Claudia’s Dream; Pilate’s Dread

Posted on July 18, 2019

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By David Ettinger

This is a fictional story of the biblical account.

A Day of Dread
It had been the longest day of Claudia Procula’s life, and yet she couldn’t understand why.

She had a dream that disturbed her, but who was she to be dreaming about Jewish rabbis and whether or not they were innocent or guilty? As the wife of Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea, she never made it a point to get involved with politics, but often found herself invited to do so.

During his four years in Israel, Pilate had come to trust his wife, bouncing the tensions and frustrations of his long days off her when he arrived home. She was wise and he valued her opinion.

 “Would you have done the same thing, Claudia?” he would ask, not seeking her blind allegiance but her true judgment. Her discernment comforted him; it was the reason he took her with him when he traveled.

Today, however, Claudia wished this was one trip Pilate did not include her on. She loved their home up in Caesarea, just off the Mediterranean coast. When time allowed, she would escape for half-hour strolls along the shore, her bare feet soaking in the cool of the foamy tide.

She wished she was there right now.

In all their time in Judea, this day had been the most tense; the most anxious; and for her, the most disturbing.

To make matters worse, Pilate had been summoned exceptionally early that morning, just after daybreak, and now, more than 12 hours later, he was still not back.

She desperately wanted to speak with him, but would he want to speak with her?

Finally, with brilliant orange and purple hues painting the western sky, Pilate arrived. Though a woman of remarkable calm, Claudia felt her heart skip a beat. When Pilate entered their main living quarters, she felt like greeting him, but decided against it.

At first sight of her, he stopped and stared. She could tell he had much to say, but was still trying to make sense of it himself.

 “Shall I have the servants fix you something to eat, my dear?” she asked, needing to break the silence.

 “No, Claudia, thank you. I haven’t much of an appetite.”

She held her breath, waiting to see what he would do next. Going to his private chambers would signify that he wanted to be alone and would not be seeing her the rest of the evening. Sitting on his favorite chair, however, was her invitation to join him.

He sat in his favorite chair. She sat next to him.

The Dream
“So, dear Claudia, tell me about this dream of yours. You are not the only one it disturbed.”

She knew he would bring this up first. Early that morning there had been a trial for a Jewish rabbi who had been unnerving Judea for almost three years. As Claudia slept in the very early, still-dark hours of that morning, she dreamt about the Galilean. It was so disconcerting to her that she sent her husband a message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”

Pilate looked at her and smiled.

 “You can imagine my surprise, my love, when I received your message. Especially when you had already proclaimed him innocent before I even had an opportunity to question him.”

 “You know I would never do anything like that unless …”

Again, Pilate smiled reassuringly.

 “I know you wouldn’t. This is what bothered me so much. You scared the sandals off of me.”

“That was not my intent.”

“So, Claudia, this dream of yours …”

She rose and began to pace, something Pilate had never seen her do.

“I don’t believe I can explain it, my dear. But it was more than a dream.”

“How so, Claudia?”

“I don’t know … it was as if something … inhabited me. Does this make sense?”

“No.”

“Forgive me, I just can’t seem to …”

Pilate marveled. This is the first time he had ever seen Claudia rattled.

“Then say no more, my love. I will only ask you to reiterate one thing.”

“What is that, my husband?”

The weary governor looked down, considered his words, then met his wife’s eyes.

“Are you certain he was innocent.”

She hesitated, but nodded affirmatively, as if she were confessing to a great crime.

“You do realize, dear Claudia, that I sentenced the man to death. His body now lies in a tomb provided by one of his countrymen.”

She again nodded.

“What do you think of me, Claudia?”

A difficult question, but she understood.

“I believe you made the decision you felt needed to be made.”

“You don’t believe it was the right one.”

She folded her arms at her belly and nodded negatively.

“There would have been a riot, Claudia. That mob was getting out of control.”

She just stared at him.

“This is why we came to Jerusalem for the Passover, Claudia, to keep the peace.”

She looked down at the floor.

“I have kept the peace.”

She dared to say it. “Some people called him ‘the Son of God.’”

“I don’t know what that means.”

“Neither do I, my husband, but …”

“But you believe it.”

“I don’t know.”

“But you believe I killed an innocent man.”

“Yes, my husband.”

Pilate held out his hand; he wanted Claudia seated beside him.

“I did everything I could to free him.”

She said nothing.

“I had no choice. I was forced into it.”

She said nothing.

“I tried to release him.”

She looked up at him. He took her hand.

“You know how much I value your opinion, Claudia, don’t you?”

She nodded reassuringly.

“This won’t be easy to live with. You will stick by me, won’t you, dear Claudia?”

She squeezed his hand.

They continued to sit silently in the rapidly darkening room, hands locked, each lost in separate worlds, wondering what would happen next.

But one thing they were certain of: everything had changed. Since that long day began fewer than 14 hours ago, the world had become a different place.

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