Questions From Readers
● Matthew 27:19 mentions a dream Pilate’s wife had concerning Jesus in which she “suffered a lot.” Was this dream from God?
The scripture here reads: “While he [Pilate] was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent out to him, saying: ‘Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I suffered a lot today in a dream because of him.’” We must remember that the account is dealing with the trial of the Son of God. This trial and Jesus’ impalement led to phenomena from God—unnatural darkness, an earthquake, the rending in two of the temple’s curtain. (Matt. 27:45, 51-54) So the dream, in this context, suggests divine origin, especially since it is recorded in the Word of God by Matthew, who wrote under inspiration of God’s holy spirit. It was not a normal dream induced by any foreknowledge that Jesus would be brought before her husband for trial on the following morning.
Inspired Bible writers show that Jehovah used dreams in times past to give warnings, not only to his faithful people, but also to others who had dealings with them. Such was the case when Abimelech the king of Gerar took Abraham’s wife for himself. Matthew himself records other dreams that contained divine warnings—not only those to Joseph the foster father of Jesus, but also a dream warning pagan astrologers not to report to Herod the whereabouts of the child Jesus. (Gen. 20:3-7; Matt. 1:20-24; 2:12, 13, 19) So Matthew’s writing of the dream of Pilate’s wife is to be viewed as significant.
In Pilate’s case his wife’s dream would serve as a forceful warning that he was dealing with a special situation, that he needed to be careful to avoid guilt. The dream gave emphasis to Jesus’ innocence in a way that Pilate could hardly ignore. He had already examined Jesus and knew him to be innocent; then he received a message from his wife concerning her dream. It no doubt influenced his thinking as he made several efforts to get the crowd to withdraw their demand for his death. When Pilate at last washed his hands before the crowd and said, “I am innocent of the blood of this man,” it did not clear him of responsibility for what he was doing, but the guilt of those who shouted, “His blood come upon us and upon our children,” had certainly been well established.—Matt. 27:24, 25.