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Mark 15:15

ESV So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
NIV Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
NASB Intent on satisfying the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas for them, and after having Jesus flogged, he handed Him over to be crucified.
CSB Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them; and after having Jesus flogged, he handed him over to be crucified.
NLT So to pacify the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.
KJV And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.
NKJV So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.

What does Mark 15:15 mean?

Scourging is an occasional precursor to crucifixion. The prisoner is tied to a post and flogged with a flagellum: a whip of separate, loose leather cords with pieces of bone or metal woven into the strands. The fragments can be rounded, so they beat the flesh, or hooked to tear it apart. The practice is so brutal that it's possible for the victim to die of blood loss. The whipping Jesus endures here was likely an especially brutal one, however. Pilate would have had reasons to order Jesus to be given an unusually harsh treatment.

Pilate is well-aware that he is trapped in this ironic but explosive moment. The Jewish leaders have been trying to destroy Jesus for years. Their attempts to arrest Him or kill Him outside the attention of Rome have failed (John 7:32; 8:59; 10:31–33). They finally get their chance on the day of the Passover, when the population of Jerusalem is swollen with Jews from Galilee, Perea, and all of Judea. The Sanhedrin has convicted Jesus of blasphemy against God (Mark 14:61–64), but they can't be responsible for His death with so many witnesses about (Mark 14:1–2). So they claim He is planning an insurrection against Rome (Luke 23:2) and tell the governor, Pilate, that it is his responsibility to execute their rival.

Pilate is not a kind, understanding man. He is ruthless in his governance of what he sees as a backwards, stubborn people of Judea. He has crucified many who dared rebel against him. But despite Jesus' following and the cries welcoming the return of the kingdom of David (Mark 11:9–10), he sees no political threat in an itinerant teacher. Herod Antipas, the tetrarch over Jesus' home district, agrees with Pilate's judgment (Luke 23:14–15), and even Pilate's wife has warned him to have nothing to do with Jesus (Matthew 27:19). As a polytheistic Roman, Pilate is also concerned about the possibility that Jesus might have connection to some god, after all (John 19:8).

The irony is that it is not Jesus' followers who threaten peace in the over-crowded Jerusalem, it's the Sanhedrin's followers. Jesus isn't helping, as He refuses to defend Himself (Mark 15:4–5; John 19:8–11). Pilate's only hope is that if he mangles Jesus enough, perhaps the priests, elders, and scribes will be satisfied (Luke 23:22).

His last-ditch efforts to save Jesus fail, and he chooses to sacrifice an innocent man for the sake of his own security, and a momentary peace.
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