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And they twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and a reed in his right hand, and they knelt down before him, and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Bible

“mocked.” The Greek word translated “mocked” is empaizō (#1702 ἐμπαίζω), and means “mock,” “make fun of,” “ridicule.” In some contexts it has a second meaning, that of outwitting someone in a way that makes a fool of the person; to trick; to deceive; (Matt. 2:16). The “mocking” can be simply verbal, or it can be physical as well, and thus it can be categorized as physical abuse. It is used that way in the Septuagint (Judg. 16:25; 1 Sam. 31:4; Prov. 23:35). Empaizō is also used euphemistically for rape (Gen. 39:14, 17; Judg. 19:25; 20:5), which has caused some people to speculate that during his torture Jesus was raped by one or more of the Roman soldiers. Although homosexuality and bisexuality were common in the Roman world, the context of “mock” in the NT seems to exclude rape. For one thing, empaizō is used of Jesus being mocked when he was in public settings and even when he was on the cross (Luke 22:63; 23:36). He was also mocked in Herod’s presence but certainly not likely raped right there in the public of Herod’s court (Luke 23:11).

The times Jesus is recorded as being “mocked” when he was alone with the soldiers also seem to exclude him being raped. Both records, Matthew 27:29-31 and Mark 15:17-20, show that the soldiers put royal clothes on Jesus, then mocked him, then removed those clothes. That the clothes were removed after he was “mocked” certainly seems to exclude rape as part of the mocking. Jesus went through terrible and prolonged verbal and physical abuse between the time he was arrested and the time he died on the cross, and that included being mocked in many different settings by many different people. Sadly, Jesus still suffers physical abuse via his Body, the Church, which is persecuted for his name. Nevertheless, there will come a day when that will stop, and every knee will bow before him.


Commentary for: Matthew 27:29