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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Barabbas

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BARABBAS ( Matthew 27:15-23 = Mark 15:6-14 = Luke 23:18-23 = John 18:39-40 ). A brigand, probably one of those who infested the Ascent of Blood (wh. see). He had taken part in one of the insurrections so frequent during the procuratorship of Pontius Pilate; and, having been caught red-handed, was awaiting sentence when Jesus was arraigned. It was customary for the procurator, by way of gratifying the Jews, to release a prisoner at the Passover season, letting the people choose whom they would; and Pilate, reluctant to condemn an innocent man, yet afraid to withstand the clamour of the rulers, saw here a way to save Jesus. His artifice would probably have succeeded had not the malignant priests and elders incited the people to choose Barabbas.

Barabbas , like Bartholomew and BartimÅ“us , is a patronymic, possibly = ‘the son of the father’ ( i.e. the Rabbi). According to an ancient reading of Matthew 27:17 , the brigand’s name was Jesus . If so, there is a dramatic adroitness in Pilate’s presentation of the alternative to the multitude: ‘Which of the two do ye wish me to release to you Jesus the bar-Abba or Jesus that is called Messiah?’

David Smith.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Barabbas'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/b/barabbas.html. 1909.

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