13.And sat down on the judgment-seat. Hence we see what conflicting opinions passed through the mind of Pilate, as if he had been a stage-player who was acting two characters. He ascends the judgment-seat, in order to pronounce sentence of death on Christ solemnly, and in the customary form; (164) and yet he declares openly, that he does so reluctantly and against his conscience. When he calls Christ king, he speaks ironically, meaning that it was a trivial charge which the Jews brought against him; or rather, for the purpose of allaying their fury, he warns them, that it would bring disgrace on the whole nation, if a report were spread abroad, that a person of that nation had been condemned to die for aspiring to kingly power.
In the place which is called the Stone-pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. When the Evangelist says, that
גבתא (Gabbatha) was the name of the place in Hebrew he means the Chaldaic or Syriac language, which was then in common use; for in Hebrew,
גבה (Gabach) means to be lofty. It was proper, therefore, that Christ should be condemned from a lofty place, that he, coming from heaven as the supreme Judge, may acquit us at the last day.