1 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 was brought privately before Annas, son of Seth, who, after questioning 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏, sent him to the Supreme Council of the Yahuḏim, which was assembled. He also sent a message saying, “This man is deluded but nonetheless dangerous, and these are troubled times.”
2 When 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 was taken away, Shim’on Kĕpha followed at a distance. And after 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 was brought from the residence of Annas, he followed and came to the forecourt of the Hĕyḵal, but could not go beyond because of the disturbance. Servants lit a brazier of charcoal and stood warming themselves – for the night was cold – and Kĕpha stood with them.
3 While he stood there, a relative of the Kohĕn ha’Gadol – named Yosĕph but called Yoḥanan, a follower of 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 in secret – came and spoke to the woman at the door and went into the chamber hall. He also spoke to Kĕpha.
4 Then a maidservant came and spoke with the woman at the door, who came over to Kĕpha and said, “You are one of the Galilean’s followers.” But Kĕpha said, “I am no friend of his. You must be mistaken.”
5 However, the woman persisted, saying, “Your speech betrays you.” Then she cried out to those about the brazier, “Beware, here is one of the Galilean sorcerer’s followers.”
6 Then the men clustered about Kĕpha and said, “Certainly you are a Galilean.” And some said, “We have seen him with this rebel.” Then they said to Kĕpha, “Did you not cause trouble in the Hĕyḵal? We have seen you there.”
7 Then the men said, “The woman is right, you are a Galilean. Your speech witnesses against you.” Others said, “He is just a Galilean,” and laughed.
8 Kĕpha then became angry and shouted, “Why do you pester me? I do not know the man. I have heard about him but not seen him.”
9 Then the other talmid came out and told the men to leave Kĕpha alone. He took him by the arm and went out through the gateway. As they went, a cock crew, for the fowls were in the city. And Kĕpha wept bitterly, for he had failed the test. The other had compassion on Kĕpha because of the weakness of the flesh. And Kĕpha said, “I will make amends.” Then the talmid took Kĕpha to a safe place nearby.
10 The Supreme Council had assembled that night in the Chamber of Hewn Stone within the Great Hĕyḵal. Though the Roman law did not permit men to sit in judgment during the night hours, the Supreme Council was afraid because of the mood of the people.
11 When 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 stood before the Council, he was asked, “Are you ha’Mashiaḥ – Elohim’s Anointed who will deliver us?”
12 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 replied, “I could deliver the people if you would let me do so.”
13 The Kohĕn ha’Gadol, son-in-law of Annas, sat with the Council. And he said to 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏, “Are you a Galilean?”
14 When 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 replied that he was, the Kohĕn ha’Gadol said, “Surely you, being a learned man, know that no naḇi will come from that place.” 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 made no reply.
15 Then a man named Nicodemus said to 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏, “The Torah does not condemn any man without trying to understand his motives. Tell us why you do these things.”
16 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 answered, “Is it not written that if the people are to be saved, there must be a Suffering Deliverer who will also be the Anointed of 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄?”
17 Nicodemus then said to the Council, “If this man is what he claims, he is harmless. For he brings suffering to none except himself.”
18 Then another councilor said, “I myself have heard him say he comes, not to suffer, but to bring a sword to free the people.”
19 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 stood calm and serene.
20 One of the elders said to him, “Is it true you were born of fornication, and, when born, your father Yosĕph and Miryam, the woman who gave birth to you, had to flee from the anger of the people?”
21 But twelve of those present witnessed for him that he was not the child of fornication, but of a rightly married mother.
22 Though many of the elders tried to make out a case against 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏, they failed. For though there were witnesses who gave false evidence against him, others spoke in favor of 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏. Then a lawscribe came forward and testified with the others he had heard 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 declare that the Hĕyḵal was only a man-made structure which he would destroy in three days. However, there was no agreement among the witnesses as to what had been said or what it meant. Some held 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 to be a sorcerer who spoke of magic, while others held him to be a madman whose talk was not rational. Many remained silent and thoughtful.
23 One of the leading men among the elders stood up and said to 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏, “Can you not speak for yourself and answer the accusations?”
24 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “Are the charges not being fully argued out?”
25 The Kohĕn ha’Gadol said, “I ask you, in the name of the Most High Elohim, tell us – for we do not wish to make any mistake – are you ha’Mashiaḥ who will deliver us?”
26 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 answered, “You ask this because others, witnessing what I do, say this is so. If I say I am the Deliverer, I do not lie. I am the true Bĕn of Elohim, standing at His right hand, ready to obey His will, and I speak with divine authority. I am the One destined to bring down the whole structure, replacing it with a new rule.”
27 Upon hearing this, the Kohĕn ha’Gadol said, “We need no more witnesses, for we have all heard him blaspheme. The evidence for treason has been given by his own mouth. He is convicted through words from his own lips. What more is required before your verdict?”
28 But there was no little dispute among the elders, for some said, “It is no crime to say, ‘I am ha’Mashiaḥ who will deliver.’” Others said, “It is no crime for a man to be misguided and deluded, for will not the Deliverer be disclosed by deeds which this man has not performed?” It was also said, “Is he not fulfilling the prophecies? Therefore, be wary in judgment.”
29 One of the elders said, “Let us set the good this man does against the other. And is it not well known that he has a power of healing not in other men? What wrong has he done? He has not called men to arms against Kaisar.”
30 The Kohĕn ha’Gadol then stood up and said, “If we allow this man to go free at this time, he will stir up trouble, the people being ripe for revolt. Then Kaisar will send his legions against us, and the nation will be destroyed, for the hand of Kaisar is heavy. We cannot set the life of one man against the lives of many. And those who would set him free are no friends of Rome, neither can they be friends of our people.”
31 Then some said, “His crime is against Rome, and not against us.” But others said, “What? Shall we deliver him to Roman cruelty?”
32 The Kohĕn ha’Gadol said, “This can be no concern of ours. We are shepherds of the people. Let those who speak against Kaisar stand before Kaisar’s judgment seat. Let our judgment be that we found him guilty against Kaisar, and then leave him to Roman mercy. We have no power to condemn him.”
33 Therefore, it then being daylight, they bound 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 and delivered him to Pilatus with the verdict, “He is guilty against Rome.”
34 It was now, for many, Pesaḥ Eve – not all keeping it at the same time, for this was in dispute. Therefore, many who could have spoken for 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏, being righteous men, went to make their preparations for the festival. Some thought he would be set free when it was over, but most knew in their hearts he would not be released.
35 When 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 was brought before Pontius Pilatus, Governor of Yahuḏah, who sat upon the judgment seat, the lawscribes testified to the charges, saying, “This man stirs up the people to revolt against Kaisar by taking the title ‘Bĕn of Elohim,’ thus claiming to be Sovereign of the Yahuḏim. He says he brings swords and will purge the land with fire. He blasphemes against Kaisar and seeks to bring a new rule of law into the land. He rides into the city proclaiming himself the Deliverer fulfilling the prophecies. From whom can we be delivered?”
36 Pilatus said to 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏, “There are many serious charges against you. Have you any defense against them?”
37 When 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 remained silent, Pilatus said, “Tell me, if ‘Bĕn of Elohim’ is a kingly title, are you the Sovereign of the Yahuḏim?”
38 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “Do you ask this for yourself, or are you being influenced by the things said about me?”
39 Pilatus answered, “Am I a Yahuḏi, to know these things? Your people have handed you over, for, according to their interpretation, you have made kingly claims. What have you done?”
40 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “Is an earthly Sovereign most worthy to be called the Bĕn of Elohim? Surely it is goodness and not kingship that counts. I am the Bĕn of Elohim, and this title I rightly claim, but if I have a Reign, it is not of Earth. Had it been otherwise, my followers would not have permitted me to be taken.”
41 Pilatus said, “You are, then, a Sovereign of some kind.”
42 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 replied, “As you say, I am a Sovereign, but I do not come to rule, for I was born into the world to testify of the Truth. And all who honor Truth listen to my words.”
43 Pilatus said, “Who knows what is Truth or what it means? One man’s Truth is another man’s deception.”
44 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 answered, “No man can know Truth, for it is not of Earth, which is a place of deception. But 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 knows Truth, and it is with him alone.”
45 Pilatus said, “Does not Kaisar know Truth?”
46 To which 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 replied, “No man knows truth.”
47 Pilatus said, “Is the Truth with you or with Kaisar?”
48 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “Kaisar’s heart is in fornication, not in Truth. And this you know to be true. Would you condemn me for speaking Truth?”
49 Pilatus said, “Say no more.”
50 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “See how those who uphold Truth are judged by those holding authority.”
51 Then a man who was guardian at the Hĕyḵal testified, “This man stirs up trouble in the land so the people are ripe for revolt. And his doctrine is not contained in Galil, but is spreading all over Yahuḏah.
52 Hearing this, Pilatus asked whether the man before him was Galilean, and, being told he was, Pilatus said, “This man should be tried before Herod.”
53 Therefore, 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 was sent to Herod, who, being in Yerushalayim at the time, was residing nearby, for he was under the protection of the Governor. Herod was pleased for the opportunity to see 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 and questioned him at length, hoping to see some miracle performed, but he was disappointed in all things. Though many testified against him before Herod, 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 remained silent on such matters, for it was his duty and destiny to fulfill the prophecies is the Qodesh Books.
54 Herod found 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 guilty of blasphemy and treason, and returned him to Pilatus, saying, “He has committed treason in Yahuḏah. Let him be tried for that. It has not been fully proven before me, but this I know surely: If he is released, there will be a revolt. For the people are inflamed, and your army is not large.”
55 When Pilatus had taken his place on the judgment seat and 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏was before him, he said, “I am told you are a just man. Can goodness father crime?”
56 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 answered, “Hypocritical goodness fathers many crimes. The people live in a night of ignorance; I come to lighten the darkness.”
57 Pilatus said, “If the light is put out, does that help the people? Is it not better for the light to shine? Even a faint glow is better than none.”
58 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “Do with me as you will. I will light a flame which will consume the world, and darkness will be no more.”
59 Pilatus said, “These things I do not understand, for your people have devious minds and make great issues over things of little importance. What else have you to say?”
60 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 replied, “I came to men to manifest the love 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 has for them. As one of their brothers, I have undergone the trials and tribulations of men, overcoming the claims of the flesh so the ruaḥ within shines forth with strength. I have pointed the way whereby men may rise to greatness, for such is their destiny.”
61 Pilatus then said to the elders and some Levites who witnessed against 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏, “I am not a Yahuḏi, nor am I bound by the laws of the Yahuḏim. If this man has blasphemed against your Elohim, then let him be tried by your law; but do not mention it to me, for I only listen to the law of Rome.”
62 They said, “Do you say that a man who blasphemes against the divine Kaisar is not worthy of death?”
63 Pilatus said, “Such a man should die.”
64 They said, “This he has done. Also, in proclaiming himself Sovereign, he speaks against Kaisar and Rome. Had he not done wrong to Kaisar, we would surely not have delivered him to you.”
65 Pilatus said, “You are a troublesome people and tire me with these things. What would you have me do with your Sovereign?”
66 They answered, “These are his words. We have no Sovereign except Kaisar.” Someone said, “And acknowledge no other Elohim.”
67 Then one of the elders stood up and said, “Many have testified concerning his offenses. We know what should be done, but the power is with you. It is not lawful for us to put this man to death, therefore deal with him as seems best in your eyes.”
68 Pilatus said, “Why have you been spared the wrath of your Elohim?” Then Pilatus said to those in the chamber of judgment, “Who else wishes to testify against this man?”
69 One of the elders, a lawscribe of the Council, said, “This man has claimed before the people that he is heir to the throne of Dawiḏ, but he is an impostor. He blasphemes the Qodesh One of our people by saying he is His Bĕn. If these things inflame the people so they revolt, then Rome pays the price. He comes forth from among the poor and disinherited, arousing the people so they seek to overthrow the stability of established authority. If his intentions are put into effect, we are all lost.”
70 “He proclaims himself Sovereign and declares he will pull down the Hĕyḵal. He blasphemes against Kaisar and says he will supersede Kaisar’s rule. He slanders Kaisar and calls him a fornicator and liar. Under our laws, which you must also uphold, he deserves to die, and, if you are not against Kaisar, also under the laws of Rome.”
71 Pilatus said to 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏, “The balance weighs against you. Have you anything to say?”
72 When 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 did not reply, Pilatus asked him where he really came from. But 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 remained silent. Pilatus then said, “Have you nothing to say to me, who have the power to condemn or release you? What shall I do with one such as you?”
73 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 then said, “The power of Rome rests in your hands, but it gives you power over nothing except my body. Do with that as you will. It is not you, but those distorting the face of Truth, who are to blame.”
74 Pilatus said, “If I deal with you one way, the people will say the authority of Rome supports your teachings and is not against the things you declare. They will say your claim to kingship is upheld and may even say you are preferred to Kaisar. If I do this, I will certainly be called to account; for am I not the hand of Kaisar whom you blaspheme and decry?”
75 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “I call men to a kingdom which is not yet of Earth.”
76 Pilatus said to 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏, “No one is compelled to speak on his own behalf.” Then to the others there he said, “Clearly this man is not guiltless concerning Kaisar, but will any here speak for him?”
77 Then one of the Parashyim stood up and said, “Many could speak for this just man but have decided their duty lies elsewhere. We are an unbending people, sometimes over-concerned with righteousness; but mercy and justice are not least among the things we uphold.”
78 “What wrong has this man done to Kaisar? He has uttered words, which are no more than a breeze from the lips. And surely one so great as Kaisar can withstand even the greatest tempest. If Kaisar be man, then words would hurt him; but we are a people knowing nothing man can do will harm the highest divinities. Therefore, we could be less cautious than others. The greater they are, the more they tend to overlook the many weaknesses and failings of men. You, who know the greatness or smallness of he for whom you are the mouthpiece, can incline towards one less knowledgeable in such matters. If you are a worthy representative of Kaisar, you will uphold his greatness and reveal his indulgence to us. As to whether this man be ha’Mashiaḥ or the Deliverer, such questions can only be meaningless to Rome, for even we Yahuḏim are not in accord as to who they are or what they will do.”
79 Pilatus said, “You are a perverse race, over-concerned with unworldly things and ensnaring yourselves in your own net of goodness. You cannot even agree on the dates of your own festivals or the nature of your Elohim. Instead of heroes you have saints, yet your saintliness makes you unsaintly. You all agree to seek the Truth but dispute which path to follow and so get nowhere. You agree to follow your Elohim, but some say, ‘We go this way,’ and others say, ‘We go another.’ What you say today about this man you said yesterday about another. Your laws are a maze which I will not attempt to negotiate. Your thoughts are devious, and your hearts an unreadable scroll. I am unfortunate in my governorship.”
80 Now, a man named Barabbas had also been brought forth to be judged. And Pilatus continued, “I know not one man from the other; who is godly and who is ungodly I cannot tell. You yourselves do not know which of these two men has said and done these things, or which is your Sovereign. All I know is that there must be a strife. The rights of Kaisar must be upheld, and justice must be done. The rest I leave in your hands.”
81 “No two men can suffer for the same crime unless they be in association; but if no association is proven, only one may suffer. Therefore, decide among yourselves which man is to die. Both claim to be the Bĕn of Elohim, both are deliverers, both have blasphemed against Kaisar and your Elohim, and both have struck against Kaisar. One has killed, the other has not. Clemency is mine to give at this time, but clemency overruling justice is weakness.”
82 “If both these men be killed, then surely the whole of the people will rise in revolt. Already the streets are thronged, and much wine is being drunk. But if one is released, those rejoicing will restrain those who sorrow. It will also divide the people who otherwise might act in accord. If one is truly the Bĕn of Elohim, then the Father will not desert His Bĕn; so, it would not be wrong to condemn him, for thus two will be saved.”
83 “Responsibility for restraining bloodshed now lies with you. And already the people outside are in riotous mood. Therefore, choose between the two men. Both have the same name, but one is called Barabbas, and the Other Barharets. Choose which shall be condemned for these crimes and which shall be released. Then announce it to the people.”
84 Pilatus said, “I will condemn the one claiming to be Sovereign of the Yahuḏim, for this is a crime against the peace of Kaisar. You tell me which he is.”
85 So all the elders of the Yahuḏim went out and consulted among themselves and sent heralds among the people. 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 remained calm and unshaken, though he had been three hours in the judgment chamber. When consulting among themselves, one of the elders said, “One dies and one is saved. Let us be sure we save the one who will deliver us.”
86 A Parashyim said, “It is not for us to choose which of these is ha’Mashiaḥ of Elohim, for both are equally deluded. Neither should we choose according to their goodness or their teachings, or even by what they have done. This is a time of turmoil. Therefore, what is the life of one man against the lives of thousands? For surely this number will die if there is a revolt. Which will appease the people by his release, and which will cause less strife if he dies? May the Most High Elohim help us to choose wisely, and may He show compassion on the one who must die. Whichever dies is the savior of many, and so who are we to condemn him otherwise? Let the other be the bearer of our sins, and we will cast him out from among us.”
87 Then some Levites went and addressed the people thronging about, and they shouted, “Crucify the Sovereign, save the Deliverer.” But all were not in accord, and there were many disputes. Then the elders went back to Pilatus and said, “Release Barabbas.”
88 Now, when Yahuḏah saw what had happened, he was exceedingly troubled. For he had hoped neither 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 nor the other would suffer more than confinement over the festival period. He was therefore filled with remorse. He sought to return the silver to the Hĕyḵal treasurers, throwing it before them, saying, “I have betrayed the innocent.”
89 They said, “It means nothing to us. Be it on your head, not ours.”
90 When they told the Kohĕn ha’Gadol about the matter, he said, “This money is tainted and cannot be put into the Hĕyḵal coffers.”
91 So they used the money to buy a plot in the clay field used by potters, and it was used for the burial of strangers having no kindred. Then, after putting his house in order, Yahuḏah hanged himself from a ledge.
92 Pilatus ordered that 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 be scourged after the custom of Rome and delivered him to the army for crucifixion. And it was then about the sixth hour. The soldiers took him to a small court where, by custom, men gathered who took pleasure in tormenting the condemned. They danced before him, spitting and mocking. A victor’s crown was plaited from thornbush, and he was beaten with burning weeds. Placing a soldier’s scarlet mantle about his shoulders, they bowed before him in mock homage, saying, “Hail, you Great Sovereign of the Yahuḏim.” Others covered his eyes and struck him, saying, “Now, Sorcerer, tell us who hit you then.” He was pricked with reeds, and the mockers made sport with him in many ways.
93 When the cruelty was over, the soldiers stripped off the scarlet mantle and replaced his tunic, taking him away to the place of execution. Because of the scourging and other sufferings, 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 was unable to bear the crosspiece he carried. And a man named Shim’on the Cyrene, a stranger from Africa just come by way of Yoppa, was forced by the soldiers to carry it.
94 A crowd followed, among which were many lamenting and wailing women. 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 turned to them and said, “Daughters of Yerushalayim, do not be sorrowful because of me, for I approach the door of a greater life. Weep instead for yourselves and your children, for the day comes when you will have much greater cause for sorrow. If these things are done while the tree is green and full of life, what would they not do if it were old and dry?”
95 Coming to the place of execution, which was where the skull of Aḏam lay buried, the soldiers fastened 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 to the crosspiece and raised it up into its slot. Then his feet were fastened to the rest. After this, they divided his clothes among them; but the mantle, being woven without a seam, was given to one selected by lot. About his neck was hung a plaque, written in Latin, which read, ‘YAHUSHA BARHARETS, SOVEREIGN OF THE YAHUDIYM.’”
96 The Yahuḏim protested to Pilatus about this, but he said, “This is written by my authority.”
97 Two others were crucified with 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏, one on his right and one on his left. People passing along the road mocked and abused him, shouting, “Come down and rule over your kingdom.” Some said, “Where is your all-powerful Father now?” and, “If you are what you claim to be, get yourself out of this.” Many laughed, saying, “He came to save us, but cannot save himself. Savior, save yourself first.” The witnesses who stood about the cross also mocked him. They said, “Oh Deliverer, now deliver yourself.”
98 At the ninth hour, the sky darkened with cloud, and there was thunder and lightning. Thus, the prophecy was fulfilled which said, “In the valley of decision, on the day of the Deliverer, the sun and the Earth will be darkened.”
99 Then 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 began to speak the words of Dawiḏ and later said, “My Elohim, do not let your power drain away from me.”
100 Some standing nearby said, “Listen, he is calling on Ĕliyahu.” Another said, “Let us see if Ĕliyahu will come and take him.”
101 A man came with a sponge soaked in vinegar and duwed and raised it to the lips of 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏, but he turned his head away. Then some said, “He is ready to give up the ruaḥ.”
102 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 opened his eyes and said to those who stood near, “It is nearly over.”
103 Manilaus, the centurion who stood facing 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏, said, “Truly this is a man.”
104Then someone shouted, “It is over,” and there was an outbreak of wailing from the women.