wash one’s hands of something

to show one’s unwillingness to take responsibility for a situation; to give up on or disown something
—When I found out that the leader of the club had stolen all our group’s funds, I tore up my membership card and washed my hands of the whole thing.

Having sentenced Jesus to die, the Jewish leaders took Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea. (Judea was the area of Israel in which Jerusalem was located.) They went to Pilate, because the Romans would not allow them to enforce the death penalty on their own. Pilate was reluctant to put Jesus to death, so he tried to set him free. The Jews were celebrating the Passover festival, and it was a custom of the governor during the festival to allow the people to choose a prisoner for him to release. He asked the crowd that had gathered if they wanted Jesus or Barabbas, who was in prison for rioting and committing murder, to go free:

The governor asked them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas!” Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Christ?” They all said, “Crucify him!” He asked, “Why? What wrong has he done?” But they shouted more insistently, “Crucify him!”

When Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but that instead a riot was starting, he took some water, washed his hands before the crowd and said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. You take care of it yourselves!” (Matthew 27:21-24)

Next Post
Comments are closed.
  • All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2017 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://bible.org. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

    Scripture in brackets is from the King James Bible.

  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed by Craig Thompson under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

    Any reproduction of this content using passages from the NET Bible must follow NET Bible's copyright policy for use of those passages.

    For information on creating translations of Putting Words in Our Mouths, please go here.

  • Visit My Blog: Clearing Customs

    What Ever Did We Do before the Invention of Empathy? and Prince Philip’s Confession in “The Crown”

    Did you know there once was a time when empathy didn’t exist in the English-speaking world. During that time, all those poor souls lived in a “Dark Age” of feelings in which they had only sympathy to rely on when faced with others’ pain. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that the word empathy was […]

    When in Rome . . . or Santiago or Nairobi or Chiang Mai [—at A Life Overseas]

    When in Rome, sometimes we do as the Romans do just to fit in. Sometimes it’s out of necessity. Sometimes it’s because their way is actually better. And sometimes it’s because, well—Why not give it a shot? Has your host culture offered you ways of doing things different from what you’re used to, ways you’ve […]