John 19:22

Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

Pilate answered, what I have written I have written,.... He seems to say this, as one angry and displeased with them; either because they would not consent to release Jesus, which he was desirous of, but pressed him so very hard to crucify him; or at their insolence, in directing him in what form to put the superscription, which he determines shall stand unaltered, as he had wrote it. This he said, either because he could not alter it after it was written, for it is said {w}, that

"a proconsul's table is his sentence, which being once read, not one letter can either be increased or diminished; but as it is recited, so it is related in the instrument of the province;''

or if he could have altered it, he was not suffered by God to do it; but was so directed, and over ruled by divine providence, as to write, so to persist in, and abide by what he had wrote inviolably; which is the sense of his words. Dr. Lightfoot has given several instances out of the Talmud, showing that this is a common way of speaking with the Rabbins; and that words thus doubled signify that what is spoken of stands good, and is irrevocable: so a widow taking any of the moveable goods of her husband deceased for her maintenance, it is said {x}, hopt hoptv hm, "what she takes, she takes"; that is, she may lawfully do it, and retain it: it continues in her hands, and cannot be taken away from her; and so the gloss explains it, "they do not take it from her"; and in the same way Maimonides {y} interprets it: so of a man that binds himself to offer an oblation one way, and he offers it another way, aybh aybhv

hm, "what he has offered, he has offered {z}"; what he has offered is right, it stands good, and is not to be rejected: and again, among the rites used by a deceased brother's wife, towards him that refuses to marry her, if one thing is done before the other, it matters not, ywve ywvev hm, "what is done, is done {a}"; and is not to be undone, or done over again in another way; it stands firm and good, and not to be objected to: and the same writer observes, that this is a sort of prophecy of Pilate, and which should continue, and for ever obtain, that the Jews should have no other King Messiah than Jesus of Nazareth; nor have they had any other; all that have risen up have proved false Messiahs; nor will they have any other; nor indeed any king, until they seek the Lord their God, and David their king, Hosea 3:5 that is, the son of David, as they will do in the latter day; when they shall be converted, and when they shall own him as their king, their ancestors at this time were ashamed of.

{w} Apulei Florid. c. 9.
{x} T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 96. 1.
{y} Hilchot Ishot, c. 18. sect. 10.
{z} T. Bab. Menachot, fol. 3. 1.
{a} T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 106. 2.