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Bible Commentaries

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament
John 12



Other Authors
Verse 1

The passover; the passover during which he was crucified.

Verse 2

There; in Bethany, but not at the house of Mary and Martha. It was at the house of Simon the leper, as we learn from Matthew 26:6. Martha came to aid in the service, and Lazarus, whose case had attracted great attention, as stated below, (John 12:9-11,) was an invited guest.

Verse 6

The bag; in which was carried the money provided for the use of Jesus and his immediate followers. The sums necessary for these purposes seem to have been furnished by the contributions of friends. (Luke 8:3.)

Verse 8

It seems, from Matthew 26:14, that it was immediately after this supper that Judas went to the priests, and made the arrangement for betraying Christ to them. It might have been under the influence of the irritation produced by this incident.

Verse 10

The other three evangelists do not mention the raising of Lazarus from the dead. It has been supposed that they might have omitted to notice it, for fear or increasing the hostility of the Jews towards him, and putting his life in greater danger; whereas John did not write his history until so many years had elapsed that the danger had passed away.

Verse 13

Branches of palm-trees. The palm-tree was a tall tree, with a single stem, which was surmounted with a tuft of feathery ramifications, six or eight feet long, and called sometimes branches and sometimes leaves. They were used in marches and processions as the emblems of rejoicing and victory.

Verse 14

The manner in which the ass was procured is detailed particularly Luke 19:29-35.

Verse 16

Understood not; that is, did not perceive them to be in fulfilment of prophecy.

Verse 17

Bare record; testified publicly to the facts.

Verse 18

Met him; went out to meet him, as stated John 12:13.

Verse 20

The feast; the passover (John 12:1.)

Verse 21

We would see Jesus. It is uncertain with what design; perhaps from curiosity,--as he had acquired great celebrity by the raising of Lazarus, and by his triumphant entry into Jerusalem; or perhaps from a desire to enter into his service, regarding him as a prince about to assume power.

John 12:24-26. The intent of this reply seems to be that his kingdom was about to be established, not by a demonstration of power and splendor, but by his sufferings and death,--events which would involve his followers in danger and distress; and that, consequently, whoever wished to enter into his service must expect to follow him into these trials.

Verse 27

For this cause; for the very purpose of enduring these sufferings.

Verse 31

Now is; is approaching.

Verse 34

This Son of man. We observe that this expression is not contained in what Jesus had said, as reported above. And, undoubtedly, in all these cases, it is only the substance of the dialogue which the sacred writers record. It is possible, however, in this case, that they may refer to a preceding conversation. (John 3:14.)

Verse 36

Did hide himself from them; by retiring to a private retreat upon the Mount of Olives, or in the gardens at its base, where he was accustomed to go, from this time, at night, for safety, and where he was safe from apprehension, until Judas, who knew the place, conducted the soldiers thither, and betrayed him.

John 12:39,40. A great many attempts have been made to put some construction upon these words, which will limit, in some degree, the absolute control which it seems to imply, on the part of Jehovah, over all the acts and emotions of man. These attempts are not, however, very successful. It is far easier to decide that some such mitigating construction is required, by our ideas of moral philosophy, than it is to find one, and satisfy our minds that the words will honestly bear it.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on John 12:4". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". 1878.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 26th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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