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George Lamsa Translation of the Peshitta
John 1:48

Nathanael said to him, Whence do you know me? Jesus said to him. Even before Philip called you, while you were under the fig tree, I saw you.

Bible Study Resources

Commentaries:

- Clarke Commentary;   A.W. Pinks's Commentary;   Birdgeway Bible Commentary;   Coffman Commentaries;   Barne's Notes;   Box's Commentaries on Selected Books;   Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes;   Calvin's Commentary;   Cambridge Greek Testament;   Lapide's Commentary;   Chuck Smith Commentary;   Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible ;   Constable's Expository Notes;   Daily Study Bible;   Darby's Synopsis;   Ellicott's Commentary;   Expositor's Greek Testament;   Family Bible New Testament;   Hole's Commentary;   Meyer's Commentary;   Gaebelein's Annotated;   Golden Chain Commentary;   Morgan's Biblical Exposition;   Gill's Exposition;   Everett's Study Notes;   Geneva Study Bible;   Alford's Commentary;   Meyer's Commentary;   Mahan's Commentary;   The Bible Study New Testament;   Ironside's Notes;   Bengel's Gnomon;   Commentary Critical and Explanatory;   Commentary Critical and Explanatory - Unabridged;   The People's Bible;   Sutcliffe's Commentary;   Trapp's Commentary;   Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the Bible;   Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures;   Grant's Commentary;   Wells of Living Water;   MacLaren's Expositions;   Henry's Complete;   Henry's Concise;   Poole's Annotations;   Pett's Bible Commentary;   Peake's Bible Commentary;   Preacher's Homiletical Commentary;   Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary;   People's New Testament;   Benson's Commentary;   Robertson's Word Pictures;   Ryle's Exposiory Thougths;   Sermon Bible;   Schaff's New Testament Commentary;   Spurgeon's Verse Expositions;   Biblical Illustrator;   Coke's Commentary;   Expositor's Bible;   Fourfold Gospel;   Pulpit Commentaries;   Treasury of Knowledge;   Vincent's Studies;   Burkitt's Notes;   Wesley's Notes;   Whedon's Commentary;  

Concordances:

- Nave's Topical Bible - Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Nathanael;   Philip;   Scofield Reference Index - Life;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bartholomew;   Fig-Trees;   Knowledge;   Knowledge, Divine;   Knowledge-Ignorance;   Known, Saints;   Nathanael;   Saints;   Trees;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Fig-Tree, the;  

Dictionaries:

- American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Bartholomew;   Gardens;   Nathanael;   Philip;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Jesus christ;   Nathanael;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Universalists;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Gardens;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Bartholomew;   Fig;   Garden;   Zacchaeus;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Bartholomew;   John, the Gospel of;   Philip;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Nathanael;   Nazarene;   Nazareth;   Philip;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Attributes of Christ;   Bartholomew ;   Brotherhood (2);   Call, Calling;   Complacency;   Consciousness;   Doctrines;   Fig-Tree ;   John the Baptist;   Logos;   Nathanael ;   Numbers (2);   Omnipotence;   Originality;   Prayer (2);   Simple, Simplicity ;   Slowness of Heart;   Son of God;   Wisdom of Christ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Fig, Fig-Tree;   Nathanael ;   Philip ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Bartholomew;   Jesus christ;   Philip;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Fig Tree;  

Encyclopedias:

- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Fig;   John, the Apostle;   Nathanael (2);   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;  

Devotionals:

- My Utmost for His Highest - Devotion for September 10;  

Parallel Translations

The Amplified Bible
Nathanael said to Jesus, How do You know me? [How is it that You know these things about me?] Jesus answered him, Before [ever] Philip called you, when you were still under the fig tree, I saw you.

The Complete Jewish Bible
Natan'el said to him, "How do you know me?" Yeshua answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."

American Standard Version
Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.

Bible in Basic English
Nathanael said to him, Where did you get knowledge of me? In answer Jesus said, Before Philip was talking with you, while you were still under the fig-tree, I saw you.

English Revised Version
Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.

Contemporary English Version
"How do you know me?" Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, "Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree."

English Standard Version
Nathanael said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."

Easy-to-Read Version
Nathanael asked, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered, "I saw you when you were under the fig tree. That was before Philip told you about me."

The Geneva Bible (1587)
Nathanael sayde vnto him, Whence knewest thou mee? Iesus answered, and sayd vnto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast vnder the figge tree, I sawe thee.

The Bishop's Bible (1568)
Nathanael sayth vnto hym: Whence knewest thou me? Iesus aunswered, and sayde vnto hym: Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast vnder the fygge tree, I sawe thee.

Darby's Translation
Nathanael says to him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said to him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee.

King James Version (1611)
Nathaneel sayeth vnto him, Whence knowest thou me? Iesus answered, and said vnto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast vnder the figge tree, I saw thee.

New Revised Standard
Nathanael asked him, "Where did you get to know me?" Jesus answered, "I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you."

Douay-Rheims Bible
Nathanael saith to him: Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said to him: Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.

New Century Version
Nathanael asked, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered, "I saw you when you were under the fig tree, before Philip told you about me."

James Murdock Translation of the Peshitta
Nathaniel said to him: Whence knowest thou me? Jesus said to him: Before Philip called thee when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee.

Good News Translation
Nathanael asked him, <> Jesus answered, <>

Holman Christian Standard
"How do you know me?" Nathanael asked."Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you," Jesus answered.

Miles Coverdale Bible (1535)
Nathanael sayde vnto him: From whence knowest thou me? Iesus answered, and sayde vnto him: Before yt Philippe called the, whan thou wast vnder the fygge tre, I sawe the.

Mace New Testament (1729)
said Nathanael to him. before Philip called you, replied Jesus, I saw you under the fig-tree.

J.P. Green Literal Translation
Nathanael said to Him, From where do You know me? Jesus answered and said to him, Before Philip called, you being under the fig tree, I saw you.

New King James
Nathanael said to Him, "How do You know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."

New Living Translation
"How do you know about me?" Nathanael asked.And Jesus replied, "I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you."

New International Version
“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

King James Version
Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.

New Life Version
Nathanael said to Jesus, "How do You know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip talked to you, I saw you under the fig tree."

Hebrew Names Version
Natan'el said to him, "How do you know me?" Yeshua answered him, "Before Pilipos called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."

International Standard Version
Nathaniel said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, while you were under the fig tree, I saw you."

John Etheridge Translation of the Peshitta
Nathanael saith to him, Whence knowest thou me ? Jeshu saith to him, While yet Philipos had not called thee, while thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee.

New American Standard Version
Nathanael said to Him, "How do You know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."

The Emphasised Bible
Nathanael saith unto him - Whence, dost thou, know, me? Jesus answered, and said unto him - Before Philip called thee, - when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee.

Revised Standard Version
Nathan'a-el said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."

Tyndale Bible
Nathanael sayd vnto him: where knewest thou me? Iesus answered and sayde vnto him: Before that Philip called the when thou wast vnder ye fygge tree I sawe the.

Updated Bible Version 1.9
Nathanael says to him, From where do you know me? Jesus answered and said to him, Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.

The Webster Bible
Nathanael saith to him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said to him, Before Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee.

World English Bible
Nathanael said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."

Wesley's New Testament (1755)
Nathanael saith to him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said to him, Before Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee.

Weymouth New Testament
"How do you know me?" Nathanael asked. "Before Philip called you," said Jesus, "when you were under the fig-tree I saw you."

The Wycliffe Bible (1395)
Nathanael seide to hym, Wherof hast thou knowun me? Jhesus `answerde, and seide to hym, Bifor that Filip clepide thee, whanne thou were vndur the fige tree, Y saiy thee. Nathanael answerde to hym,

Young's Literal Translation
Nathanael saith to him, `Whence me dost thou know?' Jesus answered and said to him, `Before Philip's calling thee -- thou being under the fig-tree -- I saw thee.'

The Message
Nathanael said, "Where did you get that idea? You don't know me." Jesus answered, "One day, long before Philip called you here, I saw you under the fig tree."

Lexham English Bible
Nathanael said to him, "From where do you know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you*Here "when" is supplied as a component of the participle ("were") which is understood as temporal were under the fig tree, I saw you."

Contextual Overview

43The next day Jesus wanted to leave for Galilee, and he found Philip, and said to him, Follow me. 44Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Simon. 45Philip found Nathanael, and said to him, We have found that Jesus, the son of Joseph, of Nazareth, is the one concerning whom Moses wrote in the law and the prophets. 46Nathanael said to him, Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Philip said to him, Come and you will see. 47Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him and he said of him, Behold truly an Israelite, in whom there is no guile! 48Nathanael said to him, Whence do you know me? Jesus said to him. Even before Philip called you, while you were under the fig tree, I saw you. 49Nathanael answered, saying to him, Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel. 50Jesus said to him, Do you believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree? you shall see greater things than these. 51He said to him, Truly, truly, I say to all of you, that from now on you will see the heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending to the Son of man.

Verse Review

from
Treasury of Scripure Knowledge

Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.
when
2:25; Genesis 32:24-30; Psalms 139:1,2; Isaiah 65:24; Matthew 6:6; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 14:25; Revelation 2:18,19

Gill's Notes on the Bible

Nathanael saith unto him, whence knowest thou me?.... This he said as one surprised, that he, who was a stranger to him, should hit upon his general character, and describe the internal state and frame of his soul: this was more surprising to him, than if he had called him by his name Nathanael, as he did Simon; or had said what was the place, of his abode; Cana of Galilee; since this ordinarily was only to be observed, and learned, from a long and familiar acquaintance and conversation: by Nathanael's reply, it looks as if he had no doubt, or fears, about the character Christ gave him; but rather, that he believed it, as every good man must be conscious to himself of his own integrity; only it was amazing to him, how he should know it:

Jesus answered and said unto him; in order to satisfy him, how he could know this inward temper of his mind, and to give him some undeniable proofs of his omniscience, which he himself must acknowledge, being such as none but an all seeing eye could discover:

before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee; in which words Christ gives two instances of his omniscience; the one is, that he knew Philip had called him; he was privy to all that passed between them, though they were alone, and the conversation was had in the most private manner. Christ knew what an account Philip had given of him, and what objection Nathanael had made; and what an invitation Philip had given him to go along with him to Christ, and judge for himself; which is here meant by calling him, and with which he complied: and the other is, that he saw him under the fig tree before that: he was sitting under it, as men in those countries used to do; see Micah 4:4, where he might be reading the Scriptures, and meditating upon them; and if, as some observe, he was reading, and thinking upon Jacob's dream, concerning the ladder which reached from earth to heaven, and on which he saw the angels of God ascending and descending, the words of Christ in John 1:51 must strike him with fresh surprise, and give him another convincing proof of his omniscience: or he might be praying here in secret, and so acted a different part from the generality, of religious men of that nation, who chose to pray in synagogues, and corners of the streets, that they might be seen; and likewise proved him to be what Christ had said of him, a true and rare Israelite, without guile and hypocrisy, which were so visible and prevailing among others. It was usual with the doctors to read, and study in the law, under fig trees, and sometimes, though rarely, to pray there. It is said,

"R. Jacob, and his companions, were "sitting", studying in the law, תחות חדא תאינה, "under a certain fig tree".

And the rule they give about praying, on, or under one, is thus:

"he that prays on the top of an olive tree, or on the top of a "fig tree", or on any other trees, must come down, and "pray below".

It is said of Nathanael, in the Syriac dictionary; that his mother laid him under a fig tree, when the infants were slain, i.e. at Bethlehem; which, if it could be depended upon, must be to Nathanael a surprising and undeniable proof of the deity of Christ, and of his being the true Messiah; since, at that time, he was an infant of days himself, and was the person Herod was seeking to destroy, as the Messiah, and king of the Jews,

Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Whence knowest thou me? - Nathanael was not yet acquainted with the divinity of Christ, and supposed that he had been a stranger to him. Hearing him express a favorable opinion of him, he naturally inquired by what means he had any knowledge of him. His conscience testified to the truth of what Jesus said that he had no guile, and he was anxious to know whence he had learned his character.

Before that Philip called thee - See John 1:45.

When thou wast under the fig-tree - It is evident that it was from something that had occurred under the fig-tree that Jesus judged of his character. What that was is not recorded. It is not improbable that Nathanael was accustomed to retire to the shade of a certain tree, perhaps in his garden or in a grove, for the purpose of meditation and prayer. The Jews were much in the habit of selecting such places for private devotion, and in such scenes of stillness and retirement there is something especially favorable for meditation and prayer. Our Saviour also worshipped in such places. Compare John 18:2; Luke 6:12. In that place of retirement it is not improbable that Nathanael was engaged in private devotion.

I saw thee - It is clear, from the narrative, that Jesus did not mean to say that he was bodily present with Nathanael and saw him; but he knew his thoughts, his desires, his secret feelings and wishes. In this sense Nathanael understood him. We may learn:

1.that Jesus sees what is done in secret, and is therefore divine.

2.that he sees us when we little think of it.

3.that he sees us especially in our private devotions, hears our prayers, and marks our meditations. And,

4.that he judges of our character chiefly by our private devotions. Those are secret; the world sees them not; and in our closets we show what we are. How does it become us, therefore, that our secret prayers and meditations should be without “guile” and hypocrisy, and such as Jesus will approve!

Clarke's Notes on the Bible

Whence knowest thou me? - He was not yet acquainted with the divinity of Christ, could not conceive that he could search his heart, and therefore asks how he could acquire this knowledge of him, or who had given him that character. It is the comfort of the sincere and upright, that God knows their hearts; and it should be the terror of the deceitful and of the hypocrite, that their false dealing is ever noticed by the all-seeing eye of God.

Under the fig tree - Probably engaged in prayer with God, for the speedy appearing of the salvation of Israel; and the shade of this fig tree was perhaps the ordinary place of retreat for this upright man. It is not A fig tree, but την συκην, The fig tree, one particularly distinguished from the others. There are many proofs that the Jewish rabbins chose the shade of trees, and particularly the fig tree, to sit and study under. See many examples in Schoettgen. How true is the saying, The eyes of the Lord are through all the earth, beholding the evil and the good! Wheresoever we are, whatsoever we are about, may a deep conviction of this truth rest upon our hearts, Thou God seest Me!


Copyright Statement:
George Lamsa Translation of the Peshitta

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, November 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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