MATT. XXVII.19, 24.
WHEN he [Pilate] was set down on the judgment-seat, his wife sent unto him, saying: Have thou nothing to do with that just man; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.
|When Pilate saw that he could prevail [avail] nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying: I am innocent of the blood of this just person; see ye to it.|
Note. -- It is a remarkable fact, that a heathen woman had the courage to plead the cause of our Saviour when his own disciples forsook him, and when the Jewish people and authorities thirsted for his innocent blood. It is equally remarkable, that she and her weak husband, clothed with the authority of the Roman law and justice, should characterize the condemned Jesus as that just man (dikaios ekeinos). The student of the unconscious prophecies of heathenism will naturally connect this expression with the famous passage in Plato's |Republic,| where the great sage of Greece describes the ideal of a just man (dikaios), as one who, |without doing any wrong, may assume the appearance of the grossest injustice (meden gar adikon doxan echeto tes megistes adikias);| yea, who |shall be scourged, tortured, fettered, deprived of his eyes, and, after having endured all possible sufferings, fastened to a post, and must restore again the beginning and prototype of righteousness | (Plato's Works, vol. iv., p.74, sqq. ed. Ast., p.360, E. ed. Bip.). Aristotle also says of the perfectly just man, |that he stands far above the political order and constitution as it exists; that he must break it wherever he appears.| The prophecies of Greek wisdom, and the majesty of the Roman law, here unite in a Roman lady, the wife of the imperial representative in Jerusalem, to testify to the innocence and righteousness of Christ in the darkest hour of his trial before wicked men. She was probably a proselyte of the gate, or one of those God-fearing heathen, who, without embracing the Jewish religion, were longing and groping in the dark after |the unknown God.| As to Pilate, he washed his hands, but not his heart; and in delivering up Christ, whom he pronounced innocent and just, he condemned himself. (From the author's additions to Dr. Lange's |Commentary on Matthew,| Am. ed. p.511, f.)