Is there more information on Pontius Pilate's wife, Claudia, besides her dream and the fact that she told Pilate not to sentence Jesus to death?
The only time the New Testament refers to Pontius Pilate’s wife, Claudia Procula, is found in Matthew 27:19. But the Bible never gives us her name. What follow is a summary of what the Bible states and what is available from sources outside the Bible.
Pontius Pilate’s Wife in the Bible
Pontius Pilate’s wife appears in only one passage in the Bible, which is Matthew 27:19. In order to understand what was happening when she is mentioned in Scripture here is Matthew 27:15-19.
Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the people any one prisoner whom they wanted. At that time they were holding a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. When therefore they were gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew that because of envy they had delivered Him up. And while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him.” Matthew 27:15-19 (NASB)
Here we are told that Pilate’s wife did not come to her husband when he was sitting on the judgment seat during the trial of Jesus Christ. Instead she sent a message to her husband and said that she had a dream about Jesus Christ. The dream must have been a bad dream for the Greek for “suffered greatly” is pascho polys, which means she was greatly miserable during the dream. Therefore, she warned him to have nothing to do with Jesus. That is, all that the Bible says about her.
Evidence on Pilate’s Wife Outside the Bible
Additional information about Pilate’s wife can be found outside of the Bible. But we cannot be sure it is true. Scripture speaks truth, but we cannot be confident of the veracity of other sources of antiquity.
According to the Gospel of Nicodemus, the name of Pilate’s wife was Procle (also known as Claudia Procula).. It is important to remember that this is an apocryphal book that is rejected by the Roman Catholic Church, Protestants, and Judaism. So, the information is suspicious. According to the Gospel of Nicodemus, Pilate’s wife told him, “Have nothing to do with this just man, for many things have I suffered on account of him this night”. Also, the gospel says “And Pilate summoning the Jews, says to them: You know that my wife is a worshipper (sic) of God, and prefers to adhere to the Jewish religion . . .” Last, we are told by the early church father Origen that Pilate’s wife became a Christian before the crucifixion of Christ.. The Greek church made her a saint and honors her on October 27th. There is a rumor that Pilate’s wife was the woman named Claudia in 2 Timothy 4:21, but there is no solid proof for this claim.
If the above statements are true about her, she was one who feared God. She had either heard about Jesus or seen Him and maybe heard Him herself. What a wonderful turn of events if the executioner’s wife became a believer and a follower of the one her husband rejected. Many a husband and wife today live in this situation. Either the wife believes or the husband believes but not both. Today we refer to these situations as being unequally yoked. Just think – Claudia Procula was unequally yoked. This is a great reminder for us to remember and pray for those who are married to non-Christians. Claudia Procula must have had a difficult time in the days, months and years that followed Jesus’ death. If these accounts are true, God used these events to bring her to Jesus and so that she could have eternal life. For more information about how to have eternal life, visit Searching For God.
1. The Gospel of Nicodemus. In the first Greek form: Part 1, Chapter 2, footnote 7. In the second Greek form: Part 1, Chapter 4. Ante-Nicene Fathers. Hendrickson. 1995. vol. 8. p. 417, 427.
2. The Gospel of Nicodemus. In the first Greek form: Part 1, Chapter 2. Ante-Nicene Fathers. Hendrickson. 1995. vol. 8. p. 417.
3. Ibid. p. 417.
4. McClintock and Strong. Cyclopedia of Biblical Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature. 1887, vol. VIII, p. 202.
5. G. A. Muller. “Pilate,” James Hastings. Charles Scribners Sons. 1906. vol. III. p. 878.
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