Lectio notes on John 19:17-22



The New Advent page has the Greek, Latin and Knox translation in parallel text.  The New Advent page provides the Greek, Latin and Knox translation.  You can listen to the Latin here and the Greek here.  Here is the Latin Vulgate:

17 Et bajulans sibi crucem exivit in eum, qui dicitur Calvariæ locum, hebraice autem Golgotha: 18 ubi crucifixerunt eum, et cum eo alios duos hinc et hinc, medium autem Jesum. 19 Scripsit autem et titulum Pilatus, et posuit super crucem. Erat autem scriptum: Jesus Nazarenus, Rex Judæorum. 20 Hunc ergo titulum multi Judæorum legerunt: quia prope civitatem erat locus, ubi crucifixus est Jesus, et erat scriptum hebraice, græce, et latine. 21 Dicebant ergo Pilato pontifices Judæorum: Noli scribere: Rex Judæorum: sed quia ipse dixit: Rex sum Judæorum. 22 Respondit Pilatus: Quod scripsi, scripsi.

Douay-Rheims:

And bearing his own cross, he went forth to that place which is called Calvary, but in Hebrew Golgotha. [18] Where they crucified him, and with him two others, one on each side, and Jesus in the midst. [19] And Pilate wrote a title also, and he put it upon the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. [20] This title therefore many of the Jews did read: because the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, in Greek, and in Latin.[21] Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate: Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am the King of the Jews. [22] Pilate answered: What I have written, I have written.

Commentary

From the Catena Aurea:

GLOSS. By the command of the governor, the soldiers took Christ to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led Him away.

AUG. They, i.e. the soldiers, the guards of the governor, as appears more clearly afterwards; Then the soldiers when they had crucified Jesus; though the Evangelist might justly have attributed the whole to the Jews, who were really the authors of what they procured to be done.

CHRYS. They compel Jesus to bear the cross, regarding it as unholy, and therefore avoiding the touch of it themselves. And He bearing His cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha, where they crucified Him. The same was done typically by Isaac, who carried the wood. But then the matter only proceeded as far as his father's good pleasure ordered, but now it was fully accomplished, for the reality had appeared.

CHRYS. He carried the badge of victory on His shoulders, was conquerors do. Some say that the place of Calvary was where Adam died and was buried; so that in the very place on where death reigned, there Jesus erected His trophy.

On the inscription on the Cross:

CHRYS. As letters are inscribed on a trophy declaring the victory, so Pilate wrote a title on Christ's cross. And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross: thus at once distinguishing Christ from the thieves with Him, and exposing the malice of the Jews in rising up against their King: And the writing was, Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.

BEDE. Wherein was strewn that His kingdom was not, as they thought, destroyed, but rather strengthened.

AUG. But was Christ the King of the Jews only? or of the Gentiles too? Of the Gentiles too, as we read in the Psalms, Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Sion; after which it follows, Demand of Me, and I will give you the heathen for your inheritance. So this title expresses a great mystery, viz. that the wild olive-tree was made partaker of the fatness of the olive-tree, not the olive-tree made partaker of the bitterness of the wild olive-tree. Christ then is King of the Jews according to the circumcision not of the flesh, but of the heart; not in the letter, but in the spirit.

This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city.

CHRYS. It is probable that many Gentiles as well as Jews had come up to the feast. So the title was written in three languages, that all might read it: And it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.

THEOPHYL. The title written in three languages signifies that our Lord was King of the whole world; practical, natural, and spiritual. The Latin denotes the practical, because the Roman empire; was the most powerful, and best managed one; the Greek the physical, the Greeks being the best physical philosophers; and, lastly, the Hebrew the theological, because the Jews had been made the depositories of religious knowledge.

CHRYS. But the Jews grudged our Lord this title: Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that He said, I am King of the Jews. For as Pilate wrote it, it was a plain and single declaration that he was King, but the addition of; that he said, made it a charge against Him of petulance and vain glory.

But Pilate was firm: Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

AUG. O ineffable working of Divine power even in the hearts of ignorant men. Did not some hidden voice sound from within, and, if we may say so, with clamorous silence, saying to Pilate in the prophetic words of the Psalm, Alter not the inscription of the title? But what say you, you mad priests: will the title be the less true, because Jesus said I am the King of the Jews? If that which Pilate wrote cannot be altered, can that be altered which the Truth spoke? Pilate wrote what he wrote, because our Lord said what He said.

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