The Meaning of John 18:12 Explained

John 18:12

KJV: Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,

YLT: The band, therefore, and the captain, and the officers of the Jews, took hold on Jesus, and bound him,

Darby: The band therefore, and the chiliarch, and the officers of the Jews, took Jesus and bound him:

ASV: So the band and the chief captain, and the officers of the Jews, seized Jesus and bound him,

What does John 18:12 Mean?

Verse Meaning

The commander (Gr. chiliarchos, cf. Acts 22:24; Acts 22:26-28; Acts 23:17; Acts 23:19; Acts 23:22) in view was the officer in charge of the Roman soldiers. He was evidently the person with the most official authority on the scene. However the Jewish officers (i.e, temple police) also played a part in Jesus" arrest. Perhaps John noted that they bound Jesus in view of Isaiah"s prophecy that Messiah"s enemies would lead Him as a lamb to the slaughter ( Isaiah 53:7). Jesus" disciples abandoned Him when His enemies took him into custody (cf. Matthew 26:56; Mark 14:50).

Context Summary

John 18:12-18 - Fear Undermines Loyalty
Apparently a preliminary and private examination was held while the Sanhedrin was being hastily summoned. The other disciple was evidently John. It was a mistake for Peter to throw himself into such a vortex of trial. His foolhardiness and curiosity led him thither. While the Master was before one bar, Peter stood at another, but how egregiously he failed! In spite of his brave talk, he was swept off his feet-as we shall be, unless we have learned to avail ourselves of that power which is made perfect only in weakness. Peter's fall was due to his self-confidence and lack of prayer. Those who are weak should beware of exposing themselves in places and company where they are liable to fail. Do not warm yourself at the world's fires.
Three lessons emerge from Peter's failure: (1) Let us not sleep through the precious moments which Heaven affords before each hour of trial, but use them for putting on the whole armor of God, that we may be able to stand in the evil day. (2) Let us not vaunt our own strength. We need more than resolution to sustain us in the hour of conflict. (3) Let us not cast ourselves down from the mountainside, unless absolutely sure that God bids us to do so. He will not otherwise give His angels charge to keep us. [source]

Chapter Summary: John 18

1  Judas betrays Jesus
6  The officers fall to the ground
10  Peter cuts off Malchus' ear
12  Jesus is taken, and led unto Annas and Caiaphas
15  Peter's denial
19  Jesus examined before Caiaphas
25  Peter's second and third denial
28  Jesus arraigned before Pilate
36  His kingdom
40  The Jews prefer Barabbas

Greek Commentary for John 18:12

The chief captain [ο χιλιαρχος]
They actually had the Roman commander of the cohort along (cf. Acts 21:31), not mentioned before. Seized Second aorist active of συλλαμβανω — sullambanō old verb to grasp together, to arrest (technical word) in the Synoptics in this context (Mark 14:48; Matthew 26:55), here alone in John. Bound First aorist active indicative of δεω — deō to bind. As a matter of course, with the hands behind his back, but with no warrant in law and with no charge against him. To Annas first Ex-high priest and father-in-law Genitive of time. [source]
The captain [χιλίαρχος]
See on Mark 6:21, and see on centurion, Luke 7:2. [source]
Took [συνέλαβον]
Rev., better, seized. It is the technical word for arresting. Literally, took with them, of which there is a suggestion in the modern policeman's phrase, go along with me. Compare Luke 22:54. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for John 18:12

Matthew 27:2 Delivered him up to Pilate the governor [παρεδωκαν Πειλατωι τωι ηγεμονι]
What they had done was all a form and a farce. Pilate had the power of death, but they had greatly enjoyed the condemnation and the buffeting of Jesus now in their power bound as a condemned criminal. He was no longer the master of assemblies in the temple, able to make the Sanhedrin cower before him. He had been bound in the garden and was bound before Annas (John 18:12, John 18:24), but may have been unbound before Caiaphas. [source]
Mark 15:1 Held a consultation [συμβουλιον ποιησαντες]
So text of Westcott and Hort (Vulgate consilium facientes), though they give ετοιμασαντες — hetoimasantes in the margin. The late and rare word συμβουλιον — sumboulion is like the Latin consilium. If ετοιμασαντες — hetoimasantes is the correct text, the idea would be rather to prepare a concerted plan of action (Gould). But their action was illegal on the night before and they felt the need of this ratification after dawn which is described in Luke 22:66-71, who does not give the illegal night trial.Bound Jesus (δησαντες τον Ιησουν — dēsantes ton Iēsoun). He was bound on his arrest (John 18:12) when brought before Annas who sent him on bound to Caiaphas (John 18:24) and now he is bound again as he is sent to Pilate (Mark 15:1; Matthew 27:2). It is implied that he was unbound while before Annas and then before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin. [source]
Mark 15:1 Bound Jesus [δησαντες τον Ιησουν]
He was bound on his arrest (John 18:12) when brought before Annas who sent him on bound to Caiaphas (John 18:24) and now he is bound again as he is sent to Pilate (Mark 15:1; Matthew 27:2). It is implied that he was unbound while before Annas and then before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin. [source]
Luke 7:2 Centurion [ἑκατοντάρχου]
From ἕκατον , a hundred, and ἄρχω , to command. Commander of a hundred men. Mark uses κεντυρίων , a Graecized form of the Latin word centurio. Acenturia was originally a division consisting of a hundred things of a kind; and thence came to mean any division, whether consisting of a hundred or not. In military language it meant a division of troops, a company, not necessarily of a hundred, the captain of which was called centurio. The numbers of a century varied from about fifty to a hundred. The Roman legion consisted of ten cohorts or σπεῖραι , bands, as” the Italian band,” of which Cornelius was a centurion (Acts 10:1). The commanders of these cohorts were called chiliarchs, or chief captains (John 18:12, Rev.). Each cohort contained six centuries, or companies, of which the commanders were called centurions. The duty of the centurion was chiefly confined to the regulation of his own corps, and the care of the watch. The badge of his office was the vitis, or vine-stock. He wore a short tunic, and was also known by letters on the crest of his helmet. Dean Howson (“Companions of St. Paul”) remarks on the favorable impression left upon the mind by the officers of the Roman army mentioned in the New Testament, and cites, besides the centurion in this passage, the one at the cross, and Julius, who escorted Paul to Rome. See Acts 10:1. [source]
John 18:24 Therefore sent him [απεστειλεν ουν αυτον]
First aorist active of αποστελλω — apostellō not past perfect (had sent). The preliminary examination by Annas was over. Bound Perfect passive participle of δεω — deō to bind. Jesus was bound on his arrest (John 18:12) and apparently unbound during the preliminary examination by Annas. [source]
John 7:32 The Pharisees [οι Παρισαιοι]
This group of the Jewish rulers (John 7:11, John 7:15, John 7:25.) was particularly hostile to Christ, though already the Sadducees had become critical (Matthew 16:6) and they join here First aorist active indicative of ακουω — akouō with the genitive case and the descriptive participle of the vivid onomatopoetic verb γογγυζω — gogguzō (John 7:12) now grown louder like the hum of bees. It was the defense of Jesus by a portion of the crowd (John 7:31) that irritated the Pharisees. Here the Pharisees take the initiative and enlist the Sadducees in the Sanhedrin (for this combination see John 7:45; John 11:47, John 11:57; Matthew 21:45; Matthew 27:62, the organized court) to send “officers” For υπηρετας — hupēretas (temple police here) see John 7:45; John 18:3, John 18:12, John 18:22; John 19:6; Acts 5:22, Acts 5:26. For the word see Matthew 5:25; Luke 1:2, “an under rower” (υπο ερετης — hupo class="translit"> eretēs), any assistant. [source]
Galatians 4:10 Ye observe [παρατήρεισθε]
See on Mark 3:2, and see on John 18:12, and comp. Joseph. Ant. 3:5,5, παρατηρεῖν τὰς ἑβδομάδας towatch the weeks. The word denotes careful, scrupulous observance, an intent watching lest any of the prescribed seasons should be overlooked. A merely legal or ritual religion always develops such scrupulousness. [source]

What do the individual words in John 18:12 mean?

- Then the cohort and the commander the officers of the Jews took hold of - Jesus bound Him
οὖν σπεῖρα καὶ χιλίαρχος οἱ ὑπηρέται τῶν Ἰουδαίων συνέλαβον τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἔδησαν αὐτὸν

Parse: Article, Nominative Feminine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
σπεῖρα  the  cohort 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: σπεῖρα  
Sense: anything rolled into a circle or ball, anything wound, rolled up, folded together.
χιλίαρχος  commander 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: χιλίαρχος  
Sense: a chiliarch, the commander of a thousand soldiers.
ὑπηρέται  officers 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: ὑπηρέτης  
Sense: servant.
τῶν  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Plural
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Ἰουδαίων  Jews 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: Ἰουδαῖος  
Sense: Jewish, belonging to the Jewish race.
συνέλαβον  took  hold  of 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: συλλαμβάνω  
Sense: to seize, take: one as prisoner.
τὸν  - 
Parse: Article, Accusative Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Ἰησοῦν  Jesus 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: Ἰησοῦς  
Sense: Joshua was the famous captain of the Israelites, Moses’ successor.
ἔδησαν  bound 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: δέω  
Sense: to bind tie, fasten.