Luke 13:1-9

Commentary Excerpt by Tom Boomershine

This story of the murder of some Galileans by Pilate and the destruction of a number of people when the tower collapsed in the wall of Jerusalem near the pool of Siloam is a story for which we have no other historical records from the ancient world. Nevertheless,it is clear that the people who came to speak to Jesus about this massacre were highly offended and shocked at this action by Pilate. This was grounds for revolution.

In a later incident, in 35 A.D. shortly after Jesus' death, Pilate had his soldiers and cavalry attack a group of Samaritans who had gathered at the base of Mount Gerizim to go up on the mountain. He killed many Samaritans who were simply trying to climb the mountain as an act of devotion. The man who was leading them was a little bit of a kook and may have had some kind of rebellion in mind, but there is no evidence of that. The Roman legate in Syria, Vitelius, was so offended by what Pilate did that he reported him to Caesar. Pilate had to return to Rome to report directly to the Emperor about what he had done because there was such offense in Galilee, and especially in Samaria, at his action.Thus, we know Pilate did the kind of thing reported in Luke 18:1-9, even though we don't have any historical records of Pilate having attacked Galileans.

The Galileans Pilate is accused of massacring in Luke were probably sacrificing in the Jerusalem Temple. It's very unlikely that they would have been sacrificing at the temple on Mount Gerizim, which was the Samaritan temple. In all probability this was a group of Galileans who came to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices and to participate in a religious ceremony. For some reason that we don't know, Pilate attacked them and killed many innocent Galileans who were simply there for a religious observance.

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