Ecce Homo ek′sē̇ hō′mō (Ἰδοὺ ὁ ἄνθρωπος, “Behold, the man!” Jn 19:5): Pilate’s statement regarding Jesus during His trial.

While the significance of this statement is somewhat debatable, yet there is little doubt, as judged from his attitude and statement immediately following, that Pilate was endeavoring to appeal to the accusers’ sympathies and to point out to them the manly qualities of Jesus.


The ordinary punctuation which places an exclamation point after “Behold” and a period after “the man” is evidently incorrect if the grammatical structure in the Greek is to be observed, which gives to the second and third words the nominative form, and which therefore admits of a mild exclamation, and therefore of the emphasis upon “the man.” Some, however, hold the contrary view and maintain that the utterance was made in a spirit of contempt and ridicule, as much as to say, “Behold here a mere man.” See especially on this view Marcus Dods in Expositor’s Greek Testament. It would seem, however, that the former of the two views would be sustained by the chief facts in the case.


“Ecce Homo,” ISBE, paragraph 17732.

The Gospels report that Jesus was interrogated by Pontius Pilate at “the praetorium” (Gk. aulē, “palace”; Mark 15:16; cf. Matt. 27:27; John 18:28, 33; 19:9). This was once widely held to be the Fortress Antonia at the northwest corner of the temple mount. In 35–37 B.C. Herod the Great rebuilt an existing Hasmonean fortress, renaming it Antonia in honor of his patron Mark Antony (Josephus BJ 1.75, 117, 401–2). The Antonia surfaces in the NT in reference to “the barracks” (parembolḗ; Acts 21:34, 37; 22:24; 23:10, 16, 32). The Via Dolorosa begins at this site. Across the street at the modern Ecce Homo convent is a pavement once thought to be part of a 1st-century courtyard (Lithōstrōton, John 19:13) of the Antonia, but the pavement is now identified as part of the eastern forum of the city as rebuilt by Hadrian (A.D. 132–135).

“PRAETORIUM,” Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, 1076.

Gabbatha gab′a-tha: Given (Jn 19:13) as the name of a special pavement (τὸ λιθόστρωτον), and is probably a transcription in Greek of the Aramaic גַּבְּתָא, meaning “height” or “ridge.” Tradition which now locates the Pretorium at the Antonia and associates the triple Roman arch near there with the “Ecce Homo” scene, naturally identifies an extensive area of massive Roman pavement, with blocks 4 ft. X 3 1/2 ft. and 2 ft. thick, near the “Ecce Homo Arch,” as the Gabbatha. This paved area is in places roughened for a roadway, and in other places is marked with incised designs for Roman games of chance. The site is a lofty one, the ground falling away rapidly to the E. and W., and it must have been close to, or perhaps included in, the Antonia. But apart from the fact that it is quite improbable that the Pretorium was here (see PRAETORIUM), it is almost certain that the λιθόστρωτον was a mosaic pavement (compare Neh 1:6), such as was very common in those days, and the site is irretrievably lost.


“Gabbatha,” ISBE, paragraph 22142.