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Bible Commentaries
John 10

The Expositor's Greek TestamentExpositor's Greek Testament

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The Good Shepherd and the hirelings . This paragraph is a continuation of the conversation which arose out of the healing of the blind man. Instead of being introduced by any fresh note of time, it is ushered in by ἀμὴν ἀμὴν , which is never found in this Gospel at the commencement of a discourse. The subject also is directly connected with the miracle and its consequences. Jesus explains to the excommunicated man who it is that has power to give entrance to the true fold or to exclude from it. As usual, the terms and tenor of the teaching are interpreted by the incident which gave rise to it.

Verse 1

John 10:1 . Ἀμὴν … λῃστής . The αὐλή , or sheepfold, into which the sheep were gathered for safety every night, is described as being very similar to folds in some parts of our own country; a walled, unroofed enclosure. The θύρα , however, is not as with us a hurdle or gate, but a solid door heavily barred and capable of resisting attack. This door is watched by a θυρωρός [door-guard, for root “or” vide Spratt’s Thucyd. , iii. p. 132], who in the morning opened to the shepherd. He who does not appeal to the θυρωρός but climbs up over the wall by some other way (lit. from some other direction: ἀλλαχόθεν , which is used in later Greek for the Attic ἄλλοθεν ) is κλέπτης καὶ λῃστής , a “thief” who uses fraud and a “robber” who is prepared to use violence. That is to say, his method of entrance, being illegitimate, declares that he has no right to the sheep.

Verses 1-21

John 9:35 to John 10:21 . The good and the hireling shepherds .

Verse 2

John 10:2 . On the other hand, ὁ δὲ εἰσερχόμενος … προβάτων , “but he that entereth by the door is shepherd of the sheep”. The shepherd is known by his using the legitimate mode of entrance. What that is, He does not here explicitly state. The shepherd is further recognised by his treatment of the sheep, τὰ ἴδια πρόβατα καλεῖ [better φωνεῖ ] κατʼ ὄνομα , “his own sheep he calls by name”. ἴδια perhaps as distinguished from others in the same fold; perhaps merely a strong possessive. As we have names for horses, dogs, cows, so the Eastern shepherds for their sheep. [“Many of the sheep have particular names,” Van Lennep, Bible Lands , i. 189. It was also a Greek custom to name sheep, and Wetstein quotes from Longus, ὁ δὲ Δάφνις ἐκάλεσέ τινας αὐτῶν ὀνομαστί ] ὅταν … αὐτοῦ . When he has put all his own out of the fold, they follow him, because they know his voice: the shepherd walking in front as is still the custom in the East. This method cannot be adopted by strangers “because the sheep know not the voice of strangers”. “There is a story of a Scotch traveller who changed clothes with a Jerusalem shepherd and tried to lead the sheep; but the sheep followed the shepherd’s voice and not his clothes.” Plummer. So that the shepherd’s claim is justified not only by his method of entrance but by his Knowledge of the names of the individual sheep and by their knowledge of him and confidence in him. The different methods are illustrated in Andrewes and Laud, the former saying “Our guiding must be mild and gentle, else it is not duxisti , but traxisti , drawing and driving and no leading”; the latter, of whom it was said that he “would never convince an opponent if he could suppress him”. See Ottley’s Andrewes , 159.

Verse 6

John 10:6 . The application of the parable was sufficiently obvious; but ταύτην … αὐτοῖς . παροιμία [ παρά , οἶμος , out of the way or wayside] seems more properly to denote “a proverb”; and the Book of Proverbs is named in the Sept [73] αἱ παροιμίαι or παροιμίαι Σαλωμῶντος ; and Aristotle, Rhetor. , 3, 11, defines παροιμίαι , as μεταφοραὶ απʼ εἴδους επʼ εἶδος . But παροιμία and παραβολή came to be convertible terms, both meaning a longer or shorter utterance whose meaning did not lie on the surface or proverbial sayings: the former term is never found in the Synoptic Gospels, the latter never found in John. [Further see Hatch, Essays in Bibl. Greek , p. 64; and Abbot’s Essays , p. 82.] This parable the Pharisees did not understand. They might have understood it, for the terms used were familiar O.T. terms; see Ezekiel 34:0 , Psalms 80:0 . But as it had been spoken for their instruction as well as for the encouragement of the man whom they had cast out of the fold, (John 10:7 ) εἶπεν οὖν πάλιν , Jesus therefore began afresh and explained it to them. ἐγὼ εἰμι ἡ θύρα τῶν πρόβατων . I, and no other, am the door of the sheep. [ Cf. the Persian reformer who proclaimed himself the “Bâb,” the gate of life.] Through me alone can the sheep find access to the fold. Primarily uttered for the excommnuicated man, these words conveyed the assurance that instead of being outcast by his attachment to Jesus he had gained admittance to the fellowship of God and all good men. Not the Pharisees but Jesus could admit to or reject from the fold of God.

[73] Septuagint.

Verse 8

John 10:8 . In contrast to Jesus, πάντες … λῃσταί , “all who came before me,” i.e. , all who came before me, claiming to be what I am and to give to the sheep what I give. The prophets pointed forward to Him and did not arrogate themselves His functions. Only those could be called “thieves and robbers” who had come before the Shepherd came, as if in the night and without His authority. It must have been evident that the hierarchical party was meant.” [The inexactness of contrasting the “door” rather than the Shepherd with the “thieves and robbers” who came before Jesus, only emphasises the fact that the reality was more prominent than the figure in the mind of the speaker.] Those, however, who had tried to assume the functions of the Shepherd had failed; because οὐκ ἤκουσαν αὐτῶν τὰ πρόβατα , the people of God had not listened to them. They no doubt assumed authority over the people of God and compelled obedience, but the true children of God did not find in their voice that which attracted and led them to pasture.

Verse 9

John 10:9 ἐγώ … εὑρήσει . With emphasis He reiterates: “I am the door: through me, and none else, if a man enter he shall be saved, and shall go in and out find pasture”. Meyer and others supply “any shepherd” as the nominative to εἰσέλθῃ , which may agree better with the form of the parabolic saying, but not so well with the substance. Jesus is the Door of the sheep, not of the shepherd; and the blessings promised, σωθήσεται , κ . τ . λ ., are proper to the sheep. These blessings are three: deliverance from peril, liberty, and sustenance. For the phraseology see the remarkable passage Numbers 27:15-21 , which Holtzmann misapplies, neglecting the twenty-first verse. To “go out and in” is the common O.T. expression to denote the free activity of daily life, Jeremiah 37:4 , Psalms 121:8 , Deuteronomy 28:6 .

Verse 10

John 10:10 . The tenth verse introduces a new contrast, between the good shepherd and the thieves and hirelings. ὁ κλέπτης … ἀπολέσῃ . The thief has but one reason for his coming to the fold: he comes to steal and kill and destroy; to aggrandise himself at the expense of the sheep. θύσῃ has probably the simple meaning of “kill,” as in Acts 10:13 , Matthew 22:4 ; cf. Deuteronomy 22:1 . With quite other intent has Christ come: ἐγὼ ἦλθον … ἔχωσιν , that instead of being killed and perishing the sheep “may have life and may have abundance”. This may mean abundance of life, but more probably abundance of all that sustains life. περιττὸν ἔχειν in Xen., Anab. , vii. 6, 31, means “to have a surplus”. “The repetition of ἔχωσιν gives the second point a more independent position than it would have had if καί alone had been used. Cf. John 10:18 ; Xen., Anab. , i. 10, 3, καὶ ταύτην ἔσωσαν καὶ ἄλλα … ἔσωσαν ,” Meyer. Cf. Psalms 23:1 .

Verses 11-18

John 10:11-18 . In these verses Jesus designates Himself “the Good Shepherd” and emphasises two features by which a good shepherd can be known: (1) his giving his life for the sheep, and (2) the reciprocal knowledge of the sheep and the shepherd. These two features are both introduced by the statement (John 10:11 ) ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ποιμὴν ὁ καλός , “the good shepherd”; “good” probably in the sense in which we speak of a “good” painter or a “good” architect; one who excels at his business. The definite article claims this as a description applicable to Himself alone. Cf. Psalms 23:0 , Isaiah 40:11 , Ezekiel 34:0 , etc. For other descriptions of the ideal shepherd, see Plato’s Repub. , p. 345, and the remarkable passage in the Politicus , 271 275, and Columella (in Wetstein), “Magister autem pecoris acer, durus, strenuus, laboris patientissimus, alacer atque audax esse debet; et qui per rupes, per solitudines atque vepres facile vadat”. ὁ ποιμὴν ὁ καλὸς , the good shepherd, whoever he is, τὴν ψυχὴν … προβάτων , “lays down his life for the sheep”. τιθέναι τὴν ψυχήν is not a classical phrase, but in Hippocrates occurs a similar expression, Μαχάων γέ τοι ψυχὴν κατέθετο ἐν τῇ Τρωάδι , Kypke. Ponere spiritum occurs in Latin. Of the meaning there is no doubt. Cf. John 13:37 . ὑπὲρ τῶν προβάτων , “for the good of the sheep,” that is, when the welfare of the sheep demands the sacrifice of life, that is freely made. Here it is evident Jesus describes “the good shepherd” as revealed in Himself.

Verse 12

John 10:12 . ὁ μισθωτὸς δὲ [ δὲ is omitted by recent editors] … πρόβατα . In contrast to the good shepherd stands now not the robber but a man in some respects better, a hireling or hired hand (Mark 1:20 ), not a shepherd whose instincts would prompt him to defend the sheep, and not the owner to whom the sheep belong. So long as there is no danger he does his duty by the sheep for the sake of his wages, but when he sees the wolf coming he abandons the sheep and flees. “The wolf” includes all that threatens the sheep. In Xen., “ Mem. , ii. 7, 14, the dog says to the sheep: ἐγὼ γάρ εἰμι ὁ καὶ ὑμᾶς αὐτὰς σώξων , ὥστε μήτε ὑπʼ ἀνθρώπων κλέπτεσθαι , μήτε ὑπὸ λύκων ἁρπάξεσθαι . καὶ ὁ λύκος … σκορπίξει , “and the wolf carries them off and scatters them”; cf. Matthew 9:36 ; a general description careless of detail. Bengel says “lacerat quas potest, ceteras dispergit”.

Verse 13

John 10:13 . ὁ δὲ μισθωτὸς φεύγει , not, as in John 10:12 , ὁ μισθ . δὲ , “because the antithesis of the hireling was there first brought forward and greater emphasis was secured by that position”. Meyer. Klotz, p. 378, says that δὲ is placed after more words than one “ubi quae praeposita particulae verba sunt aut aptius inter se conjuncta sunt aut ita comparata, ut summum pondus in ea sententia obtineant”. He flees ὅτι μισθωτός ἐστι , his nature is betrayed by his conduct. He does not care for the sheep but for himself. He took the position of guardian of the sheep for his own sake, not for theirs; and the presence of the wolf brings out that it is himself, not the sheep, he cares for.

Verse 14

John 10:14 . The second mark of the good shepherd is introduced by a repetition of the announcement: ἐγώ … καλός . And this second mark is not stated in general terms applicable to all good shepherds, but directly of Himself: ἐγώ εἰμι … καὶ γινώσκω τὰ ἐμά , καὶ γινώσκομαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἐμῶν . There is a mutually reciprocal knowledge between Jesus and His sheep. And the existence of this knowledge is the proof that He is the Shepherd. The shepherd’s claim is authenticated by his knowledge of the marks and ways of the sheep, and by its knowledge of him as shown in its coming to his voice and submission to his hand. Augustine says: “They sometimes do not know themselves, but the shepherd knows them”.

Verse 15

John 10:15 . This reciprocal knowledge is so sure and profound that it can only be compared to the mutual knowledge of the Father and the Son: καθὼς … πατέρα . He then applies to Himself what had been stated in general of all good shepherds in John 10:11 ; and John 10:16 might suitably have begun with the words “And my life I lay down for the sheep”. This statement is, however, prompted by His reference to His knowledge of the Father. He knows it is the Father’s will that He should lay down His life. See John 10:17-18 .

Verse 16

John 10:16 . But the mention of His death suggests to Him the wide extent of its consequences. ἄλλα πρόβατα ἔχω , “other sheep I have”; not that they are already believers in Him, but “His” by the Father’s design and gift. Cf. John 17:7 and Acts 18:10 . They are only negatively described: ἃ οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τῆς αὐλῆς ταύτης ; “this fold” is evidently that which contained the Jews who already had received Him as their Shepherd; and the other sheep which are not “of” ( ἐκ , as frequently in John, “belonging to”; not as Meyer renders) this fold are the Gentiles. κἀκεῖνα … ποιμήν “those also I must bring and they shall listen to my voice, and they, shall so amalgamate with the Jewish disciples that there shall be one flock, one shepherd”. The listening to Christ’s voice brings the sheep to Him, and this being what constitutes the flock, the flock must be one as He is one. But nothing is said of unity of organisation. There may be various folds, though one flock. μία ποίμνη , εἷς ποιμήν , the alliteration cannot be quite reproduced in English. For the emphasis gained by omitting καί cf. Eurip., Orestes , 1244, τρισσοῖς φίλοις γὰρ εἷς ἀγὼν , δίκη μία . The A.V [74] wrongly translated “one fold,” following the Vulgate, which renders both αὐλή and ποίμνη by “ovile” [“qua voce non grex ipse sed ovium stabulum declaratur; quod unum vix unquam fuit, et non modo falso, sed etiam stulte impudenter Romae collocatur”. Beza]. This is corrected in R.V [75] The old Latin versions had “unus grex”; see Wordsworth’s and White’s Vul [76] .

[74] Authorised Version.

[75] Revised Version.

[76] ulg Vulgate (Jerome’s revision of old Latin version).

Verse 17

John 10:17 . At this point the exposition of the functions of the good shepherd terminates; but as a note or appendix Jesus adds διὰ τοῦτο , “on this account,” i.e. , because I lay down my life for the sheep (John 10:15 and following clause) does my Father love me. The expressed ἐγώ serves to bring out the spontaneity of the surrender. And this free sacrifice or death is justified by the object, ἵνα πάλιν λάβω αὐτήν . He dies, not to remain in death and so leave the sheep defenceless, but to live again, to resume life in pursuance of the object for which He had given it. The freedom of the sacrifice is proved by His taking His life again. He was not compelled to die.

Verse 18

John 10:18 . οὐδεὶς … ἐμαυτοῦ . He did not succumb to the machinations of His foes. To the last He was free to choose another exit from life; Matthew 26:53 . He gave His life freely, perceiving that this was the Father’s will: ἐξουσίαν … μου . Others have only power to choose the time or method of their death, and not always that: Jesus had power absolutely to lay down His life or to retain it. Others have no power at all to resume their life after they had laid it down. He has. This freedom, as Weiss remarks, does not clash with the instrumentality of the Jews in taking His life, nor with the power of God in raising Him again. ταύτην τὴν ἐντολὴν . “This commandment” thus to dispose of His life and to resume it He has received from the Father. In this as in all else He is fulfilling the will and purpose of God.

Verse 19

John 10:19 . As usual, diverse judgments were elicited, and once more a division of opinion appeared, Σχίσμα οὖν πάλιν ἐγένετο … Many thought Him possessed and mad, as in Mark 3:21 ; cf. οὐ μαίνομαι of Paul, Acts 26:24 . Others took the more sensible view. These words they had heard were not the wild exclamations and ravings they usually heard from demoniacs; and His acts, such as opening the blind man’s eyes, were not within the compass of a demon.

Verses 19-21

John 10:19-21 . The result of this discourse briefly described .

Verse 22

John 10:22 . Ἐγένετο δὲ τὰ ἐγκαίνια . The ἐγκαίνια (Ezra 6:16 ) was the annual celebration of the reconsecration of the Temple by Judas Maccabaeus after its defilement by Antiochus Epiphanes ( 1Ma 1:20-60 ; 1Ma 4:36-57 ). ἐν Ἱεροσολύμοις . The feast might be celebrated elsewhere, and the place may be specified because Jesus had been absent from Jerusalem and now returned. χειμὼν ἦν , not “it was stormy weather” (Plummer) but “it was winter”; inserted for the sake of Gentile readers and to explain why Jesus was teaching under cover. The feast was held in December, the 25th, Chisleu. See Edersheim, Life of Jesus , ii. 226. καὶ περιεπάτει … Σολομῶντος [better Σολομῶνος ].

Verses 22-39

John 10:22-39 . Sayings of Jesus at the Feast of Dedication .

Verse 23

John 10:23 . For the sake of shelter Jesus was walking with His disciples [ περιεπάτει ] in Solomon’s Porch, a cloister on the east side of the Temple area (Joseph., Antiq. , xx. 9, 7) apparently reared on some remaining portions of Solomon’s building.

Verse 24

John 10:24 . Here the Jews ἐκύκλωσαν αὐτόν , “ringed Him round,” preventing His escape and with hostile purpose; cf. Plutarch’s Them. , xii. 3. Their attitude corresponded to the peremptory character of their demand: Ἕως πότε τὴν ψυχὴν ἡμῶν αἴρεις ; Beza renders αἴρεις by “suspendis, i.e. , anxiam et suspensam tenes?” For which Elsner blames him and prefers “why do you kill us with delay?” But αἴρω occurs not infrequently in the sense of “disturb”. Soph., Oed. Tyr. , 914, αἴρει θυμὸν Οἰδίπους , Oedipus excites his soul; Eurip., Hecuba , 69, τί ποτʼ αἴρομαι ἔννυχος οὕτω δείμασι ; cf. Virgil, Aeneid , iv. 9, “quae me suspensam insomnia terrent?” “Why do you keep us in suspense?” is a legitimate translation. “If Thou art the Christ tell us plainly.” παρρησίᾳ , in so many words, devoid of all ambiguity; cf. John 16:29 . This request has a show of reasonableness and honesty, as if they only needed to hear from Himself that He was the Christ. But it is never honest to ask for further explanation after enough has been given. Nothing more surely evinces unwillingness to believe. Besides, there was always the difficulty that, if He categorically said He was the Christ, they would understand Him to mean the Christ of their expectation.

Verse 25

John 10:25 . Therefore He replies: “I told you and ye believe not. The works which I do in my Father’s name, these witness concerning me.” These works tell you what I am. They are works done in my Father’s name, that is, wholly as His representative. These show what kind of Christ He sends you and that I am He.

Verse 26

John 10:26 . “But you on your part do not believe” the reason being that you are not of the number of my sheep. Had you been of my sheep you must have believed; because my sheep have these two characteristics, (John 10:27 ) they hear my voice and they follow me: (John 10:28 ) and these characteristics meet a twofold response in me, “I know them” and “I give them life eternal”. κἀγώ in each case emphatically exhibits the response of Christ to believers. They acknowledge Him by hearing His voice; He acknowledges them, “knows them”. Cf. John 10:14 . They follow Him, and He leads them into life eternal. “ Sequela et vita arcte connectuntur,” Bengel. This mention of the gift of life leads Him to enlarge on its perpetuity and its security. οὐ μὴ ἀπόλωνται εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα , “they shall never perish” ( cf. John 10:10 ), but shall enjoy the abundant life I am come to bestow. καὶ οὐχ ἁρπάσει τις αὐτὰ ἐκ τῆς χειρός μου , “and no one shall carry them off (John 10:12 ) out of my hand” or keeping. Throughout He uses the phraseology of the “Shepherd” parable.

Verse 29

John 10:29 . These strong assertions He bases, as always, on the Father’s will and power. ὁ πατήρ μου … ἐσμεν . “My Father who has given me these sheep is greater than all: and therefore no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. But this is equivalent to my saying no one can snatch them out of my hand, for I and the Father are one.” ἐγὼ καὶ ὁ Πατὴρ ἕν ἐσμεν . Cf. John 17:21-23 , ἵνα πάντες ἓν ὦσι . Bengel says: “ Unum , non solum voluntatis consensu, sed unitate potentiae, adeoque naturae. Nam omnipotentia est attributum naturale; et serino est de unitate Patris et Filii. In his verbis Jesu plus viderunt caeci Judaei, quam hodie vident Antitrinitarii.” But Calvin is right when he denies that the words carry this sense: “Abusi sunt hoc loco veteres ut probarent Christum esse Patri ὁμοούσιον . Neque enim Christus de unitate substantiae disputat, sed de consensu quem cum Patre habet: quicquid scilicet geritur a Christo Patris virtute confirmatum iri.” An ambassador whose demands were contested might quite naturally say: “I and my sovereign are one”; not meaning thereby to claim royal dignity, but only to assert that what he did his sovereign did, that his signature carried his sovereign’s guarantee, and that his pledges would be fulfilled by all the resources of his sovereign. So here, as God’s representative, Jesus introduces the Father’s power as the final guarantee, and claims that in this respect He and the Father are one. Whether this does not involve metaphysical unity is another question. Cf. Tertullian, adv. Praxeam , 22; Hippolytus, c. Noetum , 7, δύο πρόσωπα ἔδειξεν , δύναμιν δὲ μίαν .

Verse 31

John 10:31 . Ἐβάστασαν οὖν … αὐτόν . In chap. John 8:59 , ἦραν λίθους , so now once more, πάλιν , they lifted stones to stone Him.

Verse 32

John 10:32 . Jesus anticipating them says: Πολλὰ … με ; “Many excellent works [‘praeclara opera,’ Meyer] have I shown you from my Father; for what work among these do ye stone me?” Which of them deserves stoning? (Holtzmann). As it could only be a work differing in character from the καλὰ ἔργα which deserved stoning, ποῖον is used, although in later Greek its distinctive meaning was vanishing. Wetstein quotes from Dionys. Halicar., viii. 29, an apposite passage in which Coriolanus says: οἵ με ἀντὶ πολλῶν καὶ καλῶν ἔργων , ἐφʼ οἷς τιμᾶσθαι προσῆκεν … αἰσχρῶς ἐξήλασαν ἐκ τῆς πατρίδος .

Verse 33

John 10:33 . The irony is as much in the situation as in the words. The answer is honest enough, blind as it is: Περὶ … Θεόν . “For a praiseworthy work we do not stone Thee, but for blasphemy, and because Thou being a man makest Thyself God.” For περί in this sense cf. Acts 26:7 . The καὶ ὅτι does not introduce a second charge, but more specifically defines the blasphemy. On the question whether it was blasphemy to claim to be the Christ see Deuteronomy 18:20 , Leviticus 24:10-17 , and Treffry’s Eternal Sonship . It was blasphemy for a man to claim to be God. And it is noteworthy that Jesus never manifests indignation when charged with making Himself God; yet were He a mere man no one could view this sin with stronger abhorrence.

Verse 34

John 10:34 . On this occasion He merely shows that even a man could without blasphemy call himself “Son of God”; because their own judges had been called “gods”. Οὐκ ἔστι γεγραμμένον ἐν τῶ νόμῳ ὑμῶν , “Is it not written in your law, I said ‘ye are Gods’?” In Psalms 82:0 the judges of Israel are rebuked for abusing their office; and God is represented as saying: “I said, Ye are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High”. “The law” is here used of the whole O.T. as in John 12:34 , John 15:25 , Romans 3:19 , 1 Corinthians 14:21 . Εἰ ἐκείνους … “If it [that ὁ νόμος is the nominative to εἶπε is proved by the two following clauses, although at first sight it might be more natural to suppose the nearer and more emphatic ἐγώ supplied the nominative] called them gods, to whom the word of God came,” that is, who were thus addressed by God at their consecration to their office and by this word lifted up to a new dignity “and that they were so called is certain because Scripture cannot be denied or put aside then do you, shutting your eyes to your own Scriptures, declare Him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world to be a blasphemer because He said, I am God’s Son?” The a fortiori element in the argument lies in this, that the judges were made “gods” by the coming to them of God’s commission, which found them engaged otherwise and itself raised them to their new rank, whereas Jesus was set apart by the Father and sent into the world for the sole object of representing the Father. If the former might be legitimately called “gods,” the latter may well claim to be God’s Son. The idea of the purpose for which Christ was sent into the world is indicated in the emphatic use of ὁ πατήρ ; and this is still further accentuated in John 10:37 .

Verses 37-38

John 10:37-38 . εἰ οὐ ποιῶ … πιστεύσατε . “If I do not the works of my Father, do not believe me: but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works.” That is, if you do not credit my statements, accept the testimony of the deeds I do. And this, not to give me the glory but “that ye may know and believe [ cf. John 6:69 ] that the Father is in me, and I in the Father” [for αὐτῷ read τῷ πατρί ].

Verse 39

John 10:39 . Ἐζήτουν … αὐτῶν . His words so far convinced them that they dropped the stones, but they sought to arrest Him. The πάλιν refers to John 7:30 ; John 7:44 . But He escaped out of their hand, and departed again beyond Jordan to the place where John at first was baptising, i.e. , Bethany. Cf. John 1:28 , also John 4:1 . Holtzmann considers that the πρῶτον is intended to differentiate the earlier from the later ministry of the Baptist. It might rather seem to point to the beginning of the ministry of Jesus, especially as following πάλιν . καὶ ἔμεινεν ἐκεῖ , “and He remained there” until John 11:7 , that is, for a little more than three months.

Verse 41

John 10:41 . There He was still busy; for πολλοὶ ἦλθον πρὸς αὐτόν , “many came to Him and said,” that is, giving this as their reason for coming, that “although John himself had done no miracle, all he had said of Jesus was found to be true”. The reference to John is evidently suggested by the locality, and probably means that the “many” alluded to as coming to Jesus belonged to the district and had been impressed by John. The correspondence between what they had heard from the Baptist and what they saw in Jesus, as well as the intrinsic evidence of the works He did, engendered belief in Him (John 10:42 ) Καὶ ἐπίστευσαν πολλοὶ ἐκεῖ εἰς αὐτόν .

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 10". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/egt/john-10.html. 1897-1910.
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