Summary and Analysis: Chapter 25
A hurricane has struck Yershalaim, and Pilate is lying on a couch under the columns of his palace. He mutters to himself before seeing the hooded man who had been present at the execution. They greet each other, and as the evening sun starts shining, the hooded man reports that the city’s populace is calm, and the Roman troops can leave. They converse about the execution before Pilate raises the issue of Judas of Kiriath. The hooded man, who is the head of the Roman secret police in Judea, confirms that Judas will be paid well for handing over Yeshua. Pilate mentions his fear that Judas will be killed tonight by one of Yeshua’s friends. He asks the hooded man, whose name is Aphranius, to protect Judas, and though Aphranius vows to do this, Pilate predicts Judas will be killed. He also asks Aphranius for a report on the burial of the executed men before Aphranius leaves.
The weather imagery of the chapter, with its initial hurricane and the sun emerging from that storm to shine its twilight rays on Yershalaim, calls to mind the important role weather has played throughout the novel in setting scenes and highlighting moods. Here, the storm seems to reflect Pilate’s unsettled mind as well as provide the appropriate backdrop for the shadowy machinations of Aphranius, the hooded man. The vow that only the power of the Roman Caesar is guaranteed is ironic, given that Pilate has gained no peace from his own power, and the Roman Empire itself will begin its decline not long after Pilate leaves office. Despite the vow about guarantees, Pilate is willing to prophesize Judas’s death. This prophecy appears to be read by Aphranius as an order to murder Judas.