Bar-Rabban is the criminal due to be executed alongside Yeshua Ha-Nozri and two others. Because it is Passover, it is customary for the Jewish leadership to set one man free. Though Pontius Pilate tries to get Joseph Kaifa, the Jewish leader, to pardon Yeshua, he is insistent on choosing Bar-Rabban instead. The irony is that Bar-Rabban is certainly guilty of the crime which Yeshua is accused of—inciting rebellion—and, moreover, has killed a guard in trying to escape.
Bar-Rabban Character Timeline in The Master and Margarita
The timeline below shows where the character Bar-Rabban appears in The Master and Margarita. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2. Pontius Pilate
...speaking in Latin. Pilate asks Yeshua if he knows “such men as” Dysmas, Gestas, or Bar-Rabban. Yeshua replies that he does not know these “good people.” Explaining why he refers to... (full context)
...Passover, the Sanhedrin (the Jewish council) are to choose a prisoner to set free: either Bar-Rabban, who has preached in favor of rebellion and killed a guard, or Yeshua. Joseph Kaifa... (full context)
...addresses the crowd. He names the four criminals who are set for execution: Dysmas, Gestas, Bar-Rabban, and Yeshua Ha-Nozri. He announces to the crowd that, in honor of the feast of... (full context)