724. Scourging

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It was customary among the Romans to scourge a condemned criminal before he was put to death. From Luke 23:1616I will therefore chastise him, and release him. (Luke 23:16), some have doubted whether the scourging of Jesus was a punishment of that character, inasmuch as Pilate there seems desirous to substitute scourging for crucifixion. It is not, however, a question of any practical moment, since the scourging was probably as severe as was usual in the cases of the condemned.
Scourging among the Romans was a more severe punishment than among the Jews. See note on Matthew 10:1717But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; (Matthew 10:17) (#656). The scourge was made of cords or thongs of leather, and especially of ox-hide. There was one sort with which slaves were beaten, the use of which was particularly dreadful. It was knotted with bones, or heavy, indented circles of bronze. Sometimes the thongs, two or three in number, terminated in hooks. Such an instrument of torture was called a scorpion. There was no legal limit to the number of blows, as among the Jews; but the unfortunate culprit, bound to a low pillar, so that his bent back might more readily receive the heavy strokes, was beaten with merciless severity, and death was sometimes the result of this cruel punishment. Paul refers to Roman scourging in 2 Corinthians 11:24-2524Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; (2 Corinthians 11:24‑25).