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Barabbas was an insurrectionist robber who lived in the Roman province of Judea, during the life of Jesus Christ. Per his tradition, the governor of Judea- Pontius Pilate released Barabbas from Roman authority during the Passover feast, according to all four Gospels.


Early Life[]

Jesus Barabbas was a well known[1] insurrectionist and robber in the Roman province of Judea, operating in Jerusalem. His name "Jesus Barabbas" may have been given to him (perhaps satirically) by the Jewish people of the province when he began insurrections in Jerusalem, robbing people and committing a murder[2]. He may have been viewed as Messiah figure by Jewish people (most likely the Zealots) and may have received the title "God Saves, the Son of the Master". Apparently he was arrested in Jerusalem and was held under the jurisdiction of Pilate for some time. During the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread he was sentenced to execution by crucifixion, perhaps alongside two associates.

Release from Prison[]

Around the time of Barabbas's death sentence, Jesus of Nazareth was put on trial by bequest of the Sanhedrin. When Jesus was found to be innocent by Pilate, he attempted to have him released via a tradition where he would release a prisoner of choice by the people. The members of the Sanhedrin in Chief Priests, wishing that Jesus would die rather than Barabbas receive justice convinced the people to ask for Barabbas[3]. Pilate asked the crowds twice whom they wished to be released and they asked for Barrabas.


The name "Barabbas" consists of "bar," which can mean son, and "abbas," which can mean father or master. Therefore, his name means "Son of father/master".


  1. Matthew 26:16 (Link)
  2. Mark 15:7, Luke 23:19 (Link)
  3. Matthew 27:20 (Link)