Pavement of Stones

When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.

John 19:13 (KJV)

Gabbatha – Ready for some confusion? This is a Chaldean word with Aramaic origin, not translated into Greek, but left in its Hebrew pronunciation, and it ultimately means pavement. It’s only mentioned once in the New Testament, and its Hebrew equivalent is found only once in 2 Kings 16:17. Now remember it’s really not a Hebrew word, so there is no exact equivalent, but the meaning of the word in the Hebrew context can be found in 2 Kings.

Ok, now lets clarify. In Greek, this place was called ‘Lithostrotos’ or ‘the Pavement of Stones’. According to John Gill, a renown Bible commentator, it’s where “the Sanhedrim sat in the temple when they tried capital causes.” It was square and elevated, and made of smooth hewn stones. Half of it was holy and half of it was common. So when there’s a word only used once in the New Testament, and has some connection to a word used only once in the Tenakh, there’s got to be a connection, right? Yes!

The incident in 2 Kings 16 reveals King Ahaz’s closing act as he completely gives himself over to idolatry.

And king Ahaz cut off the borders of the bases, and removed the laver from off them; and took down the sea from off the brasen oxen that were under it, and put it upon the pavement of stones.

2 Kings 16:17

The laver, where the priests cleansed themselves daily, is taken down and placed upon the pavement of stones. At this moment, there is no more cleansing oneself before service unto the LORD. There is no more service unto the LORD. It is placed by Ahaz on the pavement of stones, the place where righteous judgment was discerned, but now was lost.

In this same relation, Pilot sits on the pavement of stones, a seat where righteous judgment should come forth, but instead delivers the one man who could cleanse us of our sins to a sentence of death.

In one instance, a Jewish king is persuaded by a Gentile idolater, and in the other a Gentile idolater is persuaded by Jews who rejected the Messiah.

The similarities are so intertwined, it’s no wonder John chose the wording he did. He wanted the relationship to be seen.


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