Jump to: Hitchcock'sSmith'sISBEEaston'sConcordanceThesaurusGreekSubtopicsTerms
Bible Concordance
Pilate (60 Occurrences)

Matthew 27:2 and they bound him, and led him away, and delivered him up to Pontius Pilate, the governor. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Matthew 27:13 Then Pilate said to him, "Don't you hear how many things they testify against you?" (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Matthew 27:17 When therefore they were gathered together, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus, who is called Christ?" (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Matthew 27:22 Pilate said to them, "What then shall I do to Jesus, who is called Christ?" They all said to him, "Let him be crucified!" (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Matthew 27:23 "Why, what crime has he committed?" asked Pilate. But they kept on furiously shouting, "Let him be crucified!" (WEY NIV)

Matthew 27:24 So when Pilate saw that nothing was being gained, but rather that a disturbance was starting, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this righteous person. You see to it." (WEB KJV ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Matthew 27:58 This man went to Pilate, and asked for Jesus' body. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given up. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Matthew 27:62 Now on the next day, which was the day after the Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees were gathered together to Pilate, (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Matthew 27:65 Pilate said to them, "You have a guard. Go, make it as secure as you can." (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Mark 15:1 Immediately in the morning the chief priests, with the elders and scribes, and the whole council, held a consultation, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him up to Pilate. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Mark 15:2 Pilate asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" He answered, "So you say." (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Mark 15:4 Pilate again asked him, "Have you no answer? See how many things they testify against you!" (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Mark 15:5 But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate marveled. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Mark 15:6 Now at the Festival it was customary for Pilate to release to the Jews any one prisoner whom they might beg off from punishment; (WEY)

Mark 15:8 So the people came crowding up, asking Pilate to grant them the usual favour. (WEY RSV NIV)

Mark 15:9 Pilate answered them, saying, "Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?" (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)

Mark 15:11 But the chief priests stirred up the multitude, that he should release Barabbas to them instead. (See NIV)

Mark 15:12 Pilate again asked them, "What then should I do to him whom you call the King of the Jews?" (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Mark 15:14 Pilate said to them, "Why, what evil has he done?" But they cried out exceedingly, "Crucify him!" (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Mark 15:15 Pilate, wishing to please the multitude, released Barabbas to them, and handed over Jesus, when he had flogged him, to be crucified. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Mark 15:43 Joseph of Arimathaea, a prominent council member who also himself was looking for the Kingdom of God, came. He boldly went in to Pilate, and asked for Jesus' body. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Mark 15:44 Pilate marveled if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead long. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Luke 3:1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Luke 13:1 Now there were some present at the same time who told him about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Luke 23:1 The whole company of them rose up and brought him before Pilate. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Luke 23:3 Pilate asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" He answered him, "So you say." (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Luke 23:4 Pilate said to the chief priests and the multitudes, "I find no basis for a charge against this man." (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Luke 23:6 But when Pilate heard Galilee mentioned, he asked if the man was a Galilean. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Luke 23:11 Herod with his soldiers humiliated him and mocked him. Dressing him in luxurious clothing, they sent him back to Pilate. (WEB KJV ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Luke 23:12 Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before that they were enemies with each other. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Luke 23:13 Pilate called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Luke 23:20 Then Pilate spoke to them again, wanting to release Jesus, (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Luke 23:24 Pilate decreed that what they asked for should be done. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Luke 23:52 this man went to Pilate, and asked for Jesus' body. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

John 18:29 Pilate therefore went out to them, and said, "What accusation do you bring against this man?" (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

John 18:31 Pilate therefore said to them, "Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law." Therefore the Jews said to him, "It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death," (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

John 18:33 Pilate therefore entered again into the Praetorium, called Jesus, and said to him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

John 18:35 Pilate answered, "I'm not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered you to me. What have you done?" (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

John 18:37 Pilate therefore said to him, "Are you a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this reason I have been born, and for this reason I have come into the world, that I should testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice." (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

John 18:38 Pilate said to him, "What is truth?" When he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, "I find no basis for a charge against him. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

John 19:1 So Pilate then took Jesus, and flogged him. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

John 19:4 Then Pilate went out again, and said to them, "Behold, I bring him out to you, that you may know that I find no basis for a charge against him." (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

John 19:5 Jesus therefore came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment. Pilate said to them, "Behold, the man!" (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE WBS NAS RSV NIV)

John 19:6 When therefore the chief priests and the officers saw him, they shouted, saying, "Crucify! Crucify!" Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves, and crucify him, for I find no basis for a charge against him." (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

John 19:8 When therefore Pilate heard this saying, he was more afraid. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

John 19:10 Pilate therefore said to him, "Aren't you speaking to me? Don't you know that I have power to release you, and have power to crucify you?" (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

John 19:12 At this, Pilate was seeking to release him, but the Jews cried out, saying, "If you release this man, you aren't Caesar's friend! Everyone who makes himself a king speaks against Caesar!" (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

John 19:13 When Pilate therefore heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called "The Pavement," but in Hebrew, "Gabbatha." (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

John 19:14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, at about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, "Behold, your King!" (See NIV)

John 19:15 They cried out, "Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar!" (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

John 19:16 Then Pilate gave Him up to them to be crucified. Accordingly they took Jesus; (WEY NIV)

John 19:19 Pilate wrote a title also, and put it on the cross. There was written, "JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS." (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

John 19:21 The chief priests of the Jews therefore said to Pilate, "Don't write,'The King of the Jews,' but,'he said, I am King of the Jews.'" (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

John 19:22 Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written." (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

John 19:31 Therefore the Jews, because it was the Preparation Day, so that the bodies wouldn't remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a special one), asked of Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. (WEB KJV ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

John 19:38 After these things, Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked of Pilate that he might take away Jesus' body. Pilate gave him permission. He came therefore and took away his body. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Acts 3:13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up, and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had determined to release him. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Acts 4:27 "For truly, in this city against your holy servant, Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Acts 13:28 Though they found no cause for death, they still asked Pilate to have him killed. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

1 Timothy 6:13 I command you before God, who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate testified the good confession, (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Pilate (60 Occurrences)
... Easton's Bible Dictionary Pilate, Pontius. Probably connected with the Roman
family of the Pontii, and called "Pilate" from the Latin ...
/p/pilate.htm - 53k

Pilate's (4 Occurrences)
... Multi-Version Concordance Pilate's (4 Occurrences). John 19:8 When this saying
came to Pilate's ears his fear became greater; (BBE). ...
/p/pilate's.htm - 7k

Barabbas (10 Occurrences)
... Ie, son of Abba or of a father, a notorious robber whom Pilate proposed to condemn
to death instead of Jesus, whom he wished to release, in accordance with the ...
/b/barabbas.htm - 13k

Arimathaea (4 Occurrences)
... On the evening after the crucifixion he went "boldly" to Pilate and begged the body
of Jesus. ... He boldly went in to Pilate, and asked for Jesus' body. ...
/a/arimathaea.htm - 11k

Arimathea (4 Occurrences)
... true faith of Joseph. On the evening after the crucifixion he went "boldly"
to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus. There is a fine ...
/a/arimathea.htm - 12k

Crucify (20 Occurrences)
... Matthew 27:22 Pilate saith to them, 'What then shall I do with Jesus who is called
Christ?' They all say to him, 'Let be crucified!' (See NAS NIV). ...
/c/crucify.htm - 12k

Demanded (40 Occurrences)
... Who is the one who struck you?" (See NIV). Luke 23:3 And Pilate demanded of him
saying, Art thou the king of the Jews? And he answering him said, Thou sayest. ...
/d/demanded.htm - 17k

Release (61 Occurrences)
... NIV). Matthew 27:17 When therefore they were gathered together, Pilate said
to them, "Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas ...
/r/release.htm - 26k

Fault (42 Occurrences)
... umah, "anything" (1 Samuel 29:3, "no fault in him," literally, "not anything");
of aitia, "cause," "case," "guilt," (John 18:38; John 19:4, 6; Pilate of Jesus ...
/f/fault.htm - 23k

Questioned (57 Occurrences)
... (WEY). Mark 15:2 So Pilate questioned Him. ... (WEY YLT NAS). Mark 15:4 And Pilate
again questioned him, saying, 'Thou dost not answer anything! ...
/q/questioned.htm - 22k

4091. Pilatos -- Pilate, a Roman procurator of Judea
... Pilate, a Roman procurator of Judea. Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine Transliteration:
Pilatos Phonetic Spelling: (pil-at'-os) Short Definition: Pilate Definition ...
/greek/4091.htm - 6k

4194. Pontios -- Pontius (Pilate), a governor of Judea
... Pontius (Pilate), a governor of Judea. Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine Transliteration:
Pontios Phonetic Spelling: (pon'-tee-os) Short Definition: Pontius ...
/greek/4194.htm - 6k

5511. chlamus -- a chlamys or short cloak
... 5.1.10), a soldier's sagum or scarf. Carr () suggests that it may have been a
worn-out scarf of Pilate's" (, 1, 229).]. Word Origin a prim. ...
/greek/5511.htm - 7k

Hitchcock's Bible Names

armed with a dart

Smith's Bible Dictionary

(armed with a spear), Pontius. Pontius Pilate was the sixth Roman procurator of Judea, and under him our Lord worked, suffered and died, as we learn not only from Scripture, but from Tacitus (Ann. xv. 44). was appointed A.D. 25-6, in the twelfth year of Tiberius. His arbitrary administration nearly drove the Jews to insurrection on two or three occasions. One of his first acts was to remove the headquarters of the army from Caesarea to Jerusalem. The soldiers of course took with them their standards, bearing the image of the emperor, into the holy city. No previous governor had ventured on such an outrage. The people poured down in crowds to Caesarea, where the procurator was then residing, and besought him to remove the images. After five days of discussion he gave the signal to some concealed soldiers to surround the petitioners and put them to death unless they ceased to trouble him; but this only strengthened their determination, and they declared themselves ready rather to submit to death than forego their resistance to aa idolatrous innovation. Pilate then yielded, and the standards were by his orders brought down to Caesarea. His slaughter of certain Galileans, (Luke 13:1) led to some remarks from our Lord on the connection between sin and calamity. It must have occurred at some feast at Jerusalem, in the outer court of the temple. It was the custom for the procurators to reside at Jerusalem during the great feasts, to preserve order, and accordingly, at the time of our Lord's last Passover, Pilate was occupying his official residence in Herod's palace. The history of his condemnation of our Lord is familiar to all. We learn from Josephus that Pilate's anxiety to avoid giving offence to Caesar did not save him from political disaster. The Samaritans were unquiet and rebellious Pilate led his troops against them, and defeated them enough. The Samaritans complained to Vitellius, then president of Syria, and he sent Pilate to Rome to answer their accusations before the emperor. When he reached it he found Tiberius dead and Caius (Caligula) on the throne A,D, 36. Eusebius adds that soon afterward "wearied with misfortunes," he killed himself. As to the scene of his death there are various traditions. One is that he was banished to Vienna Allobrogum (Vienne on the Rhone), where a singular monument--a pyramid on a quadrangular base, 52 feet high--is called Pontius Pilate"s tomb, An other is that he sought to hide his sorrows on the mountain by the lake of Lucerne, now called Mount Pilatus; and there) after spending years in its recesses, in remorse and despair rather than penitence, plunged into the dismal lake which occupies its summit.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

pi'-lat, pi'-lat, pon'-shi-us (Pontios Peilatos):

1. Name and Office

2. Pilate's Procuratorship

3. Pilate and Jesus Christ

4. Pilate in Tradition and Legend

5. Character of Pilate


1. Name and Office:

The nomen Pontius indicates the stock from which Pilate was descended. It was one of the most famous of Samnite names; it was a Pontius who inflicted on a Roman army the disgrace of the Caudine Forks. The name is often met with in Roman history after the Samnites were conquered and absorbed. Lucius Pontius Aquila was a friend of Cicero and one of the assassins of Julius Caesar. The cognomen Pilatus indicates the familia, or branch of the gens Pontius, to which Pilate belonged. It has been derived from pileus, the cap worn by freedmen; this is improbable, as Pilate was of equestrian rank. It has also been derived from pilum, a spear. Probably the name was one that had descended to Pilate from his ancestors, and had long lost its meaning. The praenomen is nowhere mentioned. Pilate was 5th procurator of Judea. The province of Judea had formerly been the kingdom of Archclaus, and was formed when he was deposed (6 A.D.) Speaking roughly, it took in the southern half of Palestine, including Samaria. Being an imperial province (i.e. under the direct control of the emperor), it was governed by a procurator (see PROCURATOR; PROVINCE). The procurator was the personal servant of the emperor, directly responsible to him, and was primarily concerned with finance. But the powers of procurators varied according to the appointment of the emperor. Pilate was a procurator cum porestate, i.e. he possessed civil, military, and criminal jurisdiction. The procurator of Judea was in some way subordinate to the legate of Syria, but the exact character of the subordination is not known. As a rule a procurator must be of equestrian rank and a man of certain military experience. Under his rule, the Jews were allowed as much self-government as was consistent with the maintenance of imperial authority. The Sanhedrin was allowed to exercise judicial functions, but if they desired to inflict the penalty of death, the sentence had to be confirmed by the procurator.

2. Pilate's Procuratorship:

We have no certain knowledge of Pilate except in connection with his time of rule in Judea. We know nothing of his birth, his origin, or his earlier years. Tacitus, when speaking of the cruel punishments inflicted by Nero upon the Christians, tells us that Christ, from whom the name "Christian" was derived, was put to death when Tiberius was emperor by the procurator Pontius Pilate (Annals xv.44). Apart from this reference and what is told us in the New Testament, all our knowledge of him is derived from two Jewish writers, Josephus the historian and Philo of Alexandria.

Pilate was procurator of Judea, in succession to Gratus, and he held office for 10 years. Josephus tells (Ant., XVIII, iv, 2) that he ruled for 10 years; that he was removed from office by Vitellius, the legate of Syria, and traveled in haste to Rome to defend himself before Tiberius against certain complaints. Before he reached Rome the emperor had passed away. Josephus adds that Vitellius came in the year 36 A.D. to Judea to be present at Jerusalem at the time of the Passover. It has been assumed by most authorities (so HDB and EB) that Pilate had departed before this visit of Vitellius. They accordingly date the procuratorship of Pilate as lasting from 26 to 36 A.D. As against this view, yon Dobschutx points out (RE under the word "Pilate") that by this reckoning Pilate must have taken at least a year to get to Rome; for Tiberius died on March. 16, 37 A.D. Such delay is inconceivable in view of the circumstances; hence, von Dobschutz rightly dates the period of his procuratorship 27-37 A.D. The procurator of Judea had no easy task, nor did Pilate make the task easier by his actions. He was not careful to conciliate the religious prejudices of the Jews, and at times this attitude of his led to violent collisions between ruler and ruled.

On one occasion, when the soldiers under his command came to Jerusalem, he caused them to bring with them their ensigns, upon which were the usual images of the emperor. The ensigns were brought in privily by night, put their presence was soon discovered. Immediately multitudes of excited Jews hastened to Caesarea to petition him for the removal of the obnoxious ensigns. For five days he refused to hear them, but on the sixth he took his place on the judgment seat, and when the Jews were admitted he had them surrounded with soldiers and threatened them with instant death unless they ceased to trouble him with the matter. The Jews thereupon flung themselves on the ground and bared their necks, declaring that they preferred death to the violation of their laws. Pilate, unwilling to slay so many, yielded the point and removed the ensigns (Josephus, Ant, XVIII, iii, 1; BJ, II, ix, 2, 3).

At another time he used the sacred treasure of the temple, called corban (qorban), to pay for bringing water into Jerusalem by an aqueduct. A crowd came together and clamored against him; but he had caused soldiers dressed as civilians to mingle with the multitude, and at a given signal they fell upon the rioters and beat them so severely with staves that the riot was quelled (Josephus, Ant, XVIII, iii, 2; BJ, II, ix, 4).

Philo tells us (Legatio ad Caium, xxxviii) that on other occasion he dedicated some gilt shields in the palace of Herod in honor of the emperor. On these shields there was no representation of any forbidden thing, but simply an inscription of the name of the donor and of him in whose honor they were set up. The Jews petitioned him to have them removed; when he refused, they appealed to Tiberius, who sent an order that they should be removed to Caesarea.

Of the incident, mentioned in Luke 13:1, of the Galileans whose blood Pilate mingled with their sacrifices, nothing further is known.

Josephus (Ant., XVIII, iv, 1, 2) gives an account of the incident which led to Pilate's downfall. A religious pretender arose in Samaria who promised the Samaritans that if they would assemble at Mt. Gerizim, he would show them the sacred vessels which Moses had hidden there. A great multitude assembled in readiness to ascend the mountain, but before they could accomplish their aim they were attacked by Pilate's cavalry, and many of them were slain. The Samaritans thereupon sent an embassy to Vitellius, the legate of Syria, to accuse Pilate of the murder of those who had been slain. Vitellius, who desired to stand well with the Jews, deposed Pilate from office, appointed Marcellus in his place, and ordered Pilate to go to Rome and answer the charges made against him before the emperor. Pilate set out for Rome, but, before he could reach it, Tiberius had died; and it is probable that, in the confusion which followed, Pilate escaped the inquisition with which he was threatened. From this point onward history knows nothing more of Pilate.

3. Pilate and Jesus Christ:

The shortest and simplest account of Pilate's dealings with Jesus Christ is given in the Gospel of Mark. There we are told that Jesus was delivered to Pilate; that Pilate asked Him if He was the king of the Jews, receiving an affirmative answer; that, to Pilate's surprise, Jesus answered nothing to the accusations of the chief priests; that Pilate tried to release Jesus according to an ancient custom; that the multitude, in spite of the protest of Pilate, demanded the release of Barabbas, and cried out that Jesus should be crucified; that Pilate scourged Jesus and delivered Him to be crucified; and that Jesus, when He had been scourged and mocked, was led away to be crucified. Mark tells further how Joseph of Arimathea begged of Pilate the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised that Jesus died so quickly, and questioned the centurion about it. Pilate's surprise and question are peculiar to Mark. Being satisfied on this point, Pilate granted the body to Joseph. Matthew adds the dream and message of Pilate's wife (27:19); it also tells how Pilate washed his hands before the people, disclaiming responsibility for the death of Jesus, and how the people accepted the responsibility (27:24); also how Pilate granted a guard for the tomb (27:62-66). Luke alone narrates the sending of Jesus to Herod (23:6-12), and reports Pilate's three times repeated asseveration that he found no fault in Jesus (23:4, 14, 22). John gives by far the fullest narrative, which forms a framework into which the more fragmentary accounts of the Synoptics can be fitted with perfect ease. Some critics, holding that Mark alone is trustworthy, dismiss the additional incidents given in Matthew and Luke as apologetic amplifications; and many dismiss the narrative of John as wholly unworthy of credence. Such theories are based on preconceived opinions as to the date, authorship and reliability of the various Gospels. The reader who holds all the Gospels to be, in the main, authentic and trustworthy narratives will have no difficulty in perceiving that all four narratives, when taken together, present a story consistent in all its details and free from all difficulty. SeeGOSPELS. It should be noted that John evidently had special opportunities of obtaining exacter knowledge than that possessed by the others, as he was present at every stage of the trial; and that his narrative makes clear what is obscure in the accounts of the Synoptics.

The parts may be fitted together thus: Jesus is brought to Pilate (Matthew 27:2 Mark 15:1 Luke 23:1 John 18:28). Pilate asks for a specific accusation (John 18:29-32). Pilate enters the praetorium, questions Jesus about His alleged kingship, and receives the answer that He rules over the kingdom of truth, and over the hearts of men who acknowledge the truth. Pilate asks: "What is truth?" (reported briefly in Matthew 27:11 Mark 15:2 Luke 23:3, and with more detail John 18:33-38). Pilate brings Him forth (this is the only detail that needs to be supplied in order to make the harmony complete, and in itself it is probable enough), and many accusations are made against Him, to which, to Pilate's surprise, He makes no reply (Matthew 27:12-14 Mark 15:3-5). Pilate affirms His innocence, but the charges are repeated (Luke 23:4 f). Pilate sends Him to Herod, who in mockery clothes Him in shining raiment, and sends Him back (Luke 23:6-12). Pilate declares that neither Herod or himself can find any fault in Him, and offers to scourge Him and let Him go (Luke 23:13-16 John 18:38). Pilate offers to release Jesus in accordance with an ancient custom (Matthew 27:15-18 Mark 15:6-10 John 18:39). Pilate's wife sends him a message warning him not to harm Jesus because she has suffered many things in a dream because of Him (Matthew 27:19). The people, persuaded thereto by the chief priests and elders, choose Barabbas, and, in spite of the repeated protests of Pilate, demand that Jesus shall be crucified (Matthew 27:20-23 Mark 15:11-14 Luke 23:18-23 John 18:40). Pilate washes his hands before the people, and they take the guilt of the deed upon themselves and their children (Matthew 27:24 f). Pilate releases Barabbas and orders Jesus to be scourged (Matthew 27:26 Mark 15:15 Luke 23:24 f). Jesus is scourged and mocked, buffered and spit upon (Matthew 27:27-31 Mark 15:16-20 John 19:1-3). Pilate again declares the innocence of Jesus, brings Him out, and says: "Behold the man!" The chief priests and officers cry out: "Crucify him!" They accuse Him of making Himself the Son of God. Pilate, becoming more afraid at this saying, once more interviews the prisoner in the praetorium. He again tries to release Him, but is accused of treachery to the emperor. Overborne by this, Pilate sits on the judgment seat (see GABBATHA), and says: "Behold your King!" Again the cry goes up: "Away with him, crucify him!" Pilate says: "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered with a final renunciation of all that God had given them, saying: "We have no king but Caesar" (John 19:4-15). Pilate sentences Jesus and gives Him up to be crucified, and He is led away (Matthew 27:31 Mark 15:20 Luke 23:26 John 19:16). Pilate writes a title for the cross, and refuses to alter it (John 19:19-22). The Jews ask of Pilate that the legs of the three who were crucified might be broken (John 19:31). Joseph of Arimathea begs the body of Jesus from Pilate (Matthew 27:57, 58 Mark 15:42 Luke 23:50-52 John 19:38). Pilate is surprised that Jesus has died so soon, and questions the centurion (Mark 15:44). He gives up to Joseph the body of Jesus (Matthew 27:58 Mark 15:45 John 19:38). The chief priests and the Pharisees obtain permission from Pilate to take precautions against any theft of the body of Jesus (Matthew 27:62-66).

Pilate is mentioned three times in Acts: in a speech of Peter (3:13), in a thanksgiving of the church (4:27), and in a speech of Paul (13:28). He is also mentioned in 1 Timothy (6:13) as the one before whom Christ Jesus witnessed the good confession.

4. Pilate in Tradition and Legend:

Eusebius, who lived in the 4th centuries, tells us (Historia Ecclesiastica, II) on the authority of certain Greek historians that Pilate fell into such calamities that he committed suicide. Various apocryphal writings have come down to us, written from the 3rd to the 5th centuries, with others of a later date, in which legendary details are given about Pilate. In all these a favorable view is taken of his character; hence, the Coptic church came to believe that he became a Christian, and enrolled him among the number of its saints. His wife, to whom tradition gives the name of Claudia Procula, or Procla, is said to have been a Jewish proselyte at the time of the death of Jesus, and afterward to have become a Christian. Her name is honored along with Pilate's in the Coptic church, and in the calendar of saints honored by the Greek church her name is found against the date October 27.

We find not unkindly references to Pilate in the recently discovered fragment of the Gospel of Peter, which was composed in the 2nd century. In the so-called Gospel of Nicodemus, which belongs to the 4th or 5th century, we find in the first part, called the Acts of Pilate, a long account of the trial of Jesus. It tells how the standards in the hall of judgment bowed down before Jesus, in spite of the efforts of the standard-bearers, and others who attempted it, to hold them erect. It tells also how many of those who had been healed by Jesus bore testimony to Him at the trial (see APOCRYPHAL GOSPELS). There has also come down to us, in various forms (e.g. in the Acts of Peter and Paul), a letter, supposed to be the report of Pilate to Tiberius, narrating the proceedings of the trial, and speaking of Jesus in the highest terms of praise. Eusebius, when he mentions this letter, avers that Tiberius, on perusing it, was incensed against the Jews who had sought the death of Jesus (Historia Ecclesiastica, II, 2). Elsewhere (Historia Ecclesiastica, IX, 5) he recounts that under Maximin forged Acts of Pilate, containing blasphemies against Christ, were circulated with consent of the emperor. None of these, if they ever existed, have come down to us. In the Paradosis Pilati we read that Caesar, being angry with Pilate for what he had done, brought him to Rome as a prisoner, and examined him. When the Christ was named, all the gods in the senate-chamber fell down and were broken. Caesar ordered war to be made on the Jews, and Pilate, after praying to Jesus, was beheaded. The head was taken away by an angel, and Procla, seeing this, died of joy. Another narrative, of late date, recounts that Pilate, at his trial, wore the seamless robe of Jesus; for this reason Caesar, though filled with anger, could not so much as say a harsh word to Pilate; but when the robe was taken off, he condemned Pilate to death. On hearing this, Pilate committed suicide. The body was sunk in the Tiber, but such storms were raised by demons on account of this that it was taken up and sunk in the Rhone at Vienne. The same trouble recurred there, and the body was finally buried in the territory of Losania (Lausanne). Tradition connects Mt. Pilatus with his name, although it is probable that the derivation is from pileatus, i.e. the mountain with a cloud-cap.

5. Character of Pilate:

Philo (Legatio ad Caium, xxxviii) speaks of Pilate in terms of the severest condemnation. According to him, Pilate was a man of a very inflexible disposition, and very merciless as well as obstinate. Philo calls him a man of most ferocious passions, and speaks of his corruption, his acts of insolence, his rapine, his habit of insulting people, his cruelty, his continual murders of people untried and uncondemned, and his never-ending and most grievous inhumanity. This is very highly colored and probably much exaggerated; certainly the instances given do not bear out this description of the man. Much of what he says of Pilate is in direct opposition to what we learn of him in the Gospels. There he appears to us as a man who, in spite of many undoubted faults, tries hard to conduct the trial with fairness. Pilate had the ethics of his class, and obviously tried to act up to the standard which he had formed. There was in him, however, no deep moral basis of character, as is shown by the utter skepticism of his question, "What is truth?" When he found that the doing of strict justice threatened to endanger his position, he reluctantly and with a great deal of shame gave way to the demands of the Jews. He sent Jesus to the cross, but not before he had exhausted every expedient for saving Him, except the simple and straightforward one of dismissing the case. He had the haughtiness of the dominant race, and a profound contempt for the people over which he ruled. This contempt, as we have seen, continually brought him into trouble. He felt deeply humiliated at having to give way to those whom he utterly despised, and, in the manner of a small mind, revenged himself on them by calling Christ their king, and by refusing to alter the mocking inscription on the cross. It is certain that Pilate, in condemning Jesus, acted, and knew that he acted against his conscience. He knew what was right, but for selfish and cowardly reasons refused to do it. He was faced by a great moral emergency, and he failed. We rest on the judgment of our Lord, that he was guilty, but not so guilty as the leaders of the chosen people.


The Gospels; Philo, Legatio ad Caium; Josephus, Josephus, Antiquities and BJ; the Annals of Tacitus; Eusebius, HE; Walker, Apocryphal Gospels, Acts, and Revelations in the "Ante-Nicene Christian Library," and for the Gospel according to Peter, volume IX of the same series err, New Testament Apocryphal Writings ("Temple Bible Series"), gives the text of the Gospel of Nicodemus and the Gospel of Peter.

There is a great mass of literature on the subject, but there is no English monograph on Pontius Pilate. In German there is G.A. Muller, Pontius Pilatus der funfe Prokurator von Judaa (Stuttgart, 1888). See also the various articles on Pilate in books of reference on the New Testament, notably RE (von Dobschiitz), HDB (G. T. Purves), DCG (A. Souter), and Encyclopedia Biblica (W. J. Woodhouse). For the name of-Pilate see the articles on "Pontius Pilatus et les Pontii" by Ollivier in Review Biblical, volume V. For the Apocryphal Gospels see article on "Gospel of Nicodemus" in HDB, also article "Apocryphal Gospels," in the supplementary volume of HDB; Orr, New Testament Apocryphal Writings; Zahn, Geschichte des New Testament Kanons; Harnack, Altchristliche Litteraturgeschichte. For the trial of Jesus see Lives of Christ by Keim, Edersheim, Stalker, Andrews and others; Taylor Innes, Trial of Jesus Christ, a Legal Monograph, 1899; and for the historical background, Schurer, HJP.

J. Macartney Wilson


pi'-lat, pi'-lat. See APOCRYPHAL GOSPELS.


See following article, 4, and APOCRYPHAL GOSPELS.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
Pilate, Pontius

Probably connected with the Roman family of the Pontii, and called "Pilate" from the Latin pileatus, i.e., "wearing the pileus", which was the "cap or badge of a manumitted slave," as indicating that he was a "freedman," or the descendant of one. He was the sixth in the order of the Roman procurators of Judea (A.D. 26-36). His headquarters were at Caesarea, but he frequently went up to Jerusalem. His reign extended over the period of the ministry of John the Baptist and of Jesus Christ, in connection with whose trial his name comes into prominent notice. Pilate was a "typical Roman, not of the antique, simple stamp, but of the imperial period, a man not without some remains of the ancient Roman justice in his soul, yet pleasure-loving, imperious, and corrupt. He hated the Jews whom he ruled, and in times of irritation freely shed their blood. They returned his hatred with cordiality, and accused him of every crime, maladministration, cruelty, and robbery. He visited Jerusalem as seldom as possible; for, indeed, to one accustomed to the pleasures of Rome, with its theatres, baths, games, and gay society, Jerusalem, with its religiousness and ever-smouldering revolt, was a dreary residence. When he did visit it he stayed in the palace of Herod the Great, it being common for the officers sent by Rome into conquered countries to occupy the palaces of the displaced sovereigns."

After his trial before the Sanhedrin, Jesus was brought to the Roman procurator, Pilate, who had come up to Jerusalem as usual to preserve order during the Passover, and was now residing, perhaps, in the castle of Antonia, or it may be in Herod's palace. Pilate came forth from his palace and met the deputation from the Sanhedrin, who, in answer to his inquiry as to the nature of the accusation they had to prefer against Jesus, accused him of being a "malefactor." Pilate was not satisfied with this, and they further accused him (1) of sedition, (2) preventing the payment of the tribute to Caesar, and (3) of assuming the title of king (Luke 23:2). Pilate now withdrew with Jesus into the palace (John 18:33) and examined him in private (37, 38); and then going out to the deputation still standing before the gate, he declared that he could find no fault in Jesus (Luke 23:4). This only aroused them to more furious clamour, and they cried that he excited the populace "throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee." When Pilate heard of Galilee, he sent the accused to Herod Antipas, who had jurisdiction over that province, thus hoping to escape the difficulty in which he found himself. But Herod, with his men of war, set Jesus at nought, and sent him back again to Pilate, clad in a purple robe of mockery (23:11, 12).

Pilate now proposed that as he and Herod had found no fault in him, they should release Jesus; and anticipating that they would consent to this proposal, he ascended the judgment-seat as if ready to ratify the decision (Matthew 27:19). But at this moment his wife (Claudia Procula) sent a message to him imploring him to have nothing to do with the "just person." Pilate's feelings of perplexity and awe were deepened by this incident, while the crowd vehemently cried out, "Not this man, but Barabbas." Pilate answered, "What then shall I do with Jesus?" The fierce cry immediately followed. "Let him be crucified." Pilate, apparently vexed, and not knowning what to do, said, "Why, what evil hath he done?" but with yet fiercer fanaticism the crowd yelled out, "Away with him! crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate yielded, and sent Jesus away to be scourged. This scourging was usually inflicted by lictors; but as Pilate was only a procurator he had no lictor, and hence his soldiers inflicted this terrible punishment. This done, the soldiers began to deride the sufferer, and they threw around him a purple robe, probably some old cast-off robe of state (Matthew 27:28; John 19:2), and putting a reed in his right hand, and a crowd of thorns on his head, bowed the knee before him in mockery, and saluted him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" They took also the reed and smote him with it on the head and face, and spat in his face, heaping upon him every indignity.

Pilate then led forth Jesus from within the Praetorium (Matthew 27:27) before the people, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, saying, "Behold the man!" But the sight of Jesus, now scourged and crowned and bleeding, only stirred their hatred the more, and again they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!" and brought forth this additional charge against him, that he professed to be "the Son of God." Pilate heard this accusation with a superstitious awe, and taking him once more within the Praetorium, asked him, "Whence art thou?" Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate was irritated by his continued silence, and said, "Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee?" Jesus, with calm dignity, answered the Roman, "Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above."

After this Pilate seemed more resolved than ever to let Jesus go. The crowd perceiving this cried out, "If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend." This settled the matter. He was afraid of being accused to the emperor. Calling for water, he washed his hands in the sight of the people, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this just person." The mob, again scorning his scruples, cried, "His blood be on us, and on our children." Pilate was stung to the heart by their insults, and putting forth Jesus before them, said, "Shall I crucify your King?" The fatal moment had now come. They madly exclaimed, "We have no king but Caesar;" and now Jesus is given up to them, and led away to be crucified.

By the direction of Pilate an inscription was placed, according to the Roman custom, over the cross, stating the crime for which he was crucified. Having ascertained from the centurion that he was dead, he gave up the body to Joseph of Arimathea to be buried. Pilate's name now disappears from the Gospel history. References to him, however, are found in the Acts of the Apostles (3:13; 4:27; 13:28), and in 1 Timothy 6:13. In A.D. 36 the governor of Syria brought serious accusations against Pilate, and he was banished to Vienne in Gaul, where, according to tradition, he committed suicide.


Demagogism: Pilate

Irony: Pilate, Calling Jesus "King"


Pilate or Pontius Pilate

Pontius Pilate: Allows Joseph of Arimathaea to Take Jesus' Body

Pontius Pilate: Causes the Slaughter of Certain Galileans

Pontius Pilate: Roman Governor of Judaea During the Time of Jesus' Ministry

Pontius Pilate: Tries Jesus and Orders his Crucifixion

Related Terms

Pilate's (4 Occurrences)

Barabbas (10 Occurrences)

Arimathaea (4 Occurrences)

Arimathea (4 Occurrences)

Crucify (20 Occurrences)

Demanded (40 Occurrences)

Release (61 Occurrences)

Fault (42 Occurrences)

Questioned (57 Occurrences)

Basis (21 Occurrences)

Begged (71 Occurrences)

Bringing (288 Occurrences)



Jews (287 Occurrences)

Granted (102 Occurrences)

Inquired (74 Occurrences)

Pavement (9 Occurrences)

Cesar (20 Occurrences)

Caesar (25 Occurrences)

Cords (80 Occurrences)

Aren't (102 Occurrences)

Arimathe'a (4 Occurrences)

Sayest (66 Occurrences)

Summoned (103 Occurrences)

Shouted (65 Occurrences)

Led (260 Occurrences)

Pontius (4 Occurrences)

Delivered (427 Occurrences)

Free (454 Occurrences)

Governor (78 Occurrences)

Tiberius (1 Occurrence)

Request (248 Occurrences)

Praetorium (8 Occurrences)

Besought (57 Occurrences)

Wrong (391 Occurrences)

Guilt (180 Occurrences)

Gathered (384 Occurrences)

Testify (110 Occurrences)

Cried (255 Occurrences)

Carry (246 Occurrences)

Yes (511 Occurrences)

Loud (222 Occurrences)

Decision (174 Occurrences)

Question (153 Occurrences)

Named (428 Occurrences)

Ordered (264 Occurrences)

Orders (736 Occurrences)

Grant (87 Occurrences)

Whipped (10 Occurrences)

Wondered (45 Occurrences)

Wishing (25 Occurrences)

Flogged (12 Occurrences)

Feared (134 Occurrences)

Truth (380 Occurrences)

Removed (294 Occurrences)


Desirous (31 Occurrences)

Desiring (108 Occurrences)

Decided (54 Occurrences)

Marveled (31 Occurrences)

Marvelled (27 Occurrences)

Permission (23 Occurrences)

Binding (23 Occurrences)

Barab'bas (10 Occurrences)

Council (51 Occurrences)

Commanded (553 Occurrences)

Committed (201 Occurrences)

Charges (58 Occurrences)

Caiaphas (9 Occurrences)

Crucifixion (4 Occurrences)

Concealed (36 Occurrences)

Crucified (42 Occurrences)

Accuse (34 Occurrences)

Allowed (64 Occurrences)

Antipas (1 Occurrence)

Accordingly (34 Occurrences)


Appealed (19 Occurrences)

Top of Page
Top of Page

Bible Apps.com