him, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his town at the gate of the place. They shall say to the elders of this town, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the town shall stone him to death. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. All Israel will hear, and be afraid.”

Wow, this is a pretty tough punishment, for those who dishonor their mother and father by being stubborn and rebellious. However, the official request seems to indicate that the young man is also a glutton and a drunkard, something more than just stubborn and rebellious. The parents must report their son and thus condemn him to death. This is pretty tough for parents so that it might not happen that often. This male group stoning is a way to get rid of the evil from their community.


The role of the Levite judges (Deut 17:8-17:13)

“If a judicial decision is too difficult for you to make between one kind of bloodshed and another, one kind of legal right and another, or one kind of assault and another, any such matter of dispute in your towns, then you shall immediately go up to the place that Yahweh your God will choose, where you shall consult with the Levitical priests, and the judge who is in office in those days. They shall announce to you the decision in the case. Carry out exactly the decision that they announce to you from the place that Yahweh will choose. Diligently observe everything that they instruct you. You must carry out fully the law that they interpret for you or the ruling they announce to you. Do not turn aside from the decision that they announce to you, either to the right or to the left. As for anyone who presumes to disobey the priest appointed to minister there to Yahweh your God or the judge, that person shall die. So you shall purge the evil from Israel. All the people will hear and be afraid, and not act presumptuously again.”

The big difficult problems like legal disputes or assaults go to the Levitical priests who are in that place where Yahweh will choose. Once you get their decision you have to follow it exactly, not to the right or left. Now, if you fail to obey this judgment, then you are to die. Once again, this disobedient evil person should be purged by death from Israel so that others will not act like that.

Violation of the Sabbath (Num 15:32-15:36)

“When the Israelites were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day.  Those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to the whole congregation.  They put him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him.  Then Yahweh said to Moses, ‘The man shall be put to death.  The whole congregation shall stone him outside the camp.’  The whole congregation brought him outside the camp, and stoned him to death, just as Yahweh had commanded Moses.”

What is the punishment for violating the Sabbath?  When they were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day.  They brought him to Moses, Aaron, and the while congregation.  They put him in custody.  Then Yahweh told Moses, to put him to death.  The whole congregation brought him outside the camp, and stoned him to death, just as Yahweh had commanded Moses.  Actually Exodus, chapters 31, indicates that the death penalty should be used for profaning the Sabbath.  Stoning is a community punishment.  God clearly says kill him, since this is a very serious sin. No wonder, the Jews at the time of Jesus’ time were so worried about violating the Sabbath.