The Roman governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate was the judge at the Trial of Jesus who was deceived by the Pharisees and Head Priest Caiphas into placing Jesus of Nazareth under arrest and eventually crucifying him under charge of Heresy. When he asked the Jews "Who do you want me to release? Barabas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?" and the Jews ordered Barabas to be released. Pilate then asked them "Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?" The priests persuaded the crowd to crucify Jesus. Upon hearing so, Pilate washed his hands before the Jews saying "I am innocent of this man's blood, see to it yourselves." His cowardice contributed to the suffering of One for the sins of many, for this Lucifer designed his just but horrific punishment that makes him bear the weight of all in Limbo.
- In The Inferno, some believe that Pontius Pilate is mentioned to be among those on the Shores of Acheron, in the Vestibule of Hell (where Opportunists who never chose sides in life were punished by manifestations of their guilty conscience). However, the text is ambiguous.
- Some historians doubt the account of Pilate "washing his hands" of Jesus's innocent blood. Tensions were high in Jerusalem during the Passover season due to the occupation of the Romans. Jesus's teachings and his earlier action of throwing over the tables in front of the Temple made him a potential political enemy to both the Pharisees, and to Pilate as regional governor. He may not have seen a moral dilemma in having a potential rebel leader executed before a riot began in the city.
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