37And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
37 Verse 37. His accusation] It was a common custom to affix a
label to the cross, giving a statement of the crime for which the
person suffered. This is still the case in China, when a person
is crucified. Sometimes a person was employed to carry this
before the criminal, while going to the place of punishment.
It is with much propriety that Matthew calls this αιτια,
accusation; for it was false that ever Christ pretended to be KING
OF THE JEWS, in the sense the inscription held forth: he was
accused of this, but there was no proof of the accusation; however
it was affixed to the cross. From Joh 19:21, we find that the
Jews wished this to be a little altered: Write, said they, that HE
said, l am king of the Jews; thus endeavouring, by the addition of
a vile lie, to countenance their own conduct in putting him to
death. But this Pilate refused to do. Both Luke, Lu 23:38, and
John, Joh 19:20, say that this accusation was written in Greek,
Latin, and Hebrew. In those three languages, we may conceive the
label to stand thus, according to the account given by St. John;
the Hebrew being the mixed dialect then spoken.
It is only necessary to observe, that all the letters, both of
the Greek and Roman alphabets, were those now called square or
uncial, similar to these above.