Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

John 2

Verse 1

1. τῇ τρίτῃ. From the calling of Philip (John 1:43), the last date mentioned, making a week in all; the first week, possibly in contrast to the last (John 12:1).

Κανᾷ τ. Γαλ. To distinguish it from Cana of Asher (Joshua 19:28); an instance of the Evangelist’s knowledge of Palestine. This Cana is not mentioned in O.T. It was the home of Nathanael (John 21:2), which disproves the theory that Jesus and His mother had at one time lived at Cana, for in so small a place Jesus and Nathanael could not have been unknown to one another. Cana is now generally identified with Kánet el-Jelîl, about six miles N. of Nazareth, rather than with Kefr-Kenna.

ἦν. Imperf. in contrast to the aorist in John 2:2. She was staying there; her Son was invited for the feast: she speaks to the servants as if she were quite at home in the house (John 2:5). Joseph has disappeared: the inference (not quite certain) is that in the interval between Luke 2:51 and this marriage—about 17 years—he had died. Mary does not appear again in this Gospel till the Crucifixion.

Verses 1-11


Jesus is passing from the retirement in which He has lived so long into the publicity of His ministry. The scene which follows lies halfway between—in the family circle, where privacy and publicity meet. It is the same when He returns from temporary retirement in Peraea to the completion of His ministry before His Passion. The last miracle, like the first, is wrought in the circle of family life (John 11:3).

Verse 2

2. ἐκλήθη. Singular, as if the including of the disciples were an afterthought. There were now five or six; Andrew, John, Peter, Philip, Nathanael, and probably James.

δὲ καὶ ὁ Ἰ. And Jesus also (John 3:23, John 18:2; John 18:5, John 19:39).

Verse 3

3. ὑστ. οἴν. When wine failed. The arrival of these six or seven guests might cause the want, and certainly would make it more apparent. To Eastern hospitality such a failure on such an occasion would seem a disgraceful calamity. Whether the feast had already lasted several days (Genesis 29:27; Judges 14:17; Tobit 9:1-2; Tobit 10:1), we do not know.

οἶν. οὐκ ἔχ. Much comment has obscured a simple text. The family in which she was a guest were in a serious difficulty. Perhaps she felt partly responsible for the arrangements; certainly she would wish to help. What more natural than that she should turn to her Son, like the sisters at Bethany afterwards (John 11:3), and tell Him of the trouble? That she wished Him to break up the party, or begin a discourse to distract attention, is quite alien from the context. Whether she expected a miracle, is uncertain: but her appeal for help may well have been accompanied by the thought, that here was an opportunity for her mysterious Son, who had already been proclaimed by the Baptist, to manifest Himself as the Messiah. Elisha had used his powers to relieve ordinary needs; why not her Son?

Verse 4

4. τί ἐμοὶ κ. σοί, γύναι; S. John alone of all the Evangelists never gives the Virgin’s name. Here, as so often, he assumes that his readers know the main points in the Gospel narrative: or it may be part of the reserve which he exhibits with regard to all that nearly concerns himself. Christ’s Mother had become his mother (John 19:26-27). He nowhere mentions his brother James.

Treatises have been written to shew that these words do not contain a rebuke; for if Christ here rebukes His Mother, it cannot be maintained that she is immaculate. ‘Woman’ of course implies no rebuke; the Greek might more fairly be rendered ‘Lady’ (comp. John 19:26). At the same time it marks a difference between the Divine Son and the earthly parent: He does not say, ‘Mother.’ The sword is beginning to pierce her heart, as the earthly ties between parent and child begin to be severed. The severance is taken a stage further, Matthew 12:46-50, and completed on the Cross (John 19:26). But ‘what have I to do with thee?’ does imply rebuke, as is evident from the other passages where the phrase occurs, Judges 11:12; 1 Kings 17:18; 2 Kings 3:13; Matthew 8:29; Mark 1:24; Luke 8:28. Only in one passage does the meaning seem to vary: in 2 Chronicles 35:21 the question seems to mean ‘why need we quarrel?’ rather than ‘what have we in common?’ But such a meaning, if possible there, would be quite inappropriate here. The further question has been asked,—what was she rebuked for? S. Chrysostom thinks for vanity; she wished to glorify herself through her Son. More probably for interference: He will help, and He will manifest Himself, but in His own way, and in His own time. Comp. Luke 2:51.

ἡ ὥρα μου. The meaning of ‘My hour’ and ‘His hour’ in this Gospel depends in each case on the context. There cannot here be any reference to His death; rather it means His hour for ‘manifesting forth His glory’ (John 2:11) as the Messiah by working miracles. The exact moment was still in the future. Comp. John 7:8, where He for the moment refuses what He soon after does; and John 12:23, John 17:1, which confirm the meaning here given to ‘hour.’

Verse 5

5. Between the lines of His refusal her faith reads a better answer to her appeal, and she is content to leave all to Him.

Verse 6

6. λιθ. ὑδρ. ἓξ. As an eyewitness S. John remembers their material, number, and size. The surroundings of the first miracle would not easily be forgotten. Vessels of stone were less liable to impurity: it is idle to seek for special meaning in the number six.

καθαρισμόν. Matthew 15:2; Mark 7:3 (see note); Luke 11:39.

μετρητάς. A μετρητής = about nine gallons, so that ‘firkin’ is an almost exact equivalent. The six, holding from 18 to 27 gallons each, would together hold 106 to 162 gallons. Ἀνά is distributive; it cannot mean ‘towards’, ‘about’: Revelation 4:8. Winer, p. 497.

Verse 7

7. γεμίσατε. What is the meaning of this command, if (as some contend) only the water drawn out was turned into wine? And why such care to state the large size of the vessels? These had been partly emptied by the ceremonial ablutions of the company. Note that in His miracles Christ never creates; He increases the quantity, or changes the quality of what already exists.

ἕως ἄνω. His Mother’s words (John 2:5) have done their work. Our attention seems again to be called to the great quantity of water changed into wine. “It is His first miraculous sign; and it must bear strong testimony to His riches, His munificence, and the joy which it gives Him to bestow relief or even gladness: it must become the type of the fulness of grace and joy which the only-begotten Son brings to the earth” (Godet).

Verse 8

8. ἀρχιτρ. Manager of the feast (triclinium) rather than ruler: but it is doubtful whether the head-waiter, who managed the feast and tasted the meat and drink, is meant, or the rex convivii, arbiter bibendi, the guest elected by the other guests to preside. The bad taste of his remark inclines one to the former alternative: Sirach 32:1-2 is in favour of the second. In any case the translation should be uniform in these two verses, not sometimes ‘governor,’ sometimes ‘ruler.’ The word occurs nowhere else in N.T. Ὑδρία and ἀντλέω are also peculiar to this Gospel, and occur again John 4:7; John 4:15; John 4:28.

Verse 9

9. τὸ ὑδ. οἶν. γεγ. The water now become wine. This seems to imply that all had become wine: there is nothing to distinguish what was now wine from what still remained water. It is idle to ask at what precise moment or in what precise way the water became wine: an instantaneous change seems to be implied. Γεύεσθαι c. acc. occurs Hebrews 6:5 and in LXX.: very rare in classical Greek.

Verse 10

10. μεθυσθῶσιν. Have become drunk, are drunk. The A.V. does not give the full coarseness of the man’s joke, although in Matthew 24:49; Acts 2:15; 1 Corinthians 11:21; 1 Thessalonians 5:7; Revelation 17:2; Revelation 17:6, the same word is rightly translated. The Vulgate has inebriati fuerint; Tyndall and Cranmer have ‘be dronke’; the error comes from the Geneva Bible. Of course the man does not mean that the guests are intoxicated; it is a jocular statement of his own experience at feasts.

ἕως ἄρτι. This was true in a sense of which he never dreamed. The True Bridegroom was there, and had indeed kept the best dispensation until the last. Ἄρτι occurs about 12 times in this Gospel, 7 in Matt., not at all in Mark or Luke. It expresses the present in relation to the past and the future, ‘at this stage,’ ‘at this crisis,’ whereas νῦν regards the present moment only, ‘now’ absolutely. Comp. John 5:17, John 9:19; John 9:25, John 13:7; John 13:19; John 13:33; John 13:37; John 16:12; John 16:31, &c.

Verse 11

11. ταύτην ἐπ. ἀρχ. τ. σ. This as a beginning of His signs did Jesus: it is the first miracle of all, not merely the first in Cana. This is quite conclusive against the miracles of Christ’s childhood recorded in the Apocryphal Gospels and is evidence of the truthfulness of the writer. If he were inventing, would he not also place miracles throughout the whole of Christ’s life? See on John 2:23, John 4:48; σημεῖον should throughout the Gospel be rendered ‘sign’ not ‘miracle.’ Δυνάμεις, so frequent in the Synoptists for ‘miracles,’ is never used by S. John; τέρατα only once (John 4:48), and then in conjunction with σημεῖα, a word which he uses 17 times. Christ’s miracles were ‘signs’ of His Divine mission: comp. Exodus 4:8. They were evidence of a perfect humanity working in unison with a perfect Divinity. They were also symbolical of spiritual truths: see on John 9:39.

ἐν Κανᾷ τ. Γαλ. Thus S. John agrees with the Synoptists in representing the Messianic career as beginning in Galilee.

ἐφανέρωσεν. Another of S. John’s favourite words (see on John 1:31): the rendering should be kept uniform, especially here, John 7:4, John 17:6, John 21:1, where the active is used. In the other Gospels the word occurs only Mark 4:22 [John 16:12; John 16:14], always in the passive.

τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ. This is the final cause of Christ’s ‘signs,’ His own and His Father’s glory (John 11:4), and these two are one. Herein lies the difference between His miracles and those wrought by Prophets and others: they never manifested their own glory, but that of Jehovah (Exodus 16:7).

ἐπιστ. εἰς αὐ. οἱ μαθ. αὐ. What a strange remark for a writer in the second century to make! His disciples believed on Him? Of course they did. Assume that a disciple himself is the writer, and all is explained: he well remembers how his own imperfect faith was confirmed by the miracle. A forger would rather have given us the effect on the guests. Three times in this chapter does S. John give us the disciples’ point of view, here, John 2:17 and John 2:22; very natural in a disciple, not natural in a later writer. See on John 11:15, John 21:12.

This verse gives us four facts respecting the sign; 1. it was the first; 2. it took place in Galilee; 3. its end was Christ’s glory; 4. its immediate result was the confirmation of the disciples’ faith.

Two objections have been made to this miracle [1] on rationalistic, [2] on ‘Temperance’ grounds. [1] It is said that it is a wasteful miracle, a parade of power, unworthy of a Divine Agent: a tenth of the quantity of wine would have been ample. But the surplus was not wasted any more than the twelve baskets of fragments (John 6:13); it would be a royal present to the bridal pair. [2] It is urged that Christ would not have supplied the means for gross excess; and to avoid this supposed difficulty it is suggested that the wine made was not intoxicating, i.e. was not wine at all. But in all His dealings with men God allows the possibility of a temptation to excess. All His gifts may be thus abused. The 5000 might have been gluttonous over the loaves and fishes.

Christ’s honouring a marriage-feast with His first miracle gives His sanction [1] to marriage, [2] to times of festivity. And here we see the contrast between O. and N.T. The miracles of O.T. are mostly miracles of judgment. Those of N.T. are nearly all miracles of blessing. Moses turns water into blood: Jesus turns water into wine.

Four hundred years had elapsed since the Jews had seen a miracle. The era of Daniel was the last age of Jewish miracles. Since the three children walked in the burning fiery furnace, and Daniel had remained unhurt in the lions’ den, and had read the handwriting on the wall, no miracle is recorded in the history of the Jews until Jesus made this beginning of His ‘signs’ at Cana of Galilee. No wonder that the almost simultaneous appearance of a Prophet like John and a Worker of miracles like Jesus attracted the attention of all classes.

On the symbolical meaning of this first sign see Introduction, chap. v. § 3.

Verse 12

12. This verse alone is almost enough to disprove the theory that the Gospel is a fiction written with a dogmatic object: “why should the author carry his readers thus to Capernaum—for nothing?” If S. John wrote it, all is natural. He records this visit because it took place, and because he well remembers those ‘not many days.’

κατέβη. Down from the plateau on which Cana and Nazareth stand to the shore of the lake. Capernaum, or Caphar-nahum, the modern Tell-Hûm, was the chief Jewish town, as Tiberias was the chief Roman town, of one of the most busy and populous districts of Palestine: it was therefore a good centre. For μ. τοῦτο see on John 3:22.

ἡ μήτ. αὐ. κ. οἱ ὀδ. αὐ.] Natural ties still hold Him; in the next verse they disappear. On the vexed question of the ‘brethren of the Lord’ see the Introduction to the Epistle of S. James. It is impossible to determine with certainty whether they are [1] the children of Joseph and Mary, born after the birth of Jesus; [2] the children of Joseph by a former marriage, whether levirate or not; or [3] adopted children. There is nothing in Scripture to warn us against [1], the most natural view antecedently; but it has against it the general consensus of the Fathers, and the prevailing tradition of the perpetual virginity of S. Mary. Jerome’s theory, that they were our Lord’s cousins, sons of Alphaeus, is the one commonly adopted, but John 7:5 (see note) is fatal to it, and it labours under other difficulties as well.

The fact of His brethren being with Him makes it probable that He returned to Nazareth from Cana before coming down to Capernaum.

οὐ πολλάς ἡμ. Because the Passover was at hand, and He must be about His Father’s business. S. John here corrects the impression, easily derived from S. Matt. (John 4:13, John 9:1), that when Christ moved from Nazareth to Capernaum, the latter at once became His usual abode, ‘His own city.’

John 2:13 to John 11:57. THE WORK

We enter now on the second and principal portion of the first main division of the Gospel, thus subdivided:—THE WORK 1. among Jews (John 2:13 to John 3:36); 2. among Samaritans (John 4:1-42); 3. among Galileans (John 4:42-54); 4. among mixed multitudes, chiefly Jews (5–9). In this last subdivision the Work becomes a CONFLICT between Jesus and ‘the Jews.’

John 2:13 to John 3:36. THE WORK AMONG JEWS

Verse 13

13. τὸ πάσχα τ. . The passover of the Jews. Perhaps an indication that this Gospel was written after a Passover of the Christians had come into recognition. Passovers were active times in Christ’s ministry; and this is the first of them. It was possibly the nearness of the Passover which caused this traffic in the Temple Court. It existed for the convenience of strangers. Certainly the nearness of the Feast would add significance to Christ’s action. While the Jews were purifying themselves for the Passover He purified the Temple. S. John groups his narrative round the Jewish festivals: we have [1] Passover; [2] Purim (?), John 5:1; [3] Passover, John 6:4; [4] Tabernacles, John 7:2; [5] Dedication, John 10:22; [6] Passover, John 11:55.

ἀνέβη. Up to the capital. The public ministry of the Messiah opens, as we should expect, in Jerusalem and in the Temple. The place is as appropriate as the time.

Verse 14

14. ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ. In the sacred enclosure, viz. the Court of the Gentiles, sometimes called ‘the mountain of the house;’ whereas ἐν τῷ ναῷ (see on John 2:19) would mean in the sanctuary, in the Temple proper: the traffic would be great on the eve of the Passover. The account is very graphic, as of an eyewitness; note especially καθημένους; the money-changers would sit, the others would stand. The animals mentioned are those most often wanted for sacrifice.

τ. κερματιστὰς. From κέρμα (κείρω) = ‘anything cut up, small change:’ the dealers in small change. The article implies that they were habitually there. Comp. Zechariah 14:21, where for ‘Canaanite’ we should perhaps read ‘trafficker’ or ‘merchant.’

Verses 14-21


Verse 15

15. ποιήσας φρ. Peculiar to this account: there is no such incident in the cleansing recorded by the Synoptists. The scourge was probably not used; to raise it would be enough. Σχοινίων are literally twisted rushes.

τά τε πρόβ. κ.τ.β. Both the sheep and the oxen, explanatory of πάντας, which does not refer to the sellers and exchangers, who probably fled at once: comp. Matthew 22:10. The order is natural; first the driving out the cattle, then the pouring out the money and overturning the tables.

κολλυβιστῶν. From κόλλυβφς = ‘rate of exchange’ (Cic. Verr. II. iii. 78; Att. XII. vi. 1); this was very high, 10 or 12 per cent. Payments to the Temple were always made in Jewish coin, to avoid profanation by money stamped with idolatrous symbols.

Verse 16

16. εἶπεν. The doves could not be driven out, and to let them fly might have caused unseemly and prolonged commotion: He calls to the owners to take the cages away. Throughout He guides His indignation, not it Him. ‘The wrath of the Lamb’ is mercy here and justice hereafter, never indiscriminating passion.

μὴ ποιεῖτε. Addressed to all, not merely to the dove-sellers.

τ. οἶκ. τοῦ πατρός μου. ‘Admiranda auctoritas’ (Bengel). A distinct claim to Messiahship: it reminds us of ἐν τοῖς τοῦ πατρός μου (Luke 2:49) spoken in the same place some 17 years before. Possibly some who heard the Child’s claim heard the Man’s claim also.

οἶκον ἐμπορίου. A house of traffic. Two years later things seem to have become worse instead of better; the Temple has then become ‘a den of robbers, a bandits’ cave.’ See on Matthew 21:13 and Mark 11:17. He meets with no resistance. As in Gethsemane (John 18:6) the majesty of His appearance prevails. But His success produces opposite results: those who sympathize are confirmed in faith, those who do not take offence. Later on the Evangelist almost invariably points out this double effect of Christ’s teaching.

Verse 17

17. ἐμνήσθ. Then and there; contrast John 2:22. Who could know this but a disciple who was present? Who would think of inventing it? See on John 2:11.

γεγραμμ. ἐστίν In quotations S. John almost always uses the perf. part. with the auxiliary (John 6:31; John 6:45, John 10:34, John 12:14, [John 19:19]), whereas the Synoptists commonly use the perf. pass.

καταφάγεται. Will devour, or consume me, i.e. wear me out (Psalms 69:9). Excepting the 22nd, no psalm is so often alluded to in N.T. as the 69th; comp. John 15:25, John 19:28; Acts 1:20; Romans 15:3; Romans 11:9-10. There is no thought of Christ’s zeal proving fatal to Him; of that the disciples as yet knew nothing. Nor are we to understand that it was as a ‘Zealot,’ one who like Phinehas (Numbers 25) took the execution of God’s law into his own hands, that Christ acted on this occasion. If this were so, why did He not do this long before? Rather, He acts as the Messiah, as the Son in His Father’s house: therefore He waits till His hour has come, till His Messianic career has commenced. Just at the time when every Jew was purifying himself for the Feast, the Lord has suddenly come to His Temple to purify the sons of Levi (Malachi 3:1-3).

It is difficult to believe that this cleansing of the Temple is identical with the one placed by the Synoptists at the last Passover in Christ’s ministry; difficult also to see what is gained by the identification. If they are the same event, either S. John or the Synoptists have made a gross blunder in chronology. Could S. John, who was with our Lord at both Passovers, make such a mistake? Could S. Matthew, who was with Him at the last Passover, transfer to it an event which took place at the first Passover, a year before his conversion? When we consider the immense differences which distinguish the last Passover from the first in Christ’s ministry, it seems incredible that anyone who had contemporary evidence could through any lapse of memory transfer a very remarkable incident indeed from one to the other. On the other hand the difficulty of believing that the Temple was twice cleansed is very slight. Was Christ’s preaching so universally successful that one cleansing would be certain to suffice? He was not present at the next Passover (John 6:4), and the evil would have a chance of returning. And if two years later He found that the evil had returned, would He not be certain to drive it out once more? Differences in the details of the narratives corroborate this view.

Verse 18

18. οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι. See on John 1:19. On ἀπεκρίθησαν see on John 10:32.

Τί σημεῖον. We have a similar question Matthew 21:23, but the widely different answer shews that the occasion is different. Such demands, thoroughly characteristic of the Pharisaic spirit (1 Corinthians 1:22), would be often made. The Jews failed to see that Christ’s words and works were their own credentials. For ὅτι see Winer, p. 557.

Verse 19

19. λύσατε τ. ναὸν τ. The reply is “sudden as a flash of lightning;” (comp. [John 8:7]) and it leaves a lasting impression on all (Matthew 26:61; Matthew 27:40): but what it revealed was not comprehended until a fuller and more lasting light revealed it again. It is S. Matthew (Matthew 26:61) and S. Mark (Mark 14:58) who tell us that this saying was twisted into a charge against Christ, but they do not record the saying. S. John, who records the saying, does not mention the charge. Such coincidence can scarcely be designed, and therefore is evidence of the truth of both statements. See on John 18:11, John 12:8. Note that in these three verses ναός is used, not ἱερόν; the latter is never used figuratively: Destroy this sanctuary (see on John 2:14).

ἐγερῶ. His accusers turn this into ‘build’ (οἰκοδομῆσαι), which is not appropriate to raising a dead body. There is no contradiction between Christ’s declaration and the ordinary N.T. theology, that the Son was raised by the Father. The expression is figurative throughout; and ‘I and My Father are one.’ Comp. John 10:18. This throwing out seeds of thought for the future, which could not bear fruit at the time, is one of the characteristics of Christ’s teaching.

Verse 20

20. τεσς. κ. ἓξ ἕτεσιν. For the dative comp. John 14:9. This was the third Temple. Solomon’s Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Zerubbabel’s was rebuilt by Herod the Great. “The building of the Temple, we are told by Josephus (Ant. XV. xi. 1), was begun in the 18th year of Herod the Great, 734–735 A.U.C. Reckoning 46 years from this point, we are brought to 781 or 782 A.U.C. = 28 or 29 A.D. Comparing this with the data given in Luke 3:1, the question arises, whether we are to reckon the 15th year of Tiberius from his joint reign with Augustus, which began A.D. 12; or from his sole reign after the death of Augustus, A.D. 14. This would give us A.D. 27 or 29 for the first public appearance of the Baptist, and at the earliest A.D. 28 or 30 for the Passover mentioned in this chapter.” So that there seems to be exact agreement between this date and that of S. Luke, if we count S. Luke’s 15 years from the joint reign of Tiberius. It is incredible that this can have been planned; it involves intricate calculation, and even with the aid of Josephus absolute certainty cannot be obtained. “By what conceivable process could a Greek in the second century have come to hit upon this roundabout expedient for giving a fictitious date to his invention?” (Sanday).

For other instances of misunderstanding of Christ’s words comp. John 3:4; John 3:9, John 4:11; John 4:15; John 4:33, John 6:34; John 6:52, John 7:35, John 8:22; John 8:33; John 8:52, John 11:12, John 14:5.

Verse 21

21. ἔλεγεν. Was speaking. Even if inspiration be set aside, S. John’s explanation must be admitted as the true one. What better interpreter of the mind of Jesus can be found than ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’? And he gives the interpretation not as his only, but as that of the disciples generally. Moreover, it explains the ‘three days,’ which interpretations about destroying the old Temple-religion and raising up a new spiritual theocracy do not. Ναός is also used of Christians, the spiritual Body of Christ, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16. For the genitive of apposition see Winer, p. 666.

Verse 22


ἠγέρθη. Was raised. Comp. John 21:14; Acts 3:15; Acts 4:10; Acts 5:30. They recollected it when the event which explained it took place; meanwhile what had not been understood had been forgotten. Would any but a disciple give these details about the disciples’ thoughts? See on John 2:11.

τῇ γραφῇ. Not εἰς τὴν γραφήν: they believed what the Scripture (Psalms 16:10) said. See on John 1:12. Ἡγραφή commonly means a particular passage (John 7:38; John 7:42, John 10:35, John 13:18, John 19:24; John 19:28; John 19:36-37; Mark 12:10; Luke 4:21; Acts 8:32; Acts 8:35), whereas αἱ γραφαί means Scripture generally (John 5:39; Matthew 21:42; Matthew 22:29; Matthew 26:54; Matthew 26:56; Mark 12:24, &c.) Of course only the O.T. can be meant.

εἶπεν. Spake, on this occasion.

Verse 23

23. Note the different force of ἐν and the exactness of detail: in Jerusalem, at the Passover, during the Feast.

εἰς τὸ ὄνομα. See on John 1:12. θεωροῦντες. See on John 6:2.

τὰ σημεῖα. None of these ‘signs’ are recorded; comp. John 4:45, John 7:31, John 11:47, John 12:35, John 20:30, John 21:25; Mark 1:34; Mark 6:55-56. The number of miracles wrought by Jesus during His public life was so great (ἐποίει = was habitually doing), that a writer inventing a Gospel would almost inevitably place them throughout His whole life. That the Evangelists rigidly confine them to the last few years, greatly adds to our confidence in their accuracy. But the faith which was born of wonder would be likely to cease when the wonder ceased, as here: comp. Simon Magus (Acts 8:13).

Verses 23-25


Verse 24

24. ἐπίστευεν. Antithesis to ἐπιστ. εἰς τ. ὄν αὐτ.—’Many trusted in His name, but Jesus did not trust Himself to them.’

διὰ τὸ αὐτ. γιν. For that He of Himself knew. Observe the difference between διὰ τὸ (for that), ὅτι (because), and γάρ (for).

Verse 25

25. ἵνα τις μαρτ. See on John 1:7-8 : that any should bear witness concerning man; comp. John 16:30. The article with ἀνθρώπου is generic.

αὐτὸς γὰρ ἐγ. For He of Himself knew: note the repetition of αὐτός in John 2:23-24. We have instances of this supernatural knowledge in the cases of Peter (John 1:42), Nathanael (John 1:47-48), Nicodemus (John 3:3), the Samaritan woman (John 4:29), the disciples (John 6:61; John 6:64), Judas (John 6:70, John 13:11), Peter (John 13:38, John 21:17), Thomas (John 20:27). It is remarkable that the word here used for this supernatural knowledge is γινώσλκειν, ‘to come to know, perceive,’ rather than εἰδέναι, ‘to know’ absolutely (comp. John 5:42, John 10:14-15; John 10:27, John 17:25). This tends to shew that Christ’s supernatural knowledge was in some degree analogous to ours. Both verbs are used, 1. in reference to facts, knowledge of which Christ might have obtained in the ordinary manner (γινώσκειν, John 4:1, John 5:6, John 6:15; εἰδέναι, John 6:61); 2. in reference to facts, knowledge of which must have been supernatural (γινώσκειν, John 2:24-25, John 10:14; John 10:27; εἰδέναι, John 6:64, John 13:1; John 13:11, John 18:4); 3. in reference to divine things transcending human experience (γινώσκειν, John 17:25; εἰδέναι, John 3:11, John 5:32, John 7:29, John 8:14; John 8:55, John 11:42, John 12:50, John 13:3, John 19:28). These references shew that the distinction, though not quite absolute, is very marked between knowledge which in some sense can be regarded as acquired (γινώσκειν) and that which is simply regarded as possessed.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on John 2". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". 1896.