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John 9

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

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Verses 1-41

The Man Born Blind

1-12. The healing of the man born blind. This miracle occurred on the same day as the events of the last c., i.e. probably on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. It is intended to illustrate the truth that Christ is ’the Light of the world’ (John 8:12; John 9:5). Christ proves His power to open the eyes of the soul by opening the eyes of the body. The miracle, being wrought on the sabbath day, intensified the hostility of the rulers, which had already been violently inflamed by the discourses of John 8 : see John 8:59.

2. The disciples thought that possibly the man had sinned, either in a previous state of existence (in accordance with the doctrine of the transmigration of souls), or more probably as an infant before birth. To the Jews who attributed intelligence to unborn children (Genesis 25:22-26; Luke 1:41) this last was a natural idea.

3. As in Luke 13:1-5, Jesus rebukes the hasty inference, common among the Jews (see e.g. Job 4:7), that misfortunes are always the direct result of sin. As a matter of fact diseases often come as part of the present order of nature, and not as special judgments: cp. Luke 13:4. A great moral difficulty is involved in such a state of things, but Jesus does not discuss it.

4. Jesus saw that His death was impending, and that His time for doing works of mercy was short.

6. In two other miracles (Mark 7:33 and Mark 8:23) Jesus heals by a gradual process, and uses visible means. In this case the application of saliva and clay to the man’s eyes was an aid to faith (saliva being a recognised remedy for eye-diseases), and his being sent to bathe in the water was a test of faith as it was in the case of Naaman (2 Kings 5:10).

7. Siloam] The evangelist regards this pool of. healing water as a type of Christ, who is ’sent’ by the Father to heal the diseases of the soul. The OT. forms of the word are Shiloah, Isaiah 8:6, and Shelah, Nehemiah 3:15. It is now called Birket Silwan. It is fed by an underground conduit from the Virgin’s Fountain.

8. Blind] RV ’a beggar.’

13-34. This whole section illustrates the incredible blindness of the Pharisees (John 9:40-41), who can see nothing in this unique sign, except the technical breach of the sabbath, of which they suppose Jesus to have been guilty.

14. The conduct of Jesus was illegal in two ways: (1) It was forbidden to render medical aid on the sabbath, unless there was imminent danger of death; (2) there was a special provision against applying saliva to the eyes on the sabbath day.

17. He is a prophet] This view, if accepted, would remove the difficulty about the sabbath day, for it was generally supposed that prophets had authority over the sabbath law.

22. Put out of the synagogue] i.e. excommunicated.

24. Give God the praise] RV ’Give glory to God,’ a Hebrew idiom for ’Confess your error,’ Joshua 7:19; 1 Samuel 6:5; 1 Samuel 1 Esther 9:8.

34. Born in sins] This gives the clue to John 9:2. The Pharisees assume that the man had been born blind as a punishment for exceptional wickedness, which began even before birth.

Cast him out] i.e. excommunicated him.

35. When the door of the synagogue was shut, the door of the Kingdom of Heaven was opened. The Son of God] Christ so seldom uses this title of Himself, that it has been corrected in many copies into the more usual ’the Son of man.’ Whichever title was used, the man rightly understood Jesus to claim superhuman dignity, and accordingly worshipped Him (John 9:38).

39. For judgment I am come] This does not contradict John 3:17, for the ’judgment’ meant here is not the judicial act of rewarding and punishing, which Christ will exercise at the Last Day, but the present separation of mankind into two opposite camps, which is the inevitable result of His manifestation in the flesh. That they which see not (but are conscious of their ignorance) might see: and that they which see (or, rather, think they see) might be made blind: cp. Matthew 13:11-17.

40. Are we blind also?] Christ’s Pharisaic disciples rightly perceive that His words are directed against them.

41. If the Pharisees were simply ignorant, but confessed their ignorance and were willing to learn, they would not be guilty. What makes them so guilty is that, though ignorant, they esteem themselves wise, and refuse to learn the way of life. They are still seeking the righteousness of the Law, rather than the righteousness of God.

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on John 9". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/john-9.html. 1909.
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