Release one prisoner (Mk 15:6-15:6)

“Now at the festival,

Pilate used to release

A prisoner

For them,

Anyone,

For whom they asked.”

 

Κατὰ δὲ ἑορτὴν ἀπέλυεν αὐτοῖς ἕνα δέσμιον ὃν παρῃτοῦντο.

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 27:15.  In John, chapter 18:39, there is something similar about the custom of releasing prisoners, but there is nothing in Luke about this custom.  Mark said that at the festival time (Κατὰ δὲ ἑορτὴν), the Roman governor used to release one of the many prisoners to the Jewish people (ἀπέλυεν αὐτοῖς ἕνα δέσμιον), usually not a criminal facing the death penalty.  This crowd could request the one that they wanted (παρῃτοῦντο), so that this kept the local folks happy.  It is not clear how much this custom took place.  Who would you ask for?

Pilate claims that he is innocent (Mt 27:24-27:24)

“Thus,

When Pilate saw

That he could do nothing,

But rather that

A riot

Was beginning,

He took some water.

He washed his hands

Before the crowd.

He said.

‘I am innocent

Of this man’s blood.

See to it yourselves!’”

 

ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ Πειλᾶτος ὅτι οὐδὲν ὠφελεῖ ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον θόρυβος γίνεται, λαβὼν ὕδωρ ἀπενίψατο τὰς χεῖρας κατέναντι τοῦ ὄχλου λέγων Ἀθῷός εἰμι ἀπὸ τοῦ αἵματος τούτου· ὑμεῖς ὄψεσθε.

 

Once again, only Matthew has the Roman governor Pilate proclaim his innocence about the death of Jesus.  These comments of Pilate were not in any of the other gospel stories.  Matthew said that Pilate saw that he could do nothing (ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ Πειλᾶτος ὅτι οὐδὲν ὠφελεῖ).  He thought that this might be the beginning of a riot (ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον θόρυβος γίνεται).  He took some water (λαβὼν ὕδωρ) and washed his hands (ἀπενίψατο τὰς χεῖρας) before the crowd (κατέναντι τοῦ ὄχλου).  He proclaimed (λέγων) that he was innocent of this man’s blood (λέγων Ἀθῷός εἰμι ἀπὸ τοῦ αἵματος τούτου).  He told them to see to it themselves (λέγων Ἀθῷός εἰμι ἀπὸ τοῦ αἵματος τούτου).  In fact, only the Roman governor, himself, could impose the death penalty of crucifixion.  This was another attempt by Matthew to show that the Romans were not responsible for the death of Jesus.

Description of the false female prophetesses (Ezek 13:18-13:19)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

Say to them!

‘Woe to the women

Who sew bands

On all wrists!

Woe to the woman

Who make veils

For the heads of persons

Of every height,

In the hunt for human lives!

Will you hunt down lives

Among my people?

Will you maintain

Your own lives?

You have profaned me

Among my people

For handfuls of barley,

For pieces of bread.

You put to death

Persons

Who should not die.

You keep alive

Persons

Who should not live,

By your lies

To my people,

Who listen to lies.’”

Yahweh said to Ezekiel that these prophetesses should be cursed. Then he went into a description of their activities. One group of these female prophetesses sewed bands on the wrists of people. What exactly was that? Most commentators are not sure. It was some kind of band, pillow, or lucky charm on the arm by the wrist, elbow, or armpit. They also made veils or kerchiefs for the head. How they were hunting down human lives is not clear.   However, they were profaning Yahweh with their lies. Apparently, they received a few handfuls of barley or pieces of bread for their activities. More serious is the fact that these women were sometimes asked to be judges. They would judge the innocence or guilt of a person, leading to their free life or the death penalty of a person, perhaps wrongly as indicated in this passage. Whatever their lies, the people of Israel were listening to them.