גילי מאד בת-ציון הריעי בת ירושלם הנה מלכך יבוא לך צדיק ונושע הוא עני ורכב על-חמור ועל-עיר בן-אתנות
9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. Zechariah 9:9 (KJV)
He is just…
And having salvation…
1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. 6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. 8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. 10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? 11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. Matthew 21:1-11 (KJV)
10 Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. 11 And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve. Mark 11:10-11 (KJV)
saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. 39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. 40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. Luke 19:38-40 (KJV)
37 And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;
We have a gross misunderstanding of the phrase, “hosanna” today. It’s present in CCM songs as a term for praise. “Yeah, I was singing Hosannas….”
It means, “Save thou us.” Hosha na. The last day of Sukkot, the feast of Tabernacles is Hoshana Rabba, the great “save thou us”. We gather at the synagogue and pray a long prayer which has a refrain of “hosha na” repeated through it.
Why did this take place late in the day? Because the Lord traveled through Jericho, and it was much more important to Him to stop and see to the salvation and repentence of a SINGLE MAN before being proclaimed King.
The whole event would have immediately aroused the suspicions of the Romans. The Romans were over Syrian conscripts, who were enemies of Israel. The Syrians would have been immediately telling the Romans, “The Jews are proclaiming a King!!!”
This would have alarmed them a little. The Judeans had the right to internal rule – as long as that rule submitted to Rome. And if the Judeans chose a King from among them, that meant they were deposing Herod. That would have had advantages to Pilate, who apparently disliked his posting in Judea, and wanted a more prestigious posting (he’d tried to marry into favor with Caesar, but had chosen Caesar’s niece on a side of the family that went out of favor right after the wedding… hence the sending of Pilate to an area he didn’t want to be).
This was the kind of uproar publicly that would have summoned the watching Romans, putting them on edge. The Romans were in somewhat of a precarious situation. Rome was still at war with Scythia, but in kind of a cold war status. Caesar wanted to stabilize his reign of the Middle East, and the situation was fragile. Israel was a troublesome area to rule. Romans were required to travel in pairs, but Syrians were under no restriction. The syrian conscripts were often kiled by the Sicari, the “Dagger men” zealots.
Pilate had literally been warned that if he’d had one more major uprising in Jerusalem, he would be summoned to Rome to answer for it. Pilate knew that if that happened, the odds were good he’d be executed.
And in the midst of this, you had a priesthood that was troublesome, you had constant petitions from the competing religious parties (Herodians, Hellenists, Saducees, Pharisees). Rome had managed to do exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time every time in Israel. They’d tried to enrich themselves by selling the office of the High Priest, not understanding in Israel it was Hereditary. They’d tried to take what they thought was government money to build an aquaduct, only to find it was the Temple money, and belonged to God. A Roman general had violated the Temple by going inside it, resulting in bloodshed. Pilate had responded to every uprising by killing people.
And the Romans were a little vervous. They were vastly outnumbered, and reinforcements were days away.
And now the Jews were electing a King.
“Watch them, but leave them alone. Let’s see what happens.” Was probably Pilate’s orders. He no doubt wanted to send his troops down there and kill a few, but he was learning – don’t shed blood in Israel.
Pilate didn’t like Herod, who was dangerous, cunning, and prone to violence. Later on, they would become friends. But at this time… Pilate trusted only Pilate. If this new KIng could depose Herod, perhaps he would be more agreeable to keeping the peace than Herod?
So, Pilate watched. He had no idea things were going to get VERY out of control in just a couple of days.