“wife.” According to tradition, Pilate’s wife is named Procla, or Claudia Procla, but there is little actual support for the name.
“sent to him.” The dream so disturbed Pilate’s wife she actually interrupted Pilate’s work as governor to tell him not to have anything to do with “that righteous man.” We do not know any details as to how Pilate’s wife came to that conclusion about Jesus. She was almost surely well aware of the greedy, power-hungry religious leaders, even as Pilate was (Matt. 27:18), and may have heard of Jesus’ miracles and done some investigation on her own. It is also possible that the dream was so vivid, and Jesus’ innocence proclaimed so vividly in it, that she came to the conclusion that Jesus was a righteous man based on the dream alone. Given what we know about where Pilate was when he tried Jesus, most likely at the ancestral Hasmonean Palace near the Temple, it is clear why she “sent to him.” She would have been staying at Herod’s Western Palace.
“today.” The Greek is sēmeron (#4594 σήμερον), which means “today.” This is a very accurate chronological statement, although some English versions completely misinterpret and mistranslate it, and read “last night.” This was “today.” It was Jesus’ second trial before Pilate, which was around noon (John 19:14). The Jews had taken Jesus to Pilate early in the morning (John 18:28). But when Pilate learned that Jesus was from Galilee, he sent him to Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch of Galilee. But Herod Antipas could not get any satisfaction from Jesus and sent him back to Pilate who had to call the Jews back together (Luke 23:13), and put Jesus on trial again. The three Roman trials of Jesus are recorded in Luke 23. Pilate’s wife sent to him during this second trial before Pilate, a fact we know because Pilate was already trying to get the Jews to choose between Jesus and Barabbas, something that occurred during this second trial before Pilate. Typically, the Romans got up very early in the morning, and it is very likely Pilate’s wife did too. She did not have the dream during the night, or she would have interrupted Pilate’s first trial of Jesus. She would have had no way of knowing Pilate would send Jesus to Herod; Pilate did not even foresee that himself. During her morning snooze, which would have been in the day, thus, “today,” she had the dream that so disturbed her, and sent to Pilate to have nothing to do with Jesus. [For more information on the chronology of the events from Jesus’ arrest to his death, see commentaries on John 18:13 and 19:14. For information on the events and chronology of Jesus’ death and resurrection and his being in the tomb from Wednesday night to Saturday night, see commentaries on Matthew 12:40 and Luke 23:50. For more information on Nicodemus and that he came after Joseph of Arimathea left the tomb, see commentary on John 19:40].
One thing the dream does is it shows us God’s love for people and that He genuinely did try to warn Pilate not to have anything to do with Jesus. Furthermore, Pilate himself knew Jesus was innocent (Matt. 27:18). In spite of God’s warning and what Pilate himself knew, he condemned an innocent man to death so he could augment or save his political career. Godly people must learn that the Devil works hard behind the scenes to set people up so that they face potential ruin if they do not give in to evil. But we must not give in to evil. God will deliver us now and/or reward us in the future. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego could have been killed for not bowing to Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image (Dan. 3). Daniel could have been killed just for praying (Dan. 6). Godly people must follow their example.
“dream.” The Romans put a lot of weight into dreams, particularly when there was a lot going on politically. Calpurnia, the wife of Julius Caesar, had a dream that he was going to be killed, and her pleas were so insistent that he almost stayed home, but did not, and was killed by Brutus and his co-conspirators. That event gave dreams a lot of standing to the Romans, and was no doubt one of the reasons Pilate worked so hard to have Jesus released.