Then said Pilate unto them, Take him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death:
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Cornelius a Lapide
It is not lawful for us to put any one to death. For the Romans , it appears, had deprived the Jews, as a conquered people, of the power of capital punishment and claimed it for themselves. This is the meaning of the words. See Rupertus, S. Thomas, Jansen, Suarez, and others. You will say the Jews stoned S. Stephen, and threw down S. James headlong. But this was not in course of law, but in a popular tumult. Josephus (Ant. xx8 , al16) says that Annas was deposed from his office by the Roman governor for ordering S. James to be killed, and ( Acts 18) the Jews did not dare to kill Paul, but handed him over to the Proconsul Gallio. But you will urge that Pilate had already given the Chief Priests liberty to judge and to put Him to death, when he said, "Take ye Him and judge Him according to your law." I answer, that they could have done Song of Solomon , but were unwilling to accept his offer. They said, as it were, in their minds, Ye, Romans have taken away from us altogether the power o...
I should not do justice, he says, if I were to subject to legal penalties a Man Who has been convicted of no wrong, and Whose doom you left undecided; but judge Him, rather, according to your Law, if, indeed, he says, it has ordained that the Man Who is wholly without guilt deserves chastisement. It is not a little absurd, or, I should rather say, it is a subject for perpetual regret, that, while the Law of the Gentiles justified our Lord, so that even Pilate shrank from punishing Him That was. brought to him on so vague a charge, they, who made it their boast that they were instructed in the Law of God, declared that He ought to be put to death.
And how did the expression, 'It is not lawful for us to put any man to death,' declare this? Either the Evangelist means that He was about to be slain not by the Jews only, but by the Gentiles also, or that it was not lawful for them to crucify. But if they say, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death, they say it with reference to that season. For that they did slay men, and that they slew them in a different way, Stephen shows, being stoned. But they desired to crucify Him, that they might make a display of the manner of His death. Pilate, wishing to be freed from trouble, does not dismiss Him for a long trial, but,