Yohanan Jewish New Testament and comments of David H. Stern

chapter 18
1. After Yeshua had said all this, he went out with his talmidim across the stream that flows in winter through the Vadi Kidron, to a spot where there was a grove of trees; and he and his talmidim went into it.
2. Now Y’hudah, who was betraying him, also knew the place; because Yeshua had often met there with his talmidim.
3. So Y’hudah went there, taking with him a detachment of Roman soldiers and some Temple guards provided by the head cohanim and the P’rushim; they carried weapons, lanterns and torches.
4. Yeshua, who knew everything that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Whom do you want?”
Yeshua... knew everything that was going to happen to him. See 10:17—18N. 

5. “Yeshua from Natzeret,” they answered. He said to them, “I AM.” Also standing with them was Y’hudah, the one who was betraying him.
6. When he said, “I AM,” they went backward from him and fell to the ground.
7. So he inquired of them once more, “Whom do you want?” and they said, “Yeshua from Natzeret.”
8. “I told you, ‘I AM,’” answered Yeshua, “so if I’m the one you want, let these others go.”
I AM. There is a double meaning. Yeshua was both identifying himself and voicing God's authority (see 4:26N). Apparently he was demonstrating God's power as well, so that it was in direct consequence that they went backward from him and fell to the ground. 

9. This happened so that what he had said might be fulfilled, “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”
'I have not lost one...." Quoted from 6:39; compare 17:12. 

10. Then Shim‘on Kefa, who had a sword, drew it and struck the slave of the cohen hagadol, cutting off his right ear; the slave’s name was Melekh.
11. Yeshua said to Kefa, “Put your sword back in its scabbard! This is the cup the Father has given me; am I not to drink it?”
Yochanan's description complements that of the Synoptic Gospels. We learn who "one of the men with Yeshua" (Mt 26:51) was, namely, Kefa. We are told that the "servant of the cohen hagadol"

12. So the detachment of Roman soldiers and their captain, together with the Temple Guard of the Judeans, arrested Yeshua, tied him up,
13. and took him first to ‘Anan, the father-in-law of Kayafa, who was cohen gadol that fateful year.
First they led him to Anan. Only Yochanan tells us of this irregular preliminary hearing. Anan had been cohen gadol (high priest) from 6 to 15 C.E. Many members of his family became cohen gadol after him, including five of his sons as well as his son-in-law Kayafa. He retained his title after leaving office (vv. 15,16,19,22; but not vv. 10, 13,24,26, which refer to Kayafa) and obviously remained a powerful behind-the-scenes figure; perhaps this is why his advice on how to deal with Yeshua was sought first. 

14. (It was Kayafa who had advised the Judeans that it would be good for one man to die on behalf of the people.)
See 11:49-52. 

15. Shim‘on Kefa and another talmid followed Yeshua. The second talmid was known to the cohen hagadol, and he went with Yeshua into the courtyard of the cohen hagadol;
16. but Kefa stood outside by the gate. So the other talmid, the one known to the cohen hagadol, went back out and spoke to the woman on duty at the gate, then brought Kefa inside.
17. The woman at the gate said to Kefa, “Aren’t you another of that man’s talmidim?” He said, “No, I’m not.”
18. Now the slaves and guards had lit a fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it warming themselves; Kefa joined them and stood warming himself too.
19. The cohen hagadol questioned Yeshua about his talmidim and about what he taught.
20. Yeshua answered, “I have spoken quite openly to everyone; I have always taught in a synagogue or in the Temple where all Jews meet together, and I have said nothing in secret;
In the Temple where all Jews meet together. Or:".. .all Judeans...." Since the Temple was the religious center for the whole Jewish people, "Jews" seems a more appropriate rendering than "Judeans": hence the exception to the general rules of 1:19N on ioudaioi. 

21. so why are you questioning me? Question the ones who heard what I said to them; look, they know what I said.”
22. At these words, one of the guards standing by slapped Yeshua in the face and said, “This is how you talk to the cohen hagadol?”
This is how you talk to the cohen hagadoH Yeshua was not answering disrespectfully but pointing out that even though this late night meeting was most irregular, normal legal procedure requires the obtaining of independent witnesses. Yeshua was willing to trust public reports of his public behavior, as is clear from v. 23. "These things... didn't happen in some back alley" (Ac 26:26). Compare Ac 22:30-23:10. 

23. Yeshua answered him, “If I said something wrong, state publicly what was wrong; but if I was right, why are you hitting me?”
24. So ‘Anan sent him, still tied up, to Kayafa the cohen hagadol.
Anan sent him... to Кал alii Yochanan does not report the trial before Kayat'a, but it is reported in Mt 26:59-68 and Mk 14:55-65. Nor does he report the meeting of the Sanhedrin the next morning as do Mt 27:1-2, Mk 15:1 and Lk 22:66-23:1; presumably his readers know about these from other sources. 

25. Meanwhile, Shim‘on Kefa was standing and warming himself. They said to him, “Aren’t you also one of his talmidim?” He denied it, saying, “No, I am not.”
26. One of the slaves of the cohen hagadol, a relative of the man whose ear Kefa had cut off, said, “Didn’t I see you with him in the grove of trees?”
27. So again Kefa denied it, and instantly a rooster crowed.
28. They led Yeshua from Kayafa to the governor’s headquarters. By now it was early morning. They did not enter the headquarters building because they didn’t want to become ritually defiled and thus unable to eat the Pesach meal.
They didn't want to become ritually defiled. This defilement is not the same as that spoken of at 11:55 but results from entering the home of a Gentile, in this case the Governor's Headquarters. The Torah does not mention such a defilement; it is a rabbinic addition (see Ac 10:28N).

And thus unable to eat the Pesach meal, literally, "unable to eat the Pesach." Some scholars believe "the Pesach" refers to the Passover lamb and conclude that Yochanan, unlike the Synoptic Gospels, places the Seder (the first evening of Passover) on Friday evening after the execution of Yeshua in the afternoon. 1 do not believe that Yochanan's Gospel reports a different date for the crucifixion from the Synoptics (but see 13:29&N); rather, the meal of 13:1 was the Seder, and it took place on Thursday night; but "the Pesach" in this verse refers to other food eaten during Pesach, specifically the chagigah (festival sacrifice), which was consumed with great joy and celebration on the afternoon following the Seder. This is the Pesach meal which the Judeans gathered outside Pilate's palace would have been unable to eat had they entered, because their defilement would have lasted till sundown. If "the Pesach" meant the Passover lamb, defilement in the morning might not have been a problem, since the Seder meal took place after sundown. 

29. So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What charge are you bringing against this man?”
30. They answered, “If he hadn’t done something wrong, we wouldn’t have brought him to you.”
31. Pilate said to them, “You take him and judge him according to your own law.” The Judeans replied, “We don’t have the legal power to put anyone to death.”
We don't have the legal power to put anyone to death. Although the Torah prescribes the death penalty for a number of offenses, and although the Romans permitted the Judeans a measure of self-govemment, they did not allow the execution of a death sentence; capital punishment was reserved for Rome. 

32. This was so that what Yeshua had said, about how he was going to die, might be fulfilled.
How he was going to die, by being "lifted up" (3:14,8:28,12:32) on an execution-stake, a cross, which was a Roman, not a Jewish, method of capital punishment. 

33. So Pilate went back into the headquarters, called Yeshua and said to him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
34. Yeshua answered, “Are you asking this on your own, or have other people told you about me?"
35. Pilate replied, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and head cohanim have handed you over to me; what have you done?”
36. Yeshua answered, “My kingship does not derive its authority from this world’s order of things. If it did, my men would have fought to keep me from being arrested by the Judeans. But my kingship does not come from here.”
My kingship (or: "kingdom") does not derive its authority from this world's order of things, literally, "is not of this world." This is not to say that the Messianic kingdom and Yeshua's rulership is only "spiritual," not to be expressed really and physically in this world, fulfilling the prophecy that Israel will become "the head and not the tail" (Deuteronomy 28:13); but that the present aspect of his kingship is in believers' hearts and lives (see 16:27&N), not in international politics (which is the framework of Pilate's question). Thus Yeshua, without denying his office as the Messiah, the King, claims he has done nothing against Rome. 

37. “So then,” Pilate said to him, “You are a king, after all.” Yeshua answered, “You say I am a king. The reason I have been born, the reason I have come into the world, is to bear witness to the truth. Every one who belongs to the truth listens to me.”
38. Pilate asked him, “What is truth?” Having said this, Pilate went outside again to the Judeans and told them, “I don’t find any case against him.
What is truth? The cynical and worldly Pilate shrugs off him who is the Truth (14:6) with a flippant question, to which he is uninterested in knowing the answer. Alternatively, it was a philosophical question divorced from practicality, the kind asked by people "who are always learning but never able to come to full knowledge of the Truth" (2 Ti 3:7&N).

18:38b-40, 19:4-16, This corresponds to the Judean mob scene reported at Mt 27:15-27. The passage below at 19:4-15 presents material found only in Yochanan. Pilate is portrayed as repeatedly seeking an excuse to set Yeshua free (v. 39; 19:4,6,10,12,15) but also as too weak to initiate his release. Therefore he shares the guilt for putting Yeshua to death, although the guilt of Y'hudah from K'riot is greater (19:11 &N). 

39. However, you have a custom that at Passover I set one prisoner free. Do you want me to set free for you the ‘king of the Jews’?”
40. But they yelled back, “No, not this man but Bar-Abba!” (Bar-Abba was a revolutionary.)
Bar-Abba. See Mt 27:16-24N. 

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