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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

John 11



John 11:12 . οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ] A. 44 have merely αὐτῷ . D. K. Π . א . Curss. Verss.: αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταί (so Lachm. and Tisch.). B.C.*L.X. Copt.: οἱ μαθ . αὐτῷ . The simple αὐτῷ is the original reading; οἱ μαθ . was written in the margin; then was introduced into the text partly before and partly after αὐτῷ ; and in the former position brought about the partial change of αὐτῷ into αὐτοῦ .

John 11:17 . ἐλθὼνεὗρεν ] Lachm.: ἦλθενκαὶ εὗρεν , solely after C.* D. Partly before (so Lachm. in the margin), partly after ἡμέρας (so Elzev. and Lachm.), stands ἤδη , which, however, is altogether omitted (so Tisch.) by A.* D. Curss. Verss.: τέσσ . ἤδη ἡμ . must be regarded as the original reading (B. C.*). The word ἤδη , beginning and ending with H, was easily passed over, as standing immediately before ἡμέρας , which also begins with H, and was then restored in the wrong place.

John 11:19 . Instead of καὶ πολλοί , we must, with decisive testimonies, read πολλοὶ δέ with Lachm. and Tisch.

αὐτῶν ] after ἀδελφοῦ must, with Tisch., after B. D. L. א ., be deleted as a usual addition.

John 11:21 . ὁ ἀ δελφ . μου οὐκ ἂν ἐτεθνήκει ] Lachm. and Tisch., after decisive witnesses, read οὐκ ἂν ἀπέθανενἀδ . μου . If ἐτεθνήκει had been the original reading, it would have been found as a various reading also in John 11:32 ; it is a clumsy interpretation.

John 11:22 . ἀλλά ] is wanting in B. C.* X. א . Curss. Verss. Chrys. Bracketed by Lachm., deleted by Tisch. An antithetical interpolation.

John 11:29 . ἐγείρεται ] B. C.*D. L. א . Curss. Verss.: ἠγέρθη . So Lachm. A mechanical transposition into the historical tense, with which the reading ἤρχετο (instead of ἤρχεται ) in the same Codd., except D., is also connected.

John 11:30 . After ἦν Lachm. and Tisch. have ἔτι (B. C. X. א . Curss. Verss.). An addition more precisely determining the meaning, which other witnesses place before ἦν .

John 11:31 . λέγοντες ] B. C.*D. L. X. א . Curss. Verss.: δόξαντες , which, as an unusual expression, must with Tisch. be received into the text on the authority of these decisive witnesses.

John 11:32 . The position of αὐτοῦ before εἰς τ . πόδ . (Elz. and Lachm. place it after) has the decision of the Codd. in its favour.

εἰς ] B. C.* D. L. X. א . Curss.: πρός . So Tisch., and the witnesses are decidedly in its favour.

John 11:39 . Instead of τετελουτηχότος , Elz. has τεθνηκότος , in opposition to decisive testimonies. A gloss.

John 11:40 . The future form ὄψῃ has decisive evidence in its favour (Lachm. and Tisch.).

John 11:41 . After λίθον Elz. places οὗ ἦντεθνηκὼς κείμενος , in opposition to decisive testimony. Other witnesses have other explanatory additions.

John 11:45 . ἄ ] Lachm. has ὅ , after A.** B. CD. Curss. Verss. (in John 11:46 , also, the ὅ is adopted by Lachm., although the evidence in its favour is weaker). The one act, which is meant, would easily suggest the singular.

After ἐποίησεν Elz. inserts ὁ Ἰησοῦς . An unusual addition, opposed to overwhelming evidence.

John 11:50 . διαλογίζεσθε ] A. B. D. L. א . Curss. Or. Cyr. Chrys.: λογίζεσθε . Recommended by Griesbach; adopted by Lachm. and Tisch., and correctly too; διαλογίζεσθαι was more familiar to the copyists from the other Gospels.

John 11:57 . δὲ καί ] Lachm. and Tisch. have deleted καί on the authority of decisive witnesses.

Instead of ἐντολήν , B. J. M. א . Curss. Or. (twice) have ἐντολάς , which, with Tisch., is to be adopted. The Recepta is a correction.

Verse 1

John 11:1 f. [68] This stay of Jesus in retirement, however, is terminated by the sickness of Lazarus ( δέ ).

Simplicity of the style of the narrative: But there was a certain one sick , (namely) Lazarus of Bethany, of the town , etc: ἀπὸ (John 7:42 ; Matthew 2:1 ; Matthew 27:57 ) and ἘΚ both denote the same relation (John 1:46 f.), that of derivation; hence it is the less allowable to regard the two sisters and the brother as Galileans , and Mary as the Magdalene (Hengstenberg). [69] That Lazarus lived also in Bethany, and was lying ill there, is plain from the course of the narrative. For change of preposition, without any change of relation, comp. John 1:45 ; Romans 3:30 ; 2 Corinthians 3:11 ; Galatians 2:16 ; Ephesians 1:7 ; Philemon 1:5 ; Kühner, II. p. 219.

This Bethany, situated on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives, and, according to John 11:18 , about three-quarters of an hour’s walk from Jerusalem (see on Matthew 21:17 ), was characteristically and specially known in evangelistic tradition owing to the two sisters who lived there; hence its more exact description by the words ἐκ τῆς κώμης Μαρίας , etc., [70] for the sake of distinguishing it from the Bethany mentioned in John 1:28 (see critical note on John 1:28 ).

For the legends about Lazarus, see especially Thilo, Cod. Apocry . p. 711; Fabric. Cod. Apocr . III. pp. 475, 509.

ἦν δὲ Μαρία , etc.] Not to be put in a parenthesis. A more exact description of this Mary, [71] who, however, must not be identified with the woman who was a sinner, mentioned in Luke 7:0 , as is done still by Hengstenberg (see on Luke 7:36-37 f.) from the account of the anointing (Matthew 26:6 ff.; Mark 14:3 ff.), which John presupposes, in a general way, as already known , although he himself afterwards takes occasion to narrate it in John 12:1 ff. So important and significant did it appear to him, while tradition, besides, had not preserved it in its pure original form (not even in Matthew and Mark).

ἧςἀδελφὸς , etc.] Thus, to refer to Lazarus as the brother of Mary , was perfectly natural to the narrative, and after John 11:1 is clear in itself. Entirely baseless is Hengstenberg’s remark: the relation of Lazarus to the unmarried Mary was more intimate than to the married Martha, who had been the wife of Simon the leper, Matthew 26:6 (which is a pure invention). See in general, against the erroneous combinations of Hengstenberg regarding the personal relations of the two sisters and Lazarus, Strauss, Die Halben und die Ganzen , p. 79 ff.

[68] On the whole section relating to the raising of Lazarus, see Gumlich in the Stud. u. Kritiken , 1862, pp. 65 ff., 248 ff.

[69] In the Constitt. Apost. 3. 6. 2, also, Mary Magdalene is expressly distinguished from the sister of Lazarus.

[70] This genitive, presupposing, as it does, the nominative form Μαρία , is opposed to the adoption in John of the Hebrew form Μαριάμ , which, in the various passages where the name occurs, is supported by very varying testimony, in some cases by very strong, in other passages, however, by no evidence at all.

[71] On account of her predominant importance, and from being so well known, Mary is mentioned first in ver. 1. Had she been the elder sister (Ewald), there would be no apparent reason why Martha should be mentioned first in vv. 5, 19, and 20. Comp. also Luke 10:38 , where Martha appears as mistress of the house. Lazarus seems to have been younger than the sisters, and to have held a subordinate place in the household, John 12:2 .

Verses 3-4

John 11:3-4 . Merely the message that the beloved one is sick. The request lay in the message itself, and the addition ὃν φιλεῖς supplied the motive for its fulfilment.

εἶπεν ] spoken generally, and not addressed to any definite person, but in the hearing of those present, the messenger and the disciples. Sufficient for the moment as a preparation both for the sisters and the disciples.

οὐκ ἔστι πρὸς θάνατον ] πρός refers to destination (comp. afterwards ὑπέρ ): it is not to have death for its result , which, however, does not mean, as the antithesis shows: it is not deadly , he will not die of it. The idea of death is used with a pregnancy of meaning, and the words signify: he shall not fall a prey to death, as death usually is, so that no reawakening takes place ; θάνατος γὰρ κυρίωςμέχρι τῆς κοινῆς ἀναστάσεως , Euth. Zigabenus. Comp. Matthew 9:24 . That Jesus certainly knew, by His higher knowledge, that the death of Lazarus was certain and near at hand , though the death must be conceived as not having yet actually taken place (see on John 11:17 ), is confirmed by John 11:14 ; for the assumption of a second message (Paulus, Neander, Schweizer) is purely arbitrary. With this significant declaration, Jesus designed to supply to the sisters something fitted, when the death of their brother took place, to stimulate the hope to which Martha gives actual expression in John 11:22 . There is no warrant for dragging in a reference to the spiritual and eternal life of the resurrection (Gumlich).

ὑπὲρ τῆς δόξ . τ . θ .] i.e . for the furtherance of the honour of God. Comp. John 9:3 . The emphatic and more definite explanation of the expression is given in ἵνα δοξασθῇ , etc. words which, containing the intention of God, state the kind and manner of the ὑπὲρ τ . δόξ . τ . θ ., so far, namely, as the glorification of the Son of God involves the honour of God Himself , who works through Him (comp. John 5:23 , John 10:30 ; John 10:38 ). It is in these words, and not in John 11:25 (Baur), that the doctrinal design of the narrative is contained. Comp. John 11:40 ; John 11:42 .

Verse 5

John 11:5 is not an elucidation of John 11:3 (De Wette), seeing that John 11:4 intervenes; nor is it a preparation for John 11:6 (B. Crusius: “although He loved them all, He nevertheless remained”); but explains the motive impelling Him to open up to them the consolatory prospect referred to in John 11:4 : “Felix familia,” Bengel.

ἠγάπα ] An expression chosen with delicate tenderness (the more sensuous φιλεῖν is not again used as in John 11:4 ), because the sisters are also mentioned. Comp. Xen. Mem . ii. 7. 12; Tittmann, Synon . p. 53; and Wetstein. Martha is named first , as being the mistress of the house, and the eldest (John 11:19 f.). Compare the preceding note. Hengstenberg’s remark is arbitrary: “Mary could not bear to be separated from Lazarus, because she had been most deeply affected by his death.”

Verses 6-7

John 11:6-7 . Οὖν ] Resumption of the narrative after the observation in John 11:5 .

After John 11:6 a colon only ought to be placed, for the course of the narrative is this: “When He now heard that he was sick, He remained there , indeed, etc.; (but) then ,” etc.

μέν ] logically is quite correct after τότε : then , indeed ( turn quidem ), when He heard, He did not immediately go away, but remained still two days. There is no corresponding δέ after ἔπειτα , as one would naturally expect, because the adversative relation, which was in view at first, has given way to one of simple succession (comp. Klotz, ad Devar . p. 539; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Phaed . p. 89 A; Baeumlein, Partic . p. 163).

ἔπειτα μετὰ τοῦτο ] deinde postea (Cic. p. Mil . 24), as in the Classics also (comp. Plat. Phaedr . p. 258 E: ἔπειτα λέγει δὴ μετὰ τοῦτο ) synonymous adverbial expressions are frequently conjoined (Kühner, II. p. 615; Fritzsche, ad Marc . p. 22). Comp. τότε ἔπειτα , which occurs frequently even in Homer; Nägelsbach on the Ilias , p. 149, Exodus 3:0 .

The question why Jesus did not at once leave for Bethany is not solved by the assumption, that He designed to test the faith of the parties concerned (Olshausen; Gumlich also mixes this reason up with his otherwise correct view), which would, in opposition to John 11:5 , have amounted to a harsh and arbitrary delaying on His part; nor is it explained by the similar notion, that the message of John 11:4 was meant first to produce its effect (Ebrard), as though there had not been without that time enough for this; just as little is it accounted for by the supposition that important business connected with His work in Peraea still detained Him (Lücke, Krabbe, Neander, Tholuck, Lange, Baumgarten), for John gives not the slightest hint of such a reason, and it is a purely à priori assumption. It is to be explained by a reference back to John 11:4 , according to which Jesus was conscious of its being the divine will that the miracle should be performed precisely under the circumstances and at the time at which it actually was performed, and no otherwise (comp. John 2:4 ), for the glory of God. The divine δεῖ , of which He was conscious, decided Him, and that, under a moral necessity, lest He should act ὑπὲρ μοῖραν , to remain still; the same δεῖ again impelled Him at once to depart, when, in virtue of His immediate knowledge, He became aware of the death of His friend. Comp. on John 11:17 . All the more groundless was it to make use of the delay of Jesus as an argument against the historical truth of the narrative (Bretschneider, Strauss, Weisse, Gfrörer, Baur, Hilgenfeld), according to which Jesus intentionally allowed Lazarus to die, in order that He might be able to raise him up again (Baur, p. 193).

εἰς τὴν Ἰουδαίαν ] for they were in Peraea, John 10:40 . The more definite goal, Bethany , is not at first mentioned; but is specified afterwards, John 11:11 ; John 11:15 . The less reason, therefore, is there for finding a special design in the use of the words εἰς τ . Ἰουδ . (Luthardt: “into the land of unbelief and hostility”), a meaning which Godet and Gumlich import also into πάλιν .

Verse 8

John 11:8 . The question breathes solicitude for the safety and life of the beloved Master.

νῦν ] just now , refers to the recent events which, though past, seemed still to form part of the present, John 10:31 . Hence the use of the imperfect; see Kühner, II. p. 385.

πάλιν ] emphatically at the beginning.

ὑπάγεις ] Present, as in John 10:32 .

Verses 9-10

John 11:9-10 . The sense of the allegorical answer is this: “ The time appointed to me by God for working is not yet elapsed; as long as it lasts, no one can do anything to me; but when it shall have come to an end, I shall fall into the hands of my enemies , like him who walketh in the night, and who stumbleth, because he is without light.” In this way Jesus sets aside the anxiety of His disciples, on the one hand, by directing their attention to the fact that, as His time is not yet expired, He is safe from the apprehended dangers; and, on the other, by reminding them (John 11:10 ) that He must make use of the time apportioned to Him, before it come to an end. [72] So substantially Apollinaris ( διδάσκεικύριος , ὅτι πρὸ τοῦ καιροῦ τοῦ πάθους οὐκ ἂν ὑπὸ Ἰουδαίων πάθοι · καὶ διδάσκει τοῦτο διὰ παραβολῆς , ἡμέρας μὲν καιρὸν ὀνομάζων τὸν πρὸ τοῦ πάθους , τὸν δὲ τοῦ πάθους νύκτα ), Ruperti (only partially), Jansen, Maldonatus, Corn.a Lapide, Wolf, Heumann, and several others; also Maier and B. Crusius; comp. Ewald and Hengstenberg. On individual points, note further: (1) ΔΏΔΕΚΑ is placed emphatically at the beginning, signifying that the day referred to is still running on , and that anxiety is still premature (not: only twelve hours; Bengel correctly remarks: “jam multa erat hora, sed tamen adhuc erat dies”). The supposition that Jesus spoke the words early in the morning, at sunrise (Godet, Gumlich), is as arbitrary as it is unnecessary. (2) τὸ φῶς τ . κόσμ . is the light of the sun , so designated in harmony with the elevated tone which marks the entire saying; the words ὅτιβλέπει belong merely to the details of the picture, and are not intended to be specially interpreted (for example, of the guidance of the divine will, as Godet thinks, following older commentators). (3) Applying the figure to Jesus, night (John 11:10 ) commenced with the ἐλήλυθενὥρα , John 17:1 (comp. John 12:27 ); the ἩΜΈΡΑ with its twelve hours was then over for Him, and, according to the divine decree, the ΠΡΟΣΚΟΠΉ in His path which, with the close of the twelfth hour, had become dark, must now follow, [73] in that He fell into the hands of His enemies; till then, however, οὔπω ἐληλύθειὥρα αὐτοῦ , John 7:30 , John 8:20 . (4) The expression ὍΤΙ ΤῸ Φῶς ΟὐΚ ἜΣΤΙΝ ἘΝ ΑὐΤῷ , which is also a detail not intended for interpretation, is not equivalent to: he has not , etc. (Ewald; it is also inadmissible to take this view of Psalms 90:10 ), but is an outflow of the notion that, in the case of a man walking in the night, it is dark in him , i.e . his representation of his surroundings is dark and without light, so that he cannot discover his whereabouts in his consciousness of that which is round about him. Grotius: “in oculis ejus;” but the expression ἐν αὐτῷ suggests the inner intuition and representation. (5) Substantially the same, and decisive for the view which the disciples would take, are the thought and figure in John 9:3 f.; hence also here neither is ἩΜΈΡΑ to be taken as an image of tempus opportunum (Morus, Rosenmüller, Paulus, Kuinoel), nor νύξ of tempus importunum ; nor is it any more allowable to say, with Gumlich and Brückner (comp. Melanchthon, Beza, and Calvin), that φῶς τοῦ κ . τ . is God , who shows the Son the way, so that this latter thus walks in the day , and His person and work remain unendangered ( οὐ προσκόπτει [74] ); similarly Baeumlein; Lücke, on the other hand, rightly refers Τῆς ἩΜΈΡΑς to the “ day’s work ” of Christ, which has its definite limit (its twelve hours); but then he explains ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ of fulfilling the duties of His calling (comp. Melanchthon), which is always the way of safety, and takes νύξ as an image of unfaithfulness to one’s calling , which leads to destruction. In this way, however, two totally different meanings are assigned to the figurative term ἡμέρα , the second of which is the more decidedly to be rejected, as the mention of twelve hours is evidence that the temporal explanation alone is correct. For this reason, further, we must reject not only the view taken by De Wette, who regards the day as the image of “ upright, innocent, clear action ,” the twelve hours, as the ways and means of action, and the night as the lack of prudence and singlemindedness; but also that of Luthardt: “He who keeps within the limits of his calling will not strike against anything, will not make false steps, for the light of the world, i.e . the will of God, gives him light; he, however, who passes beyond the limits of his calling will go wrong in his doings, seeing that he is guided, not by God’s will, but by his own pleasure.” Tholuck also diverges from the consistent carrying out of the temporal view; for, though understanding the twelve hours of the day of the fixed time of the vocation, he afterwards introduces the calling itself: “Whoso abides not by his calling will come to damage.” Comp. Schweizer, p. 106; also Lange, who combines several very different views. According to Chrysostom, Theophylact, and Euth. Zigabenus, the walking in the day denotes either a blameless walk , in which a man has no need to be afraid; or fellowship with Christ (so also Erasmus: “quamdiu vobis luceo, nihil est periculi; veniet nox, quando a me semoti conturbabimini.” [75] Vatablus, Clarius, Lampe, Neander). Both are incorrect, for the simple reason that the disciples had expressed concern, not for themselves , but for Christ , by their question in John 11:8 (Chrysostom and his followers arbitrarily remark that they had been more in anxiety, ὑπὲρ ἑαυτῶν ); and because the former of these views would furnish no explanation of the mention of the hours , which is just the key to the figure. This objection holds good also against Hilgenfeld, Lehrbegr . p. 263, who brings out as the meaning of Jesus: He has the light absolutely in Himself, and for Him, therefore, no dark point can exist in His earthly course. On this view, moreover, John 11:10 remains without explanation. Olshausen, adopting the second view of Chrysostom, is prepared to accept an unhermeneutical double meaning of ἡμέρα ; in the one case, mindful of His near brotherly relationship to men, Jesus regarded Himself as accomplishing His ordained day’s work; but, in the other case, He had in view His higher dignity as the spiritual enlightener , in the rays of whose brightness the disciples would have nothing to fear. [76] Comp. Bengel, who thinks that τὸ φῶς τ . κόσμ . τούτου signifies the “providentia Patris respectu Jesu , et providentia Christi respectu fidelium .

[72] Not, as Godet interprets: that He dare not lengthen the working time appointed to Him by the divine will, that He may not venture to add to it as it were a thirteenth hour . Such a thought was totally foreign to the minds of the disciples in giving their warning. All that they desired was, that He should not shorten His life by exposing Himself to the threatening danger of death.

[73] The idea set forth is therefore not “the wish to be active beyond the ordained goal and limit of life ,” which would, indeed, be absurd (Tholuck’s objection); but to be set free of activity on the attainment of the ordained goal of life . When the twelfth hour has passed, night falls on the wanderer, and he stumbles.

[74] Ver. 10. τὸ φῶς οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν αὐτῷ is then explained by Brückner, after Matthew 6:22 f., to mean that the eye, which has received the light, becomes itself a lamp, and so the whole man is illumined. But how could Jesus expect the disciples to understand so far-fetched an illusion? If such had been His meaning, He must have used, in agreement with Matthew 6:23 , some such words as: ὅτι τὸ φῶς τὸ ἐν αὐτῷ σχότος ἐστιν .

[75] So in the Paraphr. But in the Annotat. he takes substantially our view: “Dies habet suas horas, nec is nostro arbitrio fit brevior aut longior; et ego tempus habeo praescriptum, quo debeam redimendi orbis negotium peragere, id Judaeorum malitia non potest anticipari: proinde nihil est, quod mihi timeatis.”

[76] Ebrard adopts Olshausen’s view in the following more definite shape: “The day has its determinate measured duration. If a man use the day as day, i.e. the time for working given him by God as a time of working , he needs to be in no fear that his working will bring him mischief, for the light of the mundane sun illumines him. But he who walks as though it were night, i.e. without working the will of God , would procure for himself eternal mischief, because he had not in him the light (in the absolute sense, John 1:5 ).” In this way the essential elements are read into the passage; and what a strange difference in the conceptions found in the same expressions! How could the disciples have possibly understood their Master!

Verses 11-13

John 11:11-13 . Καὶ μετὰ τοῦτο λέγει ] This representation separates the two discourses, between which a pause is to be conceived as intervening.

The death of Lazarus, which had just taken place, and became the occasion of the determination to leave at once (John 11:7 ; see on John 11:17 ), is described (comp. Matthew 9:24 ), in view of his resurrection, by the word κεκοίμ ., has fallen asleep , the event having become known to Him by immediate knowledge (spiritual far-seeing). Hence also the definiteness of His statement, to which the addition of the words ὁ φίλος ἡμ . communicates a touch of painful sensibility. In saying ἡμῶν also, He claims the loving sympathy of His disciples.

ἐξυπνίσω ] awaken out of sleep; a late Greek word, rejected by the Atticists. Lobeck ad Phryn . p. 224. Comp. Acts 16:27 .

The misunderstanding of His disciples, who thought of the sleep which follows after a crisis has been passed through (see examples of the same thing in Pricaeus; comp. also Sir 31:2 , and Fritzsche’s remarks thereon), loses its apparent improbability (against Strauss, De Wette, Reuss) when we refer back to John 11:4 , the words of which they had naturally understood, not in the sense intended by Jesus , which was that He would raise him up from the dead , but, after the analogy of John 9:3 , as signifying that He purposed to come and miraculously heal him. The journey thereby involved, however, they did not desire (John 11:8 ); the expression κεκοίμηται accordingly corresponded to their wishes; hence the conclusion at once drawn, that he must be on the way to recovery, and the effort, by calling attention to this fact, to make the journey appear unnecessary. The very earnestness of this their desire, caused them to overlook the significant nature of the words ἵνα ἐξυπνίσω αὐτόν , and to fail to see that it would have been absurd thus to speak of one who was really asleep. Such a mistake on their part is psychologically intelligible enough. [77] The notion that John 11:4 had led them to believe that Jesus had already healed at a distance (Ebrard, Hengstenberg), and that, in consequence , they necessarily understood sleep to refer to recovery, is incompatible with the fact that the words of John 11:4 do not at all suggest such a healing (how different in John 4:50 !); and that if they had thought of such a healing having taken place, they would have grounded their σωθήσεται on that fact, and not on the approach of sleep; they would consequently, too, have dissuaded from this journey as unnecessary in a very different way. According to Bengel (and Luthardt), the disciples believed, “somnum ab Jesu immissum esse Lazaro ut eveniret quod praedixerat ipse John 11:4 .” But there is no exegetical support for this view, not even in the use of the first person singular πορεύομαι , which finds its very natural explanation in the connection with ἘΞΥΠΝΊΣΩ (the case is different with ἌΓΩΜΕΝ , John 11:7 ), without that supposition (against Luthardt).

[77] “Discipuli omni modo quaerunt Dominum ab isto itinere avocare,” Grotius; “ libenter hanc fugiendi periculi occasionem arripiunt ,” Calvin.

Verse 14

John 11:14 f. Παῤῥησία ] i.e . without the help of figurative hints as in John 11:11 . Comp. John 10:24 , John 16:25 .

Λάζ . ἀπέθ .] Now a declaration of the simple occurrence; hence there is no addition to” the word Λάζ . as in John 11:11 .

διʼ ὑμᾶς ] is immediately explained by the words ἵνα πιστεύσ .; for every new flight of faith is in its degree a progress towards belief, comp. John 2:11 . The words ὅτι οὐκ ἤμ . ἐκεῖ are to be taken together with χαίρω . If Jesus had been there, He would not have permitted His friend to die (against Paulus), but have saved him even on the sickbed; in this case the far greater σημεῖον of His δόξα , the raising him from the dead, would not have taken place, and the faith of the disciples would therefore not have had the benefit of it, though, just on the eve of the death of their Lord, it stood greatly in need of being increased. Bengel aptly remarks: “cum decoro divino pulchre congruit, quod praesente vitae duce nemo unquam legitur mortuus.”

ἵνα ] indicates the telic direction, or intention of the emotion (not merely hope, De Wette). Comp. John 8:56 . Remark that Jesus rejoices not at the sorrowful event in itself , but at the circumstance that He was not there, in consequence whereof it assumed a salutary relation to the disciples.

ἀλλʼ ] Breaking off; Herm. ad Vig . p. 812; Baeuml. Partic . p. 15. And the summons is now brief and measured.

Verse 16

John 11:16 . Thomas ( &#תְּאֹם תֹּאמָא ), after the Greek translation of his name (twin), was called among the Gentile Christians Didymus. That Jesus gave him this name for the purpose of signifying that his nature was one which halted, and was divided between the old and the new man, is an invention of Hengstenberg’s, which he even goes so far as to base on Genesis 25:23 f.

Notwithstanding what had been said in John 11:9 , Thomas looked upon the return of Jesus as leading to His death; with His quick temperament, he at once expresses what is in His mind; immediately, however, manifesting the resignation and courage of love, [78] seeing that their business now was to obey the clearly and definitely declared will of the Lord (differently in John 14:5 , John 20:24 ). There is no ground for charging him here with “inconsideratus zelus” (Calvin); or “Fear and Unbelief” (Chrysostom, Euth. Zigabenus); dualism of Belief and Unbelief (Hengstenberg), and the like.

μετʼ αὐτοῦ ] refers to Jesus, [79] not to Lazarus (Grotius, Ewald).

ΣΥΜΜΑΘΗΤΉς occurs in the New Testament only in this place; but see Plat. Euthyd . p. 272 c .

[78] Soph. Fragm. 690. Dind.: θανόντι κείνῳ συνθανεῖν ἔρως μʼ ἔχει . Eur. Suppl. 1009 ff.

[79] This reference follows in accordance with the context from ver. 8 and from καὶ ἡμεῖς , in which the καὶ points to Jesus. On the thought, comp. Matthew 26:35 and parallels.

Verse 17

John 11:17 . Ἐλθών ] into the neighbourhood of Bethany, see John 11:30 . That Jesus went by the direct road, may be taken for granted in view of the end He had before Him; to insert here events from the Synoptic Gospels for harmonistic purposes, only causes confusion.

εὗρεν ] namely, after inquiry.

τέσσαρας ] As we must assume that Lazarus did not die before the day on which the words of John 11:7 ff. were spoken, whilst Jesus was made at once and directly aware of the departure of His friend, then, if the Lord, as is probable, commenced the journey on the same day, and if Lazarus, agreeably to the Jewish custom, was buried on the day of his death, two full days and parts of two other days (the first and fourth) must have been spent in travelling to Bethany. No material objection can be urged against this supposition, seeing that we do not know how far northwards in Peraea Jesus was sojourning when He received the message announcing the illness. The usual opinion still entertained even by Luthardt, Ebrard, Gumlich, Hengstenberg, Godet is, that Lazarus died and was buried on the very day on which Jesus received the message. Were this the case, Jesus must have remained that day and the two following in Peraea, and have first begun the journey on the fourth day (a journey which some suppose to have occupied merely ten or eleven hours, or even a shorter time), [80] and completed it on the same (Ebrard) or on the following day. On this supposition, however, Jesus would either not have known of the death of His friend before the third day, which would be quite opposed to the character and wording (John 11:4 ; John 11:6 ) of the narrative; or else He would know of it as soon as it happened, and therefore at the time of the arrival of the messenger, which would alone accord with the tone of the entire history; in this latter case, the two days’ postponement of His departure, which, notwithstanding He had resolved on, would be unnatural and aimless, and the words of John 11:4 , which treat the sickness of Lazarus as still continuing, would have been inappropriate. Correctly, therefore, have Bengel (on John 11:11 with the comparison of John 4:52 ) and Ewald fixed the death of Lazarus as contemporaneous with John 11:7-8 , so that the occurrence of the death and the knowledge thereof possessed by Jesus determined His leaving at once. They would then have arrived at Bethany on the fourth day (comp. on John 1:28 ).

[80] But see van der Velde, Reise durch Syr. u. Pal. II. p. 245 ff. The actual road was undoubtedly considerably longer than the distance in a straight line.

Verse 18

John 11:18 . This observation explains the fact mentioned in the following verse, that so many of the Ἰουδαῖοι (from the neighbouring capital) were present.

ἦν ] The use of the praet . does not of itself necessarily imply that Bethany had ceased to exist at the time when the writer wrote, but might be explained (as it usually is) from the general connection with the past events narrated (see on Acts 17:21 ; Krüger on Xen. Anab . i. 4. 9; Breitenbach, ad Xen. Hier . 9. 4). At the same time, as John is the only one of the evangelists who uses the praet . thus (see besides John 18:1 , John 19:41 ), and as he further wrote a considerable time after the destruction of Jerusalem, it is more natural to suppose that Jerusalem and the surrounding neighbourhood was presented before his mind as lying waste, and Bethany also as no longer existing .

ἀπὸ σταδίων δεκαπ .] fifteen stadia off , i.e . about three-eighths of a geographical mile. On this mode of describing the distance (Revelation 14:20 ) see Buttm. Neut. Gr . p. 133 [E. T. p. 153]. Compare also John 12:1 , and on Acts 10:30 . A stadium = 589⅓ feet Rhenish (606¾ feet English) measure.

Verse 19

John 11:19 . ʼΕκ τῶν Ἰουδαίων ] is generally taken as equivalent to Ἱεροσολυμιτῶν , but altogether without ground. Wherever John uses the term “ the Jews ,” unless it be in the purely national sense (as in John 2:6 , John 2:13 , John 3:1 , John 4:9 , and frequently), to distinguish them as a nation from other nations, he constantly means the Jewish opposition to Jesus. See on John 1:19 . So also here (compare Brückner, Gumlich, Godet). On them, however, the miracle produced the noteworthy deep impression which will be recorded in John 11:45-46 . The Lazarus family, which, without doubt, was a highly respected one, must and might it not have been so, notwithstanding its friendship with Jesus? have had many acquaintances, perhaps also relatives, among these Jews.

πρὸς τὰς περὶ Μ . κ . Μ .] is not quite identical in force with πρὸς τὴν Μ . κ . Μ . (so Lachmann after B. C. L. X. א .), but describes the two sisters with their surroundings (Bernhardy, p. 263; Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. ii. 4. 2; comp. Acts 13:13 ). The words might also denote the sisters alone, according to later Greek usage (see Valckenaer, Schol. ad Acts 13:13 ; Lehrs, Quaest. Ep. p. 28 ff.); this usage, however, is quite foreign to the New Testament, besides that, in the present connection, the expression employed has its special propriety, they being men who had come. It implies, moreover, that the household was one of a higher class.

ἵνα παραμ . αὐτ .] The expression of sympathy and consolation, which was connected with definite formalities, lasted usually seven days (1 Samuel 31:13 ; 1 Chronicles 10:12 ; Jdt 16:23 ). See Lightfoot, p. 1070 ff.

Verse 20

John 11:20 . Martha, now also discharging her duties as hostess, and in consequence coming more into contact with others from without, is first informed of the coming of Jesus ( how? must be left undecided), and with judicious haste goes at once to meet Him, without exciting attention by communicating the fact to her sister.

ἐκαθέζετο ] For the manifestations of sympathy were received sitting . See Geier, de Luctu Hebraeorum , p. 211 ff. Comp. Dougt. Anal. ad Ez . vii. 14.

Note the different nature of the two sisters, as in Luke 10:38 ff.

Verses 21-22

John 11:21-22 . Εἰ ἦς ὧδε ] Not a reproach, but a lament: if Thou wert here , and stayedst not in the distant Peraea.

καὶ νῦν ] Without ἀλλά (see the critical note) the expression simply connects past and present: and now , when he is dead. She then gives expression indirectly (“ob voti magnitudinem,” Grotius) to her confidence , which had quickly arisen in consequence of the arrival of Jesus, that by His prayer He would be able to raise the dead one to life. Having the confidence, she expresses the wish . We can understand from John 11:4 why, now that the healing could no longer be effected, she should think of a resurrection ; for with her faith in Jesus, and her knowledge of His wonderful works, she must have felt sure that the declaration of John 11:4 would be fulfilled in some way or other. The less, therefore, may we adopt Calvin’s judgment: “magis affectui suo indulget , quam se contineat sub fidei regula.”

The position of the words αἰτήστὸν θεὸν , δώσειθεός is emphatic; their emphatic character is further heightened by the repetition of ὁ θεὸς (comp. Xen. Mem . i. 3. 2 : εὔχετο δὲ πρὸς τοὺς θεοὺςὡς τοὺς θεοὺς κάλλιστα εἰδότας ). This word αἰτεῖσθαι , to beg for oneself , is not elsewhere used of Jesus praying to God (but ἐρωτᾶν , παρακαλεῖν , προσεύχεσθαι , δεῖσθαι ); it corresponds to the intensity of Martha’s emotion , which would lead her to choose the more concrete, more human expression (comp. Matthew 7:9 ; John 15:16 , al .). Thus naively , as to form , does she speak in the excitement of her feeling; for the idea of the superhuman relation of Jesus to God had not as yet presented itself in any way to her mind. But as to substance she was right; see John 11:41-42 .

Verses 23-24

John 11:23-24 . Jesus understood her, and promises ἀναστήσεταιἀδ . σου ! He meant [81] to carry out the purpose stated in John 11:11 , but expressed Himself ambiguously no doubt intentionally in order to lead the faith of Martha away from her merely personal interest, and to raise it rather to the higher general domain of the one thing that is needful. His words might as easily denote a raising up to be accomplished at once, as the resurrection at the last day. Martha ventures to take it only as a consolatory word of promise relatively to Lazarus’ participation in this latter resurrection; she had previously dared to hope for so much, that she was not now able to interpret so indefinite a reply in her own favour. Accordingly, her response expresses the resignation of disappointment, which would now so naturally present itself to her mind; at the same time, it was an answer full of submission, and not one of “as it were further inquiry” (De Wette, compare Calvin).

[81] That is, He meant the raising of Lazarus , which actually afterwards took place, and which was the fulfilment of the ἐξυπνίζειν ; παλίνορσος ἐγείρεται , Nonnus. Quite in opposition to the progress and connection of the narrative, with its beautiful significance, is Hengstenberg’s remark: “Jesus means specially the resurrection at the last day , and along therewith, also, His transference to Paradise .” The soul of the deceased must already have been in Paradise, Luke 23:43 .

Verses 25-26

John 11:25-26 . Jesus connects with her answer that which He intended to say, as fitted to draw her faith from her own interest to His person : I , no other than I, am the resurrection and the life , i.e . the personal power of both, the one who raises again, and who makes alive. Comp. John 14:6 ; Colossians 3:4 . The ζωή after the ἀνάστασις is its positive result (not its ground , as Luthardt and Ewald think), the eternal life, which, however, also presupposes the happy state of ζωή in Hades, in Paradise (Luke 16:22 ; Luke 23:43 ). In the course of what follows, Jesus tells who it is that experiences Him as this power of resurrection and life, [82] namely, ὁ πιστεύων εἰς ἐμέ . The thought is in both clauses the same; they form a parallelism with a positive and negative declaration concerning the same subject, which, however, in the second clause, is described not merely by πιστεύων again, but by ζῶν καὶ πιστεύων , because this was the only way of making the significant antithetical reciprocal relationship complete. With a view to this end, dying denotes in the first clause physical death, whereas in the second clause it is used in the higher sense; whereas, vice versâ, life is spoken of in the first clause in the higher sense, in the second in its physical sense. Whoso believeth in me, even if he shall have died (physically), will live (be a partaker of ζωή , uninterruptedly , as, prior to the resurrection, in Paradise, so, by means of the resurrection, eternally ); and every one who lives (is still alive in time) and believes in me, will assuredly not die for ever , i.e . he will not lose his life in eternity, John 8:51 , a promise which, though not excluding physical death in itself, does exclude it as the negation of the true and eternal ζωή , John 6:50 . Compare Romans 8:10 . In accordance herewith, ζῶν neither can nor may be taken in the spiritual sense (Calvin and Olshausen): to apply κἂν ἀποθ ., however, to Lazarus, and ζῶν to the sisters (Euth. Zigabenus, Theophylact), is inadmissible, simply because Lazarus was to be raised again solely to temporal life. Both are to be left in their generality.

On πᾶς Bengel remarks ingeniously: “hoc versu 25 non adhibitum ad majora sermonem profert,” and on πιστ . τοῦτο : “applicatio … per improvisam interrogationem valde pungens.”

[82] It is not merely ζωή that is carried out in what follows (Luthardt); for the life which Jesus ascribes to the believer, even in death, finds its completion precisely in the resurrection.

Verses 27-28

John 11:27-28 . Martha’s answer affirms the question, and gives the reason for the affirmation; for to Messiah alone could and ought thanks to be due for that which is mentioned in John 11:25 f. [83]

ἘΓΏ ] With the emphasis of conscious assurance.

ΠΕΠΊΣΤΕΥΚΑ ] I have convinced myself, and believe. Comp. John 6:69 .

ΧΡΙΣΤῸς , ΥἹῸς ΤΟῦ ΘΕΟῦ ] The second predicate, although conceived by Martha still in the popular theocratic sense, and not yet understood in its essentially divine import (comp. on John 1:50 ), satisfactorily expresses her faith in the divinely-conferred ἐξουσία of her friend, and is correlative to the ΕἸς Τ . ΚΌΣΜ . ἘΡΧΌΜΕΝΟς , and to be connected with it. The present ἐρχόμενος is employed because she looks for the advent of the Messiah as close at hand. Compare on Matthew 11:3 ; Luke 2:25 ; Luke 2:38 .

John 11:28 . That Martha called her sister at the bidding of Jesus , is clear from καὶ φωνεῖ σε ; and any doubt as to whether He actually commissioned her to do so is baseless (Brückner, compare Tholuck; Hengstenberg, after Chrysostom).

ΛΆΘΡΑ ] not ΦΑΝΕΡῶς , that is, whispering these words to her secretly , so that the Ἰουδαῖοι in John 11:31 who were present these men so hostilely disposed towards the beloved Teacher might not observe what she should say to her, in order that they might not disturb the further consolation and elevation which she now, with the faith in her heart that she had just so decidedly expressed, expected for her sister and herself from Jesus.

διδάσκ .] This designation, which had probably been customary in the family, was sufficiently intelligible to her sister; she did not need to mention His name, nor does she mention it, for the sake of secrecy. Compare Mark 14:14 .

[83] The simple and full affirmation of what was asked is contained therefore in ναὶ , κύριε , and ἐγὼ πεπίστευκα is not a Confiteor in response to the question freely formed by Martha (Godet, after Lange); on the contrary, her Confiteor is contained in the words ναὶ , κύριε , and the further words πεπίστευκα , etc., express the holy foundation on which her ναί rested in her heart.

Verses 30-31

John 11:30-31 . He had remained outside the place , not, however, because of the proximity of the grave (He did not even know where it was, John 11:34 , against Hengstenberg and others), but doubtless because Martha had informed Him of the presence of the many Ἰουδαῖοι , which it was so natural for Martha to do, that Luthardt should not have called it in question. He did not desire their presence whilst He said to Mary what He intended to say, for which reason also He had her called secretly . His intention, however, was not realized, for the Jews thought that when Mary went away so hastily she had gone to the grave (on this custom see Geier, de Luctu Hebr . VII. 26, and Wetstein), and followed after her, in order not to leave her alone in her sorrow without words of sympathy and consolation. On εἰς τ . μνημ . comp. John 11:38 ; John 20:1 .

Verse 32

John 11:32 . Ἔπεσεν , etc.] Not so Martha, John 11:21 . Mary’s feelings were of an intenser and stronger kind.

αὐτοῦ πρὸς τ . πόδας ] at His feet ( πρός , Mark 5:22 ; Mark 7:25 ). So afterwards, μουἀδελφός . my brother had not died, as in John 13:6 , and very often in the New Testament and in Greek writers; see Kühner, § 627 A 4; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Rep . p. 518 C.

εἰ ἦς ὧδε , etc.] like Martha in John 11:21 , but without adding anything beyond her tears. This thought had unquestionably been the oft-repeated refrain of their mutual communications on the subject of their sorrow.

No further conversation takes place, because the Ἰουδαῖοι by coming with her disturbed them, John 11:31 ; John 11:33 ; according to Luthardt, because Jesus wished a deed to take the place of words ; but of this there is no hint in the text.

Verses 33-34

John 11:33-34 .

Τοὺς συνελθ . αὐτῇ Ἰουδ .] The Jews who had come with her (see on Mark 14:53 ). Note the emphatic κλαίουσανκλαίοντας .

ἐνεβριμήσατο τῷ πνεύματι ] Alone correct are the renderings of the Vulgate: infremuit spiritu; of the Gothic: inrauhtida ahmin; and of Luther: er ergimmete im Geiste, He was angered in the spirit. On τῷ πνεύματι , comp. John 13:21 ; Mark 8:12 ; Acts 17:16 . The words βριμάομαι and ἐμβριμάομαι are never used otherwise than of hot anger in the Classics, the Septuagint, and the New Testament (Matthew 9:30 ; Mark 1:43 ; Mark 14:5 ), save where they denote snorting or growling proper (Aeschyl. Sept . 461; Lucean, Necyom . 20). See Gumlich, p. 265 f. For this reason the explanation of sharp pain (so also Grotius, Lucke, Tholuck, who thinks the word denotes a painful, sympathetic, and shuddering movement, not expressed in sounds, B. Crusius, Maier, and several; compare already Nonnus) must be rejected at the very outset, as opposed to the usage of the word. The same applies also to Ewald’s notion [84] that it is simply a somewhat stronger term for στενάζειν or ἈΝΑΣΤΕΝΆΖΕΙΝ (Mark 7:34 ; comp. John 8:12 ). But at what was He angered? This is not expressed by τῷ πνεύματι (against this supposition ἘΝ ἙΑΥΤῷ in John 11:38 is sufficiently decisive), as though He were angry at being affected as He was ( Τῷ ΠΆΘΕΙ ). This view, which quite misconceives the humanity of Jesus, is taken by Origen, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus, and several others. [85] Nor was His anger enkindled at death as the wages of sin (Augustine, Corn. a Lapide, Olshausen, Gumlich); nor at the power of death (Melanchthon, Ebrard), [86] the dread foe of the human race (Hengstenberg); nor at the unbelief of the Jews (Erasmus, Scholten) as well as of the sisters (Lampe, Kuinoel, Wichelhaus, Komm. üb. d. Leidensgesch . p. 66 f.); nor, finally, at the circumstance that He had not been able to avert this melancholy occurrence (De Wette). The last-mentioned notion is appropriate neither to the idea, nor to the degree of anger, nor to John 11:4 ; and the whole of these references are imported into the text. Brückner’s opinion: the anger is that of the Redeemer, misunderstood by His enemies, and not understood by His friends, is also an importation; so also Godet’s forced expedient: Jesus was indignant that, in performing this His greatest miracle, to which He found Himself pressed by the sobbings of those who were present, He should be pronouncing His own death-sentence; Satan purposed making it the signal of His condemnation, and some even of those who were weeping were destined to become His accusers . As though anything of all that were either to be found in the passage, or were even hinted at in it! The reference lying in the context was overlooked in consequence of the word Ἰουδαῖοι not being taken in the sense in which it is constantly used by John, namely, as the designation of the hostile party. It must be remembered that, in John 11:38 also, this inward wrath of the Lord was aroused by the behaviour of the Jews noticed in John 11:37 . He was angered, then, at the Jews , when He saw them lamenting with the deeply-feeling Mary, and professing by their cries (of condolence) to share her feelings, whilst at the same time aware that they were full of bitter hostility to Him who was the beloved friend both of those who mourned and of him whom they mourned, nor is John 11:45 inconsistent therewith. Accordingly, the moving cause of His wrath lay solely in that which the text states ( ὡς εἶδενκλαίοντας ); the separative expression: ΑὐΤῊΝ ΚΛΑἾΟΥΣΑΝ ἸΟΥΔΑΊΟΥς ΚΛΑΊΟΝΤΑς , sets forth the contrast presented by the procedure of the two, whilst going on together before Him. Alongside of the lamentation of Mary, He could not but see that the ΚΛΑΊΕΙΝ of the Jews was hypocritical , and this excited His strong moral indignation and wrath. John has simply expressed this indignation by the right term, without, as Lange thinks, combining in ἐνεβριμής the most varied emotions of the mind, as in a “ divine thunderstorm of the spirit .” By the addition of τῷ πνεύματι the indignation experienced by Jesus is defined as having been felt in the depths of His moral self-consciousness . During this experience, also, the πνεῦμα of Jesus was a ΠΝΕῦΜΑ ἉΓΙΩΣΎΝΗς ; see on Romans 1:4 . John might also have written Τῇ ΨΥΧῇ (see on John 12:27 ); but Τῷ ΠΝΕΎΜΑΤΙ is more characteristic.

ΚΑῚ ἘΤΆΡΑΞΕΝ ἙΑΥΤΌΝ ] not equivalent to ἘΤΑΡΆΧΘΗ Τῷ ΠΝΕΎΜΑΤΙ , John 13:21 ; nor even denoting, “ He allowed Himself to be troubled (agitated), surrendered Himself to the agitation ” (De Wette); but, as the active with the reflective pronoun necessarily requires, He agitated Himself , so that the outward manifestation , the bodily shuddering, during the internal movement of indignation, is designated by the words, and not the emotion itself. [87] Euth. Zigabenus remarks, in the main correctly: ΔΙΈΣΕΙΣΕ · ΣΥΜΒΑΊΝΕΙ ΓᾺΡ ΤΙΝΆΣΣΕΣΘΑΙ ΤᾺ ἈΝΏΤΕΡΑ ΜΈΡΗ ΤῶΝ ΟὝΤΩς ἘΜΒΡΙΜΩΜΈΝΩΝ . The use of the reflective expression has no dogmatic basis (Augustine, Bengel, and several; also Brückner and Ebrard suppose that it was designed to exclude the notion of the passivity of the emotion), but is simply due to its being more descriptive and picturesque. The reader is made to see how Jesus, in His inner indignation, shakes Himself and shudders .

ποῦ τεθείκ . αὐτόν ;] This question He puts to Mary and Martha, and it is they also who answer it. Having experienced the stirrings of indignation, without any further delay, gathering Himself up for action, He now asks that which it was in the first instance necessary for Him to know. The assumption made by Hengstenberg, [88] that He already knew that which He asked, is due solely to exegetical presuppositions, and reduces the question to a mere formality.

[84] “As though compelled to gather up all the deepest powers of love and compassion, first, in deepest emotion, repeatedly sighing and weeping,” Gesch. Christi , p. 486. Somewhat differently in the Johann. SChr. I. p. 322: “Like an old hero of the primeval age, like a Jacob, who, gathering together the deepest forces of his spirit, prepares for the combat, and in the midst of the struggle weeps aloud.” Melanchthon has a similar idea.

[85] To much the same effect is Cyril’s view, who takes τῷ πνεύματι to mean the Holy Spirit, and to be used instrumentally : τῇ δυνάμει τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος , Jesus was angered at the human compassion which He had felt. Hilgenfeld, in his Lehrbegr. p. 260, Evang. p. 296 (comp. Köstlin, p. 139), has recently modified this view as follows: a genuinely human feeling threatened to tear away the human person joined with the Logos from His fellowship with the Logos, and the displeasure of the Logos was therefore only able to express itself inwardly, to vent itself on the humanity. See, on the contrary, Weiss, Lehrbegr. p. 257. Interpretations like these spring from a soil which lies altogether outside the domain of exegesis. More simply, but also doing violence to the moral nature of the human compassion felt by Jesus, is the view taken by Merz (in die Würtemb. Stud. 1844, 2): He became angry with Himself because He had felt as if His heart would break.

[86] So also Luthardt (who is followed by Weber in his Zorne Gottes , p. 24): “He was angered at death and him who has the power of death, His antagonist, that he had done such a thing to Him, that he had thus penetrated into His innermost circle, and had thus, as it were, thrown out threatenings against Himself.” Comp. Kahnis, Dogmatik , I. p. 504: “at the unnaturalness of death.”

[87] As Hengstenberg maintains (“Jesus stirs Himself up to energetic struggle,” etc.); compare also Godet.

[88] So also Gumlich, after Augustine, Erasmus, Jansen, and others.

Verse 35

John 11:35 . Ἐδάκρ . ὁ Ἰ .] He weeps, whilst on His way to the sepulchre, with those who were weeping. Note the eloquent, deeply-moving simplicity which characterizes the narrative; and remark as to the subject-matter, how, before accomplishing His work, Jesus gives full vent to the sorrow which He felt for His friend, and for the suffering inflicted on the sisters. It is also worthy of notice, that δακρύειν is here used, and not again κλαίειν ,

His lamenting is a shedding of tears in quiet anguish, not a weeping with loud lamentation, not a κλαυθμός as over Jerusalem, Luke 19:41 . It is a delicate discrimination of expressions, unforced, and true. According to Baur, indeed, tears for a dead man, whose grave was being approached in the certainty of his being raised to life again, could not be the expression of a true, genuinely human fellow-feeling. As though such feelings could be determined in a manner involving such deliberation, and as if the death of His friend, the grief of those by whom He was accompanied, as well as the wailings of the sisters, were not sufficient, of themselves alone , to arouse His loving sympathy to tears! It is precisely a genuine human emotion, which neither could nor should resist the painful impression produced by such a moment. But those obliterate the delicate character of this trait with their hard dogmatic hand, who make the tears shed by Christ refer to “the misery of the human race pictured forth in Lazarus” (Hengstenberg, comp. Gumlich).

Verses 36-37

John 11:36-37 . The Ἰουδαῖοι express themselves variously: those who were better disposed say, How must He have loved Lazarus whilst alive ( imper .), if He thus weeps for him now that he is dead; those who were maliciously and wickedly disposed treat His tears as a welcome proof, not of His want of love (Luthardt), but of His inability , apart from which He must surely have been able to heal Lazarus of his sickness , even as He had healed the blind man of his blindness! In this way they at the same time threw doubt on the reality of the healing of the blind man (for they regard it as the majus in their conclusion ad minus ), and suppose, moreover, that Jesus did not come sooner to Bethany because He was unable to save Lazarus; for the conclusion drawn by them implies that He had received information concerning the sickness. The malicious signification of the question in John 11:37 has been correctly recognised by Chrysostom, Nonnus ( ἀντιάχησαν ), Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus, Erasmus, Calvin, Bengel, and most of the older commentators, as also by Luthardt, Lange, and Godet; some recent writers, however, as Lücke, De Wette, Tholuck, Maier, Brückner, Ewald, Gumlich, Hengstenberg, groundlessly reject this view, notwithstanding that the following words, πάλιν ἐμβριμ ., rightly interpreted, find their explanation in these expressions of His opponents.

The circumstance of their appealing to the healing of the blind man , instead of to the awakenings from the dead , recorded by the Synoptics, is no argument against the reality of the latter miracles (Strauss); not even is this appeal less appropriate (De Wette), but it was, on the contrary, naturally suggested by their own most recent experience; it was also thoroughly appropriate, inasmuch as they were thinking, not of a raising from the dead, but simply of a healing of Lazarus, which was to have been effected by Jesus.

ἵνα ] the thought is: be active, in order that . Comp. on Colossians 4:16 .

καὶ οὗτος ] like the blind man whom He healed. For the healing (the opposite of μὴ ἀποθανῇ ) is the point of comparison.

Verse 38

John 11:38 . This πονηρία (Chrysostom) of the τινές stirred afresh, in the midst of His pain, His deep, though quiet, indignation; in this case, however, it was less noticeable, not being attended with the ταράσσειν ἑαυτόν of John 11:33 .

εἰς τὸ μνηεῖον ] to the grave (not into , see what follows; comp. John 11:31 ). The sepulchral vaults were entered either by a perpendicular opening with steps, or by an horizontal one; they were closed either by a large stone, or by a door. They exist in great numbers, down to the present day; Robinson, II. p. 175 ff., and his more recent Researches , p. 327 ff.; Tobler, Golgotha , p. 251 ff. The grave of Lazarus would have been of the first kind if ἐπέκεντο ἐπʼ αὐτῷ be rendered: it lay upon it; the one at present shown as the grave of Lazarus, though probably without sufficient reason (see Robinson, II. p. 310), is such. But ἐπέκ . ἐπʼ αὐτ . may also mean: it lay against it, before it (comp. Hom. Obadiah 1:6; Obadiah 1:6 . 19 : θύραι δʼ ἐπέκειντο ); and then the reference would be to a grave with an horizontal entrance. No decision can be arrived at. The description of the grave would seem to imply that Lazarus was a man of some position.

Verses 39-40

John 11:39-40 . While Jesus called upon those present to take away the stone (which was done, as related in John 11:41 ), Mary waited in silent resignation. On Martha, however, with her mobile practical tendency, the command of Jesus, which was equivalent to a wish to see Lazarus, produced a terrifying effect. Her sisterly heart (hence ἡ ἀδελφὴ τοῦ τετελ .) shudders at the thought, and rises up against it, and she will not see the corpse of her beloved brother, already passing over into a state of putrefaction, exposed to the gaze of those who were present; from the fact of his having already lain four days, she concludes , with good reason, that he must already have begun to stink. For her earlier idea of a possible resurrection (John 11:22 ), which, moreover, had been entertained only for a time, had passed over, owing to the expressions of the Lord in John 11:23-26 , into the faith in Christ, as the Resurrection and the Life in general, through whom the dear departed one also liveth (John 11:26 ). Accordingly, it is incorrect to suppose that her wish was to call the attention of Jesus to the magnitude of the work to be performed by Him, with a view to calling forth a new confirmation of His promise (Hengstenberg); on the contrary, far removed from such reflections, she now no longer at all expects the reawakening of the corpse , and that, too, not from unbelief, but because the higher direction which her faith had received through Christ’s words had taught her resignation.

The embalming of the body (its fumigation, embrocation, and envelopment in spices, as also its anointing, John 12:7 ) can not have taken place; otherwise Martha could not have come to the conclusion which she expresses. This omission may have been due to some cause unknown to us; but the supposition that the sisters still intended carrying out the embalming is inadmissible owing to the ἤδη ὄζει .

τεταρταῖος ] of the fourth day (comp. on John 11:17 ), that is, one buried for that time. See Wetstein. Comp. Xen. Anab . vi. 4. 9 : ἤδε γὰρ ἦσαν πεμπταῖοι (dead); Diog. Laert. 7. 184.

The gentle reproof contained in John 11:40 refers to John 11:23 ff., and is justified; for that which He had said regarding the glory of God in John 11:4 was to be realized by means of the ἀναστ . promised in John 11:23 promised in the sense present to Christ’s mind. At the same time, the performance of the miracle was itself dependent on the fulfilment of the condition ἐὰν πιστευσ . (which had been required also in John 11:25 f.); to unbelieving sisters He could no more have restored the dead brother than to an unbelieving Jairus his child (Luke 8:50 ), or to the widow of Nain her son, if her attitude towards His compassion and His injunction μὴ κλαῖε (Luke 7:13 ) had been one of unbelief.

Verses 41-42

John 11:41-42 . Jesus knows that His prayer, that God would suffer Him to raise Lazarus to life, a prayer which He had previously offered up in stillness, perhaps only in the inarticulate yearnings of His heart, has been heard, and He thanks God for hearing it. Petition and thanksgiving are not to be conceived as blended in one (Merz in die Wurtemberg. Stud . 1844, 2, p. 65; Tholuck); nor is the latter to be regarded as anticipatory (Hengstenberg), as though He offered thanks in the certain anticipation of the hearing of His prayer (Ewald, comp. Godet). Not that He offers thanks because the hearing of His prayer was unexpected and unhoped for ( εἶπον ); no, He for His part ( ἐγώ ) knew, even whilst He was asking God in stillness, that God always heard Him; [89] but because of the people standing by, etc.

Some have stumbled at John 11:42 , and looked on it either as spurious (Dieffenbach in Bertholdt’s Krit. Journ . vol. i. p. 8), or as a reflection of the evangelist who puts this “show-prayer” (Weisse), or even “sham-prayer” (Baur), into the mouth of Christ for the purpose of supplying an argument for the story (De Wette; see, on the other hand, Brückner), or for the divinity of Christ (Strauss, Scholten). But it is just He, the One who is most intimate with the Father, who may indulge in reflection even in prayer, if His reflections relate to God, and are prayer. The opposite judgment applies an arbitrary standard to the subject. Moreover, if it had been his own reflection, John would probably have said: διὰ τοὺς Ἰουδαίους instead of ΔΙᾺ Τ . ὌΧΛΟΝ . Comp. John 11:45 .

ΕἾΠΟΝ ] as in John 6:36 : I will have said it , namely the εὐχαριστῶ σοι , etc. To refer to John 11:4 (Ewald) is inadmissible even on account of ΔΙᾺ Τ . ὌΧΛΟΝ alone.

ΣΙ ] Thou and no other. They shall be convinced of it by learning from my thanksgiving that my working takes place in Thy strength, in the full certainty of a victory of Thy sending.

[89] Correct reason for this: πάντοτε θέλειςθέλω (Euth. Zigabenus); but also conversely, πάντοτε θέλωθέλεις ; see John 5:30 , John 12:27 .

Verses 43-46

John 11:43-46 . With a loud voice, He cried out; this was the vigorous medium through which He caused His miraculous power to operate.

The expression δεῦρο ἔξω ( hither out! huc foras! without verb; comp. Hom. Od . θ . 192; Plat. Pol . iv. p. 445 D, v. p. 477; D. Stallb. ad Plat. Apol . p. 24 C) includes in itself the resurrection-call, but does not imply that the act of reawakening has been already performed (Origen). Nonnus correctly remarks: ἄπνοον ἐψύχωσε δέμας νεκυοσσόος ἠχώ . Jesus did not here call out ἐγείρου or ἐγέρθητι (as in the case of the daughter of Jairus, and of the son of the widow of Nain, Luke 8:54 ; Luke 7:15 ), because the words δεῦρο ἔξω seemed the most natural to employ in the case of a dead man already lying in the tomb .

δεδεμ . τ . μόδ . κ . τ . χεῖρ . κειρίαις ] By Basil ( θαύμαζε θαῦμα ἐν θαύματι ), Chrysostom, Euth. Zigabenus, Augustine, Ruperti, Aretius, Lightfoot, Lampe, and several others, this is regarded as a new miracle , to which is reckoned, besides, even the covering up of the countenance. An arbitrary disfiguration of the fact to the point of introducing apocryphal elements. It is not necessary, with the purpose of escaping from this view, that the aor. ἐξῆλθε should be understood de conatu (Kuinoel); nor to assume that each limb was enwrapped by itself , as was the custom in Egypt (Olshausen, De Wette, B. Crusius, Maier); but the winding-sheet in which the corpse was wound from head to foot (Matthew 26:59 ), thus embracing the entire body (see Jahn, Arch . I. 2, p. 424), might, especially as it had to hold no spices (John 11:39 ), be slack and loose enough to render it possible, after it had been loosened by his movements, for the awakened man to come forth. He was not completely freed from the grave-clothes, till the command λύσατε αὐτόν had been given.

κειρία ] Girdle, bandage; in the N. T. it occurs only here, but see Proverbs 7:16 ; Aristoph. Av . 817; Plut. Alc . 16.

καὶὄψις αὐτοῦ σουδ . περιεδ .] special mention is here added of the last part of the complete death-dress in which he issued forth from the tomb, not, however, in the participial form (Kühner, II. p. 423). His face was bound about with a napkin . On περιεδ . comp. Job 12:8 ; Plut. Mor . p. 825 E.

λέγει αὐτοῖς ] to those who were present in general, as in John 11:39 . Let him go away (comp. John 18:8 ). With strength so completely restored had he risen again. But any further excitement was now to be avoided.


On the history of the resurrection of Lazarus, which constitutes the culminating point of the miraculous activity of our Lord, we have to remark: (1) The assumption of a merely apparent death (Paulus, Gabler in his Journ. für auserl. theol. Lit . III. p. 235 ff.; Ammon, Leben Jesu , III. p. 128; Kern in the Tüb. Zeitschr . 1839, I. p. 182; Schweizer, p. 153 ff.) is decidedly opposed, both to the character of Jesus Himself, and to the style and purpose of the narrative, which is distinguished for its thoughtful tenderness, certainty, and truthfulness. (2) To reduce the account to a strange misunderstanding , according to which, either a conversation between Christ and the two sisters, on the occasion of the death of Lazarus, regarding the resurrection, led to the rise of the story of the miracle (Weisse, II. p. 260 ff.); or, the latter has been confounded with the account of the awakening of the (only apparently dead) youth of Nain ,

Nain being an abridgment of the name Bethany , as Gfrörer, Heiligth. und Wahrh . p. 311 ff., thinks; as also to suppose that the Lazarus of the parable in Luke 16:0 has been converted, in the tradition prevailing at Ephesus, into a Lazarus raised from the dead by Jesus (Schenkel), is an arbitrary and violent procedure, simply incompatible with the genuineness of the Gospels. (3) The complete annihilation of the history into a myth (Strauss) is a consequence of presuppositions which, just in connection with so detailed and unique a narrative as this, [90] reach the very acme of boldness and arbitrariness, in order to demonstrate by misrepresentation of individual features the existence of internal improbabilities, and the want of external evidence for the credibility of the narrative. (4) The subjective theory of the occurrence, according to which it is said to be a form created [91] by the writer himself for the purpose of setting forth the idea of the ΔΌΞΑ of Christ (Baur, p. 191 ff.), which then first rightly yields itself to recognition, when it demonstrates itself in its death-denying power (comp. Keim, Gesch. J. I . p. 132), makes out of the miracle of the history a miracle which is the production of the second century, a creation of the idea in a time which bore within itself the conditions for productions of quite a different kind. That very artistic style of representation which, in the account of this last and greatest miracle, is most strikingly prominent, is only comprehensible from the personal, profound, and sympathizing recollection which had preserved and cherished, even in its finest traits, the truth and reality of the event with quite peculiar vivacity, fidelity, and inspiration. No narrative of the N. T. bears so completely the stamp of being the opposite of a later invention. But in none, again, was the glow of the hope of the Messianic fulfilment so immediately operative, in order to preserve and animate each feature of the reminiscence. This also in answer to Weizsäcker, p. 528, who leaves it undecided how far the allegorical moment of the narrative assumed by him the setting forth, namely, of the doctrine that believers have everlasting life is attached to actual facts . But in this way, with ideal assumptions, even the best attested history would fall into the dead condition of à priori doubt. And what an incredible height of art in the allegorical construction of history must we ascribe to the composer! Yet Holtzmann also ( Judenth. u. Christenth . p. 657) appears to think only of an allegory (“living hieroglyph”). (5) It certainly appears surprising that the Synoptics are silent concerning the raising of Lazarus , since it was an event in itself so powerful to produce conviction, [92] and so influential in its operation on the last development of the life of Jesus. However, this is not inexplicable (Brückner), but is connected with the entire distinguishing peculiarity of John; and the argumentum e silentio employed against the latter must the genuineness of the Gospel being granted rather turn against the Synoptics if their silence were conceivable only as the consequence of their want of acquaintance with the history (Lücke, De Wette, Baur). But this silence is intelligible, not on the supposition of tender considerateness towards the family at Bethany (Epiphanius, Grotius, Wetstein on John 12:10 , Herder, Schulthess, Olshausen, Baeumlein, Godet; so also with pictorial fancifulness, Lange, L. J . II. 2, p. 1133 f.), whereby even setting aside the fact that Luke also wrote only a few years earlier than John, and not before the destruction of Jerusalem there is suggested something that is altogether arbitrary, [93] and in unparalleled contradiction to the feeling and spirit of that early Christian time. Just as little is it to be explained from the fact that the deep and mysterious character of the history placed it in the class of what belonged to the special mission of that evangelist who had been in most confidential relations with Jesus (Hengstenberg), [94] a view which is not to be adopted, for the reason that the synoptical raisings from the dead also are not less profound and mysterious, as lies, indeed, in the facts themselves . Rather is that silence of the Synoptics only comprehensible when we consider that the latter keep within a circle of their notices, so limited in extent that, before they open, with the entrance of Christ into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:0 and parall.) and thus with the so-called Passion-week the scene of the last development, they have not introduced any part at all of the Lord’s ministry in the metropolis and its immediate neighbourhood; but up to that point confine themselves absolutely to the proceedings of Jesus in Galilee, and generally to those which took place at a remote distance from Jerusalem (the geographically nearest miraculous work is the healing of the blind men at Jericho, Matthew 20:29 ff.). This, as their Gospels actually prove, is the allotted province to which the older evangelistic historical writings confined their task and performance, and this task in cluded the Galilean raisings from the dead, but ex cluded that of Lazarus. John, on the other hand, conversely, choosing from the different classes of miracles, selected one from the raisings from the dead, not a Galilean one, but that which lay beyond that older theatre of history, and was most closely connected with the last great period of the history. In this way he has hereby certainly supplied as he has done in general by his notices from the Judaean ministry of the Lord an essential defect of the older evangelical narrative. The acquaintance of the Synoptics, which is undoubtedly to be assumed, with the raising of Lazarus, makes their silence regarding it appear not inexcusable (Baur’s objection), but simply a consequence of that limitation which the older evangelistic historical writings had prescribed to themselves, so that the latter neither contain any mention of the stay of Jesus in Bethany at that time, nor of His subsequent sojourn in Ephraim, but make the Messianic entrance of Jesus to proceed from Jericho onwards, excluding any lodging in the family of Bethany; comp. on Matthew 21:1 , note. (6) The fact that in the accusation and condemnation of Jesus no use was made of this miracle, neither against nor for Him (employed by Strauss, and especially by Weiss), cannot be evidence against its historical character, since the Jews were prudent enough to give a political colour to their accusation, and since the disciples could not appear in favour of Jesus, and He Himself would not enter upon a more minute defence of Himself; while Pilate, as judge, even if he had heard of the act, and had interested himself about it, yet was not warranted to introduce it into the examination, because it was not brought forward either as a confirmation or as a refutation of the charge. Moreover, had the evangelist set down this history only as an introduction to the entry which follows, etc. (Keim), he would have had least occasion to leave the further development without any reference to it. (7) The impossibility of an actual awakening from the dead is relative, not absolute (as Jesus’ own resurrection shows), and cannot yield a counter-proof à, priori , even setting aside the fact that the ἤδη ὌΖΕΙ rests on an inference only, however probable where, as here, the worker is the bearer of the divine ζωή . He entirely ascribes the result to God ; but this applies to all His miracles, which were indeed ἔργα τοῦ πατρός , and Christ was the Fulfiller through the power of God. Hence Schleiermacher’s proposal ( L. J . p. 233) to put Christ with the exception of the firm persuasion, that that which He prayed for is also done by God outside the realm of miracle , erroneously puts aside the question. It is Christ who raised Lazarus, John 11:11 , but therein also was to be seen an ἔργον ἐκ τοῦ τατρός , John 10:33 .

[90] Ewald, Gesch. Chr. p. 484. “No narrative of this apostle is pervaded by so intense a glow and rapid liveliness of description as this, in which he undertakes to set forth, in one great picture, the trembling of Jesus for the life of His friend, the attendant struggle with the darkness of the world, and the calmness and joy of victory, prominent over all, and undisturbed from first to last; while these pierce in between the still higher tones of the consciousness of His Messianic glory and of its confirmation in power.”

[91] This self-creation is said to be, according to Baur, p. 247, an intensification of the (two) synoptical raisings from the dead (comp. Scholten): “the superlative to the lower degrees, on which the Synoptics remained stationary.” The name Lazarus is significantly taken from the parable, Luke 16:0 . The substantial contents of the narrative are in ver. 25, and all else unsubstantial form.

[92] It is well known what Spinoza himself (according to Bayle, Dict. ), is said to have confessed: “that could he have persuaded himself of the truth of the raising of Lazarus, he would have broken in pieces his whole system, and would have embraced without repugnance the ordinary faith of Christians.”

[93] It would have certainly sufficed, instead of passing over the entire history in silence, simply not to have mentioned the names , as in the case of Peter’s smiting with the sword. And is it supposed, then, that when the synoptists wrote (thirty years and more after the Lazarus incident), the resolution to put him to death, John 12:10 , was still to be feared! Is it known that at so late a period Lazarus and his sisters were still alive?

[94] So also Philippi, der Eingang des Joh. Ev. 1866, p. 11 f. He thinks that Matthew related nothing of that which was reserved for John ; that he knew that the latter also would write his Gospel. A classified distribution of the material of this kind is in itself very improbable when compared with the spirit of the apostolic time, even irrespective of the fact that the first Gospel, in its present form, cannot have proceeded from the hands of the apostle.

Verses 45-46

John 11:45-46 . This occurrence makes an overwhelming impression upon the party adverse to Jesus, upon the Ἰουδαῖοι . Many of the Ἰουδαῖοις those, namely, who had come to Mary, and had seen the act of Jesus believed on Him. A certain number, however, of them (of these who had become believers) went away (from the scene of the miracle) to the Pharisees, and said to them, etc., but with well-meaning intent, in order to put them in possession of a correct account of the act, and to bear witness to them of the miracle (comp. Origen). The ordinary understanding of the passage finds here two sections among the Ἰουδαίοι who had come to Mary; many of them had become believers , but certain of them remained unbelieving , and the latter had denounced Jesus to the Pharisees with evil intent (as a Goëte, thinks Euth. Zigabenus; as a sacrilegious person, who had disinterred the corpse, thought Theophylact; as a dangerous person , think most commentators), or communicated the fact, simply with the view of obtaining a judgment upon it (Luthardt). The error of this interpretation lies in not observing that John has not written τῶν ἐλθόντων (which is the reading of D), but οἱ ἐλθόντες , κ . τ . λ ., so that ἐκ τῶν Ἰουδαίων is said generally of the Ἰουδαῖοι in general , and οἱ ἐλθόντες ( ii, qui , etc.) more closely defines the πολλοί ; instead of τινές , however, John 11:46 , there now remain no others , none who had not become believers, since ἀπῆλθον indicates that they went away from the place to the Pharisees, while in the preceding only the Jews who came to Mary are mentioned. Lachmann and Tischendorf have rightly placed a comma after Ἰουδ .

πρὸς τὴν Μαρίαν ] for the same reason as in John 11:1 she was named first , here she is briefly named alone . Hengstenberg strangely imports into the words an antithesis to those who had come only for Simon’s sake. See on John 11:1-2 .

Verses 47-48

John 11:47-48 . Now, since Jesus had, even according to the testimony of His earlier opponents, even raised a dead man, the matter becomes too serious for the Pharisees to permit them to look on any longer without taking a decisive step. The chief priests (with whom they have accordingly communicated) and they themselves summon a sitting of the council, i.e . a sitting of the Sanhedrin. On συνάγ . συνέδρ . comp. Diod. Sic. ii. 25. Not to be translated: they assembled the Sanhedrin . The article in that case, as throughout, where it is expressed with συνέδρ ., must have been used.

τί ποιοῦμεν ] What are we to do? The Indic , is used (see Stallbaum, ad Plat. Symp . p. 176 A); for that something must now definitively be done, was undoubted. Comp. Acts 4:15-16 .

ὅτι ] the simple for , as statement of the ground of the question.

οὗτοςἄνθρ .] contemptuously.

οὕτω ] without interposing.

καὶ ἐλεύσονται , κ . τ . λ .] so they fear, in keeping with the political view of the Messiah. Comp. John 6:15 . And they really fear it (against Strauss, Weisse, who here see an invention); they do not merely delude themselves with it (Luthardt); nor do they wish to give to their proper motive (envy, Matthew 27:18 ) only another colour (Calvin, Hengstenberg). Now, when they saw the last outbreak before their eyes, their calculation must necessarily be shaped according to the popular conception of the Messiah, and according to the effects which this notion would produce upon the mass (uproar, etc.).

ἀροῦσιν ] they will take away ( tollent , Vulgate), not equivalent to ἀπολέσουσιν (Euth. Zigabenus, Beza, Grotius, Lücke, De Wette, Tholuck, Hengstenberg, and several others), which is less appropriate to the egoistic sense, which is concerned about the withdrawal of their own power . Nonnus well remarks: ἀφαρπάξουσι .

ἡμῶν ] correlative to Ῥωμαῖοι , placed first with the emphasis of egoism , though not as genit. of separation ( away from us ), since such a construction with αἴρω is only poetical (Kühner, II. p. 160); but: the place and nation belonging to us .

τὸν τόπον ] is to be defined solely from the emphatic ἡμῶν ; our place, i.e . the holy city (Chrysostom, Grotius, Ewald, Baeumlein, Godet), the residence of the Sanhedrin and of the entire hierarchy. Hence neither: the country (so most commentators, as Luther: “country and people”), nor: the temple (Maldonatus, Lücke, De Wette, Maier, B. Crusius, Hengstenberg). The latter is neither to be supported by Acts 6:13 , nor by passages like 3 Esdr. 8:78; 2Ma 5:19 ; Matthew 23:38 . The Sanhedrists apprehend that the Romans, who had, indeed, acquiesced in great part hitherto in the hierarchical constitution of the Jews, and the spiritually political sway of the Sanhedrin, would enter Jerusalem, and remove the city as well as the people ( ἔθνος , Luke 23:2 ; Acts 10:22 , et al .) from the rule of the Sanhedrin, because it knew so badly how to maintain order.

Verses 49-50

John 11:49-50 . Caiaphas, however, solves this question of helplessness, censuring his colleagues on account of the latter, since the means to be adopted had been clearly put into their hands by circumstances.

εἷς τις ] unus quidam . Comp. Mark 14:47 ; Mark 14:51 , et al .; Bernhardy, p. 442. This one alone was a man of counsel.

Καϊάφας ] see on Matthew 26:3 ; Luke 3:2 .

τοῦ ἐνιαυτοῦ ἐκείνου ] He was high priest of that year . The previous and following time is left out of consideration, not, however, negatived, but simply that remarkable and fatal year is brought into prominence. Comp. John 18:13 . The supposition of an annual change in the office cannot be ascribed (against Bretschneider, Strauss, Schenkel, Scholten) even to a Pseudo-John, considering his manifest acquaintance elsewhere with Jewish affairs; but to appeal to the fact that the high priests were frequently changed in those times, and that actually before Caiaphas several were only a year in office, Josephus, Antt . xviii. 2. 2 (Hengstenberg), is least of all applicable in the case of Caiaphas, who was already in office, A.D. 25. Again, the assumption of an alternative holding of the office by Annas and Caiaphas, in virtue of a private agreement (comp. on Luke, loc. cit .; so Baur, ascribing this view to the Pseudo-John, and Maier [95] ), is as purely arbitrary (see Bleek, p. 257) as the pretended allusion to the change of Asiarchs (Gfrörer).

ὑμεῖς ] you , people.

οὐκ οἰδατε ΟὐΔΈΝ ] that you can still ask: ΤΊ ΠΟΙΟῦΜΕΝ .

ΟὐΔῈ ΛΟΓΊΖ .] (see critical notes): nor do ye consider that , etc. The proud, discourteous style of this address evinces passionate feeling generally, not exactly the manner (Josephus, Bell . ii. 8. 14) of Sadduceeism (Hengstenberg, Godet); from Acts 5:17 it is by no means clear that Caiaphas was a Sadducee.

ἡμῖν ] for us Sanhedrists.

In ΣΥΜΦΈΡΕΙ , ἽΝΑ , as in John 16:7 , the conception of divine destination is expressed: that it is of advantage to us that one man must die , etc.

ὑπέρ ] in commodum , in order that the people may be preserved from the destruction which threatens them, John 11:48 .

ἀπόληται ] through their subjugation, and the overthrow of the national independent existence.

Observe the interchange of ἜΘΝΟς (the people as a nation ) and λαός (the people as a political, here theocratic, community ).

The principle itself, which regarded in itself may be moral and noble, is expressed in the feeling of the most ungodly and selfish policy. For similar expressions, see Schoettgen and Wetstein. To refer the scene to a legend afterwards current among the Christians (Weizsäcker), is opposed to the earnest narrative of the evangelist.

[95] Here, too, belongs the supposition of Ebrard (apud Olshausen), that the two alternated with each other in the offering of the annual sacrifice of atonement. And that John means to say that in that year this function fell to Caiaphas. But he does not say so.

Verses 51-52

John 11:51-52 . Observation of John, that Caiaphas did not speak this out of his own self-determination, but with these portentous words in virtue of the high priest’s office which he held in that year involuntarily delivered a prophecy . [96]

The high priest passed in the old Israelitish time for the bearer of the divine oracle, for the organ of the revelation of the divine decisions, [97] which were imparted to him through the interrogation of the Urim and Thummim (Exodus 28:30 ; Numbers 27:21 ). This mode of inquiry disappeared, indeed, at a later time (Josephus, Antt . iii. 8. 9), as the high-priestly dignity in general fell gradually from its glory; nevertheless, there is still found in the prophetic age the belief in the high priest’s prophetical gift (Hosea 3:4 ), exactly as, in Josephus, Antt . vi. 6. 3, the idea of the old high-priesthood as the bearer of the oracle distinctly appears, and Philo, de Creat. Princ . II. p. 367, sets forth at least the true priest as prophet, and consequently idealizes the relation. Accordingly as closely connected with that venerable and not yet extinct recollection, and with still surviving esteem for the high-priestly office it was a natural and obvious course for John, after pious reflection on those remarkable words which were most appropriate to the sacrificial death of Jesus, to find in them a disclosure of the divine decree, expressed without self-knowledge and will, and that by no means with a “sacred irony” (Ebrard). Here, too, the extraordinary year in which the speaker was invested with the sacred office, carries with it the determination of the judgment; since, if at any time, it was assuredly in this very year, in which God purposed the fulfilment of His holy counsel through the atoning death of His Son, that a revelation through the high-priestly organ appeared conceivable. ἀρχιερ . ὤν certainly bears the main emphasis: but ΤΟῦ ἘΝΙΑΥΤ . ἘΚ . is again significantly added to it (not, as De Wette thinks, “mechanically, as it were”), as in John 11:49 . [98] For Rabbinical passages on unconscious prophecies, see in Schoettgen, p. 349. The notion of prophecy, however, is different from that of the בַּת־קוֹל (against De Wette); comp. on John 12:27-28 . The latter is a heavenly voice of revelation.

ὅτι ] not: that , according to which what follows would directly state the contents of προεφήτ ., but: he gave utterance to a prophecy in reference to the fact that (John 2:18 , John 9:17 , et al .). For what follows goes beyond that which the words of Caiaphas express.

ὙΠῈΡ ΤΟῦ ἜΘΝΟΥς ] Caiaphas had said: ὙΠῈΡ ΤΟῦ ΛΑΟῦ ; but John turns to the negative part of John 11:50 ( κ . μὴ ὅλ . τὸ ἔθνος ἀπόλ .), because he wishes to set the Gentiles over against the Jews, and this separation is national . Comp. Luke 7:5 ; John 18:35 . For the benefit of the nation Christ was to die; for through His atoning death the Jews, for whom, in the first instance , the Messianic salvation was designed, John 4:22 , were to become partakers by means of faith in the eternal saving deliverance. But the object of His death extended still further than the Jews; not for the benefit of the nation alone, but in order also to bring together into one the scattered children of God . These are the Gentiles , who believe on Him, and thereby are partakers of the atonement, children of God (John 1:12 ). The expression is prophetic and, just as in John 10:16 , proleptic , [99] according to the N. T. predestinarian point of view (Romans 9:24 ff; Romans 15:27 ; Galatians 3:14 ; Ephesians 1:9 ff.; Romans 8:29-30 ; Romans 11:25-26 ; Romans 16:25-26 ; Ephesians 3:4 ff.; Colossians 1:27 ; Acts 13:48 ; Acts 18:10 ), from which they appear as those who, in order to further their entrance into the filial state, are drawn by God (John 6:44 ), are given by the Father to the Son (John 6:37 ), and endowed with the inward preparation (John 6:65 ). Euth. Zigabenus rightly remarks: τέκνα μὲν οὖν τοῦ θεοῦ τὰ ἔθνη ὠνόμασεν ὡς μέλλοντα γενέσθαι . This likewise in answer to Hilgenfeld, Lehrbegr . p. 153, Evang . p. 297, according to whom the Gentiles, as natural children of God, who do not first become so through Christianity, are said to be meant (but see John 1:12 , John 3:3 ; John 3:6 , et al .). A filial state toward God out of Christ is opposed to the N. T., not only as Hilgenfeld puts it, from a Gnostic, dualistic point of view, but also, as Luthardt conceives it (comp. also Messner, Lehre der Ap . p. 330 f.), referring the essence of it only to the desire after Christ (Tholuck, Weiss, Godet, to the susceptibility ). This is only the preliminary step to the filial state. The gathering into one , i.e. to a unity , to an undivided community, is not intended in a local sense; but, amid their local dispersion, they were to become united in a higher sense, in virtue of a faith, etc., through the κοινωνία τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος , as one communion ἐν Χριστῷ . Chrysostom aptly remarks: ἓν σῶμα ἐποίησεν · ὁ ἐν Ῥώμκαθήμενος τοὺς Ἰνδοὺς μέλος εἶναι νομίζει ἑαυτοῦ . The uniting with the believing Jews (the ποιεῖν τὰ ἀμφότερα ἕν , Ephesians 2:14 ) is not spoken of here, but in John 10:16 ; here only the Christian folding together of the scattered Gentiles themselves . For the expression συνάγειν (and the like) εἰς ἕν , comp. Plat. Phileb . p. 378 C; Eur. Or . 1640, Phoen . 465.

[96] Here there is the conception of an unconscious prophecy, so far as that which Caiaphas spoke in another sense must yet, according to divine direction, typically set forth the substance and object of the redemptive death. See Düsterdieck, De rei propheticae naturâ ethicâ , Göttingen 1852, p. 76.

[97] See generally Ewald, Alterth. p. 385; Keil, Arch. I. p. 182.

[98] According to Tholuck, τ . ἐνιαυτοῦ ἐκ . should be understood in the sense that the high priest himself was bound to explain that in this year a greater and more general collective sacrifice was to be offered than that offered by him once a year on behalf of the people (Hebrews 9:7 ). But how can this lie in τ . ἐνιαυτοῦ ἐκ .? especially as ἀρχιερεὺς , κ . τ . λ ., is said only to make the προεφήτ . explicable, but expresses nothing as to the relation of the high-priestly sacrifice . This also against Luthardt’s similar interpretation, I. p. 87.

[99] Calvin well remarks: “Filios ergo Dei, etiam antequam vocentur, ab electione aestimat, qui fide tandem et sibi et aliis manifestari incipiunt.”

Verses 53-54

John 11:53-54 . Οὖν ] In consequence of this word of Caiaphas, which prevailed.

ἵνα ] They held deliberations with one another, in order , etc., Matthew 26:4 .

παῤῥησ .] frankly and freely, John 7:4 .

ἐν τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις ] He withdrew Himself since those deliberations of the high council, whether through Nicodemus or otherwise, had become known to Him ( οὖν ) from intercourse with His Jewish adversaries, and betook Himself to the sequestered village of Ephraim , according to Eusebius 8 miles, according to Jerome 20 miles (so also Ritter, XV. p. 465, XVI. p. 531 ff.) N.E. from Jerusalem, in Judaea; according to Josephus, Bell . iv. 9. 9, in the neighbourhood of Bethel, comp. 2 Chronicles 13:20 (according to the Keri). It can hardly be the present village of Taiyibeh (see Robinson, II. p. 337 f.), considering its more westerly situation. Hengstenberg identifies it on insufficient grounds with BaalHazor, 2 Samuel 13:23 ; and Vaihinger, in Herzog’s Encycl ., with עָפְרה Joshua 18:23 . The mention of the desert is not opposed to the north-easterly situation of Ephraim, as Ebrard thinks; for the desert of Judaea (i.e. ἡ ἔρημος κατʼ ἐξοχήν ) extended as far as the region of Jericho.

εἰς τ . χώραν . κ . τ . λ .] He departed into the country (as opposed to Jerusalem, the capital city); then a more precise definition of the place to which He withdrew, namely, the neighbourhood of the desert; and, finally, definite mention of the place, a town named Ephraim. On χώρα , comp. Plat. Legg. v. p. 745 C, vii. p. 817 A; Mark 1:5 ; Acts 26:20 ; Malachi 3:1; Malachi 3:1 .

Verse 55

John 11:55 . Ἦν δὲ ἐγγ . τ . πάσχα τ . Ἰ .] Comp. John 2:13 , John 6:4 .

ἐκ τῆς χώρας ] as in John 11:45 , accordingly: out of the country (as opposed to Jerusalem), not: out of that district (Grotius, Bengel, Olshausen).

ἵνα ἁγνίσ . ἑαυτ .] refers to the legal usages of self-purification, which varied greatly according to the degrees of the Levitical uncleannesses (washings, sacrifices, etc.). These, in compliance with the general principle of appearing before God pure (Genesis 35:2 ; Exodus 19:10-11 ), were completed before the beginning of the feast, in order to obtain from the priest the declaration of ceremonial cleanness, Numbers 9:10 ; 2 Chronicles 30:17-18 , et al . Comp. John 18:28 . Pilgrims accordingly set out according to their needs, in good time before the feast; see Lightfoot, p. 1078, and Lampe.

Verse 56

John 11:56 . The people, owing to the sensation which Jesus had in so many ways already aroused, and the edict of their spiritual superiors against Him (John 11:57 ), have taken a lively interest in the question, whether He will venture, as heretofore, to come to the feast. Their anxious question is a double question ; What think you? (do you think) that He certainly will not come? Since He has not performed the pilgrimage with any of them, and is not yet present, His coming is strongly doubted of among them. Lücke: what do you think (in reference to this), that He does not, etc. But on that view His not coming would be already presupposed as certain , which would be premature. To understand the words in the sense that He is not come (Erasmus, Castalio, Paulus, and several others; not the Vulgate) is grammatically incorrect. The passages quoted by Hartung ( Partikell . II. p. 156) do not apply here. [100] See Ellendt, Lex. Soph . II. p. 412.

The inquiry is interchanged in the court of the temple , because it was there that His appearance was to be looked for; while ἑστηκότες vividly represents the groups as standing together.

[100] Tholuck (who otherwise follows our interpretation) incorrectly adduces Polyb. iii. 111. 1. In that passage μή stands with the perf. quite as in Galatians 4:11 .

Verse 57

John 11:57 . With the explanatory δέ ( καί is spurious) the particular circumstance is now added, on account of which men so greatly doubted of His coming.

δεδώκεισαν ] comes first with emphasis. Already had the directions of the rulers in question been given.

ἵνα object , and therewith contents of the ἐντολαί , the issuing of which we are to think of as the fruit of the sitting, John 11:47 ff., and of the further deliberations, John 11:53 .

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Bibliographical Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on John 11". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. 1832.