Summary: A Tribune of Rome and Prefect of the Antonia fortress, Marcus Galerius
was appointed by Pontius Pilate to keep peace in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas.
According to scripture, Galerius was a “brutish man who ruled harshly over all men,
whether Jew or Gentile” (Y:5:8). He had a reputation throughout Judea for his merciless
and brutal handling of rebel groups and agitators, including that of Judas of Gamala.
Scripture portrays the significance of Galerius’ initial introduction to Yeshua.
When Galerius observed from the fortress tower a commotion in the court of the temple,
he sent a servant to inquire regarding the clamor. The servant returned to report
how a prophet from Galilee had come to cleanse the temple with indignation and fury,
and people were calling him the Anointed One (Y:5:2-6; Y:4:42-66). Galerius proceeded
to call Caiaphas, the Jewish High Priest, to the fortress, whereupon he offered Caiaphas
an ultimatum: control this Galilean and maintain peace, or all the money in the temple
will be seized under the banner of Rome and you will lose your prized position as
High Priest (Y:5:14-15). This development led Caiaphas and the chief priests to conspire
against Yeshua, to the extent of hiring Judas of Kerioth to spy on the Galilean with
the hope of finding some legal reason to put him to death (Y:5:16-26). Meanwhile,
Galerius reported to Pontius Pilate concerning the situation. As a result, Pilate
sent a cohort of troops to Jerusalem to aid Galerius in keeping peace, by force if
More than a year later (month of Nissan — 36 CE), Pilate was in Jerusalem for the
Passover. Discovering Caiaphas and the chief priests had failed in their efforts
to kill Yeshua (Y:31:39-48), he ordered Galerius to send soldiers to the temple grounds
disguised as Jews, to secretly kill Yeshua in the press of the crowd (Y:31:49-51).
But Yeshua, being “warned of God”, left Bethany with this disciples and traveled
to Jericho (Y:31:51).
Later in the year, Galerius sent a letter to Pilate expressing his concerns over
the growing national fervor surrounding Yeshua. Fearing the Jews would rise up against
Rome because of Yeshua, he requested that Pilate come to Jerusalem with military
reinforcements (Y:39:44-50). Just weeks before Passover (37 CE), Pilate arrived at
Fortress Antonia with two cohorts, while Yeshua found refuge in Ephraim (Y:40:1-2).
Yeshua later returned to Jerusalem against the wishes of his disciples, namely Cephas,
who feared for the Master’s life (Y:40:16-30).
As a point of interest: Rufinius, one of Yeshua’s closest friends and disciples,
was a Roman centurion under the command of Marcus Galerius before abandoning his
duties to follow Yeshua (Y:10:1-11; 17:21-35).
And seeing in the courts of the temple a great and swelling commotion, [Galerius]
called one of his servants who was a Jew, and commanded that he should go and inquire
of this thing....
Thus did the servant inquire and he went and told Galerius all which he had heard.
And Galerius, being charged by Pilate to keep peace in Jerusalem, sent word unto
Caiaphas that he would speak with him concerning the Galilean.
Now this Marcus Galerius was a brutish man who ruled harshly over all men, whether
Jew or Gentile; for there had dwelt aforetime in the regions of Gischala, Barak Bar
Annas, a bandit of great renown.
And Galerius, hearing of his great plundering, did capture him and all his men. And
he crucified every man among them, and taking their wives and children, he slew them
before the eyes of the crucified. By such harshness did Galerius make peaceful the
regions round about.
Yeshua 5:2, 7-9
44. But Galerius which watched closely over all which happened in Jerusalem, grew
troubled all the more because of Yeshua, for wheresoever the Lord went, even there
would the multitudes gather to hear him.
45. And calling forth a scribe, he wrote unto Caesarea, saying: ‘To the most excellent
governor, Pontius Pilate, Procurator of all Judea and Samaria: From Marcus Galerius,
Tribune of Rome and Prefect of Antonia and all Jerusalem, Greetings:
46. Seeing that there has arisen out of Galilee of the nations this Yeshua of Nazareth
which has set aflame all Judea, it is expedient, my lord, that you make haste unto
the city with both troop and horse.
47. For having captured certain of the Zealots which would lay waste the countryside,
even they have confessed that Yeshua alone is king of all the Jews.
48. And they which rule in the temple grow fearful daily, lest they lose both their
place and nation because of him.
49. And whensoever those which are in authority would lay hold of him, behold, he
flees away through the press of the crowd, for many are there which keep watch against
us for his sake.’
50. These then are the words which Galerius wrote unto the Procurator in Caesarea,
and Pilate determined to go in strength unto Jerusalem at the Feast of the Passover,
that he might take by force the Nazarene and put him to death.